Fantasy. Alain Harper takes Jordan Highridge away from his brother Henry’s dominion, promising never to trouble Henry again. Princess Ariel Adams becomes upset at what seems unfair treatment of her by comparison to Jordan. With fellow Triond author Jack Shepherd.

THRONE WARS 07

Fantasy. Alain Harper takes Jordan Highridge away from his brother Henry’s dominion, promising never to trouble Henry again. Princess Ariel Adams becomes upset at what seems unfair treatment of her by comparison to Jordan. With fellow Triond author Jack Shepherd.

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“Will wonders never cease?” said a lyric tenor voice that Henry had grown to thoroughly detest – and to dread just as thoroughly. “The Dukeling of Clayborne working with his men rather than just ordering them around? I’d say there was hope for you yet, but I’m not betting on that.”

Henry was indeed working with his men. They were rebuilding a town hall in their new city of Clayborne Gardens into a small fortress. The flash of light that accompanied Alain’s arrival from behind Henry reflected off the polished stonework in front of him, and several of the men looking in Alain’s direction involuntarily shielded their eyes.

Blasted show-off! Henry groused inwardly as he turned to face the visitor. I know perfectly well that he can appear and disappear without such fireworks – and he knows that I know it.

“Have you grown tired of me already, Henry?”

“Herald, enough is enough. If you will not respect my office, then at least have the decency to keep that jester’s grin off your face in my presence.”

“Or else what, milord? It’s not your office I disrespect; it’s how you use it – and you know what I can do about that in my Lord’s name.” Alain stopped smiling all right, but the sudden hardness in his eyes reminded Henry just how little he was to be trifled with, even without calling upon anything beyond his default strength.

As if the “fireworks” were not enough of a reminder already…

Henry sighed. “With or without your traveling companion?”

“Wry humor? Not bad, milord. At any rate, I left my companions back at our camp site. I have more than one now.”

“All right then, Alain,” Henry snapped back, “what do you want now?”

“Straight to business, then? Very well, Henry. I have an offer for you.”

“Oh?” Henry wasn’t sure he liked the sound of that, given that Alain’s smile had returned. There wasn’t a truly devious bone in the Herald’s body, but the occasional traps he laid for unwary opponents were masterpieces of mischievous-childlike logic. So the old stories said, and Henry by then believed them. He’d taken the trouble to ask Ivan to look them up and read some of them before him.

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  • Jack Shepherd on Jul 30, 2012

    :D I enjoy helping you flesh out the framework of this story. Between the two of us I believe we’re making this a diverting and enjoyable read. And I like the fact that I’m able to follow your plot lead without the temptation to distort it beyond recognition. That says something about how your skills are growing.

    I still say that apart from characters such as Edwin Bitterroot, your characters here are so far the most realistic you’ve come up with. Alain Harper under any name is a complex character, and the fact he’s able to deal with something other than ciphers is a real credit to you.

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