Editor's Note: It is no small task, reconciling four thousand years of memories and dreams; of sorting through those dreams, to pick out which were genuine and which were shadow experiences of the Progeny. Battles, demons, and deaths -- thousands-- no, hundreds of thousands of them. How she could bear the pressure of them, I do not know. I had the luxury of spinning those memories forward, of glancing away, setting aside my work transcribing to wander the grove. There are stretches of weeks before I could go back to the work. But she has entrusted me with this task, the one last thing she wished for. How could I possibly refuse her, who had given up everything, except hope?
And so I set down for you Silva's Story, the tale of the Last Daughter of the Lost Kingdom, teased and wrestled from a vault of red and blue dragonstones, cradled far above the Skyshield, where I compile this story in the last of my own days.
--- Druid Thorn, Seventh Year after the Fallen Thrones, AW 73, or about 1134 AC in the Old Thyatian calendar
“Look in the mirror, Lea. What do you see?”
My younger twin frowned, and her reflection frowned back, standing next to mine as I stood next to her.
“You want to know if I actually listened to your lesson,” Lea accused.
“You are my sister and I love you more than life itself,” Lea said, and sighed, lowering her eyes. She braced herself, as she would when about to be lectured by the Seneschal. “Well, be on with it, then. Tell me about it again, like you did the at the University.”
“Just tell me what it is you see.”
“This is a trick.” Lea did not ask. She was very much like Mother, in that way.
I saw the slight shift in my twin’s stance. Many a would-be knight of the Companions had failed noticed the subtle shifting of her weight onto the heel and balls of her feet, and been sent crashing across a tourney field or ballroom at the first crossing of swords or presumption that the color creeping into the golden-haired girl’s cheeks was a blush inspired by fancy rather than anger.
“It is no trick!”
Green eyes narrowed. “You mean to play me a fool.”
I shook my head. She could, at times, be as dense as the metal the Men of the North had unkindly grafted onto her name.
“Not this time, Anujha.”
Lea’s hand clenched into a fist.
She’d bested every one of Father’s Kingsguardsmen at the last Spring Tourney, and not taken a single mark from the soot-edged blades, not so much as a spatter of mud on her cloth-of-gold gown. The Kingsguard still spoke of the time two winters past when she fended off two of Skandros’ assassins with naught but the golden candlestick she’d taken with her on the way to the water closet. Had one of the men not cried out, the guards would not have arrived in time to save either of them.
My sister was never one to back down from a fight, even if it was with me.
“Just… look there, and tell me exactly what you see.” I looked to my left, at the silvered glass that stood half again as tall as either of us, and wider than Lea and I shoulder-to-shoulder.
“I see… our reflections.” Lea bit the words off, and glanced at me again from narrowed green eyes.
I nodded. “That’s right.”
“You don’t— I what?”
“You’re right,” I told her.
“Never a chronicler around when needed,” she sighed.
Have I mentioned that she often plays at being the simpleton, in order to gain advantage over her opponents? Just for that, I decided that she would pay double. I reached for the thick, yellowed-paged book she brought back from Robert the Bald’s library at Cloudtop.
Her smirk disappeared with satisfactory speed.
“Not that book,” she groaned.
Her hand moved, quick as a snake, when I made to open the hardened leather cover.
“Let go!” I tugged.
She tugged back. “Please, Wena, I beg of you, not that musty old book again!”
“Let go before you tear it!”
“You let go!”
“If you do not let go of this book,” I warned, dropping my voice to a whisper, “I will write to Magi Robert and I will tell him you have so many, many questions about a book in his library and would like to discuss it with him at length, after you apologize for having taken it without his permission.”
The shock in her eyes hardened into anger.
“I brought this back because you wanted it! Do you know how many of those things I had to look through before I found this one?”
“I told you exactly where to look.”
“There were seventy books on that shelf, and they were all bound like this one!”
“Did it never occur to you to ask?”
“You said you wanted the book quickly. Magi Robert would want to know all about your studies. That would probably mean a visit. Lessons.”
We both shuddered.
“Remember when you asked him about how birds fly?” Lea asked.
I closed my eyes against the remembered sickening weightless feeling when Robert the Bald pitched Lea and I off the tower at Coot’s Watch.
The book slipped between my fingers before I could regain control of my fingers.
“Fine. Keep it,” I sniffed. “It’s wrong, anyway.”