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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Dreams Made Flesh (Chapter 31)      Page
  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(31) by Anne Bishop
  • She closed her book and studied him. "What brings you back here tonight, Brother?"

    Her knowing he was there as her brother and not as a Warlord Prince who served in her court made this a lot easier. "I need a favor, and I don't want to explain why."

    Tarl, the head gardener at SaDiablo Hall, was the first man to arrive that morning. Which figured, Lucivar thought as he raised a hand in welcome. Tarl had probably come in the Hall's small private Coach and stayed out of sight until the driver caught the Winds and guided the Coach to the next destination…with Jaenelle and a flustered Marian inside it.

    Jaenelle had timed the note commanding Marian's assistance perfectly. Arriving late yesterday morning, it had given Marian enough time to wash out clothing and cook enough food that he could heat up so he wouldn't starve to death in her absence but not enough time to do anything else except get herself cleaned up and pack the small trunk Jaenelle had thoughtfully sent over from the Keep with the note.

    Now Jaenelle and Marian were gone for the next two days to do some shopping, Tarl was here, and the other men would be arriving shortly.

    "Morning, Prince Lucivar," Tarl said.

    "Good morning, Tarl."

    "Going to be a fine day."Tarl's eyes lit up with something close to lust when he looked at that half acre of rocky, weedy ground. "Sooo… it's a garden we're making out of this, is it?"

    "Yes," Lucivar said cautiously.

    "And…" Tarl broke off at the sound of other men's voices coming from the stairs leading up from the landing place. "You called in the tithe?" he asked softly.

    Lucivar nodded. "From Riada. I need this done in two days."

    As part of the tithe owed to the Keep, every adult in Ebon Rih owed five days of labor each year along with the financial tithe. As the Warlord Prince ruling on his Queen's behalf, he received two of those days. He'd spent part of yesterday making sure word was spread throughout the village that he was collecting those two days from the men.

    The men began to gather round, talking quietly among themselves.

    "Well," Briggs, who ran The Tavern with his wife, Merry, said. "What's to be done here, Prince?"

    "A garden," Tarl replied before Lucivar could. "But what kind of garden?"

    It sounded like an innocent question until Lucivar realized every man now crowded around them had stopped talking in order to hear the answer. He didn't look at any of them. He didn't dare look at Tarl, whom he could have cheerfully strangled at that moment. There wasn't a man on this mountain who wasn't going to go home tonight and report Prince Yaslana s answer to the women in his life…which, in Tarl s case since he worked at the Hall, was Helene and Mrs. Beale.

    Lucivar took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Lady Marian wants a kitchen garden, a bed for herbs, and some flowers."

    A few men grinned. Others nudged their neighbors or exchanged knowing looks. By tonight, everyone in Riada would know Lucivar Yaslana was interested in far more than Lady Marian's housekeeping skills. Which was fine…as long as Marian didn't panic when she found out.

    Tarl prowled the ground nearest the eyrie, frowning a bit at one thing, nodding at something else. He made his way through the men, crossed the flagstone courtyard in front of the eyrie, and continued on to the other side. He came back a few minutes later, looking thoughtful.

    "Right," he said. "I've got the feel of it. I expect your Lady wants to be doing her own planting on this side of the eyrie, but we can take care of the other side."

    "Other side?" Lucivar said, feeling like he'd taken a bad slide on what he'd thought was solid ground.

    "Lady Marian's a hearth witch, isn't she?" Tarl said, making the question close to a demand. "She'll spend the rest of the summer fretting if this side is put to rights and the other side is left so untidy. We've got two days and"…he looked around as men shifted to make room for newcomers…"plenty of hands to do the job."

    Lucivar closed his eyes and accepted that he'd kicked the first pebble, so he couldn't complain…too much…about the avalanche that came out of it. "Fine."

    "Right, then," Tarl said, rubbing his hands together. "The first thing we have to do is move those rocks."

    Why am I here?Marian asked herself as she looked around the two-story building packed with furniture.

    "Tell me again why I'm here?" the man beside her asked.

    Jaenelle looked over her shoulder at him. "Because you're male."

    "And I'm being punished for this because… ?"

    "You're Lucivar s father."

    He sighed. "I thought that would be the answer." He paused, then added, "Lucivar wanted to select his own furnishings. He said so. Several times."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire