Writing Prompt Wednesday is a concept kindly borrowed from Honestly Austen.
They stood shoulder to shoulder on the bluff, watching white waves churn themselves to a pale froth on the rocks below. She spun her knife on the tip of her finger, watched the black blade twirl.
“I never stood a chance, did I?”
“That’s the sad part,” he said. “You did…once.”
Her shoulders were already tight, but they drew up just a fraction more. “You’re disappointed.”
He glanced at the knife, then at her. She put it away, and he faced the waves once more.
“You couldn’t follow orders,” he said. “That disappointed me.” His voice went dry. “…not that it surprised me.”
She almost smiled.
“My fault,” he said. “I was easy on you.”
“Easy?” He’d had her up at the crack of dawn every morning for almost seven years, had her running over fog-slick rooftops in the night…. He’d put a knife through her arm just to show her what it felt like, and he’d broken her nose twice–the second time, he claimed, to set it back in the right direction.
“I could’ve pushed you harder,” he said. “You were good, Lee, you could’ve…”
She waited, but he didnt’ seem like he was going to finish. Eventually, she kicked him in the ankle. He gave her another glance, and shook his head.
“You were always a brat,” he murmured.
“I could’ve been…?” she folded her arms. “…what?”
“…better than me.”
She stared at her uncle, a man regarded as the finest Shadow of the century. The man who’d raised her. The man against whom, even now, no one else had ever really measured up.
“I’m sorry,” she finally said.
He shrugged. “Would’ve been a waste if you’d stayed.”
That was true.
They watched the waves, the rising tide. One swell rose, hit the rocks, and fine mist drifted up the cliff-face, settled on their skin, their hair.
If she didn’t know better, she’d think he was putting it off.
Finally, he stepped away and drew his sword.
She swallowed and picked up her spear, which had been lying at her feet.
“Ready,” she whispered.
“Leanna Lockhart, daughter of King Jason,” he said. “You stand accused of treason against the city and the crown, the penalty of which is death.” The mist picked out the silver in his hair, the lines on his face that hadn’t been there when she left.
I don’t want to do this.
It might have been her imagination, but she thought he paused, for just a fraction of a second, before he lunged.
Steel clashed and the sound carried down the cliff face, blending with the waves, until high above, something flashed–
–a steel sword, arcing through the air, plunging into the heart of the lake and all the way to the bottom.