War and Despair

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Chapter 38

Tansy and Durazno walked through the field together. The smell of daisies and honeysuckle filled the air. A small cottage stood a few feet away.

“Are you sure you want to go talk to your mother?” Durazno asked her.

“Yes, Durazno. I can’t avoid her forever.” Tansy sighed.

“I’ll wait outside for you, then.” He said. Tansy smiled at him and entered the little cottage. Durazno pressed his ear against the wall.

“Thank you for coming, Tansy.” He heard the Hydromancer say. “I want to apologize to you. I should have thought of a better way. Or I should have taken you with me. It just seemed to hard. Have I ever told you about my childhood?”

“No.” Tansy said.

“When I was a young girl, slavers came to my town. They killed my father and enslaved my sister, my mother and me. My mother committed suicide by throwing herself off the slavers’ ship. My sister died of a fever a few days later. I was separated from the other villagers and sold to a magician that recognized my magic. I killed him, but still I wasn’t free. The previous Hydromancer forced me into an apprenticeship. After he died, I was forced to take his position as Hydromancer. As neglected my duties and traveled for a long time, using my magic to keep myself young. Then I met your father, who left as soon as I told him that I was pregnant.” The Hydromancer divulged.

“You never told me that.” Tansy whispered.

“It wasn’t something I wanted you to have to worry about.” The Hydromancer said. “Eventually, the effects of the spell that I had been using to keep myself young caught up, and this happened. I think that I was never good at staying anywhere after my childhood. My life was like I was always on the run, even when there was nothing to run from.”

“I forgive you, mother.” Tansy said. “I still don’t really understand, but I forgive you.”

There was a rustle of fabric as the two hugged. Durazno smiled slightly.

“Here, take this.” The Hydromancer said. “Call for me, and I always come. I promise.”

“Thank you, mother.” Tansy whispered. “Good bye.”

A few seconds later, Tansy stepped out the door. She gave him a radiant smile and took his hand. The two walked away together.

“That went surprisingly well.” She said.

“I heard your entire conversation.” Durazno said, smiling at her.

“It’s not polite to eavesdrop, you know.” She said with mock indignancy.

“What do we do now?” Durazno asked.

“I think we should travel.” Tansy said, smiling up at him.

The two walked away through the fields, the evening son smiling down on them.

“Long, long, ago, there was a girl called Natori. Natori was smart and brave and beautiful, but she was also curious. And that would be her downfall. Curiosity pushed her to discover things that were better left forgotten. Natori was possessed by a creature so powerful that he could never be defeated. His name was Jealousy. Jealousy gave Natori the little push that she needed to kill. Natori killed her parents, her sister and tried to kill her brother. But in the end, Natori’s memory fought off Jealousy long enough for her brother Aalen to kill her…” The deep earth whispered.

“What was Jealousy?” Ceridwen asked.

“That is something that even I don’t know, child.” The magma said. “I am sorry.”

“Was there a reason that Jealousy came?” Ceridwen asked.

“Jealousy wanted to devour.”

Marisindin hugged her parents goodbye and brother goodbye and climbed into the carriage beside Dacia and Elsanna. They talked and embroidered for the five-hour long carriage ride. By the end of the ride, Marisindin was sore and her fingers ached, but it was worth it to see Castle Aramore in the evening sunlight. Peterrin helped her out of the carriage, and they all walked through the huge wooden doors.

The entry hall was hung with rich tapestries and large windows allowed the evening sunlight to stream through the windows. They changed out of there traveling clothes and sat down to an enormous dinner. That night, Marisindin got into bed and slept soundly.

Eight months later…

Marisindin sat next to Peterrin, holding their newborn son on her lap. Her parents and brothers had arrived a couple of days ago and were mingling with Peterrin’s family. Her mother was talking to Elsanna at the far end of the table. Her father was laughing with one of Peterrin’s uncles a few seats down. Leo and Nanina were playing a hand game involving stacking one hand on top of the other and trying to get your hand on the top.

Peterrin clapped his hands and silence fell over the room.

“We have gathered here to celebrate the birth of our son, Aalen Drennan Carreg, heir to house Carreg, first of his name. I bid you all welcome!”

After dinner, they all moved into the great hall, where Marisindin moved her chair close to the fire and sang Drennan to sleep. She handed her son to her mother to hold. The queen rocked her grandson back and forth, humming softly.

“Can I hold him?” Leo asked softly.

“Yes.” Marisindin said, smiling. “Sit down.” Her mother passed Aalen to Leo, and Leo examined his tiny nephew’s face.

“He’s so small!” Leo said wonderingly.

“He’ll get bigger!” Marisindin laughed. “And when he does, I want you two to be best friends, okay, Leo?”

Leo nodded. “I think we will.” He said.

Ceridwen stood at the top of a moonlit hill.

“I know that you’re out there. And I know that you sent Despair. I don’t know what you are, but I will know. I command you to show yourself!” She cried.

“You don’t know what you’re doing, child.” Said a deep voice from behind her. Ceridwen whirled around but saw no one. “You know more than most, but you are still clueless about the universe.”

“What are you?” Ceridwen asked fearlessly. “Are you Jealousy?”

“Jealousy is gone.” The voice intoned. “I am Hate.”

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