Chapter no 76

A Court of Silver Flames

The river house was so silent. Like a tomb.

“She started bleeding a few hours ago,” Mor said as she led them through the house.

“But she’s months away from giving birth,” Nesta protested, following close on her heels.

The scent of blood filled the room they entered. So much blood, all over the bed, smeared over Feyre’s spread thighs. No babe—and Feyre’s face … It was white as death. Her eyes were closed, her breathing too shallow.

Rhys crouched at her side, gripping her hand. Panic and terror and pain warred on his face.

Madja, kneeling on the bed between Feyre’s legs, blood up to her elbows, said without looking at them, “I turned the babe, but he’s not descending. He’s wedged in the birth canal.”

A small intake of breath from the corner of the room revealed Amren sitting there, her pale face drained of color.

“She’s losing too much blood, and I can feel the babe’s heart in distress,” Madja announced.

“What do we do?” Mor asked as Cassian and Azriel went to stand behind Rhys, hands on his shoulders.

“There is nothing we can do,” Madja said. “Cutting the babe out of her will kill her.”

“Cutting it out?” Nesta demanded, earning a sharp glare from Rhys.

Madja ignored her tone. “An incision along her abdomen, even one carefully made, is an enormous risk. It’s never been successful. And even with Feyre’s healing abilities, the blood loss has weakened her—”

“Do it,” Feyre managed to say, the words weighted with pain. “Feyre,” Rhys objected.

“The babe likely won’t survive,” Madja said, voice gentle but no-nonsense. “It’s too small yet. We risk both of you.”

“All of you,” Cassian breathed, eyes on Rhys.

Do it,” Feyre said, and her voice was that of the High Lady. No fear. Only determination for the life of the babe within her. Feyre looked up at Rhys. “We have to.”

The High Lord nodded slowly, eyes lined with silver.

A hand slid into Nesta’s, and she found Elain there, shaking and wide-eyed. Nesta squeezed her sister’s fingers. Together, they approached the other side of the bed.

And when Elain began praying to the Fae’s foreign gods, to their Mother, Nesta bowed her head, too.



Feyre was dying. The babe was dying.

And Rhys would die with them.

But Cassian knew it wasn’t fear of his own death that had his brother trembling. Cassian’s hand tightened on Rhys’s shoulder. Night-flecked power leaked from his High Lord, trying to heal Feyre, just as Madja’s was, but the blood kept pouring out, faster than any power could stifle.

How had it come to this? A bargain made through love between two mates would now end in three lives lost.

Cassian’s body drifted somewhere far away as Madja got off the bed, then returned with a set of knives and tools, blankets and towels.

“Go into her mind to take the pain away,” Madja said to Rhys, who blinked in confirmation, then cursed, as if scolding himself for not thinking of it sooner. Cassian looked across the bed, to where Elain was holding Feyre’s other hand, and Nesta held Elain’s.

Rhys said to his mate, “Feyre darling—”

“No good-byes,” Feyre panted. “No good-byes, Rhys.”

Whatever Rhys did for the pain had her eyes closing. And Cassian’s mind went wholly silent and blank as Madja pulled up Feyre’s shift, her knives flashing.

There was no sound when the tiny, winged babe emerged. When Mor stood there, blankets in hand, and took the unmoving boy from Madja’s bloody hands.

But Rhys was crying, and tears began pouring down Mor’s face as she gazed at the silent babe in her arms.

And then Madja swore, and Rhys— Rhys began screaming.

Cassian knew, as Rhys lunged for Feyre on the bed, what was about to happen.

Yet no force in the world could stop it.



The world slowed. Went cold.

There was the silent, too-small babe in Mor’s arms.

There was Feyre, sliced open and bleeding out on the bed.

There was Rhysand screaming, as if his soul were being shredded, but Cassian and Azriel were there, hauling him away from the bed as Madja tried to save Feyre—

But Death hovered nearby. Nesta felt it, saw it, a shadow thicker and more permanent than any of Azriel’s. Elain sobbed, squeezing Feyre’s hand, pleading with her to hold on, and Nesta stood in the midst of it, Death swirling around her, and there was nothing, nothing, nothing to be done as Feyre’s breathing thinned, as Madja began shouting at her to fight it—


Feyre, who had gone into the woods for them. Who had saved them so many times.

Feyre. Her sister.

Death lurked near Feyre and her mate, a beast waiting to pounce, to devour them both. Nesta pulled her hand free of Elain’s. Stepped back.

She closed her eyes, and opened that place in her soul that had torn free on Ramiel.



Cassian could barely restrain Rhys, even with all seven Siphons blaring along with Azriel’s.

He should let Rhys go to her. If they were both about to die, he should let Rhys go to his mate. Be with her in these last seconds, last breaths—

Golden light flickered on the other side of the room, and Amren gasped.

Cassian’s heart curdled in horror.

Nesta no longer hovered by the side of the bed. She now stood a few feet away.

She wore the Mask. She’d placed the Crown atop her head. And she cradled the Harp in her arms.

No one had ever wielded all three and lived. No one could contain their power, control them—

Nesta’s eyes blazed with silver fire behind the Mask. And Cassian knew the being that looked out was neither Fae nor human nor anything that walked the lands of this world.

She began moving toward the bed, and Rhys surged for her.

Nesta held up a hand, and Rhys went still. As still as Cassian had gone under the Crown’s control.

Feyre’s chest lifted, a death-rattle whispering from her white lips, and Cassian could do nothing but watch as Nesta’s fingers, still bloody and filthy from the Rite, drifted to the final string of the Harp. The twenty-sixth string.

And plucked it.

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