Chapter Six: Verre

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"I'm back," Verre called out, stepping into the ornate room that was lined with artwork and potted plants. It would have been perfectly normal, except for the fact that the numerous pots and plants were lazily floating and moving about above her head. An adorable quirk of her mother's, until someone smacked their face on one.

Verre smiled fondly; she was home. "Hello? Anyone here?"

A matronly woman appeared from around the corner, dirt smudged on her face and gown. It was a beautiful gown, with silk embroidery and a rich green satin material. But it was now filthy and had little tears. There was even a stray rose branch tangled in her dark hair. "Verre! I wasn't expecting you back so soon. Your father is busy at the moment, you know him, always studying in that library of his." Her mother rolled her eyes, but Verre could see the twinkle she tried to conceal.

"You've been married thirty years now, mother. You really expect me to believe that father's quirky ways are a nuisance?" Verre jabbed her mother playfully, getting a smack in return.

"Ah, you saucy girl. I've half a mind to deprive you of supper like I used to do when you'd sass me." Her mother folded her arms across her ample chest and frowned. If Verre didn't know her mother, she would have actually believed her to be serious.

"But you won't," Verre smirked and kissed her mother's cheek. "Have you seen Baen? He hasn't tried to contact me at all." Baen was the love of her life, as hard as that was to believe sometimes. He would teasingly remark that she was his ice princess, to which she'd reply he was her jester.

They had celebrated two years of marriage just a month ago, and while sometimes it still felt like a dream to Verre, she never regretted it.

"He's upstairs. Been busy all day creating a new water pot for me. He says this one will be able to hold twice as much and not spill half like the last one had a tendency to," her mother said, rolling her eyes.

Everyone in her family had their quirks. In fact, they were known for them. Her mother had a green thumb, always trying to make something grow. The more challenging the better. Her father was a scholar. He could spend hours upon hours in his library and never come down. He and her mother would bicker teasingly how neither had time for the other, but they were actually inseparable.

And Baen. Verre grinned. Her ray of sunshine. The one person who could always make her smile. He was an inventor, always tinkering with some new contraption.

Her parents were the Lord and Lady of Berth. The people of Berth loved them, for while her parents could be a tad absent-minded, they were good and kind and their people prospered.

Verre often wondered how they'd gotten such a child as her. An assassin of all things. She had always had a fascination with knives, even before she learned of her ability. While her parents were hesitant to even eat hark, Verre had no problems killing, so long as it was for the right reasons.

"Ice Princess, darling! I can't believe you're home so soon. Are you allowed to tell us where you've been? Or is that forbidden?" Baen slid down the banister and kissed Verre full on the mouth.

A chuckle bubbled up her throat. "Jester! I'm disappointed you didn't come to welcome me home sooner! It's not like you love me or anything, right?" She grinned and wrapped her arms around his neck, relaxing in the warmth and happiness of being home.

Sometimes it felt like she led two completely different lives, the one with her family and the one where she did everything alone. One was a pleasure and one was a necessity.

He slid his hands around her waist, drawing her close. "I sincerely apologize. Do you forgive me?" His pleading brown eyes were too much for Verre to resist. That and his adorable dimple that only appeared when he genuinely smiled . . .

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