Haven: A Trial of Blood and Steel Book Four

Haven: A Trial of Blood and Steel Book Four by Joel Shepherd

Book: Haven: A Trial of Blood and Steel Book Four by Joel Shepherd Read Free Book Online
Authors: Joel Shepherd
call yourself Goeren-yai and be accepted by them, you must take their beliefs and customs seriously, Jaryd….”
    “I take it as seriously as they do,” Jaryd said with amusement. “The ancient ways aren't about reciting this text or that song, it's about heart.” He rapped himself on his armoured chest. “I may not have much, but I have that.”
    “So you're happy then?”
    “I think I am. I don't miss all of this shit, I can tell you that.” He nodded toward the temporary shrine. Sister Mardola cleared her throat, disapprovingly. She did not understand his words, but she knew a look of contempt when she saw one. Jaryd ignored her. “Sofy, you can't change the world, you know. Some people are shit. You can't make them nice by setting a good example.”
    “Jaryd, you Lenay men always think that violence is the only solution to everything. Why don't we try ending hatred with love for a change, instead of always using swords?”
    “Because it doesn't work,” said Jaryd, unruffled. “Men don't plough fields because they're violent to the soil, men plough fields because lovingly asking the soils to part does nothing. Besides which, it's not only Lenay men who think so, there's Yasmyn, and Sasha.”
    “Both of whom could use a little more feminine sensibility,” Sofy sniffed.
    “And where would that have gotten Sasha or the Udalyn against the Hadryn?”
    Sofy rolled her eyes. “The serrin agree with me,” she said stubbornly.
    “Aye, they did—look where it's gotten them. Backs to the wall and a sword at their throat. They showered these lands with love and your husband repaid them with invasion and slaughter.”
    Sofy found herself blinking back angry tears. Jaryd was from that other life, the one now lost to her. It wasn't fair that he should come here and do this to her. She had to make this life work, but he, apparently content in the other, kept crossing that divide and shattering all her carefully constructed dreams.
    Jaryd left the Princess Regent's tent in frustration, and made his way back to his camp. Knights stood in full armour about the tent, and would do so all night in shifts. Jaryd did not envy them, just suiting up could take such men an age. The rest of the camp was clatter and activity, and far too many servants and wagons for Jaryd's liking. There was a firm perimeter set against any serrin attack, and they camped in the middle of a wide field so none could sneak up on them. But if the serrin were to attack in force, he did not know if there were enough defenders to stop them, and all these cooks and maids would not help.
    His campfire was near the perimeter beside a wagon, where they could shelter if it rained. There sat Jandlys and Asym, and a noble girl in a dress.
    She stood up as Jaryd approached, and stuck out her hand. “You must be Jaryd Nyvar. I'm Jeddie. Lady Jelendria Horseth of Tournea, daughter of Lord Horseth, anyhow. I'm pleased to meet you.”
    She spoke Torovan, which Jaryd had only just pretended not to know. He shook her hand cautiously, and invited her to resume her seat on a saddle.
    “I'm a friend of your Princess Sofy,” Jeddie continued earnestly. “She is quite amazing, isn't she? My father is a grand patron of the arts; he has always wanted to see Tracato, and he was quite taken with Sofy. He is riding with the Regent at the war of course, but I did pester him, and he sent me. He said that the Princess Regent would need a female friend amongst so many men.”
    Jeddie was quite young, perhaps Sofy's age. She had a narrow face and a large nose, not especially pretty, and her manner was a little odd. Jaryd had seen one or two girls like this amongst the noble families in his home of Tyree, girls given a good education who, in the absence of real work or responsibilities, had fallen in love with matters of academics or arts. He recalled his own father, the late Great Lord of Tyree, complaining that such girls became unmarriageable and useless, more interested in

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