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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 155)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(155) by Anne Bishop
  • “Lady Devra suggested that the women connected to the court each make one or two treats for Winsol,” Maydra said. “Then we’ll divide them up between those households. That way everyone gets variety without extra expense.”

    “You’re going to make enough of these to share?” Cassidy asked, eyeing the cookies.

    Her mother gave her a look that made her feel like she was seven years old again, so she decided it was time to sound like a grown-up. “Where is everyone?”

    “Your father is with his apprentice carpenters. They’ve all made gifts for people and wanted his help with the finishing touches. As for everyone else . . .” Devra tipped her head. “They’re outside.”

    “Then I’ll just—”

    Frannie rushed into the kitchen with Cassidy’s heavy winter coat. “Lady! You can’t be going out there without a coat. Not with you trying to shake off a chill!”

    Cassidy eyed the young Shalador witch who wanted to work as a personal maid—and was using Cassidy and Reyhana as her training ground. The girl had potential and took real pleasure in her work—and everyone pretended not to know that Frannie had become so skilled at weaving hair into intricate braids by practicing on her father’s draft horses.

    “I’m just going to step outside for a minute,” Cassidy said.

    “Huh!” Frannie held up the coat. “The stoop is swept clean, so you won’t be needing boots.”

    Cassidy glanced at her mother, decided the gleam in Devra’s eyes meant that mother sided with the maid, and let herself get bundled into the coat and nudged out the back door.

    Shira and Reyhana stood next to the stoop, watching men, boys, and Scelties run around the backyard.

    “You’re looking better,” Shira said.

    Cassidy nodded. “What are they doing?”

    “Playing cows and sheep,” Reyhana replied. “Eryk and Eliot are the sheep. Shaddo, Janos, Ranon, and Gray are the cows. The silver twins, Darcy, Khollie, and Darkmist are the herders. The white globes of witchlight at that end of the yard is the corral. The green globes are brambles.”

    “Are those little hourglasses floating near the witchlights?” Cassidy asked.

    “Yep,” Shira said. “Little two-minute timers. If a cow or sheep gets into the brambles, he can stay for two minutes as a resting period. If he gets herded into the corral, he has to stay for two minutes before trying to escape. The object of the game is to get all the cows and sheep into the corral.”

    “So who’s winning?” Cassidy asked.

    Shira shrugged.

    “Oh!” Reyhana said. “That looks like a stampede.”

    The men were smart, skilled at working as a team, and had long legs. The dogs had speed, were using Craft to run on top of the snow, and were born with the ability to herd reluctant critters. The boys had an abundance of energy.

    Based on what she was seeing, Cassidy figured the winners would be determined by which side had the most stamina.

    *Would you bet on the men to win?* Cassidy asked Shira.

    *Of course I would! Anything else would be disloyal.*

    *Would you expect to win the bet?*

    *Nope. So I wouldn’t bet much.*

    Cassidy suppressed a laugh and watched the game.

    One moment everyone was running, shouting, barking, laughing. The next, men and dogs stood frozen, staring at the house. The dogs growled softly. The men, Warlord Princes all, stared with eyes that began to glaze as they rose to the killing edge. Only the boys took a few more steps before realizing something was wrong.

    Then everyone was in motion again. Darcy got in front of the boys. Khollie dashed for her and Shira. Shaddo and the silver twins headed around the house in one direction while Janos and Darkmist headed around the other side. Ranon and Gray moved together, heading for the kitchen door.

    Then the Scelties hesitated, and Cassidy had the impression that information was being passed between all the warriors.

    *What just happened?* Shira asked.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire