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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 149)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(149) by Anne Bishop
  • “Without Theran,” Gray said quietly. “No matter what else happens, the court will stand without Theran.”

    He’d had plenty of time to think about that on the way home. He still loved his cousin, still cared about the man. But he wouldn’t want a Warlord Prince who couldn’t be loyal anywhere near his Queen.

    “It pains me to say it, but I agree,” Talon said.

    “What now?” Ranon asked.

    “I was told we should put this aside and enjoy Winsol,” Gray said. “I think that’s what we should do.”

    “Any of you who want to visit family, we’ll work out a way to give you a few days’ leave,” Talon said.

    Yes, they would put it aside and enjoy Winsol, Gray thought as he went upstairs to wash up for dinner. Men like Shaddo would savor the days with their children. Others would spend a few days with brothers or sisters or parents—the people they had seen only during hurried, secret visits for so many years.

    They would visit them now, openly—perhaps for the last time.

    That was the truth behind Talon’s words—the acknowledgment that, come spring, not all of them would walk away from the killing fields.

    CHAPTER 32


    Theran waited in the front hall for Kermilla. It would have looked, and felt, less clumsy if he’d waited in his study, but he wasn’t sure she would seek him out, and he didn’t want to miss this chance to see her one last time.

    He’d known this was coming, had seen it in her eyes after he’d told her about Correne’s death. The males in Dena Nehele weren’t sufficiently civilized for a vivacious young woman like Kermilla, and Correne’s savage execution made her realize she wasn’t as safe here as she’d thought. Being a Queen had never saved any witch from a Warlord Prince’s knife if her actions snapped the leash that held back a formidable temper. Without the security of a court or the presence of more than one man she could trust with her life, leaving was the prudent thing for her to do.

    But, Hell’s fire, it hurt that she was leaving the day before Winsol began. Thirteen days of celebration that honored the Darkness; honored Witch, the living myth; celebrated the longest night of the year; and marked the last days of the old year.

    Every aristo family still living in the town had invited him and Kermilla to parties or dinners or outings of one kind or another. Nothing overly sophisticated about any of those activities, he supposed, but he’d been looking forward to all of it—and would still have to attend out of duty, if not for pleasure.

    Kermilla came down the stairs, hesitating on the last step when she saw him. He walked up to her, almost eye to eye with her since the step gave her a few added inches.

    “You’re ready to go?” he asked, taking her hands in his.

    “Yes.” She tried, but she couldn’t manage her usual flirtatious smile. “I should have told you sooner that I was needed back in Dharo. I thought . . .” Her voice trailed off.

    I guess being with me isn’t enticement enough for you to stay.The thought saddened him. “I have something for you.” It was tempting to add “It’s not much,” but he was afraid she would agree with him, despite how much he’d paid for the gift.

    He called in the box and gave it to her.

    The excited light in her eyes when she took the box faded when she opened it.

    He’d been right. Kermilla didn’t think much of his gift. There was only one good jeweler left in Grayhaven. He’d been honest with the man about how many gold marks he could spend, and he’d thought the delicate silver bracelet was as fine a piece as any he’d seen in Lia’s jewelry box—the old box Cassidy had found that had contained the gifts Lia had received from her husband and children.

    “Thank you.” Kermilla closed the box and vanished it.

    Not even good enough to put on so he could see her wearing it before she left. Not even good enough for that.

    The front door opened. Julien stood in the doorway, letting fresh cold air fill the entrance.

    “The carriage is out front, if Lady Kermilla is ready to go to the Coach station,” Julien said. When Theran didn’t move, he came in and closed the door.

    “It was a lovely visit,” Kermilla said. She couldn’t quite make the words sound sincere.

    “I’m glad you were here,” Theran said. “I’ll miss you.”

    He waited, still blocking the steps.

    She gave him a look that was polite but a trifle annoyed. “I have to get to the station. It’s a long journey, and there will be a lot to do when I get home.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire