Chandrakandt has been recalled from the dead and retreated to completely regenerate. Andreas and Raeburn are dead, so Chandrakant must recruit a new army to fight for him.
Christian’s twins, Anayise and Aston, are now 18 and will need to find Chandrakandt’s sanctuary. But, on the hunt, Aston is kidnapped by the enemy.
Can Anayise save her brother and lead her father’s army to Chandrakandt? Will Christian find the answers to his magical heritage and find a way to save his land and his people?
Anayise leant flat against the cold stone of the castles walls. Breathing as slowly and deeply as she could to still her fast-beating heart, she smiled wickedly. Thinking she heard Donnchadh and Lucifer nearby, she looked up in shock, turned and ran through the dark castle, her ball gown flowing out behind her. She tried to keep her face from breaking into a smile, let alone laughing out loud. She turned a corner and nearly ran into two of her father’s courtiers. Damek and Jackson smiled and bowed at her before stepping out of her way and bidding her a good evening. Curtseying slightly, she hurried off as fast as she could without running. Once around the nearest corner, she stopped again.
“Prince Donn, Luc. How are you both this evening?” She heard Damek ask.
“Well, thank you.” Donnchadh answered. Ana stuck her head around the corner and saw the two young men. Donn stood half a head taller than Luc. His black hair was cut shorter than most of the boys in the castle, the fronts falling to the edges of his vivid yellow eyes.
Lucifer nodded in agreement. “Have you seen Princess Ana?” His intense red hair framed his square, dark red face.
“Yes, she was here…” Ana did not wait to hear anymore. She knew what Luc would say when she next saw him and she did not want to hear it.
She ducked through a few more passages and found her way to the main staircase. Anayise looked up the hallway to where Donn and Luc might be coming if they turned around. Thankfully, they weren’t in sight, nor could she hear them. A voice from the bottom of the stairs made her jump.
“Ana!” She smiled in relief as she saw it was merely her twin brother. He was standing at the bottom of the stairs. Behind him, through the giant, wooden doors, Anayise could see the partygoers in the Ballroom.
“Aston…” she made to move towards him before two other voices preceded Donn and Luc into the hall and they walked towards Aston.
Ana cursed silently to herself and she put her finger to her lips before Aston gave her away. He nodded mentally to her, puzzled. Ana stepped back into the small passageway again and turned towards the wall, taking another step towards it. Suddenly, there was a sharp pain in her stomach and a slight rattle from the suit of armour in front of her. She strained her ears to hear if the boys had heard it.
“…you seen Ana…did you hear something?” Donn asked, his silken voice echoing up the stairs.
“What? I don’t know. You two are looking for Ana?” Aston replied.
“Yes, have you seen her lately?” Luc answered.
“Not for a while.” Ana shifted her mind into Aston’s just in time to feel his arm point in her direction. She cursed once again and mentally jabbed him. As she withdrew she felt him wince.
“Alright, thank you. Would you like to join us in a drink?” Donn clapped Aston playfully on the back.
“Uh…” Aston sounded pained and Ana worried he felt her wound. “Not just now, I need to…”
“Ah, of course.” Luc said. “Later then.”
Knowing Donnchadh and Lucifer were heading back to the party, Ana decided to see what she had done. Looking down, she swore at the swelling, red patch that was emanating onto her dress from around the sword lodged in her abdomen. Throwing her head back, she silently screamed. Carefully, she pulled herself off the sword. Knowing that the wound was thin and would heal on its own, she spent her energy using her magick to clean up her spilt blood. She held her hand over the blood and concentrated. Not knowing what else to do, she drew the blood back into her veins through the palm of her hand.
“What did you do?” Aston asked, coming up behind her and noticing the silver glow that emanated between her hand and stomach.
“I…er…walked into the sword.” she admitted sheepishly to her brother. “But I’m all clean and healed now!” she opened her arms out to show him.
“Yes, except for the great gash in your gown. Mother will have a heart attack when she…”
Closing the gash using more magick, Ana answered, “Besides the fact that Mother couldn’t have a heart attack, I’m sure she would.” Aston stuck his tongue out at her and she responded in kind.
“Come on, I’ll get you a drink.” he began to lead her back into the Ballroom.
“Give me a minute; I’ll meet you in there. Just keep Donn and Luc busy for me.” She smiled at him, mentally letting him know she’d tell him all about it later.
He nodded and walked away.
Ana leant against the banister and watched him go, thinking about what had led her to this point.
Anayise and Donnchadh had been dancing together to please their parents. Ana’s parents, Prince Christian and Princess Serina of Andraste, and Donn’s parents, Princess Tanis and Prince Emrys of the Fianna – the ruling class of elves – were great friends who kept the fact they had hopes for their children a terrible secret. Donn and Ana had known each other all their lives; Ana and Aston being born when Donn and Luc were nearly four. Luc and Ana got on very well; Ana felt she had another brother in him. However, Anayise and Donnchadh were always at logger heads. Ana thought that Donn was too chauvinistic and arrogant and Donn thought Ana was too conservative and should relax more. This made it all the more amazing that Lucifer and Donn were still so close. Most of the time, Donn and Ana found they wanted to get along better, but their personalities clashed like <titans>. They were, naturally, civil to each other and had no lasting dislike for one another; it was just frequently at which they found themselves arguing or thought the other was being foolish.
It was Ana and Aston’s eighteenth birthday party, the time when one can be called an adult in Uraethan. Luc had been passing Ana drinks for most of the night and the two had tried to see who could drink the most. Donn, being nearly twenty-two, often drank a considerable amount, so neither was in full control of their faculties.
Therefore, when Ana finally accepted Donn’s offer to dance, the two of them were much more able to tolerate the other. In fact, to the casual observer, they were getting along very well. Donnchadh swirled Anayise around the room among the other dancers, pleased to see the smile on her face and knowing he was the one who put it there. The couple twirled past Aston, who was dancing with one of Donn’s younger sisters, Danika. The other two smiled at them in passing and both couples danced past Lucifer, who was dancing with Donn’s other younger sister, Dannan. Danika and Dannan were sixteen and nearly fifteen and the six young people could almost always be spotted in the group of girls and the group of boys.
Within moments, Ana and Donn found themselves heading out of the ballroom and, laughing, up the stairs and into one of the corridors. Both sets of parents could not hide their pleasure when they saw the two leave. However, Lucifer watched them go with a mixture of worry and self-satisfaction. He smiled at Dannan and she shook her head, always amazed at the ferocity of Ana and Donn’s arguments and sudden changes to being decent to each other.
Ana leant against a window aperture and looked up at Donn, still smiling and her cheeks flushed with wine and heat. Donn’s black hair had fallen forward as he looked down at her, talking quietly and almost conspiratorially.
“Do you think Aston will be making a move on Danika soon?” Donn asked her. She laughed.
“I don’t know, Dannan seems more his type.”
“What about Luc? He won’t like that!” They both laughed again, their heads almost touching.
Sobering for a moment, Ana replied, “Luc doesn’t actually care for Dannan, does he?”
“I can’t be sure. He keeps that part of his mind perpetually closed to me, almost like it doesn’t even exist.” Donn’s face clouded and he looked thoughtful for a moment.
Donn and Luc were soul-twins. They were inextricably linked in mind and soul. Zeroun Sage, Prince Christian’s good friend and the Master of Magick, had said that the simplest form of explanation for it was that it was as though one soul had not been able to pick between two bodies and so divided itself in two. Donn and Luc always had knowledge of what the other was doing, they instinctively knew what the other was thinking and they could converse with each other mentally; a trick Ana and Aston had perfected together in imitation.
“I’m sure you would do the same for him if you were nice enough.” Ana said, a smile pulling at the corners of her mouth, in an effort to bring him out of his reverie.
“Oh that’s charming, that is.” He said, poking her playfully in the right side of her ribs. She shied away from his touch to the left.
Her hand brushed against his arm and she placed it the deliberately. He looked at her, partly in surprise, and answered by placing his hand on her right hip. Not even reaching his shoulder, she raised herself on her toes slightly as she put her other hand on his left arm. He took hold of her other hip and leant his face towards hers.
“Donn?” Just as they were about to kiss, Lucifer called out from down the hallway.
Ana took one look at Donn, knowing that Luc knew what was happening. Donn opened his mouth to say something, but she shook her head at him, gathered up her skirts and ran off down the passage, eventually ending up skewered on a sword.