The palace and city were buzzing with activity as arrivals poured in for Briannon's fast-approaching coronation. The ceremony was scheduled for the Summer Solstice - a day that the priests and advisers had deemed symbolic for its association with life and rebirth.
Blayre was inclined to agree that the kingdom could use a little brightening up - the coronation would mark the first day that those in service of the crown and directly associated with the royal family were allowed to shed their dark mourning colors for the vibrant colors of celebration.
Blayre's own spirits were high from the previous night's mini-excursion at the archery range with Rory. When she closed her eyes, she could still see the scintillating candles and feel Rory's arms around her in the chill night air. He had walked her back to the Seeker dormitory, kissing her once more in the shadows of the courtyard outside before releasing her. She had gone to bed, feeling as though she was living in a dream - a dream that could perhaps never fully come true.
Blayre hadn't brought it up. The long term possibilities of a relationship between the heir to the throne, and a seeker in the Crown's Service - even a Seeker who was the daughter of a noble, were non-existent. Legally, no one questioned her parentage. At Blumore and Mountainvale, the only one who made a stink about it was Lady Marianna - and she wasn't exactly the most loved person on the Blumore estate. In the Capital, no one really paid attention to it at all.
But they sure as all hells would if she ever wanted a serious courtship with Duke Rorrick de Vihrea.
Blayre wove her way around carts and people, her ear picking up on the different accents and dialects from around the kingdom, continent and outer isles - though most of the visiting foreign representatives would take longer to arrive.
Ripley had summoned Blayre's triad to oversee a ride that Rory, Alessa, and a handful of others were taking into the countryside that lay just outside of the city's eastern border. Blayre admitted that she was tiring of this assignment. While she was reluctant to head back to Blumore, this watch-dog business was beginning to bore her - even if it meant seeing Rory on a daily basis.
Seeing him and being with him were two different things, and she much preferred the latter.
The smells of the barn greeted her like an old and familiar friend. "Mornin' Seeker Blayre." greeted Chris, one of the stablehands that worked the morning shift. A spry and graying old man, she often pictured him leaping from loft to loft with the pitch-fork that he so commonly carried with him.
"Good morning, Chris."
"I take it you'll be getting Dove ready on your own." He grinned, displaying a mouthful of tobacco-stained teeth.
"You know me well," Blayre returned the smile, and headed toward Dove's stall. Of the triad, she was apparently the first to arrive. Unsurprising since she was usually the one to keep them to a prompt schedule anyway. Fletcher consistently waited until the last possible second to get ready, and Ainslee - well Ainslee usually walked down with her, but given recent circumstances, Blayre hadn't bothered to knock on the door to her friend's room. She hadn't the patience for the red-head's wild moods of late. She hoped she would see Seaver soon to give him a piece of her mind.
As if she had conjured him up with a thought, the subtle feel of Seaver's magic moved into the edge of her Sense. She ignored it and continued walking, greeting Dove who stuck a velvety and whiskered nose into Blayre's upturned palm, hoping for a small treat or two. Blayre smiled despite her mood, and reached into her pocket for a small peppermint the horse could crunch on. "Chris says these are bad for your teeth, but I won't tell if you don't." She said quietly to the gray mare, lifting the latch and letting herself into the stall. The half-door shut with a satisfying click behind her.
YOU ARE READING
Song of the Lioness meets Game of Thrones in this thrilling fantasy-adventure! Blayre of Blumore is a Seeker, who apprehends illegal magic users in service of the Emarian Crown. She has a gift - but one that she must keep hidden from the world, or...