A Secret Rendezvous
As the quaint inn nestled into the tree line came into view, Zavek’s pulse quickened a little with anticipation. After more than a month of nothing but letters, he and Brennault had finally worked it out to meet up at an out-of-the-way inn to spend a couple of days together. Fortunately, the location was far enough away from Lavender Run that Zavek did not have to worry about being recognized.
Moonshade tossed his head, anxious to approach the structure where he anticipated some oats and other treats for the long journey. Rubbing the gelding’s flank, Zavek rode into the yard and handed the reins over to a stable hand after dismounting and tossing his saddlebags over his shoulder.
Brennault could see Zavek on that runnerbeast a thousand times and never tire of it. He thanked the stars for his luck that he should crest the small hill on the road to the inn just in time to see it.
He had told no one, not even his closest friends who would happily bear him to the inn in a matter of moments on their dragonwings, about his plans to see Zavek. Not one of them knew his name, not one of them knew exactly where Brennault was when he went to see him.
Brennault would always run to Zavek on his own two feet, and he would always be out of breath the first time he saw him, even if he had been walking.
Through the various letters they had exchanged in which they had gradually pieced together these plans to meet, in their own roundabout way with innuendo and implication, they had agreed that the first name by which Brennault addressed Zavek would be his name for as long as these few sweet days together lasted.
And Brennault ran as fast as he could to ensure Zavek would still be there in the stables when he arrived.
"Ho there," he breathed as he greeted Zavek when he had finished there. "Dallec. Fancy seeing you here. How did the road treat you?"
The firm line of his mouth tipped as he turned around. “It treated me well.” He drank in the runner’s lithe body in an open manner, something he’d been unable to do at Lavender Run. “I trust you had a good trip as well?”
The way Zavek looked at him was not lost on Brennault. As much as his heart already raced from his sprint to reach Zavek, it raced all the more at his glance.
"Every step was worth it," he answered. "Have you had your fill yet riding runners after such a long journey?"
“I have for a couple of days, at least. I’m hoping the food here is as good as it smells, the jerky I ate on the way has long since gone.” Zavek said as they approaching the inn, where a delicious scent was wafting out of the open windows.
Brennault grinned. He supposed he should not be surprised that Zavek would truly be rather tired after such a journey.
"Are you hungry enough to eat before washing off the trail dust?" Brennault wondered. A hot bath would not go amiss, would it? That was, after all, Zavek's first big test for whether Brennault could be trusted.
“I think cleaning up is my top priority. You know how I feel about good hygiene.” Zavek winked at Brennault.
"And I heartily agree," Brennault smiled back. "I heard this inn has the best baths for a hundred miles in any direction."
“You were right, best bath for miles,” Zavek said with a toothy smile as he and Brennault sat down at one of the tables in the dining area. His dark hair still gleaming and damp.
Skies, but Brennault could never get enough of that smile. His own in return was his brightest. He had many friends and more than a few lovers, but none of them took his breath away quite like Zavek.
"Shall we see whether the food is as good as it smells?" he asked when his stomach grumbled audibly.
After they were both tucked into full plates of food, Zavek asked, "So what have you been up to these past couple of months? Other than what you could write about in the letters."
"A man asked me to track down his missing nephew," said Brennault. He had kept that close to his chest, and this was the first he had mentioned it to anyone outright. "He was from the hold out on the barrier island where I weathered the hurricane."
"And you?" He grinned. Zavek's exploits not fit for letters would certainly be worth hearing, he was sure. "What have you been up to?"
Marvel was not so sure. He liked Zavek, but any time he had ever seen the man, he was doing the same old man things he was always doing. Interesting only figured into the picture when he was with Brennault. At least, as far as Marvel ever saw.
"Well, I've acquired a new mare for Lavender Run, she's beautiful. She'll throw some beautiful foals." Well bred runnerbeasts were always in demand and fetched a pretty mark, especially if bred for racing.
Zavek shifted the conversation back to something Brennault had mentioned. "Did you find the missing nephew?"
"I didn't," said Brennault. "But the man put me off as soon as I talked to him. He knew how to put on a smile, but he said it had been a whole Turn since the boy left — and he's deaf, at that. I sent Uncle off the other way from where I thought the boy was most likely to be if he's even still alive, just in case he has good reason to want to stay unfound."
"What did you name the mare?" he asked. He loved how Zavek loved his runners.
"She came with a name, actually, which is important in keeping track of the bloodlines. Her name is Morning Sun." Sometimes the names that came with the beasts weren't as lovely.
"Oh, that's beautiful." Brennault beamed. He knew no more than the average man about runnerbeasts aside from what he had learned from Zavek, but he knew that the breeding was important. "I hope I can meet her soon." His smile turned to a grin at the thought of already planning their next meeting while they had just begun their present meeting. And at double meanings.
"You will," Zavek guaranteed. "I have a feeling I'll be in need of your services soon." There was a sly glint in his eyes.
Brennault's heart fluttered at the glint, and his grin broadened all the more. He had never known anyone to make his heart flutter quite like Zavek.
Marvel sent Brennault an image of him setting down a larger bag than a mere road pack down on a bed at Lavender Run, and Brennault blushed. If there were any way that could work, he might do it for a time. But moving in at the hold was not practical, especially not if he wanted to keep his choice billet at the Weyr.
He scratched Marvel's head and thought of himself returning to the hold time and again but always going back to the Weyr eventually. His grin never wavered.
"I look forward to meeting your needs. Is there anything you're looking forward to eating in the meantime? For... dessert?"
There was that look again in Zavek's eyes. "I was thinking of taking my dessert back and enjoying it in bed. What do you think?"
"It sounds delightful, sir," said Brennault. That look. He would do very nearly anything to see that look. And to be there for what happened next after Zavek made it. "If you'd like to retire to your room, I can make sure it's delivered exactly the way you like it."
Dabbing at his lips with his napkin, Zavek pushed his chair back and stood up. “I’ll see you shortly then.” He winked at Brennault before striding confidently through the dining area and up the stairs that led to the bedrooms.
Brennault wanted to rush after him right away, but he was not going to make it that obvious for anyone who might be watching. For the sake of appearances, he ordered a selection of fruit, dusted with sugar and drizzled with syrup— something that could be prepared quickly enough while being a believable dessert. And once it was finished, he carried it with him up the stairs to join Zavek.
Last updated on the September 4th 2023