First Change: Legends From The Eyrie

By Helen Henderson

Action & adventure, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Paperback, eBook

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66
2 mins

 

The tune changed to a quick beat and Kedar took a step towards the food tables. A wicked grin on her face, Mairin held fast. “I love the dragon wing dance,” she said. “And, Kedar, you can’t tell me you don’t know the steps. I saw you and a village girl perform it at a winter entertainment.”

Unable to deny the truth, Kedar submitted. Calling upon the knowledge learned from hours of practice, he slid his arm around Mairin’s waist.

She responded to his lead as if they had partnered for years. Usually not performed beyond the walls of Cloud Eyrie, the moves of the dragon wing dance were unknown to most of the townspeople. One by one, the other couples withdrew from the dance floor leaving Mairin and Kedar alone—and the center of attention. The music rose to a crescendo. In response, he spun her into a dip and they held the tableau. Applause and calls of, “kiss her,” rang in Kedar’s ears. Placing Mairin on her feet, he matched her curtsy with a deep bow.

The ceoltier leading the musicians raised his voice to be heard above the clamor. “Ladies and gentlemen, the Ceoltier Guild thanks each and all for attending. That magnificent rendition of the dragon wing dance concludes the evening. The food vendors want to catch a few hours sleep and the dawning comes too quick. However, I’ve been asked to mention that the inn will be open for those who wish to continue the festival.”

Kedar waved to the ceoltiers, and an arm around Mairin’s waist guided her toward the line of coaches arriving to take the revelers home. He threw a thought at a familiar shape standing just beyond the festival entrance. <Birog, I’m taking Mairin back to the compound. >

<I’ll have the coach brought to the front of the line,> the ceoltier replied.

To prevent Mairin from sensing his plans, he bought two glasses of wine and they drank it as he guided her through the festival. Several coaches blocked the one Birog said was waiting. It wasn’t the open space that triggered an alarm in Kedar’s senses, but the narrow passageways between the buildings. Each provided the perfect location for a footpad—or an assassin—to wait.

Fur brushed against his leg. Faoth moved ahead, slipping from shadow to shadow, slowing in each pool of black. Kedar used the delay to examine a plate of beef strips on one table or a slice of cake on another, until Faoth moved on.

Finally, they reached the end of the vendors and the ceoltier’s wagon still could not reach them. His senses stretched to their maximum awareness, Kedar headed down the street.

Mairin suddenly stopped, falling into Kedar, spinning them into a narrow passage between two warehouses. The movement ended with him entangled in Mairin’s arms and his back against the rough stones of a wall. Her warm breath danced along his cheek. “I believe it is traditional to end the dragon wing with a kiss.”

Her lips pressed against his.

Fire raced in his veins. Every muscle strained to pull her close, to blend their bodies.

You cannot, duty hissed. Mairin is not safe.

The warning allowed Kedar to keep a part of himself detached from Mairin’s advances. His attention focused not on her, but the opposite wall. He swore what had been a shadow detached itself from the structure.



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