Lothaire teleported to Mt. Oblak, the Forbearer seat, and unsheathed his sword. Half-tracing into the Gravewalker's chambers, all but invisible, he found Kristoff gazing out the open window, his sand-colored hair blowing in the breeze.

The male's dark blue eyes were clear of bloodlust, but he appeared preoccupied as he stared into the night.

Dreaming of his future Bride? Of the father he'd never known?

Lothaire remembered peering down at Kristoff as an infant. All those ages ago, Lothaire had loomed over his cradle, bent on murdering Stefanovich's true heir . . . until the fair-haired baby had reached up and grasped at his finger.

As if in recognition.

If Kristoff made one wrong move this eve, Lothaire would remedy his earlier mercy.

Moving like a shadow, silent as death, Lothaire placed his sword against Kristoff's neck, "Hello, brother. . . ."



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