Chapter 1: The Thirty One Before
The Esters were warriors of extraordinary abilities. The daughters of Mother Earth, the protectors of the Eternal Realm. The keepers of peace were said to be untouchable. The only factor that could end their dominion over these lands, was within themselves…. And it would only take one. One discrepancy.
It did not rain that day. There were no looming clouds, lightning strikes, or thunderous protests from the Gods. Cities were not set ablaze, ships were not sunk, and no one cried for those lost.
The weather was perfect. The sun was not too hot and a cool breeze rippled the leaves on the trees. Anyone would remember it as a lovely day- if they cared to remember, people don’t tend to remember the good things. Instead, they fuss over their misfortunes, and it is for that reason that Seis remembers. Even if she wished to forget, she cannot forget what was lost.
Chapter One: The Thirty One Before
The silence is broken by the intentional entrance of Trinsi, First Knight of the Syars. A title she deliberately announces at every opportune moment, along with the not so subtle reminder of her unmatchable skills as a fighter. She was not wrong, but Lunetta thinks a little humility wouldn’t hurt the young woman.
Lunetta, future Queen of the Syardom hardly glances at her her long time friend, resting her chin in her palm and studying the map on her desk. She is aware that Trinsi is upset, but that is not the greatest of her concerns at the moment.
Everyone in the Syardom would be better off if that were the case. Lunetta dreamed of the day that Trinsi’s anger was her biggest problem. Trinsi she could handle, her current situation however…
“Why exactly are we going to Southern Falls Lunette? If I remember General Usel correctly, he said the Storms were coming from Rawdust,” the young woman snaps at her sovereign. No other person would dare talk to Lunetta in that matter, because no one else could.
“Like I told General Usel, we need help facing the Storms,” Lunetta answers sternly. She’s made up her mind, and she is not too proud to ask for help when in need of it.
“Yes, he recruited help from the Palvdom. We are to head north at dawn.” Trinsi speaks through gritted teeth. The light leather armor she wears creaks when she folds her arms together.
“We need real help facing the Storms.” It’s only then that Lunetta looks up at her friend with tired eyes. Tired because this was never meant to be her problem in the first place. She was the thirty-second daughter, thirty-second in line. She was not made to be a ruler.
Trinsi knows this is hard for the woman for many reasons, she ought to cut her a break. As her right hand, she should be making an effort to ease the load, not add to it.
“Right, I’ll admit those Palvs are not the greatest swordsmen but their archers are comparable to our own.” The knight relaxes, her rage fading, “Lunette do you doubt our skills, Usel and I?”
At the easing of Trinsi’s tone, Lunetta relaxes as well and stands. Her light brown hair drapes behind her and follows her movements as she walks to the window. “You look hurt. You have to know that I don’t doubt either of you, but I also don’t doubt the Storms-“
“We don’t know that they’re really the Storms, it’s a rumor.”
The Storms, the nightmarish race of humanoids that terrorized the lands they reside in, many moons ago. After two hundred years of peace, the threat of their reemergence was not to be taken lightly. After all, they put an end to an entire race, the Esters.
“The last Ester is a rumor too. Trinsi… We’ve lived in peace for centuries. You’ve never seen war. I need to know what we’re up against, and she knows exactly what kind of monsters the Stormdom is made of.”
Trinsi steps into the yellow light. What Lunetta would give to be her age again. The young woman was in her prime, her youthful olive skin gave her blue eyes a sharpness that only multiplied her ego. While no one would deny that the future Queen’s beauty was unrivaled, Trinsi is unique in her appearance and Lunetta admires that.
“Putting off our journey north until we find her will only allow the Storms to advance into the Syardom.”
“Let them. We know our land, we will have home advantage.”
Trinsi decides that any additional effort to argue with Lunetta will be in vain. “Fine, I’ll let Usel know that we’re heading south in the morning.” She lets her arms drop to her sides and makes for the door. But she should have known that Lunetta wouldn’t leave it at that. Lunetta is a go-getter, an ‘I’ll do it myself if you don’t’ go-getter. On any other occasion this is a good quality, but today Trinsi is having a hard time thinking so.
“Actually, you and I will leave tonight. If he has a problem with it, he can join us.” She’s intentionally patronizing Trinsi, to poke at her, not belittle her.
Trinsi turns back, considers giving her a look of disapproval but then decides not to give her the satisfaction, “Right, I’m sure he’ll be delighted.”
For some reason, it is the lack of a reaction that makes Lunetta smile. “I’ll see you in three hours.”
She turns her gaze back out the window. The day is beautiful, if the Gods know how she feels why are there no rolling thunderstorms? Why is the sky clear and the sun out? Was the weather this forgiving during the last war?
“Trinsi, you might not agree but I do think you are my closest friend.”
The soldier wordlessly watches Lunetta run her thin, fair fingers through the trickling stream at her feet. They sit at the edge of a small stream midday. The sun has become hotter as they’ve traveled south, so they savior the dwindling shaded parts of their journey.
“Closest friend? I wouldn’t say. Longest friend? Perhaps.”
Lunetta bears a confident smile, “You are a loyal friend, and while your position might play a big factor in this, I don’t mind because you were loyal to me even when I hardly had a title. Not everyone was so kind, believe it or not.”
Trinsi’s expression softens slightly as she recalls the fact.
“Tell me, have you ever disclosed something difficult to someone you previously thought could help you, only to have their response be horribly disappointing?”
Raising an eyebrow, the knight answers truthfully, “You know me to be an unpleasant person no? I’ve never had anyone to disclose such things to. But, I could see how that could be disappointing.”
“I received word from my aunt in Cydom, she married into the family, but she was involved in our affairs for a long while. She was not present the day of the incident due to illness. She too, is a survivor. I invited her to come stay at the palace, from what I understand she is alone aside from my late uncle.” Lunetta dries her hands on her skirt very informally. “There were no ulterior motives in my reaching out to her, but she declined. In a rather resentful manner I might add. I emphasize, she too is mourning but some of the things she touched on were rather unnecessary.”
“Trinsi, she is in pain, she only just lost her husband.”
“And you didn’t lose anything?”
Trinsi is angry now, while she pretends to nag at Lunetta on the regular, she is very protective of the woman. Lunetta lost everything on that day. Her sisters, her brothers, her parents, her grandparents. Being a woman born from a line of princes with no direct ties to the throne, her own position in the family was thought to be of no great importance. Until…
“I suppose you’re right, but love is love regardless of whether you love one or love a family. While the heartbreak I endured at the loss of my family was unlike no other, you shouldn’t undervalue her love of her husband.” With that Lunetta stands and holds a hand out for her friend.
Despite the pressure she was under, Lunetta kept a composure that Trinsi could only respect. She trusted Lunetta, together they would rebuild a once-great kingdom from nothing.