Riven enjoys riding dragon-back through the Alfean skies. It is the closest he has to his female counterparts, the Faeries, to flying through the skies on brilliantly coloured wings. He often feels envious of them for their unique gift of wings but riding the back of such a powerful beast also makes him feel powerful. Today, he sought his favourite spot far from Red Fountain and the rest of the civilized world there to be where he could be alone to pace, to talk to himself and even to scream to the heavens if he so felt. But loneliness is a poor companion so this time he brought along Timmy a lanky and geeky fellow with a voice that perfectly matches his lanky and geeky looks his only remaining friend out of the group he used to hang out with at Red Fountain whom he knows he can confide in secure in the knowledge that any secrets shared would remain secret.
“I’m really not the one you should be asking for advice on women,” says Timmy to Riven, while staring at his toes and shuffling his feet. “Heck, I am lucky to have scored with Tecna. It is only because we have so many interests in common that we have been drawn to each other and, so far, remain together as a couple. I’m really no Prince Charming nor am I a ladies’ man. You should maybe make contact with Sky and ask his advice.”
“Sky?” hisses Riven angrily. “After what he did to Bloom he’d be the last I would ever seek out for advice.”
“Well, he was in a tough situation like the one you find yourself in,” replies Timmy.
“What tough situation?” snarls Riven nastily. “He knew fair well that he was betrothed and bound by princely honour to marry Princess Diaspro yet he allowed Bloom to fall deeply in love with him and he encouraged her to do so with what he knew to be false promises of marriage only to leave her cold and broken-hearted. Okay, I admit to being a hothead and allowing my temper to cloud my judgement at times but I have never set out to deliberately hurt someone the way he did so let’s have no more talk of Sky.”
“As you wish,” sighs Timmy, once again silent for a long moment but obviously crunching Riven’s situation in his head. Finally, he looks up at Riven and asks, “Whom between them do you feel you truly love?”
“Darcy,” replies Riven with barely a moment of hesitation. “She, at least, understands me and I can be myself about her and not fear that she will always be trying to change me as Musa does.”
“And you have already approached her with the suggestion of adoption?” asks Timmy for confirmation.
“Yes, and all I got for my effort is a long and angry hissy-fit. I tell you, Timmy, all Darcy seems to be interested in is bringing forth a child of her own flesh and it has crossed my mind several times that that is the only reason she keeps me around despite her profession of love for me,” sighs Riven, his forehead wrinkled with frustration.
“Then, in my honest opinion,” replies Timmy, “an agreement that will be acceptable to you, Darcy and your step-father is something that will never be, so, let it go. And what about Musa? Do you have any real feelings for her?”
“I love her too,” admits Riven. “Marrying her would be the easy way out but I seriously doubt that she would last for long on Daingneach. I fear she would soon die there.”
“I think you’re selling Musa way short, Riven,” says Timmy. “My observations of her convince me that she’s way tougher than you believe. After all, look at all she’s faced: The Trix, Lord Darker and that Baltor guy and some other guy whose name I can’t be sure of but I think is Riven or something like that. Maybe it’s those on Daingneach who should be in fear of her,” he grins and both he and Riven laugh.
Again there is a long pause as Timmy seems to be lost in thought once more. “Can you go through the terms of the decree again for me,” he asks Riven.
“It’s simple enough,” replies Riven then quotes the whole decree verbatim by hearts.
“There’s a way out of this so you may marry Musa,” says Timmy.
“How so?” asks Riven, his expression hopeful.
“The decree says that you have to be married within the year to a woman who can give you an heir. Now, unless there is another decree or agreement that binds you to living on Daingneach, all you are obliged to do is go there for the brief time required to have the wedding ceremony and then you can go with her and live anywhere you two want,” explains Timmy. “Just call it an extremely long honeymoon. Maybe you can go to her home in the Harmonic Nebula and there find out if you are man enough to face the music,” he grins and ducks as Riven scowls at him and takes a mock swing at his jaw.
“But when I ascend to the throne,” observes Riven, “I cannot be an absentee monarch. I will have to spend the majority of my time on Daingneach and I would like to have my queen by my side which means that Musa will also have to live on Daingneach.”
“True,” says Timmy, “but then you’ll be King of Daingneach and the one with the power to make any changes and accommodations for Musa that you and she deem are necessary.”
“Timmy, you’re a genius!” exclaims Riven, wrapping a brotherly arm about his shoulders and mussing his hair with his knuckles.
“Hey, I do my best,” replies Timmy.
“Now, I have to break the news to Darcy and try to let her down as gently as I can,” says Riven, “and then deal with Alessandra as well.”
“By the Tree!” exclaims Timmy. “Another Witch? What is with you and your penchant for wicked women?”
“Alessandra is not wicked, Timmy,” says Riven somewhat gruffly. “She has changed a lot to which the Goddess gives testimony by her blessings upon her of Charmix and Enchantix powers. She has come a long way since she was known as ‘Loser Lucy’ to the Trix. And don’t ever breathe a word about her new identity to anyone because Darcy would kill her if she ever discovers who Alessandra really is. As far as the Trix know, Lucy graduated a year ago and went back to her home world.”
“Mum’s the word,” promises Timmy, “but what is the relationship between you and Alessandra?”
“There is really none beyond friendship on my part but I fear that she has strong feelings for me and aspires to be my wife,” replies Riven.
“Deeper and deeper,” says Timmy. “Next you will be telling me that you are involved with Stormy too.”
“What makes you think that?” asks Riven, surprised.
“Come on, Riven,” says Timmy. “I may be a techno-geek but I’m not blind or stupid. I’ve noticed how you have been admiring Stormy’s keel-side and gawking at her legs when you think no one sees.”
“It’s really that obvious?” asks Riven and Timmy nods in affirmation.
“Maybe you should thank your lucky stars,” continues Timmy, “that you didn’t fall for her rather than for Darcy. At least Darcy can see reason.”
“Yes, I guess I should be,” says Riven, “or else I would be Riven crisps by now.”