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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 114)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(114) by Anne Bishop
  • “Think of this as practice,” Rogir said.

    “Next thing you know they’ll be writing their own stories,” Ranon muttered.

    Burle shook his head. “No, I don’t think so. Writing requires special Craft for a Sceltie, and it’s hard to learn. Someone named Ladvarian can write a whole letter, but he got special training from the living myth. Of the Scelties here, only Vae can write a little.”

    Vae could write? Hell’s fire, Mother Night, and may the Darkness be merciful.

    “Anything else?” he asked. Damn it! He was a Warlord Prince. Running away wasnot an option.

    Running away sounded like a very good idea, though.

    “That was all of it,” Burle said. “If James here is willing to represent his people and we have a bargain, I’ll tell the youngsters and we’ll finish the deal.”

    James looked back at the other landens. The men nodded, so it was obvious they had chosen him to be their spokesman and interact with the Blood. “We have a deal.”

    Burle waved a hand.

    Wynne and Duffy trotted up to them.

    “You have a bargain,” Burle told them. “A handshake before witnesses is considered a fair agreement.”

    The Scelties popped up to hover on air about waist high. They sat and offered their right front paws to James, who seemed to have a sudden understanding of just what he was getting himself and his people into. But he shook with Wynne and Duffy, sealing the bargain.

    The Scelties, along with the guards, went off to the guardhouse to see what would be needed. Burle waved at the landens and headed for his wagon. Ranon mounted his horse and rode out too.

    As he rode back to Eyota, he wondered if Jaenelle Angelline and Morghann, the Queen of Scelt, had known exactly what they were doing when they let these particular Scelties loose on an unsuspecting people.

    And he knew he would take perverse pleasure in watching the faces of the rest of the court when he told them about this day’s adventure.

    CHAPTER 24


    Kermilla crumpled the letter from Correne, tossed it into the fireplace, and blasted it with witchfire, turning it to ash in seconds.

    She paced her bedroom, feeling more misused with every circuit she made. She’d wasted the whole summer, when she should have been enjoying picnics and parties instead of being criticized for not working in the damn garden. And despite her pointed hints, Theran remained oblivious to what she’d given up to stay here and wait until he could make her the Queen of Dena Nehele.

    There was nothing to do in this dung-heap town.Nothing! She could visit a couple of aristo girls she’d become acquainted with, but they had nointeresting conversation, so there wasn’t much point. Besides, about the only things they could do during these visits were walk around the village or drive around the village. And if they did that, the girls wanted to browse in the shops, and what was the point of going into shops if you couldn’t buy anything? She’d writtenthree letters to her Steward, Lord Gallard, telling him to double the forthcoming autumn tithes because she needed the income, and alsocommanding him to send her some marks from the village treasury to hold her over.

    His single answer had been vague about the autumn tithes and totally lacking in the required marks.

    She could summon her Consort, but there had been a change over the summer in Jhorma’s attitude that made her feel like she was alone in bed even when he was pumping inside her.

    She couldwork. That would make Theran happy. But she saw no reason to exert herself when her efforts would benefit someone else’s purse instead of her own.

    So there was nothing, nothing,nothing to do around here until spring when she would rule the whole of Dena Nehele and not be stuck in this town.

    And she didn’t have the status symbol that had captured the fancy of the Blood in this land.

    She didn’t have a Sceltie.

    She’d written to Morghann, the Queen of Scelt, indicating she would be amenable to having one of the dogs as a companion, but Morghann had shown a distinct lack of manners and had not replied.

    And now Correne’s letter this morning.

    I’ve heard Freckledy has a whole pack of Scelties entertaining visitors with their tricks, and even Warlord Princes are impressed enough with the dogs to overlook her flaws. Have you gotten a Sceltie yet? I think all the prominent Queens are going to have one as a companion.

    Why did old Freckledy need a whole pack of them? The bitch was just trying to secure her position. Sheknew she couldn’t retain the title of Territory Queen after the year’s contract was done unless she didsomething to catch the Blood’s interest.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire