Antalos stood around the corner, observing as Emrys stepped out of the room where the leïfaen girl now lay. King Kannal and Queen Wilisca waited outside of the room. They wanted to speak with Emrys alone, expecting Antalos to keep his betrothed company.
“Well, how is she?” Kannal asked.
“Her injuries were not too severe,” Emrys explained. “She was found under a pillar, but it was not heavy enough to inflict damage to her ribs. However, it will take some time before she is able to do anything strenuous.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Things like riding, fighting, or hunting—”
“Goodness, how is she allowed to do such things?” Wilisca exclaimed. Of course, she would be surprised by a girl—even a leïfaen girl—allowed to do things a man would normally do. It wasn’t something any female in Anecia—young or old—ever did.
“Remember, your majesty, the leïfaen men and women did many different activities together as it was their tradition for many centuries.”
Kannal cleared his throat. “And what do you suggest we do with her?”
“Let her stay, of course, as Antalos suggested. He already told me what he told you, my king.”
“How could we possibly allow her to stay?” Wilisca asked. “We are about to celebrate Antalos’ wedding next year, and there is still so much to prepare for. We cannot simply add an extra guest during such a time.”
“A year is still a long time, my queen. I am afraid you will have to allow it. The poor girl just lost her family, her friends, her entire people. She has nowhere to go. There are many rooms for you to spare. Even if you do not wish for her to stay, I am certain Antalos will do everything in his power to find a way to let her stay.”
Kannal rested a hand on his wife’s shoulder. “He is right. We must allow her to stay. It is the right thing to do. Anyway, if we did anything else, Antalos would not let us hear the end of it.”
Wilisca sighed. “I suppose you are right. Very well, Emrys. But she must be your responsibility until she is healed. I do not want Antalos to worry himself over her. He has enough to focus on.”
Emrys bowed. “As you wish, my queen.”
“Has she woken up yet?” Kannal asked.
“Nay. As I tended to her wounds, she was in too much pain as she was starting to wake. I had to give her a little sleeping mixture to help with the pain. It is just enough to last through the night.”
Antalos waited as his parents and Emrys walked off, continuing in their conversation before he hurried to the room where the leïfaen girl slept soundly. He wanted to make sure for himself that she was all right. Of course he trusted Emrys. He’d known the man since childhood. Being able to check on her would probably give him some ease of mind.
She looked peaceful, being able to sleep without feeling the pain of her wounds. It was the pain of loss he worried she would have to deal with once she woke up.
How would she take the news?
Perhaps in giving her dead people a proper burial, it would please her to know he took consideration for her people.
Satisfied that she was all right, Antalos quietly left the room and shut the door so no one would bother her. He started to walk away when he noticed Marian standing a few feet in front of him. She almost reminded him of the first time he had seen her. She was still dressed in her traveling clothes; a light-blue cloak over her crème dress with blue embroidery along the edges. Her blonde hair was still somehow neatly tucked in a loose braid, kept together with a golden lace ribbon.
“How long have you been standing there?”
“Not too long,” she answered. “That girl in there… What happened?”
“She’s from the leïfaen village outside of our walls,” Antalos explained. “They were attacked. She was the only survivor we could find.”
Marian frowned. “Oh, that sounds absolutely dreadful! Is she okay?”
He nodded. “She is recovering from her wounds. She is just sleeping for right now.”
“You are very kind to look out for her,” she said with a smile.
He returned the smile. “Thank you. I hope you do not mind an extra guest for, you know…the wedding. At least, if she decides to stay that long, anyway.”
She shook her head. “Not at all. I would very much like to see her when she is awake, or ready to see any visitors. Having someone there for her in a troubling time like this should be very helpful and kind for her.”
“That is kind of you.”