by TS Clayton

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Taken from Book 2: The Soul of Lichien


"You're a Drow, aren't you?" she asked, cutting him off as she eyed him up and down, not at all put off by his scowl.

Closing his mouth, Shailen blinked, totally thrown by her blunt question and frank appraisal.  There was no hate or prejudice behind her tone or gaze; just open curiosity.

"I've not seen a Drow before, and I just had to talk to you when I saw you were being allowed entrance at the main gates," she said, then grinned.

Straightening to his full height, Shailen cleared his throat, never having had to deal with this sort of attention before.  Usually he was despised, or viewed with suspicious, never admired in awe.  "I am not a full blood Drow."

"You're not?" she asked, walking around him.

He squirmed under her scrutiny as she completed her circuit.  "No," he managed.

"But I thought––"

"No," he repeated.  "My skin is not dark enough and my features not sharp enough.  Plus, I have green eyes," he said, using his standard answer and wanting this conversation finished.  "I am part Drow only."

"Oh."  She dropped her head to one side.  "On your mother's side? Or your father's side?"

"Why all the questions?" Shailen asked in growing exasperation.  "Go talk to one of the guards as I'm sure they can tell you all about true Drow."

"I don't want to talk to a guard," she said, miffed, "I want to talk to you."

"Why?"  He scowled harder.  "Do I have a sign around my neck that says 'please annoy the new arrival'?"

"Bright heavens, you are bad-tempered."

"I am not bad-tempered," he growled, just managing to keep his voice down as he took a calming breath.  A few people turned to stare at them.  "Look, I don't know you, and you don't know me.  Let's keep it that way."  He swiveled on his toes and walked away––in the opposite direction.

"You don't mean that."

She was at his side within moments and Shailen gritted his teeth, finding he was climbing the stairs he had just skipped down.  He did not want to go back up into the marketplace, yet he was heading in that direction.  His irritation increased.  "I am not a specimen to be studied," he said, just keeping his tone even.  Then he stopped and sighed, placing hands on his hips in resignation before he settled his eyes on her pale face.  "I am an ordinary person, just like you.  Yes––I have Drow in my heritage, but it is only a small part of who I am––and, it is on my mother's side.  Now does that satisfy your curiosity?" He watched as she nodded, her blonde fringe bouncing up and down.  Pleased he had silenced her, Shailen pivoted on his toes and headed in the same direction Lord Karczag had taken.  He hoped he would be allowed entrance and be shown a place he could wash and rest.                                                ISBN: 978-1-42570-093-5