Morning dawned blue and clear, reflected in the eyes of the unicorn's maiden. She stood on the cliffs, searching the plains and valleys below in vain for her lover, the self titled Lord of the Dance.

She turned, her eyes flashing in disgust. Lord of the Dance – and he couldn't even be loyal to his own troupe or his own lover. Even now he was out with others, leaving her to lead the troupe should anything happen. And something would happen, she was sure of it. The gypsy Morrigan had been seen in town, and wherever the witch was, the Dark Lord was never far behind. He'd never forgiven the Lord for stealing what should have been his title, for stealing away his victory, for humiliating him.

Saorise despised him, for he was nothing more than a coward who used intimidation to get what he wanted. She shuddered to think of Cara, the dear little Spirit of the Dance, who had been nearly murdered by Don Dorcha in his mad quest for power. He was nothing more than a coward and a bully.

A sudden movement caught her eye and she tensed, mentally preparing to Dance – for her life if need be. But instead of the Dark Lord, the Lord of the Dance strode into the clearing that surrounded the cliffs.

"Aidan!" she whispered, using his secret name, the one that only she knew.

"I've missed you, Saorise," he said, but she knew something was wrong, because he called her Saorise, not Aeslin, and the warmth of his embrace didn't reach his voice.

"What's wrong?" she asked with a growing feeling of dread, for the unicorn's maiden was no fool and she knew when something was afoot.

"More power, Saorise," the Lord was saying. "They are fantastically gifted, more than you could ever imagine! More than anyone could!"

"That's wonderful." She forced herself to sound enthused. The Lord of the Dance's eternal quest for more power was foreign to her. "When will you bring them here?" Surely he can't expect us to move our entire camp, she thought wildly. We've been established here for years!

"I'm not bringing them here," he said, a sudden coolness in his tone. "Their energy is so pure, to dilute it with our own would be to weaken it. No, I must go to them, alone, and lead them into all they can be."

"Then you're leaving us," she said flatly.


"For how long?"

When he didn't answer, only looked at her with sorrow in those crystal blue eyes, she knew the awful truth and she threw herself into his arms.

"You're leaving me? Forever?" Her breath hitched in a sob.

"I must, Saorise," he said, trying to sound mournful, but she could see the undercurrent of excitement that coloured his aura.

"You said you'd always stand with me, Dance by my side," she said bitterly, reciting from their marriage vows.

"People change," the Lord shrugged. His mind – and his heart – was Dancing somewhere far away. "Someday you'll understand."

He stepped away from her. "There's a good girl. No tears, now," he said patronizingly.

"Who would cry for you, you pig!" she hissed and ran off into the gathering dark.