The sword swung around in the air as Timena practiced alone in the armory. She still could not let herself accept the blade her father had given her, but that did not mean she couldn't play with it.
"I am here, I was a bit busy before Sadon. My apologies." Clara stood in the corner against the wall.
The sword clumsily fell from Timena's hands at the sudden intrusion. "Could you perhaps, not sneak up on me like that." She yelled in frustration.
Clara smiled awkwardly in her direction. "Sorry."
"Where were you? I was looking for you a while ago."
"I cannot be here all the time, I have things to do you know." Clara placed her hands to her lips.
"Sure you do." Timena said in a patronizing voice. "I spoke with Silas' brother Aldus, and I found out some things."
Clara walked over, hurriedly. "What is it?"
"Well, apparently Silas and Aldus know their only half-brothers. Aldus found his mother, but obviously Silas never found his. He searched for you, but he never found anything."
"He looked for me?" Clara asked, her voice filled with hope.
"Yes, and he knows what you look like. He has a drawing of you, according to Aldus. This means he can't necessarily deny that you are in fact, his mother." Timena said, with a smile.
"I could see my son, I could meet him face to face." Her brows furrowed at the thought.
"You're happy about this right?"
"Of course, my stomach is just in knots. There is now a whole new possibility where he could not deny that I'm his mother because he has this supposed drawing of me. He could also still deny it of course." Clara laughed nervously.
"Don't fret. Think positively?" Timena felt as though these situations weren't exactly her strong suit.
For the next few days Timena found herself avoiding Silas at every turn. It felt easier to pretend as though their recent indiscretion had never happened if she couldn't see him, but the more her mind wandered back to that moment, the more she did want to see him. Yet another first that Silas had stolen.
"So this drawing, you're certain Silas still has it?" Timena asked curiously.
"Uh, I believe so. I've only seen it a handful of times. He was always very protective of it and rightfully so, it's the only thing he has of her." Aldus answered before pulling his bow back tightly and letting go. "Shit." He cursed through his teeth as the arrow missed the target.
She snickered. "Let me show you how it's done my dear friend." She pushed passed him playfully before positioning her bow and arrow.
Her eyes locked on the target and fingers ready to release, Timena exhaled deeply then let go. She smiled triumphantly as the arrow landed in the center of the target.
"Show off." He grunted.
"You wanted to go against me." She defended herself as they began to walk off the court.
"So how are you feeling about your wedding?"
Timena groaned. "Does that answer your question?" They laughed lightly. "I don't know, I just keep waking up thinking it's a nightmare, but that isn't the case."
"I have to be honest with you Mena. Wanting you has been the objective from the time we were children— what started out as a small crush, grew into more. My brother isn't a very emotional man, as you can clearly tell, but when he wants something you can be certain that he'll get it." Aldus admitted, sitting on a nearby chair.
"So I hear. How long has he, fancied me?" She rolled her eyes.
"Since we were all children, and your father could tell before anyone else, that's why he tried to keep you two apart. He was right to do it, but clearly his efforts were useless." He laughed dryly.
"Has he been with many women?" Timena felt regret as soon as the words had left her lips.
"He's usually very discreet with the women he chooses, and never in the bed that he sleeps." Aldus looked to her curiously. "Why? Are you considering one day-"
"I'm going to stop you right there." She put her hand up, ignoring his question as she went back inside the castle.
"What are you thinking for flowers dear? Roses, lilies, tulips?" Adelia gasped. "Better yet, maybe even all three." Timena's body sank further into the seat.
"You need to choose something Timena, it's your wedding."
She gave her mother a warning glare, as if to say, 'don't you dare'. "I don't care mother."
As the days passed by, Timena had been brought in constantly for more measurements of her waist, her breasts and even her head. It was a tedious process of being poked and prodded almost too often and she didn't know how much more of this she could take.
"Silas said he doesn't want the ceremony to be too large, which is disappointing, but we won't argue. We also won't be adding much to your face either. He requested, well demanded that we not touch it. We'll just add minor things though, nothing too noticeable." Adelia added. "Other than that, everything else is up to you."
It was... thoughtful almost, of him to take into consideration that she didn't desire a large ceremony. It also wasn't the worst thing that he liked her face just the way it was.
"So, any suggestions? Anything child, work with me?" Adelia pleaded.
"Lilac and Vervain." Timena said after a moment. Her mother smiled, nodding in approval.
Adelia had managed to get a few more suggestions for the wedding out of Timena but pulling teeth might have just been easier.
Eurina stirred the meat around in the pot lightly as Timena sprinkled around seasoning. The rest of the staff worked hurriedly, preparing for supper. Norman came in through the kitchen door with a heavy sack he placed on the floor. Looking to Timena, he nodded— they hadn't spoken much since she'd gotten back from her short-lived escape.
"Do you need some help?" She offered. A small smile appeared as Norman nodded.
After bringing two more heavy sacks inside, they both stood near the threshold leading into kitchen. Norman stared blankly into the trees as Timena fiddled with her fingers awkwardly.
"Are you angry with me?" She asked, puzzled at his silence.
Norman chuckled. "I believe I should be asking you that." He looked over to her.
"I'm, I'm not angry with you Norman. I don't blame you for trying to protect your family, I could never be angry with you for that." Timena said sincerely.
"You are my family as well. I'm sorry that I-" Timena put her hand up to stop him.
"There's nothing to apologize for. I was mad with myself, and embarrassed. I'd been caught so soon after I'd just managed to escape." She laughed. "But I don't blame you for anything, I know where your loyalty lies." She smiled.
Norman smiled back, but it disappeared suddenly as he began to remember something. "How did Silas know where to find you?" He asked sternly.
Snorting quietly, Timena sighed. "I met a girl and long story, short... she's... a witch. She made those women tell him where I was and that was how he found me."
Norman stared at her blankly for a moment.
"I know that it is hard to believe, but"
"Oh I believe you. A witch, I haven't come across one in some time. Who is she?" He asked, cutting her off.
"Y-You know of witches?" She asked, incredulously
He chuckled. "I know of lots of things and witches are just the very least of them. Now, who was she?" He asked again, eagerly.
"Her name is Clara, she's Silas' mother." She whispered.
Norman's mouth hung open slightly. "You're certain of this?"
Timena nodded. "I believe so. She did it for him, she wanted to be able to give him that since she couldn't be around." She said distastefully.
"Makes sense, she went missing so many years ago, from the time he was a baby. That was the last time you saw her?"
"Oh no. I see her quite often. She loves to roam around the castle." Timena chuckled.
He looked to her again, baffled. "She's here? Now?"
Timena giggled lightly. "I don't know where she is, she sort of comes and goes and she pleases. She has yet to meet Silas face to face though."
"Hmmm, Silas wouldn't be easily convinced." He massaged the light stubble that covered his jaw as he was now deep in thought.
"Proof is what I've been working on." She agreed with him.
Timena was in her room when she was notified that dinner was ready. Instead of being led to the dining room, she found herself now standing before the doors to her father's study. She already suspected who would be standing behind it.
He smiled slowly, but immediately as Timena entered the room.
"What a surprise, it's you." She feigned shock.
Silas chuckled. "And it's you, my princess." He said longingly.
"U-Um, why are we in my father's study?" She attempted to change the course of conversation.
"So we can be alone, and maybe just so I can watch you squirm a bit." He smirked. "I know you've been avoiding me these past few days, and I let you, but I want you to myself now." He walked towards her, putting his arm around her waist and bringing her body close to his.
Timena gasped quietly. "That's nice and all, but could you perhaps let me go."
He smiled deeply, gazing down at her. "Never." He moved in to kiss her and rolling her eyes the entire time, she let him.
Timena followed his lead as his tongue slid over hers. His grip grew tighter around her waist and she felt her arms instinctively wrap themselves around his neck. Like usual, Silas' kisses started slow as the feeling of his tongue made her remember how it felt between her legs. A small tingling sensation crept over her as she pulled away from his kiss.
"Are you remembering it? How you came under my tongue. I'll never forget how perfect every part that delectable body of yours is." He squeezed at her butt, causing her to jump.
Timena blushed deeply at his words. "I think we should slow down. As in, no physical contact ever again."
Silas smirked again. "I know you don't want that and I certainly don't want that either, why else would you be avoiding me." He teased.
"Is that food I smell, let's dig in." She quickly moved from his grasp, seeing the plates of food on the round table near the fireplace.
Silas sighed but followed her to the table.
"So I heard you chose vervain and lilacs for the ceremony. I like it."
Timena continued to focus on her food, she couldn't understand what was between them— the growing desire to be closer to him but the resentment that tainted her feelings. Possibly if they'd gotten together under different circumstances, she mightn't have been so resistant.
"How soon do I have to leave after the wedding?"
"How soon do you wish to leave? Do not say never." Silas said.
She rolled her eyes. "Two weeks?"
"I can give you one. There are pressing matters that I'll have to attend to after the wedding that I can't do while I am here." He said through bites of his food.
Timena's chest felt tight and she shook her head, rejecting his words. She hated having to go along with this, it pained her greatly and just like that, her sadness, anger and resentment came to a forefront.
"You'll love Calyx, everyone has been preparing for your arrival. They can't wait to meet you." He said, sounding content.
Her face bunched together unpleasantly. Well I don't want to meet them.
"You'll grow to love them too." He laughed at her expression. "You'll be able to train whenever you feel like it, we have the best swordsmen and marksmen. They'll be so impressed." He said proudly.
At those words, Timena felt a lump in her throat as tears began to form in her eyes. It was too much, the mere thought of leaving felt as though a knife were being twisted around in her abdomen. Her chest tightened even more, and her skin felt heated underneath her clothing.
"Could you just stop please." She said suddenly.
He looked at her defiantly. "You need to get used to the idea of-"
"No, I-I'm not getting used to anything. J-Just s-stop alright." Timena's eyes darted back and forth quickly as she shifted around uncomfortably in her seat.
"You will be my wife and Calyx will become your home." He said loudly as his utensils clanged against the plate.
Timena's body trembled as she struggled for air, the ringing in her ears getting louder and she continued to look around, her panic becoming more evident.
Silas noticed her state, his behavior shifting from anger to concern. "Timena what's the matter?" He got up from his chair to go to her. She tried to push him away, but he didn't budge.
"I-I can't take it, I can't breathe. I don't, I can't" She held onto his forearm.
"Just breathe, you're going to be fine. Deep breaths." He shushed her, holding her steadily by her trembling shoulders. "Someone get in here now!" He yelled.
Two guards came in, waiting for instructions. "Tell Eurina I need her now." He demanded, and his men left the room swiftly. Silas suddenly hoisted her into his arms, bringing her over to the plush divan in the middle of the room. Laying her down, he tried to calm her as her chest rose and fell too quickly for comfort.
Eurina burst through the doors, seeing Silas kneeling next to Timena's body. "What happened?" She asked, immediately concerned.
"I'm not certain, I was speaking and then she was trembling and her eyes darting back and forth around the room." He said, unsure himself of what had happened.
Eurina walked over to her, kneeling down and shooing Silas away. Timena's body felt too warm against her palms and her heart was beating too fast.
"Oh sweetheart, what's the matter?" She asked gently.
"I brought up moving to Calyx." Silas began to realize that it was a possibility that it had been his fault.
"Is that why?" Eurina looked back to her, and Timena nodded.
"Silas could you give us a moment, please?"
He opened his mouth as if to say something but stopped himself. His jaw tensed as he nodded before leaving the room.
As the doors closed, Timena began to cry. Eurina held her in a gentle embrace as she sobbed quietly.
"It's alright my child. Just breathe."