Notte’s Many Names

A snippet from SOLOMON’S CHOICE, which will be out later this year, posted for a Certain Wonderful Reader who has always loved this character. Sign up here for updates about this book!


Dain stands tall. “Notte, I hereby charge you with theft of the Throne’s belongings.”

“That will be difficult to enforce,” says Presence (not-teh?)  gently.

And Dain does something I would never do in a million, billion years: he sneers at the physical manifestation of doom. His rings – they’re vibrating, how do I know that? – all catch the light as he turns full to face the blood god. “I own this land. I own everything here. I am heir to the Many-Tongued Throne. I am the one who says whether you stay or get kicked out or even if you live to tell the tale, and I say you have finally gone too far.”

His self throbs.

An afterimage of some kind, his shape, seems to leap out from him like a flash of bronze light, expanding in a blink to fill the room and disappear, as if I could suddenly see sound.

The fire dims.

I make a small, choked sound.

And then, He speaks.

“If we must pull pedigrees, then I fear you will lose,” the blood god says kindly, and he’s already growing, no, he isn’t growing, his shadow is, or his presence is, or maybe he’s just taking off his own leash, because suddenly I can’t even breathe without taking him in.

“I am He Who Walks Unhindered,” he says, and it wasn’t my imagination, the room is rumbling. “I am Naktam, Night, the Dark One, the Night-King and Nox Aeterna. I am the King of Blood and Lord of the Night Whispers. I am The Mortal’s Doom, and before your mother shed her first infant tears onto the soil of the old world, I was.” His voice echoes in the void he just created, in the darkness that throbs and caresses him and swallows the firelight, in the utter steadiness of his eyes as he pins the Fey with will alone.

I can’t breathe, can’t stop shaking, can’t take my eyes from this living-walking-terrifying nuclear explosion in man-form.

“I, too, beheld the purple light of the Night Sky as it tore asunder and crashed to the soil, a crude knife thick like fists and sharp as guilt. I, too, was changed, and walked the streets of Az’Kabek, witnessing the First Death, and I was there when your mother spun the final song to make the Silver Dawning. She sung that song because of me – with my succor and by my choice. Do not, Leonard Jasper Silas Dain, mistake my patience for weakness. You are in my home, on land that I am owed beyond even the death of your Throne, and you will treat my guests well – or you will find you are no longer counted among them.”

And it all retreats.

The darkness shrinks in.

The tendrils evaporate.

The presence lightens, leaving ordinary air again, breathable, easily manipulated by human lungs.

My gasping is very loud.

Dain, the Fey Prince of the Night Sky, stands absolutely unmoved by this display except for one thing: his color has gone from bronze to beige.

“Now, then,” says the Lord of Night Whispers. “Could I persuade you to take tea?”


A three-times bestselling author, Ruthanne Reid has led a convention panel on world-building, taught courses on plot and character development, and been the keynote speaker for the Write Practice Retreat. Author of two series with five books and fifty-plus short stories, Ruthanne has lived in her head since childhood, when she wrote her first story about a pony princess and a genocidal snake-kingdom and used up her mom’s red typewriter ribbon in the process. When she isn’t reading, writing, or reading about writing, Ruthanne enjoys old cartoons with her husband and two cats, and dreams of living on an island beach far, far away. P.S. Red is still her favorite color.