Chapter 127: Endings and Beginnings

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Author's Note: THIS IS NOT THE LAST CHAPTER! There is one more after this, and an Author's Note Chapter that has details about the future of Fever Blood, and some facts about the world. Stay tuned for that next week, while my marketing adviser and I construct my website.

-Corey

***

We were born into an endless war. We were born and conscripted to fight, and though that may be unfair, it is our fate, and it is what the world has given us. So we will fight, until the last drop of blood falls from our wounds, until the last measure of strength is exhausted, until our last breath leaves our lips. We will fight!

-Rhaedrashah

***

Laidu awoke.

There was the quiet crackle of fire below, the sound of a hearth cheerfully burning. But up in his attic chamber, it was cold and empty.

He sat up, groaning slightly at the pain that still bit into his side. He had healed faster than he should, but he was still healing. Don't stress yourself, Rhaedra said. Laidu sighed.

Thoughts of last night were pouring through his head, memories crowding in his head. She was ravishing, illuminated by the light of the city and the Coldspire. She had been stunned by the offer he had made, and... she chose.

It was an odd request, and he could understand why she made the choice she did. He had offered her his lifelong love, his eternal commitment, and his undying devotion. It was something that not many of the Caeldari elite would offer her. They would have married her for whatever money her father could grant them. He promised her his strength, his loyalty, his love. Laidu promised Kyra himself.

And he was frightening to look at. Kyra said she wasn't repulsed by him, wasn't frightened or disgusted... but her friends probably would be. Her father was... well, he had the philosophical madness Denan had coupled with elitist snobbery. He wouldn't like them being a couple.

Love against social acceptance. She chose one over the other, and Laidu knew why she chose what she did.

There was a few knock at the door. Laidu swung his legs out of the bed, stood up on unsteady feet, and grabbed a robe. Within minutes, he was down at the door, and opened it to see Skaria.

"Hey," she said. Laidu stepped back, beckoning her in. "You alright?" Laidu nodded Karik'ar followed.

"You want to talk? You look like you need it," Karik'ar said. "Your emotions seem exceptionally turbulent.

Laidu nodded. "Yeah, I think I need to talk."

***

Kyra awoke.

Her room was bare, but not for the reason most would think. Not because the servant staff had removed the majority of her furniture. Not because the tapestries had been stripped from her walls to expose bare stone.

He wasn't there. She missed Laidu, and her heart still felt pangs of guilt from what her choice was. She had to choose between her father's peace of mind and her love'ssion. She had chosen, and it pained her.

Marcel appeared in the door. "Are you ready?" he asked. "You're to be leaving soon," he said. "I had a servant lay out an outfit for you." He frowned. "Milady, is something wrong?"

"No," she said. "Well, actually, yes. I had to choose between two people I loved, their happiness. I had to choose between them, and I did. And it hurts."

Marcel was at her side. "I understand," he said. "Choices like that are unfortunate, but they often have to be made. Anyway, you probably will have to get ready for the day." He stepped away from her. "And so you know, time helps ease the pain."

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