Ziv sat, back to the cave wall, with a fire blazing the night air. He heaved a heavy sigh, his shoulders slumped as if carrying the weight of the world.
Crunching leaves spoke of his visitor’s arrival. “You look tired.”
Ziv looked up to his… Well Ziv didn’t know what Zoltan was to him. Enemy? Friend? Lover? “So do you.”
Zoltan sat next to him bringing him unneeded but welcome warmth. “Aye,” Zoltan said, “today we both lost many a man.”
“I feel like a traitor.” He reached for Zoltan’s hand. grasping it as if his life depended on it. “Being with you, here, like this, I am a traitor to my men, my country.”
Zoltan kissed the back of his hand. “No more than I.”
“We are Kings in a war not of our own.”
Zoltan hummed. “A war of our fathers passed on to their sons. We are a victim of our births.”
“I think not victims. If we were lesser than who we are we might not have ever met.” He leaned against Zoltan. His body relaxed for the first time since their last visit.
Zoltan hummed, his gaze faraway. “Tomorrow we are out of time. Either I make my move or you do and a major battle is either won or lost.”
Ziv stayed quiet for a moment because he knew Zoltan was right. “Tomorrow gifts no victory. Only loss.”
They lapsed into silence for what seemed an eternity but also the blink of an eye. “A marriage would unite our kingdoms. It’s the political way.” Zoltan pulled away to look Ziv in the eye. Ziv could linger in the wake of those green eyes for eternity. “Instead of war, let us marry.”
Ziv blinked. “What?” He supposed he could’ve said many things, colorful things, but none came to mind.
Zoltan smiled, it was a sad smile fit for a King who has seen too many of his men perish in battle. “Marry me, Ziv King of Zerra.”
“You wish to marry to unite our kingdoms?” Ziv’s chest constricted. Was that the only reason Zoltan wished to marry?
“No,” Zoltan kissed him, “I wish to marry the man I love. Our kingdoms uniting is a happy coincidence.”
Ziv smiled. “It is the political thing to do in order to stifle war.” Zoltan nodded in agreement. “But who’s castle shall we reside?”
Zoltan kisses him again. “Is that a yes?”
Zoltan smiled, this time it was bright and lit up his face with something Ziv might label as hope. “We shall reside in yours. It’s bigger.”
Ziv laughed sending the sound into the emptiness of the cave. “It is settled. The war is over.”
Zoltan gathered him in his arms. “Aye, it is over.”