Red Rope of Fate
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In a land where humans and elves find it difficult to communicate, Tari-an elf-is bound to Captain Arion-a human military officer-in a ceremony designed to promote friendship between the two races. When the ceremony is over, the pair discover that the impossible has happened: they can understand each other in spite of the language barrier. Thrown into a storm of politics, Tari and Arion are put in danger by those who want humans and elves to remain separate. To make matters worse, Tari realizes that she has fallen in love with Arion, who has the emotional capabilities of a rock. As both societies dictate that an elf and a human can never be together, Tari must conceal her feelings. Unfortunately, the taciturn Arion is watchful and attentive to Tari's well-being, constantly pushing her to her limits with his loyalty, friendship, and dreadfully informal habit of touching her. If Tari and Arion survive, their tumultuous relationship will either strengthen their countries' alliance or cripple the human courts of nobility. The deciding factor will be Arion, and his indecipherable feelings for Tari.
Elves promised to return for the Lesser Elves after establishing themselves in their new lands, but the Lesser Elves knew they would be wiped out long before their cousins’ return. The High Elves had done little to befriend the humans of the Continent and mostly fought with them, leaving humans wary of their kind. Unable to fight and wage wars like the High Elves, the Lesser Elves would no doubt be overtaken in a few decades. The Lesser Elves fled to their last refuge—the country of Lessa—where
expectantly to his brother. “I am not translating poetry for you,” Arion told his brother before calling a servant over and speaking quietly to him. The servant ran off as Eric grew bright red and turned to Tari to attempt to sign his admiration to her. Tari suspected he was trying to form the gesture for “beautiful”; instead, it looked more like the sign for “pregnant.” Tari looked over to Arion, who was smiling quietly into his reclaimed goblet of wine. “You aren’t going to let him know he’s
from crying as Arion stopped an arm’s length away from her. “If I accept the post and leave Haven, you would be allowed to return home as well.” Tari almost laughed. Go home? She was ashamed to admit it, but missing her home port city of Gloria hadn’t even registered in the last few weeks. Yes, she longed to see the ocean again, but she wanted to stay with Arion more. “But—” Tari started before falling silent. “Do you want me to take the post?” Arion asked. His voice rumbled like the roar of
asked, momentarily turning to inspect the gardens. “No. He gave me the day’s exercises and left. He’s performing for some of the bonded elves.” “I see. There is a problem.” Tari grabbed the branch with her hands and flipped off it, landing in a graceful crouch. “What?” Arion held out a piece of paper. “The Guard Commander vetoed my refusal.” “What?” Tari said, reaching out to snatch the paper from Arion, only to remember that although she could speak Calnoric she couldn’t read it. She handed
her observer role when King Celrin approached her. “If you do not mind my rudeness, please allow me to steal your partner from you, Captain Arion,” King Celrin said to Arion via a translator. Arion gravely bowed in permission and retreated to an empty wall, where he was instantly accosted by no less than five human girls, all eager to talk to him. (Wonder of the mysterious brother to the new Princess had taken the human court by storm since the bonding ceremony.) “You are subdued, Tarinthali,”