FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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ALAZAR - Word From the Council

Warlock Grove, Nightway

ALAZAR

Riaura stared at the messenger, aghast. Jaw hanging slack. At length, she leapt to her feet and shouted “No!”

The nervous little man delivering the message near tipped over. Almost taking Alazar with him as he stepped on the bigger man’s foot.

But Alazareth caught his balance, saving them both.

How can someone fear such a lovely, delicate creature?

“Y-yes milady Highness. ’Tis true! Your Council bid me tell th-this man here,” he gestured to Alazar standing behind him. “You’re to be his intended and that you’d know my words are true because of this.” The small, sweaty man opened his hand.

Riaura gasped at what he held in his pudgy palm.

The ruby in the center of the delicate ring winked at her. The gilded design cradling it was that of an intricate rose. Tiny triangular-cut emeralds served as leaves. They were woven into the vinery that served as the band.

Her Council entrusted the ‘Night Rose’ in the hand of the messenger.

The only true confirmation she’d believe. Alazar knew. That’s why I suggested to them he bring it.

“So that’s to be it then?” She said acidly. “I’m to be handed to you like chattel?”

“I’d be more inclined to call it handed over on a platter.” He grinned.

She growled in her throat and lunged for the ring.

Alazar was suddenly there, next to the messenger. The ring closed tightly in his white-knuckled fist. His eyes burned like blue fire. He was so furious. “Ironic isn’t it?”

“What?” She leaned forward to hiss through her teeth.

“Of all the women that have vied for my attention, you’re the one that tells herself she doesn’t want me.” He scoffed coldly. “The one woman I intend to take as wife.”

She shouted a profanity and then another. Rattling the chain at her ankle furiously. Even reaching down to grab it to yank on it. Shrieking hatefully.

Alazar turned the messenger and began walking him from the tent. “Ye sure ye wanna marry ’er, Me Lord?”

“Not in the least.” Alazar shook his head. “But I’m going to anyway.”

He turned back from the entrance. “Oh,” He lifted the emerald and ruby ring to turn in his fingers. “stealing this would’ve meant nothing. You’d still be bound by the word of your council.”

She screeched in response.

Their eyes met in an angry duel, both refusing to look away.

Alazar gestured for his personal guard and the messenger to leave them.

“Good luck.” The nervous little man whispered as he went by. “Don’t die, me Lord.”

No guarantees on that. If I go through with this, she may well slaughter me in my sleep.

The shackle weighed heavily on Riaura’s ankle. Her arms crossed over her breasts in a protective gesture. Chin hitching impudently. “When I am queen again, I’ll have you whipped.”

“Hmm…” He tapped his lip thoughtfully as he circled her. “A queen having her king whipped. I’ve never heard of such a thing.” He said cheerfully. Shrugging. “I don’t think it’s possible!”

“You’re not my king!”

“Yet.”

“I’m already affianced to Charles Danbury.” She announced.

“Nay.” Alazar shook his head. “I nulled that when I tossed him in his carriage and banished him from Nightway.”

She gasped. “You wouldn’t!”

“Already did.”

“I could hit you!”

“You could…” He gestured around. “If you could reach anything.” He tilted his head thoughtfully to eye her ankle. “If you weren’t chained.” He lifted his head to level her a look. “If you weren’t my prisoner…”

“Ah! I hate you!” She screeched.

“Perhaps you do. But I stopped carrying when you sent me to your dungeons to be tortured.”

She gave him a once over. “You look no worse for the wear.”

“Disappointed?”

“Vastly.”

“The satisfaction would’ve been momentary.” He dismissed.

“Says you.”

He gave her his back and stepped within reach. Knowing there was nothing heavy enough to hit him with. He knew her well.

She’s tried demanding, coaxing, pleading logic. All of which failed to sway me. She’s only one vice left to use in this tent.

And I want her to use it. I want to teach her a lesson.

She dove inside her own being, entrapping her rage and blocking her emotions.

Things I taught her to do.

Now she softened her gaze. Letting her eyes turn liquid and loosening her compressed lips, letting their plumpness fill out. Giving him a purposeful stare she let his name whisper across them. “Alazareth…”

And here it comes. His face remained expressionless. He moved not at all, not even appearing to breathe. He stood with a stillness that only the dead may maintain.

Let her think I’m confused by her ploy. He decided.

“Come to me, Alazar. I wish to tell you something…”

Yes. To go to Hell. I’m aware. He turned his head away from her, looking at her out of the corner of those brilliant blue-green eyes, a sure sign of his skepticism. He lifted a brow archly.

She opened her hands supplicatingly. Further softening her voice as she beckoned.

“I’m unarmed, Alazareth. What is it you’re afraid of? A mere woman? Come nearer to me.”

So she can sink her teeth in, no doubt.

His look continued to be askance. “A woman always has her weapons, you’re no exception, My Queen.”

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