Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Highlander Excerpt~Day Two!
Well, here we go! This is a fairly short excerpt, with a bit of an introduction to Bran, the hero in Velvet Haven. Daegan, the hero in Yuletide Enchantment is Bran's uncle. Daegan falling in love with a mortal has created chaos in Annwyn, and the Supreme Goddess, Cailleach, is exacting a sacrifice from Daegan for performing a binding fating ceremony with Isobel.
What happens in this scenes, both to Daegan and Bran are important events, and precipitates much of the plot in Velvet Haven. Enjoy a little glimpse of Bran!
It pains me to do this, but as Supreme Goddess, I must. You bring imbalance to Annwyn. The Dark Times will come, and I cannot allow it to happen. You know what will come next?”
“Yes. I will offer you a sacrifice.”
“You will give me adbertos, yes, but I will choose it.”
Nodding, Daegan lowered his head until it almost touched the ground. He was at Cailleach’s feet, humbling himself. But it was for Isobel. For their love. It was right to offer adbertos to Cailleach. It was right to do this for Isobel.
“You have created chaos, upset the balance of our world. You have allowed darkness to creep into a place where only light should rule.”
He accepted the truth. He had done those things, but he had been helpless. The heart and soul knew what they wanted, and his wanted Isobel.
“The consequences will be far-reaching. Annywn will never be the same. You have brought sin where there was never any. Your actions will affect another. Do you realize that? Do you care?”
I will accept his actions as my own.
Daegan looked up to see his nephew emerge from the woods. He was naked and defenseless. But his eyes, they raged. The Unseelie blood in him roiled to the surface, barely tethered. Bran had no need for weapons, not when his black blood was boiling.
“Leave us, Raven,” Cailleach ordered. “This is not your fight.”
“It is not yours, either, but you made it that way.”
“On your knees,” she spat, her eyes narrowing to angry slits. She pointed the tip of the athame to a spot on the ground. “You will pay for that insolence.”
Bran fell to his knees beside Daegan. His mismatched eyes did not betray his emotions.
Cailleach glared at Bran. “You ungrateful dog. Did I not give you what you wished for? Is Morgan not banished to the Wastelands for her crimes against your brother? Did I not give you clues to discover where he has been hidden?”
“Then why are you here instead of searching for Carden?”
“I made a pact with Daegan, and I will see it through.”
“And what did you barter, Raven?”
“My brother for his woman.”
“How dare you interfere in business that does not concern you?”
“He has served you well, my goddess.” Bran reminded Cailleach. “Can you not forgive him this trespass?”
“Perhaps, if he would never see the girl again. But I know, I feel it: He will not leave her be.”
“No,” Daegan murmured, “I will not. Even if I agreed, I could not keep my promise. It is not within my power.”
“Annwyn has no use for a king who is weakened by a mortal.”
“I accept your judgment,” Daegan answered. “I offer you an adbertos, Cailleach, and will abide by what you choose for this sacrifice.”
“As will I,” Bran said. “I will offer you an adbertos as well. With two of us offering sacrifices, you can spare the girl. Our law allows it.”
Cailleach looked momentarily surprised, then she began to circle them once more.
“So be it. Daegan, Prince of the Sidhe, you are forever banned from Annwyn. You will be cursed to live as a mortal, without your magic. Your firstborn male child will be taken from your arms so that your blood might never again rule Annwyn. You will know the pain of mortals. You will mourn. You will die. You will be forever forced to recall what you gave up for your mortal. I hope she will prove worth your sacrifice. Rise.”
Daegan got to his feet and stood to his full height, looking down into Cailleach’s face. “Go now,” she hissed, “never to return.”
His gaze turned to Bran. He felt sorrow for what he had done, but still, if he had the chance to do it all again, he would not have forsaken Isobel.
“Go,” Bran said through gritted teeth, “I will accept what she chooses for me. Go.”
Daegan hesitated and Bran glared at him. “I do this willingly. Go. Love your mortal. Have what I will not—a soul mate.”
Cailleach laughed, a cruel sound that did not hide the pain she kept to herself. “No, Raven, you will not have a soul mate, but you will have something else, something you could not possibly desire.”
As he walked away into the deepest part of the forest, Daegan heard Cailleach’s husky voice chanting an incantation. It was followed by a brilliant flash of white light, then the agonizing roar of Bran’s scream.
“The Legacy Curse is upon you now, Raven,” Daegan heard. “There will be no peace for you, or within you.”
Daegan closed his eyes. He would find a way to break the curse. He would repay his nephew’s sacrifice if it was the last thing he ever did.