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Chapter One

Sunshine pours down from the cloudless sky, and while Kohen appreciates the heat over a sharp wind or rain to accompany them, he has already stripped off his cloak, unbuttoned his doublet and undone the laces of his undershirt to bear more of his skin to the brief winds that follow the small company as they travel. While his current appearance might’ve had his governess turning in her grave, Kohen doesn’t care too much when, currently, the only company he keeps is that of the open wilds of Eidarin and the knights that escort him, none of whom who would look twice at his loose collar strings and think the prince unseemly.

Still, the overbearing heat that shows no sign of softening continues to tempt Kohen into giving the order for the group to pull off of the road so that they can all climb out of the saddle for five minutes at the least. But their journey has already been diverted from a collapsed bridge two villages back, and they’re yet to return to the main road and return to the timely pace that will see them at the next village before nightfall.

“Here,” Finch says, from the saddle on Kohen’s immediate right, one hand bunched in the reins of his battlemount to urge her closer to Kohen’s Blue Roan. He holds a waterskin in hand, along with encouragement when the prince makes to argue his knight’s attentiveness, hand waving him off even if the notion has made Kohen acutely aware of how parched his lips are.

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