Charn stood in the doorway to the balcony.
He had first feared the worst when he came to his son’s room and saw the empty bed. After fifteen years of suffering, it wouldn’t have been much of a surprise to discover his son had passed unexpectedly. That wasn’t the case, though.
His heart had returned to normal when he had heard his son’s laughter echoing up from the garden below. He hadn’t permitted the boy to leave the room, but when he spotted the Morzi girl sitting beside him in the garden, Charn understood that it wouldn’t have mattered.
The girl didn’t know how to follow orders. She did what she wanted, when she wanted. Not a pleasing trait for a girl to have, although he couldn’t get upset about her stubborn nature. He had to respect that she was set in her ways.
The reason they didn’t get along was probably the fact they were too similar. They both had their own ways of doing things. They both were stubborn. They both cared for Cáel.
It’s nice to see him smilin’. The King couldn’t remember the last time Cáel had been genuinely happy. With this girl, his boy smiled and laughed with ease. The boy’s jokes were not self-deprecating, and his music was more up-beat and energetic. That Morzi brat took care of him, and although Charn didn’t like the fact the girl had brought his son to the garden, he couldn’t argue that Cáel did look better.
He could get sick from the cold autumn weather, even with the quilt the girl had wrapped around him. The boy couldn’t recover well from the common cold. The last time Cáel had been sick, the Sisters had spent every waking moment tending to him. If that were to happen again, Charn knew it wouldn’t end well.
Hopefully there was going to be something in the book Caldor had dragged back from that westy city. That Morzi girl had been translating it, and the old sage had been reporting the lack of success he was having with finding something that could help the prince.
Hearing the door open, Charn glanced over his shoulder to see the Detress of Demor. In her arms were a new quilt and an extra blanket that she placed on the boy’s bed.
“Yah knew of this,” Charn grumbled, jabbing his hand down to point at the two children laughing in the garden.
“Yes, Foe brought him down,” Marcia replied, crossing her arms before approaching the balcony to stand beside the King. “I think lil Li was right in bringing him outside the walls.”
“Lil Li?” Charn hadn’t heard the child be called that.
“The name the Pellar that found her called her, according to me husband,” Marcia chimed. “She’s a sweet girl, and I think she’s good for yar son.”
“I think thin’ were fine without her buggering thin’ up,” Charn growled. “She’s got a sharp tongue and teeth like a snake.”
“And that’s the problem,” Marcia sighed, “that’s all ya’re seein’ her as. If yah look past the people she came from and see her as her, yah might be pleasantly surprised.”
The woman rested a hand on the man’s arm. His heavy brow shadowed his eyes; his teeth were clenched while he dug his nails into the creases of his elbows. He was too stubborn to listen to anyone.
Marcia knew the man had a hard time with change. Having another child, an outsider, under the same roof as his son must have been hard. What the man needed to understand was the girl was no different than his son.
Liora was a child. Although she was gifted, the girl still had a lot to learn. Liora was years away from finding herself.
Caldor wanted to groom the girl to be a Master Healer, like her grandmother, but maybe that wasn’t what the girl was supposed to do. Yes, she had the natural gift for it, but that didn’t mean she wanted to do that.
Foe had noticed the girl’s interest in politics and cultures when he had caught her reading one of the thick Dermite law books laying about the prince’s room. He had said Liora knew many different languages and had a willingness to learn that reminded him of himself when he was young.
There were many paths the girl could take, and even when Marcia had asked the girl what Liora saw for her future, the girl didn’t have an answer. The child had an answer for everyone but herself.
Marcia heard the two children’s laughs grow louder, as the boy placed his head onto the girl’s shoulder. Liora moved the book to rest between them, as their laughter fell silent.
“Yah’ll have to get used to her, Charn,” Marcia headed back to the door. “Yar son likes her, so I don’t think she’ll be leaving anytime soon.”
The King heard the door click shut, as he took a deep breath. Marcia may have been right but he wasn’t going to change his mind.