I sat beside the lake, I liked it here, it was peaceful, calm, away from the bustle of camp. I inhaled and tried to meditate but no peace came.

“Do you mind?” I turned and saw General Martin. I shook my head. He sat with me. I was surprised.

“You meditate?” I asked. He shrugged.

“Not much since I lost the blessing, it isn’t as necessary. But I still enjoy it,” I smiled at him. “I don’t see my presence being soothing to you though?”

“Not if we can’t talk a bit,” I admitted. He nodded. “When you lost the blessing, why?”

“Well,” he sighed, “I failed in my mandate, to protect the balance.” He closed his eyes. “When your parents were killed, and your ascension put in question, that was the end.” He looked at me again. “As if Anton’s death wasn’t enough punishment, Cornan decided I was also to lose my mandate altogether.” The sadness in his voice wasn’t about the blessing.

“Were you in love with him?” I asked softly. He stopped and looked at me.

“With the god?” He tried. “No, serving a god is too complicated for that.” I laughed and he grinned. “With your father?” I nodded. “I don’t know, I thought so, sometimes. I certainly loved him, he was my closest friend,” he frowned, “and we loved the same woman, it was all very complicated.”

“My mother?” I said. He cocked his head.

“Marie?” He laughed. “No, no, John perhaps, but not me. She was far too quiet for me.” I looked at him.

“Olivia then,” I said, he smiled sadly. “I knew, I mean, I didn’t know, but I knew.” He smiled.

“That’s Marie,” he said softly, “god, she used to say that sort of thing every day. Everyone else thought she was insane because they didn’t know what it was like, that wave of understanding when you see something.” I took his hand.

“Did you Dream?” I whispered. He shook his head. “Tell me more about my father.” We glanced across the lake and I saw Marina sitting.

“No,” he said softly, “not tonight, that is. There is somewhere else you have to be.” I nodded and walked over to her. When our eyes met, I suddenly understood why she’d been so shy around me.

I Saw all of it. I Saw Tristan holding her and whispering that he wanted her. And she looked so afraid.

She’s afraid of everything, Athena had said. It’s irritating. 

But we finally talked. (Again, note from Reenie: This conversation already exists. It’s awesome, read it there!) It took a lot, but I’m happy to be friends with her, though there was a point that needed ironing out.

“Does your father want to go home?” I asked. Marina looked at me.

“He’ll be coming home, when we go back to Dovetail,” she said oddly. “Oh! You mean Brightcoast? I suppose he might, I believe they used to go in the summer, the whole court, we could go, Goddess, that will be work, I don’t believe anyone’s been in the manor or the summer palace in ten years.” I laughed. When she babbled she got a funny vacant look on her face.

“I meant Tumona actually,” I said softly. She turned away and swallowed.

“Phania isn’t home,” she whispered. “That’s what he’ll say, if you ask. But I think, somewhere, deep down, yes, he does. It’s not possible though, King Daniel barred him years ago.”

“It might be,” I said softly. She swallowed and we didn’t say anything else for a while.

“You said before that,” she sighed, “that you need me.” I looked at her. “You don’t.”

“I do,” I said, “I don’t know why you would ever think that I didn’t, or that anyone wouldn’t.” She looked away again.

“You don’t understand,” she said softly. “How could you? You had the world, and I had a dusty library and my father and no idea what the future was, or what it could be.” This I recognized. Fear felt foreign, but this was anger. Anger I know, anger, I have.

“No,” I said softly, “no I can’t understand that. I can only understand biting my tongue when I made a friend, never knowing when the axe would fall, and Aaron.” She nodded.

“I keep thinking about Athena,” she whispered. I laughed. “I didn’t know him, I didn’t think I wanted,” she rubbed her face. “I wanted to be rescued, and I didn’t know him, and Pantona and Brightcoast united.” I laughed harder then. “It isn’t funny.”

“It’s a little funny,” I grinned, “he kissed me once, when I was twelve, and when I asked him why, his answer was, ‘I think I’d be a pretty good king, don’t you.'” She giggled. “But you think like that too.”

“Like what?” She looked baffled.

“Politically,” I explained. “I don’t, I’m bad at it. Caleb tried to teach me, but it gives me a stomachache.” I thought of Prince Eric, and Phania and the goddess. But I wasn’t ready to tell her all of that yet. The sun started to go up.

“Lisette,” she said softly, “he loves you.” I swallowed.

“Can we not,” I sighed, “we can we not talk about him?” She looked at me. “I can’t, with you.”

“Alright,” she whispered and stood up and floated away. I went back to my tent as the sun started to rise and saw Tristan asleep in a chair. He woke up as I walked in.

“I was worried,” he said. I smiled and took his hand and lead him to bed. We kissed and undressed. “Lisette,” he mumbled.

“I love you,” I said. “Why were you worried?”

“When you’re out of my sight, I worry,” he whispered, “when you stay out all night, I think you may have died.” I smiled.

“I was with Marina,” I explained. He nodded.

“I should,” he started and I kissed him. “Lisette,” he pushed me away. I looked at him. “What did she tell you?”

“She didn’t,” I said, “she didn’t need to.” He looked afraid. They don’t understand. I realized. “We talked about a lot of things. But somethings we don’t need to.”

“Because of the damn blessing,” he said standing up. I swallowed. “Do you think that’s what it is?”

“What what is?” I asked. He looked at me.

“Rana is playing games with me,” he said softly. I sighed.

“Is that what you think?” I said. “That you love me because of the goddess? That you want her because of her?” He sighed and came back to me.

“No,” he said, “not really.” We kissed deeply. “I only know that when I’m with you, or not with you, there’s only you.” I smiled. He was lying, whether he knew it or not. “Lisette,” he mumbled.

“Tristan,” I whispered back to him. “Martin said your father was in love with my mother.” He laughed.

“I knew that,” he said, “my mother used to tease him about it.” I giggled. “Lisette, be honest, what are you afraid of here?”

“I’m not afraid,” I explained, “I keep thinking about my father.” He nodded. “He wasn’t afraid, and it killed him.” He kissed the top of my head.

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