They had all thronged outside of the walls, for the harbour into the castle was too small to fit them all. Now he stood on the banks, looking out to a mass of people. Some threw white roses fresh-picked from the fields nearby that covered the whole island.
                His father stepped forward, at the head of the band.
                “With the honour of house Dray, I send you out into the world to claim the glory that has been lost to our house for too long.” The speech sounded rehearsed to Devlin. He suppressed his laughter and instead stood with his back straight and his head held high. “Go forth, claim victory at the Kings Tournament and may you take my strength with you.” He finally stopped.
                Devlin stepped forward also. He nodded at his father. “I take your strength father, and I hope that it drives me to this victory, so that all of the work you and your ancestors before you will not have been in vain.” They clasped hands and Devlin felt himself pulled towards his father. They patted each other on the back.
                Eglan stepped back.
                His mother had not been able to come out. They said she still had her strength in her, that she would not fade so long as she thought. Often he had wondered if losing her children to the wider world might lose her the strength she had now. He would not dwell on this now, however.
                Edaran ran up to him and hugged his waist. Devlin ruffled his hair once more and bent down.
                “Be strong now little fish, you remember your promise?”
                “Yeah I’ll keep her safe. And my name is not little fish!” he moaned.
                Now Devlin smiled, the lighted chuckle rising. “No I suppose not. You’re really growing up. Next time I see you, you will be a man, Edaran of House Dray.” He spoke, all formality.
                “Goodbye, Devlin of House Dray.” He echoed. Oh how he would miss his little brother.
                With the dignity a ten year old could muster, he stepped back to their father.
                Then Dalaena glided towards him. She had dressed richly for his departure. A white dress embroidered with gold and a necklace from which hung a pearl framed in gold and bearing the Dray insignia. He realised with a start, it was their mother’s. Dalaena looked a lot like their mother from his earliest memory of her. From the look of her face, both the fear and the good, there was no restraint this day. Despite the fact that the entirety of Dawnrose stood watching beside her, she pulled him into an embrace.
                Her hair smelled of roses.
                “Oh brother, I—I can’t—“
                “—hey,” he moved his head back to look at her face, still holding on to her. “Don’t cry now, there’s a lot of people here watching you.” But the tears fell anyway. He let out a breath filled with his own sadness, and rested his forehead against hers. He knew that behind him, his ship rocked and bobbed as his crew looked down on the events unfolding. And behind her stood men and women, peasants and Lords, many sobbing, many still cheering, many calling his name. But none of that mattered. Right now, there was just the two of them.

The End

31 comments about this story Feed