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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 122)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(122) by Anne Bishop
  • You would have brought Garth and Brok into your court. If you could overlook one kind of ra**st, why not another?

    He pushed that thought away and buried it deep.

    “Then what was he doing in that village, and what was he doing with that boy that would piss off a brother enough to kill Laskathat way?” Theran shouted.

    “He wasn’t getting a boy!” she screamed. “He went there to get me a Sceltie!”

    Theran took a step back, staggered by the foolishness that cost a man his life—and probably cost the rest of them in other ways.

    “A Sceltie.” He raked his fingers through his hair. “Hell’s fire, woman, have you lost your mind?”

    “The Warlord Princes are all so impressed that Cassidy has some, and they’re not going to take me seriously until I have one too.” Tears filled her eyes and her lower lip trembled. “They wouldn’t have missed one in that stupid village. Besides, you sent Correne away, and that awful Talon killed Garth and Brok, and I wanted company.You’re always too busy to pay attention to me even though yousay you love me.”

    “So this ismy fault because I’m working in every way I can to get this town through the coming winter?” He paced, circled, wanted to tear up the room and smash the furniture. But he couldn’t afford to replace whatever he destroyed, so he held his temper and circled. And paced.

    “Even if Laska had managed to snatch one without being detected, how would you have held on to it?” he asked. “They’rekindred, Kermilla.Blood. Didn’t you notice anything while Vae was here? She’s awitch. She wears a Purple Dusk Jewel. Mother Night, woman,she outranks you. ”

    “How dare you!”

    He stopped in front of her. “That’s fact, Kermilla. Vae’s Jewels outrank yours. So what were you going to do with this Warlord if he didn’t want to stay here? Chain him? Cage him? Beat him and torture him until he was too broken down in body and spirit to run?”

    “He wouldn’t be of any use if he was like that.” She stamped her foot. “But hewould have wanted to stay with me. Once he got here, he would have.”

    “Doesn’t matter now.” Theran sank into the nearest chair, leaned back and closed his eyes.

    Kermilla wasn’t like the Queen who had tortured Gray. Shewasn’t. But she’d made an error in judgment that would not be fixed easily. If he could fix it at all.

    “Theran?” Kermilla climbed into his lap and pressed against him. “Theran, I’m sorry about this little trouble.”

    “One of your men died. That’s not a little trouble,” he said wearily. “Talon, the most respected man in this land, is against you. That’s not a little trouble. The fact that Talon isn’t making a distinction between kindred and human Blood in this instance . . .” He sighed. “In a couple of days, every Warlord Prince is going to know that you sent a man to Eyota to abduct a young Warlord, and no one is going to care if you intended to take a boy or a dog.”

    She snuggled down and put her head on his shoulder. “What does that mean?”

    “I don’t know.” He put his arms around her, unable to deny her whatever comfort he could give. “I really don’t know.”

    Ranon stood in the parlor doorway, unable to take that last step into the room. Vae looked up from her spot on the sofa and gave him one tail-tip wag. Darkmist, who was on the floor in front of the sofa, gave him no greeting but also didn’t challenge his presence.

    A hesitant touch of a hand on his back. He turned and followed Shira to the healing room in the Residence. As soon as she closed the door, he pulled her into his arms and held on.

    “I was ashamed that the least of them had chosen me,” he whispered into her hair. “I felt embarrassed when Ferall and the others saw him that day. And now . . .”

    “Hush, Ranon, hush,” she said as she stroked his back.

    “Is he coming back to us, Shira?”

    “I don’t know, but I’m hopeful.”

    He eased back enough to rest his forehead against hers. “Where is everyone?”

    “Gray took Cassie upstairs. She’s distraught. Powell has been in his office since you left. The rest of the First Circle and the guards have been patrolling the village in shifts. I sent Reyhana and Janos to your grandfather for the night. They spent hours in the parlor this evening, taking turns readingSceltie Saves the Day, and they both needed to be away for a while. Vae and Darkmist have been here all the time. The other Scelties come for an hour, then go out with one of the men to patrol.”

    “Shira . . .”

    “He’s hiding under your shirt.” She said the words quickly, as if she needed to silence any questions she couldn’t answer. “Vae thinks that’s a good sign because he’s been making tiny movements to get himself completely covered. You can’t see anything but the tip of his nose now.”

    “I’m so tired, love. I was in a fight once that lasted a whole day. It was a relentless battle on a killing field, so we were all committed to winning or dying. Barely had time for a sip of water or a mouthful of food in the rare spaces between one enemy and the next. When I finally walked off that field, I didn’t feel this tired.”

    “Come to bed,” Shira said, caressing his face. “We’ll take Khollie up with us. Maybe we’ll both get a little rest that way.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire