Hope and Longing

Zakrivea tried to hurry while preparing the warm bedchambers for the queen. The queen loathed the cold, so she had to make sure the little coal stove works well and the bedsheets are warmed. The cold chamber was the only thing that could cause the queen to reprimend the girl, as she was cherished by her for her hard work she always did. Altough the queen knew nothing about all vicious threads in Raithea’s plan, she suspected something vile can happen soon and her nerves were shattered by the unknown. Maybe she thought as well, that treating Zakrivea in fine manner, may stop Raithea’s hand, when his plans come to fruition. Though the elven maid knew well, that once Raithea smells his prey, he never releases it, unless he chooses to abandon it in favor of some more promising pursuit. To be honest, Zakrivea partially hoped, that he will release the queen from his sharp grasp.

 

Zakrivea hoped for many things. She didn’t have to work for Lord Advisor, she came from another land, where elves were free and human fist didn’t put them into submission. She could always return home, to her family. If she ever wished, she could leave this dreary place, and the misery of thousand of elves it held inside its walls. She long ago realized that she can’t single-handed help the situation of elvin children in this land, but there was one elf, who was a hope for them, a solitary and dark figure, who would do everything to stop humans and free his kind. One elf, who’s position was higher than most of human invaders, yet he still fought for others, sometimes using very morbid means.

 

Raithea was wounded inside, even if he never would admit it. He woven so many layers of deception, that even himself started to believe in them. His lies were so complete, that she doubted he sees through them, yes, even as master of them all. He deceived them all, humans, elves, royalty, even his own pupil, who worked with him, not even knowing his real plans. But not her. She has seen thorough all of this and her heart suffered.

 

There were times that she thought that her love for him blinded her and Raithea is beyond saving, but there, suddenly, was a kind word, a fleeting smile, even an almost-apology and her doubt was changing imediately, her eyes were seeing clear again – seeing that his goal is virtous, even if his means are deadly.

 

Usually, her work was enough to keep her away from thinking about cursed Lord Advisor. But now, while Raithea haven’t visited her for so long and she didn’t know what happens with him, she felt out and worried about him. So many things could go wrong, so many spells could backfire. She was aware that the king wants him close, but that wasn’t making her fear lesser.

 

This time apart was a torture for her. Raithea looked like an innocent young boy, at least until one looked in his eyes, there could be seen more than a lifetime’s worth of anger and pain. Raithea may have been trapped in the body of a child, but his eyes were those of a man old beyond his years, nearly broken from a lifetime of struggle against unknowable forces. Zakrivea didn’t know if her love for him is a love for a man he really was, or a motherly care for a child he looked like…

 

“Zakrivea.”

 

A familiar voice. She sprung imediatelly.

 

“Raithea” she smiled, stopping her work. “What are you doing here!”

 

No one had right to enter queen’s bedchambers, not even the king. If Raithea was found here, his life would be in danger. If he ever could be in any danger.

 

He smiled sadly.

 

“I needed a break from my studies. And I knew you will be here.”

 

“And you had to risk coming here” she almost lectured him.

 

“Why not” he sat on the bed, making a small destruction over her work she did so far. His feet dangled over the floor, he looked so fragile now. “I go where I wish to.”

 

“If the guards have seen you…”

 

“It’s impossible, I have ways to stay undetected” he laughed. “Not to mention that I helped setting all magical traps in this castle.”

 

She sat nect to him and his arms tensed for a small second, to relief while after. But she noticed it. How could she not?

 

“And you came straight here” she mused, really wanting to know the aim of this dangerous endeavour.

 

“Yes.”

 

That word has such final tone to it, that she didn’t know how to respond. She almost suspected, that he wanted to prove something, that he can go everywhere, without any consequence. With Raithea consequences were what happened to other people, most often people who displeased him. Not even king was safe, when he sensed weakness. And now he came to boast before her.

 

“What have you been doing lately?” she dared to speak, when silence was prolonging.

 

“I can’t tell you” his youtful futures shone. “But as always, I worked on my plans.”

 

“Are you joking with me?” she narrowed her brows. “Why then you came here?”

 

“My plans are never jokes,” Raithea looked at her with a mildly irritated expression before abruptly changing the subject, “Have you been avoiding me lately?”

 

The question caught her off guard. It had to be a trick, one of his knacks. He knew how to put someone in deep consternation.

 

“Well, have you?” he leaned in close, expression undeciphered.

 

“No, Raithea” she fell in defence mode. “Never. I had been busy with queen’s orders. She keeps me very close. I think she fears something.”

 

“Do you maybe know who?” Raithea gently coaxed as though he was a teacher and she a particularly slow student. Zakrivea hated it, but it was so him, that she thought that it may not even be under his control.”

 

“She is scared of you?” it was the obvious answer.

 

“No.”

 

“The King?”

 

“No.”

 

“Her lies being uncovered?”

 

“Maybe.”

 

“What is it then,” she blurted out, almost annoyed.

 

Raithea grinned and his hand landed for a brief, briefest second on her shoulder, only to fast retread, when he realized what he is doing.

 

“Find out, Zakrivea. It may be vital to my plans.”

 

He looked like he wants to say something more, but soon shook his head, and not even looking at her, he stood up.

 

He paused for a moment, like he wanted to say something, something important. But it was a fleeting thing, just as his hand on her shoulder. He left, leaving her in consternation and even more anxiety in her heart.