“You’ll grow old, fat, and die alone.” Celine tossed her ebony
locks over her shoulder and gave her fair-haired sister her most-pitying stare. “So sad. But you, alas, cannot attract
even the most simple of men.”
Kyra glared at Celine, sparks shooting from her amber-colored eyes. “Oh
really? You would do well to attract the keeper of the dogs. I’ve heard he has fleas. You should be so lucky.”
Celine looked away, and her shoulders shook. When she turned back to her sister,
she held up her hands. “You win. This time.” She snickered. “Fleas. Honestly.”
Kyra grinned. “I thought you would like that. Spur of the moment it was.”
She pulled her flaxen locks back into a simple braid and wound it around her head like a sunlit crown. Her skin glowed, and
her golden eyes gleamed. “Do you really think Mother and Father speak of us like that?”
Celine shrugged. “There really is no telling what our parents discuss when
we are not about. And I, for one, don’t care.” She tucked her glorious black locks under a circlet and growled
at the loose tendrils that always escaped. Her pale skin accented the deep blue eyes that now studied her sister.
“I have no wish to marry. Our parents know this.”
“Nor I.” Kyra tossed her head. “We are goddesses. Why do we
need some man grasping after us and clinging to our clothes?”
“Why indeed?” Celine shot a glance to her younger sister. “Though
you seem to like Kane trailing after you.”
“Jealous?” Kyra arched an eyebrow, and Celine snorted.
“Never. Simply an observation.” She glanced at the sky. “We
only have a few hours before our parents call us in for the evening. Let us make the most of it.” Celine closed her
hand and opened it slowly. Six metal discs with a crescent moon emblazoned on them shone brightly in her palm.
“We play for honor, sister. Do you accept?”
Kyra closed her hand and opened it to reveal six metal discs with a blazing sun
on each one. “I do.”
The sisters disappeared.
* * * *
“They will be the death of me.” King Thane sighed and looked to his
wife for sympathy. He found none.
“I suppose you want biddable daughters. Ones who do as you say and never
question anything?” She arched a delicate eyebrow, and her golden eyes bore into him.
“And why would I want a biddable woman in my life?” The king snorted.
“I would die of shock, my love.”
Queen Ara eyed her husband and fought the laughter. “What grieves you the
most? The fact that our daughters are the two most precious beings in this universe or that they have bested every man who
Ara tilted her head to the side. “Maybe it’s not time for our daughters
to find mates.”
“Oh, it’s time all right.” The king stood and paced in front
of his dais. “It’s past time. Just because they are fairly immortal is no excuse for not marrying and giving me
grandchildren. But they are more concerned with their games than finding a man. It pains me.” He threw up his hands.
“I need grandchildren. Wee ones to bounce on my knee.”
Thane stroked his beard thoughtfully. “I realize the girls are still learning
their roles in the kingdom. Assimilating their duties. Meeting all facets of people. But how are they to rule this land without
a partner to lean on? Such as I have you, my love.”
Ara chuckled. “Flatterer. And as for children to bounce on your knee…do
not look at me, husband. I’m past my time for childbearing. But maybe we can think of a way to show our children the
light.” She looked at her husband slyly. “I believe that Celine will find a mate before Kyra.”
“Bah.” Thane rolled his eyes. “Just because Celine is your favorite
does not mean Kyra is without talent.” The king stroked his dark beard again. “Yes. I believe Kyra will find a
mate before Celine.”
“Do you now?” Ara’s voice was silky. “A wager then?”
“Aye.” Thane looked at his beautiful wife with a twinkle in his blue
eyes. “We might be able to work something out.”
“There must be rules.” Ara plucked a parchment and quill out of thin
air. “The wager begins tonight at midnight and ends when Celine marries.”
“Kyra,” the king growled.
“We shall see.”
She began writing.