Jamie was king, granted by the right of the Black Sword of Night. Except he wasn’t king, not now that his Knight and lover Ainsley was dead. No one was until the Black Sword was restored.
A year after the sword broke, Jamie ran to Ainsley’s memorial. Finding the true king meant opening his heart and Jamie didn’t think he could do that
Let him have one night to mourn. Then he’d find the true king.
Broken Sword of Night
By Meyari McFarland
Jamie crouched, hidden from view beside the massive granite base of Ainsley’s statue. The street was dark, quiet, only two torches burning in front of the statue. Thankfully, they cast flickering cones of light only a couple of feet from their base which left his hiding spot swaddled in deep darkness. If only he didn’t have to deal with the stink of the cheap oil fueling the torches tarring the back of his throat.
There was already moss under his knee, wet slimy green-black stuff that stank of rot instead of anything living, healthy. Good. Appropriate, really. The entire city was broken. They’d broken along with Jamie the day Ainsley marched out to battle and came back on a stretcher with his neck snapped, his limbs broken but still, somehow, a hero.
A statue. They’d sculpted a statue of him instead of doing anything that Ainsley would have approved of. No feeding the poor, the desperate. The nobles said there was no point to healing the sick even though Ainsley had worked tirelessly to create free clinics for those in need. His beautiful garden, created in the center of the worst part of town so that the poor could come and pick food, had already gone to weeds. Most of the vegetables were already dead.
Because everyone knew that they were doomed. Even Jamie knew it and he’d spent most of the last year desperately trying to pretend that they’d won the war, that Ainsley really was a hero. Acid burned at the back of Jamie’s throat. He swallowed, shut his eyes, dug his fingers into the slime-moss that would inevitably consume Ainsley’s statue.
“He had to come this way.”
Jamie flinched and shifted deeper into the darkness. There was a tiny gap only about ten inches wide, between the statue’s base and the wall of the building behind it. He stood, carefully, and then edged into it. It took breathing all his air out but he made it just as Lindsey strode up to the statue and peered into the darkness for any signs of Jamie.
Behind him, Cameron sighed. Both of them were taller, stronger, bolder than Jamie would ever be. They hadn’t lost the other half of their souls. They were still together while Jamie’s soul had been torn apart when Ainsley died. Nothing would ever be right again now and they knew it but they still expected Jamie to be his old cheerful self.
“Why can’t you leave him alone?” Cameron asked. “Jamie’s broken. You know that. He’ll never be able to rule, not with Ainsley gone.”
“We don’t have anyone else who can do it,” Lindsey snapped. “We need him. You know that.”
Even crammed into his tight corner Jamie could see the sheer desperation on Lindsey’s face. Normally it didn’t show, Lindsey didn’t let it, but it was there now, highlighted by the flickering gold of the torches. Jamie almost slipped out, guilt rising above the ever-present pain of loss. But then the desperation shifted to fury and Jamie held his breath for fear of what Lindsey might do to him when he found him.
“There are other pairs,” Cameron said. “We have the Gods’ gift, too.”
“We can’t wield the sword,” Lindsey replied. His hands clenched into fists while his eyes shut as if that truth, that horrible inevitable fact, was the most painful thing in his world.
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