A breach in the contract?

Lucia was shaking. She hid her face with one hand, not wanting Nixon or Soren Falcain to see her acting like this. She was the only legacy of the Keanes now. The Last Magistra. She had one male cousin, but her father was estranged from his older brother, and they didn't even speak at court or in the Advocate Council meetings she had been begging to attend before the order for the Crows was sent out.

"Yes, Nixon." she answered, somehow managing to keep her voice steady.

I'm a Magistra who doesn't deserve the title. I'm the only survivor of the battle between the Crow criminals and my family. When the battle was over I was on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere and a huge storm was coming. I placed a memory seal on myself because I was afraid of grief and told some old woman my name before I passed out. Then she sent me towards Yggdrasil and I ran into you. The rest you know.

"That's who I am."

"Lucia." Soren offered her his hand. "Once Jada notifies your father, you'll be taken home to rest for a while. After that-"

"I'll resume training." Lucia interrupted, standing on her own.

"No, you'll take a break from training."  

"Uncle Soren, I'm not just going to sit around."

"You need to recover, Lucia. Losing your brothers in a battle is a hard thing."

"Don't think I don't know it. I'm going to surpass my father so that something like this doesn't happen again."

"No." Soren reached out to touch Lucia's shoulder. "As your godfather, I can't allow you to torment yourself. You will go home and rest."

"What about Nixon? He helped me get here and break the seal, doesn't that count for something?"

"I don't think this is over yet." Nixon piped up."

"What?" Soren and Lucia turned to look at him.

Lucia rolled her eyes. "It's almost evening and a child doesn't want to go to bed. Why don't you think it's over, Nixon?"

"The dragon. Didn't he seem suspicious to you?" Nixon asked. "I mean, I didn't notice it at the time, but he was a bit odd, even for a creature so old and wise."

"That's not possible. My father has a contract with the dragons stating that they can't harm us. I doubt Inhar would have-"

"Is he the one your father made the contract with?" Nixon interrupted. "Because a dragon who's older than the one who made the contract could easily find a way around it, even ignore it."

Lucia bit her tongue. Nixon had a point, but that didn't mean he was right.  "I don't think that-"

"Lucia!" the door to Jada Typhaeus's hut burst open, nearly flying off its hinges.

"Father?" Lucia turned around. It had been him and her uncle Soren she saw in her vision. Soren was supposed to follow her to the battle, but she had lost him somewhere up the mountain.

Derrick Keane rushed inside and embraced his daughter, holding her tight. "Jada told me everything." was all he said.

"I'm sorry, Father." Lucia whispered in reply. "I did everything I could."

"I know." Derrick soothed. "I'm sorry. The Crows were too powerful. I should have gone myself."

"No." Lucia pulled away. "They weren't really your enemy. Just ours."

Soren cleared his throat. "Lord Keane."

"Soren." The two men embraced. "Thank you for finding her."

"Actually, Father, that's not turn." Lucia corrected her father with ease and pointed to the spot where Nixon had been standing. "He did. This is-" she looked around to find Nixon had sunk to his knees in reverence. "Nick. Nixon Ore, an earth master in training. He found me a day's walk from Yggdrasil and brought me home. He's also the one who helped me find the information on the Crows in the academy library."

Nixon knit his brow, confused, and looked up at her. "You remember that?"

Lucia smiled and shook her head. "I was only amnesic for a while, Nixon, and I've always been a fast healer."

"Stand up, kid." Derrick held out his hand to Nixon. "I'm in debt to you for bringing my daughter home safe. How can I thank you?"

"He helped with the bindbreaking too, Father." Lucia added. "We owe him more than just a thank-you gift."

"T-that's not really n-necessary, Lord Keane." Nixon stammered as he shook Derrick's hand. "Knowing that I helped rescue her is more than enough."

Lucia smirked. Nixon was probably remembering all the bits of her father's history he had bragged to her about right now. "How about a scholarship and a chance to be on the Elite squad? I was thinking of looking into that myself."

"Lucia, we talked about that." Derrick reminded her.

They had talked about it before the Crow mission. Lucia had wanted to join the Elite squad since she was eleven, but her parents thought that she could to bigger and better things with her life.

What happened with the Crows has only strengthened my resolve, Father. I don't want to fight with you about it, but it probably wouldn't be forever. I want to help train those with unique abilities like mine and Nixon's; meet the people I'm supposed to be an advocate to and understand them. That way, I'll know whether I can do it or you have to make my estranged, ungifted cousin your heir.

"That doesn't change my mind. Doing this is the only way I know how to prepare for the future."

"We're not talking about this here." Derrick replied, his tone telling her that what he said was final. "I'll consider your suggestion for this young man's reward, though. You can come back with us, Nixon. I'm sure my wife will want to meet you when I tell her about you."

Lucia frowned. "But won't Mother be upset about-"

"She already knows, Lucia. With Gwendolyn's help, we kept track of the three of you until the battle. We thought a survivor had killed you when your presence wasn't there anymore."

"Oh." was all Lucia could say. If Soren had known that her brothers were dead, would he have left the seal on her? Would her father have left it on her?

"Let's go home." Derrick put his arm around Lucia.

Lucia nodded. Seeing her mother would do them both a lot of good.

The End

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