The Tale of Promise
Amma had said that Sive’s tower held treasures, but treasures can be dangerous for all their beauty. She should never go alone–at least, not yet. But Sive was not there in any case. The marble bridge would stay beneath the lake’s still waters, and she was not one to swim that far.
It wasn’t that she was not curious, but Avi had taught her stillness, patience, caution. Explore, run, live–but know limitations. She was young, she was not so strong yet, nor wise like Amma; that would come in time. Till then, she would take the challenges, she would learn, but she would not break herself. One day, she would grow into her name– Astarte, a name of power. But such a shell wasn’t something to rush into. Run too fast and she would shatter it, crash into a million rainbow fragments. Just wait, wait and see–all in her own time.
It was strange, maybe, how she knew things like that. Lessons too old to be in a mind so young.
But she had all the innocence of being a child and she didn’t think about it often–it kept her out of trouble, kept her from getting hurt. Amma and Avi seemed pleased, even if she could see a flicker of worry in Amma’s eyes sometimes, confusion in Avi’s. She had heard them talking once, half-drowsing in the fireglow, nestled under Amma’s whisper-soft wings.
“–eyes are like Avalir’s. They know–“
“It’s a gift then, a small one. She is not Avalir–she doesn’t carry the burden of his knowing. Sive sensed no such power about her.”
“And Sive would know?”
“Yes, as would you and I. She is ours, what is safe and true about us. At least for now, she isn’t marked by our past, by who we used to be. She’s…a promise, of things to come. Of peace.”
“…I hope. I don’t want her to hurt, don’t want any prophecy or divinity or destiny on her. Nothing dragging her places she doesn’t want to go.”
“No. I am no longer what I was, and you are strong enough to protect her.”
“Not from magic, not from power.”
“…your love is enough to shield her from death itself, that much I can sense still. And you are not alone. We can do this, Hinote. We can love her as we are meant to. We do.”
And Avi had been quiet and warm and she knew that nothing in the world could hurt her, there in that cave by the fire, the desert whispering lullabies to the night. So the days would pass, with Amma’s touch and silken soft voice, Avi’s gentle lessons. When she could read the desert, interpret the voice of its sands and winds and endless sky, then they returned to Sive–green lands stretching like a fairy tale before her. Then, Avi needed to leave, but she knew that it was something to do with Bonding and the strange, pretty girl with hair like roses and ink.
Amma didn’t cry so she wouldn’t either, because Avi would come back. He had promised her, and she knew.