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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 130)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(130) by Anne Bishop
  • Surreal looked over her shoulder. "No," she said, "it doesn't. You would do well to remember that, too."

    4 / Kaeleer

    Lucivar felt the tingle of residual power the moment he stepped off the landing web. While the other Eyriens stared at the dead bodies and muttered uneasily, he kept his eyes on the pressed-down snow a few feet in front of him. He moved toward it, then skirted around it.

    "What?" Falonar asked as he avoided the spot, too.

    "Morton died there," Lucivar said quietly.

    "He's not the only one who died," Rothvar said grimly, looking at the savaged Eyrien corpses.

    "No, he's not the only one," Lucivar replied.But he's the one I watched grow from a decent youth into a fine man. "Rothvar, you and Endar—"

    If he hadn't spent the past eight years living around kindred, he never would have picked up that particular psychic scent—and wouldn't have known the Arcerian cats were there until it was far too late.

    He scanned the village roofs with a seemingly casual eye while he quietly sank to the depth of his Ebon-gray Jewel and probed the area. Eight Arcerians. Two of them Warlord Princes. All of them wearing darker Jewels.

    "Keep your hands away from your weapons," Lucivar said, keeping his voice low and even. "We've got company." Moving slowly, he unbelted the short wool cape and opened it to expose his chest and the Ebon-gray Jewel that hung from the chain around his neck. He held his arms out, away from his weapons. "I am Lucivar Yaslana," he said in a loud voice. "I belong to the Lady. And these males belong to me."

    *I'm not sensing anything,* Falonar said on a Sapphire spear thread.

    *Kindred don't usually announce their presence,* Lucivar said dryly. *Especially the Arcerians.*

    *Mother Night!* Falonar looked at the savaged Eyrien bodies. *Those cats are still here? How many?*

    *Eight of them. Let's hope they decide we're friends, or this is going to turn into a mess.*

    Lucivar waited until his arms began to ache. Finally there was a wary psychic touch. *You are Kaelas's Brother,* said a growling voice.

    *And he is my Brother,* Lucivar replied. He lowered his arms.

    *Why are you here?* the cat demanded.

    *To stand witness for the Lady.*

    A long pause. *Kaelas told us to guard this place so that no more bad meat comes through the Gate.*

    Lucivar hoped the cats watching him thought the shiver was due to the cold and not the reference to Eyriens being "bad meat." *Kaelas is wise.*

    *You look and then go.* That wasn't a question.

    Lucivar turned toward his men. He raised his voice to make sure the nearest Arcerian cat would hear the orders. "Raise basic shields."

    Five men gave him blank looks followed by swift comprehension. Protective shields snapped up around them.

    *Will these shields protect us?* Falonar asked Lucivar, using a Sapphire thread so that the other men couldn't hear him.

    *No,* Lucivar replied shortly. "Weapons to hand." He called in his Eyrien war blade, then nodded when the others followed his example. "Kohlvar, you and Endar keep watch at the landing web. Rothvar and Zaranar, take the left side of the village. Falonar, with me." *And if one of the Arcerians actually shows himself, give him the same courtesy you would give any other warrior,* he added on a general spear thread.

    They moved slowly, carefully, fully aware that the cats watched every movement, every gesture.

    "How did those cats manage to kill this many Eyriens without anyone sounding an alarm?" Falonar asked quietly when they had checked half the houses on their side of the village. It was obvious that a number of the men hadn't suspected a thing before the attack.

    "When an Arcerian is hunting, you don't usually know he's there until he kills you," Lucivar replied absently as he quickly checked through another house. There was evidence of at least minimal fighting in all the houses, but that had been Glacian against Eyrien. "That makes them very efficient."

    When they reached the living quarters in the Sanctuary, they both stared at the young Priestess—or what was left of her.

    "Hell's fire," Falonar said, disgust filling his voice as he backed away from the door. "Well, I guess gang rape is a kind of slow execution. But why keep just this one? And why beat her to death when they'd probably already done enough to kill her?"

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