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King Roger regards the young man warily. There is never any good in the offing when the Iron Lord of Trebond grins so poisonously.

"Royal blood runs in the female line," Thom says, "Mother to daughter. Up in Grimhold, a man's heir is his sister's son."

The glass in Roger's hand shatters.

"So my nephew is twice royal, then, and you have no heirs of your body. You never will." Thom's whisper is disturbingly seductive.

There have never been kings in Dunlath, Roger realizes. They have always been in Trebond.

"Now you see," Thom says.

Thom's kiss is a triumph.