December 23rd, 2238
Eithne carefully walked towards the top of the cliff, making sure not to fall on the uneven terrain. They tried to match her strides to Polaris’ exactly, though that was hindered by the fact that he was several inches taller than them. The grass was wet with the morning dew and behind the mist the sun was reluctantly creeping up from its sleep. Eithne pushed the their black hair back from their face, back under the red scarf wrapped around their head.
Polaris had come to their tent early that morning, saying he had something ‘nice’ and ‘fun’ to show them. Falling over trying to climb up a hill wasn’t their idea of fun, but being able to spend a few hours away from the roiling sea that was camp right now was a good idea.
And well. Spending time with Polaris was a luxury these days, as they grew busier and busier preparing for the attack on Dernus. In mere days now, with all luck, Roderick would be deposed and Aurora would abdicate the throne. Eithne didn’t want to think about what might happen if their plan didn’t work… no. they had the literal gods on our side. They couldn't fail now.
They were so lost in thought they didn’t see the edge of the cliff coming up until it was nearly too late. They recoiled, horrified. Polaris was sitting on the edge and laughed as he looked up at them. He pushed back his black hair sheepishly when they glared at him. Eithne looked up and over at the sea. It was the same grey as the sky, the two nearly indistinguishable with no border in between. The grey reminded them of Polaris' eyes, if they were being romantic.
“Come on Eithne! You’ve stared down gods and a little sea frightens you?”
Eithne glared again at the back of his head, “It doesn’t. I grew up on an island. What bothers me, Pol, is that we’re 500 feet up!”
“Oh come on, where’s your sense of fun?” Polaris yelled, throwing his hands up into the air.
Eithne kneeled down behind him and placed his hands firmly back on the cliff and held them there. “Where’s your sense of self-preservation?”
Polaris lent back until they were face to face, “Please? You’ll probably never see this again.”
Eithne stood up suddenly, looking at where they knew Dernus lay across the bay, the small cramped buildings squashed into as small a space as possible before the great castle rising up from the cliffs. Today it was obscured by mist and rain. “Why?”
Polaris laughed mockingly, “You’ll go back to the Ashland. Why would you come back here? And… and I’ll never see you again.” He finished in a quieter voice.
Eithne raised an eyebrow at the fog, not trusting themself to look at his face. “Nope. Something’s not getting across here. Yes, I would rather die than have to spend five more minutes in this damned country-”
“Don't interrupt me. I would for you, for Ri, for Aurora and Vi and Beatriz and Seraphiné. It’s different when you love someone. Don’t you find that?”
Eithne eased herself into a sitting position, hesitatingly sliding their legs over the edge. They closed their eyes and leaned sideways until they fell into Polaris’ shoulder, surprising a yelp out of him. They sighed and then opened their eyes, smiling wistfully. “Mother said I should be the Ambassador to Tefren. Then your sister offered the same job to me. Can’t get rid of me that easily, huh?”
Polaris stared out at the sea, not believing his ears. “You hate Tefren.”
Eithne laughed. “What did I just say? The things I do for love.”