Here's part two, dears. Hope it turned out alright. :) Enjoy.
Also, reviews; I love them. ;)
Daine thought quickly, trying to see how long she could go telling her son about the Stormwing he was named for before having to tell him that he was, in fact, a Stormwing. It only took a second for her to realize that it would not be long at all.
She looked from one child to the other, willing herself to begin. Though it was Rikash's story and his opinion she wanted, Sarra was the one who gave her the bravery to begin. In her own ten year old's face, Daine saw the young Maura of Dunlath, the girl without whom Daine's opinion towards stormwings would likely have never changed. Maura had only been Sarra's age, and had been able to understand that a creature's nature did not make it good or evil. Perhaps her children would as well.
She realized she was mulling this over too long, and Sarra spoke up, "Well, go on, Ma. Aren't you going to tell us about him?"
"Of course." Daine took a breath, "He was a part of The Immortals War," both children cringed a little. Like anyone, even adults, tales of this war frightened the two of them. Sarra was more fascinated than frightened though, as she was with everything, but that didn't stop the natural reaction. "And he, he was an ally."
Rikash smiled, it was shaky but it was a smile. "Of course he was, Ma. You said he was your friend."
She laughed a little. Gods, if she was going to be this awkward the whole time this would be a long story indeed. Though, Rikash laughing at her was better than him being terrified or unhappy. Steeling herself, she made herself go on, "Yes, he was my friend. A very good friend." She pushed herself forward, trying not to think of how she hadn't even realized such a thing until he lay unmoving on the ground. Without thinking at all now, she bluntly said, "But he was also a Stormwing." And then mentally hit herself.
Rikash's eyes widened but it was Sarra who spoke, hesitant, "A Stormwing?" She got a nod – Daine wasn't sure she could say anything at that moment. "But everyone says-" The child cut herself off with an embarrassed blush. Like anyone who had known Daine for any length of time, Sarra knew her mother hated little more than the phrase 'everyone'. She attempted to save herself, "I mean- I've heard Stormwings were- they're monsters, aren't they, Ma?"
Daine glanced back at her son; he didn't look upset – or at least any more so than he had been – or disgusted, only slightly lost. He waited as Daine answered his sister's question.
"No, dear. Well, no more than any other creature. Stormwings are no more all bad than humans are all good. They have a different nature, that is all."
Both children nodded, but Rikash still looked confused. "But… we fought Stormwings in the war, Ma."
"Not all of them. Rikash – Rikash Moonsword, was his name – he and a number of Stormwings, they fought on our side." A small number, she thought silently, a very small number. Really, what had they been thinking?
Since when are Stormwings wise? She could almost hear his laughter, and see it sparkling in his green eyes when he promised to save her a braid when he killed Ozorne. She closed her eyes and swallowed hard.
Neither child probed for her to continue, but waited silently for it. Daine gave them both the best smile she could produce, "The Carthaki Emperor-"
"The evil one, or Kaddar?" Sarra asked.
Daine grinned. Honestly, the child had no concept of formality, which was just as well. "Ozorne, Emperor Kaddar's uncle," she clarified. "He was allied with stormwings, you know. Rikash included. At first, he and I were on opposing sides, before the war. He was, well, even then he was… kinder, than any other Stormwing I'd met." She remembered the brotherly affection he'd shown Maura and how it baffled her, "Not to me, perhaps, but to another human. Maura." She added, as both her children knew her. They nodded, "I didn't understand, then. How a human could ever like a Stormwing, but what's more, he liked Maura. I had the chance to kill him, and didn't – and he didn't attack me either."
She shook her head; it had been maddening. He had confused her so much, her Stormwing friend. I suppose we're both losing our minds. She hid a sigh. "The next year he was in Carthak when we were," Vaguely, Daine wondered how she had told her children about Carthak without mentioning Rikash before. Sarra loved that story, too, especially when Daine explained her revenge when Numair had been 'executed'.
"He discovered that the emperor's alliance with his kind was because he held Rikash's queen and her mate captive. Think if Alanna had found out someone held King Jonathan and Queen Thayet," she paused to watch both think this over and cringe expressively. "Exactly. Rikash was just as angry. He wanted Ozrone gone as badly as we did. He had his own reasons, but he helped us all the same. And without his help… I don't much like to think about where we would be now." She ended lamely. Belatedly, she added, "He helped your Da and I in the Divine Realms also. Seemed to have taken a liking to us." She added with a small smile. "Once his queen and her consort were free, he helped us in the war."
Daine stopped herself there, and looked at Rikash. Her son was staring, his eyes wide. He looked more awed than anything, and she reflected that she had made his namesake sound like quite the hero indeed. Well he was, she thought, he was an odd sort of one, but he was.
Sarra opened her mouth but Rikash beat her to the question; "What happened to him, Ma?"
"Well," Daine took a breath and spit it out, "He died, in the war." Telling them he was dead was worse than telling them he was a Storming.
Rikash looked down, as if embarrassed he had asked now, but Daine could also see he was disappointed. At least Sarra got to see her grandmother on solstices when Gods and Goddesses could walk the mortal realms. Rikash would never get to meet the Stormwing he was named for. "I'm sorry." He added.
She brushed some of his curls out of his face, and spoke softly, "When the war was over, and everything had calmed down – to an extent – " calling things calm in Tortall was rarely a truth, "no one really understood why I was upset about a Stormwing's death, even an ally one. Your Da, of course, knew, but few others. I felt, naming you after him was in someway giving him the honor he deserved. And you're a fair wonderful boy, you know. I'm sure if he could see you he'd say so as well." She added with a grin. Truthfully, she didn't know what Rikash would say or do if he were still alive, but she had a feeling he would be grudgingly fond of her children. Her son blushed, but nodded.
"Ma, do you think I could be a hero like that?"
Daine simply laughed, and gave him a little nod. Clearly, by the wonder in Rikash's eyes, the ghosts of his nightmare were long gone. Daine, herself, felt remarkably better. Again she reminded herself that this was why her friends told her to talk about things that upset her. No matter how many times they told her it always amazed her when they were right. Rikash yawned, which set her off and knocked her out of her thoughts. "Ready to try sleeping again?"
He nodded and she got him tucked back into his bed, kissed his forehead and did the same for Sarra, who was already half asleep. She murmured that she loved her Ma's stories just before slipping into slumber. Daine shook her head but smiled at her. Perhaps she was better at this than she thought.
Slipping back into her own bed, she was aware Numair was awake enough to hold her when she was unable to contain a sniff. She let him, remembering him doing the very same the days after the war when she was still mourning their losses. He kissed her forehead, much as she'd kissed their son's, and said nothing. Which was just as well, because a second later Daine, exhausted – physically and emotionally – but in many ways content, was asleep.
There you are. Wasn't really sure how to end it, so I'm not sure how it was.
And yes, it was probably fluffy enough to sleep on. XD That's not always a bad thing is it?