Book 1|17. Damn Destiny

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My thoughts drifted to his confrontation with Kieran earlier. I was hesitant to bring up the topic; I certainly didn't want to incur a fresh wave of his wrath. But his level of animosity had shocked me and I needed to understand it. I spoke gently, "Cage, what happened with Kieran tonight?  He's your best friend. You were not even close to that level of anger when you found me with Teo."

He let out a hiss, his eyes stormy again. I soothed his cheek with my fingers, stroking along the side of his face and down his jaw. His stiff frame relaxed under my touch, but even though he had quieted, his explanation still came out through clenched teeth, "Kieran was touching you."

Oh. That was the difference.

"Okay," I whispered, unsure exactly what to say, so I held his gaze and nodded, silently promising it wouldn't happen again. His broad shoulders loosened all of the way, the storm in his eyes calm.

I changed the subject, "It is strange to be considered the subject of a prophecy. Are there many prophecies out there? Where do they come from? Do they all come true?"

The corners of his lips curved up. "Whoa, slow down. That is a lot of questions at once. Vampires do not cater to prophecies, so admittedly I am no expert in the field. However other cultures take great stock in them. Felaern for example, is well versed and quite likely to have the answers we seek. We just need to convince him to cooperate."

I thought about his words for a moment. "Felix referred to Felaern as a king. Is he a vampire king like Armand?"

"No, far from it. He is king of the Faeries," Cage replied matter-of-factly.

I gasped, "Faeries are real too?" 

He smiled at my shocked expression. "Very much so. Many are blessed with talents, but they have a penchant for volatile mischievousness, making them very unpredictable and frequently dangerous."

I bit my lip. I wasn't sure I wanted to meet anyone that Cage considered a potential threat. I asked hesitantly, "Is Felaern dangerous as well?"

His answer did not calm my nerves. His eyes were hard. "Extremely. He has powerful gifts, both mental and physical. No one knows the true extent of what he is capable of."

Shit. Worry wound through my body like a clinging vine. I tried to keep my voice steady, but it came out high and a bit like I was out of breath, "He doesn't sound like he does many favors for people. Why would he come here to help us? Does he want the gold?"

Cage snorted, "I doubt he needs or even cares about the gold. The only reason he ever entertained any of Armand's requests was due to his fondness toward Brialle. Now that she is gone, it remains to be seen how Felaern will react."

"He knew Brialle as well?"

"Brialle was highly favored among many. Not just Armand and Felaern. She had even formed significant alliances with the hunters. Her influence is what caused Armand to consider a treaty with them in the first place. Queen Ileana disagreed and opposed it vehemently. It was another factor of contention between the two. Even to the point of Ileana accusing Brialle of having an affair with the leader of the Hunters."

My eyes opened wider, fascinated with the history of this world. "Did she...have an affair with their leader?"

His voice was tight, "I highly doubt it. Armand never would have agreed to the treaty."

My brow wrinkled as I struggled to understand and pointed out, "But he was married. She was his mistress. How could he be upset if she chose to have other relationships?"

Cage shook his head. "It didn't work that way. Armand was extremely jealous of her affections. Her infidelity with a hunter would have caused a war."

I was silent, his words tumbling through my head as I tried to sort them out.  "This prophecy—do you think it will explain why the Hunters feel like I am a threat to them?"

"I assume so. Hopefully, Felaern will attend the Ball and disclose whatever knowledge he has."

"A ball..." I had completely forgotten that Felix had mentioned a ball. My eyes lit up at the thought of wearing a beautiful gown and dancing till my feet hurt.

Cage grinned, following my train of thought. "You will be radiant. Every male will be jealous of me. And maybe some females, too," he teased.

I smacked him on the arm.

"What will I wear?" I didn't recall seeing any formal gowns in the closet.

His eyes twinkled mysteriously. "It will be taken care of."

I grinned. Our conversation lasted well into the night, until I couldn't stay awake anymore and drifted off to sleep.

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