Tales of the Thorns Book IV: Darkened Groves

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**New** After the attack on Shadowkeep Malice sends her forces after her missing lover Marena to discover a dark secret.

Fantasy / Erotica
Mark McQuillen
Age Rating:



“Easy now, Marwolaeth, we would not want you to damage her.” Her lord chuckled from the doorway, shrouded in a dark robe with his hand clasped before him.
“She dared enter our home and disrupt our people, she nearly killed you in the process, and you wish for me to let her live?” Marwolaeth snarled, clearly disgusted.
This treacherous heathen before her was an assassin sent to kill her. There was no way she was letting her go free. She’d be lucky if she lasted another five minutes, she thought as the figure fell unconscious and her illusion dropped, revealing the long blue locks and white tips.
“It is her.” Marwolaeth hissed, long blonde hair whipping at her face as she recoiled. “She was there, in the beginning. You sent her away then, too.” She turned to him with a growl. “What is your connection with her? Why does she torment our Hosted so?” The Host was curious, the emotions soaring high and yet she had no idea as to why.
“Her name is Belvaya, and up until a few weeks ago she was a rather prominent figure head aligned with the enemy.”
“And you wish to give her back to them?”
“She would only betray you again, Malice.” He spoke now to the Hosted and not the Host. “She was among those who turned their back on you. Would you keep her around to cause more heartache? There is no turning her to our side I am afraid, but we can use this time to our advantage.”
What else did he know about the assassin? What did Malice know? Those memories had been locked away from Marwolaeth, either by Malice herself, or as Marwolaeth suspected, Pathen. He was always playing games with the minds of others, not even Marena and To’llan were safe from his childish schemes. It was he who had procured the one called Marena for To’llan; a vessel most worthy of the heir to the empire, yes, but no one but Pathen knew where or how it had come to be.
‘We know not how he obtained her, or you, for that matter, but we could not imagine her any other way.’ The Queen had said that night. ‘You must protect her, from those who would want to harm her. She is precious to us...’
Malice had made a promise that night, and though it was noble, Marwolaeth wasn’t so sure it could be kept. Even now, with rage boiling inside her, she fought to keep her sword from slicing clean through the female’s flesh. She had come in here and harmed her kin...
“She may know where Marena is.” Those words, were the only thing that stopped her from finishing the job.
“Then she will tell us before she dies.” Marwoleath snapped. “She will not escape this time.”
“If you kill her what good will she be?” Pathen chuckled. “Better to break her and send her back as a warning to those who would try again. You have done well, our lady, I must say; but let the guards deal with her now.”
Marwolaeth hesitated for a moment, then dropped her sword, slipping it back into its sheath. It would be a waste to let another have the pleasure of drawing the last breath from her body, especially after the havoc she wrought on the keep. The Shak’Morikai were wounded and her beloved had vanished, the only thing holding her together was the thought of enacting her vengeance on those who’d done her wrong; and he was going to stop her from tasting such sweet revenge?
“We will question her.” She turned to her lord. “You may post guards if you think she will be harmed, but you may want to warn them against touching her, themselves.” She shook her head. “Vile bitch!” She hissed at the near-lifeless body on the ground at her feet. “You will answer our questions.”
“Very well. You may question her, but no one is to lay a hand on her, and when you are done, she is to be returned home. I will not risk a war at this time. And on that note, what of your new warriors? Have they come to swear their loyalty?”
“They scour the keep for anyone she may have brought with her. I will bring them to the throne room when they return.” Marwolaeth bowed her head and made for the door.
“I thank you, for returning when you did. I could not have held her off for much longer.”
“That is bullshit and you know it.” She laughed, rolling her eyes. “Bring her.” She spoke to the guards as she passed. “We will see what she has to offer us.”
Malice was pissed. Her Host, Marwolaeth, was pissed. Marena was out there somewhere, again a victim in the devious schemes of others and yet this time, Pathen was not the cause. This, Belvaya, would tell her what she needed to know and then she would die, whether her lord liked it or not.

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