Outer Flower, 20

Mirella is Chosen

Mirella said nothing, staring down at the bundle in her arms. The prince stared up trustingly. He was a good baby, not given to squalling, and though there’d been some trouble with colic, it had cleared up. Soon she would be all he knew of a mother, and though she knew the way to High North, she’d never had a child. She tried to tear away from the baby’s clear gaze, but couldn’t. The Queen cut through her misgivings

“In two days hence, Mirella, you’ll be on the narrow road heading north.”

“What will you tell the King of my departure?”

“Oh, the usual,” said Laveth, tapping her finger against her cheek. “Put on a long face and sigh a great deal. Contrive to act like a lovesick girl.”

At the mention of lovesick, Mirella blushed furiously, although, if asked, she could not have said why.

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