Rhychard Bartlett has a secret, a very big secret. We’re not talking about what he bought his mother for her birthday or whether Santa Claus is real or not. (For the record, Santa Claus is real. The North Pole is part of the faerie world.) No, we’re talking about a secret that, while he wishes he could tell someone, it’s for their safety that he must keep it. You see, Rhychard is a Warrior of the Way, a soldier in the battle between the Way and the Void, the Seelie and the Unseelie. He’s been handed a magical sword and sent out to battle evil in his hometown. The hard part for him, even harder than fighting the demon, Vargas, is the fact that he is forbidden to tell anyone about it, even the most important person in his life, Renny Saunders.
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“There are reasons Warriors don’t have families of their own,” Kendalais said in one of his many tedious lessons. He was a Sidhe Warrior Master and it was he who had been sent to teach Rhychard of his new role in life, a role he did not want. “It is not merely for the safety of the family, but to protect the Warrior from being controlled by outside forces. No one must be permitted to know what you are or what you are doing. You must let the woman go.”
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As Rhychard continued his training and fighting the Unseelie to protect Captain John Relco of the Harbor City Police Department, his absences could not always be explained. He could only use work as an excuse so many times, and that never really worked for his evening disappearances. Finally, Renny had enough.
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The night that Renny left had been his fault. He had practically disappeared on her without any way of explaining where he went. His behavior had already been erratic since coming upon Jamairlo that night in a dark alley. The night he rescued Captain Relco, however, it all came to a head.
He had been hunting down Vargas because the demon was after the police captain, John Relco. The captain was close to uncovering one of the Unseelie’s vast drug rings. Sad really that the supernatural would be dealing drugs, but these days everyone had their hands in it. The dark elves discovered that with the aid of drugs they could better control humans and use them to do most of their dirty work. Vargas had created a whole network of labs producing mind-altering concoctions in order to twist the minds of people. Captain Relco was just about to break it open when Vargas sent his army of gargoyles after him. Tryna caught wind of it just in time for Rhychard to intervene and save the man. However, saving Relco had cost him Renny.
Apparently, she had planned an elaborate dinner for him, soft jazz, merlot, a medium rare London broil with twice baked potatoes. He was supposed to have been there at seven, but gargoyles don’t have watches and wouldn’t stop the battle in time for Rhychard to call. Creatures of the Void would probably be a lot more understanding if they had wives to come home to. As it was Rhychard didn’t arrive home until quarter past ten and when he opened the door he was greeted with a shattering glass of red wine followed by a plate full of bloody meat and cold potatoes. She was screaming and crying and the empty bottle of San Sebastian merlot told Rhychard she was very intoxicated, as well. She accused him of cheating on her, of not loving her, and of being the illegitimate son of homosexual llamas. He had kept that last one from his parents. Renny didn’t storm out of his life as much as stumble, but the result was the same. She was gone.
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Secrets. They cause more harm than good as Rhychard found out. It not only cost him his girlfriend, but also his church family and all of his friends. It doesn’t matter that it was for a noble cause. The people in his life didn’t know that and trust can be stretched too thin when it continues without ever an answer in sight, as we see with Renny Saunders. Rhychard believes he is doing the right thing, keeping his secret in order to protect Renny. However, that fails to take into account Renny’s own strength to believe the impossible and to handle the situation he has found himself in suddenly. Secrets like this may seem noble, but in reality, they are more condescending in nature, insulting the people from whom the secret is being kept.
Rhychard finally has to come to terms with this fact in Reaping the Harvest. He has to decide whether to do things his way or the Seelie way.
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Rhychard still wasn’t sure how he was going to stop the Unseelie demon or if he even could, but he did know he was going to tell Renny the truth. He didn’t think it would change anything between them, but she would know he hadn’t cheated on her. That was all he wanted at this point, to clear his name in her eyes. He hated that she thought bad of him, especially since he hadn’t really done anything wrong.
Except not trust her. He should have told her everything from the start and not hid it from her no matter what Kendalais had commanded. Four years they had been together and he had listened to some pompous elf he had only known for a short time. That was what he had done wrong and what he was going to fix. Tonight. He was through doing things the Seelie way. He was doing things his way from now on and the elves could be damned if they didn’t like it.
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Rhychard had to learn what we all need to know; it’s best to be upfront and honest, especially with the ones you love. Whether Renny would have accepted everything or not doesn’t matter. The important thing is that Rhychard would have known he had done everything he could not to lie to his girlfriend. Then she would have had to make the decision whether to support him or not.
Secrets are never good, so feel free to tell me what you bought me for my birthday.
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Until next time, keep chasing your fantasies!
Want to know more about Rhychard and his friends in the Warrior of the Way series? Check out Reaping the Harvest and Lore Master at your favorite eBook distributor today.