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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 162)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(162) by Anne Bishop
  • “The Warlord Princes under my hand will meet your court on a killing field—and destroy it.” Sabrina stood up. “Is there anything else, Lady Kermilla?”

    Her legs were shaking so hard, she wasn’t sure she could stand, but Sabrina’s dismissal didn’t give her a choice. So she stood up and made her way to the door without taking formal leave of the Queen.

    As Kermilla opened the door, Sabrina said, “It looks like you also need to brush off your manners, so a review of Protocol will be required along with the rest of your training.”

    Sabrina sank into the chair behind her desk and rubbed her temples to ease the headache. She didn’t have to wait long for her next visitor. It wouldn’t occur to him to keep her waiting.

    Her Steward showed him into the room at the precise time she had requested. He stopped beside the visitor’s chair.

    “Prince Butler.”

    “Lady Sabrina.” His bow was precise, Prince to Queen, when both wore Green Jewels. Although, with his ability to mask his rank, most people assumed his full strength was the Purple Dusk that was his Birthright.

    He worked for her but wouldn’t serve in her court. Not officially. A roamer who would take assignments for weeks or months to be her eyes and ears—and sometimes her knife. His credentials were as substantial as water written on wind. At least, the ones he offered contained more than a touch of fiction, and nothing was actually known about him beyond his caste and rank.

    Almost nothing. Those insubstantial credentials carried the seal of the Queen of Ebon Askavi. Whoever he was, whatever he was, he was known to Jaenelle Angelline, and that was sufficient recommendation for every Territory Queen in Kaeleer.

    “Please be seated.” Sabrina waved a hand at the chair recently vacated by Kermilla.

    Butler looked at the chair, wrinkled his nose, and fetched another chair from the other side of the room.

    Sabrina worked to keep her mouth from falling open. “Is there a problem with that chair?” she asked when he’d finally, and fussily, taken a seat. “Did she pee on it?”

    “It doesn’t appear to be wet,” he replied pleasantly, “but as a whole, I find Lady Kermilla’s scent unpleasant.”

    He doesn’t like her.That wasn’t surprising, but it was worrying.

    “I understand my orders, and I won’t step outside them,” Butler said, his voice still pleasant. “I am curious, though, about why I shouldn’t step outside them.”

    “Your report first.” Which would give her time to decide if she would answer the question inside his last statement.

    “Lady Kermilla arrived on the first day of Winsol and met with your Steward. He made her aware of what was available for her use and what was not. She returned to Bhak and stayed long enough to pack her personal belongings—and express her outrage again over so many of her purchases being returned or sold. She spent the days of Winsol at her parents’ house. Her family, by the way, is deeply in debt because of the little Queen’s extravagance, so it appears her greed is a character trait rather than an error in judgment. She didn’t return to Bhak, so she must have come to this meeting from her home village.” He paused. “Why hasn’t she been dealt with?”

    “One man’s bitch is another man’s Lady,” Sabrina said.

    Butler smiled. “The wording is usually reversed. That is, if you were intending to quote the High Lord.”

    “The point is, despite the misery she’s caused, she hasn’t done anythingin Dharo that a Queen isn’t entitled to do.”

    “Beggar her people? Send one of her men to his death? Is that what a Queen is entitled to do, Lady Sabrina?”

    “A Queen’s will is the law. Where she rules, she can do anything.”

    “Unless someone stops her. Why aren’t we stopping her?”

    “I did stop her. She no longer rules Bhak and Woolskin.”

    “She didn’t want them, so she’ll feel no loss. You know what she wants and where she is going and what she’ll try to do now. Why aren’t we stopping her?”

    For the same reason no one asks about your credentials.“By Blood law, I cannot interfere in another Queen’s Territory.”

    “We could fix this before she left your Territory.”



    She studied him as he studied her. “Do you trust Jaenelle Angelline?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire