“Is that why you've been pushing me away? Because of how you look? [...] I waited for you my whole life. Yearned for you my whole life. After Tersa told me you were coming, I spent seven hundred years searching for you[....] I never gave a damn what you looked like--tall, short, fat, thin, plain, beautiful, ugly. Why would I care about what you looked like? The flesh was the shell that housed the glory[....] Even if I couldn't be your physical lover, there are other ways to be a lover and I know them all. So don't stand there and tell me how you feel depends on how you look!”
“I lost nothing I regret losing," Witch said softly. "I am what I want to be.”
“And what do you care anyway ? You don't want to marry me."
"I do want to marry you !" She stamped her foot in frustration. "If there was a Priestess standing here, I'd marry you right this minute !"
"She offered to marry him," Merry said.
"In front of witnesses," Jaenelle added.
Lucivar pointed a finger at Marian and snarled, "I accept."
"And he accepted," Merry said gleefully.
"In front of witnesses," Jaenelle added. "How soon can the Priestess get here ?”
“Don’t let them win, Marian. Don’t let them make you less than you are. Don’t let them take away what means the most to you. Not the family who dismissed your strength and your skills, not the bastards who hurt you—yes, I know about them—and not Luthvian. Don’t let them win. Fight for what you want with everything that’s in you.”
“It’s not the same,” Marian cried. “I’m just a hearth witch and you’re—”
“I was a slave!” Lucivar shouted. “A half-breed bastard sold to one court after another, wearing that filthy Ring of Obedience to keep me submissive. But I wouldn’t submit, I wouldn’t break, and I fought back with every breath I took. I refused to be less than a Warlord Prince, and I made them deal with me on my terms. No matter how much pain they inflicted, I gave it back.”
“Mud ? They're going to put mud on my face ?"
"You'll love it."
"Whenever the kitties and I played stalk and pounce and we ended up muddy, everyone frowned about it."
Surreal grunted softly. Only Jaenelle referred to Jaal and Kaelas, a full-grown tiger and an eight-hundred-pound Arcerian cat, as "the kitties"... or voluntarily played games with them to keep their predatory skills honed.
"So why is this mud different ?" Jaenelle grumbled.
Stretched out on the other table, Surreal turned her head and opened one eye. "It's expensive.”
“Yes, I am,” he said softly. “That’s the way I was. That’s the way I could be again.” He shook his head as he raised his hand, his fingertips touching her hair. “I want to be your lover. I chose to be your lover. That makes all the difference. Being in bed with you is like soaring on a sweet wind. I chose to be your lover, Marian . . . just as you chose to be mine.”
“She was young, healthy, stronger than she’d ever been. And she was in love with him. She’d fallen in love with a man who challenged the world to take him on, sometimes with laughing, boyish enthusiasm and other times as a warrior born and trained to kill. She could do this for him. Would do this for him.”
“O sangramento da lua só me deixa abalada durante três dias num mês. Uma pila torna um homem potencialmente estúpido a qualquer hora do dia.”
“*You have learned well,* Dragon said. *But heed me, little one. You must guard the webs you weave that make dreams into flesh. Many beings will cherish those webs because they are spun out of magic that lives in the heart. But there will be others who will want to destroy that heart-magic before it can touch the world. Guard the webs . . . Weaver of Dreams.* Dragon’s breath came out in a long sigh . . . and then there was silence.”
“So, who's going to tell Mrs Beale she's got a month to plan a wedding feast ?"
Hell's fire. Mrs Beale was a marvelous cook. She also had what he considered an unnatural relationship with her meat cleaver. Since he'd inherited SaDiablo Hall, he had gained a finer appreciation of why his father had stayed away from anything to do with the kitchen unless cornered. The woman was downright scary at times.
The fact that she and Beale, the Hall's butler, were happily married was something he tried not to think about because it made him wonder things about Beale he'd rather not wonder.
"If we both went to Amdarh, we could just write her a note," Jaenelle said.
He looked at Jaenelle. She looked at him.
"Good idea," he said.”
“És o meu sopro, a minha vida, o meu coração”
“You put a sleep spell on me, didn’t you?” she grumbled.
“You’ll thank me for it later,” Lucivar replied, kissing her temple. I love you. “That’s good to hear, witchling, because I love you, too.” She was dreaming. Of course she was dreaming. But she smiled and let the dream take her.”
“I need to talk to one of the Zuulaman Blood," Andulvar said.
"They are gone," Draca replied.
"From Terreille, yes. But there must be some who are demon-dead. You could arrange this."
"They are gone," she repeated. "The Dark Realm wass purged of Zuulaman Blood."
Andulvar grabbed one of the chairs that surrounded the table to keep himself upright. "You purged Hell ?"
"The Prince of the Darknesss. The High Lord of Hell." Draca stared at him. "Grief wass the hammer they ussed to break hiss control. Rage wass the forge in which he sshaped hiss power into a weapon."
"So there's no one left."
"There's no one left," Geoffrey agreed. He looked at Draca. "If Saetan did what we think he did, there isn't a shard of pottery, a scrap of cloth, or a line from a poem, story, or song left that came from the Zuulaman people. There isn't any trace of them in any of the Realms."
Including the islands they came from, Andulvar thought, feeling sick.
"It's as if they never existed," Geoffrey said.”
“Let me see if I understand this," Jaenelle said.
"You and Falonar have decided to go your own ways," Jaenelle said with a patience that made Surreal wary.
She shrugged. "It was a mutual decision." The bastard.
"Uh-huh. So you packed your bags..."
"It was his eyrie," Surreal cut in. "I certainly didn't want to live there." And I didn't want to watch him courting Nurian in ways he never thought to court me.
"...and left Ebon Rih without telling Lucivar."
"Who would have strung Falonar up by the heels"... or by the balls, which might have been interesting to watch... "before having a little chat."
"No," Jaenelle said, "he would have waited for Chaosti to show up, and then he would have strung Falonar up by the heels." She paused. "Maybe by the heels."
Which just confirmed why Surreal had slipped away from Ebon Rih before Lucivar had time to notice. As the Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih dealing with a Warlord Prince who was his second-in-command, Lucivar would have been nasty and explosive. Chaosti, the Warlord Prince of the Dea al Mon and a kinsman on her mother's side, would have approached Falonar with the protective viciousness that made Warlord Princes such a deadly facet of Blood society.
Dealing with the male relatives she'd acquired since coming to Kaeleer was so much fun.
"And you entered the Hall through one of the side doors to avoid seeing Daemon, who's working in his study and would have met you before you got out of the great hall."
Feeling more wary by the minute, Surreal did her best to look indifferent. "No reason for him to get involved in this." Sweet Darkness, please don't let him think this is any business of his. "Besides, I don't need either of them getting all snarly and protective over something that was a mutual decision."
"So instead of mentioning this to either of them, you went to the Keep and told Saetan."
Surreal winced. "Well, I figured I should tell someone before leaving Ebon Rih."
"Uh-huh. So you told the High Lord of Hell, the patriarch of this family, the man from whom Daemon and Lucivar inherited the temper you were trying to avoid." Jaenelle pushed the quilt aside and swung her legs over the side of the couch to sit up straight. "Did I miss something ?”
“Marian sank down on one of the kitchen chairs and braced her head in her hands. He got mad at her for sweeping up spilled sugar but dragged her outside to throw a skillet at bales of hay. She threw a pot at him and missed, so he was going to teach her how to clobber him with a skillet. Even taking into account that he was an Eyrien male, there was only one explanation for his behavior. The man was insane.”
“Why would I care what you looked like? The flesh was the shell that housed the glory.”
“A special gift for a special Lady.”
“But perhaps that's why we take snaps...to provide false evidence to underpin the false claim that we were happy. Because the thought that we weren't happy at least for some time during our lives is unbearable. Adults order children to smile in the photos, involve them in the lie, so we smile, we feign happiness.”
“Braxton: Tell me what girls want.
Me: I think that depends on the girl. Also depends what kind of girl you want.
Braxton: Right now, I’d like a trio of slutty girls. All naked together in my room with nothing to do but me.
Me: Let’s try to deal with reality.
Braxton: I was. I originally wanted a harem.
Me: Fine. Three slutty girls it is.”
“In a way. Magic is the act of making a wish come about. Like praying, like plotting, like herbs, like exerting your will on the world, making something happen.”
“Mom always used to say that stupid people have more nerve than brains.”
“I like your hair down." He twisted his fingers through the curls.
My eyes drifted shut as I relaxed next to him. "It's a mess. I need to get a haircut."
Hayden's fingers stilled. "No. You shouldn't cut your hair. It's beautiful."
I would never cut my hair. Ever.”
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