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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Dreams Made Flesh (Chapter 25)      Page
  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(25) by Anne Bishop
  • "You want advice about how to deal with Marian?" Saetan said. "Treat her the same way you treat the coven."

    Lucivar clenched his fists. The coven could take anything he dished out, but… "She's too fragile to be handled that way."

    Saetan just looked at him for a long time, then said quietly, "I saw her when Jaenelle brought her to the Keep. The woman who survived that attack has strength she's never tested, strength she probably doesn't even realize is inside her. Give her the chance to find it. Give her a reason to test it."

    Marian stared at the open kitchen cupboards. Theempty kitchen cupboards. The man had two skillets, a pot, a chipped mixing bowl, four mismatched dishes, two coffee mugs, three glasses, two kitchen knives, and an odd assortment of silverware. No baking dishes, no baking sheets, no measuring cups. No coffee pot or coffee grinder. He didn't even havewooden spoons. How was she supposed to prepare decent meals for him without any tools?

    And the pantry. The size and design of it thrilled her, but the barren shelves made her want to cry. There was a small keg of ale and a wine rack that held three bottles labeled "yarbarah," which she assumed was the name of a vineyard somewhere in Kaeleer because the only other "yarbarah" she knew about was the blood wine warriors drank at special ceremonies, and Yaslana wouldn't have three bottles ofthat. But the flour, sugar, and coffee beans were just left in their sacks without so much as a light shield to keep the bugs out, and they were the only food items.

    The cold box was a delightful discovery, especially when she realized the top third of it was a separate freeze box, but leaving hunks of meat wrapped in nothing more than brown paper was just… scandalous. The only other things in the cold box were a half-full butter bowl, the glass bottle of cream, and one egg.

    Marian slumped in a chair. There had been no mention of wages last night, and she'd been too frightened to ask, but now she was glad she hadn't.

    The pine table and chairs in the kitchen were new. So was the stove, the cold box, and the furniture in Prince Yaslana's bedroom. The furniture in her room was not, but it was good quality.

    The rest of the rooms were empty.

    Which made her wonder if Prince Yaslana was just getting by until it was time for the next tithe. After all, Luthvian had said he'd just recently become the Prince of Ebon Rih, so he wouldn't have received any of the income yet that came with the title. Maybe he couldn't afford anything more yet. Maybe that's why he hadn't mentioned wages.

    Dark power washed through the eyrie, warning her that he'd returned. She jumped up and quickly shut all the cupboards and drawers so he wouldn't wonder what she'd been doing. Then she stopped and looked around. Better if he found her doing something useful, but… what?

    Yaslana walked into the kitchen, checked his stride, then advanced toward her more slowly, almost warily.

    Marian's heart leaped into her throat. It was midday, wasn't it? He was expecting a meal, and she didn't have anything to serve him.

    Three dishes suddenly appeared on the counter…two large glass baking dishes with covers and a brown crock.

    "Mrs. Beale sent these, with her compliments. She said it wasn't likely that you'd get to the market today since you'd need a little time to settle in and…" He made a face. "And since she doubted I had more than salt and pepper on hand for spices, you'd want to make a list before you went shopping."

    Mrs. Beale, whoever she was, was an optimist, Marian thought as she eyed the dishes. She hadn't even found salt and pepper when she'd gone through the cupboards and pantry.

    "So this should take care of today's meals," Yaslana said.

    While she was grateful for the meals, Marian really wanted to know how long she could keep the dishes.

    "And there's this." He took another step toward her and held out a thin stack of papers.

    She took them, fanning them out before she actually looked at them. Her heart leaped into her throat, and she had to bite back a squeal.

    Silver marks. Alot of silver marks. More than she'd ever seen in her life.

    "This…" She had to clear her throat before she could get the words out. "This is the housekeeping account?" Oh, the meals she could make with these kinds of funds.

    Frowning, he shifted his weight. "I have accounts set up at all the shops in Riada.When you do the marketing, just tell the shopkeeper to put it on my account." He tipped his head toward the marks. "That's for you. An advance in your wages. Since you haven't been in Kaeleer very long, I figured there were things you'd need to buy for yourself."

    She felt the blood draining out of her head as she stared at the silver marks. "You're advancing me a month's wages?"

    His frown deepened. "Half a month."

    Now she did squeal as she thrust out her hand. "I can't take this!"

    He took a step back. "Why not?"

    "It's too much." Too agitated to think about what she was doing, she took a step toward him, still holding out the marks.

    He took another step back.

    "Who says it's too much?" He sounded testy. "Besides, I can afford it."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire