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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 139)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(139) by Anne Bishop
  • *Or sawdust.*

    Saetan broke the link and went up to his suite. If the discussion turned out to be as lively as he expected, he was going to need all the rest he could get.

    Tired, sore, and dressed in clean clothes after taking a long, hot shower, Gray mopped up the stew in the bottom of the bowl with the last bite of bread. Full, he sat back and noticed the books that filled one shelf in the wall.

    He’d just made his selection when Daemon walked into the room.

    “So you decided to stir things up today, did you?” Daemon said, smiling.

    Gray put the book back on the shelf. “Did Uncle Saetan tell you why I’m here?”

    “No, he just said Lucivar and I were needed.”

    “I didn’t think he told you. You wouldn’t be smiling if he had.”

    “Be careful, puppy,” Daemon said softly. “I consider you a friend, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful.”

    Daemon walked out of the room. Gray followed to the sitting room where Saetan and Lucivar waited. Daemon took a seat. Gray didn’t.

    “Now,” Saetan said, “say what you need to say, and we’ll listen. And thenyou will listen.”

    The anger, and the feeling of betrayal, that had been building since his fight with Theran that morning overflowed, and he told them everything. He told them about all the things Cassie had done for the Shalador people and for Dena Nehele. He told them about the village and how it felt to be part of that community. He told them about the landen community and the people who lived there. And then he told them about going to Grayhaven early that morning to retrieve some of the special bulbs he’d planted for Cassie and learning that Theran intended to replace Cassie with Kermilla, just tossing Cassie aside after all the work she’d done for their people.

    And he felt jagged ice fill his gut when he realized the three of them didn’t seem the least bit surprised to hear about Theran’s plans for Kermilla.

    “That’s why I want to train to be a Consort,” he finished. “So I can take Theran’s place and keep the court intact.”

    Silence. Then Daemon said, “First Escort, not Consort.”

    “Cassie and I are lovers. I should be her Consort.”

    “When did this happen?” Lucivar asked. “I don’t recall discussing it—or giving my permission.”

    The mildly curious tone made Gray nervous. Then he remembered the fire dance and the primal power that he’d finally welcomed without reservation. He was no longer just Gray, the man. Now he was also Jared Blaed, the Warlord Prince. “With all respect, Prince Yaslana, the rules you set in the spring protected me as well as Cassie because I wasn’t emotionally ready to be a lover. Now I am, and we don’t need those rules anymore—and frankly, what she and I do together is none of your business.”

    Lucivar smiled. “You can look me in the eyes and say that, so you’re right. It’s none of my business anymore.”

    Thank the Darkness for that.

    “First Escort, Gray, not Consort,” Daemon said.

    “You were Jaenelle’s Consort,” Gray said.

    “And make no mistake, I still am. But the Queen’s Triangle is about the court, and while the Consort provides a very intimate kind of service, his position and his status are still about the court. In terms of the court, a First Escort performs the same function except for the sex. Your relationship with Cassie is personal. You want to keep it that way. She was hurt by the last man who served as her Consort. You don’t ever want her to wonder if you’re in her bed because you want to wear the Consort’s ring and have the status and reputation that goes with it.”

    Gray sat down. “I hadn’t thought of it like that.”

    “You’re into the last of the harvest now, aren’t you?” Saetan asked.

    “Yes, sir. Except for the autumn squashes that we’ll harvest next month, the rest has been brought in.”

    “All right,” Saetan said. “You’ll come here once a week, late afternoon. Plan to stay over until the following morning. You’ll be studying Protocol with an eye to how it applies to a First Escort.”

    “What should I tell Cassie?” Gray asked. “I don’t want her to know about this. Not until she has to. It will break her heart.”

    “Tell her I’ve decided you require more training, and I’m going to personally provide that training. If she has any problem with you spending time at the Keep, she may discuss it with me.”

    “Do you think she will discuss it with you?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire