Today’s excerpt comes from Blood Bonds.
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Raven Mother spoke in the same low tone. She pressed her forehead to mine as she clutched my shoulders. “You always pride yourself on being your father’s daughter. A soldier’s daughter. But you don’t want that, do you? You never wanted that. Be honest with me.”
I hated her. I hated that she was forcing me to look deep inside myself, beyond the platitudes I had mouthed for years. But she was right. I chafed at the restrictions. I had hated my father for making me take my mother’s place and leave my childhood behind as I took up caring for my sisters. I hated that he had drilled it into my head that I owed everybody else my service except myself.
“Yes,” I choked out. “I never wanted to be the one to carry the load.” And then, I found my own tongue again and straightened my shoulders, shaking off her grasp.
“But whether or not I wanted it, I carried through. I did what needed done. I accepted the responsibility because nobody else was there to assume it. And that’s what I’m asking from you today. I’m not asking for a favor. I’m asking you to step outside yourself for a moment, to do something that serves others. To back us up because it needs done, not because you’re going to gain anything from it.”
Abruptly, the buzz of energy died down and I held myself tall, gazing into Raven Mother’s face with an oddly serene feeling.
Everybody was staring at us, but no one said a word until Bran stepped over to my side. He turned to his mother.
“I pledge my loyalty to the Queen of the Keraastar Diamond, to the Queen of the Keraastar Knights. And I ask you, my mother, to give us your help. And I ask that of my father as well.”
Raven Mother paused for a moment, her gaze darting between her son and me, and she finally stepped back and gave us a firm nod.