By: J.C. McGuire | Other books by J.C. McGuire
Published By: Etopia Press
ISBN # 9781937976590
Word Count: 53497
Available in: Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.mobi), Adobe Acrobat
About the bookIf Aelida believed that telling her secret would bring peace, she was sadly mistaken. Britain stands on the edge of destruction, and those who struggle for her survival can only do so much, even for the daughter of King Arthear.
For the man Britain fears and hates most stands waiting. Watching. If he sees weakness and betrayal, then Britain’s champion—her High King—will fall, and with him will fall all hope…
An excerpt from the bookComplete chaos erupted.I never took my eyes from him, not even to savor Maysura’s reaction.He simply nodded, and in that moment I realized that he knew, had known for some time.Why had he not confronted me? Why not use this knowledge before this day? Once more I was thrown into confusion by his actions and completely in the dark as to his motives.Some things never changed.* * *If I had thought my announcement would take away the troubles Farval faced, I was soon proved sadly mistaken. I had misjudged human nature to a massive degree and in the end, only I could correct that same mistake.By underestimating the hatred held toward Daruk, I also had not been totally aware of how much distrust a large portion of the nobility held toward Farval as part of that blood.They sank their teeth into my sudden appearance as Arthear’s heir with vicious abandon and began sending themselves, their sons, any kin at all to try to win my favor, and by doing so, oust Farval as High King.I was horrified.A great woman would, perhaps, have taken advantage of this, made herself a Queen without equal in power, but as myself, I fell far short of this opportunity. I could have ground Farval into the dust, seen him humiliated and cast from his position, but I could not in my weakness.Part of me longed to have him pay for the many tortures he had inflicted upon me, but deep within I knew he was the key to Britain’s future. If he did not succeed, none would. Any revenge I exacted at this point would only be at the cost of my country. This I could not do.Perhaps I was born with this sense of duty; certainly my mother had felt strongly on this issue till the day she died. Whatever the reason, it was to rule my life, my decisions, my happiness. I was learning what it meant to be Queen.I would have thought Farval would have been concerned by this turn of events—the possibility of being removed as High King—but he seemed remarkably calm. Whether he was simply adept at hiding what he felt, or whether he was truly indifferent remained to be seen.He was well aware of the noble’s posturing, well aware of their plans to oust him, but he never spoke of it, never attempted to influence me nor court me as they did. He was the same as he had always been—arrogant and infuriating.I could not understand his attitude at all.Pondering the matter over and over, I came to a surprising conclusion. Perhaps he actually hoped that another would become High King. Had he not stated before that he had never wanted the position? If it was such a burden, he might actually be relieved that he could be free.My lips thinned upon discovering this possibility.He would not find freedom so easily. Why should I be forced to accept these responsibilities while he quietly retreated into the peace he had always sought? I was not about to accept another man I hardly knew in place of one I could at least argue with decently. Men were entirely too difficult to sort out as it was; I had no desire to start afresh. The devil I knew…By the Goddess, he was not going to leave me alone with this mess.I was flustered with the advances of all these strange men, none of whom wanted me for myself anymore than Farval had. Whereas he had wanted me to bear his child, they wanted the power of my ancestry, my blood. They wanted to use me to gain power, to become High King.If I had found someone who had the best interests of the nation at heart, perhaps I might have considered another than Farval, but I saw nothing in these men except self-interest.Beor might have, again, been a possibility, but he and I had spoken when all this madness had started and he had gently made it very clear that he would never consider anything that would remove his cousin from power. He felt, as I did, that Farval was the only one who had the capability to succeed at this immense task.To add to my sense of isolation and strangeness, all the people around me had changed in their manner. Only Colean, Farval and Beor remained unaffected; everyone else suddenly treated me as though I had become a deity.It was horrific.If it is ever said that being in a position of power gives friendships and breeds contentment, know such words for lies or ignorance. In no way is that statement true. When people view you as something different, as part of a legend, you become more than human, as though you need no human contact, no warmth, merely the worship of people who know you not at all.It was lonely and distressing.I began to wish that I had never spoken, never divulged my bloodline, kept my identity secret till the end of my days, but as Farval had said, our paths are fate driven and in the end, we have little enough control. If I had felt helpless under Farval’s dominion, I felt even more so now that I could have repudiated him.In some ways, he was the only security I knew.He had promised to get us through. By the Goddess I would hold him to that promise!Still, I hesitated to tell him such. How did I go about bringing up the subject? I could hardly say, “I choose you as husband.” After all my protests as to his treatment, how would those words make me seem? I was suddenly lost as to how to proceed. From being pursued, I was now suddenly cast into the role of pursuer, a position I had no idea how to cope with.In no way did I wish to give his ego a boost; he had far too much of it already. Still, to let the matter go much longer could only lead to trouble. My long list of suitors was growing daily and many were becoming more than persistent. Some were quite frightening in their pursuit and only Beor’s protection and Farval’s reputation kept me in any form safe from their advances.They were bold to risk the present High King’s fury, should they touch his property.My confusion was heightened by the fact that even though I had physically healed from the loss of the child, Farval made no attempt to touch me. We slept in the same bed, as before, but each night he turned away and immediately went to sleep.Was he waiting to see what would happen, whether he would remain High King? Certainly he seemed unfazed by the many men fawning at my heels. How could he go from being insanely possessive, to being completely disinterested?Men were perverse creatures indeed and made no sense whatsoever.Now when I needed him, he no longer seemed to need me. The fates were laughing indeed.