Here is the end of Part VII...
Cayden swept them an elegant bow. "My name is Cayden Lirra, Lord Elaistro of Remington. A pleasure to meet you at last."
Anthony and Marianne stood aghast. Lirra was their own family name.
"You--" Marianne said.
Cayden smiled. "That's right," he said. "I've the family title. We're some sort of cousins, I think, but not by blood." he turned away from them and threw his arm over the Underworlder's shoulder again. "Our family tree is a map of odd second marriages as you of course know. Now do you want to come and see the digs?"
And here is Part VIII...
“See in the dark, indeed,” Anthony muttered beside her. “I’m not sure I like this newfound cousin of ours.”
Marianne was growing quite annoyed with her brother. “I think he’s charming,” she said loudly. Cayden and Sahrin fell silent for a moment, and she felt herself blush.
She heard Anthony spit in the darkness. “Fish blood,” he whined. “I can still taste it.”
“Oh, come on, all you can taste is the—ah!” Her sandal slipped on a slick stone step.
A cold, wet hand grabbed her arm and steadied her. “Careful there, daughter of the sun.” It was a man’s voice, with only the slightest hint of Sahrin’s hiss.
Marianne squinted through the darkness. A pair of luminous eyes looked back at her. “Hello?” she said, startled.
The cold hand dropped from her arm. “Elaistro!” The man called, moving ahead of them. The light of a small torch revealed a muscular young Underworlder in cutoff fish-scale pants. He, Cayden, and Sahrin spoke in low voices. Cayden motioned back at her.
“Bwenlair?” said the newcomer. He turned around, effortlessly pacing backwards over the slippery cave floor. “My respects, Bwenlair. And Bwenlair’s brother.” He flourished his arms in a strange little bow and turned back to Cayden and Sahrin.
“What did you call me?” Marianne said, grabbing Anthony’s arm as the torch faded behind them.
Cayden called back to her. “Bwenlair. It means treasure-box.”
She could hear the sneer in Anthony’s voice. “My little treasure-box sister.”
“Tony,” she whispered, holding on to his arm, “can you think of anything father told me that might have been important? Because I don’t have the slightest idea what they’re talking about.”
“No.” Tony shrugged off her arm. “I’m not the one you should be asking. I’m just the inconsequential brother who gets abandoned and has to single-handedly escape from the Order, remember? On a sickly dragon, no less.”
Marianne gasped. “Janth! I almost forgot—what happened to him, Tony?”
“I left him gagging on Cayden’s roof.”
“Do you think he’ll be okay?”
“I don’t much care, Marianne.”
“But I care!” She glared in Anthony’s direction. “He’s my dragon. Father gave him to me!”
Cayden’s voice echoed suddenly through the cave. “You will do no such thing!”
“Maybe we won’t have to,” Sahrin hissed. “She may be…forthcoming.”
A torch blazed to life and the three men stood in a line before Marianne and Anthony.
“Bwenlair,” said the young Underworlder, nodding respectfully. “Would you please share with us the secret your father imparted to you?”
Caden looked at him with a guarded expression.
“The powerful secret,” Sahrim hissed, leaning forward with the torch, “which the Order is seeking.”
“I fear,” said Marianne, shivering, “that your treasure-box is empty. I know of no powerful secrets.”
There was a hint panic in Cayden’s eyes. “Marianne, think.”
She shrugged helplessly. “I’m sorry. I wish I knew.”
The newcomer spoke firmly. “Then we must leave her on the Dripping Ledge until she remembers.”
Anthony grabbed her arm.
“No!” Cayden shouted, stepping forward to look the young Underworlder in the eyes. “What good will that do? It won’t help her think—it will terrify the wits out of her!”
That's it for today! As always, you can view the preceding installments by clicking on the "Blog-Epic" tab underneath our beautiful header. Thanks for reading!