Get Knocked Down, Get Back Up
What's a former Heda to do when she has lost her memories? Be patient and do all that's necessary to grow back her strength and reclaim her life.
“Father, you sent for me?”
“Come here, daughter.”
Seven year old Alexandria came and stood before her father, Niklas. He was one of the most respected elders of the Woods clan. “Perlis has told me that you broke his son Attu’s hand, is this correct?”
Alexandria looked from her father to Perlis, who was obviously none too pleased with her showing up his son and breaking his hand. Attu stood off to the side with his hand wrapped, his face red from crying. “Yes.”
“Why did this happen?”
“Attu was picking on Carra, he pushed her down and stole her bread.” Carra was Alexandria’s friend, who she felt overly protective of because of her small stature.
“Perlis, is this true?” Niklas asked the man.
Perlis looked to his young son who nodded once before his eyes filled up again.
Niklas scoffed at the father, “he’s a thief then. He’s lucky she only broke it and didn’t cut it off,” he said almost proudly.
Perlis huffed, grabbing Attu’s good hand and pulling him from the room.
“Come here child.” Niklas gestured to Alexandria to stand in front of him. She obediently walked up and stood before him, her chin held high. Niklas tried to hide his smirk. “How did you break his hand?”
“I punched him, then I grabbed it and twisted it back, like Augus showed me,” she said with a small grin, pleased with herself. “He always picks on those smaller than him. It’s never a fair fight.”
Niklas smiled at the precociousness of his only child. “Show me what you did,” he said as he stood up.
Lexa put her fists up and punched her father, who made a show of being hurt by grabbing his stomach. She then grabbed his hand, twisting it backwards, her strength surprising him. He started to laugh, “okay child, okay. Ai ron op, I give.” He sat back down, impressed with her tenacity. “Augus is a good teacher. Always defend those who are weakest. You make me proud, Alexandria. Do you remember your purpose?”
“Yes father, I’m Natblida, descendant of Pramheda,the first commander. Soon I will train every day to become a great warrior.”
Niklas nodded. “Yes, and your time has come.” He had been dreading this day for years now, ever since she fell for the first time and scraped her knee. The black blood oozed from her cut that day and sealed her fate. “The Fleimkepa’s scouts will arrive tomorrow to take you to Polis. You will be fulfilling your destiny, child.”
“Can’t I stay here and train with Augus?”
“This is the way of things. You will go and you will make us proud.”
“Yes father,” she said solemnly.
The next day, scouts from Polis arrived at the village. There were six of them, five men and one younger woman. Alexandria was packed and ready to go. She said her goodbyes, her eyes watery, but she never shed a tear.
The young woman brought a horse over to her. “I’m Anya,” she said as she adjusted the stirrups for the small girl.
“Alexandria. We have a long journey ahead of us, are you ready?”
“Yes, are we going to Polis?”
“We are little Lexa, can you ride a horse?”
“Of course I can, I’m going to be a great warrior.”
She was lying on her belly underneath the brush waiting. Patience was starting to come easier for her now that she was healing, now that she was seeing progress. She was strong enough to go hunting again. She hated doing nothing this past month, having people wait on her hand and foot while she just laid in bed, trying not to reopen the wound in her belly and her neck. She was thankful for her black blood that helped accelerate the healing. She could bring food back to the village, she could feel useful again. The fire was starting to burn inside her, it started as a small flicker, but now that she was out hunting and training, that fire to lead, to command, to rule, burned hot in her gut. She needed to get back what was rightfully hers. She was Heda, commander of the twelve clans, and she would be again. But patience was needed.
She was still somewhat limited, both physically and mentally. The first couple of weeks after the healers brought her here to her mother’s birth place, she had no memory at all. She was a blank slate. Slowly some memories returned, mostly revealing themselves at night, while she slept. Some came at random times during the day. They were like small pieces to a puzzle. She was still missing all of her most recent memories, but the parts of her life before and after her Conclave were coming back. On some days, Lexa would busy herself with thoughts of the Flame and the power that came with it, searching within her mind for the voices of past commanders, but she heard only silence. The healers again preached patience, confident that her mind would be fully restored in time.
Physically, swinging a sword still brought some pain, but she was becoming deadly with the bow and arrow. Every day she trained, rebuilding strength and flexibility.
Movement from the left snapped her attention back to the task at hand. She heard the boar foraging before he came into view. She nodded at the two others in her hunting party, giving the hand signal to wait until the boar showed itself. When the animal appeared, Lexa was quick to rise to her feet and let loose an arrow that found its mark, dropping the animal in an instant. She smiled with satisfaction, a few more kills and the small village would eat well tonight.
She turned to her companions, two young boys from the village, “clean the beast, you’ll have to carry it back.”
Both looked aghast at her, “but Heda, we’ll never be able to carry it back. It’s too heavy,” Tomus said.
“The boar weighs over three hundred pounds. We won’t return before dinner,” his twin brother added.
Lexa’s mouth turned up slightly. “Sha, I guess you better start walking,” she teased.
The boys suddenly realized she was kidding and they smiled. Tomus and Jaks had been by her side since she left the healer’s tent. Heda’s reputation was well known in these parts, and even though she no longer possessed the Flame, the former commander was still revered. The boys considered it a great honor to be her constant companion, protecting and watching over her.
“Tomus, get the horses and bring them here, Jaks and I will clean the beast.”
“Sha Heda.” Tomus turned and raced through the forest to bring back the horses.
“Lexa, pay attention!”
Fourteen year old Lexa looked up just before nearly losing her head to the oncoming axe aimed directly at her. She quickly ducked and rolled out of the way, popping up and laying the flat of her sword at the back of Anya’s neck. “Dead.”
“I let you do that.”
“If you ever face Luna, you better be quicker.” Anya dropped the axe and chose another weapon.
Lexa scoffed at her and smiled, “I will be.” She took a quick peek at the girl watching.
There were nine novitiates in Polis, all training for the Conclave. Someday, they would have to fight each other to the death for the right to be commander, the last one standing would receive the Flame and rule over the clans. Lexa knew she was born for this, that she’d been training since she was very young. Today though, the girl watching had her distracted. Costia was her name, she was told.
“Lexa, back to work, that girl can wait.” With a swing of her staff, Anya sent Lexa flying backwards onto her ass.
“Jok!” Lexa cursed as she got up and started driving Anya back with both arms swinging, her long sword and her short sword. Parry thrust, parry thrust, finally disarming Anya and sending her to her knees, short sword at her throat. “Surrender?”
“Sha.” Anya pushed Lexa’s blade away from her throat. “Not bad.” Anya stood up and picked up her staff. “I’m serious Lexa, Luna will be expected to win, she’s the best warrior here. She’s fast and she’s strong.”
“I’m faster, I’ll just keep running away from her, eventually she’ll tire, then I’ll strike.” Lexa smiled and winked.
Anya just shook her head at her young charge, “this is not a game.”
“I think you worry too much.”
“I think you worry too little.”
“I will win. And you will be my General, that is our destiny.”
“You won’t win if you don’t concentrate, you need to forget the girl.”
“She’s hard to forget.” The girl had been around for weeks watching the novitiates practice, but always lingered nearby when Lexa was sparring.
“Feelings will get you killed, love is weakness.” Frustrated with with Lexa’s attitude, she planted her feet and swung at Lexa’s head, “again.”
This memory returned to her last night. Lexa sat in the sand, listening to the surf crash on the shore. It was very early and the village was still asleep. Fog crawled across the beach like eerie waves. It was her favorite time of day, as the moon gave way to the sun. She sat cross-legged, eyes closed, listening for the first stirring of the early morning bird song. Her hair was down, curling in the humid heat. The weather was so different here compared to Polis. She was still getting used to her lightweight shirts and short pants. She ran her fingers through the sand, lifting a handful and letting it sift through her fingers.
She remembered that day with Anya. Was she ever that worry-free? She supposed she must have been, but it felt like a lifetime ago. The Conclave changed her. Fighting to the death can do that to a person. It hardens you. Losing someone you love destroys you. Costia died because of Lexa’s love. She remembered her eyes, a golden amber. But the eyes Lexa saw last night in her dream were blue.
The sun finally started to peek over the horizon, golds and yellows shimmering on the surface of the water. Lexa sighed and got up to head back to her hut. The people were stirring now, rising with the dawn. The village was small, there were some tents and some permanent structures scattered just off the beach, behind the protection of the tree line. There were no more than a hundred people here. They were fishermen and hunters, farmers and traders. It was far removed from the political chaos that was Polis.
She sighed, today she would come face to face with her past. She’d been putting this meeting off for a week.
Tomus came running up to her, “Heda, your breakfast is ready.”
She reached out and ruffled his hair, he was definitely her favorite. “Thank you Tomus, please tell Augus to meet me in my tent in an hour.” Augus was her mother’s brother, and he had moved back to the village after the death of Lexa’s father. They had a strong bond when Lexa was a child, and it remained strong, even after all these years. He looked the same to her, save for a few more wrinkles around his eyes. Every night since her return they would meet and reminisce. She felt that he had been instrumental in helping to recover some of her memories during those first few days. Two weeks ago they formulated a plan, a plan to help her get back on her feet and reclaim the Flame. She was the only commander to ever unite all the clans, and she was sorely needed now. She needed to get back what was taken from her.
An hour later Tomus poked his head in, “Heda, Augus is here.”
“Send him in.”
Lexa took a deep, shaky breath, not knowing what to expect. Augus entered followed by a tall woman. He gave a slight nod of respect. She nodded back, “leave us,” she said to him.
Lexa stood straight with her shoulders back and placed her hands behind her. She locked eyes with the woman in front of her. She had the look of a warrior, her short sleeve tunic tight against her body, muscular legs visible beneath her shortened pants, skin bronzed from the sun. A broadsword hung by her side. Lexa’s heartbeat increased as she stared into amber brown eyes.
The woman’s face remained passive as she stared back. “Lexa.”
“You look well.”
“As do you, Heda.”
Lexa suddenly was at a loss for words as she stared at Ellas, memories came flooding back, memories of happier times. Her ascension, the harvest festivals, victory celebrations. “How have you been?”
“How do you think I’ve been?” Ellas asked sharply.
Lexa had braced herself for some bitterness, but it still caused her to flinch. She said the only thing that came to her. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry for sending me away? Or sorry for getting my sister killed?”
Lexa took a sharp breath, “I sent you away to keep you safe. Costia would have never forgiven me if something happened to you.”
“Costia was dead. You were the only family I had left,” Ellas said, her amber eyes flashing with pain.
“I did what I thought was right.” She began pacing the room, wishing she could escape this particular memory.
“I needed you, I was just a child,” Ellas said, her voice starting to rise with her anger. “You sent me away to live with strangers.”
Lexa’s clenched fists were the only visible sign of her agitation, her look stoic, her voice calm. “It was the right thing to do, Azgeda would have come for you, too.”
Ellas’s eyes misted over slightly, “I was scared, and you abandoned me.”
Lexa closed her eyes and she felt her heart clench as she realized how much she hurt her. Her tone softened, “I couldn’t lose you too. I don’t know if I would have survived that.” You were the only thing I had left of Costia, she wanted to say, but she didn’t.
They stood and stared at each other for a few seconds, both struggling with the moment. Finally, Lexa saw Ellas’ shoulders relax, the fire left her eyes.
“Will there be anything else, Heda?”
Ellas turned and left the tent. Lexa felt herself let go of the tension that was coiled in her stomach. She sat down heavily and rested her head against the back of her chair, feeling emotionally spent. She recalled her ascension, walking with Costia, Ellas between them, holding their hands. She was so young back then. Ellas had idolized Lexa. She followed her around and mimicked everything she did. And now she was a grown woman, a warrior like Lexa. She had Costia’s dark auburn hair, but instead of soft curls, it was pulled sharply back from her face into a braid. Where Costia’s features were soft, Ellas’ were hard. The day she sent her away was still a hazy memory. She knew deep down inside that she needed to mend this relationship, but it would take time. More patience would be needed.
The next day she walked out of her hut, ready for the morning’s training session. Augus quietly appeared next to her.
“Good morning, Augus.”
“Good morning, Heda. I think you’re ready to take the next step in your training.”
“Ok, what would that be?”
“I have your sword ready for you.”
“No more wooden staffs?” She had been sparring with the staff for the last week, building up the strength that she would need to wield a sword again.
“I feel you are ready.”
Lexa walked up to the clearing where she spent hours every day for the past few weeks. She was startled to see Ellas waiting for her and looked questioningly at Augus.
He shrugged, “she insisted that she wanted to be your sparring partner.”
Lexa nodded as she removed her shirt, revealing her bindings underneath. Tomus ran over to her and handed her the sword.
“Thank you, Tomus.”
She grasped the hilt, held it in front of her, looking down the edge of the blade with a critical eye, looking for imperfections and seeing none. She swung it back and forth, trying to familiarize herself with the feel of it again. It felt good in her hand, she felt like she was welcoming back an old friend.
Lexa looked over at Ellas, who also removed her shirt, revealing an extremely well-toned body. She was a few inches taller than Costia had been, and she reminded Lexa of Luna, tall and formidable. She would make an excellent sparring partner, which is what she needed to get back her skills, to fight someone who was physically larger than herself.
The women approached each other warily. They began to circle, and then Ellas took the first swing which Lexa parried easily. Ellas swung again and this time when Lexa parried she felt the vibration go up her arm. She was out of shape. Lexa initiated the next sequence of attack and they went back and forth for a few minutes. Lexa knew she was tiring, but she pressed on. The sweat was leaking into her eyes, her body used to a much cooler climate. Ellas used her speed and quickness to drive Lexa backwards with a series of thrusts and slashes. Lexa’s strength seeped away and she stumbled. That was all it took for Ellas to disarm her, knocking her sword away. She whipped her right leg behind Lexa’s, sweeping her off her feet. She fell to the ground heavily, and Ellas stood over her, sword held high prepared to strike. Lexa had a brief flashback of Prince Roan of Azgeda, standing over her, ready to end her life. The memory was gone almost as quickly as it came.
“Ellas!” Augus shouted out.
The young warrior looked over at him and lowered her sword. She reached out a hand to help Lexa get back to her feet.
Lexa dusted off her pants, reached down for her sword, “again,” she said through gritted teeth.
Ellas took up a defensive position, waiting for Lexa to strike. Lexa’s sword was hanging by her side as she circled around Ellas, looking for a weakness and not finding any. She raised her sword and thrust but was easily parried by the younger woman. She came at her again and again. At one point Ellas cut her on her arm, black blood oozing down to her hand, making her grip slippery, but she still pressed on. She needed this exertion, she needed to make her muscles scream. It was the only way she would get stronger.
The next time Ellas came at her, their swords met up high, bringing their faces close, and as Lexa looked into her eyes, she faltered, the memory of sending Ellas away was suddenly crystal clear, the young girl trying to cling to Lexa as she was being pulled away by Titus. This was the opening that Ellas needed as she pulled both swords down, elbowed Lexa in the stomach and disarmed her once again.
“Enough!” Augus yelled.
Lexa was on one knee now, trying to catch her breath. She looked to Ellas and nodded, pleased with this session, even though she would pay the price tomorrow when she tried to get out of bed.
Ellas picked up her weapons and shirt and walked off. Lexa watched her leave. “You taught her well,” she said to Augus. She checked the scar on her stomach, and was relieved to find it still closed.
“She was an excellent student. When she came here she cried for days. Then one morning she came to me and asked me to train her. She said she wanted to be as good as you.” He reached down and helped Lexa get to her feet. “Come, I will close up that wound on your arm.”
“It’s fine,” Lexa said, waving him off. “She’s good.”
“She is, but not as good as you. She tends to be hotheaded and lets her emotions rule her. It will be her undoing one day.”
They made it back to the healer’s tent. Lexa took a seat as Augus cleaned out the wound. “I had a flashback.”
“Prince Roan standing over me, ready to kill me. But that’s it. Nothing more. Obviously, he didn’t succeed.”
“Patience. It will all come back.”
“I’m trying to be patient.”
She winced as he applied a healing poultice. As he wound a bandage around her forearm she had a vision of a woman, with hair the color of gold and eyes the color of the sky, wrapping her hand. She looked down and rubbed her thumb across a tiny scar in her palm. The vision was gone almost instantly.
“It’s frustrating. All I have are pieces of my life after a certain point. Last night in my dream I saw something falling out of the sky. It was large and looked to be on fire. And it just fell. I sent Anya out on patrol to look for it. But that was it. The dream ended there.” Lexa still couldn’t recall Anya’s fate. She was told she had died, but no one here knew how.
“We saw the same thing many months ago. There was talk of a thirteenth clan, Skaikru, they were the ones who fell from the sky. But beyond that I know nothing. We are too remote to get much news from the capital.”
Lexa felt something tug at her. “Skaikru,” she said softly.
She felt deep in her bones that there was something very important that she needed to remember. But it remained elusive. She got frustrated and stood up to leave. “Tell Ellas same time tomorrow.”
“Perhaps you should rest tomorrow, the cut needs to heal.”
“It’ll be healed enough.” And with that Lexa turned and left.
“Ryser will be first. Are you listening?”
Lexa nodded her head. The city of Polis was in the midst of a week-long celebration. The Conclave was to take place in four days, and a new commander would be chosen. Anya and Lexa were having a drink, trying to ignore the revelry that was happening all around them. They sat off to the side for privacy.
“Luna will be next if she kills her brother, so try and save your strength. Tire him out, let him swing until he tires, he lets his guard down after he thrusts, his belly will be open, go down to the ground and then up.”
Lexa nodded, “I know all this, we’ve been going over it for weeks.”
“I just want to make sure you’re prepared,” Anya snapped. She was clearly upset and nervous.
“You’re worse than a mother, maybe you shouldn’t watch, your heart might stop. Then who’ll be my seken when I become commander?” Lexa asked, trying to lighten the mood a little.
“I’m sure you’ll find someone, maybe a certain red-head?”
“I don’t want her by my side on the battlefield, only in my bed.”
For the next few weeks, every morning, Ellas and Lexa would spar. Most times Lexa ended up prone on the ground. But each session saw her grow stronger. Every day ended the same way, Ellas picking up her things and walking off, Lexa heading to the healer’s tent to fix her various cuts and bruises.
Today Lexa was feeling strong. She arrived before Ellas and prepared herself for another round of training. They had been using two swords for the past few days. Ellas arrived and performed the same ritual as she had every day. She removed her broadsword and place it gently against a tree. She then removed her shorter sword and placed it next to the other. She took off her shirt and placed it over a branch. She picked her swords back up, studying them closely, running her finger up and down each blade to test the sharpness of it. Lexa waited patiently for her to be done.
When the women were ready they nodded and began their dance. Lexa thrust first and was blocked by the quick hands of Ellas. She attacked again, her legs feeling strong as she moved forward, her sword hissed through the air, the sound of clashing steel rung in her ears. She knew this was the best she had felt since her injuries. She continued to rain blows down on Ellas, causing her to give ground.
They stopped for a moment, breathing deeply, sweat rolling down their arms, each taking stock of the other. For the first time Lexa saw doubt in Ellas’s eyes. And she knew she had her. She started forward again, landing a heavy blow, and she felt Ellas’s arm give a little. Ellas struck back, but Lexa easily countered, and a slash with her short sword drew blood on Ellas’s side. When she took a quick peek down at her wound, Lexa swung up and sent the woman’s broadsword flying. She quickly followed with knee to her stomach and a fist to the face and her opponent was down. Finally, Lexa was the one standing over a defeated combatant, sword tip touching her throat. “Set daun, give up.”
Ellas stared up at Lexa for a few moments, then a small smile touched her lips.
“Welcome back, Heda.”
Lexa smiled, taking a seat next to her. She was still breathing heavily from all the exertion, but she felt strong inside.
“You’re a worthy opponent.”
“Mochof,” Ellas said, fingering the bruise on the side of her face.
“How’s your side?”
“Not bad. I’ll live,” Ellas grinned.
They sat in silence as they both caught their breath. Lexa felt something change between them, a small, almost imperceptible shift. The walls were slowly coming down.
“I didn’t know what else to do. I needed to keep you safe,” Lexa said, staring off into the distance, remembering saying goodbye to a young Ellas.
“I know.” She sighed, and closed her eyes. “I was angry for so long. I’m sorry for the way I’ve been acting.”
“There’s nothing to apologize for.” Lexa stood and reached down a hand to her. Ellas grasped it and Lexa pulled her up. “Come, let’s see to that wound.”
When they reached the healer’s tent, Lexa sent everyone away, wanting some privacy with Ellas. “Sit,” she directed the young woman. Ellas did as she was told and Lexa looked at the cut. “You’re right, I think you’ll live,” she said. “This might hurt a bit, try not to cry out.”
“I don’t cry out,” Ellas said as she bit her lip when the water hit the cut.
“Hm, I seem to remember once, you cut your foot, and when I went to put it in the creek to wash it out, you cried and clung to me, like I was trying to kill you.”
“I was very little then.”
“Um, not really that little.” Lexa looked at her and smiled. “You were soft back then.”
“I was not,” Ellas said, feeling the need to defend herself.
“You were like your sister, she was soft,” Lexa said, teasingly as she continued to clean out her cut.
“She was soft. She couldn’t even swing a sword.”
Lexa looked up and Ellas was smiling, and it warmed her heart. Now the resemblance to Costia was clear. She hoped that they could put the past behind them and rediscover the closeness that they once shared.
“I still miss her,” Ellas said wistfully.
“I do also.” Lexa applied a salve to Ellas’ side.
“Was there ever anyone else for you?” Ellas asked.
Lexa hesitated, she still didn’t know the significance of the woman with the blue eyes. “I don’t remember. How about you? Is there anyone for you?”
Ellas smiled shyly. “There is someone. She’s here in the village.”
“Oh? A woman?”
“This time. I’ve lain with both.”
“You love who you love,” Lexa said as she wrapped the bandage around Ellas’s waist. Once again, she had a memory of the blonde, making a sling for her shoulder. She must have been a healer. She got lost for moment and Ellas’s voice pulled her back.
“Hm? I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“Don’t people usually choose one or the other?”
“No, I know some who lay with both.”
Lexa almost had a name escape her lips, but it was like a flash, gone too quickly. Once again she was frustrated by her memory loss. “I...I can’t remember.” She secured the wrapping and patted it. “All done.”
“Thank you, Lex.” Only Costia and Ellas had ever called her that.
“You’re welcome. We might have to take a day off tomorrow, to give it time to heal.”
“Maybe we could do something else?”
“Yes, maybe we can.”
The day of the conclave arrived and the people of Polis crowded into the arena to watch the bloodsport. All the novitiates were in various rooms with their sekens, waiting to be called to fight. Lexa was pacing back and forth, mentally preparing herself for the battle to come.
“You ready?” Anya asked.
“Yes.” She went and stood in front of Anya, who applied her war paint.
“Remember what we talked about, he leaves himself open when he tires.”
Lexa nodded, and the horn sounded for the next fight. Lexa was next. She saw the look of concern on her friend’s face. “Anya, I’ll be fine. I’ve been preparing for this my entire life. I’ll see you after I’m done.”
Lexa raised her arm and Anya grabbed her forearm, “you better. I’d like to think I haven’t wasted my time training you only to see you lose the most important battle of your life.”
“I won’t let you down.”
Anya’s grip tightened on Lexa’s arm, “yu gonplei ste nou odon, your fight is not over my friend, I will see you soon.”
Ellas became a regular visitor at Lexa’s meals. Lexa enjoyed her company, finding her to be more like the care-free child she once was and not the hardened warrior she met a few weeks ago. She felt peace in her soul, glad to have her back in her life. At dinner, Augus would join them and talk about Lexa’s childhood, all three of them laughing at the antics of a young Lexa. The warmth she felt as she watched the two of them interact was something she hadn’t felt in a long time. The sense of family.
“She broke his hand?” Ellas asked. “When she was seven?” She stole a quick glance at Lexa.
Augus grinned, “she did, and I think she blamed me.”
“Well, it was your fault, you taught me how to do it.”
“Yes, but I didn’t think you would try it out on poor Attu. The boy’s confidence was destroyed for years after that.”
“I find that hard to believe. He was a bully and deserved it. Father liked what I did.”
“Your father thought you could do no wrong.”
“How did you father meet your mother, if she lived here and he lived near Polis?” Ellas asked.
“In my clan, when a child was a certain age, they had to go and live on their own for a year. Gon we dig au, to leave and discover, the thought being, leave a child, return a warrior. So, when my father went on his year of discovery, he met my mother here.”
“And she wasn’t allowed to go to Polis with him unless I went with her,” Augus said. “Speaking of Polis, when do you think you’ll return?”
Lexa took a deep breath, “I think soon. I feel well, physically.”
“Good, I think you’re ready. Now, I’m an old man and I’m tired, I will see you both in the morning.”
Ellas waited until Augus left. “Lex, take me with you.”
“Ellas, I don’t think that’s a good idea. It’s going to be dangerous.”
“I can protect you. I want to be your seken.”
“Have you ever even killed a man?”
“Last year the village was attacked by raiders, I killed three men.”
Lexa was impressed, but she still was hesitant to put her in harm’s way. “I don’t know. I want you safe, and what about your girl? Would you just leave her behind?”
“For you, yes. To serve you, yes. Once we get to Polis and you become Heda again, I can send for her. Please, let me be there for you.” Ellas looked hopefully at Lexa. “Don’t leave me again,” she said softly.
Lexa heard the pleading in her voice. She couldn’t find it in her heart to say no, not again. Perhaps it was meant to be, the two of them together, fighting to take back the Flame. Perhaps it was their destiny. She gave a slight nod. “Very well, prepare yourself, we’ll leave in two day’s time.”
After Ellas left her, Lexa looked around her hut. There wouldn’t be much to pack, since she arrived with so little. She readied herself for bed and for whatever memories would be revealed. She felt a tingle in her palm and looked down at the scar again, absently rubbing it as she closed her eyes, trying to recall the blonde healer. She had an inkling that this woman might be the key to everything. She could see her soft smile, and the look in her eyes. That look. The memory still remained elusive. She would think more on it in the morning.
“By recognizing it for what it is, weakness.”
“What is? Love? So you just stopped caring? About everyone? I could never do that.”
“I do trust you...”
“Don’t we deserve better than that?”
“Maybe we do.”
“I’m not ready to be with anyone, not yet.”
“What did you do?”
“I made this choice with my head and not my heart.”
“I’m sorry, I never meant to turn you into this.”
“I swear fealty to you...”
“You’ve never seen me fight.”
“Your legacy will be peace.”
“They’re your people, that’s why I…”
“May we meet again.”
“I don’t want the next commander, I want you!”
“You were right Clarke, life is about more than just surviving.”
“CLARKE!” Lexa cried out in the night. Her eyes flew open, her heart was pounding and she was gasping for breath, grabbing at the scar on her stomach. Dots of sweat beaded her forehead. Her body was shaking as the memories came flooding back, one after the other, in rapid succession. The dam had burst. The last piece of the puzzle was finally in place.