a sample of today’s writing:
“I don’t suppose we can still talk you out of this,” his mother said, looking up at him. She looked, Daniel thought with a twinge of discomfort, much less like a queen and much more like a mother, her eyes worried and dark. It was the same look she’d given him before he’d left for Dolonde after James’s murder, resigned but heartbroken, mourning a son-in-law but terrified that she’d soon be mourning a son as well.
Daniel shook his head. “I’m sorry, Mother.”
“He’s doing the right thing,” David said, wrapping one arm around the Queen’s shoulders and giving Daniel a serious look. “As much as we’d prefer him to let the proper authorities handle this.”
“I’m making myself the proper authorities,” Daniel said.
His Uncle Tomas snorted, clapping Daniel on the shoulder. “You’re your mother’s son and no mistake,” he said kindly, and Daniel smiled gratefully at him. Uncle Tomas had been widowed young and never remarried, and it had been him that had convinced Daniel’s parents to allow him to lead his ragtag bunch after Ella and her sister. Daniel was just as glad that he’d be staying behind to be a comfort to Mari–he’d been the one to gently coax her back into the world after James’s death, and Daniel knew that despite her calm facade, she must be in turmoil at the idea of having found love again only to lose it as quickly as she’d lost James. “But if it turns out you need backup, you have that faerie send us a message.”
“I will,” Daniel promised. That had been another argument–his mother had wanted him to bring one of the palace faeries with them, but Tae wouldn’t trust Isabel with anyone but Lucia, and the old kitchen faerie had bested the palace’s top conjurer at every spell the Queen had presented, and in the end, Sonia had relented.
He hugged his parents and his uncle, and then turned to Mari, already feeling a lump swelling at his throat. He could see his own anxiety reflected in her eyes. “I should be going with you,” she said.
Daniel shook his head. “You need to be here,” he said. “Sofi needs you here.”
Mari pressed her lips together, and Daniel tugged her into a tight hug. “Please,” he said. “I need to know that you’re here safe.”
She nodded against his shoulder. “I need you to come back safe,” she said, her voice muffled in his jacket, and Daniel squeezed her once before letting her go.
“I will,” he said, and tweaked her nose, just to see her try to smile and glare at him at the same time. “And I’ll bring our girls home, too.” He swung himself up into his saddle. “What do you think, Mother,” he said. “A double wedding in the spring?”
“I always pictured you as more of a summer groom,” his mother said, but some of the fire had come back to her eyes. “I’m sure I’ll have a color palette ready for you when you get home with that lovely girl.”
“Looking forward to it,” Daniel said, and found himself surprised to realize that he was telling the truth. Love makes you do ridiculous things, he thought, and kicked his horse into a canter. He left the courtyard behind, and didn’t look back.