• Home
  • Directory
  • Popular
  • Authors
  • Series
  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 123)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(123) by Anne Bishop
  • Lucivar bared his teeth in a smile, acknowledging the movement.

    Shifting a little farther, she began to pluck grass. "I gave Mrs. Beale a pickle berry once," she said in a small voice.

    Lucivar stared at the meadow. Over the past three months, he'd heard plenty of stories about the cook who worked for Jaenelle's family. "Did you tell her what it's called?"

    "No." A small, pleased smile curved Jaenelle's lips.

    He clenched his teeth. "What happened?"

    "Well, Papa asked me if I had any idea why those sounds were coming from the kitchen and I said I did have some idea and he said 'I see,' stuffed me into one of our private Coaches, and told Khary to take me to Morghann's house since Scelt was on the other side of the Realm."

    Struggling to keep a straight face, Lucivar clamped his right hand over his left wrist hard enough to hurt. It helped.

    "The next morning, Mrs. Beale cornered Papa in his study and told him that I'd given her a sample of a new kind of fruit and, having thought about it, she'd decided that it would enhance the flavor of a number of common dishes and she'd appreciate having some. Then she set a wicker basket on Papa's desk and Papa had to tell her that he didn't know where the fruit came from and Mrs. Beale pointed out that, obviously, I did, and Papa just as politely pointed out that I was not at home at the moment and Mrs. Beale suggested that he and her wicker basket go find me and bring back the desired fruit. So he did and we did and because the Fyreborn Islands are a closed Territory, Mrs. Beale is envied by other cooks for her ability to produce this unique taste in the food she prepares."

    Lucivar rubbed his head vigorously, then smoothed back his shoulder-length black hair. "Does Mrs. Beale outrank your father?"

    "Not by a long shot," Jaenelle said tartly, and then added plaintively, "It's just that she's rather . . .large."

    "I'd like to meet Mrs. Beale. I think I'm in love." He looked at Jaenelle's horrified expression, fell off the stump, and laughed himself silly. He laughed even harder when

    she poked him, and said worriedly, "You were joking, weren't you, Lucivar? Lucivar?"

    With a whoop, he yanked her down on top of him and wrapped his arms around her tight enough to hold her and loose enough not to panic her. "You should have been Eyrien," he said once his laughter had settled to a quiet simmer. "You've got the brass for it."

    Then he smoothed her hair away from her face. "What is it, Cat?" he asked quietly. "What am I going to find so bitter to swallow that you wanted to give me this burst of sweetness first?"

    Jaenelle traced his collarbone. "You're healed now."

    He could almost taste her reluctance. "So?"

    She rolled away from him and leaped to her feet, a movement so graceful nothing tame could have made it.

    He rose more slowly, snapped his wings open to clear away the dust and bits of grass, settled on the tree stump again, and waited.

    "Even after the war between Terreille and Kaeleer, people came through the Gates," Jaenelle said quietly, her eyes fixed on the horizon. "Mostly those who'd been born in the wrong place and were seeking 'home.' And there's always been some trading between Terreille and Little Terreille.

    "A couple of years ago, the Dark Council decided to allow more open contact with Terreille, and aristo Blood began pouring in to see the Shadow Realm. The number of lower-ranking Blood wanting to immigrate to Kaeleer should have warned the Council about what courts are like in Terreille, but Little Terreille opened its arms to embrace the kinship ties. However, Kaeleer is not Terreille. Blood Law and Protocol can be ... understood differently.

    "Too many Terreilleans refused to understand that what they could get away with in Terreille isn't tolerated in Kaeleer, and they died.

    "A year ago, in Dharo, three Terreillean males raped a young witch for sport. Raped her until her mind was so broken there was no one left to sing back to the body. She was my age."

    Lucivar concentrated on his clenched hands, forcing them to open. "Did they catch the bastards who did it?"

    Jaenelle smiled grimly. "The Dharo males executed those men. Then they banished the rest of the Terreilleans in Dharo, sending them back to Little Terreille. Within six months, the fatality rate for Terreilleans in most Territories was over ninety percent. Even in tittle Terreille it was over half. Since the slaughter strained good feelings between the Realms, the Dark Council passed some rules of immigration. Now, a Terreillean who wants to immigrate has to serve a Kaeleer witch to her satisfaction for a specified time. Non-Jeweled Blood have to serve for eighteen months. The lighter Jewels have to serve three years, the darker Jewels five. Queens and Warlord Princes of any rank have to serve five years."

    Lucivar felt sick. His body shook. He felt detached sympathy for it.To her satisfaction. That meant the bitch could do anything to him and he would have to allow it if he wanted to stay in Kaeleer.

    He tried to laugh. It sounded panicked.

    She knelt beside him and petted him anxiously. "Lucivar, it won't be so bad. Truly. The Queens. . . . Serving in Kaeleer isn't like serving in Terreille. I know all of the Territory Queens. I'll help you find someone who suits you, someone you'll enjoy serving."

    "Why can't I serve you?" He spread his hands over her shoulders, needing her to be his anchor as he fought against hurt and panic. "You like me—at least some of the time. And we work well together."

    "Oh, Lucivar," Jaenelle said gently, cupping his face in her hands. "I always like you. Even when you're being a pain in the ass. But you should have the experience of serving in a Kaeleer court."

    "You'll be setting up your court in a year or two."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire