Death's Scepter [Darkover series]
Click on image to enlarge.
by Joan Marie Verba
Category: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Description: It's hard to be friends and allies when those around you want you to be rivals.
eBook Publisher: Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, 1988 Four Moons of Darkover
eBookwise Release Date: November 2006
29 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [22 KB]
Reading time: 10-14 min.
Regis Hastur, tenerezu of the old Comyn Castle Tower, looked at his younger brother, King Stefan, with kindly concern. Sitting on an upholstered chair opposite him in the visitor's room, Stefan could not meet his eyes. Both strongly laran-gifted, Regis could not help but catch Stefan's thought: The gods help me, I may have to kill you, bredu.
Immediately, Stefan lifted his head, so that Regis could see his gray eyes. "I didn't really mean that."
"I know." Regis's gaze strayed to the hilt of Stefan's knife. Emblazoned on it was the Hastur crest with the crown above it. Most thought that was Stefan's own knife; only Stefan and Regis knew that they had exchanged knives, taken the oath of bredin, when Regis was heir-designate of Hastur, and that the crest had been his, then, as crown prince. In a world of kin-strife and blood feud, it was unusual for sons of the same parents to be so close in affection that they would bind themselves to a pledge of mutual protection.
Stefan sighed. "I was beginning to think, at the end of the last council season, that they were starting to accept me at last as the rightful king, not as someone who usurped the throne from my older brother, the one with the Hastur Gift."
"Are you telling me that your healing Belhar Ardais of that mortal wound was not sufficient to impress them? Shall I sit in council again and tell them once more I forfeited the crown of my own free will?"
Stefan shook his head. "It is no use, bredu. Any demonstration of laran skill seems to satisfy them only as long as the memory is fresh. When that begins to fade, it pales against the stories of grandfather Rafael IV and the spell sword, or great-great-grandfather Carolin of Hali and his confiscation of so many wild matrixes when he enforced the Compact, or our more distant ancestors wielding the laran weapons in the Hastur rebellion. I tell you, without the Hastur Gift, I think sometimes I could impress them only if I passed the two veils at Hali and took up the Sword of Aldones myself!"