On the road to SaDiablo Hall from Halaway

Xander paced Saetan, rather than the other way around, the limping man on his right side. His bag was slung over his shoulder. The first few questions on the walk were about as expected, but Xander's answer wasn't. "I don't trust you enough to answer that."

Surprisingly, Saetan didn't argue and even gave the younger an understanding nod, and just moved on. "Now that you hold the Ebon-gray, you will have to keep a tight leash on your emotions. It is a Warlord Prince's nature to rise to the killing edge, but it is up to you to decide what occasions require—"

Xander cut him off, "I'm a Warlord Prince? What does that mean? The books never explained the differences, just how the castes interact together." The older raised an imperial eyebrow that had Xander blushing softly. "Sorry."

"I will answer any questions that may have, Xander. That will be my part as your tutor. Your part will be to listen to the answers and keep up with your lessons." He waited for Xander to agree before he continued. "A Warlord Prince is the highest and most vicious caste of a Blood-male. We are extremely protective and territorial of what we consider ours. It is in our nature to rise to the killing edge at the slightest provocation to better defend." Saetan looked at Xander as they paused on the road. "You have been a Warlord Prince all of your life. Now you have the Ebon-gray behind you and the techniques you have used to keep your temper in check are no longer going to be enough. The First Escort will be helping you in this aspect."

Xander nodded his understanding, though he had to wonder about the 'all your life' part. How could he have those characteristics associated with being a Warlord Prince and not notice? He knew Saetan wasn't wrong, the Blood's psychic energy, sometimes called the 'psychic scent', told a person's caste. Saetan had no reason to lie to him. But still…it was strange.

The walk continued relatively quietly as Xander thought, the other male sensing Xander's deep contemplation. A wolf's howl, quickly taken up by more, came soon after, but Saetan appeared unconcerned, so Xander took his lead. "Dinner in SaDiablo Hall is a semi-formal family affair. Tonight, you will meet the Queen, her husband who also happens to be the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, the First Escort and Master of the Guard. They are my two sons and adopted daughter. Before we see them, I need to explain something."

His tone had changed significantly into a very serious deep baritone. It was enough to instantly get Xander's attention and make him very nervous. "It is expected that a Queen will make you feel a sense of belonging or coming home. It is quite normal. I myself have experienced this for my own Queen. You can serve a Queen that you do not belong to, which is more common. This 'belonging' is what you felt in the Inn." He looked at Xander, hoping he would understand.

Xander wasn't stupid. He could connect the dots just fine. He gave a great sigh even as the fear at the back of his neck began to flare again. "She's your Queen. Your daughter." He waited for Saetan to nod. "I can't..." he trailed off, not knowing how to say that he had been burned before.

Saetan nodded again. "Considering your last reaction to Jaenelle, you will not be expected to join the First Circle until you are ready. There is a very real need for trust and you are unable to give her that at this time. For now, you will be Eighth Circle."

Something to focus on besides his bone-deep terror was nice. "What do you mean? First Circle? Eighth Circle?" The pair resumed their walk up to the mansion, which actually wasn't all that far away.

"A Court is made of one Queen and then Circles of males and females that surround and protect her. The most trusted and able to perform the best protection are the First Circle. With the smaller Courts, it is the only Circle, but that is rare. Even if it only has servants and students as a Second Circle. The minimum number of males in the First Circle is twelve in order for the Court to be legitimate.

"With the Dark Court, that is our Court, there are several Circles because we have so many people under our protection. Our First Circle consists the Queens and their First Escort or Consort of all territories in Kaeleer except one, Little Terrielle. The Second Circle is bigger with all of those mentioned immediate families and some former instructors. Most of their children are Twelfth Circle since they do not have the ability to protect as of yet and are to be protected.

"You will be Eighth Circle since you are fully grown and showed good reactions indicating training when you met with the First Escort, Lucivar, and Daemon, the Queen's husband, earlier. What this will mean for your immediate future is that, as part of your training, you will be required to shadow Daemon, Lucivar, and myself for several weekends out of the year as we serve Jaenelle. As your training continues, you will ascend the Circles as your duties become more complicated and you are allowed to be alone until you reach Second Circle. At that time, you will not immediately enter First Circle when you finish your training but will stay in Second until you are ready. Do you understand?" He looked at Xander so he could see the boy nod uncertainly and he smiled reassuringly. "It will get easier with time."

Saetan smiled as they entered the rather large building. "Welcome to SaDiablo Hall."

Due to a rather large case of writer's block, all stories are on hiatus until further notice. If I get an idea, I'll write it down and update immediately, no matter the length, but I won't take off the 'hiatus' status. But I don't know when/if I will get a new idea. I'm starting to understand the authors who write everything before publishing anything. *le sigh* I will focus my attention on my most faved/followed stories if at all possible.

Those of you who "check" on my stories, I recommend you make an account and start to follow the stories so as not to waste your time.

I apologize for any inconvenience...I just can't seem to write lately.