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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 198)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(198) by Anne Bishop
  • Tersa, however, finally stirred herself and joined them. Shaking her head, she gave Jaenelle a poke in the shoulder. "There's no use wailing about it. You've taken up the responsibilities of a Queen now, and part of your duties is taking care of the males who belong to you."

    "Fine," Jaenelle snarled. "When do I get to pound him?"

    Tersa tsked. "They're males. They're allowed to fuss and pet." Then she smiled and patted Jaenelle's cheek. "Warlord Princes especially need physical contact with their Queen."

    "Oh," Jaenelle said sourly. "Well, that's just fine then."

    Tersa stretched out on the couch.

    "All right, grumpy little cat, you have a choice," Lucivar said.

    "Not one of your choices," Jaenelle groaned, sagging against him.

    "Does either of those choices include food and sleep?" Saetan asked.

    "And a bath?" Jaenelle added, wrinkling her nose.

    "One does," Lucivar said, releasing her.

    "Then I don't want to know what the other one is." Jaenelle rubbed her back. "Your belt buckle bites."

    "So do you."

    Saetan rubbed his temples. "Enough, children."

    Amazingly, they both stopped. Gold and sapphire eyes studied him for a moment before they left the room, arms about each other's waists.

    "You did well, Saetan," Tersa said quietly.

    Picking up a blanket draped over a chair, Saetan tucked it around Tersa and smoothed back her hair. "I had help," he replied, then laughed softly when she batted at his hand. "Males are allowed to fuss and pet, remember?"

    "I'm not a Queen."

    Saetan watched her until she fell asleep. "No, but you are a very gifted, very extraordinary Lady."

    3 / Kaeleer

    Telling himself he wasn't nervous, despite the pounding heart and sweaty palms, Saetan entered the large stone chamber that Draca had indicated was the place where the invited guests were to wait until they were summoned to the Dark Throne. Except for the blackwood pillars that contained the candle-lights and a few long tables against the walls that held assorted beverages, the room was bare of furniture.

    Which was just as well since threading their way through seating designed for humans would have made the kindred more tense than they already were, and some species—like the small dragons from the Fyreborn Islands—needed a generous amount of space. Saetan noticed, with growing uneasiness, thatall the kindred, not just the ones who had had little or no contact with people, weren't mingling with the human Blood, even though most of the humans present were friends-—or had been before the slaughters. That they were in this closed, confined space at all said a great deal for their devotion to Jaenelle.

    That was one worry. Ebon Rih was the Keep's Territory in Kaeleer—Jaenelle's Territory now. Ruling Ebon Rih wouldn't help the kindred or keep the human invaders out of their Territories. Traditionally, the Queen of Ebon Askavi had considerable influence in all the Realms, but would that influence and the innate caution within the Blood not to antagonize a mature dark power be enough? Would any of the fools in Kaeleer's Dark Council even recognize who they were challenging?

    Another worry was who was going to make up Jaenelle's court. He'd always assumed that the coven and Jaenelle's male friends would form the First Circle. It wasn't unprecedented for Queens to serve in a stronger Queen's court since District Queens served Province Queens who, in their turn, served the Territory Queen. That was the web of power that kept a Territory united.

    But Queens who ruled a Territory didn't serve in other~ courts. They were the final law of their land and yielded to no one.

    In the past week, while Jaenelle rested after making the Offering, her coven, Queens all, had also made the Offering. And every one of them had been chosen as the new Queen of their respective Territories, the former Queens stepping aside and accepting positions in the newly formed courts.

    The boys, too, had come to power. Chaosti was now the Warlord Prince of Dea al Mon and Gabrielle's Consort. Khardeen, Morghann's Consort, was the ruling Warlord of Maghre, his home village. After accepting Kalush's Consort ring, Aaron had become the Warlord Prince of Tajrana, the capital of Nharkhava. Sceron and Elan were the Warlord Princes of Centauran and Tigrelan, serving in the First Circles of Astar's and Grezande's courts. Jonah now served as First Escort for his sister, Zylona, and Morton served as First Escort for his cousin Karla.

    As feminine voices drifted down the corridor behind him, Saetan headed for the table where Lucivar, Aaron, Khary, and Chaosti were gathered. Geoffrey and Andulvar nodded in greeting but didn't break away from their conversation with Mephis and Prothvar. Sceron, Elan, Morton, and Jonah were talking to a diminutive Warlord Prince Saetan hadn't seen before. Little Katrine's First Escort or Consort?

    "The tailor did an excellent job," Saetan told Lucivar, accepting the glass of warmed yarbarah.

    "Uh-huh." The reply sounded sour, but after a moment Lucivar shook his head and laughed. He put his hand over his heart. "I represent a challenge worthy of good Lord Aldric who, as he happily informed me while he was sticking pins everywhere, had never designed formal attire that had to accommodate wings."

    "Well, now that he has your measurements—" Saetan began.

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