“I…I know not.” he said, sounding as bewildered as Sif had ever heard. ”I—I never thought to be free again.” He looked down at his hands, and then once more at her face.
“You should be resting, Sif. Allow me to escort you back to your chambers.”
He payed no mind to the guards, his brow drawn, his thoughts obviously eagerly occupied.
“Your first act of freedom would be to put me to bed?” she asked, allowing a small amount of playfulness into her voice. “Should we not….go riding? Or hunting?” They both knew she was unfit for either activity, but she hoped he would allow her the harmless lies. Even as she spoke she made to move down the hall, in the direction of her room.
Part of her worried that she would wake and he would be disappeared once more, a self-imposed banishment from the home he had so recently returned to. She knew better than to voice this fear — he would do as he would, and she could not stop it. He was free — truly, gloriously free! — and still her heart felt heavy in her chest.
“When you are well,” he said, reaching for her arm to steady in case her steps should falter. ”I will ride and hunt with you for three days, if that will so fill your desire for adventure.” There were no runes to flare and spark, so there was no telling if the words were truth, or if they were merely a soothing lie.
“but I will not have Lady Sif limping for months because she was too busy running around the palace to actually heal properly.”
He saw her to the door of her chambers, but he did not follow her inside.
“Lady,” he said quietly, dropping her a bow. ”You have my gratitude. You are truly one of great heart.”
Lie or truth, it served its purpose. She was soothed by his promise, and allowed him to take her arm, though she stubbornly refused to limp. She had promised him her trust not an hour previous, and she would keep that promise until he betrayed it.
Her desire for adventure, though, was limitless; he must know that already. “Truly, my Prince,” she said as they came to her door, “you worry overmuch.” Tomorrow, bright and early, she would be dressed in practice leathers and out in the yard until afternoon sun burned the back of her neck.
He bowed to her? She looked upon him, puzzled. Lady, he called her again. This was not right. The formality chafed her, as though he sought to be a different person now that he was free. Perhaps he wished to forget all about his imprisonment and everything that had transpired. “No,” she said, shaking her head, “You have mine.” Fingers itched to touch him, to tug him in with her and lock the door.