" 'I love you,' of course!"
The little girl had a pink dress on, and bounced and skipped everywhere. When she spoke, she beamed as only a secure optimist can.
" 'I love you.'"
The woman said it calmly. She had dark hair, dark eyes, and showed more age in her gaze than on her skin. Her time on this Earth spoke of manipulation, on both sides. But there was still a hint, in the edge of that gaze, that she believed the words could be spoken honestly. And that was what she meant.
" 'This I believe.' For good or ill, they make the most difference."
And old man, this one. Grey hair and a long beard. From an era too few really remember existed, and none have lived through, anymore. From the first crusade, lived through so many. Saw them bring culture; saw them bring bloodshed; saw men who had been innocent a few years, a few months, a few eyeblinks ago take things that weren't theirs, take people...
Seen courage given in dark places; seen new, good ideas brought to life; seen friendship grow into families because when you lived together, ate together, slept together, that's what you were.
" 'You are not alone.'"
" 'I trust you.'"
Some might call this one an honorable idiot. Or a loyal fool. Honest to a fault. Any number of things that these people would, almost, intend as insults, and this one would smile and nod. Trust, loyalty. They were more important than your oath, more important to this speaker than this speaker than the speaker's own self.
" 'I believe in you.'"
The gaze was gentle, and a touch proud in reminiscing. The sort of pride one gets when one's time was earlier, may be later, but is not now. A teacher's pride. A parent's pride. One who cared for the fledgling, then watched the no-longer-little one fly.
" 'I will wait for you.'"
This is more story than moment. You know it. The princess, old enough to be married off and firm, clever enough to be where she wants to be. To finish the promise. Not quite a rebel, just using every tradition her people have to keep her oath.
Another came in, and gave his answer to my question.