Lies and Deceit Hidden in the Wind

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Chapter 2 pt. A

Thinking back upon the weeks leading up to the wedding makes my head spin. Things around the Fortress were so hectic, sometimes it felt like I could barely breathe. On top of the rush of planning a 7-month wedding in 3 weeks, I kept hearing the voices. Even after I slept well, not that it happened often. The nightmares I had were getting more and more intense every time I had one. I really tried to be there to help plan the wedding with Brinley but on top of not sleeping well and hearing things? I was pretty distracted. Another thing happened that first week of my shortened engagement. Something that absolutely no one could have predicted.

It really threw my Fiancee’s wedding plans in a heap. I feel bad for her now. She had to deal with so much while I was dealing with my mental problems. It also threw my mind into a heap. I almost lost it.

….

“Lucian,” Someone was calling my name but I could barely hear them.

It sounded like their voice was far underwater. Or maybe I was underwater. Yes. They weren’t the ones out of reach. I am.

“Lucian!” The voice was getting more agitated.

I didn’t want to listen so I didn’t. This all seems very hard right now, I can’t seem to focus. My mind keeps drifting to other things. Suddenly I was yanked out of the trance I was in and back to the present.

“Lucian, are you even listening to me?” Cons Aya shook me a little.

“What?” I looked around a little dazed.

“Lucian we are planning your wedding and you aren’t even listening. Do you even care that you are getting married?” Aya scolded me.

I rubbed my eyes and got a better look at where I was. I was sitting in a room with Ene Kane, Sor Larkin, Brinley, Cons Ronin, Per Andromeda, and Cons Aya. The wedding dream team. For the past three days, we have been sitting in this room for hours on end planning this whole thing. We announced it yesterday and it caused a little ruckus in the Fortress.

No noble wedding has ever not reached the two-year mark. People are talking about the two of us all over the place. We aren’t confirming or denying any of the rumors until we are married. Over the past few days, we didn’t do much planning for the actual wedding. We were just trying to figure out the setup.

It took a while because there’s a lot of people in this Shire. Besides, a lot of the Idris family is coming here for the wedding. That means we have to build a bigger section for the noblemen. Today was the day we actually got to planning the wedding.

“Alright, happy couple, what color do you want the wedding to surround?” Sor Larkin asked the two of us.

“A midnight blue,” Brinley answered immediately.

We had talked about this when we went to the falls a few days earlier. The falls were very vast and mystical. The dark blue would match very nicely with the natural decor.

“Dark blue? Isn’t that a little, um, morbid?” Sor Larkin asked.

Sor Larkin looked like she was trying to communicate with her daughter. I guess it would make sense that she was concerned because her daughter likes brighter colors but a color like orange or even a bright red would make our ceremony look like a child’s birthday party. We both agreed on blue and so we are doing blue.

“I mean, wouldn’t you rather do color like yellow?” Sor Larkin continued.

Needless to say, Sor Larkin hasn’t seen the falls yet.

“No it’s fine mom, the dark blue would look best,” Brinley put the argument to rest.

Sor Larkin looked like she wanted to protest but wrote dark blue down on her clipboard. I looked around the room for a second time. My father still wasn’t here. He was supposed to be. This was a royal wedding after all. The Ene is supposed to be directly involved with all the planning but so far we haven’t seen him.

“Flowers?” Aya asked the two of us.

Brinley and I were sitting on a bench in the center of the room. The rest of the people here were sitting in a semicircle around us. If I didn’t know any better, I would say it looked like we were performing some kind of ritual. I don’t know what my father would say about this. I guess we will never know because it appears like he isn’t coming to any of the wedding prep we are doing.

“Oh I don’t know,” Brinley responded to Aya, “there’s so many in the garden. I don’t know how I’ll ever choose.”

Aya nodded her head in a small gesture and turned to me.

“Lucian, do you have any input?”

“Roses.”

“Roses, for a wedding? Are you sure?” Aya winced.

I nodded.

“Lucian, I just want to make sure that you are sure. We’ve done Calla Lilies, Gardenias, Orchids, Peonies, Dahlias, even Begonias. Are you positive you want Roses?”

I nodded.

“Well alright. Any specific color?” Aya pressed.

“White, like the ones that grow in the garden.”

Cons Aya has seen the falls and so she knows what color schemes look good and which don’t. Sor Larkin does not.

“White flowers? This is going to be the most boring color scheme for a wedding I’ve ever seen.” The Sor sulked.

“My Sor, if I may explain that weddings here in Fyn are a very serious occasion. The Ceremony Master needs to concentrate on the ceremony and if we have clashing colors it could distract him and your daughter could be put in danger.”

“In danger? What does this Ceremony hold?” Sor Larkin stood up from her seat.

“Larkin, darling, Ene Edmond explained to us what’s going to happen in the ceremony.” Ene Kane reached out for his wife’s hand but she shook it away.

“What’s going to happen Kane?” She was panicking now.

Who knew it was going to be Sor Larkin not paying attention in the lecture on royal weddings in Fyn?

“Our daughter is going to be okay. The part of the ceremony Cons Aya was referring to is kind of hard to mess up.” He assured her.

“What happens?”

“It’s the most important part of the ceremony. The combining of their blood. The Ceremony Master has a knife and cuts into their wrist and they allow their blood to flow unto a dish where it combines into one. Then they each take a sip and they are married.” Ene Kane explained but Sor Larkin looked green.

“I don’t know if I feel comfortable with that.” She responded, woozily.

“Darling, this isn’t about you. This is the tradition in Fyn and we will respect their traditions and customs.” He rubbed her back.

Sor Larkin looked like she was still sick from the thought of it. I guess I could see how it could be seen as gross, but here it is seen as binding and the only way we could stay together forever because now, like our future children, we are bound by blood and when we die we will find each other again through our bloodline. It’s one of our most respected traditions. It was so encouraged by the elders that I was so surprised when I learned that Cadia didn’t follow it as well. I just assumed all the Shires followed it.

“So, Brin, what color dress are you going to wear? A black one?” Sor Larkin shot a look at Aya.

Cons Aya’s eyebrows furrowed as she stared back at Sor Larkin. It was no secret that those two didn’t like one another. The hatred for each other seemed to get amplified with every passing day we spent here. It was so great that it almost seemed like a solid thing. It just goes to show what happens with discontentment.

“No, I’m wearing a dark red dress. It’s a tradition.” Brinley grinned.

“Well, it’s a tradition in Cadia that the bride gets to decide what color scheme her wedding is going to be.”

“Darling, let’s go get some water.” Ene Kane gently guided his wife out of the room.

We all let out a breath of relief. It seemed like Sor Larkin was more peculiar about her daughter’s wedding than her daughter. We all know she means well but the thing is that she doesn’t really understand how weddings work in Fyn. Since we are getting married in Fyn, we do the wedding in a traditional Fyn style. That’s just how this works.

“Alright, now let’s decide what needs to happen.” Cons Ronin pushed us forward.

“Brinley, how would you like to wear your hair?” Per Andromeda asked.

“Lucian, is there a particular style that is welcome here?” She turned to me.

There wasn’t really but there was this thing I really loved in a Village wedding I attended once. I think Brin would like it too.

“Not really but there’s this tradition in the villages that I like.”

“Alright, well, let’s hear it,” Brinley motioned me to continue talking.

“During the ceremony, the Bride has her hair in two small braids that hang down the side of her face. After the ceremony and before the celebration she takes the two braids and braids them into one. I always thought it was meant to be a joining of the two people. You don’t have to do it. It’s certainly not tradition for noblemen but it just seemed interesting to me.” I explained.

“I love it! Let’s do that Andromeda!” She responded and Andromeda got to writing on her clipboard.

“Chi Lucian? What color would you like the sash tailored to be?” Cons Ronin asked as he was looking down at his clipboard.

“The same color as Brinley’s dress,” I responded and Ronin got to writing.

The door opened again and my father walked in. Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at him. He shifted from side to side and seemed uncomfortable.

“Where are the Ene and Sor?” He demanded as he stared at the group with missing people.

“My mother was getting annoyed with wedding preparations so he took her to go get some water,” Brinley explained quickly.

I think my father scares Brinley. It’s kind of an odd thing because Brinley swears she isn’t afraid of anything. I think it’s an idea that her parent’s planted in her brain as a young child. It’s like being afraid is not a noble trait to have but in fact, it is. Fear keeps us alive. Is it nobler to run away and stay alive to fight another day or die painfully for nothing? That is one of the differences between Brinley and me.

“So they left all you kids in a room alone?” My father’s anger was rising as we continued talking.

“We aren’t alone, we have Cons Aya,” I defended this sad little wedding committee.

“Four kids and one adult? That hardly seems fair.”

“We aren’t kids you know! All of us are adults,” I protested.

“Sure you are, you live in my house, under my rule. You will cease to be children when Aus Brinley and my son take over the Shire. That is when you will be adults.”

“Ene Edmond, it’s just a question, but Lucian and I are getting married in three weeks and if we aren’t adults that just seems wrong,” Brinley responded.

That took guts of Brinley. My father scares the life out of her, but she stood up for herself. I guess she should know by now that she is safe. We need this marriage more than anything and my father wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize it.

“Bear me an heir. When that happens, then you can be an adult.”

The room fell into a weird silence. My father then stormed out. It’s great to know that I will only cease to be a child when I have my own to take care of. I can feel the words affecting Brinley right now. She hasn’t gotten used to this yet. If she is going to be living in this castle she will have to. It’s the only way to survive.

“Right, before we were sidetracked, Chairs or benches?” Per Andromeda asked.

Brinley stayed quiet so I answered for her.

“Benches.”

This went on for another while. The semicircle of people surrounding us would ask questions and we would respond. Ene Kane and Sor Larkin came back into the room. Sor Larkin looked calmer and collected so we continued with them. She actually made good suggestions and helped incorporate some of their wedding traditions as well. One that I really liked is that when a couple gets married in Cadia their bringing together ceremony is that they both have a ribbon on their outfit and they get tied together. It’s supposed to symbolize their unbreaking bond. Brinley and I decided we would like to do it as well.

This wedding will certainly be an interesting one. And in good taste as well. Both people of Cadia and Fyn are going to be attending the wedding and if a majority of the customs are one or the other then a group of people will get mad. I really think it will help our people stay unified.

After we had been sitting in the room for five hours I had gotten tired of this routine we had fallen into.

“You want to leave?” I whispered to Brinley.

“I never wanted to be here,” she responded quietly.

“Follow my lead.”

I stood up from my seat and that caught the sight of Ene Kane.

“Chi Lucian, what are you doing my boy?” He asked me.

“Aus Brinley and I have decided that before we can do any more wedding planning we must return to the falls and picture what we wanted it to look like in the first place,” I announced.

Cons Ronin’s head popped up from the fist he was resting it on. He knew what I was doing and if I had my timing right then he would want to be out of this room as well. I waited for a sign and as soon as both the Ene and Sor had their head turned away Ronin winked at me. That is how I knew it was a good plan.

“Are you sure we should go back to the falls?” Aya asked. “The wedding is in 3 weeks!”

“Of course we should go back to the falls. We wouldn’t want the decorations to look ridiculous.” Cons Ronin helped my case.

“I guess we wouldn’t want that,” Aya said to herself as she weighed the merits of going back to the falls.

I whispered a silent “thank you” to Cons Ronin and he just nodded. I knew he didn’t do it for me. He did it for the sake of his sanity.

“So can we go?” Brinley asked Aya.

“Um, I guess so.”

“Wait, Aya, are you sure we can waste the time?” Ene Kane asked her.

“Sure, we can plan on the way. In fact, it might even be better to plan there instead of in this room.”

How did this get turned into another planning session? Well, it’s better to be planning while sitting next to a rushing waterfall than a stuffy room.

She lies.

The voice was back. I hadn’t heard it in a few days. I figured it was a figment of my imagination but it was back. I slept very well last night and it was back. Pray to the Omn, I’m so stressed. I ran my fingers through my hair and tried to calm down. It wasn’t the initial shock of hearing the voice that was scaring me anymore. It was the possibility of what it all means. Oh goodness, stress. I’m stressed. Stress. Stress! That’s it! The voice was only the cause of extreme stress. I’ve heard about people who hear voices when they are stressed. I’m fine. I’m absolutely okay.

“Well if we are going to go, best we go now,” Aya sighed.

Brinley sprung off her seat. I pulled myself up slowly because my legs were tired. I almost fell. I contributed that to sit for five hours. As we were filing out of the room Cons Ronin came up behind me.

“Are you okay, Chi Lucian?” He asked.

“Of course I am. Why would you think that?”

“It’s just, in the middle of Aya talking you went on high alert. You also paled significantly when that happened as well.” Ronin expressed his concerns.

“Oh believe me Ronin, I’ll be fine. I promise you that. It’s just stress after all,” I shrugged his worry off.

“Stress? I’ll get you some tea, Chi Lucian.” Before I knew it Ronin had taken off down the hall to the Co’s kitchen.

“What did you say to him to make him run off like that?” Per Andromeda scolded me playfully.

“He’s getting tea,” I explained.

“Well if he’s getting tea he might as well get tea for all of us. We had to sit in there just as long as you did, Chi Lucian.” Andromeda reasoned.

Brinley walked close behind her and groaned, “Tell me about it. Wedding planning is rough.”

“I’m just glad that Ronin and I have enough time to plan our wedding with no pressure.” Andromeda smiled.

“You don’t have to brag.” I rolled my eyes.

“Sorry, loves. It’s weird to me that you two are getting married before the two of us. It was never supposed to be that way.”

“Yeah, this whole situation is odd.” Brinley agreed.

“Chi Lucian, I’ve got your tea!” Cons Ronin rounded the hallway with a thermos.

“Hey love, did you get me tea?” Andromeda batted her eyes.

Cons Ronin froze and handed me the thermos and went running off.

“Cons Ronin Silas! Can I have one too?!” Brinley called out to him.

“As you wish Aus Brinley!” He called back to her without stopping.

“You children need to be nice to that Cons. You really don’t need tea but since you already called for some we are leaving as soon as the Cons gets back.” Sor Larkin scolded us.

I just sipped my tea and she sighed.

“Well, I hope you all appreciate the favor he did for you.” She finished.

“Of course,” We all agreed to some degree.

Sor Larkin shook her head and returned to her husband. We just waited for Cons Ronin to come back. When he did finally arrive we set off and out of the castle. It was great that we conned our way into leaving the Fortress. It was very sunny outside and the autumn breeze was wonderful. On the way out we walked through the market just outside of the Fortress walls. In the market, I spotted a lovely guitar and I knew exactly what I was buying Ronin for his wedding present.

We got into the carriage and waited as we drove to the falls. It was a long drive so we were there for a while. Aya kept trying to plan the wedding but I wasn’t listening anymore. I was focused on what was happening outside our carriage. We were driving through the villages and they seemed oddly empty. Usually, you could hear the hustle and bustle from inside the carriage but there was nothing. A stray cat was sitting on the streets and a little butcher’s wife brushing dirt out of their shop but nothing else. It was weirdly quiet and unsettling at best.

Something has gone wrong.

Something has indeed.

“Aya, do you know anything about a meeting in this village today?” I asked her as I still stared at those empty streets.

“I don’t, why?”

“Just look outside. Does that look normal to you?”

Aya glanced out her window and something caught her eye. I turned to see what she was looking at and it only deepened my concern. There was nobody in the soup kitchen.

The soup kitchens were an initiative my father put into place a few years ago. He established a soup kitchen in every village that would serve food to those who really needed it which was, in most cases, almost half the entire village.

A majority of the time the soup kitchens would have a giant line and it would be the loudest place in the village. Usually, they were run by Servants who would switch out every couple of hours. Even if there were no customers there should at least be a Cons working the booth. Instead, the kitchen looked deserted.

“Well, would you look at that?” Aya acknowledged.

“This is terrible, Aya. What would my father say if he knows we lost an entire village?”

“Well, we didn’t lose the village. It wasn’t ours to look after Chi Lucian. We only found them lost. That’s what happened.” Aya forced the idea onto my lap.

“Aya, losing them and finding them missing is the same in my father’s eyes. We are all going to be in big trouble.” I pleaded with her to understand.

“What punishment will you get off with, Chi Lucian? A slap on the wrist? That’s not much of punishment but I suppose it would be traumatizing for you.”

“Do you want to say that again Cons Aya?” I offered.

My anger with her was rising but I hoped my calm composure was still there.

“No, I’m not scared of you. You’re only a Chi. What’s the worst you can do to me?” Aya laughed.

Well, let’s see the worst I can do. I smirked as I reached for the door. A village this size is sure to have a gallows.

“Lucian, don’t. It’s not worth it,” Brinley reminded me.

I calmed down for a few seconds. That is until Aya opened her mouth again.

“You see, you aren’t your Father. I would be dead. Your father knows what it is to be a good Ene. Sadly, you do not. The Shire will fall apart under your reign.” Aya spit at me.

She had no idea what I was capable of. I have more influence on the Fortress than she thinks. I may be young but I am powerful. I hold more power than she could ever dream. She needs a reminder of that.

Leave her.

“Stop the carriage!” I called the driver.

The driver pulled over to the side of the road.

“Chi Lucian? What are you doing?” Sor Larkin asked, a little spooked.

“Aya was right. I am not my father but she disrespected me in front of many noblemen. That requires some sort of punishment. She needs to be taught a lesson.” I explained and Aya’s eyes widened.

Ene Kane smiled at me, “You know what Chi, you aren’t so bad. I should have suspected Edmond was downplaying you. No Ene like him could have a son so soft as he said.”

I let Ene Kane’s words rush over me and I smiled.

“Don’t do it, Lucy,” Brinley cupped my hand in her own.

I ignored her words and opened the door.

“Get out,” I told her simply and to the point.

“Chi Lucian, but I’ve been with the noblemen for longer than you’ve been alive.” She protested.

“Do not question my authority or I will rethink my views on being a Red Ene.” I pushed her out.

Aya stood on the side of the road, shellshocked.

“Continue,” I told the driver.

And then we continued along the side of the road.

“Welcome to the family, Lucian. That was a hard thing you did.” Ene Kane put his hand on my shoulder.

“Why are you congratulating him? He punished an old woman for saying something to him he didn’t like.” Brinley protested.

“Brinley! He showed power! That is something you could learn from him. We all saw what he could do and no one here will underestimate him again.” Ene Kane scolded Brinley and she just turned to look out the window.

“He just left her on the side of the road.” She mumbled.

“Honey, he didn’t kill her. She’ll live a new life here in the village. Consider it early retirement.” Sor Larkin improved my case.

“He left her here with nothing but the clothes on her back. She’ll need a miracle to survive now.”

I hadn’t thought of that. I couldn’t go back now and risk losing Ene Kane’s blessing. He was just starting to like me.

“Don’t listen to her, you are going to be a fine Ene,” Ene Kane insured me. “Meanwhile, you, Brinley, could learn something from your fiance.”

“How to be heartless that’s for sure,” Brinley mumbled.

Her parents didn’t hear her this time. I reached over for her shoulder and she flinched.

“Don’t touch me. You have lost all rights to touch me.” She yanked her shoulder back.

“Brinley, I’m sorry, love.”

“Oh are you,” She mocked me.

I keep imagining how if this was anyone else she would be as good as dead. Brinley was safe to free speech in this Shire. Not many others were.

“I need to establish power so we can live a good life,” I explained.

“Oh yeah? And why is that?” She asked skeptically.

“If I don’t know we will forever be known as the pushover rulers. This is so we can live a more peaceful life.”

“I would rather be a pushover ruler than a red ruler.” Brinley shoved away from me again.

“I will not be a red ruler. I didn’t kill her.”

“How could I forget? You pushed her out of the carriage.”

I wonder why Brinley was being so argumentative right now. This was nothing her parents haven’t done before. I don’t know why it’s such a big deal when I do it.

“This is for you Brin. I’m doing this for us.” I pleaded with her to understand.

“Are you doing this for love? Really?” Brinley looked exhausted but she persisted anyway.

“Of course.”

Suddenly at the same time, we both remembered we weren’t the only ones in the carriage. We both turned and looked at Per Andromeda and Cons Ronin.

“I can’t wait until I’m a nobleman and I don’t have to worry to get kicked out of the Fortress,” Ronin whispered to Andromeda.

“Oh please, I would never kick you out.” I tossed the idea aside.

“Yeah but your father might. It’s kind of scary living like that. Seeing you dismiss Aya reminded me that I wasn’t safe either. At least not until I get married.” Cons Ronin told me.

“I guess I could see how that would be scary.”

Beside me, Brinley rolled her eyes.

“Brinley, love, I’m sorry my actions offended you and I don’t want to fight with you before we go to this sacred place. Forgive me?” I offered her.

Brinley looked at me for a long moment and sighed, “I guess I forgive you, Lucian. Just please, consider other options before pushing someone out of a carriage. Please?”

“Alright Brin, I will,” I assured her.

Brinley smiled and I knew all was forgiven.

We sat in the carriage for about 45 more minutes. No one tried to talk. Everyone was just sitting in comfortable silence. I was glad everything was quiet because I got to watch a once-bustling city melt into a serene forest. The trees were so dense in this forest that it was dark. The only thing keeping the path lit was the luminescent plants. They glowed a bright blue as we went along our merry little way. I looked over at Brinley and she was as entranced as I was.

Everything seemed magical here but of course, it wasn’t. If this forest was magical my father would have taken it and destroyed everything beautiful about it. That’s how much he dislikes magic. The thing is, I don’t even really believe in magic. I’ve never seen it done and I just believe these magic encounters are coincidences or staged. It couldn’t be real. How could it? It just seemed unnatural.

However, my father believes so it seems the rest of the known world believes in magic as well. Before long we came to a clearing where the trees had thinned but their leaves still covered a majority of the sky. Little pockets of sunshine streamed through the branches but that was all. The only other source of light was the plants and the waterfall. We don’t know what makes the waterfall glow but I’ll tell you one thing, it is not magic.

It’s probably small luminescent plants in the water. That makes more sense than the folktale about the waterfall being blessed by a spellcaster. Either way, this is where I’m getting married in a week.

There was only one wedding ceremony I remember here. It was my father’s kid brother, Arlen Kreed, the Chi before me, getting married. Chi Arlen was getting married to the Aus of Diem, Aus Lyra. Arlen knew he wasn’t going to get the throne for a while so he married into a family where he would get to be Ene. That’s the only reason I’m next in line for the throne. Arlen is already the Ene of Diem.

Anyway, even though the marriage was only strictly business it was a beautiful ceremony. It got me thinking about what I wanted to do for my wedding. I don’t remember the ideas I had clearly but some of them were ridiculous.

“Wow! This place is gorgeous!” Sor Larkin breathed.

“Do you see why we can’t wear yellow?” Brinley laughed as she referred back to the argument she had earlier.

“Yep, understood, Brin.” She agreed.

I sat down on the grass. It didn’t look like the grass outside of the Fortress. This grass was a darker green, it almost seemed to have a bluish tint to it. In fact, now that I think about it, this entire place seems to have a bluish tint. Even the bark on the trees seemed blue, although that may just be from the waterfall.

Brinley sat down next to me. She seemed out of place with her bright orange dress. I probably seemed out of place as well. I couldn’t tell you.

“This place is beautiful,” Brinley sighed.

“You should see it with all the wedding decorations. It is a sight to behold.”

“I’ll take your word for it.”

We sat in silence as we listened to the water pouring off the falls. It was so peaceful and quiet I felt relaxed for the first time in days, weeks really.

“Have there been many weddings here?” Brinley asked as she reached for a spot of sunshine peering through the trees.

“Of course. Have I been to them? No.”

“Have you been to any?” She shifted to look at me.

“Yeah, my uncle’s wedding. Maybe you’ve heard of him, Arlen, he rules down in Diem now.” I explained.

“Yeah, I’ve heard of him,” She answered hesitantly.

“Chi Arlen, the last time I saw him. I guess he’s Ene now. He was kind of a scary man. He makes my father look like a saint. I mean, at least my father married for love but this man married to rule.” I explained.

“Isn’t that what we’re doing?” Brinley asked me.

“No, we are getting married for love. Arlen didn’t love Aus Lyra. He was only marrying to rule. Arlen was ten years younger than my father and so he knew he wasn’t going to rule for very long. I guess he just found an Aus who needed a husband and stole the Shire from whoever was next. My parents married for love, we are marrying for business, my uncle married for his own parasitic needs.” I explained.

“Wow, Lucian, you have a very intense view of your uncle.”

“He’s a very intense person. I haven’t seen him in years and thank the omn for that.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard things about the Ene of Diem.” Brinley winced.

“Like what?”

“Like he killed his wife,” Brinley swallowed hard.

“Sor Lyra’s dead? I didn’t know that. Poor girl, she didn’t know what she was getting into.”

Brinley nodded.

“Alright, we’ve seen anything we need to see, right?” Sor Larkin asked.

“I believe so.” I nodded and pulled Brinley up.

We walked back to the Carriage and each of us filed in. I took one last look at the place and sighed. I could stay here all day if I had the time. We didn’t, of course. That’s the thing about moving up a wedding by nearly 6 months, every second of free time is used to plan.

The Carriage ride back wasn’t nearly as long as the ride here. I did notice that the villages were still empty. I’ll have to talk to my father about that. Surely it wasn’t normal. By the time the carriage got back to the castle, it was nearly mid-afternoon. The sun was just overhead and the heat was sweltering.

“Oh wow, it really heated up this afternoon,” Brinley pulled out her fan.

Ronin nodded and helped Per Andromeda get out of the Carriage.

“Alright, we have wasted enough time this afternoon. It’s time to get back to planning the wedding.” Ene Kane herded us back into the Fortress’ walls.

The thought of going back into that dreadful little room seemed a bit much to bear. I pushed myself forward because the sooner we get this done, the sooner I can do literally anything else. At least we got a little break. It’s too bad it didn’t get to last longer.

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