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Pardon our mess: these dragon eggs are still hatching.

From Ch. 2, DRAGON BAIT:

Bernhan crouched behind a tree—little twigs snapped under her feet, and she could hear the crisp snow disturbed by Rowena’s clumsy hands. Rowena lifted up one slab of wood and then another; her dark black velvet dress was damp and starting to fray with dirt though her hair was impeccably clean… pulled as usual behind her ears like a noblewoman’s. Bernhan felt herself moving without knowing what she was doing—her breath was barely hers as her torso heaved, and she screamed suddenly and loudly:


Rowena looked up, flicking her dress aside. She licked her lips and stood up straight as an arrow. She knew. Right away. She knew.

“Bernhan, not you again…”

“You’re trespassin’ on Belghan fam’ly land,” Bernhan cried out. She couldn’t take her eyes off Rowena’s dark figure in the snow.

Rowena knew the only way around this vagabond was through—she steadied herself though beads of sweat started trickling down her neck into her fur-clad clavicles.

“I was collecting wood.”


“Stop that, Bernhan, stop that.”

Bernhan stretched her hand out of her green heavy cloak towards Rowena, silver bracelet glinting in the sun. She knew what these noblewomen saw when they looked at her torn skirts and dirty braids…

“Are ye insultin’ me family again, Rowena? Rumor has it yer Swedish father might be out there somewhere…”

Rowena clenched her fist tightly—another rumor? Another foul villager spreading gossip while churning cheese or grinding grain? How many people suspected she was a bastard? And a Swedish one at that living in a tiny landlocked Norwegian town?

It’s not worth it, she thought. This one’s mad. 

“I’m going to find my wood somewhere else.”

But Bernhan began striding towards her—big steps falling into feet of snow with her hand still stretching towards Rowena… her eyes boring into Rowena’s soul and watching every little movement…

“Don’t set foot on Belghan soil again—“

“Or what?” Rowena’s chest heaved in anger she could barely contain. “You’ll kill me?”

And suddenly they were eye to eye, face to face. One could reach a finger out and tip the other over. Their breath commingled and condensed in the fraught cold air between them.

“Aye,” Rowena finally mustered, “I will.”

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