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       Slumber, p.27

         Part #1 of The Fade series by Samantha Young
 
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  “Haydyn,” I said sternly, easing down beside her and hugging her close. “I didn’t tel you to make you feel guilty. Nothing happened to me that couldn’t be dealt with. But I came to question things… important things… about Phaedra. About the way we run things. For that, I need you.” She stil looked pale and uneasy, guilt flickering in and out of her clear gaze. “Things? What things?” I puled back. “Didn’t you hear what I told you? There are issues in your provinces, Haydyn, the evocation cannot fix.” Haydyn shook her head now. “Of course it can. The evocation stops anyone from doing anything that would hurt the peace in Phaedra.” I felt frustration prickle. “But what if something happened again to the evocation? We’d be left with a world that isn’t properly governed.”

  “But that’s what I’m trying to do.” Haydyn stood up now. “I heard al this the first time around, Rogan. I understood. Believe me. The provinces have been left in the hands of the Rada who have relied upon the evocation for everything. Laws need to be instituted to protect people like that kind family you met in the mountains. And they wil be. It wil just take time.” She drew breath. “In fact… I’ve decided to move the palace to Vasterya. I was just discussing it with Jarvis and Ava.”

  “What?” I asked, my mouth gaping open in shock.

  “The province is central. From there my power wil be absolute. It wil even reach Alvernia. What happened to you need never happen to anyone again. But as I say, this wil al take time. Patience, Rogan.” She smiled.

  For a moment I was taken aback by how determined and self-possessed Haydyn was. Then again, I had witnessed a change in her these last few weeks. She was taking charge with remarkable aplomb. The Sleeping Disease had changed her as much as I.

  Stil… I needed her to understand. “Perhaps once you’ve set up proper government, you might think about easing Phaedra out of the evocation?” I waited nervously for the answer.

  Haydyn guffawed. “Are you jesting, Rogan?”

  I frowned. “No.”

  “Why would I take away the evocation? It’s my purpose in life.”

  “Your purpose in life is to reign over your people and take care of them. Make decisions that wil better their lives. Not control them.” I didn’t mean the edge in my voice but it was there and Haydyn flinched. “Control them?” I sighed. I was doing this al wrong. “Not control them. That’s not what I meant. I meant…” I searched the room, looking for the words. They landed on Haydyn’s bed, where I’d kissed her temple but weeks before, promising I’d wake her up. “We’re al asleep under the evocation. We’re not free to be truly ourselves. You more than anyone must understand the imprisonment of sleep, Haydyn. We’re not prepared for what wil happen when we wake up. We never wil be unless we stop relying on the evocation.”

  Something happened to her as she stood before me. I saw her shoulders flick back, her spine lengthening, her chin jutting out. Her eyes were stil kind, stil loving, but they were determined. They were her own. “In sleep we don’t get the choice between dreams and nightmares. With my evocation, Phaedra sleeps peacefuly. Without it… it could be a waking nightmare. And why should we worry about there being no evocation. That’s not going to happen. I won’t let it. You won’t.”

  “I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you ever. And you’re right; I wil do anything to make sure nothing ever happens to you again. But surely we should prepare for the worst when we’re talking about securing your people’s futures.”

  “I am securing my people’s futures. I wil marry. I wil have children. I wil teach those children to use the evocation. After everything you’ve gone through, how can you tel me the evocation isn’t worth it?”

  I could feel myself losing my grip on this discussion, so I said the one thing I thought may penetrate, “It’s dangerous to rely on this, Haydyn. You can’t guarantee your children wil be born with the evocation.”

  Haydyn flinched. “The Dyzvati reign has not been broken in al these centuries. I doubt it’s going to end with me. But since you insist on being a pessimist, I’l remind you that the contingency plan, as you suggest, is to enforce the evocation with proper legislation and closer involvement in each of the provinces.” She was sure. There was no wavering self-doubt. This was a new Haydyn. She’d grown up. Finaly.

  I gave her a bittersweet smile. “I’m not going to convince you otherwise?”

  My best friend shook her head firmly and then laughed softly at my expression, her eyes pleading with me to understand. “You wanted me to wake up, Rogan, and take control of my lands. Wel this is what I see now that I’m awake.”

  I sighed heavily. Haydyn was right of course. Al these years al I had ever wanted was her to be the Princezna I knew she could be. I had just never realised that when she did, we’d see things differently from one another. Governing Phaedra, making the decisions for our people, had never been my journey. My journey had been saving the person who was destined for that… and in saving her, I saved myself.

  I thought of Wolfe, the beginning of my new family, and it immediately made me think of Matai. “And Matai?” I asked, almost dreading her reply.

  Sadness slid into Haydyn’s features easily, a bright sheen casting over her eyes. “An aliance with Alvernia would be advantageous for everyone. It’s difficult enough sticking my nose in on the Rada’s business, but as the wife of the son of the Rada of Alvernia, it would be in my rights to do what I could for the land and its people. I could bring so much to your friend L and her family’s life. But… if I marry Matai, a man of lower rank, then people wil see it as a weakness. They’l know I married for love. They might think me frail and too feminine to rule them. I cannot afford to be seen as weak right now.” I felt a flush of anger, not only on Matai’s behalf, but because I was terrified Haydyn would make the wrong choice and spend her life miserable because of it. I knew what it was to love now, and I didn’t want her throwing that away. “I told you,” I argued, “You have al the power. They’re not going to object to anything you do.”

  Haydyn sat down slowly, leaning over to take my hand in hers, her eyes begging me to understand. “I need time to think on it. I’m stil holding the bal. I’l make my decision then.”

  I remembered Wolfe’s warning to me when I refused to marry him. “Matai won’t wait forever, Haydyn.” She puled back from me again, hurt in her beautiful and kind gaze. “You were the one who told me to make my own decisions. Now you’re angry because you don’t agree with them!”

  I closed my eyes, my shoulders slumping in exasperation. Again… she was right. I glanced up at her through my lashes and nodded. “You are correct.” I tried to shrug off my misgivings. Haydyn wasn’t a little girl anymore. I had to let her make her own choices and believe she could cope with the consequences when they came.

  “I am glad you’re making your own decisions. Our opinions may differ but… al that matters,” I took her hand again, “Is I have faith in you. I went to the ends of the world because of that faith. I’m not going to give up on it now.”

  She grinned back at me, relief thrumming visibly through her.

  I squelched my fear at her glad smile. I’d just have to take every day as it came and hope the decisions she made were the kind that ended in her own happily ever after.

  Epilogue

  Although Haydyn’s happily ever after was uncertain, I knew I was as close to mine as I would ever be as I sat beside Wolfe on the cliffs outside Land’s End Cottage.

  After weeks of traveling, I wanted nothing more than a little bit of haven out here on the cliffs, away from everyone else. The quiet was wonderful. Back at the palace, Haydyn was arranging my wedding to Wolfe. It was to take place the first day of the Autumn Season and she was turning it into a lavish affair that made my head spin and my ears bleed. Wolfe had finaly come to my rescue and absconded with me to the cliffs.

  I sighed contentedly, snuggling into his side, loving the drizzle of sea spray that caught on the wind and kissed my cheeks. I knew I would have to deal with al the trapping
s that came with being a Vikomtesa; the large wedding, getting to know the dowager Vikomtesa. Wolfe’s mother was a bird of a woman, twittering at me nervously, her eyes asking how on earth the two of us had come to fal in love. She was gentle and kind but hated confrontation; I could see how easy it must have been for Syracen to hurt and abuse her. We were a different breed of woman, but for Wolfe’s sake I would try to be a good daughter to her, try to befriend her – even if that meant discussing dress fittings, menus, and sheet music. I’d have plenty of time in which to get to know her better, as Wolfe had agreed to move into the new palace in Vasterya so I could stil be close to Haydyn, but only under the condition that we didn’t leave his mother behind in Silvera.

  One bright spot in my busy social schedule was L. The two messengers I’d sent into the Alvernian Mountains (two of the Guard wel equipped to deal with the harsh hils) had returned two days ago from their visit with the Moss family, with a message from L. They had agreed to come to the wedding and spend a month of the fal with me here in Silvera. I couldn’t believe it. I’d thought it would take blackmail to get L off that mountain of hers. I couldn’t wait for Haydyn to meet her. I wouldn’t push L to meet anyone else in society if she didn’t want to. I knew what their reaction to her rough speech and unladylike ways would be, and she was too good a person to be subjected to that. But, deep down, I secretly hoped that after traveling through the provinces (in style – I was sending a carriage for them that would meet them at the bottom of the mountains) L and her family may come to like my world, and perhaps think of making a new life in Vasterya with me and Wolfe and Haydyn. I smiled inwardly; it was a bit of a fairytale, I knew. But I could hope. And if L and her family did decide to return to the Alvernian Mountains, then I’d make sure they were sent supplies every month, and perhaps have a larger home constructed for them. Wolfe had already told me to rein in my plans for the Moss’ in case I overwhelmed them. But I wanted to overwhelm them. They’d saved my life.

  “When does the Princezna plan to move us to Vasterya?” Wolfe asked quietly, stroking my back.

  I shivered at his touch, stil amazed that he had this effect on me. “As soon as the rookery is depleted and rebuilt as a civilised town. And she has architects overhauling one of the mansions in Pharya for her arrival. She’l no doubt live in the fanciest mansion we’ve ever seen until palace construction is completed.”

  “She seems strong,” Wolfe assured me softly, as if he heard the concern that was in my heart, in my words. “In control. She appears to know what she’s about.”

  “She is,” I agreed quietly. She’d surprised me over and over these last weeks. “She realy wants to make a difference after everything I told her.” Wolfe made a huffing noise. “Stil annoyed she didn’t take your advice?”

  I slapped at him half-heartedly. And then after a minute I shook my head, leaning back on my palms, my fingers digging into the rich grass below us. I smiled into Wolfe’s eyes, feeling lighter, lighter than I’d felt since lazy summer days by a brook in Vasterya. “No.” He exhaled heavily, reaching up to brush the hair off my face. “I’m glad. You set out to wake the Princezna up… and that’s exactly what you did.” I grinned, proud and happy; reminding myself that this surreal feeling of contentment was actualy real. Months ago I would never have imagined loving Wolfe; how in doing so I was finaly putting the past behind me; finaly learning that by accepting my future, I wasn’t turning my back on my family’s memory. Moreover, I’d changed.

  I’d grown up. Never would I have imagined becoming friends with Alvernian Mountain people; or thought I’d have the strength to accept what could and couldn’t be changed; or finaly come to terms with who I was as a person; who life had shaped me to be.

  “Better yet...”

  “What?” Wolfe murmured, seeing the somewhat smug look in my eye.

  “…I woke up too.”

  The End

  Check out a sneak peak of the first part in Samantha Young’s YA Fantasy Trilogy, Moon Spell: Part One in the Tale of Lunarmorte …

  Enter a world of fierce wolves, stunning magic and romance...

  Existing in the shadows of our world are supernatural races; children blessed by the ancient Greek gods with unimaginable gifts, and at present they are fighting a two thousand year old war with one another.

  The Midnight Coven, an alliance of dark magiks, faeries, and daemons born of black magik, believe that vampyres and lykans are lesser supernaturals and a threat to mankind.

  The Daylight Coven, a confederate of light magiks, faeries, vampyres and lykans, believe in the equality of the races.

  Into this war, seventeen year old Caia Ribeiro is born, a lykan with a heritage unlike any other. A heritage that, whether she wants it to or not, will put her into the very heart of battle.

  Prologue

  War

  The war had been raging for centuries; a war that breathed beneath human reality, lost in the labyrinth of their legends and folklore. It was a silent war of soundless screaming and invisible bloodshed.

  And like many wars it was built upon a mindless prejudice.

  The ancient Greeks had it right. They were not naive enough to believe they actualy had any control over their fate. No. They knew the gods controled al. They didn’t believe a good crop that year had anything to do with luck in a poorly cultivated land - no, it was Demeter who’d blessed their farm. They didn’t believe that one man was far superior in battle than another, thus tipping the scales of a battle in their favour - no, it was just that Athena took a liking to him, and so aided the warrior.

  Yeah, the gods were capricious, unmerciful, loving, and selfish; there was nothing that contented them more than making the human world their chessboard and humans their own personal chess pieces.

  They gloried in their own supremacy.

  But one day… the gods of ancient felt a pierce in each of their hearts. It was the day humans, who had once been under their thral, who had loved them, and feared them, and prayed to them, turned their back upon the gods and their heart to a new one. As the centuries passed the gods were no longer worshipped by any human, no longer feared, or loved, or prayed to. The barrier of space that had alowed them to come down from their mountain, and interfere in the lives of humans strengthened as time forgot them. Indeed, their very existence would have been expunged from earth if not for their legacy: their children, the supernaturals of their own creation that stil looked to the heavens and believed in them. They are the children of Gaia: Mother of al the gods.

  Her children were the culprits of the silent war waging beneath the humans’ very noses.

  On one side of the war were the true instigators, those who caled themselves the Midnight Coven: a community of magiks who believed above al in their own superiority. Gaia, perhaps in her infinite wisdom, had long ago blessed a number of humans by alowing them a taste of her blood, so that as the years turned a generation of magiks arose; witches and warlocks with elemental power, a race of children who would forever pray to her, and through them time would never forget her. They believed, however, that those lesser supernatural beings were abominations not fit to live side by side with humans, much less themselves. Their distaste for lykans (like me) and vampyres not only enraged those they sought to exterminate, but also their own kind: magiks who believed in the equality of the races. We cal ourselves the Daylight Coven. You see, to our mind, Midnights hunted not abominations, but their own people, humans transformed and blessed by the gods, creatures descended from Gaia herself. This gaping split in beliefs between the dark and light Covens was shared by their contemporaries, the faeries of Hemera. As a primordial deity, the Goddess of Daylight and Sun, her children were almost equals to that of Gaia’s. They were descendants of a young queen, who had sold her soul to her favourite goddess for the opportunity to take on the form of any living thing she wished, so that she would always know her enemies, and they would never know her.

  From her, to Hemera’s delight, sprang a race of shapeshifters who he
ld the power to take on the appearance of anything born of nature. They’re mischievous and tiring, but useful spies on either side of the war.

  Hades, God of the Underworld (and grandson to Gaia), created a race of children familiar to humans within their folklore: vampyres. His children were the souls who passed through the River Styx without tol, and whom Hades returned to earth to extort in blood, payment from those who dared to leave them to travel into the underworld without coin.

  And the youngest of the children of the gods are the lykans: we are fierce, strong wolves consecrated with the power of regeneration. In the dying years of the ancient gods, Artemis, Goddess of the Moon, the Hunt and of Beasts, was caled down to earth by the last human who prayed to her. His son was dying from his battle wounds, and Artemis in gratitude for his loyalty, replaced his son’s wasted heart with that of a wolf’s. To her supreme pleasure, for she had always been a competitive goddess, her own race of children was born, and she too was remembered by us.

  In the early years of our existence, we children of the gods, cousins, wandered the world of humans at peace with one another. But the ages passed, and our forms changed - lykans producing lykans by humans, diluting the werewolf blood, and eventualy becoming a non-violent breed of our original selves.

  In other words, this rational (most of the time), articulate lykanthrope narrator before you is an evolved version of my ancestors.

  Anyway, because of the vengeance taken upon Hades for his kidnapping of her daughter Persephone, the goddess Demeter changed the course of the vampyres, blessing them with fertility and diluting their undead souls with the light of humanity, until eventualy adhering to the laws of the Daylight Coven, they withheld from kiling humans.

 
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