Also! Introducing the context timeline!! For those who have read the books at all, or just want a way to compare various blog posts' chronology to the others, I hope this quick visual helps you out. I tend to write these little shorts all over the timeline. It kind of helps me, too. Onward!
Without warning, he dropped to his knees and met Glacia eye-to-eye. “Do you remember what I’ve told you about your mother, my Glacia?”
Glacia felt like she swallowed her tongue. “Some, Daddy.”
He nodded, putting a hand on his daughter’s shoulder. She could feel him shaking, just slightly.
“Well, it’s true, I fear, my love. Except she isn’t dead. She had to run away. She had to run far away from here.”
A mixture of hope, wonder, and sadness swirled in Glacia’s eyes. “Why?” She was asking for an answer to all the possible questions.
“You know about the War that people have been talking about?”
She nodded slowly.
“Well, it’s not story, Glacia. It’s a terrible reality. And that war means that you and I had to live alone. Your mother loves you very much.” Now he was crying, Glacia was certain those were tears. “And she would give anything to stay with you. But I couldn’t let her.”
Glacia’s brow furrowed. “Why not, Daddy?” she demanded.
Her face didn’t soften. Anger mixed in with her lack of understanding and her fear. Tears welled in her eyes. “I don’t know what you mean, Daddy!”
He took a deep breath and pulled the angry child into his arms, and she could not refuse. They were the only source of comfort she knew. “I don’t want you to be angry at me, love. I have done all I can to keep the two of you safe.” He softly put his hand to the back of her bare neck. “That’s why you don’t have a blue raeth. I had to keep you safe. They couldn’t know about you.”
Glacia pulled back. “Who couldn’t know, Daddy?”
“Anyone,” he said after a long pause.
“Why did you bring me here?” she said, stepping back from him so that she could look up into his face.
His breathing was heavy, like he’d gone on a long run. He took her by both shoulders and looked her straight in the eyes. All the hints of tears were gone from his. He looked stern, like he looked when she got into mischief. “You remember what I was saying about the War, Glacia?”
“I have to—” he stopped, and appeared to choke. “I have to go fight, Glacia. I have to join our people and stand up against the Koesym people.” He paused, breathing with his mouth open, like he was trying to taste the air. “And I can’t take you with me, Glacia. I can’t—I don’t know what to do. If I knew where your mother was then I’d—but I can’t do that. All the men in our village are leaving, Glacia. And I can’t stay. I’ll be executed as a traitor if I stay behind.”
Her tight face betrayed the sobs that she held back. Her father put a finger to her chin and lifted her eyes back up to meet his. “I will do anything to keep you safe, Glacia. And today, that means I have to go fight the bad guys.”
“When will you back?”
A strange smile flashed across his face before he felt very quiet. His left hand absentmindedly stroked Glacia’s arm. She put a hand on his, trying to soothe him, which only made him choke more.
“This is my favorite dress,” he said, his eyes falling down to her clothes. “It reminds me of your mother.”
Glacia glanced down at her white dress, its brilliance faded only slightly by hours of playing. She smiled, but her mind did not wander. “You can’t change the subject, Daddy. You never let me.”
He smiled. “Yes. I’m afraid I can’t.”
From somewhere far away, Glacia heard a loud boom. She turned to look behind her, but could see nothing. “Where are we, Daddy?”
“I’ve brought you to Anaeopar. No matter what happens in this War, this country will remain standing. Men and acaeth inhabit this world and they will help you after the War is over.”
“But what about you!” her voice was betraying her growing impatience.
“I won’t come back, Glacia.”
Anger began to flood her face again. She could feel the heat in her own cheeks. “What?”
“Run,” he said, his voice almost a whisper. “Run. I’ve got you covered until you are safe. I won’t let anything happen to you. I promise.”
“I want to come with you!”
“You can’t. I don’t know how to tell you more plainly, my love, but death awaits any man who steps into the line of fire. I can’t take you there.”
Sobs came now and she didn’t know how to stop them.
“Go and run. Hide yourself. You’re safe as long as I live.”
“What will happen after?”
“You will find someone else who can keep you safe. It’s the way life must be.”
She stood solidly, shaking her head over and over, but no words could form on her trembling lips.
Another explosion shook the ground. Glacia saw smoke rise between them and the mountains.
Her father squeezed her hand and whispered a soft, quick, “I love you,” before standing up.
She pulled her eyes from the billowing smoke and dust and looked into his eyes, now high above her own. Without a word, she did just as he said. And ran.
He watched her until she met a young boy whom her father had seen only once before. But he left to fight the War, just as he said, for she had found someone else who would keep her safe. In that he had no doubt.