I marched into Tristan and Carolina’s tent and saw her sitting at a desk working on a letter while my brother sat cleaning his sword.

“Caro, I’m sorry to ask,” I said, she looked at me.

“Stay where you are,” Tristan said. Caro rolled her eyes.

“Honestly, the two of you,” she said. “Athena it’s none of your business.” I blinked at her. “I’m assuming you’re talking about whatever it was that happened this morning.”

“I well, yes,” I stuttered.

“Well, I’m tired as hell of talking about it,” she said. “We can all talk about it for five more years it won’t change anything,” Tristan walked over and put his arms around Carolina and kissed her gently. I realized I was seeing inside of something that I hadn’t before.

“I’m sorry,” I said softly. “But Tristan I do need to,” he glared at me.

“I’ll only be a moment,” Tristan said, and Caro sighed, “come on, Athena.” We walked out of the tent. “She’s right it’s none of your business.”

“I know that,” I said.

“It doesn’t affect you,” he shrugged, “it affects me, and Lisette. And Prior and Caro. But it has nothing to do with you.” I sighed. “I know you love me, I know you worry, but Thena, you can’t interfere in my marriage, it’s going poorly enough right now.”

“You’re right,” I sighed.

“I know I am,” he said. “Wait, what?”

“You asked to train Althea.” He nodded. “Why?”

“Because I want Calla to be safe,” he said. “And because then I could be home.”

“But what you do is important,” I said.

“What I do is important, but it’s not working and it’s what you’re supposed to do.” He shrugged. “Which is probably why it isn’t working. What’s gotten into you?” I exhaled.

“Harran has been helping,” I said. He nodded. “I’ve been doing nothing, and I couldn’t keep up with any of you today, and,” I exhaled, he smirked. “Don’t do that.”

“You think that you’re going to lose to Harran,” he said. I groaned. “And that is unacceptable.”

“Obviously,” I crossed my arms, “I lost to Annalise, she hasn’t beaten me ever. I nearly lost to Aaron last week, Tristan. Aaron.”

“Honestly, you have gotten sloppy, and he probably just let you win because he’s your husband and he loves you.” He said. I whacked him in the arm. “You want to train?” I nodded. “Just with me?”

“Martin is allowed too,” I said. He nodded and frowned. “And explain to Caro? I don’t want her thinking I’m trying to get involved in,” I gestured, “all of that. I’m on your side.” He nodded and hugged me.

“I know,” he said. “I’m sorry we jumped to conclusions. I should have assumed that it was actually all about you, it usually is.” I punched him again. “Lisette has gotten very good though. She’s always been fast, but she was like lightning today.”

“If she beats me again I’ll start taking it out on recruits,” I mumbled. My brother grinned at me.

“I have no doubt,” he said. “Good night Athena.” I sighed and returned to our tent and saw Aaron playing on the ground with Calla. She had two dolls, one dressed in a guard uniform and the other in a fine dress with a crown on.

“What have we here?” I asked bending down.

“Well,” Aaron smiled, “it seems that this guard and this princess are off to hunt shadows.”

“No, Papa,” Calla said, exasperated, “they’ve returned home from hunting shadows.” I laughed. “The Princess destroyed more of them and the guard is very put out.” I smiled. I wonder if the gods have made my daughter

“I see,” I nodded, “I think it may be time for you to go to sleep, Little One.” She yawned and nodded. I picked her up and lay her down on her cot next to the bed. “Do you like life at camp?”

“It’s very exciting,” she pondered. I nodded. “Mama, am I to live at Dovetail with Aunt Annalise now?”

“Where ever did you get that idea?” I asked tucking her in. “Of course you aren’t. You’ll be with us. Sometimes in Dovetail, and sometimes at Pantona, sometimes in camp like this.” She nodded.

“I only thought,” she said with another yawn, “as I’m her heir and the new baby.” I laughed.

“No Duck,” Aaron said sitting with her, “we are very proud of you for being so brave about become Aunt Annalise’s heir, but we’re a family, the three of us and the baby.” She nodded and snuggled in to fall asleep, her thumb in her mouth. Aaron looked at me and we walked inside.

“How is Tristan?” He asked. I looked at him.

“He agreed to help me train again,” I said softly. “What about him though?” Aaron followed my hands to my belly.

“Marina and Elodie said he was strong,” he said, “he ought to train too.” I laughed. “Have you thought of names? Do you want Alexander?” I sighed.

“No,” I said, “my father maybe? We don’t have another John.” He nodded.

“Alright then,” he said, “John it is.” I kissed him gently. “You know I want what you want.”

“I do,” I said softly. “I just wish I could decide what that was, right now.” He nodded and tightened the hug.


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