The Sword Of The Goddess

Annalise and I sat talking pretty much until dawn. Once we were past the terribly heavy burden of the fact that she’d had a Dream of me as Brayton’s queen. (Just the thought of it makes me gag), and the Tristan mess, we were able to just talk, which was kind of amazing.

I like her. She’s funny and smart, and she’s a very good listener. I think all of this is going to make her a very good queen. I got back and found Papa sitting at his desk, asleep on his book. I smiled and slipped it out from under him. I glanced at what he was reading.

The sword is said to rise from the union of land of sea, Chosen by The Goddess and blessed by The God, The Sword will cut the strings that bind the wheel of fate and return the gods to the world.

Something about that seemed familiar, but I knew that I’d never heard it before. Except, I thought of the vision I’d seen when I’d sat with General Martin, he said something to Cornan about the sword, and about Annalise.

I couldn’t think anymore and collpased onto my cot. I slept and for the first time since coming to the Camp, I had a Dream.

It wasn’t like any Dream, I’d had before, I wasn’t someplace specific, at least not that I could identify, but there was a large wheel turning above me in the sky. It didn’t look like a wagon wheel, more like a spinning wheel, for making thread. Seated on either side were the God Cornan, and I realized a woman who could only be Rana.

She had dark skin, and black hair tied up in a blue scarf. She was dressed in a blue gown as well, and I wanted to call to her, to ask why she wasn’t with me. Then I noticed that the thread on the wheel was also binding her where she sat, and binding Cornan.

I glanced across the field in front of me and saw Annalise. She was holding the same sword that was at her hip in my first vision of her.

But that was when I realized, the sword itself didn’t matter. Annalise was the sword. I woke up and I wondered if she knew.

“Ah,” Papa walked in, “I was looking for that.” I nodded. “I see you’ve learned something.”

“Yes,” I whispered. “She’s the sword, it’s not a real sword.” He nodded. “How long have you known?”

“Longer than she’s been alive actually,” he said softly. I cocked my head to the side. “The night my sister was born there was a prophecy that she would bear the sword of the goddess. We didn’t know what it meant of course but, well, there it is.”

“Does she know?” I asked. He shrugged.

“I don’t know what Caleb and Anselm have told her and I don’t know what she’s Seen,” He admitted. “I do know that Marie found the prophecy frightening.”

“I can see why,” I mumbled. “When she takes her throne, is that when the threads will be cut?” He shrugged again.

“I’ve studied every prophecy about the sword, I’m still not sure what cutting the threads means.” He sighed. “This isn’t for you to worry about, Marina.”

He doesn’t understand, and I think it’s the first time that I see that. this is for me to worry about, this is why I’m here, this is what Annalise was talking about last night. This is why she needs me.

“I suppose not,” I said and got up. I slipped my blue uniform dress and white apron on and headed to the tent. Annalise was waiting for me. She looked concerned.

“You Saw it, didn’t you?” She whispered. I nodded. I knew she had Seen me as well. “I have to free them.”

“I know,” I said softly. She looked worried. “I don’t think you have to do it yet though.” She laughed without much joy.

“Oh, right,” she mumbled, “not yet. But someday I have to free the King and Queen of the Universe from some kind of bizarre spinning wheel based prison. After I reclaim my throne from the evil tyrant who orchestrated the murder of my parents.” Without thinking I pulled her close into a hug. “I don’t want any of this.”

“I know,” I whispered. “But what you said last night, about needing me.”  She looked at me and nodded. “Annalise, I think this is why you need me.” She sniffed back tears and wiped her eyes.

“I think so too,” she whispered.

By The Water, In The Moonlight

There’s a lake right near by the camp and after dinner (which we ate with the contingent from Pantona. Countess Olivia is very good at keeping things from being awkward. I ought to ask her to teach me.) After Annalise asked if we could walk and we wound up here. We were silent for a few minutes until she started moving bubbles of water around, by carefully waving her hands.

“That’s amazing,” I whispered.

“Parlor tricks,” she muttered, “I’m out of practice and I’ve never been any good at battle magic. I don’t know how I could ever beat a shadow, let alone an army of them.” She looked at me. “I’m going to need a lot of help.”

“I don’t know that I’ll be much help,” I said softly. She looked at me. “I’m not a fighter, and you have warriors, and the twins, and,” she laughed.

“Yes, I have plenty of warriors,” she said, “and I can fight well enough on my own, that isn’t what I need help with.”

“No?” I whispered. She shook her head. “What then?”

“Just, everything else,” she shrugged, “magic, and Dovetail. I know that if I,” she inhaled deeply, “when I’m crowned, I’ll need to deal not just with fighting a battle but with being a queen, with holding court and making decisions and all that.”

“And you think that I can help with that?” I scrunched my face. She cocked her head to the side.

“Tristan said that you know the court better than anyone,” she explained, “that everyone likes you and that you understand much more than you let on.” I looked at the lake and the full moon reflecting off of it.

“Did he talk about me much?” I hoped that my voice didn’t give anything away. She shook her head.

“Only when I asked,” she said softly. “To be fair he doesn’t talk much at all.” She looked out now. “I don’t want him between us, if it can helped.”

“He isn’t,” I said. When I think about it now, I think I might have been lying. She nodded. “He’s wrong though, I’m not terribly popular. The resistance thinks I’m a silly girl, my father is an eccentric who prefers his books to their company, and the courtiers laugh at me while Brayton leers.”

“Caleb told me that part,” her face was hard now, the face I knew from my Dreams, fierce, spoiling for a fight. “He said that Brayton hopes to marry you so that he can command Brightcoast. And he thinks that Caleb is indifferent, so he figures Pantona will come too, that’s most of Cammadan.” She looked down, and swallowed, “but it’s more than that.” I looked at her an nodded. As if something we’d both always known and yet never known passed between us. “He loved my mother. He wanted her, and she chose my father.”

“Everyone always talks about how I look like her,” I said. She nodded. “You too.” She nodded again. “What have you Seen?”

“You, I knew it was you, even though I didn’t,” she said, sounding embarrassed, but I knew what she meant, “but you were at his side.” I looked at her in horror.

“I’d never,” I whispered, “not in a thousand years.” Her face broke into the fierce, terrifying smile that I knew so well.

“Good then,” she said softly. “Because I need you on my side.” She stretched and stood up. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Lady Athena & The Viscount

This morning I was working at changing over the cots. It seems like every day people came in injured from skirmishes with the black guards. I like the work though. I especially needed it today. Elodie looked over at me.

“What’s she like?” She asked.

“I’m not sure yet,” I answered honestly, “I think she was trying to feel us out, to be honest. It’s like she knows in concept that we’re her family, but in practice,” I shrugged. She nodded and we looked up as the tent parted. Lady Athena walked in, wearing her green guard uniform dress.

“Hello Elodie,” she said, “Lady Marina.” I nodded at her. “Could I speak to you?” I nodded and we walked outside. “I know that we’ve never quite gotten along.”

“True,” I said softly.

“I wanted to thank you,” she said quickly, “for taking care of Martin, and also to tell you that my brother is an idiot, and he was writing to you all summer and he should have told you that he and Lisette were,” she frowned, “whatever they are. I told him to.” I smiled at her. “But he said that I was being ridiculous that it wasn’t like that between you two.”

“It isn’t,” I said, “I mean, not for him.”

“Hence, the idiot,” she grinned. I laughed. “Anyway, I, thank you.” I nodded. “It was an eventful summer.”

“So I understand,” I said softly. “You’re going to be a Countess?” She blushed.

“No,” she said, “I don’t think so. The General doesn’t approve, and Aaron hasn’t asked me or anything, it was just a few kisses.” I nodded. “I wanted you to know that I appreciated you helping, I don’t know what I’d have done if I’d lost him.”

“I know,” I said softly. “It wasn’t anything, really.” She nodded.

“I hope you don’t hold it against Lisette,” she softly, “she’s really amazing and she was so excited to meet you.”

“I wouldn’t,” I said, “I don’t hold it against him, even,” I looked away. “I know you always thought I was silly.”

“To be fair you often made yourself silly,” Lady Athena said, “but having done it a few times myself over the past few months, I’m more sympathetic now.” We sat down and she hugged her knees to her chest. My breath caught in my chest. She was just so impossibly beautiful, so was Tristan at that. It was incredible to think that either of these two people existed, let alone that both of them did. “I hated Aaron when we first arrived. I thought he was just awful, he’s a terrible flirt, and he makes the most terrible jokes at the worst moments.” She laughed. “But he loves her so much, and I think he loves me, but it’s awfully hard to get him to commit to it.”

“Goddess,” I stared at her, “you do sound like me.” She laughed and then we were quiet for a few minutes. “For what it’s worth, I never thought he felt the same way. It’s only he was writing, and I missed you both so much.”

“For what it’s worth,” she said quietly, “if he hadn’t met her, I think he was about to fall in love with you.”

That wasn’t worth much. But I keep thinking about what she said, he was about to fall in love with me.

“I should get back to work,” I said. She nodded and I headed back to the main camp, but I passed Princess Annalise and Viscount Aaron on a field, I think they were sparring but they stopped when they saw me.

“Good morning, Lady Marina,” the Viscount smiled at me. “Lisette say good morning.”

“Good morning,” Annalise smiled at me, “he’s only stopping because I was beating him.”

“You were only beating me because I was letting you,” he retorted. She rolled her eyes.

“Ignore him,” she said, “I wanted to talk to you, but I have to spend the day with the General.” She kissed Aaron on the cheek. “Tonight?”

“I suppose so,” I said.

“Be good,” she pointed at him and walked away. He shook his head.

“She was beating me,” he sighed, “she’s beaten me a lot lately. I don’t like it.” I smiled. “So,” he looked at me, “you’re the Duchess of Brightcoast.”

“I will be,” I said. “You’re the Viscount of Pantona,” he nodded. “In any other time in history we’d have know each other forever. And even in this one if weren’t,” I looked down, “your parents have always been very kind to me.”

“They are very kind people,” he said and we started walking. “You aren’t what we expected, you know, based on the twins.” He stopped. ‘They weren’t quite what we expected either.”

“Annalise isn’t what I expected either,” I said. He looked at me and smiled.

“No, she’s surprising to most people,” he laughed. “She didn’t even know she was a princess until she was seven. The first thing she did was tell me that I had to do everything she says.”

“Technically speaking I think we all do,” I said. He smiled.

“It’s been just the two of us for a long time,” he said, “this is a lot. Even when the twins came it was a lot. Our lives changed completely in a matter of weeks.”

“Your father seems to think she’s ready,” I said. He looked at me, and he looked serious for the first time I’d ever seen him.

“My father and I disagree about a lot of things,” he said, “that’s the main one.” He looked over at her, talking to General Martin. “She isn’t ready.”

Shatter

I didn’t know what I was expecting. It’s like I knew, but I’d been focusing so hard on not Seeing him, that I had to ignore the feeling.

Papa and Annalise, Lisette, she insisted that we call her that, she said it feels strange to have people call her Annalise, got along very well. She’s bright, like Count Caleb said, and smart. She does seem uneasy sometimes, but for the most part, I can see why he believes in her.

And I can see the other thing too.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Dovetail,” she said. “Did you always live there?”

“We lived at Brightcoast until my mother died,” I said. She nodded. “I was three, I don’t remember her much, but we went to Dovetail then.”

“I remember the day you came,” Tristan smiled warmly at me. I blushed. “I was all of five, but you were memorable.”

“I believe I cried anytime any one came near me,” I laughed. Annalise smiled. “You’ll like it though, and with Brayton gone, it will be even better.”

“I’ll miss Pantona,” she sighed.

“We all will,” Tristan smiled at her. “Athena most of all, I think.” Annalise laughed.

“She’ll go back soon enough, I suppose,” she said. I cocked my head at them, but Papa was grinning. “I think that Aaron will propose once things are settled with my coronation.”

“Caleb mentioned they’d formed an attachment,” he smiled. “I wonder if the General approves?”

“I think Athena is talking to him about it tonight,” Tristan said. “It’s a ways off though, if we can’t take the Capital.”

“I don’t see why we couldn’t,” Annalise said, “I was very impressed by the army, it’s a larger force than I thought.”

“Now that you’re here,” Tristan said, “I think they could take on every shadow in hell.” She laughed and that was when I realized. I think Tristan did too, because he cleared his throat and excused himself. Annalise was blushing.

“I suppose I’ve trespassed on your hospitality enough,” she said, “It was wonderful to finally meet you Uncle.” He smiled.

“And you my dear,” he said. “I think that things will go well for all of us.” She smiled and stood up, saying goodnight. Papa looked at me. “Marina, you’re quite pale.”

“I’m alright,” I said softly, “I think I’m going to go to bed.” I headed over to my tent. I lay down and closed my eyes tightly, because I didn’t want to cry.

They’re in love with each other, and I’m a fool.

Arrival

Time moves differently here than it did in Dovetail, and I’m grateful for it. I’m busy almost all day, helping Elodie and Master Cameron, who runs the medical tent. I’m learning loads about herbs and potions and basic spells to help heal wounds and banish infection.

“Low magic,” Elodie teases me, but it’s such a relief to feel useful for once. At Dovetail I used to walk the halls and grounds and listen to everyone chatter about things that I didn’t care about and really didn’t matter at all, but at camp it’s like everything has a purpose. Count Caleb left about a week after we arrived, explaining that it was time for him to go home.

I miss him, and I know my father does. He’s been restless lately, like he knew something was going to happen soon. Of course he was right, since today everything changed. Two scouts came running from the perimeter saying that six riders were coming, two of them dressed in guard uniforms. I swallowed. A few hours later it was clear what was happening.

The twins had returned, and with them were Count Caleb, his wife, Countess Olivia, and two others, a boy, who I could only assume was Viscount Aaron, he looked almost exactly like his father, with curly auburn hair, and a soft face, and blue eyes that seemed to be perpetually laughing, and a girl.

I knew her immediately, though unlike in my Dreams, my cousin Annalise didn’t look fierce and spoiling for a fight when I first saw her. She looked unsure, as if she was out of place and worried that she’d wandered into the wrong room.

“You should go,” Elodie said, as I stared at them approaching. I felt frozen, but nodded walking.

“Lady Marina!” The Countess exclaimed coming off of her horse. I smiled at her. I liked Countess Olivia, she’d always been kind to me. Her dark hair was tied back in a braid today. “I think you’ve grown.”

“I don’t think so, Your Grace,” I said softly. I tried to keep looking at her, but I kept staring at the Princess, who looked at me and smiled shyly.

“Perhaps not,” The count smiled and dismounted. Sir Tristan and Lady Athena joined him. I wanted to hug Tristan, but he kept his distance. “May I present my son, Viscount Aaron.”

“It’s a pleasure, Viscount,” I said, curtseying. He bowed and smirked.

“I believe it’s my pleasure,” he said taking my hand and kissing it. I saw Lady Athena roll her eyes, and Sir Tristan tense a bit.

“Aaron,” Annalise finally spoke up, “don’t flirt with her.” She dismounted. We were eye to eye, I don’t know why I thought she’d be taller than I am, but she might even be smaller.

“This is Princess Annalise, Lady Marina,” Lady Athena spoke up. “Lisette, may I present your cousin Lady Marina Sanpierre of Brightcoast.”

“I’m pleased to finally meet you,” Annalise said as I curtsied, “please don’t,” she wrinkled her nose and stood up again. “Tristan tells me that you’re a seer.”

“I have True Dreams,” I managed to squeak. We started walking. “Half the time I don’t even know what they mean until it’s already come to pass.”

“Oh,” she nodded, “I’ve found that too, it’s always helped when I talk about it with Anselm, though he’s awfully cross about the seeing.” She stretched, “goddess, I’m exhausted.”

“It’s a long ride,” I said, “I couldn’t sit properly for days after we arrived.” She laughed. “If you’re feeling up to it I’m sure my father would like it if you ate with us tonight.”

“I’d like that,” she said and took both of my hands, we’d reached the tent where the Count and Countess were staying, and I assumed, Princess Annalise as well. “We’re family, I hope we’ll be friends too.” I nodded and walked back to the tent. Papa was sitting pouring over a book.

“I invited the princess to eat with us,” I said.

“Oh she’s come then,” he said. I nodded. “Are you alright?” I nodded again and the tent flap parted. Sir Tristan was standing there. “Oh, Sir Tristan, it’s nice to see you.”

“It’s nice to see you Duke Lestat,” he said. He smiled at me. “I thought you might like to go for a walk.”

“I would.” I said and we went out. It was quiet, but he’s always quiet.

“I feel like I should thank you,” he said, “for taking care of General Martin.” I nodded. “He wrote us. Athena is yelling at him now.” I smiled.

“It wasn’t anything really,” I shook my head. He nodded. “I’m glad you’re back. I,” I swallowed. “I missed you.” He smiled at me and hugged me close.

“I missed you,” he said softly. “A lot changed over the past few months.” I smiled.

“I can’t wait to hear about it,” I said, “but I should get to the medical tent, I have patients.” He nodded. “Come to dinner, tonight. I’m sure The Princess won’t mind.” I smiled the whole walk to the tent.

He missed me. I could live on it.

A Letter!

I got a letter from Tristan (Sir Tristan) today! I’m supposed to leave for the resistance camp tomorrow, and I was packing, but then Carolina (the new maid. She’s quite nice. She still doesn’t talk much.) (I wonder if I’ll have a maid at the camp.) (Probably not.) brought the letter, I couldn’t finish.

I can’t believe that he actually wrote!

Lady Marina,

We’ve arrived in Pantona, and were quite surprised to learn that you were being told the same secret as we were. It’s astounding isn’t it? We also talked about how it might be true and how you would See her and now we know for sure.

Countess Olivia has told me I can’t say much more specific. But I think you will very much like our new friend, Lisette. She’s a farmer’s daughter who the Count and Countess adopted when her parents were killed during the rebellion. You also might like the Viscount Aaron. Athena doesn’t think much of him. 

The Countess says that we’re going to join you at the end of the summer, after Lisette’s birthday. She’ll be turning seventeen you see and many things are going to change.

I hope all is well and that you are able to write to me soon. Athena sends her best as well.

Your Friend,

Sir Tristan Dugarry

I had to paste it into the diary right away. Obviously, Lisette is my cousin, and I am happy to hear that they’re coming to the camp after Annalise turns seventeen. Anyway, I had to stop my packing to write back.

Sir Tristan,

I am eager to meet your friend Lisette, and I hope you tell her so! I will be quite happy to host you all at Brightcoast, where I am headed for the summer. My father thinks I will benefit from some time at home by the ocean. I haven’t been feeling terribly well, you see, because I haven’t be sleeping well.

Please send my best along to your sister and to the Countess and tell The Viscount that I look forward to making his acquaintance.

Yours,

Lady Marina Sanpierre

I feel so silly, but I’m just so grateful that he actually wrote. Carolina is back, and after taking the letter she’s said that Lord Brayton wishes to speak to me.

I don’t want to go, but I don’t think I can defy him completely.

I haven’t left yet. In my dreams, Annalise isn’t afraid of him or the fire. I shouldn’t be either.

A New Dream

I woke up this morning, covered in sweat. When the maid (another new one. I don’t know her name yet. She’s very quiet. My maids keep getting replaced. I think Lord Brayton is the cause, though I can’t be sure.) came in she wasn’t surprised. I suppose someone told her about my dreams.

This was a new one and it was terrifying. My True Dreams are always disconcerting. Whatever god or demon decided that seeing the future was in my fate also decided that I was not ever to see nice things, or things that made any kind of linear sense.

Instead I saw The Girl On The Horse, who I suppose I might as well call Princess Annalise now, we were no longer on the hill overlooking the city, now we were in the city, or what was once the city, it was engulfed in flames. Annalise was walking towards the palace, unafraid of the fire. I followed her, I didn’t have much of a choice, really, I go where the dream takes me, and she entered the grand hall of Dovetail palace. This was when I noticed that she wasn’t crowned as she’d been on the hill, she was still wearing that green velvet dress though, and she was still carrying the sword.

At the end of the great hall, Lord Brayton was sitting on the great throne, something, for all of his boldness, he’s not yet dared.

“Come to me, darling cousin,” he said. Brayton is also Annalise’s cousin, on her father’s side, “I’ve much to show you.” Then she made eye contact with me and smiled.

“I am coming,” she said, “you could tell him if you like.” That smile scares me almost as much as the burning city does. Like she’s looking forward to this fight, to any fight.

That was when I woke up, and the new maid helped me dress and then I walked out into the sitting room, where Papa was sitting.

“How did you sleep, love?” He asked. I sat down next to him, still glancing at the maid.

“Not as well as I’d like,” I said. He nodded. “I thought I might go to the market to see if I could find some herbs to make a sleeping tea.” He nodded, he dismissed the girl, which was nice.

“The same?” He asked me.

“No,” I shook my head, “no it was new.” When I told him about the dream he nodded. “Is that my fate, to be the go between?”

“I don’t think so,” he said, “but that’s part of why we want you to get away from here. The Sisters say that it’s possible Brayton’s energy is effecting your visions.” I nodded. “How would you feel about going to the resistance camp?”

“Won’t that draw suspicion?” I asked.

“If we told the truth, I suppose so,” he nodded. “I just assumed that we would lie.”

“Oh,” I nodded. “Well, yes, that would work. I suppose we could say I was going back to Brightcoast?”

“Just the thing,” Papa nodded. I smiled and spread my jam. “Perhaps next week?” I stopped.

“So soon?” I whispered. But I knew why. I’d grown thin, and I knew I looked pale. He nodded. “I suppose so.”

The Secret, The Truth

I don’t even know where to begin.

The twins have not even been gone six hours and it seems as though everything in my life has changed. First was dinner, which was awful, as usual, especially without Tristan there, because Lord Brayton was watching me.

Again.

It feels like he always is, and it gives me the shivers. Mercy Williams says that I should be flattered. Flattered? That he feels the need to undress me with his eyes every time I see him. Plus I’ve Seen the things he does. He’s done.

If my cousin is dead, it’s because of him.

If she’s alive, it’s likely she’ll have to fight him.

I don’t know which is worse.

After that, Papa said that he wanted to talk to me in his study. This is strange, normally after dinner, Papa and I sit in the parlor and I work on my embroidery, while he writes letters to home.

Our home is Brightcoast, it’s the largest Provenance in Cammadan. Well, technically, it’s mine, since it’s my mother’s family, and Papa isn’t even from Cammadan, but I’m only fifteen and legally can’t control the seat yet.

But tonight I went to his study, I was still wearing my navy blue dinner gown, with the green wheels embroidered on the hem. It was to represent my hope that Annalise would come back. Green is the color of the royal family and The Wheel is the symbol of the Goddess Rana, who they say Annalise is chosen by.

Papa wasn’t alone, which surprised me. He was with General Thomas Martin, the leader of the Resistance forces (The resistance fights Brayton’s secret army. I know very little about any of it), and Count Caleb of Pantona.

I was surprised to see Count Caleb, as his wife had left with the twins earlier in the day, and the two of then rarely travel separately.

“Sit down, Marina,” Papa said gently. I did so, and looked a three men. General Martin was by the fireplace, he’s taller than Papa, with broad shoulders, and dark hair, cropped short. He was wearing his green uniform. Count Caleb is even taller than the General, but he’s thinner, with grey streaking his auburn hair. “We thought it was time to speak to you about a few things.”

“Have I done something wrong?” I asked. The General smiled at me.

“No, Lady Marina,” he said softly. “On the contrary, according to your father, you’ve done very well.”

I didn’t know what that meant, but it was reassuring. Especially from the General, who, if Tristan and Athena (Sir Tristan and Lady Athena) are to be believed he doesn’t give out praise much.

“We wanted to speak to you about Princess Annalise,” Papa said. His eyes met mine. “I’ve told General Martin and Count Caleb about your dreams, my dear, and they think it’s time you knew the truth.”

“She is dead then?” I whispered.

“No,” The Count said, he was smiling too, and laughing a little. “No Lady Marina, Princess Annalise is not dead, she is in fact quite alive, and safe. She’s lived at Pantona these past fourteen years.” I swallowed and nodded.

“She’s coming soon, isn’t she?” I asked. The three men nodded and I sat back in the chair.

“We’d like to take the capital before she turns seventeen,” General Martin explained.

“And before that we want to move you from the capital,” Papa said. “It won’t be safe once Annalise shows herself.”

“But in the meantime?” I asked. This time I looked to the Count. He smiled softly at me.

“In the meantime,” he said, “you are to go on as you were.” I nodded. But for some reason all I could think about was the fact that Tristan was heading towards my cousin Annalise.

And for some reason that gave me a knot in my stomach.

Goodbye, Perhaps Forever

I was glad that Papa told me Tristan, Sir Tristan, (I must remember that we aren’t children anymore.) was leaving. He couldn’t tell me where, but I did want to say goodbye. He looked at me strangely, as I handed him the handkerchief.

“Just, something to remember me by,” I said. “And for luck.”

“I see,” he said, he was smiling, but I think he thought I was being silly. I suppose that I was. In the books that I read, brave knights going on quests always take a favor from a lady with them. Of course in those books the brave knight and the lady are in love, and Tristan is not in love with me. “That’s very kind of you.”

I was blushing, but then he kissed my hand. Honestly! I think I could have swooned.

“Do you know how long you’ll be gone?” I asked.

“As long as Countess Olivia needs us,” he said simply. “We’re escorting her home and then she said she had work for us.” Us. Of course he wasn’t going alone, his sister, his twin, Lady Athena would be with him. I blinked at him. “Have you Seen anything?”

“No,” I said quickly. Not about him. Not lately. But I had been spending an awful lot of time trying not to think about him. I couldn’t tell him what I had Seen either. Papa forbade me from telling anyone whenever my Dreams were about my cousin. He says that it’s too dangerous.

He’s probably right, unfortunately, but I could barely think with Tristan holding my hand like this.

“Please try to stay safe though,” I whispered. He nodded. “And to Lady Athena, too.”

“Of course,” he said.

That’s when Lady Athena came in. The twins are tall, and they have identical blond hair, although Athena’s is long, and Tristan’s falls just into his eyes. Those perfect green eyes, that they both also have. She insisted that it was time for them to leave. I bid them both farewell, but I kept thinking about Tristan.

He hadn’t been in my dreams of late, certainly not any of the Seeing kinds. Those were just the same one over and over again.

It’s her, she looks a lot like me, actually, the same lightly curly dark hair, and same brown skin, but her eyes aren’t at all alike, hers are grey, like stormclouds. She is sitting on a horse, with a sword at her side. She’s wearing a crown, well not a crown, the crown. The Crown of The Goddess. The view from the hill is clearly of Dovetail, the capital city, where I am.

She looks at me and smiles. It’s not a friendly smile, it’s fierce, like she’s relishing something.

I told Papa and he said that it was my cousin, Annalise, the true queen of Cammadan. It makes sense, Annalise has been missing my entire life. But she’ll be turning seventeen soon and that’s when she’d be crowned, if she’s alive.

I don’t know if she is, although if I’m dreaming about her, she must be, and she must be coming!