Just so you know: There is some made up language in this, if you ask I will tell you what they mean. I will only tell if your email address is shown because the translation will not be on the story.

Chapter 3

I had only known Blade three months. I had been in the city of Sunbar (each ducal family had a city and a river that carried its name) when I met him. He had been sitting outside my room at the inn I was staying in. I had nearly impaled him on my sword right then, I was bored of all the assassination attempts on me that had been happening whenever I left the capital. He seemed to know what I'd been thinking because he'd jumped up and immediately started to explain why he was there. He had convinced to let him live and that he would be a good helper in the information department.

When I opened the door I saw that Blade might have needed the time I had made him wait. He was asleep with the hood of the cloak he had worn to hide his face since the day I'd met him pulled down. The rest of his body (a good foot taller than mine) was stretched out along the couch. I stared at first, I was surprised to find him sleeping.

I set my staff near the fireplace. I was tired of carrying it around and I wasn't going to have him thinking I was attacking him. "Blade. Blade, wake up," I went over and shook his arm. "Blade."

He sat up straight as though something had jolted him. His hood started to fall back. Not thinking about it I stopped it. I didn't want to see his face, I had a suspicion about who and what he was and I did not want them confirmed. I did not like the rules made by the king but I would follow them.

He reached up and pulled it back into place. "Thank you," he moved over to a chair. "You took a while."

"I had to find Lady Laurel. I may be called on to get yelled at in a minute so hurry and tell me what information you have so you can get out of here."

"Get yelled at?" why did he not listen?

Sitting on the couch he had vacated, "I didn't stop her wedding to Natal," I watched the shadow beneath his hood. "Are you going to tell me now?"

"Alright. Have you heard yet who the rebels plan to replace your king with?"

"No, I didn't even know the rebels had actually planned that far. I thought they wouldn't even think about it until they won."

"So, you think they'll win?" I frowned as I realized what I had said.

"I only meant that they…I am loyal to the king," the last part was a growl. I wasn't certain what I was saying any more.

"That wasn't what I asked," he was enjoying getting me frustrated.

"I know what you meant, now I want to know what you have to tell me."
"Alright, alright. They have chosen a king. A half elf. They say that the throne that rules both races needs someone who represents both races," that made a lot of sense. I liked that…No bad idea, it was treason. "One more thing."


"Several more of your nobles have switched sides," he liked that to much.

"May I have the names?" the words were polite but my tone wasn't.

"Lord Brenton Rocklake, Lady Jessamine Softfire, and Count Vicente. I would have thought the Count's change of heart well known," I knew he said the last to rub my ignorance in my face.

"Thank you for the information," I tossed him three gold sun coins (the highest in Maisaer's money). He waited a moment before leaving. When he was nearly out the door I spoke again. "If there are others you're selling information to another half elf was caught. A little boy, Felix Coldnight," I was surprised I had told him I never gave him information. I don't know what I was thinking.

He turned back towards me. "Felix Coldnight? They took Felix?"

I felt myself go blank again. He knew Felix, and maybe he had known Felix was an elf. I would have to turn him in if he had. I couldn't though, not and still feel as though I was doing the right thing.

"I don't know what is planned for him. He was only found out this afternoon," I waited to see if he had anything else to say.

"How could you let them take a child?! You know what the sick man you call king does to the people he catches! You hear he's taken and you don't even care! No, you only tell me so I can pass it along. Probably just want people to know how ruthless you and your king are! How can you not care about a child?" I hadn't expected him to start yelling. What he was saying was a blow. I did not care? How could….No. Today was to much. Nothing was right. Treasonous thoughts kept trying to push themselves to the fore of my mind. I couldn't care. Not about an elf.

"I suggest you leave," I still wasn't going to turn him in. I may not be running to rescue the boy but I wasn't giving the king more play things.

"Leave? When that boy still sits in the king's dungeon?"

"I also suggest you stop there. I'm not turning you in now, but if you continue I will be forced to," he made a noise like a growl and took a step towards me. I stood but it didn't matter. Someone started knocking on my door and Blade bolted towards my bedroom. I would have preferred that he went to hide in my study instead of my bedroom. I couldn't worry about that now because the person knocking on the door had started calling for me to open it.

It was the Duke with a cowed Laurel and Natal behind him. "Darkhaven! You…you ruined me. Why…How could you have let him marry my daughter! Him!" not as bad as I had expected.

"I could not have stopped it," I kept my voice mild as I answered. "It is, as you surely know, illegal to do so."

"I don't care! She is my daughter and I will not have him as a son!"

I looked at both of them before focusing my eyes back on him. I smiled slightly for no apparent reason (at least none they knew). "I don't think you have a choice in the matter."

"She is right, Duke Redhaven," my father had appeared at the door. "They have married and there is no way around that," he stepped inside. Next to the Duke my father nearly towered over him. The Duke stepped away looking worried and I tried not to growl. My father scared him but I didn't?

"I will create a way," Redhaven declared, though he didn't sound to sure.

"How? Laws aren't going to bend knee just for a puffed up Duke," I snapped at him. I was getting tired of this. I didn't like some laws but that one was saving me from being married.

"Puffed up? How-How dare you…."

"Oh, be quiet and get out," I interrupted. "I am tired of you. You daughter got married be happy, and get out."

"How dare you treat me like this!" he started again. "I am…."

"I said to get out!"

"Leave, please Duke Redhaven. This are my daughters rooms, and also I must speak with her alone."

I had hoped when Redhaven left he'd follow, I did not want to listen to any of his speeches at the moment. Especially when I knew what he would say, it would be the same thing he always said. My father had no idea how to change. Just like the Duke had no idea how to listen I realized, he was still standing there squawking about something.

"I will not be rushed out of here until I have had my say! She has ruined my family," that was not fair.

"That is not true. I did not marry," I ignored the mutters from both him and my father. "I did not allow the marriage, I was stalled by the idiotic guards at the stable who would not permit me to get my horse and I was unable to get there in time. And stopping the marriage would have been illegal. I would not have done it and the priests would not have allowed me to stop it," I paused but as soon as the Duke started to speak I continued. "I will not tolerate you in my rooms any longer. Get out."

He tried to puff himself up again, "I will not listen to you for one more moment," I tried not to laugh as he and the silent couple walked out. Did he think that had fooled anyone? The door shut behind them and I knew it was time for my father to begin.

He turned back to me, he had been watching them leave. "Isabel, you have no manners at all. You used to be polite."

"You're the one who brought to the Court in the first place. No one here has manners, they just know how to play with words. Everything they say is poison disguised as honey."

"Well learn to do the same if you want to stay here. You have practice at disguise, it should come easy to you."

I stepped back from him. That was a surprise, he never brought that up. We couldn't bring that up, if someone was listening they could find out quite a few things from that all of them dangerous to us. He seemed to realize what he said also.

"You need to learn some things Isabel. You can no longer be the King's Warrior, it is dangerous to us both having you close to the king. You may not want to marry but you have to, it is the easy way out of this and you will take that route."

"No, father I won't. I am not going to marry and I am not going to step down. I will continue to be the King's Warrior."

He glared at me. "I will not have you be my downfall."

I glared back, "I won't be your downfall. You are the king's favorite," I threw it at him as an insult. "You will always be in favor with him. If anything happens it will happen to me. I am going to continue as the King's Warrior and all the consequences will be ones I have to face, I don't expect help from you."

He flinched back as I ended my sentence, "I want to help you always hothi, I am supposed to keep you safe but you staying at the king's side makes that near impossible."

I didn't soften my glare. "I do not need you to keep me safe."

He smiled slightly, "I know. Still you need to understand. I have to feel as though I can keep you safe. Hothi, I don't only worry for me. You stand at the side of a man who has condemned…."

"Enough father," I stopped him. He was going to far and he was using a language neither of us had reason to know. "I understand but I still will not obey."

"Isabel," he took a step towards me.

"No, father. I do know what it is you mean but I will not give up a position that I want to keep. I will not become a meek little girl to curtsy at a man's every whim."

He shook his head and I knew he was giving up, at least for today. "It makes no sense why you would be so dead set to stat at the side of a man like him, even I have tried to look for a way out."

That did surprise me. "You have not found one?"

He met my eyes and I tried not flinch from what I saw there, pain and sadness. "I did once, but I believe you know what happened," he moved towards the door his shoulders slumped and I wished for one of the first times that I had given in to him. "Good night, Isabel."

"Good night," He was just opening the door when I decided to say one more thing. "Tosbin t bayi siva," father I love you. It was a language I knew he cherished.

He turned back to me surprised and smiled again. "Hothi t bayi siva," saying that he left and I collapsed into one of my chairs.

I felt exhausted. Sighing and muttering to myself I leaned back and closed my eyes. I had barely begun to relax when I remembered Blade. He was still in my room. Except that when I opened the door and looked in he was no longer there. I wasn't at all relieved. How much had he heard? Would he use what he heard? Then another thought occurred to me. How had he got out and could he get back in that way?

I walked in the rest of the way and tossed myself down onto the bed. If I wasn't used to be exhausted at the end of most nights today might have been enough to make me give in to my father, or at least to find another way out of my position.

"Isabel you're failing me," I stared at Jadall, my old teacher. It had been years since I had seen him.

"Morasian Jadall?" I had to ask though I would know his silver hair and cat like green eyes anywhere.

"Of course girl," he scowled at me. "Who else could you be failing?"

"Failing?" I repeated in surprise. "How could I be failing you? You have not been my teachers since my father brought me here. I am no longer your student."

"You are not failing me as a student," he whispered the last before he and the ground we sat on disappeared.

I was left in darkness. It was a dream I realized.

I opened my eyes to see that the room was still dark. It was time to get up despite that though. I got up before dawn to do a fighting dance, as my old teacher had called it, every day. I had to do it before others woke up because it was something neither the king or my father approved of, just one other thing on a very long list.

I had to go outside to do the dance. Inside I wouldn't have enough space. I had caused a disaster the one time I had tried it, it had been a fun disaster though. The only part I had to worry about when I went outside was running into someone. It wasn't really a problem though, the guards seem to make more noise than a parade for the Harvest Day. I had always been able to avoid them.

I had a place I always went to when I practiced in the morning. I had found it on accident one day when I was younger. It had once been the queen's garden but two queens before Analia it went out of use because the queen then had hated doing anything that did not fit within her definition of practical. It became an overgrown mess and no one has taken the time to clear it up. That is to bad the place is still beautiful, wild roses and vines climbed all over the place and a small stone pond sat in the middle of it all.

I made it there easy enough but what I saw when I got there was a surprise. Blade sat in on the edge of the pond and it was a easy guess that he was waiting on me. I stayed in the shadows at first to make sure though. I was not going to reveal that this was a place I came to regularly, especially not to a man who sold information for a living. I wanted to be sure that it was me he waited on.

"Stop, hiding Isabel," I straightened in shock. How had he known I was here? I knew that he had not heard me. I sighed, he had known this was my place.

"Why are you here?" I demanded walking out, making sure my staff was noticeable.

His hooded head turned towards me, "I wanted to continue from earlier, and hearing some of that little talk you had with your father gave me a few more questions to ask."

"Having a question doesn't mean it will be answered," it was the same thing my teacher had told me many times before.

He shook his head, "You sound like…." he trailed off but I didn't pursue it. I did not want to know. There starting to get to be to many things on that list. He seemed to focus on me again. "I want to know why you stay at the king's side when he is destroying a race."

I had expected this. It was a question I had asked myself. "I am the King's Warrior," he cut me off.

"That is not a reason it is a title people can give up at will. These people would even like it if you gave up your position, and hiding from marriage isn't one either. You wouldn't have to marry if you gave the position up you would just have one less reason why no to," I glared at him.

Those were the only reasons I was ever willing to give. They were the only reasons I could think of, I wasn't willing to admit that though. "The title should be a reason," I fell back on it even though he had said it was not one. I knew how to make it one, the same way my father had made it into one years ago. "To be King's Warrior you must have loyalty to the king. His reasons for things are your reasons, his decisions are your decisions and you must carry them out. I am King's Warrior."

Though I couldn't see his face I knew he didn't except that before he evn started to speak. "You agree with his decisions? How can that be possible? I know I have given you every reason to suspect me of treason but you do nothing. You give me information, you don't help with the elve hunts. Do you still say you carry out his decisions?"

I was hard put not to start screaming, I hadn't known he knew those things but I

should have guessed that he did. "I…" here was that feeling of going to battle unarmed again. I hated this feeling. "I…" I couldn't think of anything.

Blade took the chance to taunt me. "You don't know now? I thought the king's reasons were yours. Can't even think of any of those?" he had stood from his seat at the pond. "Are you just a brute force type of person? No thoughts? Just fight, fight, fight?"

"That is not true," my voice was low and I wasn't sure he could hear me put I continued on. "I…I have my own thoughts but I must stay loyal to the king," I paused. "I am not going to explain myself to you," no, but after this I would have to start explaining myself to me.

"You don't know how to explain yourself. You only want to seem important," his accusation was a shock.

"I am… I don't care about being important!"

"You do. Or do you actually like what he is doing?"

I was losing this battle and I had no idea what the price would be. "I…I do not like being questioned by you. Leave, now."

"Why?" he moved towards me.

"Because I have an idea of what you are and if you stay here I will be forced to turn you in," I stepped back as he moved another step closer.

"Would you really turn me in?" he didn't sound as if he believed me.

"Yes," it wasn't true. I was only trying to get him to leave.

"You need to think about why you stay here," that was the last thing he said. I was glad someone had listened to me to day.

I wasn't going to stay either. I no longer wanted to be here and I didn't feel like do anything that had been taught to me by my teacher. I was to busy to busy thinking. I knew why I had had the dream. Why did people, including those I hadn't seen for years, feel like testing me?