I stood in the weapons tent, looking over what I was going to carry when we started moving. The tent parted and Caleb walked in. I locked eyes with him and he frowned.
“I don’t like this,” he said simply.
“I don’t care,” I shrugged. He sighed, and I looked at him. “Why?”
“You’re being rash,” he explained. “You can’t act without thinking things through anymore. This isn’t a game.”
“I’m aware,” I said simply. He nodded. “I knew about being the sword.”
“I assumed Anselm told you,” he shrugged, “it wasn’t for me to know or tell.” I pressed my hands against the table. “You aren’t angry with me then?”
“Not for that, no,” I whispered. He frowned. “How could you keep us apart?” He nodded. “Caleb, we could have helped each other. I could have learned,” I stopped.
“We didn’t want to,” he said softly, I scoffed. “Little One, look at me,” I stared at him in the eyes. “After your parents died, and then after Anne, Brayton wouldn’t alllow Les and Marina to leave the capital. Hell, he barely let them leave the palace, they couldn’t even live in the house the Brightcoast family usually did in the city.” I frowned. “Is there anything else?”
“No,” I muttered, “still, though.” He shook his head.
“You’re determined to march?” He asked. I nodded.
“I’m tired of waiting.” I said simply, “I know you’d prefer my birthday.” He shrugged.
“It isn’t up to me,” he said. “You and Martin run the army, I go where you point.” I laughed.
“That won’t always be so,” I whispered. He frowned. “I’ll need you.”
“I’ll be there,” Caleb said softly, “but they’ll talk, you know. You don’t know court. They’ll say I run you. That can’t be.” I nodded. “Tell me Lisette, do you Dream, lately?”
“Yes,” I whispered. He nodded. “I see the Goddess, I see my parents, and,” I was quiet then. “It doesn’t matter, not right now.” He sighed. “Caleb, I swear, I’ll study every possible interpretation and legend around everything in every dream when we take the Capital, but I can’t focus on that now.”
“Alright,” he said. “Not Prince Eric then?” I frowned. “Will you send for him immediately, then?”
“I don’t think so,” I said, “I can’t, you’ve always said, I mean, the coronation, I suppose.” He shrugged. “Besides, not lately, anyway. Not for months.” He nodded.
“And the god?” He asked.
“No,” I whispered, “I’m chosen only of Rana, I think. Cornan needs another champion, but I don’t know who.” He nodded. “You don’t honor them.”
“No,” He admitted, “the gods are for others, my father taught me, those above us and below. We serve our family and our land, and that’s why we honor the ancestors and the soil.” I smiled. “You know this, you’re just being difficult little one.”
“Did you just come to provoke me and ask me about my dreams, then?” I asked. He shook his head.
“I’d like permission to send a healer to Davis,” he said. “He’s complaining of some ailment. I don’t see any sickness, but unless you want him to waste away.”
“Send Marina,” I said quietly. He nodded and bowed and left. He’s disappointed in me, and I know it. I’m being impatient and rash and he has to listen. I’m not Lisette, the orphan living under his roof anymore, and I think that will be as hard for him as it is for me.
“Your Highness,” Thomas said walking in after a few minutes. “You’re ready then?” I nodded. He rolled out a map and began to explain the last bits of the march to me. I smiled, knowingly. “There’s another thing.”
“Alright,” I said softly.
“When we enter the city,” he sighed, “there will be people, and there could be collateral damage.”
“I know,” I said, “but I don’t see how an evacuation could be managed.” He nodded. “You have a plan?”
“The Dumanis,” he explained. I wrinkled my brow.
“I won’t begin my rule in debt to Carland Dumanis,” I said. He smirked.
“Not Carland, but Trey might pass word along, if I asked him,” he said, “just whispers.”
“You would do that?” I asked. “It wouldn’t,” I sighed, “I know Thomas that,” he laughed.
“Years have cooled our parting, Highness,” he smiled. “Cool is the right term for it. And regardless of their father’s opinion, Tristan and Athena’s aunts and uncle have no love for Brayton. An oppressed populace is bad for bussiness.” I nodded.
“Alright then,” I said, that’s when Marina and Tristan burst in, Marina’s face a mask of fear, and Tristan flushed.