[04.01.00] » by Tamzen Marie Baker



"What are you doing up here, Sir Flik?" a tiny voice came.

Flik groaned inwardly and didn’t answer, shifting his body to make sure he back was entirely facing the girl.

"Are you thinking of Lady Odessa?" she piped again.

Flik winced and turned to look at the teenager. "It’s really non of your business, Nina, and I wish you’d just leave me to myself."

"But Sir Flik, I hate to see you so sad…"

"I’m not sad."

"Then why are you out here all alone?" Nina’s blonde curls bobbed as she spoke and Flik was idly reminded of the girls that had courted him in his younger days.

"I think. I stand and I think," he replied shortly. "Now, would you please leave me be?"

Nina sighed and nodded, departing down the stone steps and Flik turned to look again at the moon. How I miss her…her friendship, her love…my guiding star… In the silvered moonlight, he could almost imagine her long strides taking her across the fluttering grass of the plains outside Hope Castle.

Flik blinked, suddenly wondering if his eyes were playing tricks on him…on in the waving grass stood a tall, lithe figure, her long hair blown back from her face by the wind… Fool…it can’t be Odessa…she’s gone… All the same, the young woman shouldn’t be out alone at this hour, and he’d ought to make sure nothing was wrong.

He made his way down the sets of stone steps, nodding to Viktor and Leona as they came out of the tavern, ready to head to bed after a long day. Finally he stood outside the many shops, at the very edge of the castle property, his eyes searching for the girl he had seen from the tower. There…

Flik’s steps took him quickly across the field, and with the wind, the girl did not seem to hear his approach. She stood with her back to him, her face turned up to the moonlight, and as he grew closer, he could see her hair was the same strawberry blonde that Odessa’s had been. As he reached where she stood, she turned to look at him in surprise, reaching a hand up to brush a piece of hair from her hazel eyes. Flik’s heart skipped a beat. It can’t be possible…

"Is this Hope Castle?" the soft voice lilted as she stepped closer, laying a hand on his arm.

My God…she’s the very image of Odessa…her looks, her voice, even her gestures… "Y…yes…," he stammered. "Are you looking for Lord Willie, or our strategist, Lord Shu?"

"Oh…well…I am here to join the army…but I’m looking for a certain man in particular. You see, I got a letter….with an old promise…that I need to keep…"

"Who is it you are looking for?"

"A man by the name of Sir Flik…"

Flik’s heart skipped another beat and he was suddenly afraid. What kind of cruel God would send my beloved back to me, reincarnated like this…?

"Well," she said, her voice a little stronger, "You have very trusting eyes, so I will tell you the truth. I had a twin sister…she was the elder by a few minutes. As is practice when twins are born, one must die, so that there will be only one inheritor. My mother couldn’t bear this to happen and so she sent me away, and I lived for years out in the country. She never kept the secret from Odessa, and so my dear sister kept touch through letters for years."

Flik could hardly believe the girl’s words…yet, it was true, she was the very image of Odessa. "I…go on…"

"She sent me a letter, every week, never would miss…she…she sent me a certain letter and told me that if her letters ever ceased, to open the sealed letter. That is how I know she must have lost her life…"

"I see," Flik replied. "But…why did Odessa send you here to seek m-Sir Flik?"

"She asked that I might find him…to…make sure he was not despairing. To see that he was living his life…I…I am really not sure of her intentions, kind sir. I only know she must have loved him very much."

Tears had started to roll down Flik’s face by then, and he lowered his head, asking her a single question. "Your name, fine lady?"

"My name…my name is Tami," she replied, her face suddenly distraught. "Sir, are you alright…?" She couldn’t help but feel for the young man. His eyes, blue as the sky, were filled with such pain, that she longed only to comfort him.

"I am Sir Flik," he said softly.

The girl’s eyes went wide and she suddenly realized everything her twin must have seen in him…because she had felt it before she had even known his true identity. Odessa’s intentions for the sister who had been wronged all her life were suddenly clear. Tami looked up into the face of the man, already knowing he was her sister’s final gift, and smiled. Flik saw the smile, and understood, and underneath the moonlight, they met in an embrace full of promise.

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