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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 167)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(167) by Anne Bishop
  • Lucivar used Craft to steady the cup so that the hot liquid wouldn't spill on her.

    "They were the first friends Khevin's ever had." Her eyes pleaded with him to understand. Then she blushed and looked down. "Male friends, I mean. They didn't laugh at him or call him names like some of the young Warlords from Agio do."

    "What about the older Warlords?" Lucivar asked, careful to keep the anger out of his voice.

    Mari shrugged. "They seemed embarrassed if they saw him when they came to check on the village. They didn't want to know he existed. They didn't want to see me around either," she added bitterly. "But with Lord Khardeen and Prince Aaron. . . . When the lesson was over, they would stay a little while to have a glass of ale and just talk. They told him about the Blood's code of honor and the rules Blood males are supposed to live by. Sometimes it made me wonder if the Blood in Agio had ever heard of those rules."

    If they hadn't, they were going to. "The shield," he prompted.

    "All of a sudden, the sky was filled with Jhinka screaming like they do. Khevin told me to come to the community hall. We . . . the Lady says that sometimes a link is formed when people like us are . . . close."

    Lucivar glanced at her left hand. No marriage ring. Lovers then. At least Khevin had known, and given, that pleasure.

    "I was at this end of the village, delivering some of Gran's herb medicines. The adults wouldn't listen to me, so I just grabbed a little girl who was playing outside and yelled at the other children to corne with me. I—I think Imade some of them come with me.

    "When we got to the community building, Khevin had a shield around it. He was sweating. It looked like it was hurting him."

    Lucivar was sure that it had.

    "He said he'd tried to send a message to Agio on a psychic thread, but he wasn't sure anyone would hear it. Then he told me someone had to stay inside the shield in order to reach through it to bring another person in. He brought me through just as one of the Jhinka flew at us. The Jhinka hit the shield so hard it knocked him out. Khevin got his ax—he'd been chopping wood when the attack started. He went through the shield and k-killed the Jhinka. By then all the men in the village were in the streets, fighting. Khevin stayed outside to protect the children while I pulled them through the shield.

    "By then the Jhinka were all around us. A lot of the women who tried to reach the building didn't make it, or were badly wounded by the time I pulled them through the shield. Gran . . . Gran was almost within reach when one ' of the Jhinka swooped down and. ... He laughed. He looked at me and he laughed while he killed her."

    Lucivar refilled the cup and put a warming spell on the pots while Mari groped in her apron pocket for a handkerchief.

    She sipped the herbal tea, saying nothing for a minute. "Khevin couldn't keep fighting and hold the shield, too. Even I could see that. He had a-arrows in his legs. He couldn't move very fast. They caught him before he could go through the shield and did that to him. Then Lord Randahl and the others came and started fighting.

    "Two of the Warlords were shielding the wounded, leading them here, while the other two kept killing and killing.

    "Khevin's shield started to fail. I was afraid the Warlords I would put up another one that I couldn't get through, and Khevin would be left outside. As I reached out and grabbed

    him, a Jhinka saw me and slashed my arm. I pulled Khevin through just before the Warlords slipped inside and put up another shield."

    Mari sipped her tea. "Lord Adler started swearing because they couldn't break through the witch storm around the village to send a message to Agio. But Lord Randahl just kept looking at Khevin.

    "Then he and Lord Adler picked Khevin up 1-like he was finally worth something. They took the mattress and sheets from the caretaker's bed and did what they could to make him comfortable." Mari stared at the cup, tears running down her face. "That's it."

    Lucivar took the empty cup, wanting to offer her some comfort but not sure if she could accept it from a Warlord Prince. Maybe from someone like Aaron, who was the same age, but from him?

    "Mari?"

    Relief washed through him when Jaenelle walked into the kitchen.

    "Let's see your arm," Jaenelle said, gently loosening the bandage and ignoring Mari's stammered pleas to take care of Khevin. "First your arm. I need you whole so you can help me with the others. We're going to need some mild— ah, you've already prepared some."

    While Jaenelle healed the deep knife wound that had opened Mari's arm from elbow to wrist, Lucivar ladled out cups of the healing teas and put a warming spell on each cup. After a bit of cupboard hunting, he found two large metal serving trays. Full, they'd be too heavy for Mari— especially since Jaenelle had just warned her that the kind of fast healing she was going to have to do wasn't going to hold up under strain—but the young Warlords out there could do the heavy hauling and lifting now that he was maintaining the shield.

    Jaenelle solved the problem by putting a float spell on both trays so that they hovered waist high. Mari didn't need to lift, just steer.

    With Lucivar and Mari guiding the trays, the three of them went to the large room. Jaenelle ignored the clamor that began as soon as the villagers saw her and went to the ' shadowed wall where Khevin lay.

    Mari hesitated, biting her lip, obviously torn between her desire to go to her lover and her duties as assistant Healer. ; Lucivar gave her shoulder a quick, encouraging squeeze j before he joined Jaenelle. He didn't know what help he j could give her, but he'd do whatever he could.

    As Jaenelle started to lift the sheet, Khevin's eyes opened. With effort, he grabbed her hand.

    She stared at the young man, her eyes blank. It was as if she had gone so deep within herself that the windows of ! the soul could no longer reveal the person who lived within

    "Do you fear me?" she asked in a midnight whisper.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire