The Crystal Chalice (Book 1)

Read Online The Crystal Chalice (Book 1) by R.J. Grieve - Free Book Online

Book: The Crystal Chalice (Book 1) by R.J. Grieve Read Free Book Online
Authors: R.J. Grieve
on so long that she began to get uncomfortable. She knew that this was
his intention, but was unable to stop herself from breaking the silence. “How
did you know so quickly that you were being deceived? My disguise did not fool
you for a single instant. How could you have known I was not the Princess?”
      He shrugged. “The wig was enough to fool Hydar and
the others, because all they knew about the Princess was her most famous
feature - her red-gold hair. However, I had the advantage of them, in that I
had actually seen the Princess.”
     She gasped. “We thought that there was no likelihood
of .......” she stopped abruptly, suddenly aware of what she had been going to
say, but he finished her sentence for her.
    “........no likelihood of some mountain brigand knowing
what King Tharin’s daughter looked like. That was bad luck. However, luck was
not wholly against you. If I had come to escort the Princess myself, as I had
intended, if.....ah....other matters had not called me away, your Prince would
not have escaped.”
     She sat up abruptly in her chair. “You were too late
to stop him! He got away.”
     The black brows drew a little together. “For the
moment,” he conceded, “however, the same cannot be said for you. What intrigues
me is how did they force you to do this? What threat, what reward, was great
enough for you to risk certain death? What would make you throw your life away?
You see, the last person who angered me, ended by begging me to kill him. You
knew very well my reputation. So why did you do this?”
     “I wasn’t forced. I volunteered.”
     “Don’t be a fool,” he snapped. “Do you really expect
me to believe that?”
     “It’s true nevertheless. I.....I owe Prince Andarion
a great debt of gratitude, more than I can ever repay. When you demanded his
sister as hostage, the Prince was thrown into the most impossible dilemma. He
loves his sister dearly, moreover she is his father’s favourite child. To give
her to a man such as you, hardly bore thinking about, yet to allow you to pin
down and slaughter a sizeable proportion of the Eskendrian army, with the Turog
just over the border, would have been folly. He was tormented for days trying
to find a solution but in the end I found it for him. Both his sister and his
army are safe. The only one who will pay is me.”
     “And who are you? Who is of so little account that
they can be so easily disposed of?”
     “Me? I’m no one. No past, no future, very little
present.”
     Once again a little flicker of anger glinted in his
eyes. “Don’t play games with me,” he counselled in a voice as smooth a steel.
      “My name is Elorin.”
     His anger flared and for a moment she thought he was
going to dive across the table at her.  “Elorin is not a name,” he
snapped. “It is the word for autumn in the old tongue.”
     “It’s the only name I have. Prince Andarion gave me
that name because Relisar made me appear on an autumn day.”
     Anger lifted as suddenly as a thundercloud from a
mountain peak, as it was replaced by comprehension. “I know something of this.
That old fool Relisar tried to summon the Champion of the Book of Light, and as
usual, managed to bungle it. I heard all he managed to produce was one
insignificant girl. A girl with no memory. I’m surprised the Prince tolerates that
doddering idiot. Everything he touches turns to disaster. The Prince must have
been desperate to try and resurrect that particular myth.”
     “You don’t believe in the prediction?”
     He gave a crack of cynical laughter. “Belief is for
children, or idiots such as Relisar.” 
      Suddenly, he noticed that she had turned deathly
pale and realised that if he didn’t give her some food she would faint. He
pushed the basket of bread towards her and filled a glass of wine. She took
both gratefully but didn’t thank him, for she knew his motivation was not
kindness. He wanted to continue with the sport of tormenting

Similar Books

The Chateau

William Maxwell

Shakespeare's Planet

Clifford D. Simak

Keeker and the Sneaky Pony

Hadley Higginson

TRACELESS

Helen Kay Dimon

True Crime

Andrew Klavan

Silent Cravings

Jess Haines, E. Blix

The False Prince

Jennifer A. Nielsen