Kiera's Moon (Chapter Seven, page 2 of 21)

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He wanted there to be something more than war. It was what nishani asked him the day prior: if she learned duty, what would he learn? She knew what the answer was, but hadn't spoken it. If she learned duty, then he must learn this. He raised the leaf again, unable to take his eyes off it.

"A'Ran?" Jetr's voice came over the communicator.


"The Council awaits you."

"I will be there soon," he said, and lowered the leaf.

She must choose Anshan. Mansr's words returned to him. She wouldn't, not if he couldn't become the man on the leaf. He'd hoped she would adjust to his world on her own, never suspecting he'd need to change himself. In the past few days, he'd learned just how unready he was to be the lifemate of his own nishani. Disturbed, he folded the leaf and placed it in his pocket.

He carried it with him to the long, pointless Council meeting, to his afternoon sparring session with Jetr, to the banquet and introduction of his nishani to the clan leaders. He began to think his own actions had cost him the choice he'd yet to give her: to stay forever or return to her planet.

He watched her throughout the night's activities, seeking to judge whether Mansr's parting words were true. He wanted to believe the woman he-- and Anshan-- chose would in turn choose them, but he began to see what Ne'Rin and Mansr had warned him of: she was not one of theirs and would not accept the duties she knew nothing about. Mansr's parting warning, that she must voluntarily accept her role and Anshan as her home, had struck him as odd, for why would she not when he honored her with the greatest honor ever bestowed upon a non-ruling Anshan?

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