A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)(13)

by Sarah J. Maas

Horrible—brutal. I wanted to say it, but the look Lucien was giving me … I’d had enough of people judging me.

“So give him time, Feyre,” Lucien said. “Let’s get through the wedding, then the Tithe next month, and then … then we can see about the rest.”

“I’ve given him time,” I said. “I can’t stay cooped up in the house forever.”

“He knows that—he doesn’t say it, but he knows it. Trust me. You will forgive him if his family’s own slaughter keeps him from being so … liberal with your safety. He’s lost those he cares for too many times. We all have.”

Every word was like fuel added to the simmering pit in my gut. “I don’t want to marry a High Lord. I just want to marry him.”

“One doesn’t exist without the other. He is what he is. He will always, always seek to protect you, whether you like it or not. Talk to him about it—really talk to him, Feyre. You’ll figure it out.” Our gazes met. A muscle feathered in Lucien’s jaw. “Don’t ask me to pick.”

“But you’re deliberately not telling me things.”

“He is my High Lord. His word is law. We have this one chance, Feyre, to rebuild and make the world as it should be. I will not begin that new world by breaking his trust. Even if you …”

“Even if I what?”

His face paled, and he stroked a hand down the mare’s cobweb-colored mane. “I was forced to watch as my father butchered the female I loved. My brothers forced me to watch.”

My heart tightened for him—for the pain that haunted him.

“There was no magic spell, no miracle to bring her back. There were no gathered High Lords to resurrect her. I watched, and she died, and I will never forget that moment when I heard her heart stop beating.”

My eyes burned.

“Tamlin got what I didn’t,” Lucien said softly, his breathing ragged. “We all heard your neck break. But you got to come back. And I doubt that he will ever forget that sound, either. And he will do everything in his power to protect you from that danger again, even if it means keeping secrets, even if it means sticking to rules you don’t like. In this, he will not bend. So don’t ask him to—not yet.”

I had no words in my head, my heart. Giving Tamlin time, letting him adjust … It was the least I could do.

The clamor of construction overtook the chittering of forest birds long before we set foot in the village: hammers on nails, people barking orders, livestock braying.

We cleared the woods to find a village halfway toward being built: pretty little buildings of stone and wood, makeshift structures over the supplies and livestock … The only things that seemed absolutely finished were the large well in the center of the town and what looked to be a tavern.

Sometimes, the normalcy of Prythian, the utter similarities between it and the mortal lands, still surprised me. I might as well have been in my own village back home. A much nicer, newer village, but the layout, the focal points … All the same.

And I felt like just as much an outsider when Lucien and I rode into the heart of the chaos and everyone paused their laboring or selling or milling about to look at us.

At me.

Like a ripple of silence, the sounds of activity died in even the farthest reaches of the village.

“Feyre Cursebreaker,” someone whispered.

Well, that was a new name.

I was grateful for the long sleeves of my riding habit, and the matching gloves I’d tugged on before we’d entered the village border.

Lucien pulled up his mare to a High Fae male who looked like he was in charge of building a house bordering the well fountain. “We came to see if any help was needed,” he said, loud enough for everyone to hear. “Our services are yours for the day.”