Though a mere commoner by virtue of his lack of Sevolite genes, Von is nonetheless caught up in the lives of the powerful Sevolites who enlist his services as a courtesan. On this particular day, even before business hours begin he must seduce the very Vrellish, very pregnant Liege Vretla Vrel away from interrupting a meeting between Von’s mentor and another Liege, only to be discovered by the unamused father of Vretla’s baby. The baby is nothing more than a political “child gift,” but that doesn’t stop the future father from drawing his sword on Von — and Vretla’s pregnant state doesn’t stop her from drawing her sword in turn.
The situation is quickly dampened by an angry Liege Monitum, who has just concluded enlisting the services of Von’s mentor and the owner of the Den, Eva — but unfortunately not in the way Eva would have. Rather than desiring her physically, Liege Monitum is more interested in having her arrange an audience between two rival Demish houses.
After comforting Eva in the way he knows best, Von pays a visit to the dying Demish Princess-Liege of H’Us who, unlike Vretla Vrel, is more interested in Von’s poetic ability than his other courtesan skills. Unfortunately, his respite from power politics is short-lived when he is cornered by the troubled Demish Lady Anatolia H’Reth, wife to Von’s childhood abuser and mistress to the Pureblood Ava Delm, the highest ranked Sevolite in the empire. Anatolia is pregnant, but not by her husband, who hasn’t touched her in years. The only other two options are both impossible: Delm protects his Pureblood genetics with the anti-fertility drug, Ferni, and Von, as part of his courtesan training, has been sterilized both by drugs and surgery.
Regardless, Von has been dragged into the mess: Delm wants Von brought back to the home of his childhood abuser, H’Reth, and there he will await the Royal Gorarelpul to discover Delm’s unknown plan for him.
Michelle Milburn (http://mmilburn.ca/) is a graduate of the UNBC/Emily Carr fine arts program who has done cover art for Okal Rel Legacies titles and will be doing saga titles for the remaining books in the main series starting with Part 7: Healer’s Sword.