"Lift up your tunic, princess." The gentle voice directed her.
Timena did as she was told and the bandage was removed, revealing a jagged scar. It had healed fairly well considering how Barinon had dug the knife into her, but the scar was still rather large, splaying from the left side of her abdomen to her navel.
"Have you been feeling any discomfort?"
Timena shook her head, still examining the scar herself.
"Well, it seems that you should be fine to go back to your usual activities, princess."
Timena's face lit up hearing her words. "I can, spar again?" She asked hopefully.
The older woman chuckled at Timena's hopeful expression, nodding in return. "Just be careful, don't overwork yourself dear."
Timena practically leapt off the small bed, running out of the infirmary as fast as possible. "Thank you." She called out behind her.
A sense of calm enveloped Timena as she held the sword in her hands— it had been so long since she'd last seen her blade. Standing next to it was the sword her father had had made for her, it was beautiful and after much deliberation she decided it would be a shame to have it go to waste.
Ulric stood before her on the court. "Alright, we'll start slow. I have specific instructions from Silas, but we'll give you some leeway." He winked causing Timena to chuckle. "Begin."
Timena held up the sword to her face, taking a deep breath.
Ulric stepped forth first, he quickly lunged forward, bringing the blade up and around before slamming it down. Timena faded, only to advance right after, jutting the sword out in every direction, only for her attempts to be blocked each time. Ulric pushed her backwards and they began to circle one another then— Timena held a tail guard, waiting for him to approach her and she found herself bending backwards, ducking down and even rolling around to avoid his sword. With her body on the grass, she looked up to see the blade coming down and she briskly deflected it, just narrowly avoiding being beheaded. She kicked at his chest, using that moment to kick herself up and back into a fighting stance.
"Not too bad princess." Ulric said, with the hint of a smile.
Suddenly he came forward with full force and her sword came up in defense so quickly that the two slid against one another, the edge of blade slicing Ulric's face slightly. It did nothing to deter him as his sword continued to lash out and Timena continued to move back, and suddenly her sword was knocked from her hand.
"Shit." She muttered, she had lost.
She began to approach the steel laying on the grass, only for the tip of Ulric's sword to point at her. He smirked— he wanted her to defend herself without it. Timena's brows furrowed, she was all for pushing the limits, but she felt nervous now.
"Come now Mena." He encouraged, dropping his own sword on the grass beside hers.
She mentally prepared herself, trembling slightly.
Stop being so nervous, don't be weak now. She shook away the nerves, nodding at her own words.
Ulric stood before her and without even thinking, Timena swung her foot out and around to sweep his legs from under him. He landed with a thud before getting up immediately— he walked towards her with a purpose and she couldn't help but smile as he began to swing at her. He landed a fist to her chest and she fell backwards, as she saw him standing above her, his foot was about to come down on her chest.
"That's enough, Ulric."
It was not Silas, but Vassar's guttural voice that had interrupted their sparring.
Putting his foot down and picking up his sword, Ulric bowed before his king before nodding at Timena and exiting the court.
"You can spar now yes, but you are supposed to be taking it slowly Timena." Her father's disapproving tone caused her to roll her eyes.
"I am fine." She replied, getting up from the grass.
He snorted, approaching her slowly. "Your body needs time to readjust."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." She said absentmindedly.
Vassar looked at his daughter to see the sword he'd had made for her, in her hand. He smiled faintly.
"Do you like it?" He asked, pointedly.
Timena looked down to the sword. "It's alright." She shrugged her shoulders, feigning nonchalance.
"Do you ever wonder what became of, Clarissa?" The question left her lips suddenly.
Vassar had been caught off guard. "Well, yes. I suppose she died or perhaps, she's still on the very island Jarvis left her." He answered, his guilt evident.
"Did you ever try to search for her?" She asked, hoping that he'd at least tried to right his wrong.
"No, I never did."
Timena shook her head, disappointed but not surprised. "What would Silas do if he knew?"
He looked to her, a bit anxious, but he tried to hide it. "I'd rather you didn't mention this to him, Timena." He paused before walking off the court and back inside the castle.
She was stunned by how abruptly he had left, but she now wondered if it was best that Silas and Clara did not know.
"So, I hear it's safe for you to spar now." Silas grunted.
Timena giggled. "Yes, isn't it just the best news?" She batted her eyelashes at him.
Walking over to where she sat and bending down between her legs, he brought her close to him. His lips touched hers lightly as his hands trailed back and forth over her thighs.
"As long as you're happy, but you need to be more careful." He said the last few words sternly, causing her to laugh.
"What happened to Reevus?" Her mind wandered to him.
"Well since you took so long to decide what to do with him, your father and I decided to have him sent to Enoberlyn." Silas stated.
"How do you know he'll stay there?"
"He's under the watchful eye of the king, he'll spend the rest of his days there."
Timena was pleasantly surprised. "I thought you would have killed him."
"You told me you didn't want him dead."
Her eyes widened and her mouth had fallen open. "And you listened?" Her voice sounded off sarcastically. "Oh my stars, the world might end right now. King Silas Stokrev... listening to someone other than himself." She feigned shock as she fought to stifle her laughter.
"You think you're funny?" He asked, trying and failing to keep a straight face.
"I know I am." She countered.
Picking her up swiftly and turning around so that he could sit on the divan, Silas brought her face to his for a heated kiss. Timena parted her lips for him, allowing his tongue to explore the recesses of her mouth and she eagerly brought him closer. She couldn't seem to get enough of him when they were this close, it was easier when he was at a distance but right now— smelling him, tasting him and feeling him made her thoughts hazy.
Gently brushing away her curls, he exposed the skin of her neck, his tongue laved over the soft flesh. Her hands held onto the triceps of his arms as she fought the urge to suppress her quiet moans.
"I can't wait to be inside you." He whispered.
His words had shot straight down to her core and at that moment, she wondered what it would be like to have sex with him. She knew he would be generous, Timena had remembered feeling practically numb after the many times he had pleasured her with his mouth weeks before. She began to feel shy remembering what they had done.
"And I can't wait, for supper." She replied jokingly.
Silas looked at her with a blank expression, clearly unamused.
"Can I ask you something?" Her tone was serious.
"Why haven't you ever spoken about your mother?"
Silas remained quiet for a moment, thinking. "Well I never knew her, and my father was never much help either."
"What do you mean?" She asked.
"He said that my mother was a lunatic and she abandoned me after I was born, and that Aldus' mother was a whore who died in childbirth." He said bluntly. "I went in search of her a few times over the years, but I never found her."
"Do you miss her?" Timena inquired.
"It's hard to miss something you never had, but I wish I could have gotten to know her. Aldus has a harder time dealing with it than I do, he always has." He explained.
Timena wondered if he was being completely honest, she could see the troubling expression on his face. Her heart ached for both him and Clara, she thought back to the cruelty of Jarvis and how her father had helped in that task.
And then Timena said something that she had never expected herself to say.
"I think I'm falling, in love with you."
"Don't say it out of pity Timena."
She thought about it, realizing that she was in fact, falling in love with him. "I'm not, I promise."
Her words hung in the air for a moment before Silas slowly offered a heartwarming smile. Pulling his arms closer around her waist, he brought her small frame to his chest, and she sat silently in his warm embrace inside her father's study.
Silas hadn't taken her words lightly, for he knew that he loved Timena and to know that she was beginning to fall in love with him too, made him the happiest of men. He regretted the way he had tried to force her hand, knowing that he hadn't given her much choice when it came to the welfare of her people; wishing he could take it all back. Silas had known that she would be the woman to make him see reason, to make him feel happiness, love— he wanted to be good for her, to be a better man because of her and for her, no one else mattered.
She wasn't certain what had come over her, but those words had escaped her lips without so much as a thought— she wondered if it had been a mistake, giving that bit of information to him. Would Silas use it against her in some way? It was an unsettling feeling, to give anyone that kind of power. But she had felt it, and she didn't want to deny it, no matter how many times she had tried to in the past. Timena still didn't want to move away to Calyx, but the thought of marrying him wasn't the most frightening thing in world, considering what she had endured only it was almost... welcomed.