Disclaimers: These characters are mine.  Please don't take them or borrow them without permission.

Notes: Nacisse has a nightmare.  Iyasu worries over his place in the harem.



Restless Nights



A child's piercing scream shattered the silence of the night, rousing numerous inhabitants of the King's palace from their sleep.  
The first to burst into the wailing child's room was the guard stationed just outside of his door.

Dust was the guard's name and it was fitting if you looked at either his scales or his eyes.  Both were the color of ash, a pale
grey speckled with sparse flecks of a slightly darker shade.  A quick glance about the dark room assured him that no menace
lurked within.  There were no assassins waiting in the drawn curtains, only the cries of the frightened child.

He moved with a swift silence and bent to gather up the still sobbing boy.  Nacisse turned and clung to him, his tears flowing
forth freely as his little body quaked in a way Dust had never before seen.  He'd been in the King's army for most of his adult
life and though it hadn't been a long employment, he had never seen anyone quite so terrified before.  He was at a loss of what
to do.  Assuring to find a lost kitten, or braving his way through a bloody battle, he could do.  But he simply didn't know how
to handle a crying child.

Behind him, the once empty doorway was filled with a menagerie of figures.  Small children, roused by the harsh sounds were
rubbing their eyes and inquiring about Nacisse.  Concubines, concerned by the same sounds, scooped their own offspring up
and made way for the last two to enter.  The King himself, followed nervously by his newest consort, came into the room and
moved quickly toward the low bed.  If he remembered from the rumors, the youth's name was Iyasu.

"What has happened?" Cahir demanded, his cold eyes softening at the sight of the quivering child.  His hair, mussed by sleep
was in a tangled array around his head.  His concubine looked far worse though, as bruises had begun to darken small patches
of his skin here and there.  It didn't take a genius to know what, or who, had made those marks, and Dust spared a fleeting
glance at his King, briefly wondering how many times he had made the pale and interestingly colored consort scream in rapture.

"A nightmare, sire," Dust replied, quickly collecting his thoughts together before answering.  It wasn't proper to drool over
fantasies of his King ravishing his concubine.  Both were too far out of Dust's league.  He'd never have the opportunity to see
or touch either in such an intimate way.  He was only a guard after all.

Iyasu darted around Cahir at that.  "Oh, my!" he cried, dropping to the cushion across from Dust and holding his arms out
expectantly.

Dust looked to his King.  At the larger Naga's nod, he carefully shifted Nacisse's tiny body into the concubine's waiting arms.  
Nacisse didn't seem to notice he'd been moved.  He merely grappled around until his arms surrounded the slim Naga and wailed
all the more, hiccuping as his tears continued to spill.  His tiny fingers had found Iyasu's hair and fisted in the long crimson
locks.

Iyasu cradled the child tenderly and rocked him a little.  "Sshhhh!  There there, little one.  What has frightened you so?"

"They were gonna eat my eyes!  They had forks and everything!"  Nacisse sobbed and clung to Iyasu.  "They were killing my
parents and ... and I want my mommy!"

Dust looked to his King feeling lost at the situation.  Cahir was looking at the child with sorrow-filled eyes.

"I don't doubt it, little one."  Iyasu started rubbing Nacisse's back.  "I wish it were in my power to give you what you want."  
He looked up at Cahir and sighed.  "Come now.  It's late and you need to sleep."  He gracefully rose from the bed with Nacisse
cradled in his arms.  Nacisse calmed a little and looked between Iyasu and Cahir.

"Where are we going?"

Iyasu smiled gently.  "You're staying with us tonight, if the King allows it.  I know that children often need someone they trust
with them after a nightmare."

Cahir's voice was filled with paternal warmth.  "Of course he can stay with us tonight."  He reached over and ran a soothing
hand along the child's back.  "Is there anything you'd like to bring?"

Nacisse sniffled and settled more comfortable in Iyasu's hold before answering.  "Can Mr. Jingles come, too?"

As if answering his name, the little cat mewed and hopped off the cushions onto the floor and started following them.

Without seeming to lose his momentum, Cahir chuckled and scooped the cat up with one hand.  "Of course he may, and I
assure you of his safety."  He handed the small cat over to Nacisse who smiled timidly.  His doll was still held in the crook of
one tiny arm.

Dust swiftly moved and stood at attention when his King gestured to him.  Behind the great warrior king, the concubine stood,
his beautiful features darkened with worry and a hint of confusion.  He looked unsure of his place in the King's household.  It
wasn't Dust's first time seeing such an expression.  Many of Cahir's other concubines had looked the same in their first days
here.

"You are relieved for the evening, Dust," the King bade.  "Rest yourself.  In the morning you will report to me and we will
discuss the details of your new duties.  Perhaps you could recommend others to share in your tasks."

Dust pressed his fist to his chest and gave a shallow bow.  "Yes, my King."  He retreated to his own quarters, his mind turning
over the puzzle at hand.  Who among his peers could he trust to help him guard the King's precious treasure?



*****



Iyasu watched the departing guard warily.  He didn't know what to expect from the inhabitants of this castle.  In the days
following Cahir's most recent victory, he'd heard that Cahir was a fierce warrior, a brutal slayer of his enemies who would
likely take whatever it was he wanted including Iyasu's body.  These assumptions had already been proven inaccurate.  Despite
their first encounter, Cahir seemed kind and loving.  They hadn't had much time together, but when he was in the king's arms
he felt safe, a feeling he hadn't thought he would experience again for a long while.

Tiny fingers touched his cheek and Iyasu smiled as he looked down on the strangely colored child.  He had never seen such
shading.  A purely golden-hued tail, such pale skin and fair hair.  And the most startling blue eyes he had ever set sights on
before.  This was not Cahir's son.  From all he had heard, Cahir had no sons, but many daughters.  Perhaps this was the child
he had taken from his enemy.  Even in Iyasu's remote land, the story of the tyrant king and the abnormal child he had taken
possession of, was gossiped about across dinner tables.  It had been cheered when they had learned of the vile serpent's death.

However, many in Iyasu's land feared the strange child and the King who had saved him.  They also feared retribution from
Cahir for their trade pacts with the great warrior's fallen enemy.  Hence the decision of Iyasu's father to send him as a peace
offering.

He smiled at the little boy.  Iyasu didn't care about the rumors.  When he looked at the golden-scaled boy all that he saw was a
child.  Right now, that child needed support and comfort.

"Your name, what is it?"

The child blinked his bright blue eyes.  "I'm Nacisse."  He held up the kitten and then cuddled it close.  "This is Mr. Jingles.  
Mama gave him to me."

He brushed his hand along the child's back.  "I am Iyasu."

"Oh, I knew that already."  Nacisse shrugged.  "You're very nice and pretty."

Stunned, Iyasu could only blink at the little Naga for several seconds.  How was one supposed to react when they were told
they were already known by someone they had never met before?  Iyasu came from a small community in a remote village.  
His father was king, but there was only a few hundred under his reign.  Everyone knew everyone else.  But to be faced with a
complete stranger who knew of him, an outsider, it was slightly unsettling.

Cahir's large hand was lovingly placed on the child's head.  A smile curled his lips and Iyasu found himself blushing as a quiver
shook his frame.

"Nacisse inherits a gift of Sight from his bearer.  Do not fear if he seemed to know things that he should not."

Nacisse looked up at Iyasu, bright blue eyes worried.  "I scared you, didn't I?  I'm sorry.  Mama always told me to be careful.  
I'm sorry."  His little fingers continually stroked the kitten that he held, even as large tears formed in his beautiful eyes.

Iyasu hated to see the child so stricken.  "Not frightened, no.  It was startling though."  He smiled again, hoping to calm the
boy.  "Let's get you settled into bed.  It's late and you should be sleeping."

The child nodded.  He sniffled loudly and rubbed at his face with the back of his arm.  "Yeah.  I'm tired."  He snuggled closer
to Iyasu's chest, his eyes already drooping.

As they entered Cahir's suite, Iyasu ran his hand along the boy's spine.  "Tell me, what did your bearer do to help you get back
to sleep after a nightmare?"

Nacisse's tiny fingers fiddled with a stray lock of the concubine's hair.  "She sang me a special song."

Iyasu smiled.  He moved onto the soft cushion and reclined among the many pillows, wrapping his tail around the child's.  "Will
you teach me the song she sang?  Maybe I can sing it to you in the future."

The golden-hued child held his kitten close, his cheeks turning an adorable shade of pink as he started to softly sing.  The song
was as unfamiliar to Iyasu as this castle was.  It was a simple melody and Iyasu found it easy to pick it up.  He sang along
with the small child, running his hand through the boy's hair soothingly.

A peaceful smile was on Nacisse's lips.  He curled closer, nuzzling against Iyasu's chest.  "You'll make a good bearer," the child
murmured.  He was barely awake.  "Their tails are just like yours."

This confused Iyasu.  What did Nacisse mean by that?  "Who's?"

"Your daughters."

Iyasu would have made further inquiries, but Nacisse had already slipped off into slumber.  He wondered if this was a
prophetic vision or simply a child's dream.  Either way there was nothing that Iyasu could do about it now.  It was well past
the time for sleep.  He kissed the sweet child's head and brushed his hair again.

The bedding shifted as Cahir eased up behind him.  He tensed, fearing the larger male's presence.  The King wouldn't mate with
him now, would he?  Not with the child sleeping so close?  Despite his attempts not to, Iyasu found himself trembling.

"You fear me."  The Lord's deep voice reverberated through his body.  His hand touched the smaller adult's hip, his thumb idly
caressing iridescent scales.

"I am sorry, Lord Cahir."

The King hummed softly.  His thick tail surrounded both the concubine and the child cuddled up against him.  He could
probably crush the both of them with fairly little effort.  The power and strength of this male intimidated Iyasu.

"You have no reason to fear me," Cahir stated, his voice close to Iyasu's ear.

Iyasu didn't believe that for a moment.  He had been cast out of his own homeland and given as a peace offering to a
conquering monarch.  The scars covering his massive frame and his missing eye was proof enough that he was a fierce
warrior.  In comparison, Iyasu was a weak nothing.

Iyasu turned, casting his eyes meekly to stare at the king's shoulder.  "Forgive me, sire, but I have every reason to fear you.  
This land and everyone in it is strange and new to me.  And you are a fierce warrior, a conqueror."

"Time will prove to you that I am not a heartless tyrant, Iyasu.  You will be well cared for here.  All that I ask is that you obey
me and treat the others of my harem with respect."

Not knowing how to respond, Iyasu kept silent.  Cahir's knuckles grazed across Iyasu's cheek in a delicate caress.  His
expression was kind as he regarded his concubine.  Still, the gentle touches did little to ease Iyasu's worries.  He could only
hope that he wouldn't do something to anger the King.



The End