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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works.
Valdemar world, characters, events belong to Mercedes Lackey and Tor Publishing

Tests of Blood - 35. Chapter 35

“There has to be something more I can do.” Selenay Valdemar Ashkevron said with exasperation as she sat in the office that was traditionally the workplace of Valdemar’s ruler. It was in this room, according to legend, in which King Randale sent Herald-Mage Vanyel on his final mission. It was here that countless Kings and Queens had plotted desperate strategies to save Valdemar, and it was here that Princess Selenay sat at a nearly empty desk and asking a rhetorical question of a nearly empty room.

“There is always something more that can be done.” The man in the dark blue uniform of the Royal Guards sitting across from her replied with a shrug. Before her son had come to, and escaped from Haven, she’d never known this man. Following her son’s visit, most of the Guards had left Haven, either willingly with Dalen, or after being stripped of their arms and driven out of the city by the Haighlei. Only a few had escaped the purge, just enough to form the core of a Palace Guard for her protection.

“Who said that?” Selenay replied acidly as she looked at the few papers sitting on her desk. Once the desk had been covered with stacks of important papers, but now she had only the responsibilities none of the Haighlei wanted to handle, or that required an actual signature for the feeble fiction they still upheld.

“One of my first trainers when I joined the Guard.” Captain Erik replied. Once he’d been little more than a non-commissioned officer of fairly low rank, but Herald Dalen had changed that the day he left Haven. It was he who had asked Erik to stay behind and form a core of Guards that would work to protect Haven.

“Oh.” Selenay answered, and wondered once again how she’d come to this place and time. She knew of course, but it seemed almost unreal, the course her life had taken. Gone were most of the trappings of power the Haighlei had put in front of her to blind her. There was no more need for them, had not been for some months, and even the pitiful accomplishments she had managed were being undone.

“We can’t risk another group being sent out to safety.” Erik said for the second time this afternoon. “They’ve shut out all access points to the underground network that we’ve been using, and the only way out of Haven at the moment is the emergency evacuation route that your son established.”

“You don’t need to remind me.” Selenay half-growled at him. “I know damn well that’s there, but I don’t think we’d make it halfway across Companion’s Field before we were cut down.”

“You saw the request from the Healers?” Erik asked and she nodded, picking up the one real piece of paper on her desk that held some importance.

“I’ve already asked the Haighlei and they laughed in my face.” She said in misery at the memory of the junior functionary’s reaction. It hadn’t been laughter, but the expression on the man’s face said he would have been laughing if it was allowed. Still, she held the rank of Regent, even if she had no real responsibilities, and her ‘caste’ was far above his.

“It’s spreading still.” Erik said grimly. “If the Healers cannot get the supplies they need, or the experts, it could be disastrous.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” Selenay snapped, a sign of how frayed her temper was and she mumbled an apology to the one person in Haven she knew she could trust completely. “They come in here, to our home, and try to take away our own people to serve their interests, and now they’ve brought their damn plague with them!”

“They really don’t have a cure.” Erik said gently. “I am certain of that fact, at least. They are not standing by and letting us die. The Palace is still sealed off, no one is going to bring it inside our walls, at least. Our Healers have studied what records the Haighlei were willing to share. It carries a death rate of two in five. One out of ten never catch the thing, and another one out of the five have some type of disability afterwards. It is the plague that struck them during the Mage Storms.”

“We have Healers up north that have been curing plagues among those damn barbarian tribes from the far north for the last ninety years!” Selenay snarled angrily. “If the Haighlei would bend their stiff necks, we could bring them down here. Healers don’t care about Haighlei or no Haighlei. All they care about is that there are people needing their care and I bet you those Healers up there will be able to cure this! Healer Andel himself said they would and he’s the best Healer we have in Haven for diseases.”

“He’s an old man, ma’am.” Erik said gently. “He is doing the best he can, but his assistants worry that he will work himself into his grave at the pace he is setting. You asked, the Haighlei refused, and that is that.”

“It can’t be.” This time Selenay’s voice was almost a wail, but she blinked at the sound of a knock on the door. Erik got up from his seat and opened the door to find one of the few remaining servants nervously handing him a written paper. He scanned it before thanking the old man and shutting the door.

“Well?” Selenay asked calmly, regally. He was reminded once again that no matter her failings, this woman had been raised in this very palace, and probably played in this very room as a child.

“Shalacman is in Healer’s Hall and wants to see you.” Erik told her and she blanched slightly. Healer’s Hall was the one ‘breach’ in the palace complex’s walls, and since the outbreak of the plague started a week ago, it was the closest any Haighlei would come to the palace. It wasn’t that they feared catching the disease, it was more that they did not feel comfortable in the palace, and the last time one of them had come out, it had nearly sparked rumors that the Haighlei were purposely infecting the palace to kill the last Valdemaran leadership in Haven.

In addition to Selenay, the palace was now home to several of Valdemar’s nobles that were either in Haven and protested too loudly one Haighlei policy or another, or had been taken from their keeps or manor houses. None of them would have anything to do with Selenay, even the ones that had once been friends or allies. Also, the few bankers and Guildmasters that had not escaped Haven were also here under ‘house arrest’ as the Haighlei called it officially.

“I had better go answer his summons.” Selenay said with a sigh. “The gods only know what fool rumors will start if he actually comes in here. Lady Milarn will probably screech her head off for the next day if she hears a Haighlei had entered the palace.”

“Give me a few minutes to have some Guards ready.” Erik said firmly. “We’re shorthanded enough that I…”

“You will suffice.” She snapped and he nodded, knowing from her tone that there was no good in arguing. He followed her out the door, noticing once again that despite the circumstances she was dressed in a finely made dress of green silk that was snug on her lean frame. She was a pretty woman, and if she wasn’t already married, as well as being nobly born, Erik would have appreciated a chance to woo her. As it was, he had to admit that there was an attraction to her that he had to make sure didn’t cloud his judgment.

While passing through the gardens on the way to Healer’s, he noticed two of the captive nobles sitting there, talking quietly to one another. Both stopped their conversation and stared at Selenay with undisguised contempt. Erik wanted to stop and tell them all she had done to make sure these two were brought here instead of being sent to one of the ‘Education Centers’ of the Haighlei. Instead of doing what he wanted, he did his duty and followed Selenay as she passed by the nobles without even acknowledging their presence, or their looks.

Selenay though did see the nobles, people she had known most of her life, and their looks cut her like knives. She would not give them the pleasure of seeing the effect on her. Their lives were still theirs because of her, and though they would never know that fact, it was enough that she knew it. As she approached the Healer’s Hall, and the two Haighlei soldiers standing on either side of the doorway, she straightened her neck a little more and looked on them with all the pride she could muster.

“I am here to see Ambassador Shalacman.” She stated to them as they held their hands on their curved swords. The one on the right nodded ever so slightly and she passed through the doorway. A Healer Trainee was there waiting for her, and she looked at the girl with far more compassion than she had for the soldiers. This girl showed the likely state of all the Healers with a slightly disheveled look, and dark circles under her eyes.

“Princess Selenay, the Haighlei are waiting for you in one of the conference rooms.” The girl stated with exhaustion. “If you will follow me, please?”

“Of course.” Selenay said gently and walked next to the girl as she moved further inside Healer’s. “How are things going?”

“We have sixty new cases overnight.” The girl sighed. “Healer’s Hall is full and all the clinics are full as well. Healer Ambros is in talks right now with some of the manufacturers to get some of the large warehouses to use as overflow centers. If something doesn’t break soon, Haven’s needs are going to surpass our ability to help. Already we’re trying to take healthy volunteers to give all the regular care we can’t, like food and changing linens.”

“I will do what I can to help.” Selenay assured the girl, and hoped they weren’t just empty words as the girl stopped in front of a door. She didn’t respond to Selenay’s words, she just nodded and turned to go back to her regular work. Taking a deep breath to steady herself, Selenay opened the door and walked inside.

“Ah, you have arrived at last.” Shalacman said from where he was seated at the head of the oak table in the room. There were several of his aides standing along the wall behind him, as well as four soldiers who looked warily at Erik. While the Captain of her Guard took up a similar position by the door, she sat at the seat immediately to Shalacman’s left.

“You cannot continue to let the people of Valdemar die of this plague you have brought with you.” Selenay took the opportunity to push her pleas. “Let us send a message to the specialists in the north. They are experienced in dealing with plagues like this, and will heal our people.”

“They are not from areas that we control.” Shalacman said flatly. “Allowing them entry would bring untold risks into this situation.”

“Damn it.” Selenay snapped. “They are Healers, not spies or agents! Healers care only about tending the sick!”

“It is a danger.” Shalacman reiterated and then he sighed ever so slightly. “Perhaps fortunately for you, two of my people have fallen ill today. I have brought a Teleson device so that you may contact them. Healers and their support staff only, mind you. We will inspect them and monitor their every activity while they are here, and no more than fifteen to twenty of them will be granted entry.”

“Thank you.” Selenay breathed as one of the aides set the Teleson device down next to her. All of their Telesons had been confiscated months ago after the Haighlei discovered one of the palace servants using them to send information to King Dellinar’s people.

“I have also asked you here to tell you that we are worried.” Shalacman continued in a sonorous voice. “My people should be immune, but the Healers, yours and ours, surmise that the disease has changed so that we can once again become infected. If your healers from the North are unable to stop this plague, we will be forced to implement the same procedures that saved our people after the Mage Wars.”

“What are those?” Selenay asked with a heavy feeling in her stomach.

“First, one that will be announced today in any matter, will be the limitation of movement throughout the city.” Shalacman stated. “The curfew will be moved up by two of your hours, and people will not be allowed to travel outside their district except on approved business. I expect you to fully and publicly support this measure.”

“The Healers have told me something like that would help to limit the plague’s spread.” Selenay said without hesitation.

“So you will support it?” Shalacman demanded and Selenay nodded. She had little choice, really. “That is good. Also, you will be accommodating some more… guests later today.”

“Who?” She asked with calculated interest. Erik had told her that the Haighlei had brought him some high-level prisoners a week ago, and she had a good idea who they were, but was surprised they would be giving them to her keeping.

“The wife and children of the pretender, Dellinar.” Shalacman answered and she put a look of feigned surprise on her face.

“They’re here in Haven?” She asked and even let her voice squeak ever so slightly.

“Do not attempt to pretend at surprise.” Shalacman stated. “You have an adequate intelligence network, I am certain. With the outbreak in our residence, it is unwise to keep them there where they may become infected. Their usefulness is as live hostages, not dead martyrs.”

“I will keep them safe.” She said and from the look on his face he suspected the true meaning of her words. Still, she knew better than to openly think about how she was going to ensure their safety in case he looked in her mind.

“See that they remain well guarded.” Shalacman ordered. “If they were to be harmed, or to disappear, your head will adorn the gates of the palace as a message to the people.”

“I understand.” Selenay said grimly, and she did understand. Her usefulness to them was almost gone, and anything she did now to help Valdemar placed her life in danger. What he didn’t know yet, and she hoped he wouldn’t until it was too late, was that she knew her life was less important than the future of Valdemar. Her only hope was that her son and husband would one day learn the truth of the sacrifice of her life.

“You may go now and begin arrangements for the Healers.” Shalacman stated and Selenay rose, grabbing the Teleson before leaving the room as quickly as she could. There were tears wanting to form in her eyes, and she refused to let them appear where the Haighlei bastard could see them.

Two and a half days, eighteen deaths, and one hundred and sixty new infections later, the Gate delivering the team of Healers from the north arrived. The chosen terminus was the palace entrance to Healer’s Hall, and a full five hundred Haighlei soldiers as well as several mages were on hand. When the Gate closed behind the party of twenty, the mages moved among them, inspecting the people as well as their supplies. Ten minutes later, Selenay watched them enter Healer’s Hall and get to work.

“Hopefully this will help.” Erik said behind her as she turned to head back into the palace. The Teleson was gone again, but her new ‘guests’ remained. She’d barely spoken to them on their arrival when Dellinar’s wife let it be known she wanted nothing to do with Selenay. Part of her had hoped for a different reaction, but she accepted it and left the Princess wife of Valdemar’s rightful King go her own way in the Palace.

“It will.” She said with certainty. Selenay had recognized two of the assistants of the new Healers, and wondered how they’d gotten past the inspection by the Haighlei mages.

“The nobles are planning something.” Erik said out of the blue when they returned to her office.

“Good.” Selenay said firmly and enjoyed the look of surprise on his face while she sat down. It was only once in a while that she was able to surprise Erik this way, and she enjoyed it for a full minute.

“Well?” Erik finally demanded.

“I am going to write some invitations to everyone in the palace.” She told him. “You will deliver them personally, and you will tell them that if they love Valdemar and want to escape the prison this palace has become, they will meet me here just after the evening bell.”

“Are you sure?” Erik asked after sucking in a breath. He knew the penalty she faced from the Haighlei.

“You have your orders, Captain.” Selenay said firmly, with all the authority she could muster. He gave her a long, appraising look before bowing deeply.

“It is my honor, and pleasure to serve you, Lady Selenay of Valdemar.” Erik said, the most formal and kind words he’d ever spoken to her. Her heart fluttered in her chest at the tone he used, and respect in his eyes. When he left her office, she sat down, pulling pen and paper out of her desk drawer. There was work to do, work for her beloved Valdemar. Despite the hair dye and tanned skin, she had recognized her son in the group that had arrived, and knew she would have to be ready to help him when the time came.

“They’re watching us like hawks.” Gavin whispered to Dalen as they took a break two days later. Healer’s Hall was crowded, with patients stuffed into nearly every room available, and they were assigned what had been a closet for cleaning supplies until a few days earlier. Even though his own Healing gift was weak, Dalen was using it for all he was worth in his efforts to help the Healers deal with this plague.

“I know.” Dalen replied with a sigh. They had managed to hide their mage gifts from the Haighlei mages, but the dye in his hair, making it look brown, was finally wearing off and he could not safely apply more. The Haighlei were taking no chances, having assigned guards to them at all times, and given them strict orders on where to be when they weren’t working with patients.

“We’re going to have to go with Plan B.” Dalen said with a sigh. “Dell’s wife and kids are in the palace, we know that much at least.”

“Are you sure your mother saw you?” Gavin asked in a worried tone. It had not been a fun time for them ever since they returned to Burnham and notified King Dellinar that his wife and children had been taken to Haven. Making matters worse was that word had arrived of an outbreak of some type of disease, and that the Haighlei were not letting Healers from the enclave in the north to attend. Those Healers were the most experienced in diseases and plagues, since many of their patients came from the far northern lands, populated by largely nomadic tribes. Every few years a plague seemed to break out up there, and so the Healer’s Enclave started up there decades ago still thrived and kept busy.

“She saw me.” Dalen assured his friend.

“Gods, do you really think they might have found a cure?” Gavin asked, switching topics abruptly. “It’s only been two days.”

“They say it is more of a treatment than a cure, and they can produce a vaccine for those not already infected.” Dalen shrugged.

“The Haighlei said they were never able to do even that.” Gavin rebutted. “How could our Healers be so much better?”

“Maybe because ours are not bound by the Haighlei caste system.” Dalen answered the question easily. Even as busy as they had been, he’d gotten more than enough information from Haven citizens to give him a fuller picture of what was happening in occupied Valdemar. What he’d learned matched the intelligence reports.

The Haighlei had a firm caste system in their society. It wasn’t like the ancient system of nobility. Even in Valdemar it was possible for a noble to be stripped of their titles, or for a person to be made a noble by their hard work. In the Haighlei world, you were born into your caste, no matter its level and you lived and died in that caste. Carpenters were Carpenters from birth to death. Servants had several grades, and if you were born a servant to merchants, you would die as a servant to merchants. A merchant servant would never be employed by a noble house, because their servants were a different, higher caste level. Dalen could not imagine a system more different than how Valdemar operated.

Now, though, the Haighlei were trying to impose their caste system on people who had been raised to believe they could achieve almost anything. If a son of a carpenter wanted to be a Healer, even if they weren’t Gifted they could study and become an Herbal Healer, or a Surgeon Healer. Likewise the children of Healers could become a bricklayer if they chose.

For the Haighlei to succeed in changing the very social fabric of Valdemar, it would take generations of their strict enforcement of their caste system. Dalen wasn’t about to sit around and let future generations fight this war to its conclusion. As long as he breathed, the Haighlei would not get their generations needed to change how Valdemarans lived their lives.

“Huh.” Gavin replied to Dalen’s statement with something that was closer to a grunt than anything else. When he’d come to Burnham, Gavin had very little working knowledge of Valdemar, having spent his early life on the very edge of Valdemar, actually just beyond its boundaries. Once he came to k’Valdemar, Gavin’s education had been focused on mage-craft and similar lessons, and only the basics of reading, writing, mathematics, and the history of Valdemar had been included.

Bart had been raised by the same people, but as his Gifts had been dormant at the time, he’d had a more traditional education. His education as a Herald hadn’t been as intensive on Valdemar history and customs, but Gavin was still going through those lessons whenever he was in Burnham. The people of Valdemar had always been an abstract for him, until now.

“Tomorrow, just after the morning bell.” Dalen stated flatly and Gavin nodded before letting out a sigh and getting up to leave the room. He would spread the word among the other six people in their group. One of them would get the word to the Bard that was on duty to carry word back to Burnham. They’d have the message by late tonight and be more than ready.

For the rest of the evening until Gavin returned, Dalen spent his time in a passive study of the Haven Heartstone. He was worried about it, and while he could not do much without tripping the various alarms the Haighlei had laid, he could study it and interact with it on a basic level. During the day the Haighlei had managed to separate all but the last three ley-lines from the stone, and in such a way that it couldn’t grab them back the way it had been doing until three weeks ago. At this rate it would lose all of its supporting ley-lines by the end of the week, and it would only be a matter of time until it ran out of power completely. Every time it sounded the Death Bell in Companion’s field, it drained more power than was currently coming into it.

The Death Bell had not even had a clapper when it sounded for the first time at the death of King Valdemar himself. Since then it sounded whenever a Herald died, sounded by the Companions themselves in memory of the fallen. Dalen had spelled the Heartstone to sound it once a minute for the first twenty-four hours after the Heralds had fled Haven. After that, it sounded twice a day at six hours before mid-day and six hours before midnight. The sound was audible over all of Haven, and created a wash of magic that effectively hid the signature of most magic, including any Gate that was made to the site of the old Temple in the middle of Companion’s Field.

The Temple had been little more than a ruin except for the bell tower when Herald-Mage Elspeth returned to Haven as the first of the new Herald-Mages. In the years after the end of the war and the Mage-Storms, a shrine was built in honor of the Heralds that had died in those times, and a new chapel was built, dedicated to all the Gods that had blessed Valdemar over the centuries of its existence. It was widely held that all the Gods had answered King Valdemar’s pleas and created the Companions, and so in a shrine honoring Heralds and their Companions, all the Gods were honored.

Since the Heralds had fled Valdemar, they had been timing Gates to the chapel to coincide with the ringing of the bell. That was how they’d managed to get information in and out of Haven, and on occasion a few people. He had been surprised when he learned that it was his mother coordinating the evacuation of refugees, mostly youngsters on the edge of their Gifts manifesting. She was directly responsible for saving dozens of youngsters that way.

“It’s done.” Gavin said gently as he returned and settle down on the bed next to Dalen’s. As usual there was an immediate tension between the two of them when they were alone, and together like this.

“Thank you.” Dalen said and laid out on his bed, not bothering to undress further than having taken off his boots.

“What’s going on with you?” Gavin asked softly.

“What do you mean?” Dalen asked with trepidation.

“There’s tension between us lately and I don’t like it at all.” Gavin said grumpily and Dalen could feel those eyes on him in the dim light.

“We have a busy day tomorrow.” Dalen replied. “We should get plenty of rest.”

“Stop it.” Gavin growled. “You try this every damn time I raise the question.”

“It’s only been a week.” Dalen retorted.

“It’s been a week too long.” Gavin shot back. “What is it? Why are you trying to raise this wall between us? The two of us work together damn well, when you’re not keeping yourself distanced from me. That is what we need tomorrow, not rest and this damn wall.”

Dalen could have used Jadev’s advice right now. His Companion had been outspoken on his reticence around Gavin, and most likely would have been pushing Dalen to talking openly about his feelings and concerns. Even without Jadev nearby, he had a good idea what his Companion would advise.

“I’m worried.” Dalen admitted after pausing for several minutes.

“What are you worried about?” Gavin asked patiently.

“I’m too young.” Dalen sighed, intentionally taking the conversation in a way other than what Gavin was expecting. “Hell, we’re too young. There’s no way we’re going to be able to do what needs to be done. Think about it, Gavin. Think about the mages who’ve done stuff like this before. Vanyel Ashkevron made the Stone, but he was in his thirties when he created the thing.

“I swear by all the Gods that Valdemarans need to get over that man.” Gavin chuckled softly while shaking his head. “Tayledras too, for that matter. Okay, no one really gives his history much mind in the Vales except k’Treva, and then they’re constantly comparing him to his descendent Firesong.”

“Half the Herald-Mages in Valdemar end up writing essays about him and his descendent Herald-Mage Elspeth.” Dalen retorted with a dry chuckle.

“I did my own essay on him, as a matter of fact.” Gavin said in a far more sober tone after looking at Dalen for a moment. “You know the Heralds brought most of their Chronicles when they fled Haven, right?”

“Yes.” Dalen agreed.

“Well, when it came time for me to get the essay done so I could be pushed into my Whites, I went looking for the Chronicles on him, trying to find some part in his life that hadn’t been picked over by other Trainees.” Gavin said with a shake of his head. “The filing system in Burnham was atrocious, and I actually ended up reading a Chronicle from when Vanyel was barely seventeen and returned to Haven with his Whites. It caused quite a controversy since his Aunt had disappeared with him about a year beforehand.”

“Huh?” Dalen frowned. “I don’t remember reading about that.”

“You know about his first lifebonded?” Gavin asked and Dalen’s frown deepened as he tried to remember.

“That would have been the first Herald to be repudiated, right?” Dalen asked. “Tylendel Freylenne is the name I remember.”

“Yes, well Vanyel tried to help him in the act of revenge that got Tylendel repudiated by his companion.” Gavin explained. “They made a Gate to go to the lands of the family that had killed Tylendel’s twin, and there the Herald-Mage Trainee Tylendel summoned wyrsa to kill that family.”

“Wait, why would Vanyel let that happen?” Dalen asked. “If he was a Trainee at the time, he would have…”

“He wasn’t a Trainee at the time.” Gavin replied. “Vanyel was Chosen only after his Gifts were awakened through the backlash of a diverted Gate when experienced Heralds, including Herald-Mage Savil Ashkevron, brought them back to Haven. In fact, Vanyel was Chosen that night after nearly dying in a river.”

“Oh, I never have heard that part.” Dalen said.

“But there is more.” Gavin said gently. “Herald Savil took her nephew to friends of hers, the Tayledras of k’Treva Vale. She was a wingsib in her own right, by her own actions years before, and they undertook the healing and training of Vanyel in mage-craft.”

“That’s how he came to be Tayledras trained!” Dalen exclaimed.

“It’s not something commonly explained in the stories.” Gavin shrugged. “As the case may be, he was in bad shape. Having your Gifts blasted open the way it happened to him is bad enough, but he was lifebonded to Tylendel, and the Trainee suicided the same night as Vanyel’s gifts were blasted open.”

“Havens, it is a wonder he survived at all.” Dalen breathed wildly, trying to imagine the pain that must have been.

“Eventually he did heal.” Gavin said with another slight shrug. “His healers in k’Treva were the best of their generation among any of the Vales. One was a Healer Adept, the other a regular Adept. It fell to the Adept to train Van since he didn’t carry the right combination of gifts to become a Healing Adept like you and I both have. The Chronicles were quite clear on this. Vanyel studied the defensive magicks willingly enough, but never the offensive. Eventually his teacher made the mistake and scared him somehow. Vaneyl ran off, out of the Vale and into the middle of a bad winter.”

“It can happen.” Dalen said gently.

“Yes, well it did happen.” Gavin said. “Eventually he stumbled on something that woke him up a bit, though. A farm nearby was under attack by a Queen Colddrake, and he followed the mental screams of its victims. When he saw the Queen at first, he froze, unable to decide what to do. Then one of the farmers attacked the Queen Colddrake with a farm implement.”

“Now that was something bravely foolish.” Dalen snorted.

“It was the man’s death that goaded Vanyel into action, according to the Chronicle his Aunt gave.” Gavin continued. “She said he managed to kill the Queen on his own. Then he was ashamed at his cowardice in freezing until the old man was dead.”

“That was stupid.” Dalen said bluntly. “It must have been the first time he saw something like that. Anyone would likely have frozen on seeing a Queen Colddrake and I bet he knew less about them than we do now. A coward would have just run.”

“It took his Aunt and the Tayledras a while to get him to understand that there is a difference between being inexperienced and experienced. Common folk don’t expect a good leader to be perfect when they are inexperienced. They expect just the best you can give them.”

“Fine, I won’t say we’re too young anymore.” Dalen sighed. “Thank you for talking, though, Gavin. I feel better now.”

“I don’t.” Gavin growled. “I get this sneaking suspicion you don’t want to talk about something important.”

“What’s that?” Dalen asked worriedly.

“Why don’t we just skip the big long discussion?” Gavin growled and suddenly Dalen was not alone on his bed, and Gavin’s lips were mere inches from his own. “Here’s the deal, Dalen. I love you, and I know damn well you love me. You’re a placeholder Heir, until one of Dell’s kids is old enough, and even if you weren’t, the only Princesses in the right age range are either married or live in Kingdoms where a political marriage with you is not likely. There is no reason we can’t be a couple except you seem to hate the idea of commitment. That is why I’m taking it out of your hands.”

“What do you mean?” Dalen wanted to lick his lips nervously, and then he didn’t care as those lips touched his. He was moaning by the time he leaned back in his bed and Gavin’s tongue began seeking his.

Valedmar and its world belong to Mercedes Lackey. Everything else belongs to dkstories. Copyright ©2013; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works.
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I am so not a Selenay fan. Boo-hoo ... Her ambition has brought her infamy and now she feigns distress because no one but Erick can see that she has done so much to make sure it's not worse. Laughable. Let's get to the part where her head is on a pike outside the city gates. Not a fan at all. Gavin, on the other hand, is a lovely boy. He's the cure for the dithering nature that Selenay caused her son to develop. Glad he's taking things in his own hands. I always knew Dalen was a bottom! Lol!

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Heh. I disagree that Dalen is a bottom. Dalen and Gavins relationship will be versatile thank you very much. I'm glad that they're finally together though.


So much Selenay hate going around. She's definitely not a hero and she's not my favorite character but it's not like she has no redeeming qualities. I hope her death achieves something and Dalen and his father aren't hurt too much by it.


Action next chapter! I know that the story is already written but I can't wait for the rescue.

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damn! Thats one hell of a curve ball, Gavin? Love it love it! On the other hand glad to c selenays remorse is real! Hpe his imminence dies in the next chapter coz i hate him with a passion! Awesome chapter.

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On 02/07/2013 01:17 PM, TheGameMaster said:
I am so not a Selenay fan. Boo-hoo ... Her ambition has brought her infamy and now she feigns distress because no one but Erick can see that she has done so much to make sure it's not worse. Laughable. Let's get to the part where her head is on a pike outside the city gates. Not a fan at all. Gavin, on the other hand, is a lovely boy. He's the cure for the dithering nature that Selenay caused her son to develop. Glad he's taking things in his own hands. I always knew Dalen was a bottom! Lol!
There was another review where someone said Dalen and Gavin were too much alike - but here is one part of the differences between them. Yes, they've got many similarities but they also have areas where they can balance each other.
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On 02/07/2013 01:41 PM, Rebelghost85 said:
Heh. I disagree that Dalen is a bottom. Dalen and Gavins relationship will be versatile thank you very much. I'm glad that they're finally together though.


So much Selenay hate going around. She's definitely not a hero and she's not my favorite character but it's not like she has no redeeming qualities. I hope her death achieves something and Dalen and his father aren't hurt too much by it.


Action next chapter! I know that the story is already written but I can't wait for the rescue.

Dalen asks you to respect the privacy of his bedroom - even if his Companions do not.


Jadev always did wonder what the Companion fillies felt when he . . .

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On 02/07/2013 06:20 PM, empress said:
damn! Thats one hell of a curve ball, Gavin? Love it love it! On the other hand glad to c selenays remorse is real! Hpe his imminence dies in the next chapter coz i hate him with a passion! Awesome chapter.
When and how to introduce Gavin was always a consideration in the story. Most books you get to see the love interest from the beginning and it's a see-saw back and forth.


I always knew that with Gavin's personlity it would only be a chapter or two before he got into Dalen's bed so introducing him too early would have almost been anti-climactic.

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I'm getting your slight hint about 'family' from my previous comment left regarding Gavin vrs Bart. I'll still hold out hope but I think I have my answer.


Interested in seeing just how Dalen, Gavin and all of them are going to get out of Haven. I'm also waiting to see just what becomes of Dalen's mom. Will she be killed for her help? Will she flee with them or will they limit her powers even more?

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I've fallen so far out of the loop I'm not sure what's going on with the Dalen/Gavin love connection. Hmm, no matter the rest if the story has enough meat.

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for those who are interested by Valdemar’s universe, you can read Vanyel’s story in the Magic Trilogy and that Tylendel part was in « Magic’s Prey » , the first book of the trilogy 😉 

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