I’ve got another teaser for you from Jaded Stone.
“Your Highness? There’s a letter addressed to you.” A sailor bowed before her.
Valencia took the folded parchment from his outstretched hands, deftly breaking the green wax seal. “You may go.”
She barely noticed the sailor scurrying away any more than she noticed Rees’ shoulder pressed against her own in an attempt to read the message.
Peace is a destination reached only after a dedicated journey, but goodwill can be achieved in an instant. Let this be the first stone of hope on the path of our shared goal.
Valencia eyed the overflowing carts of food and fabric, smiling. Goodwill indeed.
Rees’ incredulous tone whispered in her ear. “You are communicating with them?”
“No, Lord Hendel. I am communicating with him. A fellow leader, a fellow Cornerstone. By opening a line of communication between the two of us, I open the chance to negotiate with a potential friend, rather than an enemy.”
Rees was quiet for a moment. “I see much value in negotiating from a position of strength, but we cannot trust anything they say.”
Valencia tilted her head toward him, keeping her own voice low and melodious. “I don’t have to trust what he says to use it. Even lies reveal some truths.”
At that Rees laughed. “You are diabolical. One of these days, our enemies will sorely underestimate you and I dare say they will pay a steep price.”
“I look forward to it,” she quipped. While she hoped she could trust the gesture of goodwill, and she looked forward to working toward peace with Eltar, she had no intentions of being made a fool. She would wait, and she would watch, but in the meantime, her people would feast well tonight.