The Hall/The Keep/The Estate
Queen Karla of Glacia glacial_queen
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The Keep, Ebon Askavi, First Night of Winsol, Sometime Late Monday Night (Fandom Time)
It was fitting that they were here on tonight of all nights. Unlike the rest of the Realms who were drinking the blooded rum and dancing in honor of Witch (or, at least giving lip service to the idea), tonight those closest to Witch were gathered in the Keep to honor her a little more concretely.

Tonight, the first night of Winsol, they had gathered to the Dark Throne to see Jaenelle form her Court and become Queen of Ebon Askavi.

Telling herself she wasn't nervous--and why should she be nervous, this was her friend, this was Jaenelle, surely wearing the Ebony was no different than wearing thirteen uncut Black Jewels. Either way it was more power than Karla could really even contemplate, so what was the big deal really even if, sure, there had never been anything like this in the entire history of the Blood.

Right, so, anyway, telling herself she wasn't nervous despite the pounding heart, the sweaty palms, and internal monologue that raced along a million miles a minute, Karla entered the large stone chamber that Draca had indicated was the place where the invited guests were to wait until they were summoned to the Dark Throne. Except for the blackwood pillars that contained the candle-lights and a few long tables against the walls that held assorted beverages, the room was bare of furniture.

Which was just as well since threading their way through seating designed for humans would have made the kindred more tense than they already were, and some species--like the small dragons from the Fyreborn Islands--needed a generous amount of space. Karla noticed, with growing unease, that all the kindred, not just the ones who had little to no contact with people, weren't mingling with the human Blood, even though most of the humans present were friends--or had been before the slaughters. That they were in this closed, confined space at all said a great deal for their devotion to Jaenelle.

Having the kindred here only highlighted the reason that Jaenelle was taking this step in the first place. They were here as her friends, yes, but their presence was a stark reminder of what was at stake. Ebon Rih was the Keep's Territory in Kaeleer--Jaenelle's Territory now. Ruling Ebon Rih wouldn't technically help the kindred or keep the human invaders out of their Territories. Traditionally, the Queen of Ebon Askavi had considerable influence in all the Realms, but would that influence and the innate caution within the Blood not to antagonize a mature dark power be enough? Would any of the fools in Kaeleer's Dark Council even recognize who they were challenging?

Karla thought it unlikely. After all, she was well-aware of the subtle antagonization within her own Territory and she wore the Ebon-gray, a completely explicable sign of her power. Jaenelle's Ebony was a cipher to everyone, other than the obvious Blacker-than-Black.

For a while, she'd also worried about who would make up Jaenelle's court. She'd always assumed--they'd all had, really--that the coven and boyos would form the First Circle. It wasn't unprecedented for Queens to serve in a stronger Queen's Court. The District Queens served Province Queens who, in their turn, served the Territory Queen. None of Karla's own Province Queens had made the jump to her First Circle yet, but it was likely only a matter of time. This was the web of power that kept a Territory united.

But Queens who ruled a Territory didn't serve in other Courts. They were the final law of their land and yielded to no one.

In the past few weeks, while Jaenelle rested after making the Offering and plans were formed about her ascension to the Dark Throne, the rest of her coven, Queens all, had also made their Offerings. And every single one of them had been chosen as the new Queen of their representative Territories, the former Queens stepping aside and accepting positions in the newly formed courts.

Karla was almost jealous at how easy the rest of them had had it. No civil war for anyone else, just the graceful ceding of power to the rising female.

The boys, too, had come to power. Chaosti was now the Warlord Prince of Dea al Mon and Gabrielle's Consort. Khardeen, Morghann's Consort, was the ruling Warlord Prince of Maghre, his home village. After accepting Kalush's Consort Ring, Aaron had become the Warlord Prince of Tajrana, the capital of Nharkhava. Sceron and Elan were the Warlord Princes of Centauran and Tigrelan, serving in the First Circles of Astar's and Grezande's courts. Jonah now served as First Escort for his sister, Zylona, as Morton served as First Escort to Karla.

She kept teasing him and Warren both, offering to make them the Warlords of Sidra. Warren had laughed and said he'd rather roll around in poison ivy again. Morton had threatened to make Julian take his place if she tried. So much for keeping up with the rest of the boyos.

Karla drifted to the table where Saetan, Warren, Lucivar, Aaron, Khary, and Chaosti were gathered. Andulvar and Geoffrey nodded a greeting, but didn't break away from their conversation with Mephis and Prothvar. Sceron, Elan, Morton, and Jonah were talking to a diminutive Warlord Prince Karla had never seen before. Little Katrine's First Escort or Consort? She made a mental note to ask. Jono and Raven looked surprisingly comfortable chatting with the normally-quiet Sabrina and Zylona. Zylona was anything but quiet, but the satyr Queen seemed to be amusing them all with her animated gesticulations.


Saetan
"The tailor did an excellent job," Saetan was saying to Lucivar as Karla slipped into their group.

Lucivar
"Uh huh." The reply sounded sour, but after a moment Lucivar shook his head and laughed. "I represent a new challenge for the good Lord Aldric who, as he happily informed me while he was sticking pins everywhere, that he had never gotten a chance to design formal attire worthy of the Queen of Ebon Rih. And to have such finery include wings--! He's beside himself."

Saetan
"Well, now that he has your measurements--" Saetan began, warming a glass of yarbarah to sip.

Warren
"Oh no," Warren said before the other male could respond, wearing an expression that Saetan and Lucivar recognized all too well from their dealings with the good Lord Aldric. " 'Each fabric has a character of its own, Lord Worthington,' " he said, mimicking the tailor's mournful tones. " 'We must learn how each one will flow around these marvelous additions to your physique.' "

Karla
"Maybe he just wants to stroke your wings," Karla suggested, eyes full of mischief. She slid her hand over Warren's shoulder and leaned against his back as he flared his wings slightly to make room for her. Her sharp chin dug into his other shoulder as she gave Lucivar a wicked grin. "They are impressive. Is it true the length of your--" her ice-blue eyes flicked to Lucivar's groin "--is in direct proportion to your wings?"

Khary, Aaron, and Chaosti coughed in unison, trying not to grin.

Lucivar
Lucivar made a crude sexual gesture. "Why don't you ask your Consort there and leave me alone?"

Karla
"Where do you think I got that idea from?" Karla teased, stroking the underside of Warren's wing.

Lucivar
"How do you even deal with her?" Lucivar asked Warren.

Warren
"I have a sixteen foot wingspan," Warren replied without missing a beat. "You figure it out."

Lucivar
"Hells' fire and Mother Night," Lucivar complained, this time to his father. "I liked him better before she got her claws into him."

Karla
"Touchy, isn't he? But not touchable? Ah, well. Kiss kiss."

Lucivar
"Go stuff yourself, Karla," Lucivar said, baring his teeth in a smile.

Chaosti
"Pretty sure Warren just said that was his job," Khary remarked to no one in particular.

Karla
Karla just laughed. "It's so good to be back among the surly. A few days ago I said 'kiss kiss' and several people tried." She gave a dramatic shudder as Warren growled softly. That earned him a kiss on the cheek while she slid from behind him and darted forward to ruffle Saetan's hair. The accompanying snarl was ignored in favor of gracing him with a brilliant smile. "Know what, Uncle Saetan?"

Saetan
"What?" Saetan replied warily, attempting to fix his hair. Dammit, Karla.

Karla
That grin of hers got only more toothy. "Since you're the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan and a part of Jaenelle's court here, and I'm the Queen of Glacia, now whenever Dhemlan or Askavi has to deal with Glacia, you get to deal with me."

Saetan choked on his yarbarah.

"Appalling thought, isn't it, that you're going to have to have to deal with all the things you taught me twice over now. And the rest of the coven, too."

Saetan
"Mother Night," Saetan gasped as she plucked his glass out of his hand and gave him a hearty thump on his back.

Raven
"Oh no, Karla," Raven said, drawn by the sound of Saetan's cough. And knowing full well her Queen was the cause of it somehow. "What did you do to the High Lord?"

Karla
Unfair assumption!

Sure, it was completely correct but heeey!

"Just reminded him that we're the Queens he has to deal with," Karla said, trying to look innocent.

Jono.
//You're terrible, luv,// Jono said, following Raven over and handing the High Lord a glass of water instead. //You could have at least eased the poor bloke into it, instead of springing it on him.//

Karla
"How?" Karla frowned. "Besides, he knew it already. Didn't you?"

Saetan
Saetan accepted the glass from Jonothon with a smile of gratitude and drained it to avoid answering. After all the hours that he, Mephis, and Andulvar, and Geoffrey had spent chewing over the implications of having this particular group of Queens coming into power at this time, none of them had given thought to the obvious--that he was going to have to deal with them as Territory Queens.

Considering Karla had been a Queen now for almost a year, he likely should have, but he had not yet had to deal with the Queen of Glacia as the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan.

Hell's fire and Mother Night, what had he gotten himself into?

A gong sounded throughout the Keep. Once. Twice. Thrice. Then, after a pause, a fourth time.

Four times for the four sides of the Blood triangle, the fourth side being what was held within the other three. Like the three males--Steward, Master of the Guard, and Consort/Escort--who formed a strong, intimate triangle around a Queen.

At the back of the room, huge double doors opened outward, revealing a dark emptiness.

Paying no attention to the hesitant stirring around him, Saetan set his glass aside, smoothed his hair one final time, and straightened his new clothes. Since Protocol dictated that processions went from light Jewels to dark, first all the males and then the females, he probably figured he would be at the end of the male line.

Karla and Lucivar exchanged a look and then Lucivar poked his father in the side.


Saetan
"Protocol dictates--" he began when he realized no one was moving.

Karla
"Screw Protocol," Karla replied succinctly. "You go first."

Saetan
When everyone nodded in agreement, Saetan sighed and slowly walked to the double doors. Lucivar and Andulvar fell into step on either side of him. Mephis, Geoffrey, and Prothvar followed him.

Raven
Everyone else fell into easy groups, no concern to gender, though the kindred still stayed to themselves. Raven was worried for them, though as they all moved closer to the darkness beyond the double doors, she had another reason for apprehension. "What is in there?" she asked Karla quietly.

Karla
"I don't know," Karla said, looking a little baffled. "I've never been in this part of the Keep before. Hellfire, from the expression on Geoffrey's face, I don't think he's been here."

And Geoffrey had belonged to the Keep for longer than even Saetan had been alive.

Warren
They reached the doors and then stopped. Warren tried to ignore the unease prickling at his wings. The lights from the room behind them revealed the first handful of wide, descending steps, but no more. The distance felt vast beneath their feet and while there was no ceiling he could see, he was well aware that they'd be going very far down.

"We'll all break our necks trying to go down without lights," he muttered, ignoring the fact that they hadn't heard anyone else yelling as they fell down the stairs.

Karla
Warren's words had barely left his lips when little sparkles embedded in the dark stone began to glow, growing brighter and brighter. Like swirls of stars, Karla thought, her breath catching. She heard Morton, Warren, and Raven make wordless noises of wonder around her, and from Jono, a soft pulse of marvel.

It looked like the poem she had learned long ago, as a child. Not even from one of her tutors, but her old nurse, who'd recite old tales to help Karla fall asleep. They spiral down into ebony, catching the stars with their tails. Ebony had once been the poetic term for the Darkness.

Karla froze, her foot suspended over the first step.

Was it still?

Jono
//Something wrong, Sunbeam?//

Karla
She shook her head and slowly descended, grateful for the solid strength of friendship at either side of her.

When she reached the bottom step. a second step of double doors swung inward. The midnight-black chamber slowly lightened, the dark giving way to the dawn. The light gradually spread from their end of the chamber to the other. But, she noticed, as they moved forward, that it didn't illuminate the ceiling. At thrice Lucivar's height, the light gave way to twilight, which, in its turn, yielded once again to the dark.

The back wall began to lighten from either side. Filling the wall, as high as the light reached, was a highly detailed bas-relief. A dreamscape, a nightscape, shapes rising up from and dissolving into others. Kindred shapes. Human shapes. Blending. Entwined. Fierce and beautiful. Ugly and gentle.

The light finally reached the center of the back wall and the Dark Throne. Three wide steps ran around the dais on three sides. On the dais itself was a simple blackwood chair with a high, carved back. Its simplicity said the power that ruled here had no need for ornamentation or ostentation--especially when it was protected on the right-hand side by a huge dragon head coming out of the stone.

Aaron
A strangled gasp--one of the coven, though at that moment, it was impossible to say who. Aaron was the first to speak. "Mother Night," he said in a hushed voice. "She created a sculpture of Lorn's head."

Lucivar
"Hell's fire," Lucivar whispered. "Where'd she find so many uncut Jewels to make the scales?"

Karla
Trembling, Karla shook her head, unable to speak. Maybe Lucivar couldn't see the darkness beyond the lit bas-relief from where he stood, a darkness that suggested another large chamber beyond this one. Maybe he couldn't see the iridescent fire in the dragon's scales. Maybe in that moment, he'd forgotten the Blood's own creation myths. Maybe...

Eyelids slowly opened. Midnight eyes pinned them where they stood.

Morton
Morton clutched his cousin's arm, his fingers digging in hard enough to hurt. "Mother Night, Karla," he said, his breathing ragged. "The Keep is his lair. He's been here all the time."

From the incredulity on Geoffrey's face and the shock sharp enough to tang everyone's psychic scent, he wasn't alone in that realization.

Karla
Her own first thought was that she hadn't expected Lorn to be so big. She'd wave-whomped with the Fyreborn dragons and for all that they were so much bigger than humans, they were like miniature horses compared to the overwhelming size of a Clydesdale. If the body was in proportion to the head...

Dragon scales. That was her second thought. The Jewels were dragon scales somehow transformed into hard, translucent stones. Had there been dragons who matched the specific colors of the Jewels or had they all been that iridescent silver-gold, changing color to match the strength of the recipient.

Karla gingerly touched the Ebon-gray Jewel around her neck. Her Birthright Sapphire and the Ebon-gray had been uncut Jewels. Were there two missing scales somewhere long the great body that must lie in the next chamber that would have matched her uncut Jewels?

Saetan
Saetan, his mind-lightning quick, turned to Geoffrey. "His Queen. What was the name of his Queen?"

Draca
"Draca," said a sibilant voice behind them.

As one, they all turned and looked at the Keep's Seneschal.

Her lips curved in a tiny smile. "Her name wass Draca."

Karla
Looking into her eyes, Karla wondered what subtle spell had been lifted that allowed them to see what they should have guessed long before. Her age, her strength, the uneasiness so many felt in her presence. She'd run crying from the Keep the first time she'd met Draca. Now she could guess why. Which made her think of something else. "Does Jaenelle know?"

Draca
Draca made a sound that might have been a laugh. "Sshe hass alwayss known, little Queen."

Lucivar
"Are they relatives of yours?" Lucivar asked, indicating the Fyreborn dragons who were still staring at Lorn.

Draca
"You are all relativess," Draca replied, looking pointedly at Lucivar's Ebon-gray Jewel. "We created the Blood. All of the Blood. Therefore, you are all dragonss under the skin."

Saetan
Saetan glanced at the kindred who were edging nearer. "You, of course, would know." He saw amusement in Draca's eyes.

Draca
"It iss not I who ssayss sso, High Lord. Jaenelle ssayss sso." Draca looked past them to the Dark Throne and, once again in unison, they turned.

Witch
Once again in that cobwebby black gown and wearing Ebony Jewels, Jaenelle sat serenely in the blackwood chair. Her long golden hair was brushed away from the face that finally revealed it's unique beauty.

"The time has come for me to take up my duties as Queen of Ebon Askavi," she said. Her voice wasn't loud, but it carried through the chamber. The time has come for me to choose my Court.

A breathless tension filled the chamber as she stood in front of them, giving them the full view of Witch's glory.

And then she was only Jaenelle, Queen of Ebon Askavi. "Prince Chaosti, will you serve in the First Circle?"

Chaosti
Gracefully, Chaosti knelt on one knee, a fisted hand over his heart. "I will serve."

Saetan
He didn't mean to mar the proceedings, but Saetan couldn't help but frown. How was Chaosti going to serve in Jaenelle's First Circle when he'd already accepted service in Gabrielle's?

Jaenelle
"Prince Kaelas, will you serve in the First Circle?"

Kaelas
*I will serve.*

Jaenelle
Jaenelle called out name after name. Mephis. Prothvar. Aaron. Khardeen. Sceron. Jonah. Morton. Elan. Ladvarian the Sceltie Warlord. Mistral the unicorn Warlord Prince. Smoke, the kindred wolf Prince. Sundancer, the kindred horse Warlord Prince.

"Lord Warren, will you serve the Second Circle of the Dark Court?"

Warren
His wings flared and he stepped back a moment as if he was physically off-balance. A quick glance at Karla told him that, yes, he'd actually heard that request and that, no, she wasn't going to answer for him. This was his choice to make. "I...I would be honored, Lady," he said, kneeling. If Khary, Aaron, and Chaosti were fine with serving in the First Circle as well as acting as their ladies' Consorts, he could do the same.

Jaenelle
"Lord Jonothon, will you serve in the Second Circle?"

Jono
If Warren was startled by the request, Jono was downright floored. After all, he'd barely been in Kaeleer this past year and when he had, he'd always been in Glacia. He could probably count the number of times he'd spoken to Jaenelle on one hand.

//Errrr...//

Then, only to Karla, he added, //She bloody serious?//

Karla
Her amusement was palpable--to him, at least. *No,* she sent. *She's actually about to Rick-Roll you in the middle of her ascension. Keen on you to have figured that out, Jono.*

Jono
Why had he ever decided that spending his life with Karla would be a good idea? //So helpful, luv. So very bloody helpful. What do I say?!//

Karla
*Yes or no are the usual answers.* See? Helpful! *Generally, people choose the answer that they feel is most fitting, though I know you like to be contrary.*

Jono
Maybe he should throttle Karla and see if Jaenelle still wanted him to be in her Court after that. There was the one hand, where he'd only just returned to Kaeleer, where he'd only just now stepped up to actually perform his duties as a member of Karla's First Circle. Surely Jaenelle didn't really want somebody with a track record like his serving in her Second?

But then, this was Jaenelle, and beyond that, Witch. If anybody in Kaeleer knew what it was they wanted… Certainly she had her reasons for extending this offer.

//I… will serve,// he said at last, the bewilderment as plain in his voice as it was on his face, but his shoulders squared and a sort of resolve in his words affirming that he would do his best as he took his place amongst the kneeling males.

Jaenelle
She looked at Jono a moment more, a hint of a smile in her fathomless sapphire eyes.

And then, with Saetan, Lucivar, and Andulvar the only males still standing, she asked, "Lady Karla, will you serve in the First Circle?"

Karla
"I will serve," Karla said, also going to her knees. This was...very new. She had never served in a Court before. That amusing realization was washed away in the shock she could feel from Saetan. He was reeling. Lucivar, too.

Oh poor males. Did none of them ever truly understand what they meant to the females they served?

Jaenelle
"Lady Moonshadow, will you serve?"

Moonshadow
*I will serve.*

Jaenelle
Again, a list of names rang out. Gabrielle, Morghann, Kalush, Grezande, Sabrina, Zylona, Katrine, Astar, Ash. Finally when all of the witches of the coven had accepted a place in her Court, Jaenelle called another name.

"Lady Raven, will you serve in the Second Circle of the Dark Court?"

Raven
Even though she had half-expected it after hearing Jono and Warren's names called, Raven was still unprepared when her name was called. Part of her inattention came from feeling the soul-deep pain that Saetan, Lucivar, and Andulvar felt at being excluded from the Court.

Much of it was due to how unworthy she felt. Surely, as Witch, Jaenelle could see the battle within her?

To buy time, she looked at Karla, seeing permission. Perhaps she would say no, and Raven would be spared the hard choice?

But no, when she looked to Karla, she received a nod and a soft smile. Whatever she wished to do, Karla would support.

"I thank you," she said, before remembering the ritual words. "I will serve."

She knelt as well.

Saetan
Saetan was trying very hard not to let his hurt show. He had tried to tell himself that he was too old to serve, that Court was a young male's game, that he'd served in Cassandra's Court and that was enough for him. But as she had skipped over him to call out Warren's name--and again to call out Karla's, he couldn't deny the pain that ripped through him, so intense that he wasn't sure he could survive it.

But if she was going to allow Mephis and Prothvar serve, why not Andulvar? Why not Lucivar, who already served her?

Draca and Geoffrey couldn't formally serve because they served the Keep itself. If there was comfort knowing that, it was a bitter brew.

He could feel Lucivar trembling beside him.

After a moment's silence, Jaenelle rose and walked down the three steps. Her eyes narrowed as she looked at him. He felt her exasperation as she lightly brushed against the first of his inner barriers.

Jaenelle
And then she proved that all of his fear and heartache were for nothing and less than nothing as she called in a knife and made a small cut in her wrist, offering it to Lucivar, as her Escort and the Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih, to Andulvar, her Captain of the Guard, and to Saetan, her Steward.

*Who else is going to be willing to referee the squabbles?* she sent on a public thread, as Saetan knelt and drank.

Lucivar
"So," Lucivar murmured softly to his father when tension filled the chamber again. "Notice anything weird about this Court?"

Saetan
Surprised by the question, Saetan looked at all the solemn, determined faces. "Odd? No. They're the same..."

It finally struck him. He'd thought of it, discussed it, and then had been so hurt when Jaenelle passed over him that he had failed to see it. The coven had joined the First Circle, and they shouldn't have because they were Territory Queens...

Karla
Karla stepped forward. "My Queen. May I speak?"

Witch
"You may speak, my Sister." Witch was once again at the fore.

Karla
Contained fire lit Karla's ice-blue eyes as she said triumphantly, "Glacia yields to Ebon Askavi!"

Saetan
...and Territory Queens served no one.

Saetan choked on his heart. Mother Night! Karla was making Jaenelle the ruling power of the Territory she was supposed to rule. The one she'd fought an entire year for. And now she was ceding it to Jaenelle with a kind of wicked glee.

Gabrielle
Gabrielle stepped forward. "Dea al Mon yields to Ebon Askavi!"

Morghann
"Scelt yields to Ebon Askavi!" Morghann shouted.

Kalush
"Nharkhava!"

Saetan
Female voices tumbled over one another to be heard, both out loud and on psychic threads. "Dharo!" "Tigrelan!" "Centauran!" *Sceval!* *Arceria!* *The Fyreborn Islands!*

Someone nudged Saetan's back, breaking his stunned silence. "Dhemlan yields to Ebon Askavi!"

Lucivar
"Askavi yields to Ebon Askavi!" Lucivar roared, making his father jump.

Karla
The shouted names of the Territories that now stood in the shadow of Ebon Askavi finally stopped echoing through the chamber. Then a small voice drifted into their minds.

*Arachna yields to the Lady of the Black Mountain.*

"Mother Night," Karla whispered, and wondered if the Weavers of Dreams were spinning their tangled webs across the chamber's ceiling. No matter how powerful a human Black Widow was, she could never hold a candle to the dreams or illusions the Arachnians wove.

Jaenelle
"I accept," Jaenelle said, voice soft.

Warren
Warren clapped Saetan's shoulder in amused sympathy. "Should I wish the Steward of the Dark Court my congratulations or condolences?" he asked quietly.

Saetan
"Mother Night." Saetan staggered a step. Hands grabbed his arms, keeping him upright. Raven gave him a soft smile, inviting him to lean on her for a moment until his equilibrium returned.

Jaenelle
Lucivar climbed the steps to the Throne and extended his right hand. Jaenelle rose and placed her left hand over his right. A wide aisle opened up as the new court stepped aside to allow the First Escort to lead his Queen from the chamber.

Karla
Karla watched with soft eyes, turning to see Warren offering his hand as well. They started to follow, then Karla made him pause for a moment, throat tightening as the kindred shyly blended in with the humans, once more offering their trust.

"We're going to do it," she murmured, just loud enough for Warren to hear. "She did it. She figured out a way to protect them."

Warren
"She did," he agreed, giving her hand a squeeze. "But she still needed you in order to do this."

This could still be everybody's victory. There had been no small amount of triumph in every voice that had been raised, yielding their respective Territories to Witch. And, he figured, for good reason.

Karla
"Yeah," she said, giving him a tender smile. "I guess she did."

The tenderness soon gave way to mischief, if not straight up schadenfreude. "I can't wait until the Dark Council hears about this," she said, turning to grin as Morton, Raven, and Jono caught up to them. "Let's go make smartass comments about Lucivar's wingspan."

Jono
//He's gonna drop you into a mountain lake, you know,// Jono said, trying to sound resigned instead of amused.

Raven
"But Karla," Raven chided gently, though with a hint of a smile. "This is a dignified occasion!"

Morton
"It was a dignified occasion," Morton said, shaking his head as he followed his cousin. "As for the party it's going to turn into, I'm guessing that it will be many things and none of them are even close to dignified."


Saetan had stayed below a little longer than the rest, lingering to talk to Lorn until Lucivar had stormed downstairs and demanded that Saetan come up and keep Karla from picking on him--though he couched it in threats, of course.

With a smile, Saetan followed his youngest son up the stairs to the upper chamber, where he accepted a glass of yarbarah and looked at the animated, laughing faces that now ruled Kaeleer. He wondered what Lorn thought about the many-strand web Jaenelle had woven over Kaeleer, the web that had called so many races out of the mist they'd hidden in for thousands of years.

And, like Karla, he wondered what the Dark Council was going to think. Also like Karla, the idea of their reaction made a wicked smile bloom.

[One more tiny bit of canon catchup and we'll be done with this book! Much of the post taken directly from Heir to the Shadows, by Anne Bishop, Chapter 16, Part 3. Many, many thanks to trigons_child and not_a_parakeet for letting me shove their characters in and give them fun lines from canon. NFI. NFB for off-island shenanigans, OOC is love!]