Alistair and Aria, Part 7

“My lady,” the captain of Alistair’s kingsguard said, stumbling through the doors to Aria’s chambers. Her maids all scattered, but she sat up in bed, alarmed, rubbing sleep from her eyes. “What is it?” “The king, my queen. I think you’d better come with me.” Pulling her robe on as soon as her feet hit…

Alistair and Aria, Part 6

“Did you even hear me?” Alistair tore his eyes from the other side of the gardens, where Aria practiced her swordplay with a chipper Natalia as an audience. “What?” Olga glowered at him, her eyes slits. “You weren’t listening.” “I was thinking. I’m sorry.” “What were you thinking about that’s so much more important than…

Alistair and Aria, Part 5

“So you step like this,” Aria said, tapping her left foot against the ground, “and then spin once. Raise your right hand so your partner can meet it when you come back together.” Natalia, a slight, pretty girl just a year older than Aria, imitated the final move of the dance as gracefully as she…

Alistair and Aria, Part 4

“How did we develop this kind of repertoire?” Alistair laughed. “The night before your seventeenth birthday, and that’s what you have to ask me?” “You said in exchange for a physical present this year that you would tell me the truth about something. I’ve thought about it for a week. I want to know how…

Alistair and Aria, Part 3

“We didn’t grow up together,” Aria explained as she practiced her swordsmanship with Valtteri, eldest son of the prince of the Southern Arm. “I only saw him a few times when I was a child, but he was always kind to me. The day my parents died, he asked if I trusted him, and I…

Alistair and Aria, Part 2

Buried in a disused study somewhere in Suvid, a scroll existed in broken, childish handwriting granting Alistair the authority to act as regent to Queen Aria of House Kolenikova until she turned eighteen. He didn’t like to think of that day—the morning he’d killed her parents in self defense, though with a lingering feeling of…