Zakhon seemed harmless enough, but I wasn’t putting my guard fully down. I did not know this world, and until I did my instincts would be compromised. When he mentioned his past I shrank from him mentally, having realised that he was talking about the history of the blue Falath’Nakan, something all Sievere children were told as children. Physically I would not show him my knowledge of the legend, since this would make me seem weak, and if he was a threat, I did not want that.
Destran seemed to accept his story, tentatively putting his hand out for a greeting. Zakhon stared at it with a slight distaste momentarily, and then shook it. With that, the tension was cut between them, and Destran suggested that we camped here tonight and continued tomorrow. Zakhon seemed to agree and Lyra and I saw no problem either so we took the packs off our horses and laid them on the ground. Then Lyra and I removed our cloaks so that we could more freely prepare for the night and see to our horses; in doing so we uncovered our white dresses that turned in to the water around us when we swam. I saw Zakhon glancing at Lyra and a fleeting look of admiration pass through his eyes before he saw my gaze and lowered his. I shook my head and turned back to my horse, stroking her and removing the reins and saddle. Once I had done that, I looked around, unsure of what to do when making a camp. Destran spoke, seeing my confusion.
“Normally I would light a fire for us to cook from and keep warm by, but I fear that in these woods we may start a fire. Zakhon, what do you do to stay warm?”
“I am warm without a fire. But I would suggest that you wrap in your cloaks. This forest will be cold to you.”
“Thank you. We should take turns to keep guard. Shall we share it between us two?” Destran asked the man. I crossed my arms and gave him a frown.
“You think we’re not capable of keeping watch? We do not need sleep, remember?” I said, gesturing at Lyra and I.
“I thought you would like to rest.” He said.
“Yes, but we shall take our watch the same as you.”
“Then shall we split in to pairs and take half the night each?” He asked. I nodded. That seemed a good idea. The only problem was, I wanted to watch with Destran, but that would mean leaving Lyra with Zakhon. Unfortunately, the decision was made before I could utter a preference.
“I say we will watch first, and Zakhon and Lyra second.” Zakhon nodded and Lyra agreed, so I was left with what I wanted, but unease about giving up my watch when the time came.
As Zakhon and Lyra rested, Lyra finally allowing her eyes to shut and going in to the trance that Sievere went in to when termed ‘sleeping’, and Zakhon closing his eyes once he was assured she was asleep, Destran and I sat in our cloaks, mindful of the darkness around us.
“So you finally explore the world beyond the ocean Yara. What do you think of it so far?”
“I think I may fall in love with this world. There are so many things to be seen under the purple sky, so many people to meet and see...”
“You would think you were part human, the way you’re talking.”
“I think it comes from having you as a disruptive influence when I was a youngster.” I smiled at him in jest and then realised that the last of the light had faded and I could no longer see. My eyes began adjusting, as they could see in the dark caves and waters, and eventually I could see Destran’s face. It then occurred to me that he could not see me, and I stuck my tongue out at him childishly. He did not notice, but continued to gaze in my direction, although his eyes did not meet mine. I stood and watched his eyes dart as he heard the movement next to him. Taking his hands I let him stand, and carefully trod over to a tree. There I let him feel the branches so he was aware of the surroundings, and released his hands. He snatched back one, smiling as he did so. Then he kissed it gently and released me.
“I did not realise how many years we had been apart until I saw you climb from the water. You are much changed.”
“As are you. You don’t have a clam nose as you used to; or perhaps your face has got used to it and grown?” I saw him smile as the old insult hit his ears. Then he looked directly in to my eyes.
“You know, your eyes glow in the dark. They are a bright blue; piercing almost.”
“Sorry if I scared you.” I whispered.
“Scared me?” Huh.” He grunted, visibly puffing out his chest. “I’m a man, and men are not easily scared. Besides that, I am a Prince, and we are never scared of anything.”
“Oh really?” I asked, deciding to try and scare him later. “Well I take it back; you’re not changed at all. You’re still the pompous little show off I used to know.”
“And you’re still the cheeky girl with no manners or respect for your future ruler.” He retorted jokily. I laughed and reached out to sweep away the hair that had fallen on his face. He looked startled at the touch but smiled when he realised what I was doing.
“There, now you at least look like the next ruler of the kingdom.”
He coughed and I saw him blush. Then he turned and looked back to where he thought the others were sleeping. As a matter of fact, he was facing the branches of a tree. A few seconds later and he collided with them, jumping back and pulling out his sword.
“Silly. They’re only branches.” I laughed and took him by the arm to lead him back to our seats.
As we sat closely, wrapped in our individual cloaks, I began murmuring the song I had sang to Destran when we were children. It was a song about the two lovers, the human man and the sievere woman, who lived together on land and whose children fathered the people of Trephin, but who were seperated by her love of the sea. The ending was sad yet beautiful, as he jumps in to the sea to be reunited with his love. As I reached this part I let my voice ring soft but clear, and felt the moisture in the ground and the air dance to the song. This was one of the few sievere songs we were allowed to sing near humans, for it had no magical properties and was merely a love song. This ballad could cause no mischief in the minds and hearts of those who listened.