by: Linda M. Crate
I looked at her. She loved him, and I knew it. It broke my heart to know my sister would have to break her heart to keep a promise to our mother. It was selfish, and I have to admit I really hated my mother right now. How could she be so vicious and heartless? Lycoris said people mourned differently, and perhaps that is true, but to angrily lash out at the people that loved you – well, that didn’t seem healthy to me. Nor did I want to go back to The Realm of Normalcy. It was full of petty, little people with lack of imagination. Not to mention there was no Delphinus there for Ly, and my Qua…oh, goodness, knew I didn’t want to let her go. Yet I had to. I had made a fool of myself, and well, she probably didn’t want to see me again…not after what I had accused her of. Especially given she had been innocent.
Still I had blamed her, and I hadn’t apologized. I was too ashamed of mistake. Too proud to admit I was wrong. I was hoping she’d just forgive me.
Little chance of that happening now.
Mother was making us go home, and Lycoris looked as if she would rather take a knife through the heart. Delphinus I knew had to be a wreck. His father was on the verge of dying, his mother already gone. He was about to become a king without his Queen. We all knew that he wanted Lycoris to be his queen.
My sister would have loved to be his queen.
Yet our interfering mother made us promise we wouldn’t come back to Ladriél. She amended it later to say we could come back when she was dead, but that was little comfort to Lycoris whose heart was shattering more and more the further we drew away from Delphinus. My eye’s watered, too. I tried to brush them away without Ly noticing, but she did, and she hugged me.
“It will be okay, Oliver, at least we have each other.”
I nodded. Yet it was a hollow solace, and we both knew it.
Lycoris gripped my arm tightly suddenly. “Oliver, you have to promise me something.”
“You have to promise me you’ll take my child back to Delphinus when he or she is old enough to understand.”
“We’ll go together.”
“No, the fae that made the prophecy told me I wouldn’t be joining you…”
“Everyone dies Oliver. I just hoped I’d be able to see his face again, but if I am to die, then perhaps…it’s better that the last view I got of his him was his kiss.” She ran a hand through her raven locks. “But I won’t talk of this as I can see it distresses you. Just promise me, okay?”
“Thank you,” she remarked, her knuckles white and taut, clenched tightly enough to cut off circulation.
“Ly, he’ll always love you. If you want to leave, then go.”
“I.don’t.break.promises,” she said through gritted teeth. She glared over her shoulder at our mother. I knew that she hated her, too. “I, I …”
“I hate her, too.”
“Well, I do. She’s making us both unhappy, and all because Richard died. I understand she’s upset, but she doesn’t have to punish the living for the sake of the dead.”
“Well said,” Lycoris whispered. “I wish she could see it that way. She thinks she’s protecting us, when she’s only breaking our hearts.”
Both of us fell silent as we gazed out into the night. The moons of Ladriél were full tonight. One was silver and one amethyst. I couldn’t help but stare at it. “I’ve never seen an amethyst moon.”
Lycoris smiled. “It’s beautiful, it’s the color of his eyes.” She suddenly clenched her fists in an attempt to prevent herself from crying again. I hugged her tightly and she sobbed into my shoulder. “I know life isn’t fair, Olly, but I hate this. Why is she being so cruel?”
“I don’t know. But we’ll have each other. As small a comfort as that is.”
And I knew that was a small comfort indeed. Mother didn’t seem to realize she wasn’t the only one grieving. Yes, we missed Richard – we weren’t monsters, after all, and he was our brother. Yet our hearts belonged with the fae and mermaids we were leaving behind. It didn’t seem as if she cared how badly our hearts were shattered as long as we were safe. I had half a mind to jump off that boat and swim back to Ladriél, but I knew that mother would never forgive me if I did, and as much as I hated her in that moment – I knew that I’d regret alienating myself from my family. Besides, I had to be strong. For Lycoris’ sake if nothing else.