The council was arguing about a seating arrangement for the fifth coronation ball. (Five! There are going to be balls five nights in a row after I’m crowned. We’ve had feasting and dancing almost every night since we got to Dovetail and I’m exhausted just thinking of it.) I’m distracted, earlier today we received word that King Daniel and Queen Elana were declining their invitation, as was Crown Prince Ranier of Rastan. (Ranier has been his father’s regent for the past three years, the King is quite old and ill.) I don’t know whether to be relieved or worried.
The border tribes and their leaders arrived yesterday. I’m looking forward to that feast. Prince Harran, the one closest my age visited us at Pantona once. We had a drinking contest and I beat him. Caleb and Olivia very much disapproved.
“Does Your Majesty have an opinion?” Duchess Norvine asked. I looked at her.
“No,” I said, “whatever you all think is best.” I walked outside to the balcony. I looked out over the courtyard. Marina had asked to be excused from council, I’d assumed to study, but I saw her walking hand in hand with William and smiled. I was glad for them.
“Your Majesty?” Tristan said. “Did you want to dismiss them?” I sighed. I nodded. He went back in and I suppose relayed the message, then he returned. “Is there anything you need?”
“I need you to stop acting like a toy soldier,” I snapped at him. He frowned. “You promised you know, and you’re breaking it.”
“That isn’t fair,” he said softly. “You’re the one who pointed out we needed to keep our distance,” I nodded. “I did promise to tell you the truth. So what truth telling do you need today?”
“I’m not talking about,” I sighed, “you said you’d stand by me.” He looked at me. “Tristan, please.”
“Lisette,” he whispered, I stepped towards him and we kissed. It felt good to be in his arms again.
“I’ve missed you,” I said. He smiled.
“I’ve missed you too,” he said. “But what’s the point?” I looked at him.
“I’ll figure it out, I will,” I whispered, “I just, need time.” He nodded.
“I was trying to give you time,” he said softly. I nodded. “Are you ready for tomorrow?” I laughed.
“Not remotely,” I said. He nodded and kissed me again. “I’ve been talking to Brayton.” He pulled back.
“You’ve what?” He said. “Lisette have you lost your mind?”
“No,” I said softly. “Listen, I needed to, I need to, there’s something he has to teach me.” He frowned. “I’m being careful.”
“If you say so,” he muttered, “I don’t like it.”
“It isn’t up to you,” I said. I looked back at the now empty council chamber. “I have to go.” He nodded. I walked out through the palace, and to the room where the crown was waiting. I took a deep breath and stared at it.
“Well, it’s nice isn’t it?” I jumped and turned around seeing the Goddess next to me. “My brother is so very showy.”
“I like it.” I nodded. She laughed. “Is there something you need, My Lady?” She reached out and stroked my face.
“No,” she said softly, “not in particular, I suppose I just wanted to see you.” I smiled. “I hope you don’t delay much longer my dear.” Then she was gone.
Well, what precisely am I supposed to do with that?