Chapter Eight: part one

“You gave him your mark.”

“I did.”

“Your protection whenever he needs it.”

“Yes.”

King Nassir turned from the window and looked to Anan. Though they were in a safe place, Anan wore her armor. The full metal plate armor covered her from neck to toe. There was a helmet as well. That sat on a side table. She only wore the armor when fighting, or attending to official Finaran business where her fighting skills might be needed. It was a sign that she knew what she was doing.

The armor shown brightly, even in the room’s low light. They were in the king’s sitting room. It was a lovely day in Finara, not a cloud in the sky. There was a warm breeze blowing off the ocean, stirring the leaves in the trees.

“You only just met him, daughter. This is not a thing done lightly.”

“I started to dream about him before I began my training with Klaes. It is the oldest vision of the future I’ve had. It is the only constant one as well.” A small frown creased her brow. “Before I started training to be a warrior, there was about a year or two when I didn’t remember dreaming of him, but it wasn’t long, and I know I dreamt of him, as I still woke with a smile on my face, his voice in my ear.”

A surprised look came on his face. “That is a long time.”

Elves lived a long time. They were not the only long lived Finarans, but they lived longer than most. Trolls lived the longest. Anan had been appointed as Guardian a century ago.

“When I first dreamt of him, I thought I would meet him quickly. After a few years of dreaming the same thing every night, I stopped believing I would ever meet him. Then I saw him on the road. After more than a century of believing him only a dream, do you really think I would place a simple protection spell on him? I want him well protected.”

“You’ll need to train your replacement, Anan. You cannot be Guardian of the Gate if you protect a human.”

She shook her head. “Protecting him will not remove me from my position. Marrying him will.”

The King raised an eyebrow. “You know what it means for an elf to marry a human, Anan. Do not take this lightly.”

“Father, I have had more than enough time to think about this. I understand the implications.”

He nodded slowly. “All right. Your sister will contact you when she has a few names.”

Anan smiled and bowed.

“You will be staying a few days, yes?”

“Yes. It has been a while since I saw mother and my sisters.”

King Nassir went to his daughter and held her close for a moment. He kissed the top of her head and let her go. “Be happy, my daughter.”

“I am, father. Thank you.”

“Come, let us join the others for lunch.”

Anan smiled and followed her father out of the room.

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