The romance between Anargen and Seren is one of young love.
That love, somewhat tragic, becomes an important part of the events that shape
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snapped underfoot as Anargen strode through the forest. Normally he tried to be
quieter, but night had fallen, and he was not alone.
you sure this is the way?” Seren asked, glancing back the way they’d come.
just grinned. The woods around Black River tended to be dense. Most of its
paths were just deer trails. For the uninitiated, they would seem labyrinthine.
“Absolutely. My father has taken me through here often. Have some faith.”
reached out and gave his hand a squeeze. “If there are any who wander without
being lost, I’m sure it is you. Lead the way.”
was nice being able to show her something for a change. “Okay, stay close.
We’ll be coming up on the river bank soon. Watch out for roots too, they’ll
trip you up.”
I see. Don’t want to fall in. With all that coal on the bottom, the river is
dark enough during the day.”
current isn’t very fast, but it’s definitely not how you want this night to
end.” He laughed.
do you want this night to end?” she asked, innocence in her voice.
he didn’t want it to end, ever. “Any way except returning you home sopping wet.
I’m sure your mother is grateful for the tools, but that would probably ruin me
in her eyes.”
no it wouldn’t. It couldn’t undo all that good. The craftsmanship was
impressive. You’re more a blacksmith than you admit.”
From the look of shock on Arnauld’s face when I’d finished, you’d think I’m
never in that shop.” Anargen half-turned and imitated the expression. Something
close to how a rock would look surprised.
you really aren’t there often,” she pointed out chuckling. “Didn’t you even
leave early today to bring the tools?”
but really it was you who suggested I show you these woods. So, I think it
might be you who kept me from returning to my duties.”
she huffed in mock fluster and gave him a shove. As she did, she pitched
forward suddenly with a squeal of surprise.
spun and caught her. For a few seconds, he held her like that, his heart
racing, ready to catch her many times over. He helped her back to steady
footing. Though not with any haste, he enjoyed the closeness more than was
you,” she whispered.
pleasure.” Feeling his awkward nature strangling him for what to do or say
next, he cleared his throat. “Like I said, watch out for roots.”
smirk crept up on Seren’s lips. “Duly noted.” Linking her arm in his, she laid
her head against him and said, “Though it’s probably best I stay close.”
agree,” he replied. Against his will, his heartbeat raced faster. It wouldn’t
be so embarrassing were Seren’s ear not so near to hear the change. Strangely,
the rhythm calmed considerably after a minute or so more walking with her.
There was something so easy about it. Soothing.
needed it with the maelstrom of abnormal happenings this week. All day he’d
dreaded Sir Cinaed showing up, or worse his strange little visitor. Seren made
all of it seem so far away.
the time they reached the water’s edge, it had to be an hour till midnight.
“Here we are,” he said gesturing to a small jetty. “The best place to view the
stars in Walhonde.”
the way Seren’s mouth hung open, eyes wide, he knew she agreed. The river was
wide here and the already dark waters were as deep an indigo as the sky above.
In the gentle current it reflected all the starry host above. Fireflies blinked
in and out of existence among the trees of the opposite shore and hovered near
enough to touch. Standing on the dock, it appeared the stars were all around
never see anything like this in Stormridge,” she murmured.
never see anything like this anywhere,” he wanted to say. But he could sooner
move a mountain than speak so freely. “Really? Didn’t you see the stars there?”
of course. But not like this. Not half of this,” she said as he helped her sit
down on the weathered boards.
down beside her, he slipped his feet in the water next to hers. “Do you see any
stars you recognize from there?”
a few seconds, she nodded and pointed to the right. “That group is known as
Bellafortis the Gryphon. And a little bit below is Dolosus the Wyvern. The two
are supposed to be always locked in battle. ‘Valor and deceit, war without
respite, Battle of all souls, mirroring their strife.’”
raised his brows and Seren blushed. “It’s something a poet from home wrote
about them. It’s much longer but that’s the part I remember best. Though the
myth actually comes from Ecthelowall, not Stormridge. It’s tied to their
ancient line of monarchs somehow. A lot of the fabric of Libertias’s society is
still very much . . .”
splashed some water at him, “Anargen, are you listening?”
yes. I’m sorry,” Anargen replied. In truth, he was only half aware of what
she’d said. Her poetry and the beauty of being with her here had distracted
him. It was clear from her eyes. She’d fallen down the same hole into a new,
other-world as him.
the gentle thrum of summer’s night-pulse, he snuck another lingering kiss. In
it he needn’t keep wondering whether he had taken the dive so much sooner than
her after all.