“Of course you can come to the meeting. It might be good for us to have a new mind in the decisions that send our kin to their deaths,” Lucius said, contempt and disapproval staining his voice like blood on newly blooming carnations.
“You really don’t like this war, do you?” Beth asked him, already knowing the answer.
“No, I don’t. War has caused the destruction of too many families. Nevertheless, I shall continue to let my father know of my distaste, not that it would sway his decision, and so I must attend this meeting. Let’s go.”
Beth stood up as Lucius did, following him closely as he walked down the corridors. There weren’t very many around, but there was quite a lot of noise from downstairs.
“How is the war going at the moment?” Beth asked, hurrying her pace so she could walk level with him. He seemed to notice and slowed down.
“Well, we’ve been slowly sending squadrons to the front, but there is no fighting as of yet. We have been mapping the battlefields and trying to keep note of the enemy’s movements and imports. They have a lot of weapons, perhaps more than we know. They are prepared whilst we are not. We’re trying to rectify that problem as quickly as possible.”
The pair continued in silence until they reached a door. As Lucius moved to open it, a gentle female voice called to him:
“Lucius, where is Storm?”
“Mary,” Lucius greeted warmly as he turned to face her. “I didn’t know you were coming. I don’t know where Storm is, sorry. I haven’t actually seen him since late last night.”
“Ah, I meant to talk to him. Do you know if he’s in the city?” Mary enquired.
“Most certainly, he wouldn’t leave so close to a major event without a very good reason and informing someone.”
“I thought not. And I assume you have a meeting now. He surely wouldn’t miss such a thing. Would you mind terribly if I entered and simply waited for him?”
“Of course not. This is Beth, the fiancée of Prince Robert.”
“Ah, yes. I had heard. My sincerest apologies for what has happened to him.”
“I doubt you know the full extent of it,” Beth murmured.
“So do I. Though I can empathise with your loss. I am sorry.”
Beth studied the woman for a few moments. “Thank you.”
Lucius opened the door and entered, leaving it open for the two women to enter after him.
Beth looked Mary over, remembering Destiny mentioning the name in the forest that morning. Mary’s hair reached down to her hips in a beautiful plait, the sky blue colour of her hair shimmering in the bright candle light. Her large eyes, framed by thick lashes, were the colour of terracotta and her skin that of corn silk. Her slim figure was accentuated greatly by her tight dress, which showed all of her obviously feminine curves. Beth couldn’t help but feel jealous of her beauty.