Fantasy. Alain Harper and fellow Lightchild Basil Bridgeland receive the Scroll of the Mandate of Heaven. Together they confront Duke Henry Highridge, his bastard brethren, his wife and his army in order to prevent the sack of House Highridge’s newly gained holdings. With fellow Triond author Jack Shepherd.

Jordan smiled and rode off with his section of the army.

“You don’t have to kill him, you know.” Henry’s wife rode up beside him: Emma, her hair red as fire, her curves as beautiful and lithe as a well balanced sword.

“You know what I must do when father dies.”

“Jordan is no threat to our children.”

“Every bastard is a threat.”

“He is your brother.”

“My father killed four of his bastard brothers to secure the throne.”

“You are not your father and maybe you should stop trying so hard to be.”

“I will be more famous than my father ever was.”

“Or more infamous. There is a difference, husband.”

Henry sighed. Alain Harper spoke of his father’s wisdom in choosing what his children should inherit. Did that… whatever he was know also that Highridge the Elder was a mean bloody butcher, who killed more people than one could count? Who slept with every woman he saw? Did he know that Henry spent years killing the bastards his father left behind in every village?

Somehow, Henry suspected, Alain knew. And Alain and Jordan were very much alike: idealists to the core. Jordan was a gentle boy indeed but Henry knew what gentle boys could grow up to be given half a chance and the power to back it. He’d been brought to his knees by such a one, just as a reminder.

Henry inhaled deeply again. He looked in Jordan’s direction and then at his wife.

“All right, Emma. I will lighten my hand on Winterhall. For now.”

“Now that’s the wisest thing I’ve ever heard you say,” a voice shouted from a moderate distance.

Henry brought his horse around and saw Alain Harper bringing Ivan and his company plus the captain and his company back to the head of the column. The Lightchild was riding not a horse but a magnificent white lion much larger than any horse and bearing folded golden wings. The lion had lapis-blue eyes and looked like he was carved from alabaster, yet he moved like a living thing. The Lightchild’s cloak was no longer charcoal gray, but dazzling white, and the glyph borne by the ring on his right hand glowed like a hot coal. His hair shone like spun gold in the sunlight, or maybe it was in its own light, and his face looked like that of a full-blooded Levani for inner radiance.

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