Monday, April 9, 2018



We might be wise to change our plan, Mrillis said. Our enemies constantly watch all the castles of the highest ranking nobles on Lygroes, and the most loyal of the minor kings here on Moerta. And I fear for you, my dear.

Me? Now Meghianna could laugh, more in surprise than anything else. Why?

It has been fifteen years since anyone has seen the Queen of Snows. The enchantments we wrapped around the Stronghold, to keep out visitors and permit communication are still strong--but someone must suspect the enchantments, because I have heard a dozen rumors in the last moon that the Queen of Snows is dead.

How many of our enemies spread rumors of my death to force my hand? How many of them have decided I'm not there at all, and are looking for me throughout the World?

Exactly. Someone who remembers you originally had red hair, before power bleached it white, may have an idea of what you should look like, and eventually find you.

Do we leave our life behind, then? Move the boys to the Stronghold for a few years?

Give them a strong foundation in magic. Lycen needs to explore his heritage. And Athrar certainly has more magic in his blood than Efrin, from living with you, Mrillis added.

Meghianna opened her eyes and looked around the tiny loft room, where she kept the account books and tallies of supplies. It let her look out over the main room of the inn and keep watch over all the traffic. Someone was bound to come looking for her soon. It was a law of nature that she couldn't have more than ten minutes of privacy at a time. She got up and leaned against the window in the wall.

There were her boys, two fair heads, Lycen with his curls and Thrarin with his straight, coarse locks, their crossed arms resting on the table, their shoulders hunched as they listened to Captain Ector tell them about his latest adventures while out on patrol. The Encindi rebels were more active and destructive than usual, meaning the winter illnesses and starvation hadn't decimated their numbers. Meghianna welcomed Ector's visits because he made a point of emphasizing the darker aspects of a soldier's life--wounds and long hours in the saddle and danger. If only he wouldn't insist on asking her at least twice a year to marry him.

She admired Ector, and loved him as a good friend, but he always smelled of sweaty metal and sour leather, belched too often, and ate with his fingers. Meghianna knew those were ridiculous reasons to refuse a man, but she couldn't find any reasons to accept him. He didn't make her heart sing. Until her heart sang for a man, she wouldn't give it to anyone.

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