Craetor and his guards finally finished climbing the spiraling stairs that wound up the interior of the Frae tower. Why did his room have to be up top? Even Saeron had a room several floors lower. Monstroth had the lowest room! That boy didn't mind heights... Maybe Craetor could take his room. When he got back...
'Fool, stop thinking that.' Monstroth would come back to visit, but his title as Sovereign - as the strongest user of Mineral in the world - would force him to leave soon after. That room was as good as useless.
"Roger, Corin," Monstroth said before entering the ornate door, "I will be out shortly, then I would like you to accompany me to the confident's meeting room." Craetor looked at both men's faceless helmets of stone. "They will likely be there, meeting in secret."
Corin - Craetor could only tell it was the hero by where he stood - stepped forward. "How do you know that, my lord?"
"Simple, really," Craetor said, stepping into his room further. "They always did it behind the late king's back. Now, please be patient." He closed the ornate door, smiling slightly as he remembered his daughter making it. Kaela had been so proud, really. She was one of the first and best Water users in the Frae family. The door had been made of stone and through a process called liquid carving. Craetor wasn't sure how it worked, but he simply adored anything Kaela had made him with the Mystic.
As if his thoughts had been forseen, Kaela was siting in his room at that very moment, reading a book on the very thing she had used to make Craetor's door.
"Ah, hello father," she said, standing up and bowing. Though still shorter than he, Kaela was a very tall woman. She had grown up to look just like her late mother, which often made Craetor envy the man she would find. "I was waiting for you."
Craetor chuckled. Yes, this was just what the Healer ordered. "The guards can't hear, so you can stop with the formalities, Kaela."
What a sight it was to see the perfect figure of authority that his daughter had presented change into that of a little girl! Kaela rushed over and hugged her father, making Craetor step back from the impact. Sands, she was strong! Maybe even stronger now. Monstroth was, of course, stronger than his sister and even Craetor himself, but Kaela was close to catching up.
"I haven't been able to see you since the memorial feast two weeks ago!" Kaela said, obviously annoyed. "It's not fair!"
Craetor laughed. "Calm down, I have been preoccupied. Soon, everything will be settled and we can train together like we used to."
Of course, Craetor could still not fathom how his only daughter was so overly obsessed with becoming stronger in every Mystic she had. Plasma, Water, Earth, and Air Mystics made her into a powerful warrior already. Why couldn't she like doing more with art and being, well, a girl? Ah, but Craetor was a father and a father supported his daughter.
"So, what are you heading off to do now, daddy?" Kaela asked, walking over and plopping herself on Craetor's bed. For a moment, a memory of Craetor, Mary, and Kaela all sleeping there. Kaela had a nightmare and so she cuddled between her parents til morning. Mary, were you aware that that your daughter now focuses on fighting more than anything?
"I have to meet with the confident," Craetor said, walking over to his wardrobe. Opening it, he found that his clothing was, once again, neatly folded and placed in proper order. No matter how many times he told the serving women, they still washed his clothing weekly. It was a waste of time washing unworn clothing. "They need to know what I plan to do."
"But won't they try to use your words against you or something?" So she had been paying attention in her political studies. At least Mary would be proud of that much. "They could extend your grieving period, right?"
Craetor nodded without turning and pulled a few small pouches from the bottom of his wardrobe. "Yes, but I am prepared to prevent that."
"OK, but you have to spar with me as soon as you can, daddy!" The sound of a mattress moving told Craetor his daughter had stood up. "Those trainers never go serious, so I end up being treated like a princess."
"Maybe it's because you act like a princess in front of everyone but me and your brother," Craetor retorted, shoving the pouches into his pocket. Hopefully, no one searched him tonight. Of course, who would search a king? But, still...
"Well, I'm only acting all polite because you and Mom told me to be so I can find a husband," Kaela said. There was a pause before she continued. "Not that I want one of those, of course. I'd rather just go to Murdos and join the Arena as a fighter."
Again? "Murdos is not the place you imagine it to be."
"There's barely any murder."
Just stop, Kaela. "Because Murdos, the queen of her self-named islands, is vicious in her pursuit and execution of any murderers."
"So, it's a good place."
Craetor closed his wardrobe and sighed. "I'm not letting you go to Murdos, Kaela, and that's it." Why did she bring this up now? Hadn't she been sated last year when he told her about the horrors that lay in those islands?
"OK, daddy." Kaela said. She hugged him once more and left the room. Well, that bit of sunshine had been dulled. But, Craetor was glad that she wasn't taking her uncle's death hard. They had never been close, but who knew what women's minds were like. Especially one that was only just coming into her eighteenth year.
Craetor left the room, rounding up Corin and Roger. "It's the end of my grieving," Craetor told them with a smile. "So, why don't we let our confident know?"
Both men nodded in unison.