I swallowed seeing what looked like a city of tents swimming below us in the valley. I sighed, it all looked beautiful but so many people! I don’t think I’d ever seen so many people in one place.
“Goddess,” I whispered. Tristan looked at me.
“Courage Lisette,” Athena said, nudging me. “It won’t be. so bad.” I nodded and we rode a bit further along, before she inhaled sharply at the figure on horseback. “Martin!” She exclaimed and galloped.
“Well, that was inevitable,” Caleb sighed and we trotted up after her. “General.”
“Count,” The general said. I looked at him, and tried to make up my mind about him. He was a large man, handsome, in a way, and Athena looked, well, glowing. “Countess,” he said, nodding at Olivia. “Cornan’s sword,” he whispered as we locked eyes. “Your Highness, I’m at your disposal.”
“Thank you,” I said. I had a hundred questions for him. About my father, something in me knew he was the right person to tell me everything about my father. “I suppose we should.” He nodded and we rode on. I felt Aralla, my horse steady under me as we walked through the camp. We arrived on a center of the tents and I swallowed.
There she was beautiful, and dressed in a blue healer’s dress. Her eyes were wide and brown, and she was staring at me.
She’s darker than I am, but otherwise, we look very alike, and she’s small, so small. I feel in a daze, vaguely hearing everyone greet her as we dismount. She’s trying not to look at me, I can tell. Then I notice Aaron take her hand and kiss it. I see Tristan’s jaw tighten, and Athena rolls her eyes.
“Aaron,” I manage to say, “Don’t flirt with her!” He winks at me and I sigh loudly. Aaron being obnoxious has broken then spell.
“This is Princess Annalise, Lady Marina,” Athena said, “Lisette, may I present your cousin, Lady Marina Sanpierre of Brightcoast.” Then she curtsied, and we talked.
I was glad to talk to her, spilling out a thousand nervous questions. (A Note From Reenie: Read Marina’s POV on this to get this conversation, writing it again would be pretty boring!) We’re going to have dinner with her tonight, her and my uncle, I’m curious to meet him. And to hear about my mother.
I walked to a tent that Olivia was standing in front of. It looks quite large.
“Is this yours, Olivia?” I said. She laughed.
“No, love, it’s yours,” she said, parting the middle. I swallowed as I looked around. There was a large bed, several books and maps on a desk, and it’s all very grand looking. “You’ll have to get used to these sorts of things, I suppose. The trappings, your father used to call them.” I nodded, and sat on the bed. “Well, you’ve met her now.”
“Yes,” I said softly. “So I have.” I thought for a moment. “I think she’s as afraid of me as I am of her.” She laughed.
“Perhaps,” Olivia whispered. “Caleb will be with Les now,” Tristan walked into the tent now, “I should make sure Aaron isn’t making trouble.” I nodded and she left. Tristan came close and kissed me. I whimpered softly into him.
“I suppose I can’t just do that whenever I want now,” he said. I laughed. “Are you alright?”
“Yes,” I said, “I’m having dinner with my family.” He nodded.
“I know,” he said, “Marina invited me.” I smiled, that made the whole thing seem less fearsome. “Lisette, I, feel,” he looked down, “I know I told you,” I looked at him.
“What?” I asked softly. He ran his hands through my hair. I kissed him again. We fell back against the bed.
“I love you,” he muttered, “I suppose we have to be more careful now.” I giggled.
“You do at that,” we turned over to the door and so General Martin standing, smirking at us. “Captain.” Tristan leapt up and saluted.
“General,” he said, “Athena,”
“Has said her piece,” the general smiled, “you weren’t losing sleep over my condition, then?”
“No sir,” Tristan grinned back at him, “I imagine it would take a thousand shadows to defeat you. And my trust in Lady Marina is greater than my sister’s.”
“Good then,” Martin said, “Princess, if it’s convenient, I’d like a word.”
“Of course,” I mumbled, was I blushing? I felt all hot. “Sir Tristan you’re dismissed.” Tristan rushed out, “we were only,”
“No need,” Martin said and sat in the desk chair, “Tristan’s past due for some foolishness, and I imagine Anselm and Caleb have already lectured you.” I frowned, he wasn’t what I expected. “I wanted to give you a few things.” I nodded. He reached into the large leather bag he had with him and laid them out on the desk. I exhaled and walked over.
There were three things there, a sword, the hilt with a sparkling green jewel standing out, a necklace of pearls, surrounding a single blue stone, and a silver circlet, clearly meant to be worn on the crown.
“Goddess,” I whispered, running my fingers over the treasures. “These are mine?”
“Aye,” he grinned, “the sword was your father’s I made it for him myself, the circlet is older than dirt, I think, the heir is supposed to wear it in public, I stole it away from Dovetail when I fled last year. And the necklace was Marie’s, one of her things from Phania, from Tumona.” I nodded.
“Caleb says I shouldn’t flaunt the Phania connection,” I said. Martin snorted.
“You’re chosen, aren’t you?” Martin said. I nodded, “I doubt that Rana would appreciate you ignoring her blessing.” I giggled at that and lifted my hair off my neck as he fastened it. “You have your father’s eyes you know.” I turned and looked at him. “Exactly, I’d forgotten, the color.” Something came over me then, a feeling I’d never felt before, like someone, or something else was inside of me.
“Thomas,” I said quietly, “it’s alright, I’m home now.” He smiled softly at me.
“So you are, Princess,” he said, “I can rest now.” I nodded and he knelt, I leaned down and kissed his forehead gently. “Thank you.” I smiled at him. I knew him, in that moment, this man, who’d been beloved of my father.
“Rise then, and show me my army,” I said. He stood up. I fastened the sword around my waist and place the circlet on my brow.
I was a lost princess, no more.