The Reluctant Prince

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Epilogue

EPILOGUE

Jet woke to light fingers of wind dancing over his cheeks almost like a caress. He glanced across to where Doll rocked their newborn son in the early morning light. It wasn’t her. It wasn’t the baby, either. When Doll had conceived, they’d felt the new life, a piece of them both, within her. The child carried her fire, and Jet’s wind and water as his major elements, though that was not the sum of him. No, not nearly the sum of him.

A small gust of wind pushed against Jet. Laughing softly, he let himself turn to wind and wound himself within the elemental who had come to greet him with the sun. This wind was a free elemental, as opposed to an Elemental like he and Doll were. Lately, the free elementals had been coming around more and more often. Ever since their son had been born. That was telling. Young Attan, as they’d named him in honor of the land that was all of them, was more than Elemental. He had been an elemental before he ever took physical form and so he was a new kind of being, the future of Attania, perhaps. Jet didn’t like to put labels on him, however. Attan would be what he would be, as would they all.

Jet slid through the gaps in the doorway with the wind who had called him, to Doll’s indulgent smile. Their child suckled at her breast, happy for the moment in the physical joy of feeding. Above Jet, the Mattick flowed sedately, dotted here and there with fishing vessels. The bridge that joined the Family and non-family sections of Low City loomed in front of him. Far in the distance, Jet was aware of their house, the presences of his wife and son a shining beacon to the core of him. Merrell knew about the little house on the non-family side of the river, yet he pretended he didn’t. Jet had wanted it as a refuge for his new family, where he didn’t have to be King and could just be. It was the closest, in physical terms, of transforming to his natural state.

The free elemental wind flowed through him, and Jet briefly wondered if it was the same one he’d known as a small boy, the one who’d changed his life, but then he dismissed that thought. Of course it was. Wind was wind. It just was. It was only Jet’s consciousness, his human consciousness, which made him think otherwise. By that reasoning, the wind which surrounded him now, which was a part of him now, was also his father, and Aylard. He felt approval through the link.

The future loomed ahead of him. Jet was King, and he was also a husband and a father and—just Jet. Right now, though, he just was, a part of Attania as was everything else around him. It was good just to be.

THE END


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