As the weeks since he woke on the beach passed, Sora found his thoughts going to the night he almost drowned every time he closed his eyes. He tried to keep his mind occupied but, with nothing needing his attention, he found that a near impossible task. So, each evening at dusk, he snuck out of the palace and ran down to the beach with the secret hope that whoever saved him would reappear and he would be able to fill the hole inside that grew each moment they were away.
Underneath the light of the full moon, Sora could see as far as the distant islands of Duband, the kingdom where his betrothed was born and he was one day destined to rule. Though from his earliest memories, becoming the land’s king was all he yearned for, since the night he almost died, a crown was the furthest thing from his mind.
Though in the days that followed the accident he had spoken of the mysterious savoir, he kept his doubts about his future to himself. He was a prince of Biscay, third son of the king and queen. He had no say in what he did even day to day, much less in years to come.
But he wanted, more than anything for reasons he did not comprehend, to be free. Freedom to live his own life, forge his own destiny, was his new wish. He did not know how he would accomplish it or if it was even possible; all he knew was he needed it. And without it, he was afraid of what would become of him.
Why did this have to happen now? Why, when my future is laid out before me did you come into my life? Why can I not forget you? He looked out to the ocean again and sighed. And why do I feel this pull toward you? How can I desire someone like this when I don’t even know your name? What is this strange power you have over me?
* * *
Demora, empress of the largest empire on land or sea, watched her son as he swam off alone. He had always been one to disappear but the number of times he had done so since the ball concerned her. He spent little time with her anymore, ignored his duties and refused every suggestion that he join Anasticia. He had even avoided Domiq and that worried her most. While the other things could simply be her son acting out, he would never treat his closest friend like a stranger.
What consumes you, child? What makes you cast off all that you are? Where do you go off to when your place is here? She shook her head and closed her eyes. Will I ever have my boy back?
* * *
Antoni stayed just out of sight as he watched his yellow-haired boy as he walked along the beach. I want you. I must have you. His every moment was filled with thoughts of being with him. His blood boiled at the mere mention of that day. He was in love, the purest, richest kind. You are mine.
You don’t even know him.
You’re wrong, Domiq. I know him in ways you could not possibly imagine. He looked over his shoulder at his friend and smiled. He and I are one. We are fated.
He has legs. You have a fin. How can you two be meant for each other?
I don’t know but it doesn’t matter. He and I-
You can’t live there and he can’t live here. You need to face reality; it can never happen.
You’re wrong. Antoni looked back at the yellow-haired boy and frowned as he walked back toward the mountain. It will happen. Tonight.
What happens tonight?
He turned and looked in Domiq’s curious eyes. Castle Grinnich.