I recently finished reading Richelle Mead's Dark Swan series. "Shadow Heir" is the last and fourth book in her series and a strange disappointment. Like many people, I'm sure, I was caught up in the characters of Eugenie, Dorian and Kiyo and what with the steamyness, and the snarkiness, and the Otherworld creatures-it made for an addicting read. So for one who devoured the last two books in the series, just hoping for something amazing to happen-I was shocked and amazed (in that kind of incredulous I-can't-believe-it kind of way) that the series ended so terribly. In all honesty, I normally have a good sense about these sort of things...for a series that started out so fantastic, I couldn't believe that it ended that way. so, ANYWAY...this is my conclusion, and a bit of a bandaid if you will. This is how I think it should have ended...for those of you with the same opinions, I hope you enjoy. :)
When Kiyo told me that Dorian was the father of my children, the world spun around me for a moment. It was true that they hadn't looked anything at all like Kiyo - a fact that I had contributed to a bit of luck finally on my part - but as his words sunk in, it started to make sense. Because they had felt so right in my arms when I held them, when Isaac's green eyes blinked up at me owlishly and when little Ivy's mouth parted into a small smile. Because they were a part of me and the person that I loved. What more could make this unexpected news any more perfect?
"What are you going to do?" Evan asked as I looked up at him from my place in the rocking chair where I rocked both children. His eyes grew concerned at the tears on my cheeks. I knew any decision I made would be a hard one.
I smiled through my tears. "I'm going to take them home."
It would be hard for Candace to part from them. This I knew. So I invited Roland over with me to tell them my plans. Candace held Charles' hand tightly as I told them what I planned to do, but she nodded and gave me a small, wobbly smile.
"Thank you for them," she said and I knew the tears were just at the surface, I could hear them in her voice. "They were such a gift...even for a little while."
"We will come visit," I promised. But even so, I knew it wouldn't be the same. Was I making empty promises? I hoped not. Doubt started to creep in. Was I making the right choices for them? Why did I feel so guilty? Because I was taking them away from the only mother that they had known for the last three months...
I caught Roland's eye across from the table that all of us sat around and my resolve tightened. No, I wanted my children to know my world just as much as the Otherworld, so we would definitely visit. I wanted them to have a rich, unique life, a view of both worlds. Experience the beautiful colors of Oak Land, the power in a single thunderstorm, taste real food at my favorite restaurants in Tucson.
I felt joy grow inside me at this decision. It was something new, this growth...this excitement. When I had heard the prophecy that my son would be the big bad harbinger of death, the conqueror of all humanity, I didn't look to the future because I didn't want to. Who knew I would be facing a new beginning instead?
But there was just one more thing.
I jumped to the Otherworld from the gate that Candace normally used and found myself just on the outskirts of the Oak Land. Dorian's face lit up as his guards escorted me into the banquet hall, where he and a hundred gentry or so were enjoying a merry feast.
"Eugenie!" He said with surprise as he made room for me next to him on the couch that he reclined in - a love seat that really didn't have any room for two - but it was no matter. I sat on his lap instead.
If Dorian looked surprised at my boldness, it was only for a second and disappeared as he hands settled to my waist to steady me. I could feel his heat, his hardness. He smelled of cinnamon and apples - and everything that just screamed Dorian.
"Eugenie..." he murmured and I could feel his hand make its way up to my breast. His voice lacked that usual lazy quality. His seriousness made my heart pound even more. "To what do I owe the pleasure?" he whispered in my ear as his fingers found my nipple and traced it slightly.
I gasped and then kissed him hard on the mouth. His tongue soon found mine. When we parted we were both grinning like maniacs, and gasping and I laughed into his mouth as he kissed me once before pulling away. It was giddy...this feeling. There was only him in this world for me and it made me laugh again because I knew everyone in the banquet hall could see us, as we were seated in the front of the room, but mostly I laughed because I didn't care. Perhaps I finally understood why the gentry could lose themselves in another while there were still others in the room. It wasn't about public displays of affection - although that was fun too, perhaps it was also about appreciating the here and now. About realizing what was right in front of you.
I kissed Dorian on the lips lightly again before pulling away, my hand on his cheek. "I have a surprise for you."
"Oh?" His hands drifted up my belly and under my shirt. "Do I get to unwrap it?"
I shook my head. I was blissfully happy. "No."
"Is it big?"
"A new statue of me perhaps? No one's tried to make me another Jade one before...maybe if it was made out of cactuses...with those little pink flowers on top..."
At that I did laugh. This was too much fun. I had my hand on his chest to steady me, and his warmth was so distracting and so comforting at the same time. I was a fool to think I could go without it. "I'll give you a clue...there are two of them."
"Socks? Did you get me socks?"
Finally I couldn't wait any longer to tell him. "I have to go back soon and I want you to come with me. The present is in the human world."
"Oh? And why would I do that? Are we going to have a honeymoan?"
"Honeymoon!" I corrected him with a laugh. "And we could...maybe later. No..."
"Come on, Eugenie, what then?" I could see he was getting impatient, but his green eyes still sparkled. He loved the thrill of the chase just as much as I did.
I stilled in his arms as I looked in his eyes. "I want you to meet your children."
How does one describe the wonderment of making someone's dreams come true? His breath caught and his eyes widened - Dorian who could be still and serious when there is an abominable snow monster charging at him. I thought he was going to push me off his lap but he grabbed me by the shoulders with both hands, pinching slightly. I didn't mind.
"I thought - are you sure?" His mouth struggled for words. He didn't know which questions to ask first. "When? When did you find out?"
"The last time I was home. Kiyo found me and told me. He can't have kids anymore. He thought it'd be too hard to get to Isaac if you knew the truth." I didn't hide my disgust at that last bit.
"He's right!" said Dorian and this time he did push me off his lap as he stood up. He started pacing. "We have to go to them!"
A guard stepped up to us then and I noticed the front of the banquet hall had quieted a bit at their King's agitation. "Are you alright, your majesty?"
Dorian ignored him as he paced. I grabbed Dorian's arms with a laugh and turned him towards me. "They are fine. They are safe," I reassured him. "But they need a father." His green eyes were still very wide, full of wonder. I laughed again and pulled him close and he held me tightly for a very long time, his head close to mine. When he pulled away, there were tears in his eyes.
Then Dorian, the Oak King turned toward the room at large and when the people saw that their King was standing on his feet, they quieted. "I have a daughter and a son!" he announced with pride and if he was by himself in his bedroom I'm certain he would have done a little jig.
The room erupted in cheers and claps and well wishes and I was surprised to feel the tears in my own eyes.
The future for my children had begun.
If telling Dorian about the twins was remarkable, watching him hold them was just as fun.
"Aren't they perfect?" I said, as I cooed over little Ivy's toes. She gurgled and waved a fist at me.
"Yes, they are," he said, very serious as he stared down at Isaac in his arms. We both stood in the twin's nursery in Alabama. Their twin car seats on the floor next to us. Dorian had agreed to help me take them home. "Look at Thundro," he said with wonder. "He already has my eyes."
"We are not calling our son Thundro," I said. "But yes, he does."
"Well, I think it's a fantastic name."
"But he's no longer the usurper. Pagiel was."
"But think of the power he'll have. Wind...earth. Our son will be the strongest of all."
"What about Ivy? Gender equality remember? Besides, I think the strongest of Storm King's powers passes to us girls."
He gave me a look. "Ivy's a plant."
"Ivy's a beautiful name," I said.
"Well, she already has the green eyes..." he said in that easy going way of his. I would have smacked him if my hands weren't full of baby.
"Just shut up and help me get them back to the Otherworld. You sure we'll make the jump okay?"
"I've got half a legion waiting on the other side."
He grinned at my alarm. "Ah, well...what wouldn't I do for the three of you?"
It was decided that Ivy and Isaac would live at Dorian's castle, because I knew they would be safe with him when I had to make my trips back and forth to Tucson. And when it came to doctor's appointments and visits, the twins had their own royal guard. It worried me at first, would this be their whole life? Would they always be hunted? And there were some close calls on some of our trips, until the twins were about a year old and then everything quieted.
Dorian broke the news to me over breakfast one morning. I was munching on a pop tart, spoils from our last Tucson visit.
He read a note that a guard had handed him. He looked up at me suddenly. "Kiyo's dead."
"He's dead?" I said, having a hard time believing it.
"Yes. Killed by an assassin that was trying to harm Maiwenn."
"What about Luisa?"
"She's fine, I would guess."
I ran his news over in my head and wasn't sure what I thought about it. Kiyo had been a big part of my life at one point, but with his betrayal I had always felt an emptiness. Now, I simply felt...relief.
Dorian took my hand. "You okay?"
I nodded. "At least Luisa is okay. At least she has her mother."
He studied me for a moment but whatever he saw in my face, he must have been convinced I was alright because he nodded and let go of my hand and returned to his cereal. "At least there's that. Although, she wouldn't even have that if it were up to me."
"We talked about this. We can't kill Maiwenn without starting another war. You told me so." Even as much as we both wanted to.
"There's always the Iron Crown...really. It would be a shame to let it rust in a corner somewhere."
I shot him a warning look, but he just grinned at me happily and dug back into this cereal.
Ah, the man drove me nuts most of the time...
Which was probably why when the twins were close to two years old, Dorian and I got married. It was something I thought would never happen...but it felt right as we said our vows underneath the hot Tucson son as Roland and my Mom looked on, Mom with tears in her eyes. And then again for the Thorn Land and the Rowan Land and the Oak Land for all our friends in the Otherworld. Pink Petals from the Cherry trees in the Rowan land danced happily into our faces as we held hands and sealed both of our destinies with a kiss.
The twins grew so fast, and as the days went by I could see the changes in their faces. They looked like Dorian and me, with hair like mine, Isaac's a bit darker and they both had their father's vivid green eyes. I was so proud of them. Dorian and me both.
When Ivy was five years old and had just started school and was learning to read, she glanced up at me from her book on the table. (Gentry education being a bit different than my own, I made sure the twins got both from both worlds.)
Ivy, ironically, loved to read fairy tales.
"Mommy?" she asked.
I looked up from my own notes, something Dorian had given me the night before. New trade agreements for the Thorn land.
We both sat at a round table in my bedroom. "Yes, honey?"
I saw that her eyes were confused. "You're a Queen right?"
"Yes, you know that."
"Soo...Isaac and me we're like a prince and princess right?"
"Yes..." It was never easy to guess where the mind of my children tended to wander.
She looked down at her book in fascination and slapped the table in excitement. "I'm like Cinderella!"
I saw her wide eyes and laughed and tweaked her nose and teased her. "Well, why do you think Daddy has his finest guards follow you and Isaac around all the time? You're royalty silly!"
She grinned. "I thought we had guards 'cause Daddy gets his own self into trouble."
"Well, that too," I said wryly. "But no, you and Isaac are very, very important to us and those guards are there to make sure you're safe at all times."
Her face grew serious. "Because someone could hurt us?" she said.
I always told the truth with my children, even if it was something hard to hear. "Because our enemies, who are bad people, could hurt you...which would hurt me and your father very much. So you're like our precious treasures...ones we have to keep safe."
"We're special," she said with a nod of her head.
I smiled and ruffled her red hair. "More than special," I said and I used my magic and puffed air at her nose. She giggled. "You and Isaac are a gift," I said.
The next thing I knew something splashed on my check. It was a drop of water from her teacup, which had sat on the table next to her book. She grinned as she rained more droplets at me. My daughter at five years old, already controlling water, already using magic. I tried to hide my amazement, but it was a hard thing.
The next year, we took Isaac and Ivy to a zoo in Orlando, Florida. When a monkey threw a stone from his cage onto the cement sidewalk in front of us as we were walking past, Isaac threw one back. He hadn't used his hands. Dorian was ecstatic. Of course, he was at every little new thing our children did...but it was becoming clear to both of us, very soon and very early, our children were powerful. They would have bright futures.
I knew as the years passed we would possibly be very busy, I knew there could be chaos. But even as I thought about the possibilities of the future, I was happy. Because this time, I wasn't alone.