- Author: Michael Manning
Book online «The Final Redemption Michael Manning (best motivational books of all time .TXT) 📖». Author Michael Manning
Mageborn: The FinalRedemption
Michael G. Manning
Copyright 2014 by Michael G. Manning
Cover by Donna Manning
Editing by Grace Bryan Butler
© 2014 by Gwalchmai Press, LLC
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
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“The King is in a delicate situation,”explained Rose. “There are rumors that Celior and Karenth havereturned, and the church is feeling bold now that…” she let thewords trail off, unfinished.
The Countess di’Cameron was irritated.Her friend Rose’s continual reminders were unwelcome, and she wastired of the delicacy that the other woman continued to showwhenever the topic of Mordecai’s death came up. “Now that Mordecaiis dead,” said Penny, finishing the sentence for her. “Just say it,Rose. I’m tired of everyone tip-toeing around thetragedy.”
Rose’s eyes flashed with anger for amoment, but she suppressed the emotion. “It isn’t easy for meeither, Penny. None of us really know how to proceed under thesecircumstances.”
“I don’t care howdelicate the situationis, I’ll gut the first pompous fop that even hints that I shouldremarry!” barked Penny.
“No one has suggestedthat,” replied Rose hastily, trying to placate her. “It’s only beensix months, no one would dare. I just want you to be aware thatit will happen,probably within days of the anniversary of his death.”
“Damned vultures!” spat Penny, notmaking any attempt to seem lady-like. “The very notion of a bunchof insipid lordlings sitting around, waiting for a full year topass before they begin making attempts to steal his lands—makes mesick.”
Lady Rose blanched a bit at the harshwords, though she completely understood the sentiment. “Your sonwill still inherit, but they will be clamoring to put someone withproper breeding and experience in charge of yourestate.”
“Because I’m a woman.”
Rose nodded, “That—and the fact thatyou were born a commoner.”
“I still don’t care. I’ll castrate thefirst one to suggest it,” said Penny menacingly. Her hand driftedunconsciously to her sword as she spoke. Since Mordecai’s death shehad taken to wearing it constantly, along with the enchanted mailhe had made for her.
“You should care!” said Roseemphatically. “If you stick your head in the ground and try toignore this, you won’t like the results. You have to plan ahead ifyou want to get the best out of this situation. You have childrento consider.”
“This hasnothing to do with thechildren, and everything to do with greed,” insistedPenny.
“That’s where you’re wrong,” arguedRose. “James will be forced to act if you don’t find your ownsolution after a year or so has passed.” She was referring to JamesLancaster, the King of Lothion.
“He wouldn’t dare. Genevieve wouldn’tlet him,” countered Penny.
Lady Rose took a deep breath. “TheQueen understands the political situation just as well as he does,her personal feelings won’t be a factor.”
“He’s theKing, Rose. If hedoesn’t go along they can’t force me to marry.”
“The four churches are coming backinto power now that Mordecai is gone. James’ seat on the throne isalready growing precarious. He can’t afford to be stubborn now, orthe Lords will rebel. Rather than make things worse by shelteringyou, he will want to make use of you to strengthen his position,”explained Rose.
“That’s absolutely disgusting,”declared Penny. The King had been Mordecai’s uncle. She and Morthad been close friends with the entire royal family. “I can’tbelieve he would try to use me that way.”
Rose sighed, “You’relooking at this backwards. It’s an awkward situation for everyone.James loves you, but circumstances will force his hand.You should be thinkingahead, to find a way to help him and simultaneously put yourchildren in a more advantageous position.”
Penny closed her eyes and gritted herteeth, trying to hold back tears of rage and frustration. Once shehad herself under control, she replied in a quiet voice, “We shouldtalk about something else for a while.”
Rose pursed her lips, sensing herfriend’s dangerous mood. She knew it would do little good to pushPenny any further. “How are the twins doing today?” she asked. Talkof children was often the easiest way to shift their conversationsto more comfortable topics.
Letting out the breath she had beenunconsciously holding, Penny relaxed slightly. “Moira still seemsto be handling it well. She cries now and then, but she hasaccepted the situation. Matthew—I’m not sure if he will everunderstand. He still insists that his father is alive.”
“It’s natural to want to denysomething so terrible,” observed Rose, “but he will have to facethe truth eventually.”
“He won’t listen to me,” added Penny.“The last time I tried to explain it, he got belligerent and angry.I’m afraid if I keep insisting, it will only drive him farther fromme. He won’t say it, but I know he believes I somehow forced hisfather to leave.”
“That’s nonsense,” declared Rose.“Even at his age he has enough sense to know that simply isn’ttrue.”
“I’m not so sure. The last thing hesaw was me pushing Mordecai away, right before Dorian drew hissword to protect us. How is a child to understand that?” askedPenny.
“Perhaps it would help if Dorian talksto him,” suggested Rose. “He might respond better to a man, and heknows that they were best friends.”
“I think that would be a good idea. Itcertainly couldn’t hurt,” agreed Penny.
“He doesn’t want to believe that Daddyis dead,” said Moira unexpectedly from behind her mother. She hadentered so quietly that neither of the two women had noticed herpresence.
Penny turned and pulled her daughterclose. “You shouldn’t be sneaking up on your mother. How long haveyou been listening?”
Moira rubbed her cheek against Penny’sshoulder, “Just since you said that Matthew thinks you made Daddyleave, but I know that isn’t true. My other mommy told me whathappened.”
This was the first time she hadmentioned anything about Moira Centyr. The ancient remnant of hermother had appeared during Mordecai’s last battle and had protectedthem from the leader of the shiggreth. As far as Penny knew, thestone lady was unable to speak. She had remained mute during theentire event, until at the last she had returned to the earth,leaving no trace of her presence behind. “She spoke to you?” askedPenny, surprised. “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”
“I did,” answered Moira.