I didn’t forget! I just got swamped with…stuff! LOL!
Here’s the teaser for the week, from ‘Emile’s Blade: A Book of the Amari’.
Grear darted past the streams of people fleeing the caves. The amassed forces of five separate kingdoms bore down on their home, intent on rounding up the last free home the Amari had.
“Grear! To me!” A voice screamed at him over the crowd. Looking toward the sound, he saw an arm beckoning him. As quickly as he could, he wove through the throng and found the uniformed man who called to him.
“What is it?” he asked, his breath coming in gasps. “My family…are they alright?”
The blonde man nodded his head, the gold eyes darting past Grear’s head to survey the crowd. “I’m sure they’re fine. Artemis needs you.”
He shook his head emphatically. “No. I have to get to Bella and Serafina. Tell him he can find me at the rendezvous spot and impart his kingly wisdom there!”
A hand reached out, grabbing his arm. “Grear, it’s set in motion. Bella took her to the river already.”
The blood rushed out of his face as fear settled on his heart. “Lead the way,” he said, his voice wooden and heavy.
The other man wove a path through a series of caverns and tunnels, avoiding as many people as possible. “The raid started earlier than we thought it would,” he spoke over his shoulder. “Artemis got Lyssa into hiding, and summoned Bella as soon as he ordered us to evacuate.”
Grear didn’t answer. It was too late for talk, too late to say goodbyes.
They stopped in front of a plain looking set of double doors. “He’s in there. Refuses to leave. Says it’s not part of the plan.” He reached out his hand to Grear. “Take care of yourself. Stay free. Or try to.”
Grear took it in the friendship it was offered. “You as well, Titus.”
As Titus disappeared down the corridor, he pushed open the doors in front of him.
Artemis stood at the far end, his back to Grear. The sheer curtains that kept the sitting room separate from the balcony had been pushed aside. Ignoring the shelves of books, he strode past the leather chairs and finely carved tables.
“Might as well grab yourself a drink, Grear,” Artemis’ deep voice called out. “You’ll need one soon enough.”
He hesitated, the amber liquid in the crystal decanter tempting. “No, Artemis. I don’t need a drink. I need to know why you gave the order before I could say goodbye to them.” He walked out to the balcony and leaned against the rail. And waited for an answer.
Artemis stepped back from the edge, his hands resting on the barrier. He kept his focus on the people below fleeing Uamh nan Amari. “It was time. If we waited for you, we would’ve lost the opportunity. The humans will be on us soon. Most of our people will be rounded up as they leave the caves. If the ruse is to work, it had to happen when it did.” He turned, “I’m sorry, cousin. I really am. I know this will be hard on you. Raising her without any knowledge of who she is, what she is, who you are. And now she’ll think her father is dead.”
“What about Bella?” he whispered.
“She’ll remain at the river, as planned. When they find her, she’ll give them the story of how the last royal for my household is far from their grasp. Everyone will think it’s my own daughter.” He took a deep breath. “Given the magic she’s going to harness to send Fin downriver safely, she won’t live long enough to be chained. You’ll never encounter her as someone’s pet. Fin won’t have to see it, either.”
Grear’s heart constricted. His wife had agreed to this. He did, as well. It was the only way to ensure both Fin’s safety and the continuation of the royal line. But, now that the events were in motion, it cut deeper than any wound he’d ever gotten.
Artemis placed a hand on his shoulder. “They’re going to take me, Grear. They’ll make me tell them everything. I can only say I saw your wife leave with your daughter and you went after them. Make me believe, now, that Grear is dead.”
Grear looked at him, slowly making his gold eyes fade into brown. The dark brown hair darkened to a midnight black. “Grear’s dead.” Without another word, he turned and left the room.