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Shielded

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She is nine. Father and Mother are back in Ylisse, but her quarters remain unvisited. She has grown; Mother would be proud. Her hair is the night sky, likened to her Father’s. It tickles her collarbones and the tops of her shoulders when there is a light breeze, just like today. She catches a glimpse of a familiar hooded cloak bouncing atop horseback, and her heart skips. Lucina's hand freezes just before she turns the knob, and she withstands the urge to rush down and meet them.

She will wait.


 

The sky grows weary with a hazy purple accompanying the clouds. Still, the knob of her bedroom door has all but remained cold. In another room, Morgan is wailing and there are a number of maids trying to calm him down. She picks at the loose threads on her pillow, contemplating if she should interfere with Morgan’s tantrum, but one of the maids barge in. The door swings open behind her.

“Princess Lucina!”

She flings herself off the bed. “Marciel.” She nods, curt, but her stomach has butterflies. “Is Father here?”

“Yes my dear!” Marciel ushers her out, excited. “Oh Princess Lucina, no need for your dress — I’m afraid we’re pressed for time. Your nightgown will do.”

“Of course!” She grasps Marciel’s hand until it flushes pink. Up the stairs and the down the hall, her small heart is racing. She takes a calming breath after the last flight of stairs. They emerge near the castle's rooftop, and Marciel excuses herself.  Here, Mother greets her with a warm embrace. The worn cloak cocoons her, and she savours the warmth around her body once more.  Mother doesn’t let go for a  long time. She pulls her in so close that she can’t take a breath without getting some of Mother’s hair in her nostrils.

“I’m sorry I won’t be here very long, but I couldn’t bear to not see you again.” Mother whispers, finally letting go. “Even if it’s just for a night.”

Lucina snuggles into her chest, gripping the cloak in her hands. “You’re father is just — “

A screech, loud and anguished, interrupts her. She promptly tells Lucina to wait, scrambling to her feet and rushing out from behind the corner to the open bartizan. Curious, Lucina peers around the stone walls and she is met with the sight of one of the most grand wyverns she has ever seen.

“Minerva is still upset about his passing.” There is another voice, a woman she has met before but only briefly. She is holding hands with Mother, with the other on the wyvern. “Lon’qu is dead, and it’s my fau— “

“His death is for not for naught.” Father says. “You must mourn in safety, Ylisse is heavily guarded at this time. You can seek refuge here, Cherche.”

“Thank you, Chrom.” But the lady shakes her head. “But now is not the time for such frivolity.”

“Gods! Mourning your husband is not — “ Mother interjects.

“I love him, yes.” The woman’s voice falters. “We have spent many years together, and for those I have been blessed.”

“But what about Gerome?”

Her body crumples, as though grief itself gave her a blow to the head. Lucina trembles.

The woman’s hands fly to her face, and the wyvern stirs. “I am requesting so much from you both. The formalities of this meeting are simply absurd and for that I am sorry.” She pauses, and looks at Father, eyes listless. “I will not be returning to Gerome until the war is over.”

Mother and Father are quiet in mutual understanding. While the woman composes herself. She lets go of Mother's hand, and holds her head high, her scathed armour highlighted in the setting sun.

“I only ask that he train alongside Lucina and the others.” She smiles softly, and thoughtfully closes her eyes, taking a deep breath. “He is shy. It would be good for him.”

“Of course.” Father promises right away.

Her parents talk with the woman for a bit more before she straddles her wyvern and takes off. The big gusts of wind throws Lucina's hair back and chills her arms. Father and Mother scoop her up and apologize for taking so long. Later, they visit Morgan’s bedroom and sit on the bed together until she falls asleep. When she wakes up the next early morning, it is to sweet goodbyes and I love yous. The warmth of her mother and father's kisses linger on her cheeks.


 

A year later, there is a new face alongside Severa, Cynthia, and Owain. When Kjelle and Brady come late, the rest of them mingle and he sits apart. She asks him for his name, and then Owain asks of his lineage. He tells them that his parents are dead, and does not speak for the rest of the day.