FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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RAESE - Confiding In Rodger Barnes

Whiting Hall, Paladines


“What is it you wanted to tell me?” Rodger Barnes asked Raese. Sitting in his pri-vate chambers in the plush green chair in the corner. Eyeing him as if he’d lost his wits. “What’s so secret that I had to come up here and you had to dismiss all your servants?”

“You sure you want to know?”


“What if I were to tell you I’ve remembered a lot but if I confide in you it may put you on a short kill list for someone very dangerous.”

Rodger shrugged. “I’d say I’m wealthy enough to keep hired killers at bay.”

Raese leaned against the armoire. “I’ve been having ludicrous dreams.”

“I know.”

“Not nearly the extent.”

“Fill me in.” Rodger invited.

Raese paused only a moment before doing exactly that. Telling him way too much.

But Raese was in dire need of bouncing his changed reality off on someone with a level head.

Rodger stared jaw agape by the end of his tale. “You sound completely addled. Ab-sent any sense.”

“I know.” Raese sighed. Shoulders slumping as he anticipated his friend not believing him despite all the evidence Raese had seen. “But I believe it.”

“I do too.”

Raese was the one to look shocked. “What?”

“You’ve been infatuated with that wraith for as long as I can remember. And your servants have told me you’ve hardly slept for months at a time. And when you do, you talk incessantly through the night.”

I do?

“I presume that they’re telling you I’m speaking of things that corroborate what I’m telling you now?”

“They do. But I’m relieved to hear you say it.”

“Relieved is not how I thought you’d be.”

“Oh, I’m certainly still worried for your sanity.” Rodger said dully.

“Thanks for that.” Raese straightened with a frown. Unconsciously reaching up to grip his pendant between thumb and finger. Massaging the backside soothingly with his thumb.

“I wouldn’t do that.” Rodger nodded toward it. “If what you say is true and you use that. They may thing you’re one of the demonkind or they may resent that you’ve been away so long.”

Raese whooshed a long breath. “I’ve worried about just such a thing, myself.”

“That’s what has kept you from doing it thus far, I take it?”

I don’t know what I’d say if it worked. And I don’t know how I’d react if it did and they began to question me. What answers could I give them? I’m still figuring it out.

“You’d be correct. You can’t tell anyone what I’ve told you, Rodger.”

“About immortal knights, demons, and ghostly women trying to seduce you? I wouldn’t dream of it.” He said dryly. “I rather prefer not being locked in the Battling Borderhold.”

The crazy reformatory. Raese knew. One with an awful reputation for brutal pun-ishment for its tenants.

“So, what now?” Rodger queried.

“I have to get her back.”


“My Lord!” Raese heard a gardener calling from the foyer.

“Thought you dismissed all the servants?” Rodger asked.

“Not the ones for the grounds.”

I didn’t expect them to be coming in the house. They usually don’t.

“My Lord!” The man called again. Desperation entered his voice. “A Lady at the door, My Lord.”

A lady?

“A lady?” Rodger questioned even as Raese was wondering it.

“Was Leslie planning to come over?”

He should know since they’re lovers now.

“Widow Parker?” Rodger blinked. “Not to my knowledge. But what other woman could it be?”

“I’ve no idea…” Raese exited the room and aimed for the stairs.

Rodger on his heels.

Curious as hell, no doubt.

Raese only made it eight steps before he was low enough to get a view of the front door. He stopped in his tracks so abruptly, Rodger slammed into him and had to catch the railing to keep from bouncing backward and falling to the stairs.

“What the devil!” Rodger objected. Leaning over the railing to see around Raese. “Ah, I see. She is a lovely.”

She’s more than that.

Raese looked over his shoulder darkly. “She’s my wife.”

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