If you've been here longer than a week, you will recall I get a new story idea about every other day. :)
A king must have sons. Verity heard her father’s words in her head—words he used to justify unspeakable acts. She let the words play with her thoughts while she watched him from across the table, his handsome face illuminated by candles that somehow erased the harsh lines around his eyes and mouth.
Verity let her gaze slide from her father to the man speaking to him. Lord Bakkus was a greasy, fat man with eyes that missed little but hid much. Verity wondered if her father knew—if he even noticed—the cunning of Bakkus’s smile. Or did her father’s attention stray far from Lord Bakkus’s lovely young daughter?
Bakkus waved away the servant with the tray of wine. “As I was saying, your majesty, I believe you and I can do a great deal for one another.” He leaned back in his chair and belched. “In fact, I know I have something you want.”
Verity’s father’s eyebrows knit together. “And what is that?”
Bakkus didn’t even look at his daughter, but barked, “Come here.”
She obeyed, of course, and moved to stand just at his right. Verity wondered if he’d planned even that—how the candlelight played with her golden hair and soft white gown. She knew what he would offer her father, but what did Bakkus have to gain from it?
“Melody, my youngest,” Bakkus said. “She comes from a long line of good breeders. Her mother gave me four strapping sons to build my territory, and two lovely daughters to add to my wealth. Melody’s older sister has given her husband six strong sons. Which is more than any of your women have done for you.”
Bakkus leaned forward, a little too eagerly in Verity’s opinion, to watch her father’s face. Verity could see the deep frown in his profile as her father looked at the minor lord. He’d struck a nerve, certainly. Verity wondered how many people knew of her father’s struggle to have a son.
“What would you want in return?” the king asked.
Verity saw the gleam of satisfaction hit the lord’s eyes for the briefest of instants. Did her father see it? Probably not. His gaze had wandered back to Melody’s heart-shaped face. And other qualities.
Bakkus was looking at her now. Why? Verity wondered. That gleam was back in his eye. She almost shook her head. He couldn’t want what she thought.
“I propose an exchange,” Bakkus said to the king. “A daughter for a daughter.”
So, what do you think? Should I continue to explore Verity's dark world?