A/N: Yeah ... Long time no update. Sorry about that but my inspiration had been very low lately, not to mention I've been busy.
Thanks to reviews from ChaosLightning13 (I didn't realize the time jump was jumpy, sorry about that, but nothing worth writing about happened in those two months.), Ray Venn Hakubi (Thanks for the comment although I'm still not completely convinced), Serami Nefera (Rothas wasn't Chosen, the Companion was just getting him away from Vrail), Atavri Shian (Would you mind telling me what your ending would have been? If I like it I'd try to incorporate some of the ideas if you don't mind. I like having a different idea of what could happen. Here's your update too.)
:Why don't you visit Rothas: Natari asked Lythe. :You haven't seen to him for nearly two weeks and you haven't talked to him for longer.:
:I'd like to, but I'm exhausted: Lythe replied. She had just come from the bathing room after finishing weapons-class. The Weaponsmaster had worked her harder than ever before, and Lythe was curious why the sudden change, but she was too tired to put too much thought into it.
:Don't you think he might be lonely:
Natari sounded completely serious, to Lythe's confusion. :Why? I'm sure he's been able to keep as busy as I am, and he has Vrail too.:
This conversation was making her uncomfortable. The truth was, and Lythe had a feeling Natari knew this, was that she knew Rothas was angry with her. And she knew it had to do with how busy she had been lately. She had been learning how to control her Mage-Gift and Foresight. She was learning about law and geography and countless other things Heralds had to know, and she was exhausted and brain-dead by the end of the day, and in no mood to visit Rothas.
Maybe if they had said yes when Vrail had asked them if they wanted to share a bedroom, this wouldn't be happening. But Rothas had said that he didn't want to distract Lythe from her classes. Had he said that out of generosity or in an effort to avoid her? Had he been angry at her that long?
But knowing that Rothas was mad at her made her purposefully take extra tutoring with her teachers. It gave her an excuse to avoid him, but she knew she was only making it worse. Still, she knew Rothas had a temper and given how busy and tired she had been without her extra classes, she hadn't wanted to face it. It was something that was always in the back of her head and lately it actually had made her skittish and short-tempered at the same time.
:He and Vrail fought and aren't speaking anymore. You need to resolve this; it's only hurting you both.: There was a hint of steel in Natari's voice, and Lythe reluctantly stood up.
:You're not the one who's going to get his temper: she muttered. Natari was silent and left her mind.
Now that Natari was gone, Lythe wanted to lay back in bed. But I can't. Natari will just give me another lecture, she thought, annoyed.
She wondered where Rothas was, but wasn't in the mood to ask her Companion, who was making her do this.
She wandered aimlessly around the Collegium and Palace grounds. She asked the servants and passing Bards and Heralds if they knew where Rothas was, and for every no she got for an answer, the angrier she became. She had been walking around for ten minutes when a Bard-trainee finally answered that he was in the Companion's Field, under a large oak tree next to the unfinished chapel. But it took another ten minutes to actually get there because she had been on the end of the Palace farthest from the Companion's Field.
"There you are," she said, exasperated when she reached Rothas and the tree he was sitting under. In his hand was a stack of paper, but she didn't know nor care what they were about.
Rothas narrowed his eyes. "Excuse me?"
"I've been looking for you for twenty minutes."
"Why were you looking for me? I surely don't deserve your attention." His voice was full of haughtiness. "Don't you have more important things to do … Herald."
Her anger flared. "I came down her to talk about why I've been so busy lately, so here it goes. I've been learning skills that will one day help this kingdom while you are sitting her moping."
Rothas jumped to his feet, the papers that had been in his hand now floating to the ground. "You're not the only Herald in Valdemar, you know—you're not even a Herald, you're a Trainee. I think the world can wait for a few hours so spend time with your lifebonded. But no, you're being a self-righteous bitch and pretending to save the world!"
"I'm not pretending to do anything! I'm just trying to put my Gifts to good use!"
"I'm getting my Mage-Gift trained too. What do you think I'll do after I master it—go on a killing rampage? No. I'll be doing the same thing as you, I just won't need a Companion to act as my conscious—I've already got one."
"I have a Companion because I have the right qualities to be a Herald and you don't. Don't take your anger out on me because you weren't Chosen!" Lythe turned around and started walking away.
Rothas looked at her incredulously. "You think I want to be Chosen? I don't know where you got that idea, but the last thing I want to do is be one of you!"
"I can see right through you, Rothas,"Lythe said. "You might as well stop lying to yourself."
She picked up her pace and missed Rothas' reply, if he had one. She got some satisfaction from having the last word, but not enough to cover pain coming from the bond to Rothas.
She doesn't know what she's talking about, Rothas thought angrily as he paced in the Field. She doesn't understand me at all. She's been spending so much time with her Herald friends—especially Vrail, I bet. She doesn't know anything. She's too blind to see it. She doesn't know, he repeated. She doesn't know.
Lythe must think she so superior, a Herald-Mage with her own Companion. She doesn't need me anymore. All she needs is her egotistical friend Vrail and she's just fine. He angrily kicked the oak tree and cried out in pain. Damn her and Vrail. They don't need me and I don't need them.
A candlemark later Rothas left Field, hoping he calmed down enough to not snap at anyone who talked to him. He had picked up the scattered papers on the ground, which had humorous song about what happens when you drink a bit too much. He walked to the Bardic library and opened the door—and ran right into an exiting Bard.
"Watch where you're going," he said sharply.
The Bard looked slightly shocked at the rudeness. "I see someone is having a bad day."
Rothas looked up at him, not because the Bard had snapped back at him, but because he had said it with humor in his voice.
"I won't let something like this ruin my day; shouldn't either," the Bard said and handed the music Rothas had dropped to him.
"Thanks …" Rothas said warily, and then knew why seeing the Bard had been giving him a nagging feeling. It was the Bard he had met the first day he had come to the library. And the Bard recognized him too, because he stuck out his hand and introduced himself with all the cheer in the world.
"Hi. I'm Bard Renir, but you can just call me Ren."
"Hi, I'm Rothas," Rothas said, feeling all his anger leave, unable to stand against Ren's joyfulness. No, he felt more confused by his sudden change in mood.
"We've met before, I believe. And I've heard plenty about you," Ren said, just as happily. Rothas was wondering if there was anything that would bring down his mood.
"What did you hear?" Rothas asked cautiously.
"Well—the Bard suddenly sat down on a stone bench next to the door. Feeling uncomfortable standing over him, Rothas did the same—"It seems lately you've been sulking, ever since your argument with Prince Vrail. Your lifebonded Lythe has been Chosen but you haven't and you haven't spoken often either."
Rothas was about to ask where he had heard that, but the Bard interrupted, suddenly serious. "You must be lonely."
"What?" Rothas was caught off guard by the change of subject. "Well, it's okay most of the time because I've spent the last few years of my life alone."
"Because of your curse. Wouldn't you sleep when it became dark?"
"Yes." Rothas didn't want to talk about his curse and kept his answer brief. Ren obviously noticed because he then said, cheerful again,
"Why don't we go out into Haven for a few candlemarks and I can show you there's more to this place than this Collegium and Palace. There's a tavern Bards go to to show off their new songs. I'm sure we'll fit in just fine." He smiled again, and Rothas grinned too.
"Sure. I'd like that."