“And so despite her injuries,” the king said, glancing at her with a bright smile of encouragement before turning back toward the vast crowd gathered below the castle balcony, “your queen will be joining you for the festival in three days’ time.”
The crowd roared and the king laughed. His merriment seemed genuine. She wondered if it was these days. A few years had passed, after all, since he became king and she became queen. Though in another memory, a false one that glimmered at the surface of her thoughts, he had been king for nearly two decades. Continue reading
“What’s wrong? You’re not worried I won’t make it, are you?” He laughed. “Don’t worry. I updated my will. You’re in it.”
“You didn’t just say that.” He chuckled. “Might as well tell me not to be me.”
A memory flashed through his mind. Of the time he told her why he was called “Jesse.” They were playing “truth or dare” during a date. And it was his turn to tell a truth about himself.
“You’re almost there. Keep going!”
Sola heeded her leader’s words and resisted looking behind her as she charged down the hallway of the castle’s central tower. She ignored the flashes of reddish light that illuminated the hallway behind her. She felt the claws of the dayhawk on her shoulder dig in tighter, just as her boots had dug into his flanks when she had been riding atop him. He flapped his sun-yellow wings, but thankfully did not cry out. The potion that protected Sola from the dayhawk’s strident call had worn off only moments ago. She nearly blacked out when he screamed at the guards that confronted them when they landed on the bridge that led into the tower.
Those guards should have been distracted away. Too much had gone wrong once they had reached the central tower of the castle. If she didn’t know any better, Sola would have wondered if their enemy had been warned. But she did know better. Their enemy was just that daunting. Continue reading
“Tell us a story first!” the boy said.
The grandmother had started tucking in the children for bedtime. But she now glanced over at the eldest, who was sitting in her bed with her knees drawn up. The grandmother had already indulged them by letting them stay awake later than they should have. And yet…
How could she pass up the chance to tell a story? Especially to such a cherished audience. Still, she had to make them earn it.
“Ask me a question,” she told the eldest. “If there is a story to the answer, I will tell you that story.”
She continued her tucking in and noticed that the girl’s siblings watched their elder sister with expectant eyes.
The girl thought for a while and then she asked, “Why is the ocean salty?” Continue reading