I woke with a start again, for the third of fourth time this week. Aaron was already awake and staring at me. I swallowed and rolled over rather than look him in the eyes. We’re leaving soon and we’re both deeply in denial over it.

“I wish you would tell me,” he said softly. “Are they just nightmares, Thena?”

“No,” I said softly. “I don’t think they are.” He was absolutely silent. He can be eerie, when he’s like this. “But I don’t think they’re seeing Dreams either, I don’t know what they are.” I felt his arms circle around me.

“Are you Chosen?” He whispered. I swallowed. I don’t want to be Chosen. The Chosen never get to live happy lives. They never get to come back to these kinds of moments, these days.

If I’m chosen I won’t come back to Pantona with Aaron and have his children, or well, anything.

“I don’t know,” I whimpered, “we thought, when I was little, maybe, but the signs stopped. They’ve only just come back.” I rolled over, and looked at him, ready to see the pity on his face, but there was only a gentle smile.

“It’s alright,” he said softly. I smiled and kissed him gently. “We don’t have to talk about it.” I nodded. “I’m interested in what the ride will be like. I can’t imagine my mother make camp.” I laughed at that.

“Countess Olivia is an excellent camper, Aaron,” I said. He smiled and kissed me again. “I love you.”

“I love you,” he said softly. I smiled and popped out of bed. “You don’t have to train this morning, you know?”

“I do though,” I said and kissed him again, getting dressed, I rushed out to the field, with my spear over my shoulder. I saw Lisette, dressed for travel. My heart caught in my chest. “Well then,” I walked over to her. “It’s today then?”

“Yes,” she said, “I don’t think we can put it off much more.” I hugged her tightly. “I’m excited, is that wrong?”

“No,” I said, “battle is exciting. It’s frightening too, and sad, but it is exciting.” She smiled. “You’ll do fine,” I explained. She smiled at me. “I suppose I’ll start packing.”

“Would you tell Aaron?” She asked. I frowned. I knew they were disagreeing about this. “He won’t be angry at you.”

“I won’t do this with every hard conversation,” I pointed to her with my spear. She giggled. “What does Tristan say?”

“Very little,” she said. “I think he’s nervous though.” I nodded. Tristan had a good deal to be nervous about. He would, at least in part, lose her in Dovetail. Our little Lisette wouldn’t be anymore. Not to mention even if she chose him, she’d have to at least entertain suitors, and I don’t see Tristan being particularly enthusiastic about sharing. “I want you at my side the whole time, Athena.”

“It would take quite a bit to make me leave you.” I said softly. She took my hands and squeezed them. She was going to do very well. She has a quality that makes you want to follow her, and she’ll need it.

The people at camp and in Dovetail are expecting a savior, I don’t know that the Goddess herself will fully satisfying them, but I think that Lisette might be able to unite them. She smiled again and then walked back inside. I swallowed and did something I hadn’t done since my father was buried.

I sat quietly on the ground and filled my fists with dirt. I took a second breath.

“Please, Cornan, Sir,” I whispered, “I am just a soldier, yours to command.”

“I have no command for you yet,” a male voice boomed in my mind, “when it is time, I will not make myself scarce.” I swallowed. “Continue to wield my sister’s Sword for now.”

“Yes sir,” I whispered. “As you speak to me now, is this,” the lump in my throat didn’t allow me to finish. A warm chuckle filled my mind.

“Yes, Athena, this is your home soil,” he said warmly. “Do not allow the blood of your mother’s side to pull you from this. You can claim Pantona.” I smiled and released my fist and then I collapsed.

The communing had taken more out of me than I expected. But I was also relieved. I came to in my room and Tristan was standing over me scowling.

“I don’t suppose you’re going to explain yourself?” He said. I frowned at him. “No of course not.”

“I passed out, I’m fine,” I said. He scoffed. “I spoke to the god.” He looked at me wide eyed. “Don’t say anything Tristan, I’m begging you, I still don’t know what it means.”

“Well, fine,” he said, “but you have to tell Martin as soon as we see him.” I nodded. “Does Aaron,”

“He knows I’ve been having odd dreams, but nothing else.” I explained. He sighed.

“Does he know about when we were little?” Tristan asked. “About the fire and the rage?”

“He knows I’ve had the dreams before,” I said. “I’ll tell him, don’t rush me!” He laughed at that.

“Alright,” he said, “I give, but seriously, I won’t keep this secret forever.” I nodded.


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