A/N – I hope you don't mind me adding this on the end of "Sovereign," but it will be a while before I have enough chapters completed on "Regent" to start posting it on Fiction Press, so I thought I would give you all a taste until then. I have the outline written, just not the story. And not the time to do the story justice right at the moment. FYI..."Regent" will be written in 3rd person.

This storyline came to me about halfway through "Sovereign" and I really want to write it. Regent has such an interesting background story that was only slightly alluded to. She is definitely my favorite character. "Regent" will have all the good fantasy stuff: adventures, civil unrest, good guys, bad guys, some romance…and Jorn will be back :-D.

Let me know what you think!




Excerpt from "Regent"

(A companion piece to "Sovereign")

Phaedra lay on the bed, her pale blond hair that had turned white with age spread out around her like snow. The rise and fall of her chest signified a peaceful sleep, but Malek knew better. His wife was suffering.

It would only take a little effort to bring back some of her youth—to give him just a little more time. He deserved it. He'd given every second of his long life to keeping his kingdom in order. Surely he was owed just a few more years of bliss?

As if hearing his thoughts, Phaedra awoke and smiled up at him, the twinkle in her eye belying the pain he could feel as if it were his own. "Don't even think of it, Your Majesty," she admonished weakly. "I'd rather be dead than evil."

Millennia of practice could not keep his emotions fully in check. He smiled back since he knew that was what she wanted, but a single tear betrayed him. Quicker than thought, he began adjusting the blankets around her feet, giving him the cover he needed to hide his fear.

Phaedra wasn't fooled. Grabbing his hand, she pulled it to her heart. "Malek…" her voice broke, forcing her to continue in a whisper. "Malek, we knew this day was coming. Please don't fight it. You must go on. You have a job to do. Your life is worth thousands of mine. Don't waste time grieving over a simple peasant girl."

"Simple peasant girl!" Malek scoffed. "You have never been a simple anything." Squeezing her hand lightly for emphasis, he began sending waves of peace her way. He may not be allowed to heal her, but there was no way he was going to let his fear upset her further.

The clock on the mantel ticked away, mimicking the beat of her heart—a reminder that time was running out. Phaedra's eyes drifted shut once more, a gentle smile on her face. "You can't fool me. I may not be Gifted, but I've lived with you long enough to know when you are pulling the wool over my eyes. But I will accept your help…just this once." She yawned, her voice growing even softer. "I'm too tired to argue. Sleep would be nice."

In a matter of seconds, her hand went limp within his and her breathing went back to the steady in and out of rest. He sat in silence for several minutes. There was no where more important for him to be at that moment than there, at her side.

He hadn't told her—he wouldn't tell her—that his reign was at an end. When Phaedra died, his soul would leave with her. Incendia could not be ruled by a shell of a man. Preparations had already been made for his eldest living son and his wife to take the throne upon her death. Already the transition had begun, with Chandel taking on more and more responsibility. He would be a good king. Malek had no regrets there.

Phaedra was not Malek's first wife, nor his second, or even his fifth wife. Malek had been wed to thirteen women over the course of the last three thousand years. He had loved each of them—had produced many offspring with them—but none had touched his soul as Phaedra. Had she delivered a child Gifted with all twelve Gifts, it would have been that child on the throne, but alas, the three she had given him only had ten Gifts between them. Malek must provide Incendia with as much stability as possible, for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, Chandel's wife wasn't Gifted either. That would make things more difficult when she naturally passed in fifty years or so. Malek did not think that they were bonded as he and Phaedra were, however future monarchs must be chosen with more care. He would need to think about that. It had never occurred to him that a death of a spouse could drain one so completely—until he had found his soul's mate.

A coughing fit erupted from deep within his queen's chest and Malek cringed when she didn't awaken. Using only a little Physical healing, he calmed her cough to allow her to return to her peaceful sleep. It wouldn't be enough to change her.

But it would weaken her.

He didn't know that those few seconds were bringing her close to the end; that by easing Phaedra's suffering he had robbed himself of what little precious time he had left.

He felt rather than saw her slip away. It was surprisingly painless; the emptiness left him with little room to grieve. Phaedra's hand grew cold in his, her life flowing out of her. One minute she was holding on; the next, his soul was ripped from his body.

The Malek that was left behind was held together only by the Gifts needed to keep his world alive. He would do his duty.

Then he would die.




"Do it again, Daddy! Do it again!"

The child's voice rang out through the trees, calling to Malek. It had been three years since Phaedra's death. Three years of torment. Malek wasn't sure how he carried on—taking one breath at a time was no longer involuntary. It was a focused action; determination flowing through his veins more so than blood.

This child would be the last. The eleven before her had their own unique traits that called to the particular Gift he would bestow upon them. They were all good at heart, but this child was innocence personified. Of all the children he had known, this child was the only one whose mind looked for others' interests first and foremost. Even as she called for her father to toss her once more into the air, it was for their shared amusement – she delighted most in the twinkle in his eye that appeared when he laughed.

This was a pure child. This was a child who knows what it means to love and be loved with her whole being.

And he was going to thrust her into a life of loneliness.