Ch. 3 All is Uncertain in Love and War
A\N: No notes for the beginning of this chapter really(Besides the chapter title.Meh. Not lovin’ it. Suggestions???) Last chapter Daine, Thayet and Alanna were all fitted for their ball gowns for the king and queen’s upcoming celebration ball.
A\N: Daine told Thayet and Alanna that she needed a little “girl advice” in regards to a certain “boy” This chapter we will find out how that all goes down. Thanks for reading!
As Daine, Alanna and Thayet climbed the steps to the king and queen’s suite, the two older women chattered animatedly while Daine walked silently behind.
“…Buri said she saw another one on the rounds last night but that she couldn’t be sure. She thinks it may have just been a big bear. “
Daine’s head snapped up. They were at the chamber doors now. “What did she see?”
“Welcome back to the world,” Alanna said as she laughed. “We thought you had dozed off on us.”
Daine gave a crooked smile “No just thinking is all. What is it Buri thought she saw?”
“From what she told me it was some sort of wolf-man beast. I told her she was crazy. We’ve had bears here before.”
Daine thought back to one particular bear from so long ago it seemed. This bear had come from father north wandering into her front yard one foggy morning. He was sick and back then Daine had no idea what with. If she had known then what she knew now, she may have been able to save him.
Numair. He was the reason she could do things she never dreamed of doing. She loved him for that.
He’s your teacher… A little part of her wanted to listen to that voice inside her; the reasonable side. But since she had fallen for Numair, the side of her was pushed deeper and deeper down into her mind. Once again, every thought led back to Numair.
“Daine? You alright?”
Alanna’s question startled her back into awareness. She realized she had been smiling for a good while about her thoughts on Numair. But all Alanna and Thayet would have seen was Daine grinning foolishly for no reason. It was no wonder they wore identical worried looks on their faces.
In the time Daine had been daydreaming , the three ladies had sat down on the lounge chairs in the front part of the royal suite. I lady in waiting was now pouring tea.
“Thinking about your ‘boy’?” Alanna joked.
“It’s Numair.” Daine blurted.
The smile fell from Alanna’s face. Thayet choked on her sip of tea.
“Before you say anything, let me explain..”
Daine told them the story of everything that had transpired while they had been trapped in the realms of the gods. She told them everything from the cave to finding the trinket Numair had kept with a lock of her hair inside. Then she told them of his proposal and her uncertainty of the entire affair.
“As strange as it may be, I love him. But we are just beginning and already he wants me to make this commitment. I should be flattered but all I feel is uncertainty and fear. What should I do?” She looked pleadingly at the others, begging them to tell her what she should do.
Alanna who still had a wide-eyed look of disbelief painted on her face spoke first:
“I knew for a while that Numair had a new love interest. I just didn’t know for whom he had fallen. I suppose if it had to be someone I would prefer it to be you rather than all the other harlots he usually runs around with.”
Thayet, Daine and Alanna all laughed at this.
“Daine..” Thayet began, “What does your heart tell you?”
“My heart tells me that I love him. But my head tells me to question my heart. I do not know which one to follow.”
“You both have been through so much together. Marriage would make sense. You would be good for one another,” Alanna reasoned. “But I understand why you hesitate. Thayet and I both have husbands and have been through this before so of course we can empathize with you.”
“If I know Numair as well as I think I do he truly loves you Daine,” Thayet added. “There is no reason great enough that would make me think you should say no. But if after this you still are not convinced I have a proposal of my own to make. Are you willing to hear it?”
Daine nodded. “Yes, anything. Just tell me what I should do.”
“Here is what I think. Go to the celebration ball together. If after that night you still are uncertain tell him that you must say no for now. Not a definite no, just one that means you will reevaluate your relationship after some time. If, however, you decide that marrying him is the path you choose, give him the yes and make him the happiest man alive,” she finished with a smile. “Does this sound fair?”
Daine thought for a moment. The ball was still a week away. That would give her time to consider her feelings. If at the end of the week she still did not feel that she could rightfully agree to marry him, it was not meant to be at this time. Daine nodded in agreement with Thayet’s proposal.
“Thank you Thayet,” she said as she stood up to hug her friend.
“I was there once dearest. Though sometimes the heart is a fickle thing, it will always tell you exactly what it wants in the end. You will know when the time is right. I did and now Jon and I have five healthy beautiful children and a passion for each other that I never knew was possible.”
Alanna began grinning from ear to ear. “I still remember when Jon loved me,” she and Thayet broke into fits of laughter while Diane’s face froze in a shocked expression.
“You never mentioned this! Jon was in love with you once?”
“Oh yes,” the Lioness began. “It was so long ago too. It all began when we were pages together..”
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Two days after Daine’s talk with Thayet and Alanna she was out in the stables brushing Cloud when Numair rode up on Spot.
“Woah Spot!” he told the gelding. As Spot came to a halt, Numair ungracefully dismounted and lead Spot to the hitch post before coming over to Daine and firmly planting a long kiss on her lips. Startled by his sudden advance, Daine stood shocked for a moment and then returned his kiss dropping the brush she had been using to brush down Cloud and throwing her arms around his neck, all the while being lifted off the ground by his immense height.
Ahem! Cloud snorted. Not that I am not pleased for you and your newfound love, but I would like to have my coat finished before old age.
Daine pulled away from Numair’s embrace. “Sorry Cloud. I’m coming to finish grooming you right now.” The pony snorted agreement. “Welcome home,” she said as she smiled at Numair over the pony’s back.
“Impatient as ever today aren’t we Cloud?” Numair chuckled as the pony’s ears went back and she lunged, intending to nip at his sleeves which he mechanically dodged just in time out of long practice.
“How were Tkaa and Maura and everyone?” Daine asked referring to their friends in the valley of Dunlath. Numair had been delivering John and Thayet’s invitations to the neighboring valley and also visiting the pack of wolves Daine had made friends with so long ago.
“Just as tired as we are from the war, but everyone seemed pleased for the visit. We rode most of both days and rested very little so Spot and I are in need of some recuperation time.”
Daine put Cloud out in the little paddock next to the stable and went then to begin cooling down Spot. “I’ll take care of him if you want to go inside and relax. I’ll be in shortly,” she smiled as she spoke.
Numair gave her a grateful look, kissed her once more and went inside the little house to begin his own resting. After putting both horses back into their respective stalls, Daine walked back to the house. She stopped as she turned the corner and looked up at the friendly blue walls of the little cottage.
Numair had always owned this cottage, ever since he had come to Corus to escape the clutches of the emperor Orzone. He wasn’t one who could constantly be living in the small suites the king had reserved for those who worked in the castle. Its little mahogany door framed by two floor length windows was friendly and inviting. The slightly crooked little chimney, which would occasionally have puffs of smoke emanating from it when the weather was right, only made the cottage more endearing, and the small garden she had helped him plant made it look bright and cheerful.
You could be the mistress of this peaceful little place, she thought to herself as she continued on inside. All you need to say is one little word and this would be your home too-- not that she didn’t already consider it to be one of her many homes but it would be an entirely different feeling to be the mistress of a home. She sighed as she closed the door, silently chiding herself for being so indecisive and stubborn. Why can’t I just say yes?
She knew why she couldn’t say yes. There were so many little reasons holding her back.
The difference in age, their differing intrests—after all, she would rather spend every day with her furry or feathered friends instead of with her nose in a book or concocting a new spell—not to mention the difference in experience. Numair was a very desirable bachelor. Many a women had fallen under the spell of his quirky smile and lovely warm brown eyes. Daine was so young and so busy with lessons and harnessing her gift that she hadn’t much time for boys; or men for that matter.
Would he have asked you to marry him if he hadn’t already considered those factors? a little voice inside her head reasoned.
Daine climbed the stairs to her bedroom slowly. She wished she could speak with her mother, she would know what to do. But that was impossible. Daine wasn’t supposed to reenter the godly realms after the mayhem of the war. The gods had sealed the realms so that no one could get in or out save on the solstices when the path between the two worlds became blurred. That was how her parents had saved her from the war initially. That’s how she had found out the truth about her da.
As she washed her face in the water basin across from her bed a light knock came on the door.
“Daine? I didn’t hear you come in. How was Spot? I was afraid I would tire him too much but I wanted to be there and back just as soon as possible.”
“Oh he’s just fine. I used a bit of my gift to help him recover a little quicker. I think he will just need to rest for the night and then he’ll be back to his normal self tomorrow morning.”
“Good.” Numair hesitated in the doorway not sure if the next words he wanted to say were something he should vocalize. “You haven’t.. You haven’t thought anymore about my proposal have you?”
“No. I said I needed time Numair. I wish you would just drop it already!” Daine exploded.
“Daine I’m sorry.. I do not mean to continue to pester you..” he sulked.
“Numair..” She turned to face him in the doorway. He looked so sad and rejected. Daine quickly crossed the distance between them to where he stood and hugged him tightly. Surprised for a moment he returned her hug. Placing one finger under her chin he turned her face up to look at his.
“Magelet, I should know better than to be so forward. I can wait. You are worth the wait,” he said before kissing her soundly on the mouth after which Daine buried her face in his shirt.
“I love you Numair. I do. You need to know that I love and care for you more than any living thing.”
A resounding slightly hurt neigh echoed from behind the house.
“Except for maybe Cloud.” Daine and Numair laughed. She smiled up at him and he touched her nose one, two, three times lightly with his lips.
“I love you most my magelet,” he told her. “Come on, let’s find something to eat. I’m starving.”
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A\N: And so ends this chapter! What did you think of the talk between the three ladies?? Do you think Thayet gave sound advice?? Daine was never particularly meek or indecisive in the Immortals series but I have written her as such to make her a little more vulnerable and easy to identify with. She can’t always be strong and assertive (I mean… She could but that’s boring. Uncertainty is just so much more fun to play with while writing;D)
A\N: This chapter took a bit longer because I had to go back and rewrite a few things but overall I am happy with the way it has turned out.
A\N: Next chapter… I have no idea XD I may or may not make the next chapter closer to the ball or I may drag out the week between a bit longer. Thoughts? Leave me some comments, questions, concerns, whatever you feel like Thanks for reading!! Stay tuned for more!!
A\N: OOO!! Also, the giant bear-dog-man thing. What do you think Buri saw?! Am I creating a new creature to inhabit our little universe of Tortall?!! MaaayyybeeJ You’re gonna have to read more if you wanna knnnoooww