Timena stood in her father's study, among his large collection of books and souvenirs from parts of his past. Above the fireplace hung a large family portrait, she scoffed at the sight of her parents and sister— they had all betrayed her in some way.
"Are we hiding?" Aldus' quiet intrusion startled her, before she immediately rolled her eyes.
"There's nowhere to hide, your brother has got me trapped."
He offered a smile of sympathy. "I am sorry Timena, truly I am. I've been speaking with him and as much as it isn't fair... it would be in the best interest of your country if you-"
"Oh I know all about that. I'm the mule that was traded away." A dry laugh escaped her lips shortly after and he chuckled alongside her.
Turning her around by her shoulders, Aldus looked at her seriously. "I know this isn't what you had imagined, but after speaking with my brother, he truly does want you. He may be overbearing and stubborn but his feelings for you are real. I'm not sure he wishes to tame you like I had initially thought, but he needs you to want him as badly as he seems to want you."
Timena sighed, multiple thoughts roaming around her mind. "I just, I had never even considered being with a man. I-"
"Oh, so women are on the table?" He cut her off, smirking as she pushed him away.
"Mmmm, maybe." She jokingly hinted. "But it has always been swords, arrows, jousting, armor. My father taught me things that he would have taught his son, and mother had Dela, so it wasn't an issue. Each parent had essentially gotten what they wanted."
"But did you get what you wanted?" He asked.
Timena moved to sit in one of her father's chairs. She began to think, she had shown an interest at a very early age and her father encouraged it. Her life from then on had consisted of daily training and sparring, she had loved every minute of it, the exhilaration she got from it was immeasurable. Maybe if her mother had encouraged her to get more involved with more princess-like activities, there was a possibility Timena might have been different or that her interests wouldn't have only been in weapons and sparring.
She shook her head with a small smile. "I like who I am because of my father and even in some ways, because of my mother. I'm very privileged to be able to walk around in these very clothes and not an uncomfortably tight dress, and I get to fight with a sword or an arrow and with my bare hands, in some other islands, you know that is unacceptable. My parents aren't perfect, but I could have had worse." Timena looked to the portrait with a little less hatred than she had had before.
"You are luckier than most, I do agree. Will you at least consider opening up to him some more, getting to know him as a person and not the wicked man everyone believes him to be. He isn't perfect, but he's not a monster like our father." Aldus smiled.
Timena considered the idea, maybe this was just one small thing that she needed to do for her people, to ensure their little island would continue to prosper. She could be angry with her father, but she couldn't deny that he didn't care for his country and the people in it. A king would make sacrifices for his people and do what was needed to secure their future, Timena wanted to be just like that, to be like her father.
"I will try, for my country and my people." She gave in finally but not without making herself clear. "But he cannot force me, I want to get to know his character before any more talk of marriage. He has to give me time, I need it."
He gave a smile of approval, bowing his head before leaving the study.
Continuing to look at the portrait, Timena thought about how things would begin to change. She would need to be more grown. No more sarcasm and being rude... maybe just no more being rude she thought to herself. Her people were more important than her disdain for King Silas, so she would do what was needed. She mentally repeated the words to herself in hopes that it would quell the nerves in her stomach, but it did little to sooth her.
"Timena, where have you been? You know that it is rude to ignore your mother don't you." Adelia trailed behind her eldest daughter.
Halting her steps at the bottom of the staircase, Timena looked to her mother's irritated face. "I will do what it is needed, for my people. Don't worry mother, I won't be selfish." She smiled with insincerity before going upstairs, leaving her mother to dwell on those parting words.
"I wondered when you'd come upstairs." Clara laid quite comfortably on the bed as Timena cursed under her breath.
"Get out of my bed."
Clara's snickered as she hopped off. "So mean."
"Now why are you here?" Timena asked angrily.
"Well I heard you've decided to give Silas a chance. I think that's noble of you Sadon." She smiled, genuinely.
"I've considered it."
"Well, I figured you deserve an explanation for what happened before?" Clara moved to sit on the window ledge.
"Oh, when you led me into a trap and left me there."
She sighed. "Yes, do you remember that story I told you of King Jarvis and that girl?" Timena nodded, Clara faced the window now.
"Could you possibly think, who that girl might have been?" Her voice was shaky as the question lingered in the air momentarily.
Slowly, Timena's posture straightened as she realized the truth. "It was, you? The girl was you." The shock was evident. "Silas is your son."
Clara got up quickly, running over to her. "I felt like I had to do right by him and lead him to you, I want so desperately for him to be happy. See, it wasn't until Jarvis passed away that I could finally see my son." She spoke through her tears.
"Please go." Timena replied simply. Everything had been pieced together by her explanation.
This is enough information for one night.
"Timena please. Just listen." She pleaded.
"Please just go Clara, just not now alright." She said sternly.
Understanding that time was needed, Clara nodded before slowly walking back over to the window. Opening it, she climbed up and eventually leaped out.
Quickly walking over to the open window, she peeked her head out. Clara was nowhere to be found.
As days went by Timena hadn't heard anything from Clara, but she could have sworn she had seen her in passing through the halls of the castle. It could have been a coincidence, maybe her mind playing tricks on her, but she doubted that was the case.
Everyone had appeared to be surprised when they noticed how polite Timena had been to Silas as of lately— the sly, cheeky remarks hadn't in any way receded, but it was a delightful progression for her parents to witness. She hadn't been fond of how well her new behavior was being received, but if she mentally repeated her mantra enough times, it dulled her annoyance.
"You're agreeing to marry him?" Samuel walked alongside her, his face filled with confusion.
She grunted. "It's... for the best. For the greater good remember." Samuel sighed, leading her towards the armory as they passed by guards.
Once they'd entered the large room that was heavily filled with dust and soot, Samuel walked over to the wall that held a multitude of weapons. Pulling a sword from the stand, he held it before Timena. She stood confused but took the blade from his open palms— it was even more beautiful than her current sword, it was intricately detailed and she could feel the strength that it possessed in her hold.
"Your father had it made for you months ago. He wanted you to have it as a birthday present but said it was alright if I showed it to you now." He said with a small smile.
Of course he did.
Timena wanted nothing more than to go out to the court and test the weapon with Samuel, but she didn't want to give her father any reason to think that she wasn't still angry or that she would easily forgive him. So with a disgruntled moan, she placed the sword back on the wall.
Samuel cackled at her, earning him a shove to the shoulder. "For a moment, I thought you might take it."
She glared at him. "Shut up." He laughed once more as they turned to leave the room.
It seemed that since Timena's attitude had changed, the guards surrounding her had become less and less. There were usually multiple men crowding her line of vision throughout the day, but it seemed that Silas may have been giving her more room to roam and for that she felt a bit of relief. Rounding a corner, her eyes met with Delacroix's before they quickly averted. She still couldn't look at her without feeling a tinge of anger.
"Timena wait, please." Delacroix's voice was filled with apprehension as she suddenly turned around to follow after her sister. "Can I speak to you please?"
Timena continued walking, not paying her any attention. However, Delacroix grabbed her arm, stopping her in her tracks. She shook her arm to free herself from her sister's grasp, but Delacroix was undeterred.
"Please Mena, I just want to talk to you." She pleaded.
"About what? About how you betrayed me, how you helped the enemy because of your own jealousy? I didn't ask for any of this Delacroix, you love to find fault with everyone but yourself. If you asked me, I'd say you are not fit to be a queen." Timena replied, tersely.
Her words had cut deep and stung, Delacroix's eyes appeared glassy, but she mentally shook the harsh words away.
"I deserve that, I shouldn't have done that to you. You've been the best, the best big sister and I... I betrayed you and for that I'm deeply sorry. I regret everything." A tear had escaped, she quickly wiped it away.
Timena's face faltered at the sight of her sister's sadness, but she immediately composed herself. "You can be sorry all you want, it changes nothing." Turning around, she left swiftly, not looking back at the sad girl crying in the middle of a large hallway.
Two fingers drew the bowstring back as far as the fiber would allow, with a short pause, they let go.
"That's eleven in a row, I am absolutely astounded." Aldus said, genuinely shocked.
Timena laughed. "Practice, years of it." She responded, walking over to the tree to collect her bows.
First finding out that Clara was the mother of the King of Calyx, then her father having a sword made for her which she wanted terribly but could not have and lastly Delacroix choosing to apologize for her betrayal soon after. It seemed that things kept piling on that Timena wasn't equipped to handle at the moment. She was taking her days one at a time and each new revelation didn't get any easier to comprehend, she exhaled loudly.
"Are you going to forgive her?" His voice came from behind her.
"That is the question. I don't know, I'm trying to focus on one thing at a time. My life is going to change drastically and that's what I'm most concerned with as of now."
Aldus' hand rested on her shoulder, he offered yet another smile of sympathy. "I suppose it doesn't help that your father and Silas have agreed on a ceremony to announce your engagement... tomorrow night."
That's probably why father decided to give me the sword today of all days. She shook her head in frustration.
Timena's heart sunk and she groaned angrily as Aldus scratched his head, not sure as how to comfort her.