The night sky burned with a fiery joy, music reaching far up into the heavens. Carla was somewhere there among the people, dancing and singing and laughing. Quigley is coming to her tomorrow.
Round the campfire, people sat talking, laughing, sharing stories like bread. The fire was warm, the music was sweet, the company was good.
And they’re alive. What better thing is there to celebrate?
Beatrix didn’t know where to look. To her left: Gideon and Moll, shaken but very much alive, and making up for their shock by kissing each other quite violently, it appeared. To her right: Jaques and Rhea, she laughing, he talking. Larkey didn’t survive. They held a funeral for her two days ago, and the way Keiran described her, even those who never met her cried as if she was their own child.
He sat opposite her, not quite obscured by the fire. The heat from it made his image shimmer slightly, and sometimes she thought he was just a mirage.
She remembers the price she paid for his life. His life, and hers.
The ease with which she killed him. Warm blood on her hand. A look of astonishment and disappointment on his face. In death, he was just a human. Just her cousin. As if the demon possessing him had left with the touch of steel.
She kissed him then, just on the cheek. Closed his eyes. Blood of her blood. Flesh of her flesh. Her cousin.
Her other cousin took his place on the throne, although he was yet to be crowned.And he asked her something, something she didn’t know the answer to.
‘Will you marry me?’