Magic happens at Halloween so here’s a bit of magic for you… a sneak peek of Trey’s book (yet titled) last book in the Warrior King series:
Bliss waited, not sure of her fate.
She often wondered why she could see the providence of others and yet when it came to her destiny, she was blind. At times it made sense to her. After all it was a burdensome lot to unwillingly peer into the future and see not just happiness, but pain and sorrow. Certainly, if she saw that for herself, life could possibly become unbearable. Even knowing the destiny of others brought a burden, at times, Bliss much rather not carry, though had no choice.
This gift, as her people the Picts called it, or curse as others often referred to it in whispers had been part of her as long as she could remember. There had never been a time she had been without her knowing, and while she could see small, incidental moments in her future, she could not see the whole of it, the important moments in life that had others seeking her knowledge.
If her knowing wasn’t enough there was also her ability to help heal. Her touch held power, not that she understood it but nor did she question it. Like her knowing, it had always been a part of her and she had always willingly shared it with those in need.
At the moment though, her instincts warned her that this was where she must stop and wait. Why, she did not know. She truly had no time to dally. There was an ill woman in need of healing and she was still a day’s journey away. But to ignore Fate’s warning could prove unwise.
Bliss hugged her dark blue wool cloak more closely around her. Winter’s bite was sharp in the air leaving no doubt it would be a bitter one. She wished, however, this year she need not spend the cold days and dark shivering nights alone. Being one and twenty years she had thought for certain, though had never foreseen it, that she would have a husband and children by now. She didn’t, and she worried that she never would.
Respected for her abilities by her people, she also found it a deterrent to finding a mate. Most men feared her knowing, one fellow being adamant about it saying, “There would be nothing I could keep from you — nothing.”
Bliss realized then that she wanted no husband who would hide things from her. She wanted honesty and trust from the man who would be her husband, or she would remain alone.
The crunch of leaves alerted her to heavy footfalls, and it was easy to tell that more than one person approached. In an instant she knew soldiers headed her way. Normally she would detect their presence much sooner giving her time to flee to safety.
Why had she been cautioned to wait for those who could very well do her harm? Could they possibly be in need of healing? Or had she been mistaken? She dismissed the foolish thought as soon as it entered her head, reminding herself that Fate knew well life’s course and she need not fear.
Three king’s soldiers broke past the trees and into the clearing where she stood. Apprehension fluttered her stomach, but she remained confident that all would be well.
“We’ve found ourselves an angel,” the one young soldier said with a grin.
“She is a beauty,” remarked another with a sneer that warned his thoughts bordered on carnal.
All too often men remarked on her beauty so much so that the words no longer meant anything to her and certainly not from this lot. Someday she hoped to find a man who would look past her features and see her true worth. But at the moment she needed to wait, for she sensed these soldiers were not why Fate had her linger.
A sudden ill-wind blew around them scooping up leaves and twigs and swirling them in the air before carrying them off on a rush of wind. A fast-moving mist followed sweeping in along the ground. It would not be easy to take a step or find one’s way if it grew any thicker.
Gray clouds rushed in overhead warning of an impending storm, or did it portent someone’s arrival?
Bliss shivered sensing someone’s approach, someone of great power and strength, someone who would stand before these soldiers with courage, and someone she was destined to meet.
“What is a beautiful lassie doing out in the woods all alone?” the youngest soldier asked inching closer.
“I wait.” Bliss let her cloak casually fall away from her arms to reveal the drawings on her wrists.
Another soldier gasped. “She’s a Pict.”
“We don’t mix with pagans,” the older soldier who had remained a distance from the other two said.
“Why?” the young soldier asked boldly.
The older soldier slowly shook his head. “They are strange ones.”
Bliss sensed that the younger soldier would not pay heed to the wisdom of the older one. He was brash in his bravado and intent on proving his courage. Warnings from the older soldier, to him, were nothing more than fear and old superstitious nonsense.
“Because they paint symbols on themselves?” the young soldier asked with a shake of his head and a laugh. “There will be no more Picts soon enough.”
Bliss’s fair cheeks flared red and her pale blue eyes darkened ever so slightly. “Mark your words wisely, young lad, for Picts have walked these lands far longer than you know and will continue to claim these lands long after you’re gone.”
“Is that a threat?” the young soldier demanded, his chest expanding as he drew his shoulders back and approached her with swift steps.
He didn’t in the least intimidate Bliss. She stood firm, her head up, her pride and courage evident. “It is the truth.”
“And I say with as much truth that the likes of you and your kind will be no more,” the soldier challenged, his comrades encouraging him with cheers.
“You can say or claim all you wish, but the truth is written and cannot be erased,” she said confidently.
“She’s a seer,” the older soldier said with a shiver. “Stay clear of her or she will steal your soul.”
The young soldier scurried away tripping over his feet as he went, his pretentious bravado failing him.
“What do we do with her?” the other soldier asked taking several cautious steps away.
“She might prove helpful to King Kenneth,” the young one suggested.
“Fool,” the older one spat. “The king has his own seer and he keeps his distance from the Picts, being pagans they cannot be trusted.”
Bliss felt a sudden catch in her stomach, though she moved not a muscle. It intensified as the unknown man continued his approach. From how palpable his strength, he was no doubt a warrior. They were an easy lot to sense, their potency far-reaching. Though there was a force about this particular one that caused her to shudder. Passion tickled at her flesh and a heady scent soon followed wrapping around her like a lover’s strong embrace.
This was the man she was meant to meet, and why Fate had her wait. A tingle of anticipation ran through her and without warning, as was the way of it, a sense of knowing struck her like a mighty blow. Only this time it was about her.
She could foolishly doubt it, but it would do no good. The sense of what was about to transpire was much too strong, too rooted in her knowing. Still, it was difficult to believe and yet she knew without a doubt that Fate had her wait here — she took a deep breath, not sure if she was ready — to meet her future husband.