(( Author's Note: I'm beginning to need ideas, but I think I can handle it myself. :c I'm going to be introducing our pages soon, once I figure out how. Trolol. Kay. Happy reading, guys. ))
It wasn't until late that night, when Raoul came in to say goodnight did she even try to work up her courage to question him. He looked worn out: the lines around his mouth deeper. His eyes seemed sunken and tired. If it wasn't her curiosity and demanding part of her that led her thinking that this was important, she would have kissed his forehead and made him go to bed. Or if he refused to do so because of "work", she'd make him some tea that would cause him to fall into a deep sleep and finish his tasks he had left.
However, this wasn't the time, and she was anxious, her heart beating a mile a minute. Raoul sat down next to her, feeling her forehead, for her cheeks were flushed with anticipation.
"Your forehead's hot," he stated bluntly. "Are you feeling sick, duckling?" He blinked his dark eyes at her while she realized how clammy her hands were.
Smiling wryly, Rey batted her eyelashes warily and shook her head "no", even though her stomach was beginning to churn and her vision swayed. Steadying herself, she took a deep breath to calm herself. Perhaps, she was just tired and the time without her rest was just getting to her head.
Looking down, she began, "Papa, what did King Jonathan mean by me not being the only one in grave danger - what danger? And what about telling me soon? How does any of this have anything to do with my becoming of a knight?"
He looked stunned. At one point, he opened his mouth, but closed it once more; unable to say anything.
As for herself, her body was shivering, her throat dry. Rey found herself wanting to take back her inquiry, but instead thought of a different way for her to coax it out of her father.
Remembering the part of Jonathan and Raoul's discussion about the Commander believing his daughter would desert him if he refused her becoming a knight, she took his calloused hand in her mildly scarred one with a slight cringe. She'd had to use it as a supporting reminder, even though she hated to bring up fragile topics like that. They way he said it… she hadn't seen her father so vulnerable before. What had happened to the happy bear that was always so happy to please people? The one that had ran to Buri, seeking shelter from the ladies who were waiting for his hand in marriage? He just wasn't the same right now…
"I promise I won't leave you if it's anything rash. Swear it. Cross my heart." She pat his hand after she marked her heart with an 'x'. "Mithros grant you justice if I ever do and send me to the Black God," she had added needlessly. Raoul shook his head as she bit her lip, their eyes locking in intensity. She had a feeling this wasn't going to be an average father-daughter conversation.
Like she did before she had released her flurry of questions on him, Raoul took a deep breath, exhaled, and paused, trying to figure out his explanation.
Finally, he began. "About thirteen years ago, I was called with my Company to rid of Spidrens that had colonized near a town that was located where the Drell River and the Great Road intersect. My ream and I took a day or two to get rid of the beasts, but we managed." Raoul's eyes were thoughtful as he explained, but Rey still couldn't figure out where this was going.
"At that time, Tusaine was suffering from bad weather, failed crops, and invasions from it's neighboring countries considering how weak and malnourished their army was, this was a particularly good time for Tyra and Galla to take what was left of it.
"King Ain and all of the nobles of Tusaine were deprived of their banquets, and their commoners of festivals. 'King Ain' was barely managing to clothe his wives-" He was stopped by Rey's questionable look when he said 'wives', so he took a moment to explain that Tusaine was a polygamous country and that most noblemen had more than one noblewoman at his side." Rey nodded, appreciative of his explanation rather than leaving it off. With a nod of her head, she beckoned for him to go on.
Her father murmured something like, "where was I" and gave a blunt "oh" before picking up his spot.
"Yes, well, anyways, he was barely managing to feed and clothe his women, let alone feed the rest of his nation. However, in May, you were born as his daughter. This created a rather quick debate as to whether you were to stay or go… And they decided against feeding and clothing yet another child. King Ain sent his brother, a spy, to drown you in the Drell, rather than shed any blood…" He paused, looking wistfully at the long lock of gingery hair between his fingers, "His own daughter…"
Sighing, he picked up again, "So, your uncle took up his duty of drowning you, his niece, in the river - however, for a five-month old, you had lungs. That, alone, was loud enough for us to find you in that burlap sack and capture your uncle."
She smiled wryly at him, and he returned the same distorted smile back to her. "Lungs, huh," she croaked, "Though, I can barely manage to speak now…" Her voice was somewhat saddened. Rey had yet to find her voice to speak up. Her body throbbed from all this information being filed into her cabinet of memories.
Raoul hugged her head and finished, "And so, with no training in how to raise a child, I sent for Buri for help since she was back on her ride to Corus with the Queen's Riders. She and I were already acquainted then, and she was the first I thought of… And then you grew attached to us, as did Buri and I you. Your uncle was sold back to King Ain after being put on trial, for he had crossed the border and tried to drown you - and drowning children, may I add, isn't exactly lawful here. So, like I said, Ain bought the sucker back with little money he couldn't spare and here you are now.. Thirteen years and about.." he quickly counted the months, weeks, and days on his fingers, "two months, one week, and two days old." He smiled tiredly and kissed her forehead. "Not a very good bedtime story, huh?… Well, anyhow… Even though, I'm not your real father, I act it because you're like my real daughter. I couldn't call you anything less. And you always will be."
Rey smiled weakly, croaking, "To me, you still are." By now, she was feverish, her forehead burning. "You'll always be my Papa… no matter what.."
She blacked out; her grip on her father's hand now limp. Raoul looked around frantically, biting his lip. He wasn't used to her getting sick. He was usually away the times she did take ill, or a healer took the sickness away when he was there.
Naturally, since it was summer, no one expected the need of a healer at Malorie's Peak. If anything, raiding parties could come from the North, but they were at a safe distance from the Scanran border and King "Maggot" was being overthrown. There was nothing to fear like there was before.
Pick up her body with his wary arms, he hurried over to the infirmary, laying her down on a fresh cot, its white sheets unblemished with any creases. His eyes searched the room for a cloth he could wet down and place it on her forehead, and needless to say, he found one.
Raoul followed the procedures of wetting the cloth and placing it on her forehead, then ran a warm bath for her after calling a once-sleeping maid to watch over her. After such, he ran for Buri, whom had just returned from a three-day ride from the North.
By the time Rey was awake again, it was morning. She was in a fresh set of pajamas, for her others had been soaked through the fabric with sweat while her body was fighting back the virus. When she sat up, she realized that there was no one around except Red, who had found that the window was open. He was eating bird seed that the maid, perhaps, left him, realizing that this was the bird that Rey took care of.
The redhead cooed over the bird, whom hopped lightly over the sheets with it's eyes bright and curious. "I'm fine, Red. Just got a little ill last night. Did Lyra let you in?"
The robin chirped in approval and tried to flutter with his one wing to her shoulder, but eventually had to resort in hopping on the creases of the bed sheets.
Later on, Lyra, the maid who took care of her last night returned with warm broth, guessing that her throat might be hurting - which it was, but it wasn't a big deal. Lyra took the sheets and changed them after moving Rey to a different cot, then left the room with a pleasant 'goodbye' off to her other chores she liked getting done with before the day ended. She had always been like that and the blonde woman took her role seriously which Buri and Raoul thanked her for, even though they told her that she needn't do so all the time.
Rey sat up awkwardly, setting aside her half-eaten bowl of soup on the bedside table next to her and pulled herself out of bed so she could wander around the house. In the mornings, the servants were always quickly getting their work done to get it put aside, and Rey didn't like to bother them, so she took detours, going down sets of stairs no one normally used, or finding secret passageways only she new of.
This time, she exited through the trap door that led into the downstairs' bathroom which most people didn't bother to use since it was off put from most rooms that they used. Quickly, she exited after heaving herself down and closing the trap door above her, little Red on her shoulder quietly, only peeping his disapprovals every once in a while when she accidentally squished him slightly between her cheek and shoulder when getting down from places above.
Eventually, she got outside, still in her pajamas and sat in the grass quietly like she did when she was thinking or making crowns out of clovers for no particular reason. She liked it outside because of the cool breezes and shades of tree that felt good on hot days like this. Though, she appreciated the sunshine, she didn't like the intensity of the warmth from them.
Quietly, she took a variety of clovers - light pink, magenta, and deep purples - and braided them into a small bracelet, thinking about what happened last night, because, quite frankly, she couldn't remember.
What was it that she remembered being troubled about? Was that what got her sick?
She shrugged, continuing to braid the clovers together, sighing in frustration.
The horrors of forgetting were overwhelming, but this time, why did she feel as if it was for the better?