11: Returning To The Roots

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Biana smoothed the fabric of her mourning dress over her stomach as Sophie did her hair. Seven years ago today, Sophie and her siblings raced away from their village on the back of Alden's horse to the safety of the palace, where they would start their new lives as orphans. Every year on this day since, the remaining members of the Dizznee family took the day off work to go visit their parents' graves, and this year, Sophie invited Biana to join in order to tie the Dizznees together. Sophie, the triplets, and Dex were all still fragmented, but, Sophie explained, Biana was where they could all find common ground, and Sophie hoped that with Biana there, all bad blood between the siblings could be set aside so their parents could get the respect they deserved. Biana was so honored and humbled to be asked to such an intimate event, and wanted to support all of the Dizznees as best she could.

In order for Biana to attend, Dex made sure certain security precautions were taken. First, Biana would wear a long, simple cloak with the hood up to hide her face and make her less recognizable. Second, she would have a new, simpler mourning dress made to wear to visit the graves to hide the fact that she was wealthy. Finally, an elite group of knights would be disguised as villagers and scattered around the gravesite in case something were to happen. In that case, Dex would take Biana, Sophie, and the triplets back to the palace immediately while the other knights hold off the attackers. Hopefully, they were just over-prepared, but in these troubling times, you could never be too careful.

When there was a knock at the door, Biana beckoned the person to come in, and when Dex opened the door, she smiled, "We're almost ready. Do you need anything?"

"Just to see how soon we'd be leaving," answered Dex, who then hesitantly asked, "will Fitz be joining us?"

"No, I'm afraid not," Sophie replied skeptically. "He had an important meeting today."

"Oh," Dex almost sounded disappointed, "uh, perhaps next year then?"

Biana watched as Sophie's eyebrows flew up in shock as the young handmaid replied, "Perhaps."

Awkwardly, Dex nodded and patted the door frame, "The cart is all ready. I don't like that it's uncovered, but a sudden upgrade in transportation would look suspicious to the people we know in the village. I put shields at the bottom of the cart and hid them under blankets and straw. It's the best we can do, but I still don't like it."

"Thank you for going to all the trouble so I may join you," Biana smiled warmly.

"It is no trouble, Princess, it is an honor and a pleasure for you to join us on the pilgrimage to our homeland," bowed Dex. "You have done so much for our family, it feels only right that you journey with us. It's a shame that Keefe is away and that the rest of your family is not able to attend, but they are welcome in the future."

"Thank you, I know they'll be honored," nodded Biana.

"I'm going to go round the triplets up at the wagon, I'll meet you ladies there?"

"We shall see you in a few minutes," agreed Biana, and with that, Dex closed the door.

As Sophie put the last few pins in Biana's hair, she asked, "Do you know if he's okay?"

Biana furrowed her brow, "He seems perfectly fine to me. Why do you ask?"

"He just said it was a shame that Fitz couldn't join us to visit our parents' graves, and he seemed... genuine."

The princess smiled proudly, thinking about all the late nights they spent talking about their troubles when Biana woke up from a nightmare and didn't want to go to sleep just yet, "He's had a change of heart recently. Dex understands that Fitz never stole you away from him, he himself pushed you away because he was so scared of losing you, and now that he knows this, he feels badly. He wants to try and make it up to you, even though he's not the best wordsmith."

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