Finishing up introducing the adult Hierik in Song and Sword, and skipping ahead to after Marlia’s trial.
Hierik cleared his throat. “Would the four of you please join me in my chambers? I have something I need to discuss with you.”
The four exchanged glances, and Pashevel shrugged. He had no more idea than they did. “A moment,” he said quietly, giving Hierik a half-bow.
Hierik raised an eyebrow as Pashevel crossed the room to talk to Mathin; there were not many who would walk away when he asked them to come speak with him.
They watched as the two spoke, and shook hands, Pashevel putting his free hand on the Mathin’s upper arm in a gesture of friendship. Pashevel bowed, and returned to the group, smiling. “Now, Hierik, I believe you said something about a bottle of wine?”
“I said no such thing, Impudence,” Hierik chuckled, giving Pashevel a slap on the back of the head. “Come along.”
Once settled in the judge’s chambers, however, Hierik produced a bottle of wine and a set of goblets. As he poured the wine, Pashevel turned to Marlia. “What did he ask you?”
Marlia flushed again. “He asked me if I loved you.”
Pashevel raised an eyebrow as Hierik handed him a goblet of wine. Hierik shrugged. “I just wanted to make sure,” he said. “I know you too well, Pashevel. You tend to be far too trusting.”
“You think I can’t tell the difference between real feelings and someone who is toying with emotions?”
Hierik studied him for a moment then shook his head. “No. It’s not that exactly. But face it, my friend, you have never had trouble attracting the ladies.”
“Oh?” Now it was Marlia’s turn to raise an eyebrow.
Hierik chuckled. “Oh, not deliberately, my lady. He’s never been one to take advantage, but, well, I’m sure you’ve seen how people react to him.”
Marlia nodded and relaxed against Pashevel as she accepted the goblet that Hierik handed her. “Pash does have a way with people. They are drawn to him.”
“All part of being a Bard,” Pashevel replied, taking a sip of wine. “Excellent vintage. Your own vineyard’s?”
Dakkas watched the exchange, trying to connect this friendly easy-going man with the one who had entered Marlia’s cell.
“Something wrong, Dak?” Pashevel asked.
Dakkas shook his head. “No. Just…” He looked at Hierik then back at Pashevel.
“He seems so different than the man who came to Marlia’s cell,” Kashrya said. “It’s like they are two different people.”
Hierik laughed. “You can blame Pashevel for that. He gave me the reputation for being a monster.”
Pashevel shrugged. “Because you’re about as frightening as a blade of grass.”
Hierik sighed. “True enough.” He looked at the others. “Until I met Pashevel, no one took me seriously.” He smiled at the memory. “Then this Bard showed up, and not only listened to me and took me seriously, he created a persona and reputation for me that ensured that others would also.” He shook his head, chuckling. “Of course, now everyone is scared of me, but at least they listen when I speak.”
(“Because you’re about as frightening as a blade of grass.” is the line that led me to write Song and Shadow – I just had to know more about the young Hierik and how and Pashevel met.)
Pashevel: a simple Elven Bard — and the Crown Prince
Marlia: a Paladin of Arithen, the Elven God of Justice – seeking vengeance for the destruction of her village
Dakkas: heir to the Drow throne — if his father and elder half-brother don’t kill him first
Kashrya: raised among a tribe of nomadic Humans, she is unaware of her true heritage — or of the prophecy that made her mother an outcast
Their goal: build a bridge between the Elves and their outcast brethren, the Drow, reuniting them and undoing the damage caused in a time so far gone that history has become legend and legend has become myth.
But first, they have a problem to solve: how do you stop a war that hasn’t started?
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