Lexa reminisces about simpler times, recalling lessons learned and maybe finding new purpose for herself in this world.
“We should be arriving shortly, Heda-”
“I am no longer your Heda.” Lexa’s voice was calm, smooth. She didn’t even flinch upon speaking, it just came to her naturally to stay in control. The man that she had corrected blinked and looked away briefly.
“Sha, Leksa,” he corrected himself. The brunette gave him a nod and then kept her gaze forward. It was hard to denounce her title like so, but it was the truth. As long as the Flame was disconnected from her and she could no longer communicate with the Commanders of the past, she was not Heda. That was their way, and even though it was foreign to her to not be in charge, to not be Heda, she knew that she had to follow those laws. However, she was still a Natblida, that would never change.
Her mind wandered to Aden. She knew that he would be a good replacement for her. He had always shown great promise, always listening, coming up with creative solutions that sometimes even surpassed her own. Not to mention that he was a good fighter. If there was anyone to take over after her, Aden would be the one. He was what they needed and he reminded her of herself when she was young. Eager to learn, wanting the best for everyone, attentive... He will be a good Heda. Just as she hoped that she had been.
When looking back, of course she regretted some things. Maybe that one battle could have ended differently, maybe that one clan should not have gotten that trading rights. Minor details here and there, but also major decisions. Maybe she should not have accepted the Ice Nation into her Coalition, maybe she should have handled Mt. Weather differently...
Maybe she should have left the Sky People alone...
The demands on a leader were high and many, and she had to fit many roles. She longed for the days when she was young, back when it was not as complicated; when her days were filled with training, patrols and ease. She longed back to her days when all she would be was Anya’s second.
Lexa ducked underneath another swipe from Anya’s sword before she twirled around, her own blade aiming for Anya’s midsection. She was certain she had a hit, but Anya deflected the attempted strike with ease.
“Too easy!” she taunted her. Lexa narrowed her eyes. She backed off from Anya and eyed her down. Anya was relaxed in her stance, her blade resting in her hand comfortably. Her forehead was glistening from sweat, both from the physical activity but also from the sun’s heat. Her hair was braided and rested against her back to not get in the way and followed her every movement when she fought, just like Lexa’s own hair and on her cheek was a small cut from Lexa’s blade. She had scraped her earlier, she knew she could do it again. She had to prove that she was worthy of being who she was.
Anya crooked her neck and watched Lexa with calmness in her eyes, the two orbs piercing her. Lexa swallowed thickly before she shot forward again, her sword swinging against Anya. The older woman gave a small smile as she twirled around, deflecting it again easily.
“Patience!” she called out as she rammed Lexa with her shoulder, forcing her to roll on the ground before getting back up onto her feet with a slight stumble. Then, it was Anya’s turn. She approached Lexa quickly with her sword, swinging for her arm and to both her surprise and joy, Lexa flawlessly countered the swing to the ringing sound of steel hitting steel. Anya moved to her right rapidly and removed her sword from Lexa’s as it swung downwards, aiming for the younger girl’s legs. Again, Lexa successfully avoided the blow, this time by just simply stepping away.
Anya however was surprised as Lexa swung a kick towards her as the sword swung by, hitting her arm. Just a bit lower, and Lexa would have kicked the sword out of her hand. She smirked and turned around to face Lexa once more to see the younger fighter storming her already, her blade heading for her hip. Anya barely managed to avoid it and as the arm was close, she brought her own sword down and hit Lexa’s arm straight on the middle. With a cry of pain Lexa instinctively let go of the sword and fell to her knees. Anya only sheathed her sword and looked at her.
“You’re improving,” she complimented. Lexa stood up and grabbed her sword, her arm still bleeding heavily. Anya froze as she saw the black fluid coating her sleeve and Lexa heard her mentor sigh. With a raised eyebrow she turned to look at her and the somber look on her face concerned her.
“Anya?” She asked carefully. Anya simply shook her head in response and sat down on the ground.
“Come. Sit with me Lexa,” she offered. Lexa nodded and with cautious steps she approached Anya before sitting down. Lexa could feel the morning dew seep into the fabric of her clothes. It was still early, after all, the sun had risen only an hour ago. The two practiced physically in the mornings since the air was cooler then, but it came with some disadvantages, as well. For example, the dew in the grass. At the end of each session, Lexa’s knees would always be wet and almost covered in the small green strands of vegetation. But to her, it was worth it. When she looked up into the sky, she could see the familiar puffy clouds sailing by carefree in the wind. Beneath them laid the branches and leaves of trees that hung into the air, swaying gently back and forth in the wind. The sun shone brightly and let its rays caress the leaves causing sharp shadows beneath. It was a good day. A perfect day even, or so Lexa thought.
The two sat in silence for a while. Was it only a few minutes or an hour? She could not recall, but the empty space between them remained undisturbed by voices for what felt like quite a while.
“You’re growing up.” When Anya finally did speak, Lexa got mildly confused. It was a statement. A true one at that, but Lexa did not know how to respond.
“I know," was what she muttered. In Lexa’s mind, it was not the best reply she had ever given, but how was she supposed to reply to a question like that?
“How many winters have you seen?” Anya asked next.
Lexa wondered if there was a point of these questions.
“You know Costia?” Anya continued.
Costia? What did she want with her? Costia was her friend.
“What about her?”
Suddenly Anya turned serious. Her brow furrowed, her eyes turned grim.
“Maybe you should distance yourself from her,” she muttered.
Lexa felt offended. Why should she distance herself from Costia?
“Why? She’s my friend, I-”
“I’ve seen you two.” Anya cut her off. The older woman was still not looking at her. She was staring straight ahead into the woods.
“Friends is not what I would call it...”
Lexa gave Anya a glare. She wanted to tell Anya the deal, but she knew better than to mouth back to her mentor. She had done it before and it had always ended up badly, to say the least.
“You are Natblida. Maybe even Heda soon. When you’re in such a high place, friends are dangerous.” Anya told her, her expression was still grim, serious.
“Costia would never harm m-”
“Not in that way.” Anya interrupted her a second time. “Take it from me, trust me Lexa, both as your mentor and as your friend.” She tried to convince the younger woman. Lexa was shocked. Anya had never called her a friend before. It had always been student, pupil or something else.
“Soon you might be Heda and you will have a very large target on your back. Enemies might use friends like Costia against you.” Anya told her. Lexa shook her head. She would have none of this. Anya was being ridiculous. There was no way Costia would hurt her, and Anya should know that. Having friends would not be dangerous, it should make it safer for her. The more friends, the more allies, the stronger you are. Anya was wrong and Lexa felt hurt for Anya assuming such things.
“I’m not having this,” Lexa muttered before she stood up and walked off. She heard Anya stand up behind her and walk after her.
“Lexa!” she called, but the brunette didn’t respond. She kept walking. She would prove to Anya that friends meant strength.
Lexa shook her head. She was back on her horse. It was in the past. She kept her composure and looked over to the man who had called her name.
“Sha?” She answered. The man looked her over.
“I’m sorry, you just seemed out of it,” he explained. Lexa shook her head.
“I’m fine, as you can see,” she stated. The man’s expression was apologetic. “Of course. I’m sorry,” he said quickly before falling back into position.
Lexa sighed. That daydream had felt too real. She had not thought of that day for a long time. Anya had been right in a way, but also wrong. They had used Costia, in such a terrible way, but not having anyone was wrong as well. She knew that now. Love does not make you weak, it makes you strong. Clarke proved that, over and over.
Anya was not wrong, but she was not right, either. And now, it was up to her to show the world these things.
That love makes you stronger.