Letting Go

The day Eric comes to Scythia for his daughter

Penthesilea watched from the balcony as her daughter greeted her newly arrived father with happy enthusiasm. Not for the first time she wondered if the blue-eyed girl realized just how unusual her relationship with Eric was. The number of Scythian females who could point to a man and identify him as their sire was a minority of the matriarchal population, fewer still cared. In contrast, Skye clearly adored her sire, and that made it a rare relationship indeed. That he was genuinely fond of her spoke well for him.

She turned from the scene to go back into the Throne Room. He was taking her away today; away from Scythia and the only life she had ever known. Even though they had both known the day was coming, the Queen was feeling decidedly unsettled at the notion that her favorite child was being taken to live in foreign lands among people Eric freely admitted were mostly untrustworthy, and all dangerous in their own right. So much so that he wasn't even planning on telling them who Skye really was for an undetermined amount of time. She freely admitted her resentment and worry at the subterfuge her daughter would have to partake in - even if only to herself. In battle Skye could defend herself admirably; but the players of Court intrigue used other weapons, and Skye was not as adept at wielding them as she was a blade.

When he had spoken to her before going to Skye, she had noticed the lines of tension around his eyes that hadn't been there before. Penthesilea knew them for what they were; she had acquired her own early in her reign. She dismissed her assistant and the Court with an irritated wave of her hand, and only noted their absence when she heard the closing of the golden door. Eric's rich baritone laugh drifted up from the garden; a counterpoint to Skye's lighter one. She was going to miss his visits - she wasn't fool enough to think Eric's continued visits to Scythia were because of her own charms. Well, not completely. But with the burden of a Regency and Skye by his side in his distant homeland, Eric's ability to slip away - and his reasons for doing so - were very limited. Eric was the only man who she recognized as her equal. She would miss that - not that she would ever admit it out loud.

She was pulled from her musings and her pacing by the sound of the side door opening. Pulling herself together, the Queen of all Scythia turned to face her favored child.

Skye was glowing, her face flush with the recent exertions her father's arrival had interrupted and the excitement his visit brought. There could be nothing in all the worlds brighter then that smile, or the excitement that sparkled in her eyes.

"Na!" she exclaimed happily. "Da is taking me to Amber! Tomorrow! Oh, I have so much to do! I have to pack, and decide what to take, and tell everyone good bye, and…" she suddenly fell silent as she registered the look in her mother's eyes. It brought to the forefront exactly what else she would be leaving behind. "I… Oh, Na…"

Penthesilea gave her a ghost of a smile and held an arm open to her daughter. "We knew this day was coming, p'ha," said the mother quietly as her daughter came into her offered hug. "It is well that you go now to the land of your father's birth. I have had you for all these sixteen summers. It is his turn." Skye sniffed against her robed shoulder and Penthesilea tutted. "Scythian warriors do not cry, Skye," she chided her softly. "Especially when they are not in Scythia. Do you understand?"

She nodded instead of answering with words. Penthesilea ran her hand down the length of her daughter's braid. "You will be able to return home anytime. Your Da has promised me. It will be strange for you there, but you do as he says. We only have an idea of what you will be facing, you and I. Even if you do not like it, he is only looking out for you. Here you are among Sisters, and it does not matter so much that you wear your heart on your cuff. There it is different. Remember what I have taught you."

It took another moment before Skye raised her eyes to her mother's. "I will, Na," she said quietly.

Penthesilea smiled, and smoothed a loose tendril of Skye's hair back from her face. "I know. Do not let them make you soft; you are a woman of Scythia. Always remember that."

Skye smiled. "How can I not?"

Penthesilea caught movement from the corner of her eye. But it was black and red and she did not worry when it stayed there across the room. "You have much to do. Send word to your shield sisters first. They will want to wish you a safe journey. I expect you to join us for dinner this evening, but afterwards, you will revel with them one last time before your path leads you elsewhere."

There was a moment when it looked like she might just cry again, but then it was gone. "I will see you at dinner," she said instead before kissing her mother's cheek. Skye turned and gave her father a blinding smile before she left her parents to themselves.

Penthesilea watched the door close behind her daughter. The silence crept over the pair in the Throne Room for a long moment before it was broken by the Queen. "A mother is not supposed to have favorites. But that does not always work out as it should." She turned her pale green eyes to meet Eric's blue. "If anything happens to her…"

"It will not," he stated strongly. "With my own life I will protect her."

"That would upset her greatly."

A sooty eyebrow curled upward over an amused expression. "Only her?"

Penthesilea laughed. "Your ego requires no feeding from me. I grant that you will be a difficult lover to replace, but no more."

"You wound me, woman," Eric grinned. It was a look that had surely made a thousand woman across infinite Shadows swoon, but this one just snorted. It was one of the things he liked about her. He pushed himself off the wall and moved over to her. "We have a few hours before dinner. Shall we speak of the headaches of ruling? Of outrageous petitions and annoying ambassadors?"

She was a tall woman, but she still had to look up slightly to meet his eyes when they were close. "Perhaps later," she replied with a smile full of promising invitations. "No, I have a much better way to wile away a few hours…."

Skye slipped silently away from where she had been eavesdropping. As she made her way swiftly down the sunlit hallway, she admitted in the small dark places of her mind where secrets were kept that she envied her mother.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License