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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 13)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(13) by Anne Bishop
  • Falonar.The name of Lucivar’s former second-in-command wasn’t spoken, but it hung in the air between them.

    Then the moment, and the tension, were gone.

    “Look,” Daemon said, setting the brandy aside. “I’m just pissing and moaning. I fell out of a damn tree. I’m entitled to piss and moan. And I feel . . . inadequate.” Hell’s fire, it bruised his ego to admit that.

    “You’re not Eyrien, old son,” Lucivar said. “You never will be.”

    “Yes, I know.”

    “No, I don’t think you do.” Lucivar studied him. “We knew Daemonar couldn’t stay with us anymore when I went into rut, and when Marian recognized the signs and got him down to Merry and Briggs before I . . .” He raked a hand through his black hair. “The boy wantedyou. His Uncle Daemon. Who isn’t Eyrien. Who doesn’t fly or fight—at least in a way he understands yet—but who knowslots of things. He doesn’t want you to be Eyrien. He wants to be with you because he loves you.”

    Hearing those words relaxed the knot of expectations he’d inflicted on himself—and filled him with warm pleasure.

    “I’d better get the little beast home. His mother misses him.” Turning, Lucivar reached for the doorknob, then stopped and looked at Daemon. “You really fell out of a tree?”

    He sighed. “I really did.”

    “He was up in the tree?”

    “I wouldn’t have climbed it for any other reason,” he said dryly.

    Lucivar’s face was filled with baffled amusement. “Didn’t you tell him to come down?”

    “Of course I did.”

    Even more baffled. “Since you told him to come down and he didn’t obey, why didn’t you use Craft to haul his ass down? I would have.”

    CHAPTER 5

    TERREILLE

    Cassidy closed her eyes and concentrated on breathing.

    Nerves and excitement. Her first official visit among the people she ruled. And the first time people outside the town of Grayhaven would see her First Circle working together as a First Circle.

    She glanced at Theran. Ever since she had found the treasure hidden in the attic at Grayhaven, he had made an obvious effort to act like he wanted to serve in her court. But his forced courtesy was a daily reminder that he didn’t belong to her the way the other men in her First Circle did.

    In fact, his effort to serve felt too much like her previous court. They had lavished her with forced courtesy too—right before they broke her court and left her to serve another Queen.

    This visit to Eyota, Ranon’s home village, was harder for him to accept than it was for the rest of the First Circle. They had spent the days prior to this trip discussing the details of what was required to guard their Queen in an unfamiliar place. Theran had offered no comments, no suggestions, nothing. He had, in fact, voiced none of the concerns that a First Escort should have. Was he distancing himself because she had refused to cancel this visit—or because being on a Shalador reserve would make him look at the other side of his heritage? He was proud to be descended from Jared, but he seemed to resent having to acknowledge that Jared came from Shalador.

    Then there was Gray, who was clinging to her hand despite the fact they were in a Coach that had a driver experienced with controlling a long, enclosed, furnished box designed to ride the Winds, those psychic webs through the Darkness. It wasn’t being dependent on someone else’s power and skill that made Gray cling to her. Captured at fifteen and given to Dena Nehele’s Queen, he had survived two years of torture before being rescued. It had taken courage for him to go back to Grayhaven when Theran and Talon had announced they were going to live there with the new Territory Queen. And she knew it had taken even more courage for him to leave Grayhaven and come with her to a place that was unfamiliar and spend time among strangers.

    “The boardinghouse looks shabby, but it’s solid, has running water and a kitchen, and it’s big enough to accommodate all of the First Circle,” Ranon said.

    Since this was the fourth time he’d told her that—and sounded both defensive and apologetic—Cassidy figured the Shalador Warlord Prince wasn’t as calm or confident about this visit as he appeared to be. And Shira’s composure had become more frayed as this day approached.

    “It will be fine, Ranon,” Cassidy said. “I’m sure everything will be fine.” She hoped so, because the success of this visit would determine if she would be allowed to be a Queen to these people in the truest sense or only a symbol the Warlord Princes would use to try to rebuild Dena Nehele. The witch storm unleashed by Jaenelle Angelline two years ago had swept away the Blood who had been tainted by Dorothea SaDiablo, and the landen uprisings that followed had killed so many more. The survivors not only had to worry about keeping peace within their own Territory, they had to remain strong enough to stop any Blood from other Territories who might try to encroach on Dena Nehele’s land and take whatever resources could be won from a fight.

    “It will be fine,” Shira echoed.

    Noticing the way Ranon stopped himself from looking at Shira, as if a look at that moment might betray some confidence, Cassidy wondered what the Black Widow knew that could make the two Shaladorans so doubtful that anything would be fine.

    They were a proud, ragged people.

    Since he wasn’t an official member of Cassie’s First Circle, Gray stood back and watched as Lady Nimarr, the eldest Shalador Queen, formally introduced Cassie to the other Queens who ruled in the Shalador reserves. Cassie had met several of the women a few days before when they came to Grayhaven and requested an audience, so Gray figured this introduction was for the benefit of the people who had gathered to get a look at the Queen of Dena Nehele.

    Then some of the Tradition Keepers were introduced, including Ranon’s grandfather Yairen, who was a Keeper of Music.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire