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Chapter 147 – The Consequences of the Past – Ileana's POV

We followed Tavian through several grand passageways once more, heading towards a suite King Morenth had provided, a safe place while we waited for the sun to come and go.

I cringed internally. 'We' didn't exist for me anymore.  I wasn't a part of their group now. When they left, they would leave me behind. My chest constricted, the pressure tightening, threatening to drown me. 

I pushed air in and out of my lungs, slow deep breaths, working to keep my feelings of loss in check. I hadn't felt pain this crippling in many years, not since I realized the king, who I loved and mated, would never love me in return.

When Micage brought home a tiny helpless human so many months ago, I could never have expected her to be the one to save me, her to be the one to love me. But she had. The daughter of the man who rejected me, nonetheless. And soon I would have to tell her goodbye, forever.  My eyes misted with sorrow.

I kept my head down, my hair covering most of my face, and blinked furiously to keep my emotions in check. I couldn't fall apart now. I had survived once, forced my mind and body to become numb to my surroundings, I could do it again.

One more deep breath and I pushed every last ounce of feeling out of my mind. I exhaled in relief when the pressure released from my chest. 

I studied Tavian's profile as we walked. He was unusually quiet, his playful smirk missing.  Did the decline in his mood have something to do with the king's demand of me as payment? But that would be crazy. Why would he care? He just met me.

I shook my head. Both his and the king's eagerness for me still didn't make sense. My teeth nibbled on my bottom lip, I suspected I would find out their reasoning soon enough.

I was jolted out of my musings when a woman gasped, "Felaern?"

My head swiveled to the right, toward the sound of the woman's voice.  There were actually two women and a young girl in her teens.  They were seated on couches, in what looked like a reception area. There were two large doors behind them; I assumed that was where they were waiting to go.

The woman, who had called his name, stood, her hand trembling as she reached out toward him. But it was the woman still seated who captured my attention.

She had striking ivory hair, wound in intricate braids, pinned to the top of her head and cascading down her back.  Her clothing was minimal, next to nothing actually, consisting of silvery fabric that was attached to gold metal bands that swirled around her hips, breasts and forearms.

Even more startling than her sparse attire, were the breathtakingly beautiful white symbols covering her exposed flesh—she was an Immortal!  A powerful one. I had met only a few Immortals, but none with the number of designs etched into her skin. Every symbol represented a gift, a talent.  And she had many.

Her eyes were narrowed as she studied our group, but she remained silent.  The young teen seated next to her must have been her daughter, as she was almost the spitting image of her mother. Thankfully, she wore more clothing.  The girl was human. I could hear her heart beating as the blood coursed through her veins. Even without the tell-tale sign of her heartbeat, I would have known she was human, because Immortals could only conceive with humans, no other species, thus rendering their children human and mortal. 

All, except for Brialle, apparently. I cringed.  She had conceived twins with Armand. She was the only Immortal to ever conceive with a vampire, and had become the topic of prophecy.  

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