• Home
  • Directory
  • Popular
  • Authors
  • Series
  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Dreams Made Flesh (Chapter 74)      Page
  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(74) by Anne Bishop
  • Hell's fire, Mother Night, and may the Darkness be merciful, Lucivar thought as he went to answer the door…again. How did Saetan tolerate days like this? A fist in the face had always gotten his message across well enough. Why did he have totalk to all these people?

    And where was Marian? The aristo bitches from Doun had looked at her with barely concealed sneers, but the merchants and other family men who were showing up looked relieved when she greeted them and offered some refreshment. He made them nervous. She was someone they felt easy being around. Which is why he'd let her run herself ragged looking after them while they waited for an audience with him.

    As soon as she got back, he was going to lock the door and they were going to sit down for a quick meal and an hour's peace. Until then…

    When he opened the door, the Queen of Riada's Consort…and husband…walked in. A Summer-sky Prince, he'd been with his Lady for ten years now and was the father of her two children.

    "Is the Queen upset about my decision?" Lucivar asked as he closed the door.

    "No," the Prince replied. Then he smiled. "Although she's had her share of visitors today. No, I'm not here on my Queen's behalf."

    Lucivar studied the man. He didn't know him well since he preferred a place like The Tavern to a dining house that catered to aristos, and the

    only time he'd attended dinner parties was when Jaenelle had been invited as well and needed him to be her escort.

    "When Roxie leaves Ebon Rih, she'll no longer be your problem… or ours, for which I thank you. But a woman who would make false accusations about an Ebon-gray Warlord Prince is either stupid or trouble or both."

    "We agree on that. I'm sorry to make her someone else's problem, but I couldn't justify doing more than getting her out of Ebon Rih."

    "I understand that. There are ways to handle such problems." The Prince looked uncomfortable. "Sometimes a person takes a wrong turn and needs a new place where a smear on his, or her, reputation isn't reflected back from every person he meets."

    Bitterness filled the Prince's eyes for a moment before a different memory warmed them again, making Lucivar wonder what kind of smear had brought the man to Ebon Rih for a fresh start.

    "Sometimes that's all a person needs to find everything he was looking for," the Prince continued softly. Then he stiffened, as if suddenly realizing he'd said too much. "And sometimes a person won't change. A Lady can sleep with a different man every day of the year, and no one will say a thing because that is a Lady's privilege. At least, no one will say anything publicly. But a woman who is a user gets a reputation among the men, and when she leaves one hunting ground for another, word is quietly sent to warn the men there that her… affection… may not be sincere."

    Lucivar nodded. He would have preferred blunt words to this diplomatic hedging, but he was Eyrien. "You have a solution?"

    The Prince tipped his head in acknowledgment. "My brother serves as an escort in a Queen's court. She rules one of the larger cities on the coast of Askavi. A quiet word to him would spread to the other courts. If Roxie relocates to one of their cities, they'll know."

    Lucivar thought about the young man he'd met on Roxie's street, a young man who would spend the next few years working hard to clean that smear off his reputation. "Do it."

    Just then Marian rushed in from the kitchen, looking breathless and windblown—and beautiful.

    "Lucivar, I— Oh. Good day, Prince."

    "Lady Marian," the Prince replied, offering her a slight bow.

    "Would you care for refreshments?"

    Lucivar almost grinned at the exasperated look she gave him, could almost hear her thoughts:Leave him alone for a few minutes, and he keeps an important visitor standing at the door. She'd come a long way from the frightened hearth witch who had sat at his kitchen table last summer.

    "Thank you for the offer, Lady, but I need to be getting back."

    When the Prince left, Lucivar locked the front door and came back to the kitchen, rubbing his hands over his face. "I don't care who comes knocking, for the next hour you and I are going to have some peace."

    "I brought back kegs of ale and some brandy," Marian said as she unbuckled the belt of her new cape.

    "Give me a hug. That will do more for me than ale and brandy put together."

    She looked at him, startled, then gave him an understanding smile as she walked into his open arms.

    "Poor Lucivar," she said as she slid her arms around him. "You've had a beastly day, haven't you?"

    He rubbed his cheek against her hair. "And it's not over yet." There was one visitor he was expecting who hadn't shown up yet. He was almost looking forward to that little discussion.

    Marian heard the raised voices when she came out of the pantry with a jar of fruit to go with the steak pie. Feeling cowardly when she recognized Luthvian's voice, but not sufficiently ashamed of the feeling to enter the front room, she stayed at the edge of the kitchen where it was least likely she'd be seen. She didn't want to get in the middle of this… especially when she heard a viciousness in Lucivar's voice that made her shiver.

    "Don't use that tone with me," Luthvian said.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire