Her face softened. “Are you nervous Rhyers?”
“I don’t get nervous.” He declared in his most snobbish voice. Stiffening.
“Why are you nervous?” She tipped up her chin, eyes narrowed on him.
“What if you’ve made a mistake?” He sighed. “What if I make you dreadfully miserable?”
What if I can’t keep up with your constant need for adventure?
She grinned. Putting a hand to his forearm. Using the other, to pry his glass from his fingertips. “You won’t. Despite what you think, we’re well suited.”
“How do you know.”
“Because we do enjoy making each other horribly miserable.”
“I do enjoy insulting you.” He remarked.
“Teasing, you tease me Bodin.”
“But that makes it sound so much more affectionate…” He complained.
She blinked slowly at him for a long time.
“Fine. It’s teasing.”
“Now come dance with your wife.” She tugged his arm until he reluctantly followed her onto the dance floor. “And do remember, I’m now yours to hold anytime you wish.”
Now that thought was tempting.
Why had that not occurred to him before?
He growled in his throat and pulled her tight against him.
She moved perfectly in step with him. “Should I stand on your feet and kiss you as I did so long ago?”
“Only if you want instantly ravished? I can do that too right?”
She blinked innocently and stroked a finger along his nose. “We’ll see about that.”
Hours went by, and despite himself, Rhyers found he was relaxing.
Ebony had her skirt fisted in one hand and was happily dancing about the floor.
He twirled her wildly inciting riotous giggling.
Only when they took a break and he returned to the refreshments table to get a glass of punch, did a small hand land over his.
He met Elsabet’s blue eyes.
“You look happy.” She half-smiled.
“I am. Actually.” He glanced over his shoulder. “She’s a wonderful woman.”
Kind and vivacious.
“You deserve one.”
“I’m glad you came.” He tilted his head.
You’re the last person I’d have expected.
“I wasn’t invited.” She countered.
“You’ll always be invited where any of us knights are. You’re one of us, whether you know it or not.”
She swallowed. Hard. “How is he?”
Rhyers looked at her a moment. Tempted to make her identify who she spoke of, but knowing she never would he gave in. “He’s sad without you. Sometimes lost without you. He works too hard. Revels too hard and doesn’t sleep enough. He is,” Rhyers sighed. “Sebastian, after all.”
“After all.” She murmured. Glancing around as though she’d leave. “Look after that girl. She’s a Watcher, you know?”
“No. I did not know.” He glanced furtively over his shoulder before lifting his glass and turning his hip to lean on the table as he watched Ebony glide over the dance floor like a princess in her realm. “But I have been noticing a theme.”
“Most of us seem to have unwittingly allied with them.”
All our women seem to be Watchers.
“Hmm.” She murmured.
“So,” He turned his head to look pointedly over his shoulder. “what do you suppose that makes you?”
She straightened. “A Valkyrie.”
He rotated to put his palms on the table. Leaning forward to peer under her hood. “And what exactly is that?”
She reared back startled. “I-I-I…”
“You don’t even know, do you? Someday you’ll have to tell me what happened.”
How’d you become what you are?
She chewed her cheek. “Perhaps.”
“Come home, Elsabet. We miss you.” He urged.
It’s worth a try.
“I can’t Rhyers. I can’t forget what happened. I’ll never forget until I have some taste of vengeance. She was my baby!”
“I know…” Rhyers sympathized. “But he would’ve never knowingly put her in danger. Neither of you knew she was strong enough to drop that bridge.”
“There’s no justification for what happened. Only vengeance.”
Rhyers shook his head sadly. “Then I guess we are enemies?”
“If we must be.”
“I’ll never betray him.” Rhyers said.
Not any of my brethren.
“I know that. I’ve never asked you to.”
“You know we’re going to come for you soon.”
“What?” Her head shot up and nearly threw off the hood. “Why?”
“Captain can’t have you running amuck. You know too much, have seen too much and we all trust you. We could all end up dead for it. When we come for you, you’ll have to return with us or he’s going to order us…” Rhyers didn’t want to finish the words.
“To take me out of the equation?”
“We won’t have a choice if he commands it. He’s our Alpha.”
We will come and get you.
“Stall them. Don’t let them do it, Rhyers.”
“I don’t have that kind of influence.”
“No…” She chewed her lip. “But he does.”
“What good does stalling do?”
“It’s necessary. There’s too many of them and too few of you.”
“Elsabet, just come home. Don’t make us come after you! I don’t want to fight you. None of us do.”
“You’re working for Radix!” He charged. Louder than he intended.
“Perhaps things aren’t what they seem.”
“I know what Radix is! He’s the king of deceivers. How could you, the most distrustful of all of us, fall for his manipulations.” Contempt entered his voice. “I’d thought more of you.”
What are you thinking!
“Bodin?” Ebony distracted him. “Who are you talking to?”
Rhyers gestured over his shoulder but when he looked there was no one there. Dammit!