As I’ve been working on QUEST TO KARANTIRI more in preparation for my Patreon, as soon as I saw this topic, I knew that I needed to write to it. It doesn’t matter that it was from the beginning of the month. I WANT IT NOW.
In any event, this is Tarenthal and Carinth, after seeing Celita off. I overshot the word minimum by about 100. (Go figure.) As always, thank you Lyn for the awesome website!
He should not have been surprised that the Caller’s son was waiting for him just inside the woods when he returned. Tarenthal gave a deep bow to his ser’then. “How might I be of service, sir?”
“I rather think you have been already.” The prince’s voice was soft, tired. “I thank you, for seeing her home safe.”
“I could do nothing less.”
“I believe it. Walk with me?” Tarenthal started for a moment, but followed Carinth into the woods toward the Hall of the Sun. “For whatever it is worth, Tarenthal, I bring the apologies of his Honor the Caller.”
Tarenthal shook his head. “His Honor owes me no apologies. I accept and understand what befell me.”
Carinth stopped walking, and it brought Tarenthal up short as he stopped to match his prince. “Tarenthal.” His tone was even softer now. “I understand that you have taken great pains to accept your lot in this culture, but please…what I said to you before stands true. We were young in these halls together, once. The fact that your mother was dark-eyed does not make you dark-eyed yourself.”
“Does it not?” The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them, and he could feel his ears burn in shame at speaking to the ser’then in such a way. But at Carinth’s expression, he felt obliged to continue. “I am not Kalvarine, ser’then. Nor perhaps am I dark-eyed, but I cannot claim the light either. I am haren’said. It is where I am, and it is who I am. There is nothing more to be said for it. I do not use it as a way to belittle myself, but rather as a statement of fact.”
“But you do belittle yourself.” Tarenthal didn’t know how to respond to that. “Your actions speak louder than their words, Tarenthal, and louder than your eyes would betray. You act as a light-eyed guard, and that more people do not treat you as such is…little short of tragedy.”
Tarenthal took a step back, aghast. “Ser’then, surely you jest. One guard is hardly worth the concept of tragedy.”
“Perhaps it is more dramatic than it needs to be, but I will hold to it.” Carinth kept the whisper of a smile on his lips. “You are not meta’dra, my friend. You are light-eyed as I am, and your every actions proves it. No dark-eye would have treated our guest with such respect. No dark-eye would have fought as hard as you did to defend her, nor take blame for something that they did not do in order to salvage others. You are immensely selfless, Guard of the Hall, and that is what makes you who you are. Not the color of your eyes, nor the blood of your mother. We should all be so proud to have a faithful guard at our side, and I am quite certain Lady Celita would agree with me.”
At that, Tarenthal couldn’t help the small smile. “Yes. On that, I believe we agree.”
“She is truly something.” With that, they began walking again. “If ever the kingdoms were to reunite, I can certainly see her at the spearhead of that force.”
“She would not allow herself to be anywhere else.”
Carinth laughed, and as they drew upon the Hall, he set a hand on Tarenthal’s shoulder. “Rest well, Tarenthal. Take tomorrow and rest as well. And…” he added, as Tarenthal opened his mouth to argue, “it is not as a reflection of what I believe you can withstand. I know you to be strong. But you have earned the day off, time and again. Rest. I’ll see you on the morrow after.”
All he could do was nod.