Stories by Colin Burke

A Mixture of Feralties


“I want you to rescue my daughter,” said King Voironis of Ensgabaen.

“I had thought you might,” said Milcoradis, smiling. “– Your Highness.”

“You knew? Where did you hear…?”

“I suspected, Your Highness. Yrtolk of Norodinan is well-known to you, and Princess Neradina is a dutiful daughter who has known for a long time that her marriage would be made for reasons of state. If you had wanted her to marry Yrtolk, she would have done so, without requiring a test period of close acquaintance. I think she was kidnapped.”

“You know much about my daughter, for an outlander?”

“My father told me about her ten years ago, when he had some hope that I might marry her.”

A Count of Pavadaris dared aspire–?”

“It was, if you remember, during the war with Lortorth, and marriage with me would have meant alliance with my distant cousin, the Emperor of Malath. And I am of blood royal on my mother’s side, though my father be but a count. In any case, there seemed some hope, and from what I heard of Neradina and what I saw in a painting my father obtained of her, I was quite smitten. Though I am no longer in love with her, I think it unlikely I shall ever love another. One such love is enough for a lifetime.”

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