WIP: Solomon’s Choice – Dain’s Birth

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A snippet from my upcoming book, SOLOMON’S CHOICE. For updates and a chance to get the book free, sign up for my newsletter.

I am there.

Throne room, I know it’s called though I don’t know how I know, and it is huge and dark and the light is blue, yet I can see all with perfect clarity.

Fey everywhere and other beings, powerful beings, the movers and shakers of the magical world.

There is Notte, there is Bran, and they are both dressed to the nines, while standing between them is another Fey with long, silvery hair and a miserable expression, a Fey who seems to be trying to hide between the other two, who is letting them hide him, letting them be his shield.

And in front –

The Throne

The Throne

The Throne

Queen Mab.

How that that thing be a person, be a being that thrusts its sentience in my face like a rude too-powerful slap?

It is an unwelcoming black chair, huge, all sharp angles that would leave lines on arms and the backs of thighs, and by itself, it would be scary, but beneath it is a nest.

That is the wrong word.

Tentacles? Tendrils? Wide-flat-thin, so long and undulating, like living ribbons of gold reaching into the dark blue air, beckoning and warning and flirting and wilding

She is alive, this throne, she is sentient, she is angry, she is victorious.

Nearest the throne is the Fey king who was in the war room (now I know what that was) with all those other beings, which emotionally was a month ago but in real life, only a day. I don’t remember his name, but there he stands, and the cracks in his soft gray eyes gleam so bright that they cut through the blue light and distort shadows.

He holds something as he watches the throne, only just out of reach of its tendrils. A club? Maybe? A cylinder, visibly heavy, tipped with a wide, dense ball, all the same shining black as the throne, and looking at it –

The Scepter

The Scepter

The Scepter

– I hate it, hate it with a visceral recoil that I do not even have for Mab and her arms, hate it the same way I hate a thing actively radioactive or cunning or cruel. Why? Why?

Whatever the answer is, I cannot sieve it through my brain. I am too tired, too mortal. Too human.

I don’t want to be in this room right now, but –

I’m NOT here. I’m in the lab, merely watching a thing from five years ago, and I am safe, I am well, and I need to see what happens.

The throne’s tendrils still.

“Here it comes,” murmurs Bran.

“Are you still certain?” Notte murmurs to the Fey between them. “It is not too late, if you are unsure in any way. I will act for you, Grey.”

Fuck, that’s a big promise.

“No,” says the one between, and even that single word is musical, even that single word is fine, even that single word makes me want to sigh and press my ear to his chest like a lover.

Of music, that is.

“No,” he says again. “This is what it has to be.”

The two of them say nothing, but… but they lean in, barely perceptibly, protective, maybe, or something else.

There is a terrible crackling.

The air broke, I think, buzzed like electricity and cracked like glass, and while it hurts my ears a little, feels spark-tingly over my skin, for those in this room in whose veins flow magic, they are stricken.

Many fall, down to their knees or awkwardly to their palms, and those who do stay there, faces grim, as if this was not unexpected however unpleasant it was. Those who stand do so with stiffened backs and clenching jaws, with eyes that glow or wings that fluff or hair that billows in random directions, as though only their own power could resist such things.

And then The Throne is no longer empty.

No fanfare. No sparkles or flashes of fire. Just there, his bronze-ness radiating out to push away the dark and the blue and to clash with The Scepter’s dark orange.

Dain smiles. “I am Leonard Jasper Silas Dain, Scion of The Great Rock, Heir to the Throne, Prince of Stars. You are all welcome in my presence – for now.”

Oh, gods, I just want to smack him.

I’m not the only one. I know I’m not. And yet…

He isn’t quite that bad anymore, is he? He was a newborn here, wasn’t he?

He was, Rai whispers in my ear, even though I do not see Rai here, even though Rai is not present in this vision.

“And now,” announces some guy dressed in fish-scale armor (and uncomfortable with the way Dain glares at him for speaking), “we begin the presentation. First among your peers, Prince of Stars: He Who Walks Unhindered, the Night-King, Nox – ”

I know who he is, so I pull away.


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.