Hello Readers and Fans:
Tonight I am posting Chapter One from my Work in Progress, Three Brothers Fair 3: The Zephyr Prince. Please enjoy. Insights and feedback welcome. I am posting book covers from my previous books in this series because “Zephyr Prince” does not have a finished cover at this time.
Three Brothers Fair 3: The Zephyr Prince.
Andy sat at his desk. His brothers, Tian and Hans, sat in two armchairs. In an effort to look relaxed, Andy sat backward in his chair and folded his arms atop the uppermost rung. It was a comfort having his younger brothers with him after so many years apart, but he couldn’t shake the thought that they were all together one last time.
Not for any fatalistic reason but because he would be wed in a week’s time. His brothers were already married and he hadn’t seen either of them in years. It took months for letters to traverse the distances between the United Sates, Ireland, and Greece. And although letters kept him appraised of the large things in his brothers’ lives. The birth of first children and the dying of elders. (Felimid, Hans’s husband, was now king of all water demons.)
He smiled at his brothers. “I am so glad to see you both.”
“You won’t be saying that by the end of the week,” Tian pointed out.
Hans smiled, a little thing.
Andy shook his head. “Probably I won’t be saying it about you, Christian.”
Tian asked, “So, what’s his name, this king you’re marrying?”
Tian snickered “King Noobz? Doesn’t that mean something disrespectful in a version of the humans’ English?”
Andy sighed, and when he saw Hans’s smile grow, he made a face at Tian for good measure and for Hans’s further amusement. “Noo-behs. You will address him by his proper name.”
Hans put in, “Felimid says King Nubes’s name means clouds in Spanish.”
Andy nodded. “Well, that makes sense. He’s the king of all sylphs.” Which meant all air beings.
Tian scoffed. “I don’t care if he’s the king of all the world. With a name like Noob…”
Andy rolled his eyes. “Christian…”
“Yes, big brother?”
Hans said quietly, “Andy, you’re pacing.”
When had he gotten up? Hans was right; he was covering the same space in the floor like a caged thing. Andy colored.
Hans asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Besides Tian?” Maybe he could pass it off as less than it was.
Hans smiled. “You know it’s not just that. What’s wrong?”
Even Tian was looking at him now and not making any comments. Andy hesitated, but the concern in Hans-a-la’s eyes was palpable. “I’m…nervous…about meeting King Nubes. And about…marrying him.”
Tian snorted. “Now you know how I felt when Mother tried to unite me with Felimid.”
Hans snapped, “Not now, Tian,” and so displaying more testicular fortitude than Andy had ever seen out of his youngest brother except via letter. “Andy,” he went on, “what scares you?”
This was less definable, but Andy took a stab at it. “He’s a king. He’s so much more than I’ll ever be.” Tian:
“Just because of his title?” Tian demanded. “Andy, that’s crazy.”
He struggled to defend himself. “Not just because of that. It’s more…” He shrugged. “Marrying him means the completion of Mother’s prophecy, and I don’t even understand what that is.”
Hans said, “None of us understand it beyond who we were supposed to marry.”
Tian suggested, “So, don’t marry him. It’s that simple. You don’t love him; you haven’t even met him.”
Andy frowned and said the dutiful thing. “I will this evening. And he’s coming all the way from the Mediterranean to meet me and wed.”
Tian said, “If you don’t believe in Mother’s prophecy—”
“It’s not that I don’t believe; I just don’t understand it.” Andy moved toward his closet, thinking to put an end to this conversation. “I need to start getting dressed. And so do the both of you.”
Hans said, “Give him a chance. He may turn out to be someone wonderful.”
* * * *
Nubes caught his consort by his single wing and dragged him close. “Kiss me.”
Un-Ala struggled free. “No.”
Nubes frowned. Although Un-Ala was allowed to disagree with his king, it was rare. “Just a little play,” he said, trying to make his voice teasing rather than needy. He doubted he succeeded.
Un-Ala smiled, but the shake of his head was firm. “No, my king.”
Frustrated, Nubes’s wings fluttered. He demanded, “Why?”
“Because you need to have your mind and heart pure and ready for this new one if you want any chance to love him.”
Nubes made a rude noise. “I do not need to love him. And I cannot. He cannot participate in the soaring rituals.”
“Then why are you marrying him?”
As if Un-Ala didn’t know. Still, if it would keep him talking and perhaps reduce his resolve… “Marriage isn’t about love, Un-Ala. It’s about the safety of the world. Joining myself to Lord Andrew will give that.”
Un-Ala said, “I can’t believe you would give up on the chance of love because of a little thing like a mating custom” He frowned. “It certainly didn’t stop you from bedding me.”
Nubes made a face. “You were different. Your spirit lives on past your, er, condition.”
Un-Ala sighed. “If you can see my spirit, have hope for Lord Andrew. Besides—” he grinned wickedly—“it is time you dressed. The dinner will not wait.”
“You will sit at my left hand?”
Nubes was glad to see it. Rare were the times he could make his consort show his emotions unless they were in bed.
Un-Ala agreed, “Every night until the wedding.”
Hubes tried one more time even though there was not much before he needed to be at the banquet. “I love you as I thought I could never love a consort.”
Un-Ala turned away and hid his face with his single wing. “You know I’m still looking for true love, Nubes. Do not put me on the spot like this.”
“True, it isn’t fair. I was only trying to bestow a compliment.”
“I know, which is why I am not angry with you. But have a little compassion for yourself. At least view Lord Andrew as a potential love.”