The Boy And His Witch: Ep. 27

The days and weeks that followed Lord Albin’s visit passed both excruciatingly slowly and dizzyingly fast for Evadna. She worried about the danger he was in, chafing at her lack of knowledge and inability to act. To distract herself from the turmoil, she threw herself even harder into her training. The faster she progressed, the sooner she’d get to join him in whatever he was endeavoring to do. And she could protect him.

Her friends noticed the change in her. They questioned her obsessive, single-mindedness, trying their best to include her in their fun. She would not be moved, though. And eventually, they stopped trying. Her instructors, on the other hand, commended her on her marked improvement. Only one instructor thought to question her – Superior Ranis.

“You are different. Has something happened?”

Getting to her feet again, as he had just knocked her down, she brushed herself off and said, “Nothing, sir.”

He stared at her, an inscrutable expression on his face. “Something has caused this change in you. Are you lying to me or to yourself about it?”

Evadna held her silence, standing at the ready with her staff.

“We had a visitor not too long ago. In fact, he came during the tournament. Rikki and Misha both reported his presence here.” He paused, as if waiting for her to comment. When she remained silent, he continued, “They both mentioned how he seemed strangely interested in you. Do you remember this?”

“Both Rikki and Misha mentioned it. I never saw the man they spoke of. Was -”

Superior Ranis attacked with a viciousness she had never encountered from him before, and she struggled to keep her feet under her as she defended herself from the onslaught. She thought she saw an opening when he left his side undefended and took it, only to be knocked onto her back again.

He pressed his staff against her neck. “You lied to me.”

Struggling to talk, she said, “I…didn’t…lie to you.”

At her words, he sneered and pressed a little harder. She squirmed and tried to throw him off, but he held her down expertly. Fear began to creep in. His eyes were hard and ruthless. “Still lying,” he seethed.

“Not…” she couldn’t say anything more, the pressure against her neck was too great. Growing desperate, she took hold of her magic.

“Stop…it” he gasped, struggling to breathe. When he realized she wouldn’t stop, he released her, staggering away.

As soon as she was free, she let go of her magic. Getting to her knees, she eyed him warily as she recovered her breath, watching him do the same.

“Bloody hell, woman,” he croaked. “I wasn’t going to kill you.”

“Could have fooled me,” she rasped in reply.

Shaking his head, he drew near and offered his hand. Hesitantly, she took it and he helped her to her feet.

“I know you saw him. I know you are lying to me. But I understand. I won’t report you. Now go. That’s enough for today. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

A deep furrow in her brow, she turned to leave.

“One more thing,” he said. “Never attack me again. I won’t turn a blind eye a second time.”

“Yes, sir,” she said, then departed.

He stared after her for some time in contemplation.

“She’s ready,” he seemed to say to nobody.

“I agree,” came the reply, as a man stepped out from his hiding place.

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The Boy And His Witch: Ep. 26

Evadna gasped at the sound of his voice and her arm that held the dagger began to tremble.

The man on her bed stared at her with his unwavering blue eyes as he slowly rose from the bed, a smirk on his face. Silently, he opened his arms to her.

Heart beating wildly, Evadna dropped her dagger and ran into his arms.

Pressing a kiss to the top of her head, he whispered. “Oh, I’ve missed you, Eva.”

“Missed you too, Alby,” Evadna replied, holding him tight.

They didn’t speak or move for a few minutes more as they simply embraced. With her head pressed against his chest, Evadna took comfort in the steady, sure rhythm of his heartbeat.

Then, with his hands on her shoulders, Lord Albin set her away from him. “Let me look at you. You were impressive out there. I am very proud.”

At a loss for words, Evadna smiled at him.

“How could you think that I would not come to watch? There was nothing that could keep me from it.”

“I must be a fool, Alby,” Evadna said.

“Yes, indeed. Now sit beside me while we talk. You’ve grown into your looks more while you’ve been away. Your lips fit your face much better now.”

Evadna punched him in the shoulder and he winced dramatically. “Thank you so much,” she said, sarcastically.

Grinning, he rubbed his shoulder. “You’re welcome.”

“I am not sure there is much more to talk to you about since my last letter. You know everything.”

“Then tell me again. And this time I get to see your face and hear your voice. Infinitely better than words on paper.”

Smiling, Evadna drank him in. It had been so long. He was taller, and his body now had that fighter’s build common to every soldier here at The Follows. His face had filled out too, gaining width and the experience of one used to battle, and days and nights lived on the road. Instinctively, her hand reached out to touch his face, questions building in her eyes and on her tongue. Before she could speak he took her hand, kissed the back of it, and placed it between them.

“No distractions,” he said with a mischievous smile. “You first. Tell me again all about your friends, your instructors.”

And so Evadna talked, and Albin listened, his gaze so intense she couldn’t bear to look at him much of the time.

“It’s your turn now,” she eventually said. “You have been up to more than your letters have let on, making it seem like all you do is laze about the family manor every day. You don’t get a physique like that only practicing with Jaxon and the others. You look as though you know what it’s like to have blood on your hands.”

At this, his eyes hardened and he looked away. She let the silence sit between them and waited it out. Taking a deep breath, he took her hand between his and said, “You are absolutely right. I haven’t told you all. Not because I do not trust you and not because I don’t want you to know. But I need you to stay safe and I need you to remain here until you complete your training. There’s always a risk of our correspondence being intercepted, and so, I cannot relay in my letters anything of import. Besides, I know you. If you knew everything, you’d leave this place to fight at my side, ready or not.”

She opened her mouth to argue, but he intercepted her. “I am not denying you your right to fight at my side. But I am asking you to wait until you finish what you came here to learn. Can you do that for me?”

Evadna looked at him long and hard before giving her answer. “For now. Is it safe to talk to me here about what you cannot write in your letters?”

Albin shook his head. “I dare not risk it. Even here.”

Disappointed, Evadna lowered her head. “I understand. How much danger are you in, exactly?”

Albin put a hand beneath her chin. “Look at me. I will be okay. And you will join me again soon. I am sure of it.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“It’s all the answer I am going to give you.”

She inhaled sharply in surprise, as his thumb gently brushed her bottom lip. She couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, as the expression on his face held her transfixed. Then, as if waking from a deep sleep, he released her and rose to his feet.

“I must go. I have stayed far too long already. But it’s been worth every single minute. I have missed you more than words can say. Keep up the good work.”

“I missed you too,” she said, but too late. He was already gone.

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The Boy And His Witch: Ep. 25

Riki found Evadna in the infirmary, her injuries being attended to.

“That was completely out of line. They should have let you finish the fight. You had him!” she exclaimed vehemently.

There was a faraway expression in Evadna’s eyes that Riki had never seen before. Besides that, it didn’t appear as if Evadna had heard her. “Eh?” she said to the nursing attendant, who was busy wrapping up Evadna’s broken arm. “What’s wrong with her?”

Before the nursing attendant could form a reply, Evadna managed to speak in a weak voice. “I’ve just been pummeled to bits. What do you think is wrong with me?”

“Oh good. You had me worried there. Are you in much pain?”

Evadna laughed, painfully. “A little.”

“Well… You should know that your admirer said he’s a friend of yours. Did you recognize him by any chance?”

Evadna’s eyes got that faraway look again. She didn’t reply.

“You know him, don’t you? Who is he?”

Focusing on Riki, Evadna said, “I am not sure I recognized him. I could only see part of his face after all, and you were both far away. I’m sorry, Riki, I can’t help you.”

Frowning, Riki changed the subject. “Do you think you made it to the finals? After all, you weren’t defeated.”

“There are several semifinalists that are more experienced and skilled than I am. I have no doubt they will perform better than I did. I am glad to have done so well my first time in the tournament. If this is where things end for me, I am very satisfied.”

“You may be. I expect more for you. I would be very unsatisfied if they didn’t move you into the finals. You deserve it.”

Evadna smirked. “Despite your valued support, I rather I didn’t make the final. I should like a long rest and time to heal.”

Before Riki could argue, Jack barreled in closely followed by Misha. As Jack fussed over Evadna, Misha caught Riki’s enquiring gaze and shook her head.

“I couldn’t find him,” Misha told Riki, then turned her attention to Evadna, congratulating her on her success.

They chatted for a few minutes more, then when Evadna was given permission to leave, they went to watch the other semifinalists compete. Evadna couldn’t keep herself from periodically searching the sea of faces for a certain pair of eyes. She wished she could know for certain if she had really seen him or if her imagination had run away with her. Riki caught her distracted gaze a couple times, but kept silent. Evadna didn’t know if she should be grateful or worried about Riki’s discretion.

In the end, to Riki’s vociferous dismay, Evadna did not make the final round. Evadna couldn’t help being relieved that her part in the tournament’s events was finally over. With the sun setting over the horizon, Evadna and her friends ate their dinner together, then went their separate ways – Riki and Misha joining a party that promised to go into the early morning hours and Jack and Evadna heading for their tents to responsibly get some sleep. The final round would occur first thing tomorrow morning. As much as a part of Evadna would love nothing more than to forget her cares and worries for a few hours, her body and mind were screaming for some rest. Sleep would do her much more good than dancing right now.

Evadna entered her tent and found a man on her bed. Instinctively, she drew her weapon before really taking him in.

“Is that any way to greet your dear friend?”

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The Boy And His Witch: Ep. 24

“You have an admirer,” Riki told Evadna, a cheeky smile enveloping her face. “He’s a looker too. Tall, broad shoulders, blue eyes. I can’t tell you his hair color ‘cause his head is covered.”

“I don’t see anyone,” Misha commented, her eyes still searching the crowd.

Riki turned about to see for herself. “He was there a moment ago. Never fear, he’ll turn up again. I’ve seen him almost every time you’ve been up for a fight.”

Evadna narrowed her eyes at Riki. “Sounds more like you are the admirer. You should talk to him when next you see him.”

Riki made a face at her. “Please, I think I know when a man is interested in someone. He is interested in you. Besides, he’s very secretive, keeping his head and the bottom of his face covered.” Then she gasped, grabbing Evadna’s arm, “Maybe he doesn’t belong here. At the Follows, I mean. Or, he is one of those people who is always on missions and is under deep cover.”

Misha interrupted. “They’re calling the next event. You better line up, Evadna.”

Pulling her arm out of Riki’s grasp, Evadna re-fastened the clasp of her sword belt. “Keep your eye out for him then. If what you say is true, he’s bound to show his face again. Misha, see if he is an agent of the Follows or if we need to notify our superiors.”

Misha nodded, while Riki looked petulantly on as Evadna headed over to the line-up for the next event. She had been successful in each portion of the Tournament she had participated in so far. She was about to enter the Semifinals. There were twenty semi-finalists. There would be eight in the Finals. Making it this far was already farther than she had expected to go. Making it to the Finals themselves would be a shocking feat.

Up until this point, the fights had been one on one. Now, each contestant would be tested in their ability to fight against two opponents at the same time. And their opponents wouldn’t be the other semifinalists, but actual agents of the Follows. The agents were those who were on active duty. Evadna would give it her all, but she did not think she would succeed in this round.

Her name was called and she stepped into the arena. It was a dirt pit, with stands surrounding the perimeter and even more people crammed into every available space. The din was deafening. She stood there alone while the announcer spouted off the rules of the event. She would have to fight two opponents without weapons and without magic. She had to knock them out or get them to concede in order to win. There were more rules that prevented death and serious injury from occurring, but those rules were written in stone and recited at the beginning of the Tournament.

Evadna surveyed the stands, waiting for the announcer to finish his commentary. She found Riki jumping up and down and waving at her. Evadna couldn’t help but smile. Then Riki started pointing, jabbing her hand violently to her right. Evadna followed her pointing hand and saw the man Riki must have been talking about. His head and the lower part of his face was covered, but his eyes stared at her with a directness she could not mistake. She felt the world wobble beneath her feet as the air whooshed out of her. She had to be mistaken. He couldn’t be here.

“LET THE FIGHT BEGIN.”

Evadna shook herself as the announcer’s words sunk in and she whipped around to face her opponents. They ran at her from opposite sides of the arena. They wore coverings around their faces, exactly like the man in the stands. She quickly calculated their height and weight, who was slower. She spun to her right and engaged the fastest of her two opponents. Her goal was to incapacitate the first before the second opponent had a chance to reach her. Problem was, these were seasoned fighters. They knew her moves and they knew how to think on their feet. And the problem with the dirt arena was that it was flat and empty. She did not have much to work with.

Riki winced as Evadna took a particularly nasty hit from one of her attackers. Her hands curled into fists, she began cursing underneath her breath. Evadna had been unsuccessful in taking down either of her attackers so far. They were relentless, working like a well-oiled machine as they slowly but surely guided Evadna into a corner.

“Friend of hers?” the mystery man asked.

Riki had been so absorbed in the fight, she’d forgotten all about Evadna’s admirer. She spared him a brief glance. He had somehow managed to find a space right next to her. “We’re partners.”

“Hm. How long have you been partners for?”

“None of your business. Now shut it and let me pay attention to the fight.”

Much to Riki’s annoyance, the mystery man chuckled.

In the next moment, they watched as Evadna tricked one of her assailants into opening himself up and she took him down speedily. Her remaining assailant took advantage of the moment to knock her in the head. Staggering, Evadna tried to evade, but she wasn’t fast enough. The watching crowd cringed at the sound of breaking bone. Shouting with the pain, Evadna closed the space between them, moving with breathtaking speed.

“Come on, come on,” urged Riki. “You’ve got this!”

The fighting continued for what seemed to Riki like an eternity. Evadna would get in some good hits, but then so would her opponent and they’d both have to regroup. At one point, Evadna’s opponent had her pinned to the ground, telling her to yield, but Evadna wouldn’t. She maneuvered out of her opponent’s hold and the fighting continued. Eventually, the gong sounded and the fight was brought to an end simply because time had run out.

“Ah, come on!” Riki complained loudly, shaking her fists. She wasn’t the only one upset to have the fight come to a close. “She had him. Give her more time.”

“Glad she has such a loyal partner.”

Riki had forgotten about the mystery man again and turned to him, startled and suspicious. “Who are you?”

He laughed at her. “A friend. It was a pleasure.”

Riki watched him as he cast his eyes once more upon the arena. He seemed to freeze for a moment, his body locking up, and then, as if wrenching himself away, he disappeared into the crowd.

“Was that him?” came Misha’s breathless voice. She appeared to have been running.

“Yeah,” said Riki with a frown. “Said he’s a friend.”

“Did you find out anything else?”

“No. I was rather invested in Evadna’s fight. He was being a nuisance.”

With a disgusted sound, Misha rushed off following the mystery man’s trail. With a shrug, Riki went to commiserate with Evadna.

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The Boy And His Witch: Ep. 23

The gong sounded, signaling the end of their meal. Everyone rose to their feet and filed out. Riki and Evadna parted ways as Evadna headed to her private session with her superior. He was one of the few at the Follows who was a witch too and the only one who stayed at the camp to instruct. The others were always out and about on missions. Still feeling like she’d been trampled by a team of horses, she wasn’t sure how she’d get through the next training session.

They were supposed to be working with weapons this time, so she entered the training arena and found her superior going through his exercises with a pair of swords. She liked to watch him move. He was so good it looked like a moving piece of art. She could only imagine how many years it would take to be able to move like him.

They weren’t the only ones using the training arena. The noise of combat filled the room interspersed with the shouts of other trainers trying to be heard above the din. This was one of her favorite places to work. However terrified she was in the beginning of her combat training, she found it exhilarating now.

Her superior finished his exercises and lowered his weapons to turn his sharp gaze on her. “How are you feeling?”

Evadna shrugged in answer. Smiling, he approached her. “That bad, eh?”

Evadna said nothing, watching as he scrutinized her face, eyebrows furrowed. “Every witch has their limits. But every muscle can grow stronger and our magic is the same. We found your limit today, but with exercise, we can change that. You’ll find you can do more.”

“Yes, sir.”

“For now, so that your body can recover, we won’t do any more magic today.”

He handed her the hilt of one of his swords. As she grasped the hilt, he said, “Are you entering the tournament?”

“Yes.”

“Good.”

Without another word, he swung his sword and she reacted instinctively to block him. They practiced with swords, knives, daggers, and the staff for the next couple of hours. At the end of it, covered in sweat and exhausted, he grabbed her shoulder.

“Well done today. You almost got the better of me a couple of times.”

“Only because you were taking it easy on me.”

“But I wasn’t.”

Skeptical, Evadna stared up at him. Reading her expression, he grinned. “Perhaps you will believe me when you win the tournament.”

Evadna held back a disbelieving scoff. Instead, she said, “I appreciate your confidence in me.”

“Always so serious with you.”

Uncomfortable, she asked if she was dismissed.

“Certainly,” he replied, an unfathomable expression in his eyes. “I will see you tomorrow.”

Feeling puzzled, Evadna turned to leave. She was halfway out of the arena when Jack appeared, walking alongside her.

“Methinks you have an admirer.”

Frowning at him, Evadna said, “You Jack? I’m flattered, but it’ll never do.”

Jack feigned a wounded expression. “As heartbroken as I am to hear that and I think you are making a mistake, I was talking about Superior Blue Eyes. I swear he was attempting to flirt with you. You, however, were cold and oblivious, as usual.”

“You’re delusional. Superior Ranis would never flirt with the students.”

“Well, I did say that he was ‘attempting’ to flirt. He doesn’t seem to be very good at it, but I give him full marks for effort.”

Evadna shook her head at him, a lopsided smile on her face. “You’re ridiculous.”

“You know very well all the girls who would be fainting in their boots to have him look twice at them. You are to be envied.

Uncomfortable, she attempted to change the subject. “What did Superior Tanor have you working on today? Still trying to master the mysteries of the axe?”

“You jest, but the axe has many nuances. It isn’t as simple as you think.”

“Sure it does.”

Jack’s response was to launch into a detailed description of the several techniques used in wielding the axe. Evadna let him ramble on as her mind carried her to the upcoming tournament.

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The Boy And His Witch: Ep. 22

“Concentrate.”

The sharp crack of her superior’s voice assaulted her ears. Focusing, Evadna held her barrier of air up despite the barrage of arrows assaulting it. She could feel the drain caused by every arrow that came in contact with the barrier, as if they were piercing her. She was tiring.

“Send the first line through.”

Shock threatened her concentration. They’d never sent people against her barrier before. She didn’t know what to expect. And she was already waning.

Closing her eyes, she sank herself into the song thrumming throughout her body. It felt as if her very heartbeat danced to the song’s rhythm.

Even with her eyes closed, she felt the impact as the first line of Follows soldiers attempted to crash through her barrier. She stumbled, gasping for air. Squeezing her eyes shut even tighter, she began singing the song aloud. The song was her lifeline. If she paid any attention to the noise, to the drain on her energy, she had no hope of holding up her barrier.

Another attempt to break her barrier sent her onto her knees. She cried out in pain, but kept singing.

A voice whispered in her ear. “Hold the barrier, Evadna. You can do it. You are stronger than you know.”

It was her superior whispering in her ear. Another crash into her barrier and she shouted, curling in on herself. Everything hurt. Her bones ached. Her blood felt sluggish with its song. Her brain felt woozy.

Something dripped from her nose.

“Halt.”

Despite the words, Evadna huddled on the floor, mumbling her song with what strength she had left, waiting for the next blow. She dared not open her eyes, sure her barrier would fall if she did.

A hand on her shoulder. “Enough, Evadna. Let go of the spell. You did well.”

Evadna looked up into her superior’s face, his blue eyes intent on hers. She released the song, the spell holding the barrier up. Slowly, she rose to her feet, wiping the wetness on her face. Her hand came away bloody. She was bleeding?

“Take a break. It’s time for the noon meal. I’ll see you afterwards,” he told her. Evadna saluted and turned on her heel, following the rest of the soldiers to the food tent. Riki immediately stepped in to walk beside her.

“That was very impressive.”

“Was it?” Evadna said, not looking at her.

Riki nodded. “Especially when the blood started pouring from your nostrils. Now that’s sexy. All the men were in a dither.”

Evadna glanced at her, not sure how to respond to such a comment. Riki smiled winningly at her.

“Do you always bleed?” Riki said, her tone serious.

Evadna shook her head. “This was a first.”

Riki made a sound in the back of her throat in reply.

They entered the food tent and immediately took their spots in line.

“Impressive job, Lips,” said a man ahead of them in line. He was blond, with a single roguish dimple. “ You’ve got something right…there.”

Evadna evaded his reaching hand. “Yes, yes, I know there’s blood on my face. Leave it be, Jack.”

Jack chuckled unrepentantly. “Seriously, though, I’ve never seen the like.” Turning to Riki, he said, “And who’s your new partner?”

Noticing Riki’s dumbstruck expression, Evadna introduced her. Jack shook Riki’s hand. “A pleasure to meet you, Riki. You’re a lucky girl to have Evadna as your partner. What I would give to sleep beside her each night.”

Evadna slapped him in the back of his head and Riki came out of her stupor enough to guffaw. “Right. Good luck with that,” Riki commented, smirking.

Jack rubbed his head, giving Evadna a wounded look that she rolled her eyes at. “Be gentle, love. Be gentle.”

When they’d been served their food, they chose seats together at one of the tables and were joined by a few of Jack’s and Evadna’s friends. Jack and Evadna introduced Riki to them all and then everyone dug in. It was eat first, talk later. No one wanted to miss out on filling their stomachs because they were too busy chatting to eat.

Once they’d eaten enough, talk turned towards the tournament coming up in a couple of months. Evadna listened quietly, remembering the letter she’d read this morning from Alby, encouraging her to enter. Soldiers entered the tournament for a number of reasons, some for the competition alone and others to be noticed and considered for advancement in some form or other. The seasoned soldiers entered to stay sharp, they didn’t need advancement anymore. Evadna wanted to go on a mission. She needed them to acknowledge that she was ready for such a step. She needed real life experience. She needed to be able to protect Alby.

“What do you need to do to enter?” Riki asked.

“Easy. Sign up,” said Misha, a tall, burly blonde.

“Where do you sign up?”

Jack winked at her. “Eager to prove yourself, are you? Would it not be better to be an observer first time round? Better informed is better prepared.”

“He’s right,” Evadna pitched in. “As much as the tournament is useful for moving up in the ranks and making a name for yourself, it is also a great way to get a bad reputation as well. Wait a little. Watch it first.”

Riki shrugged dismissively. “I was just asking.”

Jack eyed Evadna speculatively. “Has your time come around, Lips? Are you finally going to give it a go?”

Riki and Misha perked up, listening for her response. Evadna grimaced at him, not deigning to answer.

Chuckling, he shouldered her companionably. “This is going to be epic.”

“Your entering?” Riki clarified.

Evadna looked down at her empty plate, uncomfortable.

“Looks like it,” Misha mumbled.

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The Boy And His Witch: Ep. 21

“So tell me about this prince?”

“Prince?”

“Yes. The one who broke your heart.”

“Am I that easy to read?”

“No. Not at all. I just happen to be able to see more than others.”

“He’s not a prince.”

“Of course not. I didn’t mean that literally.”

“He’s my best friend.”

“Unrequited, huh?”

Evadna didn’t reply.

“So what happened? What did he do to you?”

“He did nothing to me.”

She gave a disbelieving scoff.

Evadna shook her head. “I assumed too much is all.” As Riki opened her mouth to reply, Evadna cut her off. “And that’s enough talk about my feelings.”

“Whatever you say, princess.”

Evadna curled her lip in disgust, making Riki chuckle.

“Nighty night.”

As Riki lied back onto her bed, wrapping herself in blankets, Evadna contemplated her new partner. Riki had wavy, short-cropped brown hair and a pale, freckled face. Scrappy. That was how Evadna would describe her. Scrappy and strangely insightful.

Evadna’s last partner had left on a mission, leaving her with an empty spot for her superiors to fill. Most people at the Follows worked in pairs. After two years living and working at the Follows, Evadna had been entrusted with a new recruit. If she did well, and Riki excelled, Evadna might be able to convince her superiors to let her go on a mission. She needed the experience.

Hearing Riki snore, Evadna smiled softly to herself and pulled out today’s letter. Her best friend, Lord Albin, or Alby as she preferred to call him, wrote to her on a frequent basis. She hadn’t had the time to read his latest correspondence yet, and after Riki’s unusual show of insight, the last thing she wanted was for Riki to see the evidence on her face as she read his letter.

Dear Eva,

My mother charges me to give you her love and to tell you that she misses you and enjoys your letters. I told her she could say so herself when next she writes, but she demanded it of me even so. And now, my duty done, I have leave to say what I like. Stateshead Manor prospers, you’d be glad to hear. As I frequently complain to you, it’s frightfully boring without you here. Jaxon is no fun to play with. He frowns so and speaks ‘logic’ as to why a thing should not be done, as if that’s important. And don’t go telling me I’m a grown man and must behave like one. You know if you were home with me, we’d go on a mad romp of one kind or another. I miss you, Eva. I know why you’re there and why you insisted on leaving. I know, but most times, I don’t care. Please don’t ask me again not to tell you how I feel. I’ll go mad if I keep it to myself. You’re my witch, Eva. You promised.

Father is still frequently away, on his political campaign. Running things in his place, though it keeps me busy, is dull work. I think your life at the Follows is far more interesting. My days are filled with meetings, paperwork, negotiations, etc… Jaxon takes pity on me sometimes and lets me beat him up, though he’d call it practicing. His swordplay is improving. He might be able to give you a workout when you return.

I am sorry to hear your partner has left you. I know you two got along really well. Maybe your next partner will be even easier to get along with. Must hope for good things. When is the next tournament? You must enter this time. You’re ready. I know you are. Show them all how amazing you are. I know, I know. I haven’t seen you in two years, how could I possibly know anything? But don’t forget, I know you. You, Eva, can do anything you set your mind to. Always have.

Keep me posted.

Sincerely,

Lord Albin

With a sigh, Evadna folded up the letter and put it away. She’d write him back in the morning.

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