It’s late when Mynar finally returns. He comes into my room uninvited and joins me before my fireplace. He stares moodily at the small flame and says nothing until I shoo my ladies out and tell them I don’t need them for the rest of the night.
“So your ride didn’t improve your mood?”
“Mother has invited five of the girls on my list to court for three months. I’m suppose to get to know them. And if I don’t like one of them, she’ll invite five more.”
Well, that’s a surprise. “What reason is she giving?”:
“She isn’t giving a reason. You really don’t think the list is a secret, do you? And two other girls she has invited aren’t on the list—or at least the Lord Advisor’s list. Adava, could mother have her own list?”
“No.” She wouldn’t do that.” I was sure. “But it does sound like she is up to something.”
We talk about it until the fire burns low, and still can’t figure out what she is doing. I put more wood on the fire and change the subject.
“I’ve decided you are right about our being too dependent on the sword.” I surprise Mynar by agreeing with him, since I had snapped the last time he brought up the subject. I go on to explain the complications that are worrying me.
“Of course we can’t throw our parents sacrifices back in their face as unneedful,” he agrees with me. “What we need to do is not to deny we have a powerful weapon, but to extend that to ‘we have a powerful weapon and a strong army’. Then, later, we reverse the order.”
Yes, Mynar is much better than me at politics. And it’s distracting him from thought of his upcoming marriage. Because his marriage is upcoming, no matter what he thinks about it.
“The first thing we need to do is get father to issue a proclamation about the bravery of the guard when chasing the demon, and we need to be sure the city guard is explicitly called out.”
“I’ll talk to father tomorrow,” Mynar promises me, yawning. He finally agreed to go to bed, and I think he might be able to sleep.
I get up late the next morning, and stay near the fire. There is frost on the grass and ice at the edge of the river; winter will be here soon. I decide it’s time to catch up on my own journal writing, even though it will include a lot of walked all over town and didn’t find demon entries. I’m accurate about what happens, so I decide it is time to take my journal to the vault. I still don’t think we can keep secret what Falchen did; but I won’t be the one responsible for the information getting out.
I could add a description of how the Sword talks to me. In the vault it will be safe from everyone except my family. My parents would never read it, but Mynar… When all is said and done, Mynar is my little brother—he would read it. I decide to keep my secret, and head toward the vault, intending to put the volume on the bookcase.
My demon hunting priest catches me on the way. “Princess, four of us want to stay in the guard barracks, to work with the royal guard. The other three want to move into the central barracks of the city guard.”
“Why?” And why ask me instead of father?
“We feel we are called.”
He thinks he has given me an answer, and I recognize a dead-end. No matter how many questions I ask, I will get no better answer.
“I will speak to the sergeants, and let you know.”
As soon as he has moved out of hearing range, Bevin, who is the current duty sergeant speaks softly to me, “The sergeants of the Royal Guard have already conferred. We approve of having the priests around. He found us weapons against the demons. He and his can stay in our barracks forever.”
“Then I approve.” After the way the guards fought against the demon they knew they could not defeat, I will give them pretty much anything they want. Although I am not silly enough to actually tell them that. “I will tell the king, and obtain his approval.” My guards look pleased.
I check my mental calendar—it is my turn to attend the weekly council meeting. I will get father’s approval then. I know he will approve, he is pleased with the guards too, even the ones who had accidentally brought the wall down on him.
He has told them they did exactly the right thing, and he had only been hurt because he was where he should not have been. He is right about that, kings should not grab a sword and run out to kill demons. His own guard had been trying to drag him back to the tower when the catapult brought part of the wall down. At least mother had been sensible, and had let her guards and ladies barricade her rooms.