Maewyn's Prophecy: A Heart Aflame, page 10
She stepped forward and then actually knelt upon the carpet in front of him. It was jarringly wrong, and Archer stepped back, but Tania continued. “As Giffen has already pointed out to me, an absolute ruler has the responsibility to know whom to trust and whom to disregard. And I have failed in that most abjectly. The mage Heron and the seer Vavasour have both vanished from Underhill and from the human lands into the shadows of the unseelie court. It will take some time to know all the ways in which I have failed my people, but of them all, I have failed you the most, and for so long as I remain queen, I will hope above all things for your forgiveness.”
Archer’s first instinct was to bend down and beg his queen to stand, but anger warred with that reflex. He stood some time, in conflict, and then, reaching one hand out, said all that his inarticulate mind could muster.
“None of us are perfect, Your Majesty.”
* * * * *
The investigations continued at all levels for some time, long after the queen was swept back to London, still seeking a way to abdicate -- although no such act was allowed within elven law. Roman and Archer talked a great deal, but everything was awkward between them. Every time Roman touched him, something froze up inside Archer. Meeting that response, the elf would draw back, and an uneasy distance was maintained between them.
Although he was a full member of the Society again, Archer saw no way to be a part of the organization, and he struggled even to know if that was what he wanted. The others walked on eggshells around him, and the house was quiet and hard to be in.
Seeking some outlet, Archer started to repair the old chapel, using the nascent skills he had begun to learn in Dublin. He took advice at the lumberyards, bought basic texts, and was pleased to find the damage mostly superficial. After a few days, Peter and Giffen were hard at work on the new investigation into the schism within the Society, between those indifferent to a blending of the two races and those fundamentally opposed. Was it the goddess’s will? The theologians were in an uproar of speculation. The phone rang constantly with those seeking Giffen’s ear and urging him to go to London house as the Society’s only remaining seer. Veleur and Wolfy were away from the house almost constantly, sent all around the country investigating the extent of the collusion between those within the Society and like-minded members of their enemies in the ranks of the unseelie and the League of Maewyn.
Roman took no calls. “I have other priorities,” he said calmly each time to whoever held the phone.
As Archer applied paint to the mended boards of the chapel, Roman came striding up the scrubby hill. The repairs were almost complete, about to leave Archer at loose ends again, but right now he was happy to see the damage repaired by his own two hands. He hadn’t done much more than a serviceable job, but it was still a glimpse of something -- something he wanted in his life.
Roman clambered over the old fence and came over to join him. “I actually took a call,” he said.
“It was for you. A Mrs. Fran Porter is apparently looking for an apprentice carpenter.”
“A who, what?”
“I gather your friend the druid has recommended you to a few close friends. She also said I should thank you for, and I quote, ‘kicking his misogynist attitudes out of the stone age.’”
“Oh.” Archer accepted a torn-off piece of the phone book with a local phone number written in the margin in Roman’s tidy cursive.
He had managed to stammer a recommendation for Ingrid just before he left. He really hoped that’s what this woman was talking about. Ingrid deserved the job.
“So,” Roman said. “Not only are you the only one of us to have direct contact with the Tyg in over a century, but you seem to have a job offer in the bargain.” Roman continued to stand awkwardly by his side.
Archer sighed and dropped his brush into the paint tray. “So, no more running around setting fire to people for the queen. You may have had a point about that being a less than healthy career option.”
“Maybe it’s time to stop dancing around the question of where this leaves us.” Roman’s expression forbade any glib answer.
“More than anything,” Archer said, “I hope there is an ‘us’. Although I cocked things up most of the way through, I never stopped ... feeling how I do about you, about us.” Archer reached out hesitantly, touching his fingers to Roman’s smooth cheek.
“To think I ever thought that you had ...” Roman began.
“I was sure I had, even after you were storming the queen’s chambers demanding they find out the truth. I can hardly blame you for actually knowing me a little better than I knew myself.”
Roman stepped into his embrace with a sigh, pushing Archer gently against the side of the building. Their kiss was immediately in accord, deep and warm. The last tension within Archer unfurled and relaxed. He drew back just long enough to say, “I think if this goes much further, it might turn into some kind of sacrilege.”
“If Peter is to be believed, God doesn’t mind.”
Archer’s heart thudded in his chest as his hands quested under Roman’s shirt, the softness of his skin feeling different against Archer’s callused fingertips. Finally, he had come home.
Emily Veinglory (veinglory.com) is an animal behaviorist currently living in scenic Indiana. She writes fantasy, romance and erotica and specialises in gay erotic romance including the Maewyn Prophecy trilogy and her popular werewolf novellas Eclipse of the Heart and Wildest Dreams (all available at Loose Id). Her first novel-length paperback, King of Dragons, will soon be published by Chippewa Press.
Emily Veinglory, Maewyn's Prophecy: A Heart Aflame
Welcome to BookFrom.Net Archieve
The free online library containing 500000+ books
Read books for free from anywhere and from any device
Use search by Author, Title or Series to find more
Listen to books in audio format instead of reading
Quick bookmark is available by clicking on the plus icon (+)
Bookmark loading occurs by clicking on the arrow icon (<-)