Read Cast In Courtlight Online

Authors: Michelle Sagara

Tags: #Adventure, #Mystery, #Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Young Adult, #Romance, #Paranormal, #Adult, #Dragons, #Epic, #Magic, #Urban Fantasy

Cast In Courtlight (48 page)

BOOK: Cast In Courtlight
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And he would regret it. She
knew
he would regret it.

How could she not know it? She knew his name. She would never say it. Wasn’t even certain she
could
say it all. But she would know, and he would know.

This was the price that love demanded of those with power. Or duty. And Severn had paid it. She could tell, by the way his arms were locked, that he would always pay it; that it would never dim. How had he lived with it, alone? She couldn’t. She could not be here without Severn. The third name she whispered was his. She knew he heard it because his arms tightened, as if he could somehow contain her, or protect her. But she had not come here, in the end, for protection. She had come here for peace. She leaned back into the hollow of his collarbone; felt, instead, the links of armor beneath her neck. “You can’t protect me from myself,” she told him quietly.

He said nothing for a moment; the moment passed. “According to Marcus, no one can.” There was a bitter warmth in the words. “On the other hand, according to Marcus, if he hasn’t strangled you yet, he still retains the rights.”

She laughed, but it hurt. Everything hurt. She twisted around, dropping the empty satchel. It was awkward because Severn didn’t let go.

“Not for you,” he whispered. “Not because of you. Can you remember that?”

She nodded. “I can’t believe it, though.”

“Try.”

She wrapped her arms around him. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

“You have nothing to be – ”

“I have seven years,” she told him. “You came here for seven years, without me. You came here
that night
. And if it weren’t for the test of the tower, I would never have seen it. I couldn’t think about it. I was that selfish.”

“You loved them.”

“Yes. I
loved
them. But Severn – so did you.”

“Not enough,” he whispered.

She wanted to argue; she couldn’t. “What does enough mean? I’m alive,” she added. Meeting his gaze, although it was hard. “I
hated
that I was alive. I – ” And closed her eyes. “I hate – that… I want to
be
alive.”

He held her.

“But I don’t – I can’t – hate you. I don’t know how.”

“You can remember,” he whispered into the mess of her hair. “If you need to, you can remember.”

She pushed herself away, kept him at arm’s length, even though her arms were shaking. “I would have forgotten instead,” she said bitterly, and because it was true. “And I would have been happy to forget.

“And you were right – it would have been wrong. I want to move forward,” she added quietly. “But I don’t know how. I just don’t know how to go back.”

“They didn’t blame you.”

“It doesn’t matter. I do now. I did, for the Barrani castelord, what I couldn’t do for myself. I did, for the Lord of the West March, what I never even thought to do for you. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Kaylin, Elianne, whoever you are – ”

But she knew the answer. She pulled away from him, and this time he let her go; go to the stone and the doll and the flute; go to the silence of her dead. And it
was
silent, and blessed silence, and she knew it for that because she had seen Samaran’s father in the darkness of the High Halls, and she had heard his plea, had heard the burden he had laid upon his son.

“We won, didn’t we?” she asked him, both of her hands against the hard surface of this faceless rock, that seemed the perfect marker for what lay beneath it.

“Elianne – ”

“That’s not my name.”

“Kaylin, then.”

She shook her head quietly, and turned, and saw him through tears. “Don’t come here again,” she said softly.

“I can’t promise that.”

“Don’t come here without me.”

He nodded, and he caught her cheeks in his hands, and held her face. His eyes were brown; just brown. His face was white enough that his scars were almost invisible. And when she had had enough of his eyes, when the sky was a little too pink, she whispered, at last, another name. Her lips moved over the syllables, but they made no sound at all. She reached up and caught his hands and pressed them into her skin, aware of each knuckle.

Aware, as his eyes widened, that he had heard her clearly, that in some part of his mind and memory, the name she had chosen for herself – the third name, with its cutting edge and its softness – now lay. she felt no fear at all as she exposed it, and none at all when he spoke, his lips motionless, the syllables that would define her.

Ellariayn.

Severn.

This
is…
your name
.

Yes.

But you –

You can’t lie to me here. And I don’t think
I
can lie to you. Ask me. Ask me whatever you have to
.

He was silent.

Call me
, she whispered.
And I’ll hear you. Wherever I am, I’ll hear you. Whatever I’m doing, I’ll hear you. I’ll answer
.

But he was still Severn; if she’d changed, he hadn’t. He asked her nothing. Instead, he gathered her in his arms, and this time she went, and the coming of night – and it was coming – could not move her from this spot, this rock, this grave or these offerings.

These were hers. For now, they were hers.

And maybe he had changed, because night was descending in the streets of the fief, and he did not warn her, did not tell her to move, did not speak of practicalities or waiting death.

He spoke her name instead. All of her names.

And when his lips stopped moving, she reached up and touched them with the tips of her fingers, her healer’s hands moving like moths near the heart of flame.

BOOK: Cast In Courtlight
7.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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