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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 17)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(17) by Anne Bishop
  • “No,” Cassidy groaned. “Not Lucivar.”

    “Oh, he’s not the worst of it.” Another pause. “Maybe he is the worst of it, but he’s not all of it.”

    Hell’s fire. “What happened?”

    “You were an idiot.”

    It was said lightly, but Cassidy heard the anger under the words.

    “You let your power flow without restraint, without limit,” Karla said.

    “I’ve always done that,” Cassidy protested.

    “Then you missed a step in your education.” Karla’s voice stung like a slap. “That did you no harm in Dharo, where the give-and-take of power is done so often it doesn’t take that much power to renew what had been used. But this land wasempty, Cassidy. I don’t think anyone has made that kind of offering here for generations. You were a drop of power away from breaking your Rose Jewel. Not just draining it,breaking it. If that Warlord Prince hadn’t had the sense to pick you up and get you into the house to break the connection to the land completely, at best you would have been broken back to your Birthright Tiger Eye. At worst . . .” Karla shook her head and sighed heavily. “Well, there’s no reason to dwell on that, is there? You still wear the Rose. And thank the Darkness for that.”

    Yes. Thank the Darkness for that.

    Information began to sink in. Cassidy huffed and grunted, but she got herself propped up on one elbow. “Two days? I’ve been asleep fortwo days ?”

    Karla nodded. “We can call it ‘sleeping,’ which is a very generous word to use since even the deepest healing sleep usually isn’t that deep—not when there’s hope of the person coming out of it. I was about to call Lucivar and arrange to bring you to the Keep so Jaenelle could look at you. Then you shifted to a more natural sleep, and I decided to wait a few more hours. Which was fortunate for you—and this village.”

    Keep? Jaenelle? Damn. If Lucivar was here, she couldn’t brush this off in her next report to Prince Sadi. And if she had been “ill” for the past two days . . .

    “The First Circle,” Cassidy said.

    “They couldn’t figure out how to declare war on a vegetable garden, so they’re waiting for some indication that you’re going to recover. The only reason this room isn’t filled with hysterical males watching every breath you take is because I wear the Gray and outrank them all. Also, I threatened to rip the balls off any male foolish enough to enter without my permission—and Lucivar threatened to break all the bones of any man who eventried to enter.”

    “Lucivar threatened my court?”

    “Court, family, village. He was too pissed off about what happened to you to be particular about whose bones were going to meet his fist.”

    Cassidy flopped on her back. This was getting worse and worse. Then she struggled upright again. “Family?”

    “Mother, father, brother—and your cousin Aaron.”

    “Mother Night.”

    “And may the Darkness be merciful. My darling, everything has a price, and scaring the shit out of that many Warlord Princes . . . Well, how you’re feeling physically is only the first part of the payment. There were so many who wanted to express an opinion about what you did, they ended up drawing straws. The two short straws get to yell at you.” Karla called in a small hourglass and set it on the bedside table. “Here. A gift. Ten minutes of sand in the glass. That’s how long each of them is allowed to voice his full opinion of what you did.”

    “Who . . . ?”

    “Ranon and Gray drew the short straws. However, I’ll warn you now that I don’t think your father is going to hold back his thoughts on the matter. And neither is Lucivar.” Using Craft, Karla floated a mug over to the bed. “Here, drink this. When you showed signs of finally waking up, I made this tonic for you.”

    Cassidy leaned back against the headboard and took the mug.

    “You’ll have the remainder of today to rest and recover. After that, darling, you face your family and court. And Lucivar.”

    Cassidy took a sip of the tonic and fought the desire to gulp it down. Her body craved whatever was in this brew. Craved it as much as the land had craved the connection with her.

    She took another sip, then remembered the last thing she’d seen before the world had gone dark. “Gray. Is he all right? He must have been upset when I . . . fell.”

    A strange look came into Karla’s eyes. “You woke up more than the land, Cassidy. Much more.”

    Ranon cautiously approached the vegetable garden. He didn’t want to deal with Lucivar’s thunderous temper or Prince Aaron’s snarling restraint—or the worry he saw in Lord Burle’s eyes. And even though the boardinghouse’s grounds gave him plenty of room to maneuver, he didn’t want to be caught alone with the witch who had brought Cassidy’s family to Eyota. The Gray-Jeweled Queen was intimidating enough, but she had stayed inside with Cassidy. Surreal SaDiablo was a long step past scary as far as he and all the other men were concerned, andshe had been prowling the house and grounds—and the village.

    Going down on one knee, he reached out to brush a fingertip over the leaves of one little plant. A strong, healthy plant growing vigorously now. All the plants in the garden were growing vigorously now—had started growing within hours of Cassidy’s collapse.

    Gray had noticed the blood soaked into the ground, but the cuts on Cassidy’s palms hadn’t looked that deep, and Shira hadn’t thought Cassidy had lost enough blood to account for losing consciousness. Andnothing Shira or the Queens knew could explain what had drained Cassidy’s Rose Jewel to such a dangerous level so quickly.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire