FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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ALAZAR - Unsuited To Captivity

Warlock Grove, Nightway


Riaura launched to her feet but quickly came to the end of the chain. Jerking her feet out from under her. She barely got her hands in front of her to break her fall.

“Ouch.” A snicker from the tent entrance drew her punishing glower. “Are you ready to maintain a civil tongue with me, My Queen?”

He was leisurely leaned against the pillar just outside the flap. Ankles crossed and running a small knife under his fingernails to clean them. His tan tunic was cinched at the waist with a simple leather belt.

“Perhaps if I count to ten-no ten won’t be nearly enough…Twenty. Perhaps twenty will do.” Her lips twitched in derision. Her breathing was strained, but to his surprise she bit her tongue.

He unwound from against the pillar and ducked through the tent flap. Smiling arrogantly. “Perhaps your only way to glean any answers is to be nice to me.”

“To you? You’re a-a-a horrible mistake of nature!”

“Ooh. I’ve never been called anything so awful.” He feigned wounding as he took a seat in the chair across from where she now lay sprawled.

She strained at the chain winding her ankle. “Dammit Alazareth!”

“Yes, Ri?” He blinked. Cocking his head cheerfully as he rested his elbows on his legs and toyed with the small knife between his knees.

“What are you doing with me?”

“A better question would be what have you been doing with me all these years. What do you suppose your great advisors would think of all we’ve done?”

She swallowed. Shifting anxiously.

Doesn’t like that thought.

“I’ll ask again…Are you prepared to play nice?”

She tilted her head up and looked haughtily down her nose at him. “Yes.”

Bet that was painful.

“Yes, what?” He asked, amusement entering his voice.

She gave an animal snarl as she climbed to her feet. “Don’t bait me!”

He smirked. “Don’t rise to it.”

She’s going to have to learn she doesn’t command here.

“Why am I here Alazar?” Apparently she was done exchanging trivialities.

But I was having such a good time! The expression wiped from his face as he straightened.

You want to argue. We’ll argue.

“Are we to be blunt then?”

“As well as honest.” She added.

“That’d be a first for you.”

She gasped in outrage but he continued.

“You’re here because you’re my hostage. A means to an end.”

“That’s what I’ve come to, has it?”

“Would you have it any other way?”

Her eyes narrowed fiercely on him.

“I thought not.”

“And what is your asking price?”

More than she’d offer me. More than she thinks I deserve.


She eyed him cagily. “Nightway Castle and the realm you’ve always desired. What else do you want?”


“Rule over your lords. And your hand.” He met her gaze, unflinchingly. He watched as his words sunk in.

“They can’t agree to that!” She spat out.

Actually, they can. And they will.

“Wrong. I know they have to. You’re their queen and you’re as aware as I, that as long as you breathe no other can claim the throne without your assent. Thus, all decisions fall to your court. ’Tis within their power to give your hand, until you’re there to dispute it.” He tilted his head. “Which you won’t be. And once the hand of the queen is given, she must assume her responsibility, or she forfeits her rule.”

Which you’re unwilling to do.

“You seem terribly knowledgeable about such things.” She acknowledged he was correct about what she’d hoped to keep secret. “How’d you happen upon that tidbit so fast?”

“My plan has been awhile in the making.” He shrugged. “And I’m a fast learner. I’ve studied my newly acquired realm and all it entails down to the last butter cream churner.”

“Don’t count your chickens so soon, for you’ve two grave flaws.” Her face was hard.

He cocked his head, intrigued.

“One, I’d never let you rule my realm, nor myself. Second think how miserable I could make you…Trapped in a loveless marriage with me for the rest of your life.”

She’s right. She won’t make it pleasant. She’ll want to make me pay.


“Not in my lifetime.” He shook his head solemnly. “Besides, you’ve made me miserable for years. I fail to see how this would be any different.”

“Miserable!” Her back went rigid. “If I’ve made you miserable afore, you’ve no idea what’s coming!”

That hateful smirk shifted his face into a cold expression. “Oh, little beauty, you’ve much to learn of me. A lifetime with you would only seem a spark on the flame of time, in comparison to how long I’ve existed. You’re hate means very little to me.” He shifted back against the seat to give her a long study. “I will assume rule. And you. Will. Let me.”

“The devil I will! I’d never submit to you.” She angled her chin defiantly.

“Yes, you will, because by that time you’ll be completely besotted with me.” He leaned forward to breathe in the scent of her hair and her neck. Caressing a callused palm up the slender length of her neck to scoop under her hair and frame her cheek and jaw. Pressing a light kiss to the side of her throat.

Her eyelids fluttered and her head fell back under his ministrations. A moan escaping her.

“That a girl.” He whispered under her ear lobe. Catching it between his lips.

She shook herself. “Never!”

He gave her a lopsided smile. Moving his hand to lightly pinch her chin.

“Did you ever love me?” She blurted angrily.

She knows well that I do.

“I could never love someone I’ve little respect for.”

She needs to understand I’m in power. And my feelings for her will no longer prove a weakness for her to ply.

She reared back as though he’d struck her. “You’re talking to me of respect? You’re the liar!”

No. You are!

“You’ve betrayed me in every way possible!” She looked at the chain linked to her ankle pointedly.

“’Tis one thing to betray a single being, Riaura, and quite another to betray hundreds.” With those cryptic words he disappeared into the foggy dawn glow.

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