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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 10)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(10) by Anne Bishop
  • Falonar nodded solemnly. "This is different. But for the chance to serve in Ebon Rih, I'm willing to set aside the past. Are you?"

    They had been rivals, competitors, two young Warlord Princes struggling to prove their dominance. Falonar had gone on to serve in the High Priestess of Askavi's First Circle. He had gone to slavery.

    "Can you follow orders?" Lucivar asked. It wasn't an unreasonable question. Warlord Princes were a law unto themselves. Unless they gave their hearts as well as their bodies, following orders wasn't easy for any of them. Even then, it wasn't easy.

    "I can follow orders," Falonar said, and then added under his breath, "When I can stomach them."

    "And you're willing to follow the rules I've set, even if it means losing some of the privileges you may have come to expect?"

    Falonar narrowed his gold eyes. "I suppose you don't break any rules anymore?"

    The question surprised a laugh out of Lucivar. "Oh, I still break some. And I get my ass kicked for it."

    Falonar opened his mouth, then closed it again.

    "The Steward and the Master of the Guard," Lucivar said dryly, answering the unspoken question.

    "Those Jewels would give you some leverage," Falonar said, tipping his head to indicate Lucivar's Ebon-gray Jewel.

    "Not with those two."

    Falonar looked startled, then thoughtful. "How long have you been here?"

    "Eight years."

    "Then you've already served out your contract."

    Lucivar gave Falonar a sharp-edged smile. "Plant your ambitions somewhere else, Prince. Mine's a lifetime contract."

    Falonar tensed. "I thought Warlord Princes were required to serve five years in a court."

    Lucivar nodded and clamped down on the pleasure that jumped through him when he saw Hallevar coming toward him. "That's what's required." He smiled wickedly. "It only took the Lady three years to realize that wasn't what I agreed to."

    Falonar hesitated. "What's she like?"

    "Wonderful. Beautiful. Terrifying." Lucivar gave Falonar an assessing look. "Are you coming to Ebon Rih?"

    "I'm coming to Ebon Rih." Falonar nodded to Hallevar and stepped aside for the older man.

    "I'd like to come with you," Hallevar said abruptly.

    "But?" Lucivar said.

    Hallevar looked over his shoulder at the two boys who were hovering out of earshot. He turned back to Lucivar. "I said they were mine."

    "Are they?"

    Hallevar's eyes filled with heat. "If they'd been mine, I would have acknowledged them, whether or not the mothers denied paternity. A child isn't considered a bastard if a sire is listed, even if the man doesn't get a chance to be a father."

    The words stung. Prythian, the High Priestess of Askavi in Terreille, and Dorothea SaDiablo had spun their lies in order to separate him from Luthvian, his mother, and they had altered his birth documents because they hadn't wanted anyone to know who his father really was. It had stunned him to learn that the hard feelings he carried inside him because of that deceit were nothing compared to Saetan's rage.

    "One has a mother who's a whore in a Red Moon house," Hallevar said. "Stands to reason she wouldn't know whose seed she carried. The other woman was the known lover of an aristo Warlord. The witch he'd married was barren, and everyone knew he made sure his mistress didn't invite another man to her bed. He wanted the child, would have acknowledged the child. But when it was born, she named a dozen men in the court that she claimed might have been the sire. She did it on purpose, and because she wanted revenge on the father, she condemned the child."

    Lucivar just nodded, fighting the anger that burned in him.

    "This is a new place, Lucivar," Hallevar pleaded. "A new chance. You know what it's like. You should understand better than anyone. They're not strong like you. Neither of them will wear dark Jewels. But they're good boys, and they'll carry their weight. And they are full-blooded Eyriens," he added.

    "So they don't carry the stigma of being half-breeds?" Lucivar asked with deadly control.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire