“Did you say my sister married Sable?” he asked.
“I’m sure by now. ”
Perry turned back to the wagons. Liv had always been his. As the oldest, Vale had been groomed by their father for Blood Lord. But he and Liv had been left to themselves. Perry couldn’t believe it. She belonged to someone else now. Liv, who was quick to laugh, quick to anger, quick to forgive. Liv, who did nothing in part and everything in full, was married.
As much as he’d believed she should do her duty to the Tides by marrying Sable, he’d never expected that she actually would. His sister had always been unpredictable, but this was her greatest surprise of all. She’d run off, disappeared, and then ended up doing what had been asked of her all along.
Perry’s stomach clenched as he thought of Roar. How would he react when he found out?
“Well?” said Kirra, pulling him from his thoughts. “It’s getting late. Should we unpack?”
Perry ran a hand over his jaw,
It was done. Liv was married. He couldn’t change it now.
That night, Aria and Roar were escorted to a wide dining room. Candlelight and silver glimmered on a long dinner table. A centerpiece of twisting willow branches rose out of a huge vase, casting spindly shadows across the ceiling. Along one side of the room, doors opened to a balcony. Rust-colored drapes stirred in the wind, revealing glimpses of the churning Aether sky.
Roar scanned the room. “Where’s Liv?” he asked as they stepped inside.
Sable rose from the table. He wore his Blood Lord chain now, a fantastic, shining collar spotted with sapphires that sparkled against his deep gray shirt. The chain transformed him, enhancing the blue in his eyes and the confidence in his smile. Aria wondered how she’d ever mistaken him for ordinary. He looked comfortable with the chain. At ease with power. She realized she’d never had the same thought about Perry.
“Liv is running late,” Sable said. “She seems to like making me wait. ”
“Maybe she’s avoiding you,” Roar said.
Sable’s mouth lifted in a small smile. “I’m happy you’re here. It’ll be good for Liv to have a childhood friend at our wedding. ”
“She told you we’re friends?” Roar asked with a smirk. He couldn’t seem to stop himself.
Sable replied smoothly, but his stare was cruel. “I know what you were. That’s what she said you are. ”
A gust blew into the room and lifted a corner of the tablecloth, upsetting a pewter goblet. It clattered onto the stone floor. Neither Sable nor Roar moved.
Aria stepped between them. “It looks like the storm will break soon,” she said, striding to the balcony. It was a blatant attempt at diversion, but it worked. Sable followed her.
The wind lifted her hair off her shoulders as she stepped past the drapes. She walked to the low stone wall that edged the balcony, hugging herself against the cold. The rugged exterior of the fortress dropped several stories to the Snake River directly below. Aether light shimmered across its dark surface.
Sable appeared beside her. “It’s beautiful from a distance, isn’t it?” he said, staring at the Aether. The flows were taking on a twisting, spooling shape. Soon the funnels would drop. “Very different when you’re right beneath it. ” He looked at her. “You’ve been in a storm before?”
“I thought so. I scent your fear, but I could be wrong. Maybe you fear something else. Are you afraid of heights, Aria? It’s a long way down. ”
A shiver ran through her, but her voice was even when she answered. “I’m fine with heights. ”
Sable smiled. “That doesn’t surprise me. You said you were from the Tides?”
He was prodding her with questions. Scenting her tempers and seeking her weakness. “I came from there, yes. ”
“But you didn’t know Liv before today. ”