[Luke] One [Luke] One

I opened the chest, revealing Werewindle, the Dayblade, Firesword.

I never knew her origins. I mean, why would Dad need a Pattern Blade? He was never much of a warrior -- I assumed I could defeat him him in hand-to-hand combat when I was just a teen. That had a lot to do with why he arranged for my tutelage with Deirdre.

Once, I had gotten up the balls to ask him why he needed such a weapon. An enigmatic smile crossed his lips. Brand then began a story about Oberon having taken pity on him, a small, puny child... The story eventually degenerated into tiny glimpses of what was next -- Oberon taking him to a "secret place" of "infernal heat and rage, the mythical Hades come to life."

I don't know how much of that I believe, but alas, now the sword is mine, by birthright. And since neither Corwin nor Bleys would be around, the onus fell on me to lead them, with our family's greatest weapon. Buckling the scabbard on my belt, I looked in the mirror and smiled. Now I'd get the respect I deserve.

***

"Are you sure?" I heard Quinn say, and then a moment after, a man appeared next to her.

He stood there, tall and dangerous, in glittering black scale mail, teal cloak affixed to his collar with a decorative silver shark fin. His long, dark hair was pulled into a tail behind his head, save those errant wild strands of hair that framed his forehead. His jaw was set, and his eyes narrowed.

Darien.

And in his left had was a sword that glimmered with a filigree of rainbow light, silver and electrum and mithril, pommel and basket decorated with aquamarine and topaz and tourmaline.

He looked at Quinn and smiled.

Snake eyes again, Reynard.

***

The battle was over. I'd endured a long, drawn-out affair with a ghastly image of Bleys, almost as good a swordsman as my uncle. It only look the smallest wound from me to start his body ablaze, but not before he scored a half dozen wounds to my arms and thighs.

After being ushered away from the buzzing Pattern by Connie (who, for which I am glad, has proven himself honorably this day), I watched the others make their way up the pass. Benedict, carrying Random... Locke and Jess and Simon, Deirdre further down making sure everyone was getting away...

Quinn and Darien trudging up the pass.

I think sometimes my son has an exaggerated idea of my... social life. I'll admit, I've been with a lot of women in the 73 years of my life, and the rationale behind them are as varied as they were. Sometimes, sure, it was just for the pure carnality, the great sex. Sometimes, it was more for a warm body in the night. Or not to be so lonely.

But I feel differently now. Something has occupied my heart and head, and in the process I'm being changed into someone that I never used to be. But until that point, seeing them...

My God, I think I'm in love with Quinn.

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