Of all the brothels in all the world, she had to be working in this one. I’d hoped I’d forget Asila. I’d certainly tried to drink enough to forget her and I’d travelled so far to get away from her. I’d become a legionnaire in the Kantish Empire’s foreign legion and marched of to wars so far from anything I’d ever known. I’d fought strange harsh desert tribes deep in the heart of the hottest country on the planet, I’d seen things that made me ever only want to forget, but still I could not forget Asila.
Now, here we both were, thousands of leagues from the village where we’d grown up, and a lifetime away from the hayloft in the barn that still filled my memories and my dreams.
Eventually, after I’d hung around the bar for long enough, turning down all the other girls, Asila came down the stairs. A drunk stumbled down after her.
Asila shook her long black hair free and ran a hand through the thick curls as she searched the brothel’s bar for the next likely mark.
Our eyes met and I saw the recognition. She turned, looked around then pulled herself up straighter and forced a smile on to her face.
‘Jenk,’ she said. ‘Truly it is a small world.’
‘Asila.’ I kissed the hand she held out to me in the tradition of this country.
‘You do remember me.’ She smiled, a genuine one this time.
‘I’ve never forgotten you.’
She looked into my eyes. Then nodded, taking a small step backwards.
‘Then why did you leave me, you bastard!’
Pain exploded in my balls as her knee drove home. I grabbed the bar to stop myself collapsing to the floor. My eyes squeezed tight as I bit my lip to stop the sound of the pain escaping.
Of course, when I – at last – opened my eyes, Asila was gone… again.