Aelin stretched her hands gathering in the soft comfortable sheets that surrounded her. She sighed, as she opened her eyes taking in the vast emptiness of her king sized bed. She pulled the sheets over her face trying to block out the sun that leaked in through her expensive silk curtains lightning up her bedroom chamber in the palace of Orynth.
She should be happy, today of all days but all she could feel was disappointment. Today she was 20 years old, and it was her first birthday since the end of the war. She knew that Lysandra had something huge planned with the help of Rowan and Aedion of course, but she didn’t want anything huge. All she wanted was her mate, the King of Adarlan to be here. He had written a little over a month ago expressing his deepest apologies for not being able to make it to her special day. Apparently the leaders of Melisande had decided to visit this week. She cursed them under her breath. It had been four months since she had seen him, and now who knew when he would get a chance to visit.
A knock at the door caused her to groan, as she pulled the sheets tighter around her. She heard the door creak open as soft footsteps advanced across the room. Lysandra. The sheets were ripped off her body. “Get up birthday girl!” Aelin opened her eyes to Lysandra’s beaming face. She forced a smile on her face. She would try her best to be happy, for her friends.
“I have arranged a gourmet Birthday breakfast, complete with presents, of course”. Lysandra grabbed her arm hauling her out of bed and pushing her out of her room. Not even giving her a chance to get dressed or at least grab a robe. Aelin who was wearing nothing but one of her short silky night gowns glared at Lysandra as she shoved her into the hallway. Huge arms instantly wrapped around her pulling her into a bear hug as Aedion screamed “Happy Birthday” in her ear. She shot daggers at him with her eyes until he released her. It was too early for this. Rowan came up behind her giving her a kiss on the cheek as he too wished her happy birthday.
Aelin tried her best to appear excited as they sat together eating breakfast, but she knew they weren’t fooled. “Okay time for presents!” Lysandra screeched beside her. “This one is from me”. Aelin opened the presents from her friends, loving all of them. “There is one more” Lysandra said standing to walk across the room. Her eyes focused on a box sitting in the corner. It was beautifully wrapped in red and gold paper, and on top of it sat an ordinary brown paper bag. She smiled a real smile as she reached for the paper bag opening it to reveal candy. A note on top said to save him some. She reached into the bag and plucked a handful of chocolates in her mouth.
“Is that whole bag full of candy?” She turned to smile at Aedion showing her red stained teeth. He just rolled his eyes.
Lysandra handed her the present next. Aelin could tell she was trying to hide her excitement. Aelin pulled the top off of the box to reveal the most beautiful gown she had ever seen. It was a stunning turquoise dress accented with gold to match her eyes no doubt. Laying on top of the dress was a note.
Put this on, and then come find me.
She starred at it, rereading it multiple times. What? Come find him?! She glanced up at Lysandra who was grinning like an idiot. “Surprise!”
Dorian, he was here, somewhere. She dropped the note and took of running. Behind her she heard Rowan and Aedion erupt with laughter and Lysandra yell for her to wait, but all she could think about was Dorian.
It was early in the morning and few were about, but the servants that she did pass either dropped whatever they were holding or just stopped and starred after her. She was following the pull of her magic, realizing it was leading her to the gardens. She stepped outside the cold nipping at her body causing her to shiver. Suddenly she realized that she was wearing practically nothing, but it didn’t matter because standing there in front of her was Dorian. His face full of amusement as he took in her outfit or lack of one. She ran closing the distance between them as she leaped into his outstretched arms burying her head into his chest as he wrapped his arms around her holding her tight.
“I’ll have a word with the seamstress, I don’t believe this is what I ordered.” He lifted her chin upwards so that she was staring into his sapphire eyes. “I missed you” “I can see that” He smiled as he puled her closer bending his head to kiss her. Aelin ran her hands through his hair, as she pulled herself up wrapping her legs around his waist. Behind her someone cleared their throat. He pulled his mouth away from hers and reluctantly Aelin unwrapped her legs from around him. The whole time not taking her eyes off his, for fear that she was dreaming. “I should surprise you more often”, he whispered in her ear. She blushed, all she could think about was wanting to drag him to her bedroom. As if he could read her thoughts Dorian smiled his teeth grazing her ear as he breathed, “Later.”
He straightened and took something from the person behind her, she felt warm fabric being draped over her shoulders. A robe. Dorian kissed her on the forehead, his arms going to rest around her waist. “You better hurry and get dressed, or you’ll be late for your own present”. As if on cue she heard the sound of instruments warming up on the other side of the vine wall, an orchestra.
He laughed as confusion flooded her face. “You’re not my present?” “I’m only one of your many presents. Don’t worry though you can properly unwrap me later tonight, I’ll wear a bow and everything.” Aelin laughed. “Now hurry up you don’t want to miss the performance!” She didn’t want to leave him, “I’ll be waiting right here” he said waiving somebody forward. She felt Lysandra link her arm through hers pulling her out of Dorian’s embrace and towards her room.
Aelin couldn’t contain the smile that was plastered on her face as Lysandra finished lacing up the back of her new dress. She stood looking out of her bedroom window taking in the stage and orchestra bellow. A play, but not just any play. She recognized performers from the Rifthold royal theater. The King of Adarlan had outdone himself. This was going to be the best birthday ever.
So, this doesn’t need much of an introduction. I’m really excited as for what’s to come in this series.
I hope you all are enjoying it so far!
Aelin’s opinion on Feyre, Rhysand, and their Inner Circle was yet to be determined. Though it was still too soon to tell whether or not she and the rest of her Court would be comfortable staying in Prythian, Aelin could admit that she did appreciate the lack of grandiosity at their arrival.
She was quite surprised to find that when they entered their room, their things were indeed as Feyre and Rhysand had promised they would be; sitting prettily on their expansive bed.
“Hmm,” she hummed, running her hands over the rich colors that decorated everything from the curtains that hung from their windows to the rugs that adorned their gleaming white floors. “Quite impressive.”
“There is nothing impressive about what they do,” Rowan ground out. Aelin turned to find him scowling.
“And just what is it, exactly that they do, Rowan? Since I am apparently so terribly misinformed, please educate me on what it is that has you behaving as if someone shoved a broomstick up your ass.” He just stared at her for a moment, fury melting away into nothingness, and then was silent. When Aelin saw that he was not going to speak again, she merely scoffed and muttered, “Fine. If that’s the way you’ll have it.”
She was utterly maddening.
Rowan Whitethorn did not have a good feeling about any of this. There was something about the High Lord and Lady of the Night Court that was…off. Wrong.
And he knew Aelin would hear nothing of it, gods damn her. She would write it off as paranoia, that he was being an uncivilized brute with no manners whatsoever. Rowan admitted that perhaps, so far, he had behaved as such. But for years he had been trained to trust nothing but his instinct, for there was nothing else for a man who lived a world overflowing with lies and men who weaved them together to tell stories that sounded as true and sure as his name.
His instinct told him that they all needed to watch their backs.
His instinct was never wrong.
Even after all these years, Aelin had never fully grown accustomed to how ridiculous Rowan’s behavior could be.
So she had decided to take a nice, hot bath and change into something a bit more comfortable, as dinner was not for a few more hours and she had no desire to tour the grounds just yet.
“Your overabundance of silence is maddening,” She said between clenched teeth as she put away her clothes. Rowan came to stand beside her; arms crossed over his chest, lips pursed, and a blank expression on his handsome features.
He sighed. “Well what is it you would have me say, Aelin?” She grabbed a stack of shirts and placed them neatly in one of the drawers. “That I don’t trust any of these people? That they may very well be listening to us now? That I wish, more than anything, that we were back in Terrasen? That we were back home.” Rowan grabbed her arm, stopping her from crossing the room once more.
His eyes burned like two emerald flames, and his nostrils flared in anger and frustration. He said, “You already know how I feel.”
Aelin stared him straight in the eyes and murmured, “I wish you’d trust me.”
His eyes, along with his grip, softened. “I do trust you—”
“No!” She interrupted and took a few steps away from him. “You don’t, Rowan. You don’t trust me. Because if you did, you’d trust my judgement and my decision to come here. You’d trust that I will protect each of you with my life. That we will all be perfectly fine and safe here.”
“Aelin, you cannot promise that,” he growled, but there was an emotion Aelin had seen very few times in their years together. Fear. Fear for her. Whatever these Faerie’s of Prythian were, they were a species wholly different from theirs.
She looked squarely into her mate’s eyes and said, “It is my duty as Queen to protect my people. To put their lives before my own—”
“Is that what we are now?” The green in his eyes flashed dangerously. “You are just our Queen and we are just your people?”
“You,” she spoke between clenched teeth, “are my mate, Rowan Whitethorn. My carranam. My equal. And they are my friends. How foolish of you to suggest that you do not mean so much to me! That I do not value you and Lysandra, Aedion and Dorian, and even Fleetfoot, before all others!” There were angry tears pooling in her eyes.
Rowan could not help but appreciate what a wild, wicked thing she had transformed into throughout the years.
Her voice shook, but remained strong as she said, “It may make me a terrible Queen, and the gods may damn me for it, but if it were to come down to all the people in Terrasen and you, I would choose you. Damn me, but I would.”
It was the truth. Laid bare and naked before them.
Her breathing was a bit ragged, and a few tears raced down her cheeks before Rowan’s thumb reached up and gently wiped them away.
“What a foolish, foolish decision,” he whispered.
Her eyes closed, and she trapped his hand against her cheek. “Then I’ll be a fool,” she said. “Because if you, any of you, were to die and I could have prevented it…I don’t know what I would do. I have already lost so many.”
Her family. Sam. Nehemia and the slaves from Eyllwe. Chaol and Nesryn and countless, countless others that had worked their way into Aelin’s heart only to be murdered and lost in the end.
They were silent for a few heartbeats before Rowan whispered, “I’m sorry, Fireheart.” His lips pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead. “I’m sorry.”
“I’d be lying if I said it was fine,” Aelin smiled grimly. “And I’m still quite pissed at you. You’ve been an utter brute this entire trip.”
He lowered his lips to her neck, cutting off any other words she was going to say.
Rowan’s fingers pushed both sides of her shirt down, allowing him more access to mouth brushed over her collarbone, her shoulders, the shell of her ear and she clutched him to her.
“Allow me to apologize,” his words caressed her skin. His fingers dug into her sides.
Aelin leaned up and pressed a kiss to his jaw. “You’ve already apologized, Fae Warrior,” she whispered into his skin.
He growled, taking her hand and leading her over to the bed where he pushed the rest of their belongings to the ground in a mighty sweep before sitting down on it. An arm wrapped around Aelin’s middle, encouraging her to sit down on his lap.
She was right. Rowan had agreed to come on this trip with her, mostly because he knew it would make her happy, but he had agreed all the same. What was the point of coming if the entire time he was going to sit around and pout?
More often than not, their arguing was ninety-eight percent joking around and only two percent actually arguing. Sometimes he would disagree with her just to spite her.
But this time was different. This time, Rowan could tell there was something that was truly bothering Aelin and that something was his attitude. It was foolish of him to even think, for just a moment, that her guard was not on as high alert as his was. They had overcome too much now to just become complacent.
Aelin’s head rested on his shoulder, nestled comfortably in his neck and Rowan could see the moment her pulse sped when he glanced down at the curve of her throat.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered in her ear. As her legs spread, inviting his hands to explore her thighs and what was in between them.
The scent of her desire hit him and his fingers caressed her thighs, always getting just close enough to where she ached for him, but never quite touching.
It was just as maddening for her as it was for him.
“I’m not entirely sure it would be appropriate to invest in these kinds of activities upon just arriving to the Night Court,” Rowan laughed.
Aelin replied, “As Rulers of Terrasen, shouldn’t we be requesting to tour the grounds with Feyre and Rhysand or something?”
Rowan growled, “I don’t want to hear another man’s name coming from your lips.”
Aelin chuckled, grinding against him as she said, “I wouldn’t have a reason to if you’d just get to it.”
Canines caressed the curve of her neck, and Aelin lowly moaned, eyelashes fluttering against her cheeks. Rowan finally moved her underthings to the side; his fingers and hands and mouth and tongue and teeth did things to her that had Aelin moaning and mewling and screaming his name.
Indeed, not another man’s name came from her lips that evening.
Aelin was lain, her legs intertwined with the sheets of the bed and the legs of the man beside her.
They had gone at it for so long that she had been forced to take another bath before they were to join the others for dinner. Rowan, however, chose to join her this time, so they ended up spending much more time in there than was previously intended.
So now they were both sprawled about the bed, Aelin listening to the steady beating of Rowan’s heart and her fingers tracing the swirls of his tattoo. One of Rowan’s hands was caressing the curve of her back, the other was appreciating the length of her legs.
“I love you,” his deep voice rumbled. “You know that, right?” Aelin shifted so that she could look up at him. His eyes looked upon her tenderly, but with such a startling intensity, that it Aelin was quite surprised at his sudden outburst of affection. “You know that I would do anything, anything, for you, Fireheart.”
Aelin was none too proud to admit that her heart always melted a bit when he called her by the name he’d given her all those years ago when their relationship was nothing more than longing touches and too-long glances.
She nodded. “I know,” she said, and left a soft kiss to his chest. “And as much as I’d be content to stay here for the remainder of the night, I believe we should get dressed for dinner.” She disentangled herself from him, and was on her way to their closets when a hand reached out for her own and before she could react, she and Rowan were so close they shared breath.
His hand reached up to rest on her cheek, and he united their lips in a sweet kiss before leaving one on her brow.
“I’ll try not to dress too scandalously,” she teased once he let her go. “Wouldn’t want any of the other men trying to make a move, would we?”
His leer was primitive as he said, “Oh, they wouldn’t dare.”
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Y’all should go check out Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses: Two Worlds Collide! @therealightningtheif and I have finished writing it and it has a total of 36 chapters. When we post the final chapter, we will have a huge announcement for you guys so make sure to check in daily for new chapters. You can read individual chapters here or read all the posted chapters at this website! Thanks everyone!