Chapter One – LarLan Age 8 – "Family Matters"
Giggles were heard from the library where the children played. LarLan sat in the middle of the room on a plush carpet, wrestling with her twin brother Prothvar. Gerald and Timorell stood in the doorway watching. Timorell smiled, but Gerald…Gerald seemed troubled.
“You know, love, the Coven is starting to talk. They’re concerned about the activities you let LarLan participate in…and how you let her dress. You know, it’s customary for girls her age to be taking music lessons and practicing the more feminine arts, wearing pretty dresses. Instead, you’ve got her doing battle drills with the boys, practicing elemental magic, and wearing pants.”
Timorell ignored his words for a moment, fingering the silver pendant at her throat. It was a beautiful creation bearing the symbol of their House. Two winged cats reared up, holding a teardrop shaped Black Jewel between their claws. One snarled in challenge, the other so serene it might just purr with delight. The Jewel glowed as much as a Black Jewel could glow, with a deep blue-violet light. She let out a defeated sigh after a few agonizing moments.
“Gerald, you know that she is destined for something greater than the daughters of those fawning, overindulgent, cruel old cows. You know we are different, we are not true Blood. Our power is the only reason they haven’t tried to expel us yet. This is necessary for her to survive. She’ll make the Offering soon enough and begin to take lessons in the Craft of your people. That should stifle the Coven for a while.”
She crossed her arms in front of her, leaning against the door frame as she watched LarLan pin Prothvar yet again. The twins, though similar, were like night and day. Lar had taken after her mother; the feline grace, her feline tail and eyes, the great power that lay dormant in her…for now. She had been granted a Red Jewel as her birthright, and Timorell had no doubt that once her daughter made the Offering she would descend to Black.
Prothvar was a different story. The boy had always been troubled, distant, but not cold. He wore a birthright Green Jewel, and Timorell knew he would never descend past the Gray. Prothvar had taken after his father, a brooding man who was studious and court trained. To the rest of the Blood, he was a fearsome Warlord Prince that bore dark Jewels and a darker temper. To his family, he was a protective father and loving husband. Timorell felt gentle hands on her shoulders, and a gentler kiss at the nape of her neck.
“You are correct as always,” Gerald said. “Though, I would not underestimate them, Rell. The Coven is growing stronger and more of them are siding with Hekatah each day. You know her temperament, and I’ve seen what she does to her slaves. I fear for the safety of the children. If she lures them into her court who knows what she’ll mold them onto?”
Timorell felt him involuntarily shudder. He had been a pleasure slave in Hekatah’s court until she had purchased him, freed him, and married him. Gerald still bore scars, both physical and mental. Rell turned to face him, her voice soft. The twins were too occupied with each other to pay attention to them, but a little extra precaution never hurt.
“Let me handle Hekatah. If that bitch ever lays a finger on them, what she did to you will seem merciful in comparison to what I will do to her.”
There were two kinds of anger. There was the red hot passionate anger of a rational person. Then there was brutal cold anger, animalistic and uncontrollable. Gerald saw the latter in Rell’s golden feline eyes. He saw that icy doom which would await Hekatah should she touch LarLan or Prothvar. His wife would keep her word, and then some. Suddenly he was quite grateful that Witch, Dreams Made Flesh, the new Queen of the Blood, was on his side. She was beautiful, deadly, and his. Gerald kissed her deeply and pulled away, his voice husky and sensual. He smiled like a boy intent on mischief.
“I’d never doubt you. Come, it’s time to get them ready for bed, and you too.”