Watching Calla learn with Nika and Brea has been amazing. Seeing her take to their kind of magic is wildly interesting.
I’m still not sure about it. I’m trying to picture my daughter in black, and veiled. I’m not sure I can, but I love watching her face light up as she creates small flames, or sits with her hands to the sand and feels it’s energy run through her.
I’m grateful she doesn’t have to be afraid, that she has this but doesn’t have to bear our burdens, Annalise, Marina and mine, the dreams and confusion.
“Mama, look!” Calla called over to me holding a cactus blossom in her hand. I stood up and walked over to her. “Lady Nika showed me how to make it open.”
“Really?” I said. Nika smiled indulgently at me.
“Can you make it close Little One?” Nika said gently. Calla looked at the blossom and scrunched her face very hard, which made the petals close up. Calla gasped excitedly. “Well done, Calla.”
“That’s wonderful, dearest,” I said scooping her into my arms. She yawned.
“She’s a natural,” Nika smiled affectionately, “but I think that’s enough for today. This takes a lot of energy.”
“I can do more,” Calla said eagerly.
“Listen to Lady Nika,” I chastised her and she pouted. “Do you think I when I was small I took Grandpapa’s sword and fought everyday?”
“Yes,” she said. I laughed.
“Well, I did try, but I learned that I had to build up to something so big,” I said, “or else I’d get hurt. It’s going to be the same with your magic, hm?”
“I suppose so,” she sighed. “But it is very exciting.”
“Extremely exciting,” I said nudging my nose against hers. She giggled. “Thank you Nika.”
“Yes, thank you Lady Nika,” Calla repeated after me.
“It is my pleasure,” Nika smiled and accepted a kiss on the cheek. I carried her back to our tent and she fell asleep in my arms.
“Is everything alright here?” Marina asked as I approached.
“Someone overdid it in her magic lesson,” I whispered. She smiled. “She was making flowers bloom.”
“Oh,” Marina sighed softly, “I used to do that. In the courtyard gardens.” I smiled. “It does take a lot out of you.” I went in and lay her down. I walked around and found Tristan arguing with Elodie about where we should head next and she threw up her hands and marched away.
“Wow,” I said, “you’ve become so unpleasant even Elodie can’t take it. That’s got to be special.”
“Don’t start,” he snapped. I rolled my eyes.
“Fine,” I said, “stop pouting.”
“I’m not pouting!” He insisted. I raised my eyebrows. “I’m not, I just,” he exhaled. “She left.”
“Yes,” I nodded. “And you could have gone with her, but like every junction in your life you chose the path that suits you. That’s why we all have such little sympathy for you on it.”
“Excuse me?” He said. “The path that suits me?” I nodded. “What I want is never how things turn out!”
“No,” I said, “but we were in Pantona, and you chose to be with Annalise, even though you knew it was wrong. She chose you over Eric, just asking you to be patient and you went to Marina. Marina’s responsibilities meant you couldn’t hide anymore so you went to Dorin,”
“You came up with the idea of me going to Dorin!” He said, “you and Alex,” I sighed.
“No one kidnapped you, no one forced you,” I said. “Then you married Carolina and rather than stay with her you ran off exploring, no matter how unhappy it made her. Now she’s made a choice for herself, that’s really for Annalise, and you’re acting like the whole world conspired to make you unhappy. You could have gone with Caro, it would have been difficult, but we would have figured it out. Instead you chose to stay with us. The path that suits you.” He blinked at me.
“Oh,” he whispered.
“Yes, oh,” I said. “Honestly, your lack of self perception is becoming sad, Tristan.” He glared at me. “I’m only saying.” I stood up and walked away. I found Prior who was watering some of the horses. “He’s being an ass.”
“What else is new?” He grinned. I laughed. “When we hear from Caro he’ll settle down. That usually helps.” I nodded.
“Still, it’s irritating,” I sighed.
“I need to ask you something.” He looked at me,”Annalise has been Dreaming.”
“That’s normal, out here,” I said. “We’re close to the gods.” He nodded. “What about?”
“She won’t tell me,” he said. “I don’t want to push her, but it might help, and I don’t know how to broach it.” I frowned.
“You shouldn’t have told me, to begin with,” I said. “She’s very private about it.” He exhaled.
“I know,” he sighed. “It’s frightening, though, when it happens.” I looked at him. “I want to help her.”
“You do help her, Prior,” I said. “Just being there helps.” He looked down. “Aaron says that she used to scream for hours.”
“It doesn’t go on that long,” he said. I looked at him. “I love her, Athena.”
“I know that,” I said. “You still shouldn’t have told me.” He laughed. “Aaron thinks the two of you are being foolish.” He looked at me.
“And what do you think?” He asked. “Everyone knows you were Team Harran.”
“Yes, having Annalise married to my best friend would have been convenient,” I said. He laughed. “But you’re better for her.” I gripped the fence and stretched. “But after Eric and my brother,” he sighed. “You can’t ever leave her, Prior, you can’t even think about it. I don’t think she’d survive it again, not her heart, at least. And Annalise’s heart is the best part of her. She’s already so much colder and closed than she was when we first met her.” He nodded. “When she’s with you though, I see it, she’s full of light again.”
“Her aura?” He asked.
“Cornan no,” I shook my head, “mine doesn’t work like that. I just see it, she unclenches, she relaxes, her whole demeanor changes. You’re good for her, and I disagree with Tristan that she can only hurt you, like I said, I think if you leave her, it will break her.”
“I’m not going to leave her,” he said. I smiled sadly.
“Tristan said that,” I said, “and Eric. They both did. And losing my sister, my queen, Lisette,” I shrugged, “that would be hard enough, but losing The Sword? We’d all be doomed.” I looked at him. “So, don’t leave her, and don’t hurt her.” He smiled. “And don’t tell me things she wants kept private. I’d disembowel Aaron if he went to Annalise with my secrets.”
“Aren’t you glad to know?” He asked. “Even a little?” I shook my head.
“Yes, a little,” I said. It was useful to know she was Dreaming, since Marina noteably wasn’t, beyond her vision of Amina.