Bloodlines, p.32
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       Bloodlines, p.32

           Trisha Lynn
 
Chapter Thirty

  The castle was such an intricate community all in itself. Housekeepers, cooking staff, Guardians, guards, ground staff, scholars, librarians, and other staff she had yet to learn their purpose. It made her head spin but also fascinated her how the workings of it all ran. Since her idea of having a few of her “friends” come to the table with them, her parents had decided to have this be a small dinner honoring her visit to Faerie. So they also invited a few of the select team and council members and people that knew who she really was. She was delighted to discover that not only Sorryn would be coming but also his sister - Saibol, mother - Magistra, and father who'd she yet to meet. This pleased Adeila, as something about Magistra made her feel comfortable; the woman gave off a good, soothing, and peaceful energy. Something that Adeila had heard Loki explain; that each magical being gives off an aura. Some can mask theirs, but most display them openly for people to read.

  When finally she stepped into the gigantic, warm and loud dining hall her nerves were fluttering. She'd been happy that the dinner wouldn't be just her, her parents and Loki, but now it almost looked more like a real party. She and Kami were unnoticed for only a millisecond; she was only able to get a small glance of the fifteen or more people milling about. She hadn't expected so many, but she was going to will herself to learn something and enjoy the moment. It was her mother who approached them first.

  “Oh my, Adeila, you look gorgeous!”

  Adeila smiled and twirled for her mother, but couldn't help but feel shadowed in beauty by the woman before her. Every moment she'd seen Deleana Dennoak, the woman had looked breathtakingly beautiful and tonight it was intensified. Her midnight blue dress was floor length and slim from the capped sleeves to the hips and then flared out slightly to fall in waves that cascaded to the floor. Shimmers of tiny crystals sparkled as the skirt moved around her legs. Her hair was half pinned up, crown to ears, but the rest was in curls that fell to sway along her butt. It left her tipped ears, and angular features the focal point, and the midnight blue of her eyes.

  “It was Kami's idea to dress up and now I'm glad we did.” Adeila said it a little breathlessly, and was thankful that Kami had talked her into “over-dressing”. Well, at the time it had been over-dressing, but now looking around they fit right in. Everyone was wearing very fine clothing. Even her own father, who was sauntering over to them, wore nice black slacks, and a light blue button up shirt. His pale blue eyes danced with mischief, and she felt the answering pang of paternal pride and love as she watched him.

  “Your father has had a glass or two of wine and it brings out the child in him.” Her mother said it with a beaming smile saved for both her daughter and husband.

  Adeila couldn't help the laugh that came out, or the grin that plastered her face as she looked on as he swept her mother into a very sweet, dramatic twirl and long kiss.

  Her mother, red cheeked, batted him away. “Behave!”

  He just grinned foolishly, and turned to Adeila. “My daughter! Aren't you just the most stunning young lady!”

  He grabbed her, and twirled her around as well. She was swept away, and allowed him to do so. He planted a kiss on her forehead, and then with a bow made his way back to the table.

  Adeila couldn't help the grin. In such a short time, she felt more at home with these people, more comfortable with their family banter, then she'd ever felt with the nonexistence of this familial freedom in her human home. It was something she would miss sorely when she left to return to her own world. The thought sent pain slashing through her heart and stomach. The thought of leaving almost crippled her, but the thought of leaving the life she had at the human realm was just as bad. She had to at least tie up loose ends there before it would feel okay for her to leave that life behind. She owed herself, her friends and her family in the human realm as much. It was all she'd ever known for almost eighteen years, until a little over twenty four hours ago. Her mind was set, but it still killed her to think of. So tonight she promised she wouldn't. She would revel in this kindred harmony that seemed to envelope this entire castle. Tonight she would be free. All worries about leaving or staying and everything else would be in the back of her mind.

  With a small bit of pride, and a lot of panic she showed her parents her wrist. Her mother clapped her hands and hugged her.

  “That's wonderful, my love! We've never known a bonding of a Unicorn, so we had no idea its physical effects. But it is quite lovely.”

  Her father touched her arm, and then kissed her forehead again, sending a twist of rightness through her heart. “My heart, I am so proud of you.”

  Adeila had never experienced anyone doting on her or praising her in this way. It was a whole new world, and she had to bite back the burning in her throat as tears threatened.

  She was saved as Sorryn, Saibol and Magistra and a tall, blonde, dashingly handsome older man, came up to them, each bowing. Sorryn introduced her to his father, Gavin. He was a diplomat, of sorts, for the King. Sending messages, writing passages, geographical mapping, overseeing records and archives. He was also the Kingdom's accountant, and many other things that his high intelligence called for. She was told that it was he, who had plotted the maps of Faerie, many years ago. He and someone named Alazarr, a fellow adventurer.

  She smiled at all of them, loving that each and every person had such an interesting relationship, both personal and business, with her parents. The trust that they shared with these people was astounding. If only humans could still truly live this way.

  Everyone looked stunning. Sorryn had on all black. Black slacks, silk black shirt. His hair was even tamed with gel and Adeila couldn't decide if she liked the polished look, or the “I don't give a shit” look he usually had on better. Both suited him well. Magistra wore a long eggplant colored gown, and Saibol wore a lovely, Kelly green dress that brought out the emerald of her eyes.

  After the introductions, and the showing off her parents had to display of her newest tattoo addition, Magistra hugged both Adeila and Deleana. It was clear that her mother and Magistra were old and very dear friends. Soon, both women and Gavin wandered off together, and she, Kami and the siblings were left.

  “I like the new bonding addition, and I see you guys got the dress up memo?” Sorryn grinned and wagged his eyebrows.

  “You and Kami must be on some kind of wavelength because she decided it would be fun to be over-dressed and here we are... Under-dressed.”

  He laughed. “Kami just knows castle life slightly better than you, Princess. Whenever dinner is involved with more than four people, dressing up is a requirement.”

  Adeila laughed. “And I just keep learning don't I?”

  Sorryn opened his mouth, but his response was interrupted by a very deep, masculine voice. “You have much to learn still, Princess.”

  Much like Sorryn, Loki was dressed in mostly black, but where Sorryn looked polished, Loki looked dangerous. His shirt wasn't black; it was of the darkest browns, that appeared black unless in the light. His dark hair was just as it always was; a little untamed as if he'd run his fingers through it one too many times. His sword was prominent in its dark brown leather scabbard at his hip.

  A zing of electrical current ran its way down her spine as she finally met his golden eyes. Still not quite right in color. The gold was almost illuminated in the soft glow of the dining hall. She was struck then by not only their beauty but by their similarity. Her mind raked itself to discover that sense of recognition. Her eyes widened when her mind grasped it. The similarity was that of the Gyrfalcon that seemed to hang around her human home. The color was almost exact, and the luminescence of them was like dusk light sweeping over the birds eyes.

  He must have caught on to her train of thought, because he gave her a knowing grin and his eyes twinkled. He leaned very close to her, his lips almost brushing her ear. “You'll have to ask me again, another time, of my powers, Princess.”

  She shivered involuntarily at his closeness and the almost predatory tone
his voice took with his words. As if a very intimate secret hung between them. She swallowed as her eyes held his. She could barely nod as a few more people swept up to them.

  She was introduced to her parent's closest friends, Guardians and advisers or councilmen as they were sometimes regarded as. Perry Cosgraham was an interesting and quirky elder who her father looked up to about almost everything to do with the kingdom – he'd been around during her grandfather’s reign, apparently - and Adeila liked him instantly. Jessa Danes was the Castle Overseer which loosely translated into castle manager. She oversaw the comings and goings of the castle, the staff and pretty much everything else.

  Klyne Danes, Jessa's elder brother, was the King's war commander. He was a stunningly handsome, but deadly looking man. With long silver hair, tied in a low pony tail, piercing silvery blue eyes, and very tipped ears that had silver-like hoops all along them. He also had at least six blades attached to his very practical black clothing. He was even more stoic and cocky in appearance then Loki.

  Each person brought something new to the table and she liked most of them quickly, all except for Marston, one of the agents in Loki's R.F.R.U. something about him made her incredibly uncomfortable, but she tried very hard not to show it. She decided she'd ask Kami his story another time.

  In general the dinner went extremely well. She asked intelligent questions and learned many things about her parents, the castle life, the kingdoms and the realms. Interesting and funny stories were passed around the table, and she found herself riveted. A few of them asked to look at her new bonding tattoo, and it was obvious they hadn't seen a Fae bond with a Unicorn in many years. It was all very interesting to them, particularly Gavin, Magistra's husband. In all of his traveling he'd never met someone who was bonded to such a reclusive and mysterious animal. She wasn't sure if she felt proud, or annoyed at all the interest. Although Loki had said nothing of this revelation, he just watched her in that strange intense way he had been all night. Even more intense as the night wore on.

  Thankfully she had sat next to her mother and Kami, who was flanked by Magistra and Saibol. So she tried to stick to their conversations, and resist the urge to look across the table towards Loki, who was in a heated discussion with Gavin and Klyne. Throughout dinner he'd seemed particularly stoic and giving off an almost dangerous vibe whenever her eyes met his. She had no idea what was going on with him but it made her slightly nervous and exhilarated all at once.

  Every time he caught her eye the predator gleam sent a shiver down her spine, and she wasn't entirely unhappy about the feeling. It was one consisting of not only danger but sensuality. Something about the look was sexually charged, and having never given the chemistry between them any kind of thought before, it made her uncomfortable and confused; but it wasn't all unpleasant. Something about it just seemed much different then Loki's usual warrior facade. That's what made her nervous. Loki had never shown any true interest in her, so she thought him showing it all of a sudden was a little strange. So when one is uncomfortable with something, you do one of two things; confront or ignore. She chose the latter.

  Several hours passed before people began milling towards their rooms or homes.

  When finally her parents began to yawn, she decided to take her leave. She was exhausted from her early morning agility feats out windows, unicorn meetings, and traipsing around the village with the team. When she finally stood up to retire, she noticed Loki begin to stand to escort her to her room, she panicked because she had no idea if she really wanted to be alone with him at this moment, but to her relief Kami stood up as well, and offered to walk her to her room and return her borrowed dress.

  Adeila exhaled a small sigh of relief and agreed to her instantly, but she couldn't help but let her eyes drift to Loki's golden ones and see the tightness in them. The need to say or do something. She swallowed and quickly bid everyone goodnight before he had a change to say anything. Something about him tonight made her nervous and excited and many other emotions she was not willing to exploit. She just wanted the night to be over. It had been a long and eventful day.

  “Thank you, Kami, for walking me to my room.” Adeila smiled as the girl changed back into her own clothes and the glamour upon her dress evaporated.

  “Yeah, no problem. I don't really know what the hell is going on with Loki but he's acting all weird. Like, he's a quiet, moody guy anyway but he's acting mega weird.”

  Adeila's eye brows pinched together. “You don't think it has anything to do with... You know.”

  Kami bit her lip. “I really hope not. You know something really messed up?”

  When Adeila nodded, Kami looked around as if checking to make sure they were alone and her voice lowered. “Marla's only half Fae. Her mother was human. It is said that her mother was a very well-known witch who worked with spells and dark magic in the human realm. I'm not sure how much truth is to that, but witchcraft is so very different in its values and compositions then our magic. Our magic is raw, true and just a manipulation, mostly, of the elements. Witchcraft is different. It can be darker, more twisted and sinister. Oftentimes Fae in the human realm seek out witches because they feel kindred to them. Something about the words that Marla said almost seemed hedged with a spell. I might be insane though. I'm probably spouting nonsense.”

  Adeila's eyes were huge. “No, no. I think you are exactly right, Kami. I think something drastically wrong when I even look at that woman. It was like an unnatural magical vibe, not like the rest of the Fae give off.”

  “You can feel their auras already?”

  Adeila shrugged. “Yeah, I guess, is that unusual?”

  “Yeah, I couldn't really feel anything for over a year. I still have trouble and it's only when the Fae is allowing themselves to be read that I can read them easily. I've never been able to sense anything from Marla. I only get the smell of sulfur and sage from her.”

  Adeila chewed on her lip. “This is bad, Kami.”

  “Yeah, but you gotta remember that Loki's a big boy. He'll figure it out. It'll be fine. Promise. It's not like he hasn't handled worse than distraught lovers before. The guy has taken down insane Fae, goblins and a crazy, viscous mountain trolls - a little spell from a bitch of an ex can't get him.”

  “Goblin's?” He had mentioned mountain trolls before when speaking of the north, but goblins?

  “Yeah, creepy lot let me tell ya. They can change themselves to look kind of Fae or human like, but you always know they're Goblins if you know what to look for. Creepy black eyes that have no other color pigment at all and wide mouths that split their faces almost in half. In their true form they are green-black scaled creatures, which stand about five feet tall with nails and teeth sharp as daggers. We haven't seen any around since the one that Loki killed almost two years ago.”

  Adeila's mind was spinning and she felt feverish. Kami groaned. “Look at you, exhausted! Get into bed!” And she gestured for her to change and get into the giant four poster bed.

 

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