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Gelder Shorts

Gelder Shorts: Chapter Two- Etan’s Hidden Pain Part 1

I am so happy to announce chapter two is here! These will be coming out weekly on Wednesdays and will be slightly different from the previous chapter’s layout. These will build off eachother more and not jump around so much in the story line to help provide more depth to the struglle Etan is going through in the beginning parts of Danion and Eleanor’s story.

Reading the books that introduce these character is not necessary, they are entertaining in their own right, but I do recommend checking the books out if you enjoy these stories. You get  more depth to the characters, and may just pick up on little clues about upcoming books.

I am planning some more exciting things for the blog, so anything in particular you want to see drop a comment below. Also, don’t forget to follow the blog to get up to date lists of all the new posts.

As always, happy reading!

Gelder Shorts- Chapter Two: Etan’s Hidden Pain Part 1

 

I stare at my king with a pleasant smile on my face. It is deceiving, this smile of mine. Some would say I am blessed with the ability to always appear peaceful. But I know it is a curse.

I have lost everything that I have ever cared about because of this deim lineage. Caeli, one of the great lineages it is the power of air. As a Gelder warrior, I am gifted with the ability to control certain forms of matter in the world around me. All warriors possess some form of control, but only a few have risen to the level of master in one of the great lineages.

I am so lucky, and so unlucky as it were.

Each lineage comes with its own specific form of side effects. Warriors who are masters in the fire lineage ignis, for example, are quick to anger. Hotheads every one of them.

But caeli is so much worse. I am cursed to be tied to happiness, no matter my own true emotions. I am driven to help others, to shed light into the darkness. I am light-hearted, but that does not mean I am without feeling. It is easy an easy mistake to make. The air that flows so readily through me provides me with a calm personality.

I am often the self-volunteered therapist to my fellow warriors, and even my king. Whenever tensions rise in our group, I am the one who can calm the storms.

Which will most definitely be needed soon, if what I am hearing from Danion our king is correct.

He is bringing the traitor Arsenio out from his exile to fill the ranks of our soon to be queen’s praesidium. To grant a traitor such an exalted position will not go over well. I can sense the unease in my fellow warriors.

More so in Malin, our anium master. He is normally hard to ruffle, his control over the elements of water granting him the ability to roll with whatever arises. But given his history with Arsenio, it is of little surprise that this news would be upsetting.

I hear a door opening to my left, and turn towards the sound. What I see shocks even me, Arsenio himself walking in with arrogance dripping off him with every step. I sense a disturbance to my right, and look over to see Malin tense further and then walk out the door behind.

The room is filled with awkward, but no less deadly, tension. My warrior instincts prompt me to bend my knees just slightly and move my hands close to my sides where dozens of scimaars are concealed in my clothing. Prepared for anything.

“Warriors, you will need to put your personal feelings aside.” Danion, our King speaks in a deep gravelly voice. “We all know what Arsenio did to earn his banishment, but we all also know that no one is more gifted in fire. He will be brought on for the good of my mate.”

With those brief words, Danion too turns to leave. A wise choice, Arsenio’s dislike of Gelder custom is solely rooted in Danion himself not the rest of us.

One by one, the rest of the highest ranking warriors in the Gelder Fleet slowly file past Arsenio with no spoken words. I see only two who acknowledge him with a small nod of their head.

Internally I sigh, but on the outside no visible signs of my dislike of Arsenio is present. I remain where I am while the remaining warriors make their way to the door. Once we are alone, I speak.

“It appears I am the only one left to welcome you to our praesidium. I am sure Kowan, as leader, will be speaking with you at a later time.” Arsenio turns to stare at me with ill-disguised contempt.

“Oh, yes. The chipper fellow with the permanent smile on his face. What good will you do me?” He sneers to me. “Your power is laughable and you are still so deim positive it is downright sickening.”

He turns to leave the room, but I shoot my power out and lock him in place. With my ever present smile in place, I walk to him, enjoying his obvious annoyance at being trapped by a ‘chipper fellow’.

“Let us speak plainly here, you fool who possesses no honor. Caeli is a force to be reckoned with. Where your power makes you impulsive mine makes me calm. Where your power bashes rage against your mind, mine tempers all emotions on the surface.” I say it all with a smile.

While not impossible for me to lose a smile, it takes considerable emotional over load to achieve a somber appearance. But deep inside, the pain and the rage is always there. And it always will be, I have lost the only thing that could ever make me happy. Without it, my best hope is to live out a meaningful life filled with duty and honor.

“What emotions?” Arsenio bites out, but his body relaxes in the hold my power has on him. With barely a thought, I allow my weaves to dissipate.

“I feel every bit of what you did. The pain you caused and the death you wrought will forever be burnt into my memory. But, the curse of caeli compassion you so readily mock compels me to spare my brethren the pain your mere presence will bring.” I turn to walk towards the doo her entered from.

“Etan, why do you call it a curse?” Arsenio’s quiet words stop me in my tracks.

I turn to him and see nothing but curiosity in his gaze. I sense he needs to feel a connection to us, to me in order to find his way back to the path of duty and honor. So, as much as I don’t want to share with him I find myself opening my mouth to bring life to words I have never uttered before.

“Because, Arsenio, on the surface I am a happy male with no concerns at all. But underneath that veneer that I cannot fight, is a male who has lost everything because no one can see past that wall my power puts out. I once thought true happiness was within my grasp, only to have my very self deprive me of it.  Because everyone sees the happy, and is blind to the hidden pain inside.”

I turn to look him in the eye, this warrior who was labeled a traitor for his heinous crimes against his own people.

“I am wracked with so much suffering inside that if I could, I would cry.” I stare at him, allowing my words to penetrate. Warriors don’t cry, but of how I wish I could. “But, crying is not something a caeli master can do. We are filled with an unrelenting drive to bring joy to those around us.  We are cursed to spread happiness, but wallow in our own despair.”

Gelder Shorts

Gelder Shorts: Kowan’s Anger Part 5

I know, I know… I am horrendously late with this. I had intended to have this final post up almost a year ago… I know.

But this has been a crazy year, with health problems and surgeries and I barely got the final book finished and published. But I am back now and trying to get the blog back up and running and keep up to date with the shorts.

Let me know what you think and who you want to hear about, Etan’s next and I am currently working on his collection of short stories now.

And I always appreciate a share if you enjoy the story.

As always, I hope you enjoy the below story, it is the conclusion of five scenes written from Kowan’s perspective.

 

Gelder Shorts- Kowan’s Anger Part Five

 

I lean against the passageway, my thoughts flying through my head with the ferocity of a burning star. I have just spoken to the cursed female I swore to never forgive. For decades I have hated her. Despised her. I wished that I had never laid eyes on her.

Sylva.

How that name has pained me, the memories those two syllables can evoke never before failed to send me into a rage. I have avoided her for so long, I never stopped to think about how I might react to seeing her again.

My reaction to her was… unexpected. My anger towards her was tempered, more of a dull roar than a raging inferno. She is to be sent on a mission, a terrible mission. With no way to communicate with us, and we are powerless to help her in any way.

If anything was to go wrong…

With my movement’s jerky, I pull away from the golden wall. Frustration makes my footsteps clipped and noisy in the unoccupied corridor. I can hear the sounds of each footfall as it drops down heavily echoing off the walls around me.

There is so much room for error, the probability of a disaster occurring on Sylva’s mission is too high to even think about. She is heading headfirst into danger like she always does. Her arrogance will be her downfall.

This should make me happy if what I have told myself about her is true. But it is not, I am wracked with fear. Since she refused to join with me in a heart bond, I have vehemently sworn of my revulsion for her. Barely being able to trust any female. Hoping to be free of her, so full of rage that I ever loved her.

But our queen has helped to show me that love is not so black and white. And you can love someone without desiring to bond with them. I have genuine affection for Eleanor, and her me. I would call it love, but not the kind that I suspect should be present among mates.

I can see what Danion and Eleanor have, the passion, the arguments, the raw lust. Sylva and I never had that. Perhaps she was justified in refusing me. Perhaps our affection was, in fact, real, just not deep enough to form a bond.

Try as I might, I cannot hold onto my anger any longer. The pain of the past is being healed by time and experience, and it is long past due for me to put this behind me. When Sylva, returns I will make a point to speak with her and clear the air as they say.

 

 

I throwback another shot of ­starskie and curse the cosmos. Sylva is missing, along with her team. I knew this fiefing mission was too dangerous.

A violent shattering fills the room.

I stare at the mess of broken glass and amber liquid absently. I don’t even recall throwing the bottle, but the evidence is before me.

“Kowan?” I ignore the voice behind me, I am in no mood to talk.

But when has that ever stopped our self-appointed therapist?

“Kowan, I know you are hurting. But, all is not lost. Sylva is a competent warrior, her being late does not mean that she is gone.” Etan’s calm words do little to calm the storm raging inside.

“I should have stopped her,” I say in a cold voice that sounds so foreign even I don’t recognize it. I turn my eyes to Etan. “Do you hear me? I should have stopped her. Her death is on my hands. I knew she was rushing off without the proper precautions.” I cut myself off, so full of disgust with myself I can’t continue.

Etan stays silent, allowing me to process my own emotions. While I would be loath to ever admit this to him I am glad he is here. His presence is a welcome buffer between me and the emptiness I feel swirling around me.

“I forgave her, you know? This is my penance I suppose, for all those wasted years. We should have been friends, and yet I made us enemies. Just as I realize she was right all those long years ago, she is taken from me. She is most likely being tortured right now by those monsters, and there isn’t a thing I can do about it.” I stare at Etan, noticing the pinched skin around his eyes. He too fears the worst but is trying to remain strong for me.

“Not a deim thing. Isn’t that irony?” I ask him with a humorless chuckle. “I accept, finally, that she was right to say what we had was never love. Not in the real sense, anyways. I was looking forward to mending fences and perhaps even opening myself up to searching for my own mate. Helping her in her search for one. If you can believe that. I finally shed my anger, and now it is replaced with grief.”

My words taper off. I grit my teeth, turn my back to Etan.

“Why is the universe so fiefing cruel, Etan? They curse us to live forever to protect life, and at every turn, they punish us for it.” My words are bitter, but then again so am I. “Never again. Never again will I allow these monsters to take another person from us. We will win this war.”

I begin to head to the door.

“Where are you going?” Etan asks me, apprehension in his voice.

“To find our king, we have hunting to do.”

Gelder Shorts

Gelder Shorts- Chapter One: Kowan’s Anger Part Four

Hi Everyone!

Here is part four, the final installment will be coming next week. I hope you are enjoying getting to see the Gelder world from a new perspective and getting to know Kowan better!

Enjoy!

Kowan’s Anger- Part Four

“Amell, how is Eleanor?” I speak to the terra master urgently. Our Queen, Eleanor, has just been attacked. I know nothing of the particulars yet. Only that she has been rushed to the hael wing, and that the top healer in the entire Gelder population is seeing to her.

“She is stable, for now.” The rock master murmurs gravely. “Poison, and it should have killed her.”

The last two words ricochet through me, filling me with terror. Kill her. The sweet, innocent female that has begun healing my jaded soul. Reviving my belief in the female kind, mending the jagged hole that Sylva left behind after her callous rejection of me.

Though that is not quite right. It was more than just rejection that Sylva did to me. Rejection I could have accepted. It is the fact that in her rejection she revealed that she lied to me the entire time we were together. Deceived me in how deep her feelings went. While I thought we were building genuine affection for one another, she saw me as a mere distraction.

Eleanor has burrowed deep into my heart, her purity of soul has reminded me why we must treasure our immortality. Why we must honor the gift we have been given by protecting life. A world without her shining light within it is inconceivable.

“What do you mean for now? What did Jarlin say? If it was meant to kill her, how did they fail?” I demand of Amell. I need more information so that I can plan her guard. No one will get near her again.

“He said that the poison is lethal to humans. One hundred percent of the time.” The gravelly words of Amell do not make sense at first. Even upon closer examination they still mean nothing to me.

“I do not understand, she is human.”

“No, apparently she is not. She is half human.” Amell holds up his hand to stem the question on my lips. “Before you ask, we do not know yet what she is. Jarlin is investigating this.”

“Do you think that she will be able to survive this?” I ask desolately. While I do not suspect that I will ever be able to love anyone again, not in a romantic sense, Ellie is the closest I have come since the lying sneke that is Sylva.

“Yes, our Eleanor is stronger than she appears. Jarlin is ensuring her survival, there is no one better suited.” I nod at Amell, no there is not. Jarlin is the most skilled healer in the cosmos. “We are better suited for ensuring that Eleanor is protected from further attacks. And keeping Danion sane.”

“Oh, yes. The bond madness will be tearing at him, and he was already precariously close to the edge as it was.” Concern slithers up my spine.

Bond madness is no laughing matter, it can drive a warrior to lose all control of his emotions and his powers. Danion has been struggling since Eleanor came on aboard, and the month long battle of wills that they waged did not help. Yet another reason I have no desire to find a mate. Bond madness is not a curse I wish to bear.

“The pain that Danion must be feeling…it must be tearing him apart.” Amell murmurs, his words causing me to stiffen.

“Pain? I would say he appears more angry than in pain.” So similar to my own anger. This never ending fury that swirls around me, refusing to ever let me know peace.

“Yes, he may appear angry, but the anger is fueled by pain. A pain so deep that the rage may very well consume him. If he loses her…we all may perish in the storm his pain will bring.” Amell speaks solemnly.

He is unaware of how his words have affected me though. Etan also hinted that pain can fuel a great rage but I discounted him. Perhaps I was hasty. There is no denying that our King is suffering, his mate poisoned and near death.

But his outward emotion is anger, not pain. An anger that possesses an eerily similar appearance to mine own. In all honesty though, I did feel pain when Sylva abandoned me. Could it be that pain is why I have not been able to let go of this burning rage.

If so, maybe I can finally find a way to free myself of these raging shackles that lasso me to the darkness. Maybe.

“I want two guards at all times outside this wing. No one, and I mean no one, except for Jarlin and Danion are to pass through without extensive vetting from us.” Amell’s clipped orders bring back to the problem at hand. The would be assassin in our midst.

“Yes, I concur.” As I am the leader of her guard, it is my responsibility to give orders to ensure her safety. Not Amell’s. “In addition, no one except for Danion and Jarlin will be inside without a guard present.”

“What of Joy? She will be attending her appointments here.”

Oh yes, another female who must be protected. Unlike Eleanor, Joy has never made me feel peaceful in her presence. She is so vivacious it makes me feel ill at ease. Unsure how to communicate with her. But she does carry the young of our species.

“She will be checked prior to entering the wing, but she can be inside without a guard.” I grudgingly yield. She will be there for long periods of time, and Jarlin will almost always be there with them.

“Very well, who should take the first rounds?” Amell asks me.

“I will, I will send for Griffin to take post with me. Amell, I want you and the others to being searching for the assassin…” Alarms begin blasting throughout the ship.

I flick my eyes to Amell, dread in them. That is a warning of a massive failure of the control grid. Danion and Golon come flying out of the hael wing.

“Guard her!” Is all that we hear as they rush down the corridor.

Amell and I share a look, “With my life.” I murmur. We have dark days ahead, and I will lay down my own life before more harm comes to our Queen.

“And mine as well.” Amell answers in return.

While my anger is refusing to fade from me completely, I know that I am close to expunging it once and for all. And my success is hinged on the small, delicate female who lies in the chamber behind me.

Gelder Shorts

Gelder Shorts- Chapter One: Kowan’s Anger Part Three

Hi Everyone!

Here it is, part three in Kowan’s story. Tune in every Wednesday for the new addition to the Gelder Shorts miniseries!

As I have stated, you do not need to read to the books, but it is recommended. If you have not read them but think you might enjoy them, link over to the books tab to purchase a copy today!

Enjoy!

Kowan’s Anger: Part Three

“Your mind is troubled, Kowan. It is making it only too easy to best you.” The mocking words of Etan flow over me as I am knocked to the ground once again. “What good is sparring with you if all I am accomplishing is watching you relax on the mat?”

“Oh, shove off Air Master,” I growl to the overly joyous infer. Those warriors who are gifted in caeli always seem to be so deimed cheerful. It is beyond irritating.

“Now Kowan, do not let anger consume you. I can sense the battle that rages inside you relentlessly. Always plaguing you and harming you. It has been this way for far too many years.” Etan’s tone turns on a dime and becomes as serious as an Erain attack. “The anger has served you well in the past, you channeled it and became one of the strongest warriors I have ever known. One I am proud to serve with. But now? You are no longer the master of your anger, your anger is the master of you.”

Etan reaches down to lift me from the mat, but I shrug him off and stand on my own. Shifting slightly to put some distance between us. I am not interested in the slightest to hear what he has to say. Mostly because I know he speaks the truth. After all these years, I would have thought that the anger would have left me, but instead, it has only grown.

Etan closes the distance that I have put between us, refusing to let me wallow in my self-loathing again. “What fuels this anger, Kowan? Let me help, you know it is a gift of the caeli line, to spread joy. Let me shine light into your darkness and abolish this rage once and for all.”

I study the warrior before me. “How could you hope to do that? You are so deim happy, you always have, what do you know of anger and pain?” I ask him, scorn dripping from my words.

If I was not a male whose battle instincts have been honed over centuries of bloody wars, I might have missed the subtle signs of how my words pained Etan. His face pales just barely, his eyes dull minutely, and the skin around his mouth tightens ever so slightly.

“Never speak to me about loss and pain again, your ignorance is no excuse. I know not of what caused your pain, and you definitely do not know of mine.” Never in all of the never ending years that I have known Etan, have I ever heard his words be so cold and hard.

Whatever secrets his past holds, he has kept them well guarded. “My apologies, you are right. It is not my place to assume you have no troubles.” Etan gives me a stiff nod. “But I do not have pain, only anger.”

“Anger would have left you long ago, this is pain. Your soul is bleeding, and you do not know how to stem the flow. I could help you if you only would let me.”

“I have no need, Etan.” I cannot bring myself to speak about Sylva and what she did to me. No one knows what actually happened between us, and I would like to keep it that way. I hate her for what she did to me. Yet I still cannot stop my love for her.

She turned me resentful to all females, and that is a crime I cannot forgive. She forever has sentenced me to a life alone, because I cannot open myself to love another. I loved Sylva, and I still do. But I hate her too, and this paradox is what plagues me. I cannot reconcile the female I loved and respected, to the cold hurtful infer who shredded my heart.

“Fine, if you do not wish to discuss your pain, what do you think of the divide between our dear King and Queen?” Etan asks me, and I am thankful for the distraction.

“Yes, the discord between the two is implanting tension throughout the entire ship. Danion has never been so livid, and Eleanor seems reserved as well.” I murmur.

Eleanor is an enigma. I can sense nothing but goodness in her, and the only time that my all-consuming rage seems to pause is when I am in her presence. She is a female, but I can find no reason not to trust her. And yet, the day after the joining ceremony with our King, she has spurned him. Thus causing him great pain.

Maybe she is just as conniving as Sylva is, “Why do you think she is doing this to Danion? Do you believe she is truly so concerned about Arsenio receiving a punishment that he deserves?” I ask Etan, as we both begin returning the scimaar’s we were training with to their rightful places in the hooks that line the walls.

“No, I do not think that is the true issue. I think that our Queen is struggling internally, her soul is crying out so loudly that I can actually feel her pain when I am near her. She is scrambling to find a place here in our world, and Arsenio reached out to her in friendship. I believe that to her, he does not deserve to be punished. And after a lifetime of being unfairly punished, she is loath to sit back and see it happen to another.”

His words seem to resonate inside me, the truth of those words grip me. Eleanor has been punished more than anyone ever should in their lifetime. To her, Arsenio’s transgression would seem minor, since she is unaware of the complexity of the mating bond.

“I agree, Etan. It seems opposite of her nature to cause anyone pain on purpose, especially her mate.” I nod to him, “It makes me very glad that I do not have a mate. And hopefully, I never will.” I mutter to myself. After Sylva, I have no desire to share my eternity with anyone else ever again.

“I agree, a mate can bring eternal pain and suffering if the bond is one-sided. It is a fate that no one should endure unless the bond will be fulfilled.” Etan’s response floors me.

I stare at him in surprise, so beyond confused at him. “You do not desire a mate?” Aside from me, I thought all warriors were anxious to bond.

Etan seems to stare at me in contemplation, “No. I am content where I am in life. Duty and honor are all I require to sustain myself for all the years ahead.”

Something in his speech seems off to me. Something I cannot identify, but it is as if he is hiding something. But it is not my place to pry since I have no intention of sharing my burden with him.

“Do you think the King will ever mend this rift between them? Will Eleanor ever accept him, or will he be locked into this eternity of suffering?” I ask Etan carefully. My fear for my King is great, but I also find I am concerned about Eleanor as well. I would not like to see her harmed in any way, even from Danion.

“Yes, once Eleanor heals internally she will be open to her mate. Danion will be happy soon. More than any of us, if I had to guess.”

It would not take much to have him be happier than me, I am so lost to my own despair. But Danion and Eleanor have a shot at true unfettered happiness, and I hope they find it. Who knows, maybe one day I can finally find a way to let go of my own anger and find some modicum of happiness again.

Once the equipment has all been returned to the hooks on the walls that surround the mats, Etan and I leave the sparring room together in silence. With a smile and a wave, Etan turns and walks down the corridor opposite me. Whistling as he goes even.

By all appearances, he has not a care in the world, but as I have found out today, he merely hides his despair better than I do. We both are suffering. I turn away, off to search for Eleanor, it is my turn to stand guard over her. Even if it wasn’t, I would still search for her. Her calming presence is something I desperately need now. The anger seems to grow worse by the day.

Hopefully, I can find a way to end this soon, I am not sure how much longer I can go on like this.

Gelder Shorts

Chapter One: Kowan’s Anger- Part 2

The next installment on Kowan’s Anger is here! These are designed to be a stand alone mini series for characters that are introduced in the Gelder books, which are available here. While it is not strictly necessary to read the books to enjoy this series, it is best to have read the books beforehand.

For some more information on how these Gelder Shorts will be set up, they will be in ‘Chapters’ that are broken up into five parts. Each chapter will focus on one character, and there will be a small plot that carries over into the other parts. Each chapter will be released once a week, on Wednesday while the chapter is unfolding.

These stories will give you a little more insight into the characters, as well as give a few hints for future books to come! Kowan is a character I really connect with, and I hope you enjoy his journey.

Enjoy!

Kowan’s Anger- Part 2

I ignore the message that is flashing at me on the communications tablet in my quarters, just as I have been ignoring it for the last several rotations. I have no desire to hear her voice, none what so ever. The female who betrayed me and lied to my face.

I turn away in disgust, quickly exiting the room and heading down the gleaming golden halls of the ship towards the research labs. I am heading to meet the highest ranking intellectual officer in the entire fleet, Golon. He is cousin to our King, and the only known being in the galaxy who possesses the ability to access every scrap of information he has ever read, seen, or heard.

It might not sound that glamorous at first, but when you consider that he has lived for over two and half thousand years, you realize the enormity of his gift. His knowledge has allowed him to rise to second in command of the fleet, only the King himself is above him.

We are planning on meeting and discussing the situation that our Queen was found in on Earth. A rocky planet inhabited by mortals that was the eighth addition to our Pact World agreement. This agreement covers the mortal planets that we protect from any outside threats. Such as the genocidal Erains (Air-ens) who crave death and destruction. One hundred Earth years ago we intervened and prevented the Erains from wiping out all of humanity.

We did this in exchange for the same thing we always do with Pact World’s, females. As a dying race, we are in desperate need of females to mate with, especially since those who are genetically compatible with us are few and far between. Eleanor, our new Queen, who I just escorted here to our royal ship, came from just such an alliance.

This alliance was not honored by the humans, they abused our future Queen horribly. While they might not have known she would be Queen, they knew she was important to us. We sent provisions for her, she should have been pampered. Why she suffered is something I am determined to get to the bottom of. While Eleanor is a female just like the lying Sylva, I am honor-bound to protect her and serve her. Even lay down my life for her if it becomes necessary. A female. Females lie as easily as they breathe…well that is not strictly true.

I must admit, our Queen is something special. There is a purity of soul that radiates out of her. I find that rather than pity for my King, I feel joy for him and the new mate that he was blessed with. Maybe some females are different from others…

No, impossible. Sylva was, is the most powerful and respected warrior in the fleet after Elite class warriors like myself and the rest of the Queen’s guard, and she lied to me for centuries. Eleanor is merely an exception to the rule. One I am not likely to find again.

“Greetings, Kowan. What ails you so? You look positively dreadful.” Golon speaks to me without opening his eyes. He is hovering over a small raised mat on the floor in his library, which is adjacent to his many laboratories. I know better than to question how he knows of my appearance without the use of his eyes. A male of Golon’s exceptional gifts is not one to trifle with.

“I am merely contemplating the struggles of our Queen back on Earth, and what circumstances might have led to her horrendous treatment.” It is not strictly a lie, merely an omission. I cannot bring myself to admit to my internal struggle of Sylva.

With my words, Golon’s face darkens. “Yes, it is abominable what was done to her. We must punish those who were responsible.”

I glance around the room, “Shouldn’t Danion be here? He is King after all, and this is his mate.”

“Yes, but with the bond madness so heavy upon him, I do not think it necessary to include him at this time.” His gaze falls heavy on mine. I understand what he is implying, our King is near his breaking point already. His power is bursting from him, he even harmed Eleanor unintentionally on their first meeting.

“You may be right, but it does concern his mate. He will want to be a part of these discussions.” I point out to him, we were both presents when the bond madness took ahold of our King earlier. For the first time in a long time, Danion lost control of his power. I for one do not want to be the one who causes his next lapse, I may not survive it.

Golon opens his mouth to respond, but a summons from his own communication tablet flashes. He walks over to it and accepts the communication request.

A three-dimensional display of the very female I have been actively avoiding for years flashes in front of me, Sylva. I have only spoken to her in a professional manner since her rejection of me, and the image of her in her body-hugging casual attire is a kick to the gut. She is still the only female that I could see myself with, and it is a scimaar in the chest that she wants nothing to do with me.

“Golon, I wanted to speak with you about a disturbing dream I had… Kowan? Is that you?” Sylva turns towards me, and I am forced to step up to the display. I refuse to cower and avoid her.

“Yes, it is me. I was discussing business with Golon.”

“Kowan, I really need to talk to you. This disagreement we have has caused enough strain between the two of us. Please, will you meet with me and we can put the past behind us? We were once partners, the best in the fleet…” I have had enough.

“Yes, we used to be. And now I have claimed a much more esteemed position than your partner. I have risen as high as a warrior can hope to rise to, I am the leader of our Queen’s praesidium, and that is a title I do not wish to give up. We went our separate ways, and that is all there is to it.”

“Kowan, please just let us talk about this…”

“No.” I turn my attention to Golon. “I will leave you to discuss Sylva’s dreams, and we can continue this later.”

As I turn to go, Sylva speaks again in a despondent tone that I refuse to fall for again. “No, you stay, it was nothing important, just some strange feelings I had while asleep. It is nothing.”

She makes quick and polite goodbyes and then she is gone. Once the likeness of her is gone from the room, I can finally breathe again.

Golon stares at me, “Kowan, perhaps speaking with her will lessen the pain you feel.”

“I feel no pain, only anger. Rage in fact. For the deceptions she had no problem telling me. Though I cannot forgive her, I wish her no ill will. But the anger is not something that I can let go of. It is a part of me, and it always will be.”

“If you are sure,” Golon murmurs, doubt evident in his tone.

I sigh to myself, I am not sure at all. Oh, how I wish I could let go of this anger. It has been a part of me for so long that it is beginning to shape me into a male I do not care for. Before Eleanor, I have never met a female since Sylva that I can trust. I am turning into a bitter old warrior who knows no joy. How can I heal a wound that I do not know I have?

I do not know, but I am beginning to hope that I can find that answer soon before it is too late.