Finally… the long-awaited sequel to A Tide of Tears Between Us! Lol. I hope it doesn't disappoint.
The old man sat alone beside the River Tranquil. He smiled, remembering how it had once been so wild. Now it was peaceful, and sometimes in the mornings, its surface was like glass. A slight wind fanned the trees that now grew on the riverbank. There were even flowers now, sometimes, and beaches. People now swam in the river, traveled by it, and traded on it. Little communities like Knight's Rise were popping up all over the river. But only on one side.
The old man crossed his arms and frowned. If he peered hard enough, he could just see the ruins of the old City against the gray-blue sky. Ever since the City's fall, those who left it had never returned. Most of them had run to the other side, joining the tribes of magic users and learning the ways of the True God and the magic He gave to His people. But the others--they had disappeared. Most of those were the ones who still clung to the memory of Pavin, the former dictator of the City, a man filled with hate. He and his hate had been destroyed by the love of Christopher Knight and Aislinn Corrigan, now Knight, twenty years ago.
And the old man remembered it well. He had been a part of it.
Gregory smiled as he recognized the voice that called him. He turned and looked up the hill.
Running down the hill was a girl. Her hair flowed out behind her, like a copper-colored river. She was of medium height and slender, but still possessed of a very mature, womanly figure clothed in a white tunic and black leggings. Her limbs were strong, her green eyes steady, and she made it down the hill with a nimbleness that amazed the old man.
"What is it, Sophie?"
The girl came to a halt beside him, her cheeks flushed from running, her emerald eyes bright. "Mama says to invite you to supper. She's making some sort of cheese bread and soup."
"Your mother is an excellent cook. I think I'll come."
Sophie smiled. "I'm glad. Supper is always more fun when you are there to talk theology with my parents."
Gregory smiled. "You have been watching us 'talk theology' for nearly twenty years now."
"And enjoying every minute of it!" Sophie exclaimed. "Come on." She started up the hill with Gregory beside her, matching her pace to his thoughtfully. She could have been racing up the hill far ahead of him, but instead, she walked slowly beside him, her pensive eyes trained on his face.
Gregory smiled. She was always like that. She reminded him of the davinia, a flower that was favorite to both of them. Davinias were extremely sensitive to light and touch. Sophie was a precocious, sensitive girl, blooming in the presence of those she loved like davinias bloomed in light, shrinking quietly in the presence of strangers like davinias shrank in darkness. And touch the girl the wrong way, physically or not, and she immediately jerked away. Her sensitivity was one of her greatest strengths, but also her greatest weakness.
"How are your parents?" Gregory asked, amazed, as always, at the depth of the girl's green gaze, so like her mother's.
Sophie smiled. That smile she go from her father--crooked, with a hint of mischief. "Wonderful. They're still lovebirds, Gregory, even though they've been married for almost twenty-one years."
Gregory smiled. They would always be like that. "And your aunts and uncles?"
"Fine, as usual. I invited them for supper also, but Uncle Heron and Aunt Lanthia were going to visit Lanthia's sister, and Uncle Dawson and Aunt Neela were going fishing."
"I'm surprised you didn't go fishing. You love the water."
Sophie had always loved the river, since she had been a tiny baby. She swam like a fish and had river legs as fine as any riverboat captain had.
"I think they wanted it to be just them. Aunt Neela invited me, but I could tell she wanted to be alone with her darling husband."
Gregory smiled. Sophie's thoughtfulness amazed him! "Where are their children staying?"
"Candace is going to watch them," Sophie said as they topped the hill. Candace was Sophie's best friend, the daughter of Ryan, king of Knight's Rise. Though Candace was a few years younger than Sophie, the girls were much alike, and inseperable.
Sophie and Gregory walked in silence the rest of the way, until they came to the large cottage-style house at the edge of the village.
"Sophie! Sophie! Gregory!"
A dark-haired boy around ten years of age came running out of the yard. His resemblance to Sophie was slight.
"Markan!" Sophie exclaimed. She ran and hugged her little brother. Little, that was Markan. He was the smallest boy in the village his age, but he made up for it with leaps and bounds of energy. He was not thoughtful and pensive like his sister. No, he was the outgoing one of the two. While Sophie was one to think things through, Markan was the one to leap into things head first.
"Tell Mama and Dad that I brought Gregory," Sophie ordered. Markan rushed into the house.
Sophie turned and linked her arm through Gregory's. "I love this place," she said suddenly, her voice unusually intense. "I don't want to leave, Gregory."
"Leave?" Gregory frowned down at her, touching her hand.
Sophie shrugged, trying to be nonchalant. "I don't know. I just have this feeling. I--"
There stood Aislinn Knight in a dress of forest green. Her hair was still long and golden, her eyes still as bright and green as her daughter's. She had not changed much in the last twenty years. There were more freckles on her face and a few smile lines around her mouth, but she looked incredibly young for a woman of forty.
Christopher came out behind her. He, of the two, had aged more. His dark hair was shot with silver around the temples, giving him a distinguished look. He now sported a full, dark beard and his eyes were old with wisdom. Somehow, being middle-aged suited him well. He looked quite dignified--all but that crooked smile.
Gregory sighed and smiled. Nowhere did he feel as at home as in the cottage of the Knight family.