A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)(7)


by Sarah J. Maas

I’d been Made—resurrected and given this new body by the seven High Lords of Prythian. I wasn’t Tamlin’s mate, as far as I knew. There was no mating bond between us—yet.

Honestly … Honestly, Ianthe, with her bright gold hair, those teal eyes, elegant features, and supple body, looked more like Tamlin’s mate. His equal. A union with Tamlin—a High Lord and a High Priestess—would send a clear message of strength to any possible threats to our lands. And secure the power Ianthe was no doubt keen on building for herself.

Among the High Fae, the priestesses oversaw their ceremonies and rituals, recorded their histories and legends, and advised their lords and ladies in matters great and trivial. I hadn’t witnessed any magic from her, but when I’d asked Lucien, he’d frowned and said their magic was drawn from their ceremonies, and could be utterly lethal should they choose it. I’d watched her on the Winter Solstice for any signs of it, marking the way she’d positioned herself so that the rising sun filled her uplifted arms, but there had been no ripple or thrum of power. From her, or the earth beneath us.

I didn’t know what I’d really expected from Ianthe—one of the twelve High Priestesses who together governed their sisters across every territory in Prythian. Ancient, celibate, and quiet had been the extent of my expectations, thanks to those whispered mortal legends, when Tamlin had announced that an old friend was soon to occupy and renovate the crumbling temple complex on our lands. But Ianthe had breezed into our house the next morning and those expectations had immediately been trampled. Especially the celibate part.

Priestesses could marry, bear children, and dally as they would. It would dishonor the Cauldron’s gift of fertility to lock up their instincts, their inherent female magic in bearing life, Ianthe had once told me.

So while the seven High Lords ruled Prythian from thrones, the twelve High Priestesses reigned from the altars, their children as powerful and respected as any lord’s offspring. And Ianthe, the youngest High Priestess in three centuries, remained unmarried, childless, and keen to enjoy the finest males the land has to offer.

I often wondered what it was like to be that free and so settled within yourself.

When I didn’t respond to her gentle reprimand, she said, “Have you given any thought to what color roses? White? Pink? Yellow? Red—”

“Not red.”

I hated that color. More than anything. Amarantha’s hair, all that blood, the welts on Clare Beddor’s broken body, spiked to the walls of Under the Mountain—

“Russet could be pretty, with all the green … But maybe that’s too Autumn Court.” Again, that finger tapped on the table.

“Whatever color you want.” If I were being blunt with myself, I’d admit that Ianthe had become a crutch. But she seemed willing to do it—caring when I couldn’t bring myself to.

Yet Ianthe’s brows lifted slightly.

Despite being a High Priestess, she and her family had escaped the horrors of Under the Mountain by running. Her father, one of Tamlin’s strongest allies amongst the Spring Court and a captain in his forces, had sensed trouble coming and packed off Ianthe, her mother, and two younger sisters to Vallahan, one of the countless faerie territories across the ocean. For fifty years, they’d lived in the foreign court, biding their time while their people were butchered and enslaved.

She hadn’t once mentioned it. I knew better than to ask.

“Every element of this wedding sends a message to not only Prythian, but the world beyond,” she said. I stifled a sigh. I knew—she’d told me this before. “I know you are not fond of the dress—”