Authors: Claire Legrand
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Copyright © 2018 by Claire Legrand
Cover and internal design © 2018 by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Cover design and illustration by David Curtis
Sourcebooks and the colophon are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems—except
in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Published by Sourcebooks Fire, an imprint of Sourcebooks,
P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567-4410
Fax: (630) 961-2168
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Legrand, Claire, 1986- author.
Title: Furyborn / Claire Legrand.
Description: Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebooks Fire,  | Series: Empirium trilogy ; 1 | Summary: Rielle may prove to be one of the Prophesized
Queens, if she survives the trials, and a thousand years later bounty hunter Eliana helps a girl who could be the answer to the prophecy.
Identifiers: LCCN 2017034431 | (13 : alk. paper)
Subjects: | CYAC: Fantasy.
Classification: LCC PZ7.L521297 Ash 2018 | DDC [Fic]--dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2017034431
For Brittany, who knew Celdaria first
“Some say the Queen was frightened in her last moments. But I like to think that she was angry.”
The Word of the Prophet
The queen stopped screaming just after midnight.
Simon had been hiding in her closet, fingers jammed into his ears to block out the noise. For hours, he had crouched there, knees drawn to chest, head bowed.
For hours, the queen’s
rooms had shuddered in tandem with her screams.
Now, there was silence. Simon held his breath and measured the seconds, like counting after a lightning strike until the thunder rolls: Is the storm fading, or is it coming closer?
One. Two. Three.
He reached twenty and dared to lower his hands.
A baby cried out into the silence. Simon grinned and scrambled to his feet, a wave of
relief crashing through him.
The queen’s child was born—
. Now he and his father could flee this city and never look back.
Simon pushed past the queen’s gowns and stumbled out into her bedroom.
“Father?” he asked, breathless.
Garver Randell, Simon’s father, turned to face him, his eyes weary but his smile broad. And behind him lay Queen Rielle, her wild, dark hair plastered
to her pale skin, her bedsheets and white nightgown stained red. She held a fussing bundle in her arms.
Simon crept closer to the bed in wonder, even as the sight of the queen made angry heat bloom in his chest. His kingdom’s new princess was a small thing—scrunched red face, skin slightly darker than her mother’s, wide brown eyes, a mop of wet black hair.
Simon’s breath caught in his
The baby looked very much like her late father.
Rielle stared at the child, then gazed up at Simon’s father in bewilderment.
“I thought I would kill her,” said the queen. She laughed, wiping her face with shaking fingers. “I dreamed I would. And yet here she is after all.” She fumbled to adjust the baby in her arms. She didn’t seem to be very good at holding babies.
was strange to see the queen like this—small in her nest of pillows, looking hardly more than a girl though she was twenty years old. This queen who had allied with the angels and helped them kill thousands of humans.
This queen who had murdered her husband.
“Audric would have loved her,” Rielle whispered, her face crumpling.
Simon’s small fists clenched at his sides. How dare she
talk about King Audric when she was the one who had killed him?
He had learned only a few things about the night the capital fell. King Audric had fought Queen Rielle on the broad veranda attached to the castle’s fourth floor. The king’s sword had blazed with the light of the sun, his diamond- and mirror-studded armor shining brighter than the stars.
But not even King Audric the Lightbringer,
the most powerful sunspinner in centuries, had been strong enough to defeat Queen Rielle.
The queen had carved a sword out of the air, a blinding weapon forged from the empirium itself. Rielle and Audric had fought blade to blade, but the fight had been brief.
And when Rielle plunged her glowing hand into Audric’s chest to tear out his heart, there had been nothing but bloodlust in her
eyes as she watched her husband fall to ashes at her feet.
Simon wasn’t a violent child, but all the same, he thought that if he looked at the queen for one more second, he might strike her.
So he uttered the Sun Queen’s prayer in Audric’s honor—
May the Queen’s light guide him home
—and turned to his father instead.
That’s when Garver Randell went rigid and whispered, “He knows,” then
fell gasping to his knees.
Simon rushed to his side. “Father? What is it? What’s wrong?”
Garver clutched his head, his body jerking. “He knows, God help us, he
,” he moaned, and when he looked up, it was with eyes gone gray and cloudy.
Simon’s heart sank to his feet. He knew those eyes, and what they meant.
An angel had found its way inside his father’s mind at last.
And from the terror on his father’s face, Simon knew it must be Corien.
“Father, listen to me! I’m right here!” Simon grabbed his father’s arm. “Let’s go. We can leave now! Please, hurry!”
Simon heard the queen behind him, singing softly to herself: “This is how you hold your child. This is how you murder your husband.” Her laughter was thick with tears.
“He knows what I am,” Garver
Simon’s growing dread turned his body to stone.
Corien knew—that his father was a marque, and Simon was too. Neither angel nor human, but with the blood of both inside them.
Suddenly, the markings hidden on Simon’s back beneath his tunic felt like flares that would alert everyone in the conquered city to where he was hiding. For years, he and his father had lived secretly in
Celdaria’s capital, concealing their marked backs and their forbidden magic. They had been healers, honest and hard-working, sought out by commoners and temple magisters and even the royal family.
And now…now, Corien
Simon shoved his father toward the door. “Father, move, please!”
Garver choked out, “Get away from me! He’ll find you!” He seized Simon by the collar and shoved
Simon’s head smacked against the queen’s four-poster bed, and he slumped to the floor, dazed. He watched his father turn, laugh a little, clutch his head. He watched him mutter angry, foreign words in a voice that was half his and half Coriens and then run, limping, to the terrace window.
Then, with a strangled cry, Garver Randell threw himself off the queen’s tower.
lurched up, grabbed the bed-curtains for support, stumbled forward, and fell. Head throbbing, fighting back the urge to be sick, he crawled across the floor to the terrace. At the railing, the mountain wind slapping his cheeks, he couldn’t bear to look down. He pressed his face against the cool stone, wrapped his arms around two posts. Someone or something was making an awful choking noise.
“Simon,” said a voice behind him.
He realized, then, that the awful noise was coming from him.
He jumped to his feet, rounding on Queen Rielle.
“You did this,” he cried. “You killed us all! You’re a monster! You’re evil!”
He tried to say more: She had betrayed everyone in the kingdom of Celdaria, everyone in the world. She was supposed to be the Sun Queen, their savior and protector.
And yet she had become the Blood Queen. The Kingsbane. The Lady of Death.
But Simon’s tears blocked his voice. The wind whipping down along the mountainsides carved shivers from his skin. His small body heaved; he could hardly breathe.
He folded his arms tightly around himself, squeezing his eyes shut as the world tilted. He could not stop seeing the image of his father running out onto
the terrace and flinging himself over the railing.
“Father,” he whispered, “come back, please.”
The queen settled gingerly on the settee across from him, her baby still in her arms. Her feet were bare and bloody, her nightgown soaked through with sweat.
“You’re right, you know,” said Rielle. “I did do this.”
Simon was glad the queen didn’t try to apologize. Nothing she could say
would make anything better.
“I think,” Rielle continued slowly, “that he will kill her.”
Simon sniffed, wiped his mouth. His teeth chattered; he could not stop crying. “What do you mean?”
Rielle turned to look at him, her lips chapped and cracked. Once, Simon remembered, he had thought the queen beautiful.
“My daughter.” Rielle’s voice was hollow. “I think Corien will kill her.
Or he’ll try to.”
Simon bit out, “He should kill you instead.”
Rielle laughed at that—and kept laughing hysterically. Simon could only stare at her in rage and horror until she brought her child to her face, nuzzled her cheek against its own. The baby cooed and sighed.
“This is how,” Rielle whispered, “you hold your child.” She made a soft, sad noise. “Audric would have loved her.”
Then the queen’s face contorted, and she cried out in pain. She clutched her baby to her stomach and doubled over, gasping.
The stone shuddered beneath Simon’s feet. The walls of the queen’s rooms shifted in and out, like they were breathing along with her.
Rielle’s skin glowed, changing, and for a terrible moment, Simon thought he could see through her flesh to the blood and bone beneath—and
to the light beneath even that. She was outlined in shimmering flecks of gold, a luminous creature of sparks and embers.
Then the light faded, and Rielle was dim and human once more.
Simon’s blood roared with fear. “What was that?”
“It won’t be long now.” Rielle turned her glittering gaze up to him, and Simon recoiled. The skin around her eyes was dark and thin. “I can’t hold myself
together for much longer.”
“Do you mean…you’re dying?”
“I’ve tried so hard for so long,” Rielle muttered, and then she screamed once more, went rigid. Blazing bolts of light shot out from her fingers and streaked into the night, arcing over the dark city. The light left behind charred streaks, jagged across the terrace floor.
Rielle looked up, her face slick with sweat. Light moved
in shimmering waves beneath her skin. Simon could not look away; she was at once the loveliest and most terrifying thing he had ever seen.
“Are you…hurting?” Simon asked.
Rielle laughed, a surprised little gasp. “I’m always hurting.”
“Good,” Simon replied, but not without a twinge of shame in his chest. She was a monster, yes, but a barefoot, exhausted monster with a child held tenderly
in her arms.
, his father had always told him whenever Simon stewed in his hatred,
was once just a girl. Remember that. Remember her.
Then Rielle went very still.
“Oh, God,” she whispered. “He’s coming.”
Simon backed away, alarm ringing in his ears. “Corien?”
Rielle used the wall to pull herself up, her shifting face tight with pain. “I cannot allow him to find you.
Garver hid you well, but if he realizes you’re here now and what you are…”
Simon touched his back, as if that could hide the markings there. “You…you know about us?”
Rielle’s face flickered with something Simon couldn’t read. “A friend told me. Just in case…well. In case I needed to know.”
“I don’t understand—”
“And I don’t have time to explain. Hide with her; stay out here. I’ll
And with that, Rielle pressed her daughter into Simon’s arms and hurried back into her rooms.
Simon stared down at the baby. Her dark, serious eyes locked onto his face as if he were the most interesting thing in the world. Despite his aching head and the horrible hollow pain in his gut, Simon allowed her a small smile.
“Hello,” he said and touched her cheek. “I’m Simon.”
“Here, take this.” Rielle reappeared, holding in her hand a necklace—a flat, gold pendant with a winged horse in flight carved onto its surface. On the horse sat a woman with streaming dark hair and a sword raised victoriously. Rays of sunlight fanned out behind her.
It was an image that had taken over Celdaria during the last two years, since the Church had declared Rielle to be the foretold
How they had all loved her, once.
As the queen tucked the necklace into her baby’s blanket, Simon watched her quietly. “Are you sorry for what you did?”
“Would it make you feel better if I was?”
Simon had no answer.
The queen kissed her daughter’s brow. “He won’t have you,” she whispered. “Not you, my precious one.”
Then she turned to Simon and, before he could
protest, brushed aside his ash-blond hair and pressed a kiss to his forehead. His skin smarted where her lips had touched; tears gathered behind his eyes. He felt like he stood on the edge of a swaying cliff, like a terrible thing was about to happen and he could do nothing to stop it.
“Go to Borsvall,” Rielle told him. “Find King Ilmaire and Commander Ingrid. Show them this necklace. They’ll
The doors to Rielle’s outer rooms slammed open.
“Rielle?” Corien roared.
Rielle cupped Simon’s cheek and met his eyes. “Whatever happens, don’t let him see you.”
As she turned to go, Simon grabbed Rielle’s hand. Without her, he would be alone with this child, and he suddenly wanted nothing more than to hide his face in Rielle’s arms. Monster or no, she was now a parent,
and that was a thing he craved more than anything.
“Please don’t go,” he whispered.
She gave him a tight smile. “You’re strong, Simon. I know you can do this.”
Then she hurried back inside and met Corien in the middle of her bedroom.
“Where is it?” came Corien’s voice, low and dangerous.
Simon shifted slightly, peeking through a small sliver between the terrace curtains. His
heart jumped in fear to see the leader of the angels—a beautiful man, pale and chiseled, hair gleaming black, lips full and cruel.
“She,” Rielle corrected him. “I have a daughter.”
Corien’s gaze was deadly still. “And where is
“I’ve sent her far away. With someone so powerful you’ll never find her.”
Simon’s heart lifted. Was someone coming to help them?
unkindly. “Oh yes? And who might that be?”
“You can try and find the truth,” said Rielle, “but you’ll soon discover you’re no longer welcome inside me.”
With a snarl, Corien struck her hard across the mouth. Rielle stumbled, her lip bloodied, and Simon’s gaze found hers. Her flaming-gold eyes were hard, triumphant. There was a strength on her tired face that he’d never seen before.
I’ve sent her far away. With someone so powerful you’ll never find her.
You’re strong, Simon. You can do this.
And suddenly Simon understood: no one was coming to help them.
was the powerful someone.
And it was up to him alone to save the princess.
He would have to use his magic—his half-blood marque magic, the traveling magic that had doomed nearly all of his kind—to send
them both hundreds of miles away, to Borsvall and to safety.