Kara sits on the couch, her legs tucked up under her. Her gaze searches the room, studying the titles on the spines of books and the metalwork around the fireplace. It strikes me how young she is, barely out of adolescence. She is shorter than I remember too, her head only reaching to my chin. Unlike my previous guests, she is at ease in her surroundings. A benefit, I suppose, of being brought up with an innate sense of entitlement.
“Welcome,” I say.
She smiles, waiting for me to continue. Her sharp green eyes settle on my face. I flick through my notes, looking for a suitable question. Something light to begin with.
“What is your favourite memory?”
I shrug. “To begin with.”
“Alright.” Her eyes glaze over as she thinks. “When my brother and I were seven, we were fostered in Bal Adeol with Lord Alment. He was, is, generally insufferable and so one afternoon, Brydun and I snuck out of the city. I don’t know how familiar you are with the area but in front of Bal Adeol, the Plains of Rhea stretch as far as the eyes can see to the west and north. There is one tree, a craggly apple tree, on that side of the city, a remnant of a madman’s orchard. So, of course, we climbed it.” She smiled at the memory. “It was my idea. I practically had to shove Brydun up. You could see even further from the top of the tree. If you looked south, you could almost see next city on the river. And then.” She giggled. “I’m sorry, it isn’t really funny, but Brydun fell out of the tree and broke his arm.” She started to laugh. “You should have seen his face. He was so…surprised. He-” She sobered, trailing off.
I now had two options – steer the conversation back to something light or continue talking about her dead brother. “If Prince Brydun hadn’t died and you hadn’t become King Piren’s heir, what would you have done?”
“Done?” She blinks, the question catching her off guard.
“Would you have still married Lord Thoren?”
She looks down at her hands, her mouth twisting as if she has tasted something bitter. She takes a sip of water. “I…”
“You would have been Duchess of Jinarien. Your brother would have been the king.”
She thinks, turning the glass in her hand in time with the cogs in her mind. “I would have started a school. And…and worked on the alliance between Bashraan and Fariel, to make sure it succeeds. And I would have advised Brydun…helped him rule.”
“Do you think you could have been happy?”
Tears well in her eyes. “Yes.”
That is all from my poor, sweet, summer child. Who do you want to hear from next week? Let me know below 🙂
Karavere finds herself the heir to her father’s kingdom of Fariel and ensnared in a tangled web of treachery. But unless she finds a way to stop the numberless army marching south, she won’t have a kingdom to inherit.
Hrithur (earlier referred to as Tiemil) is Kara’s cousin. The bastard child of a bastard child, he dwells on the periphery of the court.
Ailig (earlier referred to as Alexandru) knows what it is to be a prince without a country. Forced to flee from their homes a generation earlier, Ailig’s people now rely on the generosity of the Fariliens. And now the same threat that drove them from their homes is poised to attack their new sanctuary. Ailig is determined to make sure his people will not have to flee again.
Anjez is a proud man, a prince of Bashraan…and an ex-slave. He seeks to forge new alliances with Fariel in defiance of his father, the king, but can he truly leave the traumas of his slave past behind him?
Eriden knows forty ways to kill a man with her bare hands. Raised in the slums of Bal Briad, she worked her way up from the child of a whore to the prodigy of the Assassin Guildmaster. But helping Kara defeat her enemy may be Eriden’s hardest task yet.
Gwen was raised with her twin sister, Elia, in the house of their merchant father. For as long as Gwen can remember, they have done everything together. Learnt to fight together. Joined Kara’s Ladies together. But now Elia has chosen to spy in the enemy camp and Gwen must decide where her loyalty lies – with the sister she suspects has turned traitor or with the princess she swore an oath to?
Lorcan Aelysk is a Haelean nobleman. Caught up in his father’s schemes, he is torn away from the one he loves and sent far to the south, to conquer a place called Fariel.