The Long Ride

I’m doing better riding this time, perhaps because I’m more used to it. Elodie says that it’s because I’m changed now, but I didn’t feel changed, not until today.

We were approaching a large glen, and Annalise decided it was as good a place as any to make camp. We’d only just started to settle in when they came.

It was like a storm, sudden darkness.

“You should get to safety, My Lady,” Elodie said, pulling her sword out. I nodded, but then realized it wasn’t safety that I need. I ran quickly to the center of camp, and saw the four of them.

Annalise, Aaron, Tristan and Athena standing back to back, slashing, stabbing, and shooting at the shadows. I inhaled deeply, and ran towards them. I had to help, I had to. Before I could get to them, two black guards were standing in front of me.

“I sense this one,” one of them hissed, “it’s the one we’ve orders for.” The other nodded, but as he went to grab me, something happened, I couldn’t explain it, but suddenly white light came forward and the guards were gone.

And not just the two that grabbed me, all of them. I looked around and the glen was clear. And then I swooned.

I woke up in the medical tent and saw Annalise standing over me. She was wiping me with a cool cloth.

“Elodie said this would help,” she whispered. I nodded.

“It does,” I said, “what happened?”

“I don’t know,” she shook her head, “but it was amazing. I didn’t know you could do that!” I nodded. I don’t know what I did. “Can you show me how to do that?”

“I’ve never done it before,” I admitted, “and I don’t know what it was, I just knew I had to get to you and then I was afraid.”

“It looked like battle magic,” Annalise said, “I mean, from what I’ve read about it’s descriptions. Queen Anessa, who I’m named for, they say she leveled mountains with hers.” I nodded and sat up, feeling dizzy.

“I don’t think it was that,” I said, “I’m not a warrior.” She nodded. “Is everyone alright, I should get to work.”

“Everyone is fine,” she said, “well, not everyone, Athena is rather agitated. Apparently the shadows were being marshalled by a Commander Davis. We have him prisoner now, and Martin isn’t letting her anywhere near him.”

“Goddess,” I mumbled, “yes that would agitate her.” Annalise doesn’t ask any further questions, I wonder if she needs to. I don’t know how deep she can see.

But since Warren Davis and Lady Athena were practically engaged last summer, until well, I don’t quite know what happened, but I do know that when it ended General Martin left Dovetail, so it must have had something to do with the resistance.

“Can you show me?” She said softly, after a few minutes. I blinked at her. “The thing you did with the light and the getting rid of the shadows. I understand,” she lay her hand over mine, “you’re not a fighter, you don’t want to, and that’s fine, but you need to show me then.” I swallowed.

“I don’t think that I can,” I whispered, “I’m sorry.” She nodded. “I’ll help, were people wounded? I can help with that.”

“There’s no need,” my father walked in then, he was followed by the count and countess. “Perhaps it’s time that we all spoke frankly.”

“Papa,” I said softly, “I didn’t know, honestly, and if I hurt anyone.”

“You didn’t hurt anyone, Lady Marina,” Countess Olivia said softly, “well, I don’t know if shadows feel pain, but, no one living was hurt.”

“If this is about the Sword,” Annalise started. Count Caleb shook his head, “Caleb, I know all about that, Anselm told me ages ago, and Marina thinks that she might even know why, and,”

“This is not about The Sword,” Papa said, “well, not directly.” Annalise looked at them. “There was an old term, one that few in these days know or understand, for what you are, Your Highness, and you, Marina.” He shook his head. “I didn’t believe any of it, even with Marie having the power she had or the prophecy at her birth. But well, then I met Thomas Martin.”

“Chosen,” I whispered. Countess Olivia looked very sad. They all looked at me. “We’re chosen, Annalise and I.”

“And Brayton, we think,” Count Caleb said. “You two by Rana, and him by Amina.” Annalise nodded. I’m dumbfounded. But it’s like she knew.

“It always comes down to those two,” she whispered, “in the old stories.” Caleb smiled softly at her. “Does this change anything?”

“Not for the moment,” Countess Olivia said. “It could though, it could change many things. The path of the chosen is never smooth.”

“Where is General Martin?” I asked. I thought of the moment I’d seen, when Cornan set him aside.

“We should leave you to rest,” Annalise said and stood up and they all followed her out the door.

“Papa,” I said, he turned and looked at me. “I want to talk to you.” He nodded and walked over and took the seat in Annalise’s chair. “How long have you known this?”

“I’ve never known anything,” he whispered. “I suspected.” I couldn’t even meet his eyes, I’ve never been so furious. “Rina, I,”

“How long have you suspected, then?” I managed to squeak out before tears. “When I was born? When Mama died? When I first started having the Dreams?” He swallowed. “How many times have you and Count Caleb and General Martin discussed this without me?”

“We were trying to protect you,” he said, “you’re a child.”

“I’m not,” I said, “not anymore. I haven’t been, and you wishing I was and pretending,” I was sobbing, so angry and upset. “No one taught me, I could have hurt everyone today because you kept this a secret.”

“I know,” he said softly. “Marina, but I wasn’t,” I shook my head and he got up and left.  I wept until I fell asleep again.


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