Today’s blog is brought to you courtesy of two items; a writing prompt from Ink and Quill and a photo taken by a friend of mine who just happens to be one of my readers.  He has the advantage of living in a beautiful part of our state. The moment he captured spoke to me so here we are.   Here is the Ink and Quill prompt.

Dancing: Who’s dancing and why are they tapping those toes?

Here is the image:

Near the Maumee River, sunset.   Photo taken by Nick Hendry.

The leaves crunched beneath their feet as they walked together.  Her skirts rustled to disturb the quiet peace of evening.   Who could have guessed after all this time, after all the heartache here they stood?  Nicholas looked down at the beautiful, petite woman beside him and smiled.  When a thoughtful expression crossed her features, he favored her with a puzzled look.  Alexandra’s expression meant a matter weighed heavy on her mind.  Nicholas could tell she was debating the merits of telling him.   “What troubles you, little one?”

Miles from the capital, the pair were on assignment in Swyngate.    Christiana asked them to scout ahead to help plan the Adryn progress ahead. In truth, she had asked Alexandra to take the assignement.  The Queen just allowed Nicholas to accompany his beloved rather than Marcus.  Jacob Swyngate, lord of this section of the south, was a good man who made every effort to see to their comfort and answer their inquiries. The crisp air and calmer pace gave them an opportunity to connect in a way that life in the bustling capital did not allow.  These lands, they agreed, could serve as a safe haven if needed.  Alexandra had already assured the lord that he would receive a royal visit while on progress next Adryn.

“A task ahead troubles me.” Alexandra admitted on honest tones.  “You know my dreams as of late have awakened me more than once.”  A small smile tugged at the corners of her mouth as they walked through the mid-Isean weather. Beyond them, the river rushed on and the skies glittered.  “I am afraid, Nicholas.”  As she spoke, she slid closer to him.  His warmth had the power to comfort her in a way her brother’s familiarity never did. Nicholas would never question her Fate-given duties.  Her brother would. “What is ahead may destroy what we have all worked so hard to build.”

Nicholas hugged her close and whispered. Their companionship in these last years had become an easy one.  The days of fighting each other’s pride to be together were long gone.  “Can you share your duty with me, little one?”  The fear danced across her sea-hued gaze.  Years ago, the man he was would not have offered to share the burden of Fate’s duty.   He never would have thought to.   Nicholas was raised to believe that the Sorceress’ needed none but their Knight. This woman taught him a different way to look at their realm’s structure.  This generation of royals worked as a unit to build their dreams.  Station and title meant little to them when it came to their people, their realm.  Their unity inspired him. For all that he taught them in rebuilding the realm, they taught him in return.

She stopped him at the riverside.  Beneath the dying daylight, the river glimmered silver.  Purple etched the skyline as the sun sank beneath the horizon.  “I believe I need your help.  I do not know that you could survive without knowing what will come.”   Alexandra took a breath and released it.  She had to tell him.  In her dreams, she saw his magic saving her life.  She needed to know why; so many why’s existed with this Duty.  The result could mean closure on what felt like an ages old heartache for her Queen.   “I need you this time, Nicholas. More than ever.”

On quiet tones, she outlined her dreams and what she believed Fate required of her.   As she spoke, Nicholas alternated between patient grace and absolute terror.  What she planned was an enormous risk.  If she survived, they would have answers to a problem that he knew haunted his beloved.  Also, if she survived, she would have to deal with the repercussions of her choice on multiple fronts.  If she failed, Nicholas would press on for Kira’s sake but his life would never be the same.  “Very well, little one.” He whispered and bent to kiss her as though this was the last time.  “Until that time, I will enjoy what time I have with you.”

At last, Nicholas understood her.  Nicholas understood she would do what must be done with or without him.   The best he could do was support her.  “We will steal what moments we can.”  And with that, he swept her up into a simple waltz that had her laughing.  Her laughter held its own magic for him. The stress around her eyes faded and, for this moment, she could just enjoy their new-found closeness.  “Find joy where we can until, little one.  I will not fail you this time.”  He said when their impromptu dance came to a close.  The pair continued along the riverside to plan what would come to pass.  He could prepare but the task would be hers alone.



Thanks for stopping by today gang!  Stay tuned for big news about the Guardian’s Redemption release come October!

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