Finally, the conclusion. Links to the preceding twelve chapters: chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3, chapter 4, chapter 5, chapter 6, chapter 7, chapter 8, chapter 9, chapter 10, chapter 11, chapter 12.
Adrienne awoke to find herself in a strange room. When she could finally focus her eyes, she noticed that Jacob was there. When he saw she was awake, he rushed to her side.
“Jacob,” she said. “I killed my father.”
“I know. Darien told me everything that happened,” he said and gently embraced her.
“Do you think me horrible?”
“No, I could never do that. You did what had to be done.” He paused. “I’m afraid I have some bad news, Adrienne.”
“I received a message from the North. Lorenai has gone to be with the Gods.”
Adrienne looked at her hands and then hid her face. Jacob held her in his arms until she composed herself, and then she pulled away.
“She will be happiest there,” she said.
“Darien is now the Northern leader, according to Lorenai’s wishes,” said Jacob. “And I have a wish of my own.”
“What is that?” asked Adrienne.
“For you to become my wife. I need you by my side, Adrienne. What do you say?”
Jacob felt joy run through his heart, and Adrienne felt the same. She knew that when she looked into his eyes, everything would be all right.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Adrienne spent the next week in bed, recovering from her wound. At the end of the week she would be fit for travel, because she would need to be. While Darien was traveling back to the North to assume his new leadership, Adrienne would be traveling to the South with Jacob, where they would be married.
The days passed quickly, and Adrienne’s health improved. It was determined that she was fit for travel, and everything was prepared for the journey.
Adrienne stood by her horse, packing the last of her gear. Darien approached, and she turned toward him.
“The time has come so quickly,” he said, holding her hands.
Adrienne felt tears well in her eyes but refused to let them fall. “I will miss you,” she said and embraced him.
“I will miss you, too,” said Darien. He let go of her then so she could get on her horse. Jacob, already mounted, was waiting.
Adrienne looked down at her brother and reached for his hand one last time. “Be a good leader,” she said, squeezing his hand before letting go.
Darien watched them go until they were only a cloud of dust in the distance.