The Pillars Of The World

The Pillars Of The World by Anne Bishop Read Free Book Online

Book: The Pillars Of The World by Anne Bishop Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anne Bishop
Tags: Fiction, General, Fantasy fiction, Fantasy, Occult fiction, Witchcraft
how—”
    “Which one?” he demanded. “When they pouted to you, which one did they say failed to accept their lures?”
    She didn’t answer him. Didn’t dare. Not with the mood he was in. What was wrong with a woman wanting the strongest and the best for a lover and, possibly, to be the sire of her child? When had this bitterness in him started? It was rooted too deep to be solely because of that last visit to another Clan.
    Why hadn’t she seen this in him until now? And how could she aim that fury at a target that wasn’t his own kind?
    “It is customary to grant a boon for the pleasure of the bed,” she said carefully. “That is our way.”
    “Have you considered that the price may no longer equal the pleasure?” he said softly. His face hardened.
    “I dance to no one’s tune. You can send that message back to the Clans.”
    This time, when he turned away from her, he kept going.
    Dianna didn’t follow him. There was no argument she could have made that would have softened his mood. And the truth was, she hadn’t made the distinction that he had. Now, thinking back on the way those messages had been worded, she wondered if he was right. Had the women in the other Clan been disappointed that none of them had enjoyed Lucian as a lover, or had they been disappointed not to have a required favor from the Lightbringer, who could command anything and everything in Tir Alainn except the Lady of the Moon?
    Dianna headed back to the Clan house, needing the solitude of her own rooms.
    She hoped Lucian did take the road through the Veil tonight, but she felt a moment’s pity for whatever, or whoever, crossed his path.
    Hearing Aiden’s harp, Lucian headed in another direction. He wasn’t interested in talking to anyone, and certainly wasn’t interested in being on the receiving end of the Bard’s sometimes-barbed speech. So he headed to the one place in the gardens he had avoided all morning.
    He hesitated a moment, then walked down the steps under a stone arch. Stone rose up around him.
    Above him, the trees formed a canopy, letting in dappled sunlight. He could still hear Aiden’s harp, but now it blended with the stir of leaves, a natural song that offered comfort.
    Like this place, he thought as he followed the path, his fingers brushing against the stone. He couldn’t say why this place felt different from the rest of the gardens, but the silence here was richer, rooted in a peace that could drain the heart of any sorrows.
    Maybe his anger wasn’t fair. A handful of the roads that led from Tir Alainn to Sylvalan had closed, and many of the ones that were still open were harder to use. The Fae couldn’t stop a road from closing, nor could they create a new one. They were the Mother’s most powerful children, but that piece of magic had been lost to them. It was even getting harder to travel between Clan territories. They were islands of land connected by bridges that spanned mist. Sometimes, even when a road wasn’t closing, the mist claimed a bridge, breaking the connection between two Clans.
    So he could understand why the Clan women would want the use of any male who wasn’t kin while they still had access to him. But fire was too much a part of his nature, and he didn’t like the coldness that had crept into the bedding. In the past two years, since he’d become the Lightbringer, the gleam in the eyes of Fae women who invited him to their beds had seemed more calculating than lustful, more shrewd than desiring.
    Perhaps it wasn’t coldness that crept into the bed with him lately. Perhaps it was simply boredom. He knew what to expect, knew what was given and what was taken, knew it so well it had all become less than what it had been. What he didn’t know was why it felt that way.
    He was twenty-four years old. That was far too young to have become bored with sex. But, perhaps, the number of women he’d enjoyed during his first year as the Lord of the Sun accounted for his waning interest now.

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