“Why are they ready to open now?” he asked, studying her. They hadn’t offered names before and as she had been badly treated by previous guides he didn’t blame her. No one had ever asked for his before, so he’d stopped giving it, almost preferring to be called guide. His name had been given to him by a father he’d never met and probably never would. “What’s coming?”
“The war.” She rubbed her forehead with her hand. “Creating Ildieu only stalled it and the time is coming when it will, probably, begin again. I was sent to the library to learn, if I can, how to stop it, but if that isn’t possible then I need to work out how we win it.”
“Right now I don’t know. That depends on what happens when I get to Ildieu.”
“You don’t have much time, do you?”
She shook her head. “No, but that’s something I have no choice about. My future, sadly, was mapped out long before I was born, thanks to my family, and now I’m doing what needs to be done.”
“Is there someone special to you in Ildieu?”
“My siblings.” She sighed. “They don’t know me and I don’t know them, but I’ve always known of them. Unfortunately, due to the way our family keeps secrets from each other, they have no idea that I exist. I have no idea how many siblings I do have and everyone I meet might be related to me in some way.”
He found himself biting his lip. Was she related to his father? All of the stories he’d heard about the man who’d shared his mother’s bed for a night and told her to call the son Dale made it hard to believe that there wasn’t something different about him. Some people believed they’d seen him before, decades before, while others told of the same man making the same journey a hundred, two hundred, three hundred years before. There were times when he’d take the children born of those partnerships with him and times when he would leave them behind. If Dale was to believe them then he was one of the children that was left behind.
“Are there other siblings that you know of?”
For a moment she stared at him. “What do you want the answer to be?”
“I don’t know.”
“Tell me about him.”
“I never met him. I know I probably never will. Mum tells me he was tall, dark, and handsome, which was why she ended up in bed with him. Occasionally she seems to wish that I looked more like him, but I take after her more. I will always be grateful for that, because I don’t want to look like him, although there are times when I want to know who he is, just so I have some idea of who I am.” He shrugged. “That’s why I ended up out here, doing this job. Being here is so much easier than being home.”
Mirrored from K. A. Webb Writing.