“But suppose Petrus is free from his oath now. Perhaps his charge is deceased.”
Lucy held Mara’s gaze. “No.” She sighed. “I’ve had a lot of time to think this all through. Why would I do that? Allow someone into my life like that? A man I can’t even grow old with? No, Mara, I say I let him go, but I suppose in truth, there were more things than just my mission—and his charge—that kept us apart. You see, I knew that eventually, he would grow old and that, therefore, one day he would . . . die. This ‘gift’ we Oathtakers to seventh-born members of the Select enjoy is, in some respects, a curse. Sure, it seems a blessing never to physically age, never to grow old and weak, but . . .”
Looking down, Lucy wrung her hands once more. “Well, when it comes to dealing with others, it can prove difficult—especially for those like us.” She glanced back up. “It’s not like he’s the only one who ever showed an interest. I mean— Well, had I never had a charge who was a seventh, I too, would have aged after losing mine. Perhaps the idea of starting over then wouldn’t have seemed so . . . daunting, but . . .”
She leaned back. “Well, you know, you and Dixon are the only ones who could have found a happy ending together given that you’d both had a seventh-born of the Select for a charge. For me, the differences between Petrus and I seemed—no, they were—insurmountable. It was easier for me to call an end to it all back then, than it was for me to face the possibility that I might lose him later.”
“I see. So, you went your separate ways.”
“We did.” Lucy sipped at her tea. “I haven’t thought about him in . . . years. But today, when I thought I saw him, it so surprised me that I was careless.” She shook her head. “He didn’t appear to have aged all that much—if any . . . and his charge was quite young when we first met,” she muttered, looking off as though seeking answers in the air. “Assuming his charge lived a normal lifespan . . . Well,” she sighed, “I’m sure I was simply mistaken.”
She put her cup down. It clinked when it hit the saucer. “I don’t know why this is so hard for me to talk about—except, of course, that I fear people will find it all rather . . . amusing.”
Mara put her hand over Lucy’s. “There is nothing humorous about losing someone we love,” she said.
“No.” Lucy smiled for a brief second, then turned somber. “I suppose you’re right. But I do feel very foolish. And to think that because of it, Saga died. It’s just . . . shaken me, I guess.”
Mara squeezed her hand. “I understand. So, let’s just keep this between the two of us then, shall we?”
Holding her gaze, Lucy nodded.
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