Uyan Taesil has always lived side by side with the brethren, but when King Mathhian returns from a quest with a new wife and an illness that steals his strength, the brethren of the castle begin to disappear. Discovering them imprisoned in the castle dungeons by Mathhian’s new wife, Queen Clareath, Princess Diandreliera decides to seek the Fae Court for aid and intervention. Getting the attention of the Fae Court is harder than it sounds in stories, and Diandreliera’s efforts are unsuccessful. When a good-witch recommends she seek the aid of a dragon, Liera ventures into Aurien’s cave. Aurien is seeking a brethren bride, and a princess in his cave and bed will not help him to attract one. Can a princess of mankind save the brethren of Uyan Taesil and win her dragon’s heart?View More
As Mesandre and I left the ring of torches much soberer and quieter than it had previously been, Daerton trailed me. “Go ahead, Mesandre,” I said to my maid, who flushed awkwardly, and gratefully sped off into the night rather than remain in the warlock’s company. “Did you have to break her heart, Daerton?” I scolded him. “I break all their hearts,” he was unrepentant. “If they are foolish enough to give them. But my heart belongs only to you, my Queen. I declare my undying loyalty and devotion, as well as the services of my body whenever you grow tired of the dragon.” I snorted. “Thank you, Daerton. How loyal will they be, I wonder? Fealty should be given, not taken.” “Perhaps,” he conceded. “But war changes the rules. They will be loyal, my Queen. They are not fools for all their foolish behaviours. Within the week, you will have their armies at your side.” “I hope so.” I paused as we passe
“Leongrad,” I inclined my head to the russet haired lord. “If you will summon my generals and my warlock, we will spend the time between now and this evening going over the war plans so that when the lords of the other strongholds that I have called upon to fulfil the agreement arrive with their armies, we are prepared to let them know the role they will need to play.” I pressed my lips to Aurien’s cheek and stepped over his tail, striding across to my war tent. I paused by the guards at its entrance. “I will be having a meeting with my generals,” I said to them. “Allow only them, the warlock and my maids through. Anyone else, must wait until I am done.” “Yes, princess.” I had not crossed to the table when I heard the Lord Netiniel protest when his entry was barred by the guards. It was not long until Ruelke, Alaren, Mariene and Leongrad entered, followed by Mesandre carrying a tray of food.
We occupied Pres Helef for two days, tending those injured in the battle, and allowing Daerton to sleep off his exertions. As predicted by my dragon, he slept for a night and a day, waking late in the second day ravenous. From Mesandre’s blushes, after the warlock sated one hunger, he sated another, and then he drank himself stupid. Amrynn and his wife Nierlathane held their feast, and I attended, but the entire time I ached to return to my dragon. The two days of quiet allowed for a lot of time laying on his forepaws, sleeping, or stroking his scales but I craved the touch of Aurien’s silken hair under my hands, the scent and taste of his skin, his mouth against mine... On the third morning, as we prepared to continue to the next, and final bridge, Leongrad caught me on my way back to Aurien from a bath at the stronghold. “Liera,” he said falling into step with me. “There is... A rumour.” “Oh?” I clenched my
Daerton had stripped off his robes, rolled his shirt sleeves to the elbows and trousers to his knees, and was busy on the bank of the river to the side of the bridge constructing... Mud men. About twelve of them lay on their backs in a tidy line, like bodies laid out for burial, each with the torso hollowed out as if their organs had been scooped out by a spoon. Mesandre and I both tilted our heads to the side. “Don’t look at me like that,” he said without lifting his head. He had mud down the front of his shirt, caked up his arms, between his toes, and clumping his hair together where he had obviously used the back of his wrist to push it back from his face. “Not all magic is clean.” “These are supposed to cause enough of a distraction that dwarves can scale the wall and open the portcullis?” I was dubious. He looked up at me with a grin. He had mud smeared across his forehead. I heard Mesan
As I stepped out of the walls with Leongrad, I signalled to Aurien, and saw him turn on the wind and wind his way back to us, landing lightly, before strolling at ease across the grasses towards us. “The horses barely shy,” Leongrad commented. “They’re growing accustomed to him,” I agreed, and reached up to touch Aurien’s nose as he came to a stop before me. “Amrynn has opened the stronghold to us. We will rest until evening. Daerton is making something called golems, and Alaren is preparing his men to scale the walls of Pres Helef and open the portcullis whilst their attention is on the golems.” “Golems,” Aurien was amused. “That should be interesting.” “Can you fly at night?” Leongrad asked him. He was slightly uncertain how to address my dragon. Aurien closed his outer lids slowly over his violet eyes. “Can you walk at night?” he replied mildly. “Yes, I can fly at ni
Uyan Taesil had originally been an Elvish land, and the Elves positioned its strongholds according to defensive topography. The Vienthrey river threaded through from the ocean border near Vienthrey city and castle, spiking off in many smaller rivers and creeks, so that the entire land was crazed with water, requiring a traveller to transverse many bridges between one border and another. Water is the giver of life, and the taker of it. For Uyan Taesil, it gave fertile fields, and a lush trade, resulting in wealth and plenty for its people, but it also meant the rivers provided ample defensible positions throughout the land, and its strongholds were positioned accordingly, making it deadly for invaders. I might be the natural successor, and rightful queen, but I was leading an invading army. The most direct route from Arden Retis to Vienthrey, meant crossing two bridges defended by four strongh
I woke into early dawn and staggered into the latrine off the bailey to empty my stomach into the ditch, leaning against the curtain wall. I looked up and met the eyes of a knight in the same pose. “The wine is no good here, Princess,” he offered with a wry grin. I smiled back, happy to accept the excuse. As I crossed the bailey towards the stronghold, I felt Aurien’s eyes track my progress. In the rooms assigned to me, I opened the chests and dug through, searching for my clothing. “Princess,” Ashara said as she and Mesandre entered. Mesandre carried with her a jug of mint tea and goblet. I accepted it and surrendered my search to Ashara. She produced a change of clothes and I sipped the warm tea as they washed my face and hands and repaired the night’s damage to my hair. They changed me into new clothes. I closed my eyes as they dressed me and t
The main hall was already full when I entered, every minor notable of the towns and villages around Arden Retis had found their way to the stronghold, to marvel at the golden dragon in the bailey, and see the dwarven prince. Allician had managed to manoeuvre it so that she was seated beside Alaren, and their heads were inclined as they exchanged flirtations. It would be an advantageous match for both, I thought. Arden Retis was the nearest neighbour to Reknoc, tying the two together through marriage would create a solid border for Uyan Taesil. Lord Anterton greeted me warmly, and I was seated, predictably, next to Leongrad at the table. Leongrad followed my gaze to Allician and Alaren and smiled, leaning closer to me so that he could be heard over the revelry. “Considering Reknoc is our nearest neighbour, we have had very little to do with its people. You may have begun a new time of co-operation between the two ci
They were beginning, I thought proudly, following Leongrad’s gesture with my eyes and viewing them as he would, to look like a functional army. Ruelke’s hard work showed in their order even after marching all day. “I apologise,” I stepped away from Aurien to meet him. “We are not here as aggressors, I assure you.” He took me by the shoulders and kissed my cheeks with familiarity that was on the cusp of inappropriate considering our positions but was born from the close relationships our families had always shared. “In that case, welcome to Arden Retis,” he beamed down at me. “I don’t doubt there is a lengthy story behind your arrival in such a company.” He looked up at Aurien. “Amazing. Greetings mighty dragon.” “Greetings Lord Leongrad,” Aurien replied with dragon reserve. “This is Aurien, my dearest friend,” I looked up at my dragon. His scales gleamed in the sunlight
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