Where Do I Go From Here?

High on the castle parapets, Skye shoved her hands in her pockets and sighed. Bored. She was bored, bored, bored. Castle life had never suited her and it didn't look to be changing anytime soon. She hated Court. Most of the time she couldn't have told you what had happened because she had drifted off into her own thoughts shortly after it started. There were books aplenty in the Library, but she couldn't sit still long enough to finish one. She also hated tea, and cringed anytime someone invited her to one.


If she heard one more time how she should be presenting herself as a Duchess of Amber, she was going to — well, she didn't know what she would do, actually. Skye huffed, scowling at a raven flying overhead. She had sworn fealty to Random for two reasons: Julian and Gerard had, and to stop the looks from people that perhaps thought they saw too much of her father in her. She had her father's eyes, but not his ambitions. But it was definitely not to play dress-up and tea party and politics.

Her eyes gazed out over the currently glass-like surface of the sea. She had once considered enlisting in the Navy, but a talk with Gerard about the realities of life at sea had quickly killed that. She wasn't afraid of hard work or roughing it, but she could see how it wouldn't be the life for her. Despite her love for the changing and mysterious nature of the deep waters.

Skye kicked a rock and followed it back towards the inland side of the walk. She let herself look to Arden. There was no denying it was beautiful. She loved the forest almost more then she did the sea, and Arden reminded her of forests of home. White teeth dragged over a full bottom lip and she rocked back on her heels as she considered again a secret possibility.

She was good with a weapon; better then most. Her horse and she had a rapport that would lend itself well to the quiet movements of a Ranger; a Scout specifically. She had done that before, though not here in this land of her father's birth—and death. He had loved this place; enough to die for it. Skye was not ashamed to admit to herself that she resented it just a little for that. Not as much as she resented that arrogant bastard that caused it all and got away unscathed from the whole ordeal. Her mother's assurance of cosmic justice for the silver plated bastard were taking too long to come to fruition.

Skye gritted her teeth and exhaled sharply. It was the only thing that could set her temper off. Penthesilea had given her that disapproving look when she had lost her control while telling her mother of her father's death. Skye had been taught better. By both her parents. She dropped her head back again to look up at the rich azure of the skies of Amber.

The breeze ruffled her hair as she thought back to things her father had told her of Arden's Warder, recalled her own observations. They did not always jibe, but that was as it should be. She admired Julian —and Gerard, come to that. There were precious few male role models left around here, and those two were the best of the lot. She could do worse then to tie herself to one of them, even if it was just through service in their ranks.

She clicked her teeth audibly for a moment, then turned on her heel and headed for the stairs.

Equinox was happy to see her and nuzzled her playfully as Skye saddled her up. Which made it take longer then it should. Skye tugged the mare's ears teasingly and patted the side of her neck. "How would you like to spend our days riding through Arden?"

The mare curled her neck to eye Skye a moment to see if she was serious. She was as bored with the way things were as her rider. Equinox snorted softly and nudged Skye's shoulder. The woman laughed quietly as she mounted up. "Okay, okay. We're going."


Equinox danced under her impatiently as Skye eyed the treeline. Once they rode under it, her decision would be final in her mind. Was this what she wanted? Really? To go back to that sort of life? No more sleeping in, wearing a uniform every day, mess hall meals, crawling through the dirt and underbrush and goddess only knew what else? Manticores? Barking commanders?

She shuddered at the memory of the first time she had seen one of the manticores. Hideous. Still, in Arden she could be assured of the absence of tea parties and court politics. Not that the military didn't have their own brand of political maneuvering. But if she could be herself anywhere in Amber, she was pretty sure it was out in Arden. Besides, it wasn't like she had to do it forever.

Skye inhaled deeply of the scent of the forest brought to her by the breeze that whispered through the tree canopy. Decision made, she field stripped her cigarette, pocketed the butt, and nudged Equinox forward.

"Let's go find the Warder…."


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