There is a point, Innes thinks, where even the sterling vocabulary of a royal may falter, where his tongue which can silence the most upstart noble or uncouth mercenary cannot deliver, where he simply will fail to describe what has happened.

That point is where Eirika lives, where she breathes and moves and fights.

Again and again and again he cannot find the words to capture her, nor the words to say that will make her eyes shine in the way they do when those pretty pink lips praise her beloved older brother. It eats at him like ravenous madness, eroding at him until he feels nothing, not even rage, only a cold void and an inexplicable weakness in his hands that has nothing to do with the wear of war.

But he remembers that, once upon a time, Ephraim hit the target at a hundred paces where he could not hit it at fifty.

Today, Innes can hit it from two hundred, with one eye shut.

So he smiles a determined smile, trying again and again and again to define her.

Perhaps one day he will not only find the words, but he will find her heart as well.