The Ritual

After Tristan and I made love I leaned against him. I was being selfish but I didn’t care. William had gone, Olivia and Aaron were going, Caleb was dead and it was unlikely that I would see Anselm again for a long time.

I would keep Tristan for as long as I could, or at least as long as either of us could stand it.

“We’ve done what we could to keep security inconspicious for tomorrow,” he said. “I don’t want you to make a spectacle going to the temple.” I nodded. “What will it be like?”

“I’ve never done the mourning ritual before,” I said softly, “Marina has, she taught me. We’re supposed to conjure a memory and project it into the water.” He nodded.

“What memory?” He kissed my head.

“I chose the first time we talked about who I am,” I said. “When he explained my duty.” I swallowed. “When he promised I could always be Lisette to him.”

“Oh, love,” he sighed and held me closer. “I hate this pain for you.” I smiled. “And he’s coming with you?”

“Yes,” I said quietly. “And Raymond. I haven’t spent much time with him, but Marina’s become quite attached.” Tristan nodded. “You could come.”

“I don’t think that’s wise,” he said softly, “we were raised to honor Cornan, you know that. He’s more jealous than his sister.” I laughed. “Are you falling in love with him?”

“No,” I whispered, “I don’t think so. Not like us,” he smiled and kissed me.

“I don’t think either of us should expect something like us again,” he said sadly.

“Olivia and Thomas had it,” I said softly. “With each other, and then her with Caleb and him with your uncle.” Tristan laughed.

“Martin and Uncle Trey may have loved each other but it wasn’t like this,” he said softly. “They hated one another by the end. I don’t think I’ll ever hate you.” I closed my eyes and lay my head on his chest. “Do you want to know my memory?” I laughed and nodded. “When we were inducted into the guard, and the resistance after that, I was shocked how large camp was. But I was even more shocked, that Athena and I were given full uniform, almost no one got them anymore.” I smiled. “But Count Caleb presented them to us, very simply. I never understood why, until I met you.” I smiled.

“You do look very nice in that uniform.” I grinned. He laughed and kissed me. “I miss him.”

“I know that,” he said. I nodded and we fell asleep. I eventually woke up, it wasn’t light out yet and I dressed quickly and ran down into the dungeon. The guards were surprised but didn’t stop me.

“Well, I wasn’t expecting this,” Brayton said, I couldn’t see him, he was slouched in a corner. “To what do I owe the honor this time.”

“I want you to tell me about Amina,” I said. He laughed. “I’m serious, do all who die pass to her?”

“No,” he said, “some linger, but you know this, you’ve felt Marie near you.”

“Yes,” I said, realizing he must have felt her sometimes too. “But if I haven’t felt someone…”

“Caleb of Pantona would never have lingered,” his voice was quiet, almost respectful, for Brayton. “Not practical, he could never have stood to not be of use.” I swallowed. “I liked him, you know, quite a bit. Even when we were young, he was,” he sighed, “friendly, I suppose is the word. I never suspected his treachery, his sheltering of you, he seemed too straightforward for it. I suppose I didn’t respect him enough, he was crafty.” I swallowed. “Amina is not unjust, Annalise. In fact she is infinitely just, which is why she demands a sword of her own.”

“What does that have to do with this?” I realized I was crying, I wiped my eyes.

“Caleb was a good man,” he said softly. “True to his heart and self, and honored his land and ancestors, humbly. Queen Amina would not punish him for this.” I illuminated the cell then and looked at him.

“Your shadows took him from me,” I said. “I don’t need your help.” He sighed.

“So you say, Cousin,” he said, “but my head remains attached nonetheless.” I sighed. “You perform Rana’s rememberence ritual tomorrow?” I nodded. “Is the memory a strong one?”

“Yes,” I whispered.

“Good then,” he said, “it’s a powerful ritual, I wish you well on it.” I looked at him. “I haven’t performed it since your mother.” I turned around and fled then. I couldn’t look at him anymore.

By the time I was back in the room, Tristan was gone, he’d left a note that he was arranging our escort and he would see me later. I smiled. Maybe this could work. There wasn’t a king in legend who didn’t have secret loves, why should I be held to a different standard?


Decisions are being made.


The Marina Chronicle

I walked down to the cottage where Anselm lives and he was at work in his kitchen, mixing something. I had brought him some herbs and things from the manor garden and greenhouse at his request.

“Glad you found time in your busy schedule,” he said, “I thought I might never see you.” I laughed. “Is everything there?”

“Yes,” I said softly. I poured myself a cup of tea. “Mastero,” I said.

“Lisette,” he answered not looking up.

“If, hypothetically, one didn’t want to get pregnant,” I muttered, “is there some sort of potion or charm that might, you know, help with that.”

“Low magic users swear by whip willow,” he said distractedly. “It’s never been tested in a university setting. One of Aaron’s ask you?”

“No,” I mumbled, “it doesn’t matter. In a tea?”

“Do you know of another way to administer a bark than a tea?” He said…

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What Is It?

That night I sat on my bed as Olivia combed out and braided my hair.

“The beef was good,” she said. I nodded. “Did you have a nice morning?”

“I think so,” I said, eyeing the violets now sitting on my vanity. She nodded. “The Dumanis train is in town.”

“Ah,” she said, “I imagine that diverted Tristan.” I twisted and looked at her. “Andrea or Brie?”

“Charlotte, Andrea’s daughter,” I said, “you know them?” I asked. She laughed.

“I was supposed to bring Charlotte out at court, if you can believe it,” she said, “of course things changed.” I nodded. “I would have asked about Trey but I know he’d never come here.”

“Anyway, then we went to the inn, and Tristan and William behaved very oddly,” I sighed as she turned my head back to continue braiding.

“I’d imagine they would,” she said, “William’s no fool, he can spot when he has a rival.” I looked at her. “Darling, you’re not that naive, you must have realized Tristan’s regard for you.”

“Well, I suppose,” I said, “but, William??” She laughed and turned my head again.

“He came to us last year and asked to marry you,” she said. I was speechless. “We obviously couldn’t say yes, but Caleb told him you were too young, and that we were certainly not going to make such a decision for you, and that he was free to continue your friendship and ask you in a few years.”

“William has been courting me?” I asked. She laughed. “He must think I’m dense.”

“I think he thinks you’re discreet,” she said, “and now I think he thinks that he has competition.” She finished my hair. “Besides which, it’s good practice for you. Once everything is settled you’ll only have more suitors, not fewer. Not to mention it can be fun.”

“It doesn’t seem fun,” I muttered. “I like William, we’re friends and Tristan,” I sighed. “How did you do it?”

“Rather poorly in retrospect but I thought I was brilliant,” she grinned. “You’ll do fine. You’ve never lead William on, and once he learns the truth he’ll back off.”

Author’s Note: A Shift In Perspective

Hi Everyone!

So, here’s the deal. I’ve reached kind of a plot standstill, and while I try to journal, look through old journals and saved documents, and untangle the bit of a knot I’ve tied, I didn’t want to stop playing in Cammadan and sharing it with you.

I have been here since I was 15, I do know all of the beginning and end points, I know where this is going, it’s the road along the way where I get fuzzy, and sometimes things take on their own life. For a clear example based on today’s post, Marina and Lefty were supposed to flirt a bunch to make Tristan jealous, but once I put them together they fell stubbornly and frustratingly in love.

Marina’s always had a way of not doing what I want her to do. Seriously, she began life as a vaguely sci-fi psychic character in a space opera (Think River Tam, or a Jedi feeling the force), but then she popped up with a massive crush on Tristan and an inferiority complex as big as all get out, and I knew where she finally belonged.  But, now there’s this mess, and I need to get it sorted because seriously, these two were not supposed to be together. For someone so mild mannered and passive Marina can be awfully frustrating.

ANYWAY, it did seem that Marina and Lefty sleeping together, Tristan leaving and Aaron and Athena setting a date was a logical breaking point, so, we’re going to do an experiment for the summer.

I’m going back to Year 1, but we’re seeing things from Annalise’s POV this time. This is in some ways easier (I know everything that happens! I wrote it already!) and harder (Marina’s a lot more like me, personally, than Annalise, so it’s tougher to get into her head!) so it should be a fun challenge. We’ll start by covering a time period I’ve always called “The Golden Summer,” that is, the months that the twins spend at Pantona.

I’m excited for y’all to get to know Lisette and Aaron a bit better, to take a slightly kinder view of Tristan (he’s still TOTALLY the worst, but he’s way LESS the worst to Lisette than he is to Marina) and just to have a ton of time to hang out with Athena.

See you next week!

The Eve of Battle

We’re outside of the city. Everything feels terribly still. We all know what’s coming next and I feel outside of myself.

I’m still barely speaking to my father. Not that he speaks much at all. I’ve been working with Elodie and the other healers to get the potions that we need in case people are hurt. General Martin doesn’t think that we’ll only be facing shadows this time.

Annalise’s silence is the most unnerving. She’s steely, and flinty, I don’t know what changed, but she’s not like she was.

“Marina?” Aaron walked in to my tent. I looked up at him. “She wants to see you.” I nodded and followed him. He looked almost somber. Or I suppose as close to it as he would ever get. “Are you alright?”

“Is she,” I swallowed, “is she better?” He shook his head. “Aaron,” I whispered. He took my hand and kissed it. “Don’t,” I cautioned.

“If I die tomorrow,” he said softly, “I want you to know that it was my great honor to have met you, and that it will be my greatest regret to not get to build that better world of ours.”

“You’re teasing me,” I said, “and I don’t like it.” He smiled.

“I can’t help myself,” he said. “I should find Athena.”

“You’ve made up then?” I asked. He smirked.

“Something about impending doom will do that,” he said. I entered Annalise’s tent. She was looking over maps and then glanced up at me.

“You summoned me?” I asked. She looked me in the eyes now. “You’re afraid?”

“Yes,” she managed to whisper. “Of course it doesn’t matter.” She swallowed. “Martin thinks you should be kept away from the city, I disagree. What do you think?”

“I’ve told you,” I whispered. “I’m not a fighter, and I’m not,” she nodded. “I’ll do as you say, of course. But I’d be more useful here, helping with the wounded.” She swallowed. “Is that all?”

“No,” she shook her head. “Are you and Tristan,” she sighed, “it’s silly, I feel ridiculous, with everything that’s about to happen, but if you two,” she swallowed.

“We aren’t,” I said. She looked at me. “He loves you, not me.” She nodded.

“The other night, when I found you, I thought,” she sighed, “and then you said you wanted to leave.”

“I should leave,” I said. “Brayton sent those shadows with Davis for me, Lisette. He won’t stop.”

“I’ll stop him,” she said.

“But maybe not in time,” I said. She looked at me. “You Saw me at his side.”

“And you Saw Dovetail in flames,” she said. “But look at it!”

“The battle hasn’t begun yet,” I argued. “I want to help you but I can’t, if he takes me, I can’t!” She swallowed. “Let me be useful, but let me stay behind.”

“Alright,” she said. “Stay behind, help the wounded, I understand.” I nodded. She hugged me then and it took me by surprise. “I love you,” she whispered, “and I don’t want to lose you.”

“We’re Chosen, Annalise,” I said softly. “You’re the Sword of The Goddess,” our foreheads were touching, “I don’t know what that means exactly, but I know it means we’re bound.”

“I suppose,” she said quietly. “You’ll be there at the end though?”

“I won’t leave,” I said. And I knew deep in my heart that I meant it, not just that I wouldn’t leave this battle, but that I wouldn’t leave her, not ever.