Wet, fresh trampled grass. Salted ocean air. Their armor still warm from the fading sun. Home in the distance. A full day scouting the borders. The duo, one of a dozen pairs that patrolled daily. Riding well fed and rested mounts. The horses would take tomorrow off. They never worked two days in a row, unless a need arose. But this was a time of peace. There hadn’t been any need since…Goodness, more than a generation, at least. Back before the treaty with the mountain hordes. The treaty was King Proeshe’s legacy.
“You’ve been quiet all day. Talk with me,” Lewin laughed. “Spare me any more of my idle thoughts. I go in circles over and again.”
Jonell chuckled. “Still wondering of Eveline?”
“As though there were anything else to wonder. Yes, of Eveline and nothing else. And me, here, on patrol. Tis an agony no man should know.”
“And yet most have or will. Be grateful for the patrols.”
“Grateful. Grateful? You jest.”
Jonell turned his wrist, pulling the reins, guiding his mount past a white flower that caught his eye. Not that one. Don’t crush that one. I would see it flourish. Even if this is the only time I ever see it. “Yes, grateful,” he said. “You need to let her think. If you weren’t here you’d surely pace a rut into your room floor. How long has it been? A day? Not even?”
“I asked her last night.”
“Not even a full day,” Jonell chuckled. “If you want some advice from a man that has the woman of his dreams, leave her be. Let her come to you, if she will. She knows the contents of your heart. Now let her find hers. Come, ponder with me.” They were on the beach now. The last rays of daylight danced purple, orange, red, and gold on dusk’s gentle ocean. A trio of gulls looking for dinner swooped over their heads.
“What is it you ponder on our patrols, Jonell?”
“Oh, any number of things. How the bird flies, why the cricket chirps, where the wind goes. But now you’ve gotten me thinking something new.”
“Oh? What’s that?” Lewin asked.
“I’m wondering how it is women can turn men to mewling babes with but a word or look. Truly, if we could find the answer to that we’d have peace for all time.”