Pieces of Eight (The Frey Saga, #2)

Pieces of Eight (The Frey Saga, #2)

Melissa Wright

Chapter One


I knew three things for certain about my new life.

The first was that I couldn’t be certain of anything. The bonds that kept me from my memories had not been fully released. The shattered images from before the binding didn’t fit anywhere the way they should have. It was like piecing together shards of glass and splinters of wood. I had tried to force them but I just couldn’t reconcile the two lives - the years I lived as a dark elf, strong and powerful, and the longer, weaker part of my life, the part that seemed more real, where I lived as an untalented, unmagical light elf.

I didn’t have many memories of the first years, the years spent in the castle where I was born, in line for the throne. Most of the information I had about that life came from reading my mother’s diary after she was gone. The few memories that came back later were fuzzy, scattered, and odd. Attached to them was always a feeling of strength, power, and confidence… nothing like the feelings of my second life.

I’d thought I was an uncoordinated light elf, an outcast, unable to use magic. Until the day I’d grown a tiny thistle and my world had turned upside down. Everything that I’d known and believed had been proven wrong.

The pieces that did fit were my new family, the seven other elves who had fought to protect me. We had only spent a short time together, but I had become dependent on them. If I were truthful, I had been dependent on them all along, I simply hadn’t known it. They had protected me from council, who had bound me from magic, stolen my memories; who had burned my mother and wanted to burn me.


Right, focus. I had a bad habit of getting lost in my thoughts. It was confusing there, foggy.

“Uh-hm.” Ruby cleared her throat.

“I’m listening, I’m listening.”

“We have to continue your training, Frey. It’s important.”

They had been training me daily since I’d woken in this castle, my memories partially restored. Chevelle had insisted I not reveal my bonds were still in place, for my protection. I wasn’t convinced safety was really the issue, I had my suspicions they all enjoyed the “training.”

Crack! Ruby’s whip brought me out of my reverie.

“Give her a break, Ruby.” Grey was laughing as he spoke. On the days I trained with Ruby, he would often sit in the corner and watch us. “Frey, why don’t you rest for a bit, go get something to eat?”

I looked back to Ruby, hoping she agreed.

“Fine.” She waved her arm to dismiss me, the metal bracelets clinking at her wrist.

I hurried to the door, afraid of being stopped, and then turned back, confused. “Ruby?”

Though I’d been here for weeks now, I still got lost anytime I tried to traverse the castle corridors alone. With an exaggerated sigh, she pointed me in the right direction.

I was trying to decide whether to go to the dining area and order food, or just go straight to the kitchen myself, when I heard voices. I followed them to a chamber a few doors down.

When he saw me standing in the doorway, Chevelle dismissed the tall, slender elf he’d been speaking with. After the sound of the man’s steps was no longer audible, Chevelle smiled at me. I flushed. I always flushed when I saw him now. Before, it had been sporadic. Before he’d thought I was her… Elfreda of North Camber instead of Frey from the village… before he’d thought I was that Frey, and he’d kissed me. He’d been so fervent, so passionate; he’d not noticed my shock, my confusion, until he had pulled away and read it clear on my face. But I couldn’t stop thinking of it. It was almost all I thought of with any kind of clarity. That was the second thing I was certain of, if you were wondering… that I wanted him.

He saw my flush and his smile fell back into his standard, stern expression. “Shouldn’t you be training?”

Ugh. “They said I could take a break, get something to eat.”

He nodded and went back to his work.

With a resigned sigh, I turned from the doorway and continued on my path to the kitchen. I ran through my thoughts as I made my way, still trying to find some kind of order. My fingers traced the cool stone wall as I stepped slowly, remembering the recent days of training. It all seemed eerily familiar, the training that was now called practice. It even had its own place in the castle, the practice rooms. I was stronger, for which I was grateful, but still not fully in control. And now they all insisted that I be prepared for anything. They worried about my bindings, someone finding out I was weak, confused.

My fingers still trailing the wall, I turned into the door to the kitchen.

Damn it. Not the kitchen.

I was looking into a large, open space with high ceilings. It was ornate, but not like the council buildings of the village. This place was dark, richly decorated with deep colors and velvet fabrics. Along the side walls, fires were lit in stone constructs of intricate design. A large elaborate chair sat near the center of the back wall on a raised platform. Beside it were several smaller seats and I suddenly knew where I was. The throne room. I found myself walking to the chair, though I probably shouldn’t have.

Its size and design were much more impressive up close. I reached my hand out and ran it across the scrolling at the top. I remembered the first day I woke again. To say I’d been slow was an obvious understatement. I’d spent days reading my mother’s diary and it had never crossed my mind that I had been, as she was, in line for the throne. But the moment I saw the gathering outside my window, I knew. Of course, that hadn't lasted long. Because I didn’t remember anything or have the slightest idea how to rule, I’d been kept from public view until we could straighten things out. Apparently, no one had ruled since the massacre my mother had started so long ago, so there wasn’t exactly a set routine now. The seven other elves who had helped me with so much else were now calling themselves my guard and had taken to the task of setting things in order privately, so no one could guess I was… out of sorts. But this, this was my throne.

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