“So this… is our family legacy?”
Gorim’s wide nose crinkled with disdain, watching the youngest Aeducan spar with the eldest. That is to say, he watched a child attack a young man like a rabid deepstalker. No form, no discipline, just a girl with chubby red cheeks and even redder braids, wailing on the Prince of Orzammar with a wooden sword.
“Ho-ho, she’s got a fire in her, she does!” his father proclaimed with earth-shaking gravity, paired with an equally powerful slap on his back. “And she’s all yours! Or should I say, you’ll be all hers. Soon as she finishes her schooling and training, you will officially become her second. Her graduation present, as it were.”
Gorim groaned. “Father, do you have to put it like that?”
“Oh, lighten up. You’re too young to be so cynical, haven’t even grown a full beard yet. Besides, this is our tradition. I served Endrin, and in a few years, you’ll serve his daughter.”
“What about Trian? Can’t I be his second? He seems to be more… stable, at least.”
“Yield!” The prince shrieked, shooing off the girl with a sweep of his hands as if she were an intruding pest. “Yield, I say! Get off me, you little…”
“Proving too much for you, is she?” a woman laughed, watching from the sidelines, opposite Gorim and his father. She had the same round face and red hair as the girl, dressed in glittering stones, stuffed full with the weight of a child inside. “She’ll do that.”
She waved to the two warriors, and they waved back. “Trian is not the warrior of the family,” Gorim’s father said softly, not that he doubted the Queen wasn’t aware. “Your talents would go to waste on him.”
He scoffed. “And they would go to better use on her?”
“You there!” the little Lady Aeducan declared, a swift swipe of her sword, the tip of it directed at Gorim. “Are you a warrior? I challenge you!”
“Give me a moment to answer the question, maybe,” Gorim scoffed. “Why don’t you…” A colder response collected in his mouth, but the disapproving scowl of his father made him swallow it back down. “I mean… if my lady is not too tired from her… previous encounter.”
The princess did not wait for a full response, lunging for the young warrior, thwacking him in the ankle. He groaned and hunched, allowing her to smack him in the shoulder. More in shock than in pain, but still aware of onlookers, Gorim forced a flat chuckle. “Aha, my lady is quite the opportunist. You will fare well in your training, surely…”
“I win, I win!” Lady Aeducan bounced about, waving her sword, eventually scurrying off to find some new distraction, Trian storming off with an indignant huff, and the Queen giving one last thankful smile and wave before catching up to them.
“So this is to be my life,” Gorim groaned in his recoil.
“Now, now, don’t be so dramatic. She’s only a child. By the time you’re assigned to her, who knows? You might come to like her.”