Three daughters were born to High King Uorsin, in place of the son he wanted. The youngest, lovely and sweet. The middle, pretty and subtle, with an air of magic. And the eldest, the Heir. A girl grudgingly honed to leadership, not beauty, to bear the sword and honor of the king.
Ursula’s loyalty is as ingrained as her straight warrior’s spine. She protects the peace of the Twelve Kingdoms with sweat and blood, her sisters from threats far and near. And she protects her father to prove her worth. But she never imagined her loyalty would become an open question on palace grounds. That her father would receive her with a foreign witch at one side and a hireling captain at the other—that soldiers would look on her as a woman, not as a warrior. She also never expected to decide the destiny of her sisters, of her people, of the Twelve Kingdoms and the Thirteenth. Not with her father still on the throne and war in the air. But the choice is before her. And the Heir must lead…
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In the banquet hall, Uorsin sat already at the High Table—nothing unusual there, as he often arrived early, which allowed the courtiers the opportunity to circle by, share a toast, and discuss in conversation matters not suitable for either informal or formal court. However—gratingly unusual—the Dasnarian captain also sat at the table.
I made certain to give no sign that I’d taken note of it, as many sets of eyes scrutinized me to see if I would. The seating arrangement of the High Table echoed that of the throne room, with the King’s chair—the largest and heaviest—at the center. My chair had always been to his right, Salena’s long-abandoned chair to his left, with Andi’s after that and Amelia’s next to hers. When Ami married Hugh, a chair was added to her left. Now, though my seat remained empty for me, another chair had been added to the right of mine.