Eitilt registered the dragon, Maud, who was to fly them to the top of the tower. Something was horribly amiss. No dragon allowed anyone except for a family member to ride on their back. They certainly did not perform for the whim of the king. “House of Molten Rock,” was all he said in acknowledgement as the three climbed onto her back.
When she discharged her passengers, her eyes were straight ahead, flickered to Eitilt for a moment and then descended to the ground.
Interesting. What had Rowan promised Padraig, the head of House of Molten Rock? And with what had Padraig threatened his youngest daughter Maud? No one told a female dragon what to do. You might suggest politely, but to put one in such a subservient position? When the war came, he thought perhaps Maud would stand on their side.
Once he was inside, he saw fifteen of the thirty dragon houses represented. If Albie had lived, House of the Sun would tilt it to more than half that was celebrating this occasion.
They were met by an escort of men-at-arms.
“Lady Gael,” a guard by the name of Michael, offered her his arm. “I am to escort you to your floor so that you may rest.
Aed,” he gave a slight nod of his head. “There is drink waiting for you so that you might toast your Master on the first floor,” he indicated with his head. “That is where they are gathered and the Master is receiving his well wishes from his friends.
Eitilt,” he bowed, “King Rowan wishes to meet with you first thing. This way please. I will be your escort to the second floor.”
Eitilt did a head count as he walked by. The normal crowd was here. Lap dogs and ass kissers and all manner of offenders of the worst order. If Rowan wanted a frolic, it looked like he had emptied out his castle. Apparently Rowan had talked this up to his inner circle. There were several who were grinning at him and winking as he made his way down the steps to see the king. Several were lounging on the stairs with their drink, apparently they could not be too far from Rowan in case his ass needed wiping as well as kissing.
The door was opened and he was ushered in. When the door closed, he could have sworn he heard the key turn. Maybe not. Who would be stupid enough to lock him in with Rowan?
“Eitilt, so good of you to meet with me. Please sit,” Rowan smiled and motioned to a chair.
“My king, what may I do for you on this joyous occasion?” Joyous was correct. Rowan actually had a bit of sparkle about him. True fae happiness? Really?
“I have it on authority from your father that no female has ever been born to the Heart of the Sun.”
Eitilt now fully understood the expression, what the fuck? Just what the fuck? “That is correct, my king.”
“I would like a grandson,” he began.
Eitilt hoped his face was not expressing what he truly felt. Such, kill them all and be done with this. “My king…?” he let the question speak for itself.
“And your family only produces males…”
Eitilt could hear the glee in Rowan’s voice. “Yes, my king…”
“I know you care deeply for your brother, your father has often commented on this.”
“Yes.” If he threatened his brother, he would kill this fucker right now.
“Yes, most excellent,” Rowan nodded. “When the Master Assassin said he wanted a threesome so that my daughter might be completely engaged, I of course agreed to it. Her mother found this to be always pleasurable. But this is my daughter…and since she is only to be his consort and not his mate…” he let his voice trail off and let Eitilt think what he would. Like maybe if she did conceive, she could be handed over to whoever the child’s father was. After all, he would have a new Master Assassin. He would not need the old one. And he did want a grandson sired by the House of the Heart of the Sun.
“The Master Assassin is old. I have no idea if he is too old to produce an heir or not. But my daughter deserves at least, that. A child. And I would like a grandson from this child of mine that is so kind and caring. Unlike some of the others from my loins that should be taxed for the air they breathe and the piss they leave in the dirt.”
Eitilt had an excellent idea where this was going. But he wanted it spelled out. No mistakes or inferences made. “My king…? Is there a point?”
Rowan leaned forward, just a bit. “It is my duty as king to see to the welfare of all my subjects.” His voice was full of concern. “My daughter is one. The Master has been drinking heavily since we arrived. I did not realize that he is impotent with women. I think he must now face that fact that he is not up to snuff to bed my daughter and means to use the drink as an excuse. I think only of my daughter and her lonely nights. So my men are keeping him busy offering him toasts. I do not think Aed would sidestep his master and bed her. I will not object if he does. But I believe you would not have that problem.”
“My king…you want me to bed Lady Gael? And Aed is welcome to do so if he is willing?”
“Yes,” he sat back in the chair. “That is exactly what I want. My daughter deserves a child.” He fidgeted with his sleeves for a moment and then his gaze was back on Eitilt. “There will be plenty for you to drink in your chamber. Keep the Master drunk, throw dice, gamble away my kingdom with him so that you may mount her first and please, Eitilt, pick the baby-making orifice. Do what you must, just engage my daughter and put my grandson in her womb.”
“Thank you Eitilt,” he smiled as he stood and exited the room. When he reached the door he turned and said, “I know in my heart that you will not fail me in this endeavor.”
“My king…” he said rising and watched as Rowan left and then he walked out the door, himself.
Descending one more flight, opening the door to the first floor, he found Aed pouring another round for his master. Eitilt offered his congratulations and “Please Master Assassin, if I might borrow my brother for a few minutes, I am embarrassed that we have arrived empty-handed. I thought we would have time to forage but we were ushered straight into your tower. If we might be excused to pick blackberries to add to your mating arch?”
“Of course,” he roared, clasping Eitilt on the back and sloshing his drink on him. “I would be honored.”
“Come, Aed,” Eitilt smiled at him and putting his arm around him for support, helped his in his cups brother to the window and out they both went, Eitilt first so that he might catch his brother and set him gently to the ground.
“What the fuck?” Aed muttered once they were out in the brambles, searching for blackberries. “I have never seen so many dragon houses gathered in one place. Especially to be in attendance upon the king.”
“Yes,” Eitilt said, stopping to cut a cane with the red/purple/black fruit bearing in abundance. “Just what the fuck?”
“What have you learned?” Aed asked. “You are seething.”
“My brother, they have not one clue that I am going to…well never mind. We are on a schedule, here. The frolic is Rowan’s idea. They are keeping the Master Assassin drunk. Rowan wants me to mate with Gael and for you to do so yourself as well if you are willing. He chose our house, so he says, because we only produce males. He wants a grandson. Specifically. Not a girl, but a boy.”
“What?” Aed stopped and stared. “A boy? That is just…” Aed shook his head. “Rowan hates dragons. Especially sly, crafty, smarter than him, House of the Sun dragons.”
“Well yes,” Eitilt chuckled. “Yes, just what did the librarians tell him about Mer’lyn? And is it truth or did they just make it up? With the library closed, who would know? Ah, there is the horn. Time to go and place our offering for their happiness in their bower and toast the happy couple.”