"Destran." I touched him lightly on the shoulder. "Give him a chance."
He frowned but put away his sword and suggested that Urysus led the way through the marshes. I saw the look on Urysus face, and the small smile Destran had. Clearly Destran disliked this man more than he disliked Jack. Which meant that I had a slightly clouded judgement where this newcomer was concerned. I too did not like the feel of him, or his story, but I was not sure whether my distaste was influenced by Destran's. So a chance was the only thing I could suggest, so I could judge for myself.
As we made our way through the marshes, I kept my eyes on Urysus, suspicious of every gesture, every move. I could feel Destran's eyes on the same spot as mine, the small of his back, and as such we did not speak as we followed. Brena could be heard behind us, talking to Lyra about Jack, wondering where he had gone. Mostly, the sounds around us were of the squelching of feet, and the occasional call of some strange creature amongst the branches of the trees. When we stopped for food mid-afternoon, I seated myself on a rock, opening my water casket and taking a sip. As Brena, who seemed to have become our cook and was very good at it, gave out the bowls of another stew, Urysus looked to sidle over to me. I looked swiftly away and became very interested in the trees, hoping he would get the hint and go away. I did not feel like stories and bowing and simpering.
"He is handsome is he not?" Clearly Urysus had not got the message.
"Who?" I asked, peering at him distrustfully.
"His highness. I see you are close. Perhaps I am speaking to our future princess...? But it is none of my business, I am sorry to have bothered you." He began to back away.
"I do not know what gave you that impression. I assure you, Destran and I are just friends."
"Of course my lady. Was only the looks I saw him giving you, the way he takes your word... and the way you look at him."
"I do not look at him in any special way. He is a friend, nothing more."
Urysus bowed and backed away, wandering over to Brena instead. The seed of doubt had been planted however. What way did Destran look at me? I was aware that in the mountains my thoughts to him had changed, but that had been the air. And then there was the song, which could perhaps be stuck in his head still. Perhaps it was only the effects of that which Urysus had noticed. As I thought, Lyra came over to me. I saw Zahkon keeping his eyes on her, and shrugged away the irritability. Whenever a couple were in love it was difficult to be around them, they made everything seem too sweet.
"Do you trust this man?"
"Why did you ask Destran to give him a chance?"
"It was the right thing to do. If he is sincere nothing will happen, if not I am sure we can fight off an old man between us."
"Destran accepted your suggestion with no hesitation... do you think that..."
"You don't know what I was going to say."
"Yes I do."
"Urysus thinks the same. Or similar."
"So you don't trust him but you're thinking about what he said...?"
"Lyra, Destran and I are just friends. I'm not thinking about anything concerning us."
"But maybe the song..."
"No." Lyra looked at me, saw that I was serious and nodded.
"Alright then. I just thought I'd check."
"Thank you. But right now, all I'm concentrating on is seeing the world. Relationships have never mattered to me; if I find someone I will. You know that."
"Yes. Despite the many times I have tried to convince you otherwise..."
I gave her a soft shove and a smile.
"Do you miss the sea?" I asked after a long pause.
"Yes. No. Both I guess. I miss the sea, but I love Zahkon so much that I am practically tied to the land now."
"Yes, I had been wondering how you would live once this is all over."
"At the edge of the forest where it meets the sea." She giggled.
"You've been thinking about it?"
"I hope you will get to live your dream Lyra, I really do. You're my friend, and the best one I could ever ask for."
She hugged me, and then left to return to Zahkon. I watched them, watched their love shining around them and vowed never to be annoyed with it again. Their love was sacred, and it was beautiful.