Slumber Page 73

Haydyn and I had much to catch up on once we got back to the palace. The sight of Haydyn put pay to all the rumours and gossip that had spread across Sabithia and even into the neighbouring provinces. Calm swam through the provinces like the tide flowing in at night. With the evocation stronger than ever, word began to reach the palace that Markiz Solom Rada had begun working on ridding Vasterya of the rookery as well as his little army he’d been building. It was too late, however. The Guard had been sent out to arrest the Markiz. He would be tried before the court of the Rada for treachery. Jarvis was furious, and left little doubt in my mind that the Markiz would be dismissed from the Rada and imprisoned.

I received a letter from Kir, asking after me, confirming the rumours in Vasterya, the worry in Pharya over the Markiz’ arrest. He promised to keep me informed, my own little spy, while we dealt with the Markiz. As we wrote back and forward, I was glad for his friendship again. He was unsurprised to learn of my betrothal to Wolfe, having discerned Wolfe’s feelings for me during our time in the rookery. I grimaced at that. I really had been blind.

The Iavii were surprised, now that they were caught in the trap of the evocation, to find themselves agreeing to settle in a few acres of land on the northern border of Javinia. As for Tiger, Bird, Vrik and a few others, they were imprisoned in the palace jail for murder, theft and kidnapping. No one questioned it, now that the Dyzvati reigned supreme again.

For her part, Haydyn was so busy over the next few weeks that we never found a moment to really talk. She was mostly in discussions with Ava and Jarvis. Although I hadn’t gone into the details, I’d told Haydyn enough of what occurred on my quest for her to have questions and want answers. Moreover, I knew Jarvis was interested in conducting some kind of census to discover just how many mage were being born every year. The thought of magic truly returning to our world was sweeping Silvera with excitement.

In all that excitement it was easy for Haydyn and I to keep missing opportunities to really talk. Wolfe kept pushing me to just grab her and make her sit and listen to me, since my worrying was making him worry.

Finally, I took hold of my moment, leaving Jarek (who was surprised at my betrothal to Wolfe; a little sceptical even, but nonetheless happy for me, proving I was right when I suspected I was nothing but a mere flirtation to him) in the stables and hurrying to catch Haydyn as she left a meeting with Ava and Jarvis. I urged Haydyn to postpone a meeting with a dignitary from Alvernia to discuss the Autumn ball and ‘close’ relations with the Markiz Andrei and the Princezna. Seeing how troubled I was, Haydyn agreed and we headed to her suite, my palms sweating and my heart racing with all I had to discuss.

Once we were seated, Haydyn took my hand in hers, her eyes bright with remorse. “I haven’t spent nearly enough time with you, Rogan, and after all you’ve done-”

“Haydyn, don’t-”

“We haven’t even had time to discuss your betrothal to Captain Wolfe. Wolfe, Rogan! You’ve barely given me any answers to how that really came about. And none of that fluff about realising how you felt about one another.” She grinned, her eyes bright. “I want the luscious details.”

So I told her. But not just about Wolfe. I told her everything that had happened to me. She already knew some of it. About the Iavii and the rookery. But this time I didn’t leave out any details. I told her about Alvernia. About the good people of Hill o’ Hope. About the Mountain Man. About L and the Moss family.

When I drew quiet, Haydyn promptly burst into tears. Guilt crashed through me at having assailed her with such heavy information all at once. I reached for her hand but she drew away. “Don’t. How can you even touch me after all you’ve been through because of me? That man, Rogan… what he did to you…” She shook her head, her eyes so full of anguish.

“Haydyn,” I said sternly, easing down beside her and hugging her close. “I didn’t tell you to make you feel guilty. Nothing happened to me that couldn’t be dealt with. But I came to question things… important things… about Phaedra. About the way we run things. For that, I need you.”

She still looked pale and uneasy, guilt flickering in and out of her clear gaze. “Things? What things?”

I pulled back. “Didn’t you hear what I told you? There are issues in your provinces, Haydyn, the evocation cannot fix.”

Haydyn shook her head now. “Of course it can. The evocation stops anyone from doing anything that would hurt the peace in Phaedra.”

I felt frustration prickle. “But what if something happened again to the evocation? We’d be left with a world that isn’t properly governed.”

“But that’s what I’m trying to do.” Haydyn stood up now. “I heard all this the first time around, Rogan. I understood. Believe me. The provinces have been left in the hands of the Rada who have relied upon the evocation for everything. Laws need to be instituted to protect people like that kind family you met in the mountains. And they will be. It will just take time.” She drew breath. “In fact… I’ve decided to move the palace to Vasterya. I was just discussing it with Jarvis and Ava.”

“What?” I asked, my mouth gaping open in shock.

“The province is central. From there my power will be absolute. It will even reach Alvernia. What happened to you need never happen to anyone again. But as I say, this will all take time. Patience, Rogan.” She smiled.

For a moment I was taken aback by how determined and self-possessed Haydyn was. Then again, I had witnessed a change in her these last few weeks. She was taking charge with remarkable aplomb. The Sleeping Disease had changed her as much as I.

Still… I needed her to understand. “Perhaps once you’ve set up proper government, you might think about easing Phaedra out of the evocation?” I waited nervously for the answer.

Haydyn guffawed. “Are you jesting, Rogan?”

I frowned. “No.”

“Why would I take away the evocation? It’s my purpose in life.”

“Your purpose in life is to reign over your people and take care of them. Make decisions that will better their lives. Not control them.”

I didn’t mean the edge in my voice but it was there and Haydyn flinched. “Control them?”

I sighed. I was doing this all wrong. “Not control them. That’s not what I meant. I meant…” I searched the room, looking for the words. They landed on Haydyn’s bed, where I’d kissed her temple but weeks before, promising I’d wake her up. “We’re all asleep under the evocation. We’re not free to be truly ourselves. You more than anyone must understand the imprisonment of sleep, Haydyn. We’re not prepared for what will happen when we wake up. We never will be unless we stop relying on the evocation.”

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