The Grail King

The Grail King by Joy Nash

Book: The Grail King by Joy Nash Read Free Book Online
Authors: Joy Nash
Tags: Romance
unmoved. Color rose on Marcus’s neck and ears.
    “It is possible,” Rhys said.
    “Owein’s no stranger to dark magic,” Marcus muttered.
    Rhys stopped pacing. “Ye know him?”
    Marcus studied a pair of tongs. “I’ve seen him. It was thirteen years ago. I was a boy of ten. Owein’s Druid master, Madog, slaughtered my uncle and cast a dark spell on his soul. When Madog died trying to imprison my father in the same way, Owein tried to complete what his master began.” He passed a hand over his eyes. “If Owein has grown in power since that time … by Pollux! I don’t know what’s worse—thinking Clara lost in the hills, or believing that she has found Owein.”
    “If what you say is true, then Owein could very well be the Druid who called the storm.” A curious sense of relief washed through Rhys. As much as he loved Rhiannon, contemplating Owein’s guilt was far preferable to believing what was whispered by the Druids of Avalon—that Rhys’s twin, Gwendolyn, was the rogue Druid.
    “If Owein is calling the Deep Magic, I need to learn his purpose. I have to find him,” Rhys said.
    “Rhiannon begged Father to locate Owein after the fighting died down in the north. Father put out some inquiries, but nothing came of them. It will cause my stepmother much pain if Owein has once again aligned himself with dark magic.”
    “Rhiannon is a strong woman.”
    “She loves too deeply.”
    “And ye do not? What of Clara?”
    Marcus scowled. Pacing to his workbench, he plucked a dagger from the clutter. Rhys eased to one side, away from the slab of wood that Marcus used for a practice target. For all Marcus’s unflappable good nature, Rhys knew his friend could turn deadly when sufficiently provoked.
    “I should have pressed Clara more.” He grimaced. “Spoken to her of something other than the weather. If I had, she might have come to me in her distress, rather than taking the counsel of a senile old man.”
    “I dinna think Aiden has lost his wits.”
    Marcus brought his arm forward with a sudden motion. His dagger sliced the air, rotating once before thudding into the center of the target. “What kind of man would send a delicate Roman woman into the mountains to seek a wild Celt?” he demanded.
    “What kind of Roman woman would act on his advice?”
    “A desperate one,” Marcus said. “A grieving one. Rhiannon’s been to Gracchus’s bedside. If she couldn’t cure him, the man is all but dead.” He expelled a rough breath. “If Clara succeeds in finding Owein, he’s likely to hold her for ransom, if he does not kill her outright. By Pollux, her father commands the Second Legion! Owein will hardly be moved to help her retrieve a magic cup.”
    “If the cup Clara’s looking for is truly the Lost Grail of Avalon, I have no doubt that he will help her,” Rhys replied. “He will want the grail for himself.”
    Marcus looked ill. “What is this vessel? What power does it hold?”
    Rhys shifted uncomfortably, sweat trickling down his neck. He could hardly reveal the secrets of the Lost Grail to Marcus, but he sensed his friend wouldn’t accept silence for an answer.
    “Many years ago,” he began carefully, “before the Roman army marched on the west country, a ship from the east was wrecked on the shores of Avalon. The only survivor was a woman, heavy with child. In her arms, she cradled a plain wooden cup. She spoke of a carpenter prophet from the East, who followed the way of the Light. She gave no name, so the Druids called her simply ‘The Lady.’ ”
    Rhys shifted his stance. “The Lady birthed twin daughters. Soon after, she disappeared into the swamps. The Druids succored her babes. Before many years passed, they discovered the twins were bound to the Deep Magic.”
    “What is this Deep Magic? Is it good? Or evil?”
    “Neither. Or both. The Deep Magic existed long before the Dark parted from the Light. For those able to call it, Deep Magic can take either form.”
    He paced toward

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