Something that I focus on in the series is turning the idea of "the chosen one" on its head. And as such, Baeou never fully buys into the concept, at least not when he's in his right mind. I also try to focus on the stress that the pressure of living with a chosen one would put upon his closest friends.
Anyway, with that, read on.
Baeou grinned sheepishly as Glacia held her hands on her hips, waiting for a better answer.
“Faenmount,” he replied.
“You mean later sometime, right? This is some future hypothetical trip that you’ll take later. When we don’t have a newborn?”
Baeou sighed. “No…?”
Glacia raised her eyebrows. “You mean now?”
“How soon?” Her voice had become almost a growl.
Baeou grinned and tried his best not to gulp nervously. “Tonight.” Then, “We have a lead on the Faenwerld Stone. We have to follow it, and we don’t have time to waste.”
Her jaw dropped, eyes widened. Incredulous, she turned to face Master Fyren, who stood innocently off to one side. “You don’t mean to encourage this, do you?”
Master Fyren shrugged. “I didn’t suggest it. In fact, I’d be happier if they wouldn’t go at all—”
“We’re going,” Baeou snapped, his ear flicking.
Master Fyren sighed. “Yes, I know.”
“Baeou,” Glacia said, taking him by the shoulders. “Have you really thought this through. What about the baby?”
Baeou thought about pushing her hands away, but knew that would cause more trouble with Glacia that it was worth. “Of course I have. There’s a crystal that we might be able to find with very little trouble. We have to try.”
Glacia looked once more to Master Fyren, pleading for his support.
To Baeou’s relief, Master Fyren only shook his head and said, “Life goes on, Glacia. And this world won’t wait for baby Isaiah to grow up. If this book can truly lead them to one of the seven stones, they have an obligation to go.”
Her face did not lighten. “And leave the rest of us behind.”
Baeou could see some hint of nervousness behind Master Fyren solid stance and confident tone. But Glacia didn’t appear to have seen it. She sighed and rocked back onto her heels. From somewhere in the next room, Isaiah’s cry rose over the silence. His nap was, apparently, over.
With a look of relief, Fyren offered to go sooth the child, leaving Glacia and Baeou alone in his office. Baeou suddenly felt like he could breathe freely. He put his hands over Glacia’s, which were still on his shoulders.
“We won’t be gone long,” Baeou said.
“I know,” was Glacia’s reply as her arms fell to her sides.. It was quick and short. Her preliminary anger, however, had dissolved from her face, and now she stood in the middle of the room staring across at the far corner. Baeou did not doubt that she was mulling over Master Fyren’s words.
“I knew what I was getting into from the beginning,” she said softly after a long time.
Baeou chuckled, no humor in his face. “Well, I didn’t. So you’re one step ahead of me.”
“And I do have a purpose here in Cytee. One I can’t abandon.”
“You can put it on pause,” Baeou offered.
But Glacia shook her head. “No. I can’t. Not any longer than I have already.”
“You’re amazing at what you do. People trust you. They listen to you. I don’t think I’ve told you how much I admire what you’re doing. Appreciate it, too.” He felt strange, saying his feelings so bluntly. He was surprised at how easy it had been in that moment. It was the first time he’d opened his mouth and felt like he said something the Hope would say.
Her head gave a small nod, but her eyes were stuck on her own folded hands. “But what about Isaiah?”
“He was born into a life that’s going to be hard, a time that’s going to be chaotic. But he’ll be okay.”
“He always will. I promise you that.”
“And when you’re gone?”
“Eliot comes with me when I can’t be with you. He will be my eyes from far off. I’ll keep an eye on you and Sai. Always.”
Glacia sighed as a grin spread over her lips. “If only you weren’t so optimistic, I might could doubt you. I want to.”
“There’s no use. And when have I not kept a promise?”
Baeou could see Glacia’s eyes fade to a distant memory. He thought he knew exactly which day she was remembering.
“I love you both more than life,” Baeou said, putting a hand on her warm cheek.
Glacia smiled sadly and looked him in the eyes. “And yet your life is so much more important than ours.”
“Not to me. Nothing will happen to you.”
“And what if you had to choose, Baeou? What if you had to choose between the world and me? Or Isaiah? What would you do?”
“I don’t guess I would know until then,” Baeou answered, his throat tight. It was as honest as he felt.
“Maybe Rae never told you the whole truth.”
Baeou’s brow fell. “What do you mean?”
“She told you that, in the future she came from, you had given up. But maybe you don’t even need to give up. Maybe you just choose me over the world. If you have to sacrifice Isaiah to save the world, would you be able to do it? I know I couldn’t. It’s why I’m not the Hope.”
Baeou stared at her, confused and infuriated. “That hardly seems like a fair—”
“It’s just a possibility, Baeou. One I don’t think you’ve considered.”
“I don’t think Rae meant that.”
“You never know what that girl means. And she sated your curiosity with one answer, who’s to say it was only the shallowest form of the answer?”
Baeou grumbled under his breath, kicking himself for beginning to admit that perhaps Glacia had a point. Regardless, it wasn’t a point upon which he wanted to dwell.
After a few tense, silent moments, Glacia sighed. “I don’t mean to upset you.”
“Damn good job you’re doing,” Baeou muttered.
“I just don’t want you to be taken by surprise. You’re afraid of giving up. Fine. I understand that. But just throwing up your arms in surrender isn’t the only way that future could happen. You could give up on one thing to save another and it would have the same result.”
“So…you don’t want me to go to Faenmount.”
“This has nothing to do with Faenmount, stupid.” Glacia almost laughed as she slapped him across the shoulder. “Just with your duty to the world and your duty to us. Remember that those two might not always line up. Perhaps it was a little out of the blue, but your talk about protecting us made me think about this idea that I’ve been dwelling on and I hadn’t brought it up to you before. I have rotten timing, don’t I?”
Baeou raised his eyebrows, but kept his mouth closed.
“Go, if you must. I’ll have Sahm and Ellena and Snow around for helping with Sai, if I need it. Besides, it might be nice for the house to be a little quieter for a while. Hills, I don’t remember the last time Nathaniel and Eliot weren’t sleeping on the couch.”
“We’re just going after a crystal,” Baeou reminded her. “We’re not going to fight a war yet.”
“Not yet,” Glacia said. “You’d better not be.”
Baeou looked at her questioningly.
“Because I’m going to be with you when that time comes. Did you ever think I wouldn’t?”
His stomach tightened as he looked into Glacia’s straight gaze. She looked entirely determined and serious. He had never felt so proud. “No,” he said, his voice quiet. “No, I never doubted it.”