It is done. The child is awake, no longer dreaming, and is here in person. I have not seen, nor heard from Maric, so I can only assume that Vedis went ahead without waiting his permission. Either way, it is done, so now we will have to deal with what is. I can only hope that Maric understands. I did my best to dissuade them from doing things without him, but they went ahead anyway. On the plus side, since she acted without our authorisation, we cannot possibly agree to any payment she may seek. I just hope she didn’t agree anything with the children. I have told Wren that she must take responsibility for her sister for the moment until things are sorted out, and that they should stay at the tavern, together, for now. I also entrusted Wren with the responsibility for making sure that Hadley knew the rules, about not straying outside the village and such like.
I also spent some time with Galyanna. I had wandered down to the training area to see how things were progressing. I found Galyanna there, practising her knife-throwing, and judging by the impact of the knives into the targets, I wondered if she was perhaps working off a little frustration too. Unusually, she was wearing no armour and only such clothes as one might exercise in, though she still had a cloth concealing her face. It was not a big deal for me. I had seen her face before, and I was more than used to people in their exercise clothes. As a young man, I had frequently been with my mother while she exercised in her undergarments, and it had never bothered her or me. We greeted each other and she asked if I had come to train with the troops. It was a genuine enquiry with no sarcasm or anything. She and I knew each other well enough, and she knew I was not unused to the sword.
I replied that while my function was mostly administrative, I was not averse the exercising the martial side of me, as she well knew. It was especially important now that we were training up the villagers to be a reserve defence force. Since that was my idea, I could hardly neglect my own training. I told her what I had been learning with the sword and the bow and jokingly suggested that maybe she could teach me a new skill, such as the throwing knives. She showed me the knives and told me that they were part of the way she worked, through stealth. The small blades were easier to hide, and yet long enough to kill. She said it light-heartedly, as if killing were not great thing. I knew her well enough to not be upset by that. While I did not take death lightly, I understood, and I understood the necessity of dealing with it. She asked me what I hunted, what I would want to kill. I said that my prey, always, was anybody or anything that threatened those that I cared about, or those I was sworn to defend.
That earned me a smile that I could see in her eyes, despite the mask. She said that we were much alike, despite what Aoibheann might think. Her queen was dead, and to fix that, she would kill every angel, every demon if she had to, alone, or with a handful of warriors. I rolled my eyes and said that while I loved Aoibheann dearly, she sometimes had a simplistic view of things. Yes, I agreed, Galyanna and I were alike, and I saw no shame in that. While we might have different methods and motivations, we both sought to serve, we would both do anything for those we fought for, to the death if necessary, and we both prized loyalty above all.
Thinking of her comment about going it alone, I said that I was sure that Maric would still honour his promise to provide feet on the ground. I would go myself, if he would let me, to fight by her side. Sadly, I said it was unlikely he would allow it, as I had other duties, and he had sworn to protect me, whether I liked it or not. She gathered up her things and headed away from the practice area, as the guards and the reserves were starting to arrive for their training. We started walking towards the tavern to get some refreshment, which I was sure she needed after her exercise. We spoke of possible tactics, ways we could gain the advantage, ways we could possibly stack the odds by keeping Kitori’s forces busy. Most of my ideas were impractical, but it gave me a better idea of how Galyanna intended to proceed. That would help, and was something I would pass on to Maric and Kustav.
It was while I was suggesting things I could do to help that we came across Wren and Hadley. I made my apologies to Galyanna, saying we would speak again soon, and turned my attention to the girls. There was much that needed doing, and I needed to be prepared as best I could.