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Those with royal blood in Tir na Cali generally are slight, pale-skinned, and grey-eyed.
There was nothing wrong with Leopold’s pedigree, but there was something wrong with his genes.
His bloodlines were the purest a slave could hope for: clearly, there had been a couple American ancestors in there somewhere, but his father, his grandfathers, and most of his great-grandfathers had been Californian royalty. He was short, androgynously handsome, grey-eyed, red-haired, and pale skinned. He aged slowly and sunburned on the cloudiest day. But he had not the slightest spark of magic. And every bit of training to be a companion, a personal body-slave, had done only so much good against that major flaw.
At the age of thirty-five, Leopold found himself waiting, once again, in a sales cage, posing as perfectly, waiting as patiently as he could manage. He knew he was going for a bargain price. He tried not to let it sting his pride.
Harder to swallow were the dozens of common women, affluent, well-dressed common women, who would look him over, smile, read his dossier, frown, and hurry away. They wanted pretty grey-eyed babies with powers, not a pretty grey-eyed butler who would give them human babies. Not an over-trained sport.
Days went by. They always did. Someone would buy him, wanting someone to raise their children, wanting someone to train their blooded but ill-mannered slaves. A temp position, more or less, but it was work. It was a position.
But the royal ladies and their house-managers bypassed him this time, too. He wasn’t showing his age yet, was he? And there wasn’t anything negative from his last owners in his dossier… just that there were so many of them. A sport was bad luck, but not many people believed that, in this modern era.
When the next woman to walk up Leopold’s cage was tall and black-haired, Leopold’s heart sank. He put the token effort into the proper pose and the proper words, but this one wasn’t going to be any more interested than the last twenty.
“Actually.” Her voice was amused as it cut across his ‘ma’am,’ “it’s ‘your Ladyship. But would you like it to be ‘my Lady?'”
“Ma… your Ladyship?” He risked another glance at her eyes. Blue. Blue, although you might say they were a very grey blue, they were still not grey.
And she was laughing at him, smiling, at least. “A perfect specimen with no power and a black-haired Baroness with blue eyes. We’ll make a lovely couple, won’t we?”
“Oh.” Oh! “Yes… yes, my Lady.”
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