It sat before her.
The book was closed.
The papers were stacked neatly and in order.
She was done.
Looking up towards her window, Liora didn’t know what to do next. It would be easy enough to throw the papers into the fireplace and let them burn. The old sage wouldn’t have known she had finished the translations. There was a chance that would let her stay longer in Demor if she destroyed the last of her work.
Liora had even tried to slow down her writing for the last chapter. She had taken more breaks and was able to stretch the last chapter out by two days. Caldor would catch on eventually, and then he would be upset with her.
Maybe she could hold off giving him the last chapter until the first snow? Foe wouldn’t want to fly in the cold weather, and they would have to keep her in the fortress until the spring. That way she would have more time to stay with Cáel, and maybe over the winter she could prove to them she was worth keeping around.
No. Liora shook her head, pushing out her chair before gathering the last chapter in her arms. If they wanted her gone, it was going to be a long winter of their complaints and whispers behind her back. There were going to be glares and harsh words. Although, they hadn’t done any of those things, she was sure they were just biding their time until she was gone.
Caldor would get his translations. Cáel would hopefully get a cure and she would be welcomed back into the Pellar’s care with open arms.
Making her way down the hall, Liora noticed papers scattering about the floor. Some were pressed against the adjacent wall. Not only had the man left his door open, he had also left his window open.
Rolling the chapter and tucking it into her sash, Liora gathered up the papers across the floor. Obviously he was distracted when he had left his room, since he usually left his door closed.
When the papers on the walls were gathered, Liora took the piece that became trapped under the foot of the suit of armour. It was a smaller piece of paper, torn along the left side. He had torn this page out of his journal by the looks of it, as she flipped it over to look on the other side.
The note meant nothing to her. She didn’t know what was important about those numbers or that name. She knew Kanrow was a scholar that her nana had spoken about in regards to the Isles in Easterly, but that’s all she knew.
Putting the note on the top of the pile, Liora hurried over to the old man’s desk. The state of the room hadn’t changed since the last time she had been there. Books were still all over the floor, as were papers.
At least the old man had put out the candles and the fire before leaving the room. There was enough of a fire hazard with everything laying about as it was. She set a teacup she found on top of the papers she had gathered. That would keep them from flying away.
The translated chapter, she put under a heavier book. If the scrap blew away, she didn’t care, but the chapter had to stay in order.
Her promise was complete. She was free. Now all she had left was to say goodbye to Cáel.
The girl plodded down the hall, up the stairs, and to the boy’s room. It didn’t take any time for her to get there. She knew where the boy’s room was with her eyes closed.
The smells of Demor with rosemary and mint were going to be missed. The tapestries hanging high above her head, and the tall metal armour looming in the halls were going to become faint memories.
The servants wouldn’t have her help. The Sisters wouldn’t have her eavesdropping on their singing, and the cooks wouldn’t have her taking their biscuits anymore. Everything that she had done over the past few months were going to fade. She would fade from everyone’s memory and she wasn’t sure if she wanted that.
Liora rested her hand on the doorknob. The cool metal was nice on her sweaty palms. This was it, the only promise she had made that she hadn’t completed.
Opening the door, she peered in. The navy velvet curtains were drawn, the balcony door was closed and there were only coals in the fireplace. The lute rested beside the bed. The boy was curled on his side in the pile of pillows and sheets.
He slept a lot over the last week, but no one mentioned their concern.
Tiptoeing over to the bed, Liora didn’t want to wake him. He didn’t say he had to be awake to hear her goodbye and honestly she didn’t want him to be. Goodbyes were too difficult. Some people cried and held too tightly to the person as if they were dying, not going for a trip. Liora would write. This wouldn’t be the last time he would see her.
Brushing away a curly strand from his forehead, Liora smiled.
“Goodbye, my prince,” Liora whispered, “I’ll miss you the most.”
For a moment she stood staring at the boy. He had been kind to her. He had listened to her. They had talked about their problems. She had shared more with this boy than Marcia.
Hearing the door to the room open, Liora felt her heart stop. She had wanted to leave without anyone knowing. Caldor would have forced her to leave his way. Marcia would have taken her to Caldor and Foe would have convinced her to listen to the small man. But to her pleasant surprise, it hadn’t been any of the people she had feared to see.
The bearish red-haired king stood there staring at her for a moment. His face shadowed by his heavy brow. She heard his long sigh before he lumbered over towards the bed. The King said nothing. He did nothing but give his attention to his son.
Liora bowed her head to Charn before heading for the door. Cáel was loved and protected. Charn made sure of that.
As she descended the stairs to the atrium, she took a moment to admire the stain glass windows. They had filled the room with so much light. She stepped through the door, passed the two guards that were more like statues and across the main yard of the castle.
The blacksmith wasn’t working. The animals in the paddocks were quiet. The sun hung over the gateway before her. The cool breeze rushed around her, bringing the leaves from the ground back up into the air. Her hair blew over her left shoulder.
This was it. When she was through those gates she would be free.