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army of highly trained soldiers and hunters, all of which he d promised to use to help Taylora
take the throne.
The time had come to call in his promises. As soon as she d overheard Landon and
Dack s conversation, Taylora knew she could no longer stand by and watch as her brothers took
everything while she was left with just scraps.
Several torches hung on the damp walls, but the area continued to grow darker as she
descended the winding steps. By the time she reached the bottom level, the air took on a
stagnant, rotted smell. It didn t bother her since she d long ago become accustomed to the odor.
She d been coming to this place since she was six.
She finally reached her destination. The warped, wooden door opened soundlessly
despite its aged appearance. As she entered the large, circular room, other smells took over;
incense, oils and most of all, blood. She inhaled deeply, her heart racing as the memories of
some of her previous trips to this room hit her. Most of them were terror filled and still haunted
her dreams.
A large scrying bowl sat on a gold pedestal in the center of the room. She went up to it
and waved one hand, palm down, over the surface. The black water inside rippled before slowly
swirling into a vortex.
Taylora began to speak the summoning spell in a low, monotone chant. The words
slipped easily from her lips, since she d memorized them many years before. They served as a
balm to soothe the raging emotions within her, and she even managed a smile.
The water s speed increased as the whirlpool began to spin faster and faster. The stagnant
air began to crackle with magical energy, causing the hair on her arms to stand on end. The
wooden door rattled from the rush of power emanating from both her and the bowl.
Her chant grew louder, faster as the water began to give off a green glow. Even though
she d done the spell hundreds of times before, a thrill of accomplishment still went through her,
and she let out a short laugh.
Let Landon think he had all the adoration. Let her brothers believe they had the kingdom
in their palms. In the end, Taylora knew it was she who held the power. It was high time
everyone learned that fact, too.
By the time she reached the climax of the spell, she was shouting the words, magic
surging around the room. She arched, a heady pleasure shooting through her body as a bolt of
magic connected from her chest to the center of the scrying pool. A loud boom sounded. The
glowing light flashed, then became blinding.
Just as quickly, the magic seeped from Taylora s body and the light faded. It didn t
matter though, because her goal had been met. Nico now stood in front of the pool.
Ah, Nico. Her mentor. Her tormentor. Her protector. And for the past five years, the
center of her life, whether she liked it or not. Although she respected him above all others, she
also feared him more than anyone else in Aria.
He always looked the same as the first day she d laid eyes on him. Tall, with short raven
hair and even darker eyes, he had a cruel beauty about him that never failed to send a shiver
down her spine. While he appeared thin to the point of emaciation, there wasn t a hint of
weakness about him. If anything, he seemed to always be coiled and prepared to attack with little
provocation.
Even though she carried royal blood, Taylora dropped to one knee and bowed her head in
supplication. It never paid to play the role of haughty and privileged with Nico. The one and only
time Taylora had tried to order the sorcerer around, she d been bitch-slapped as Dack liked to
call it.
 My sorcerer, she murmured.
He held out a hand and she took it, pressing a kiss to the inverted pentagram ring he
always wore. His flesh felt cold and waxy against her lips. She repressed a full-on body tremble.
He snatched his hand back and began to walk a slow circle around her.
Taylora remained still, knowing better than to rise without permission. Her body tensed
with nervous anticipation as she tried desperately to gauge his mood.
After what seemed to be forever, he reached out and placed a gentle hand on the top of
her head. Taylora let out a ragged sigh as her shoulders slumped in relief. Good, it wouldn t be
one of those visits.
 Why have you summoned me? Nico asked.
While anyone not related to her would have tacked a respectful  your highness or
 princess onto that sentence, Nico pointedly left it off. He never failed to display who was [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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