'Love Stinks' Short Story By Luke B
The tent opens and she emerges, my eyes cannot escape her glorious visage. As she glides
towards me I am thankful for already being knelt, for surely I do not have the strength in her
presence to stand. But any joy is quickly dispelled as Evora sails straight past me and to my
rival. She addresses him but I hear not what they say. Promises of wealth beyond her
dreams and the glory of the warrior family name, I imagine.
I despise the Kaylens, were I to recall all the woes their family have brought upon the world
I would die of old age and still would require children to conclude the effort.
He speaks and they both glance over to the meagre pile of pelts I have laid as tribute,
she stifles a giggle and a realisation begins to grow inside me that maybe I have already
lost. She looks back at him and smiles, they whisper in each others’ ears… such tenderness.
It was not meant to be this way, I thought I would have a chance, I lower my head. For a
moment of despair overcomes me.
I am Borage, Emeer, and champion of the Amaranth Territory, like my father before me and his before him. If there is
one thing I know, it’s when to give up the hunt…
I close my eyes and compose myself, my feelings and doubts, and focus; exhale slowly
to expunge them from me. But then a soft touch under my chin, I let out a small involuntary
grunt at the feel of her hand. My eyes open wide into hers. If anything I will hold onto this
moment, etched into my memory. Her exquisite scent reaches me and I am won: she may
never be mine but I will always be hers.
“So what do you offer for my hand Emeer of Amaranth?” Her eyes are locked onto mine, studying,
I see a gentle smile, perhaps there is a chance.
“I can offer little… but my heart.”
“You offer words?” She scoffs.
I gather my thoughts, breathe calmly, and puff my chest.
“I, Borage, Emeer, and champion of the Amaranth Territory, like my father before me and his before him, I offer you
She gently giggles, "Go on" she says quietly.
"I will hunt the beast 'Pheramond' and bring you his head as a trophy to honour you,” I
bellow proudly so my rival can hear, he looks flustered, she looks radiant, impressed even.
The hunt is back on.
Her eyes widen and I feel the grip of a delicate hand on my shoulder tighten, a murmur
begins amongst the crowd. To see the beast is to see death itself and in generations none
have survived an encounter. We learn from a young age in Amaranth that, if its scent is ever
caught, only to run, for it beguiles and bewitches. I see her breathing excite, she leans in
and whispers, her warm breath against my cheek.
“Go then, take the beast’s head and I will gladly take your heart.”
Five days have passed, my hand presses a poultice of yarrow tightly over a gash in my side. I have never
travelled so far into the forest, its creatures and plants have become twisted, dark and alien
I take my hand away, it is but small relief that the wound has stopped bleeding. The sky
darkens and I begin to prepare for camp. As I open my pack I catch something in the air.
I sniff again. It is a scent unknown to me, faint but, oh, so intoxicating. I have found my
quarry. I pull my mask over for I will not be bewitched like so many before. I am Borage, Emeer, and champion of the Amaranth Territory, there is no beast to which I am not equal. I sprint further into the forest and break out through a bank of trees into a
glade. It is so tranquil and untouched. In the middle is a small pool, its water radiant, almost
I step towards the pool and kneel down, I see tiny tracks. I lift my head and see a small
white (polar fox) puppy emerging from the other side of the glade, I pull down my mask to call to it and
my senses are gone. It waddles towards me yipping excitedly, and looking adorable. I drop my knife to greet it into
my arms, as it licks my face it overpowers me; the perfume of pure, unadulterated divine
joy. I hug him tightly and we fall, rolling, pure unbridled laughter erupts from my core, the like
of which I have never heard. I forget, all that matters is my new companion, this smell, this
feeling. It is hard to think, I must fight it.
I gather my thoughts, breathe calmly.
“I am.... Borage...champion of the Amaranth Territory…” It takes all my effort.
“Like my father before me... I will not fail my ques..."
“Who’s a good boy?!” My hand ruffles my new friend’s flanks.
I lie on the ground looking at the sky, everything is so perfect, everything is so still.
I am so still.
“Forgive me Evora.” It seems such a long time ago.
I lower my gaze to see my small companion playfully tearing, and ripping away at my stomach, beautiful
shades of scarlet, vermilion and ruby spray across his features ruining his snowy coat. I wipe
clean his little head, give a last pat and close my eyes, I feel the last beats of my heart, my
soul departs in pure rapture.