There was only so long one could stare a peace of paper, and the words written upon it in a flowing hand, before ones brain decided that it had had enough, and refused to take in any more information.
Aditi blinked at the trade deal, or to be precise, the jumbled mess of technical jargon that was meant to be a trade deal with the tidebound archipelago. Half of it, she was sure, was made up legal sounding nonsense thrown together to hide something in the deal that would leave the sunfire kingdom on the back foot. But like hell if she could make it out. nope. not today.
With an annoyed huff, Queen Aditi stood up from her desk, tucked way in a little office in her personal quarters, and stretched, feeling her joints pop.
Yep, she had been sitting down way too long.
That was when she realised how quite it was. Normally, there would be the sounds of her grandchildren playing in one of the nearby rooms, or of Haimi singing or practicing her magic, but no, there was none of that. The opulent apartment was silent and still, with only a breeze coming in from open windows.
Which was suspicious.
Aditi trundled out into her bedroom, half expecting to be ambushed by two little spitfires in the doorway.
But the room was empty, save for the drapes blowing in the light wind, and the of yet to be scrubbed out golden paint stains on the floor, evidence to past child related mischief. Sun’s grace, the two of them had gotten that stuff everywhere.
Including all over their baby brother.
A tiny spike of panic hit her heart at the relation that little 9 month old baby Ori was gone from his crib next to the empress sized bed that dominated the regal yet homely space. The fact that it was still strangely silent given the time of day was not helping her battle worn nerves.
Moving on quickly, she ducked out into the main hallway of the royal apartments, following the hall down into the unusually breezy, dining room, opposite the lounge and reading room.
The sound of laughter echoed from the garden, past the billowing drapes that separated the inside space from the outside. Of course.
Sound from outside rarely penetrated into the bedrooms.
Rolling her eyes, Aditi strode out into the garden, dark red braids swinging behind her.
The sight that met her eyes brought a huge smile to her face.
Haimi was standing in the middle of the grassy lawn, golden hair gleaming in the sun, brandishing her old training staff with menace at the little 8 year old ball of blond snark and mischief that was Khessa, who was in turn wavering a light wooden training sword back at her.
With a high pitched yell, Khessa charged Haimi, swinging her sword in abandon only to end up flat on her face as Haimi swept her feet out from under her with a simple flick of the staff. To top it off, Haimi very smartly tapped the tip of her staff to the top of Khessa head, ‘pinning’ the child to the floor with a short laugh.
“AH HA! I have captured you!” Haimi announced for all to hear “ what are you going to now, princess?
As a reply, there was a second, louder yell from the azalea bush behind Haimi, and a fuzzy mop of red hair brandishing a rolling pin erupted out of the bush, colliding with Haimi’s legs, unbalancing her enough that Khessa could spring up out of the ‘trap’ and tackle the high mage to the floor.
The two sisters promptly scrambled to flop down on top of the felled mage, pinning her to the floor with there combined body weight, giggling.
“caught you Haimi!” Janai chirped “our prisoner now!”
Aditi promptly burst out laughing, making the 3 of them jump (two of them a lot more than the other). her granddaughters, the lights of her life jumped off of her beloved wife and raced over to wrap their arms around her with a yell of “GRANDMA!”
Aditi pretended to be bowled over by the two of them, then recovered and scooped the two of them up into a bone braking hug as they all giggled in glee.
“Now girls.” Aditi asked with a smile “why are you tormenting poor old Haimi, hmm?”
“were playin’” Janai said whilst Khessa nodded away.
“yep! Were rescuing the defenceless prince from a meeie dark mage.” Khessa added, giggling in pure mirth.
That got a raised eyebrow from the old queen, but she let it slide. The ‘meenie dark mage’ was apparently not getting up any time soon.
Aditi gave the girls another biiiig squeeze, placed them down, and watched as they almost immediately darted off to continue their game, chasing each over and ‘sparing’ in their usual, bouncy way, wooden sword against rolling pin, laughing like maniacs.
Haimi, on the other hand, continued to lay on her back, clearly winded, grumbling lightly about getting too old for this, staff laying abandoned nearby.
“now now sunlight, you were that young and raucous once.” Aditi offered her wife her hand, and Haimi gladly took it.
“yes, I know. But at least my mother only had to deal with one of me.” She huffed, barely keeping the smile off her face.
Aditi just laughed again, giving her beautiful wife a well-deserved kiss.
Out of the corner of her eye, she suddenly noticed that there was a ring of stacked books sitting next to the small outside eating aria. Curiosity got the best of her, and she left her wife’s side to investigate.
Snoozing soundly in the middle of the three high ring of books was little Ori, napping soundly on his blanket in a patch of sunlight, plush twin tailed Sabre cat snuggled close to his chest.
The gold paint his sisters had decorated him with just the day before had been mostly scrubbed off, but she could still make out the faint glittering lines of the bold pattern once was, making the sleeping child shimmer in the afternoon sun.
“oh, little sundrop. Did your sisters kidnap you?” Aditi cooed, relief washing over her as she bent down to stroke his soft, ruddy hair. The adorable yawn and wiggle she got in reply made her heart do a funny little squeeze.
But it was a good little squeeze.
With a sigh She sat herself down next to the makeshift prison, inviting Haimi to join her on the soft grass.
The two of them sat together, simply enjoying each over’s company as the girls ran and played, and ori snuffled in his sleep. the sun was warm in the sky, the birds were singing, and the flowers in the garden perfumed the air.
The world, in that moment, under the afternoon sky, was perfect.
Until play fighting tuned to actual fighting and Aditi had to split the girls up so they didn't brain each other. again.