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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 179)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(179) by Anne Bishop
  • “Gray,” Lucivar said. “Ranon. What brings you here?”

    The question wasn’t as idle as it sounded. Ebon-gray was asking Purple Dusk and Opal to explain their presence—and would get an explanation one way or another.

    Since dealing with Lucivar had been a valuable lesson for all the boyos in Jaenelle’s First Circle, Saetan pretended to be unaware of this particular pissing contest. He didn’t want Gray and Ranon to get hurt, but he wasn’t going to step in unless it was necessary because every man needed to know when to stand and when to yield.

    Gray glanced at Ranon, who nodded slightly.

    “The Shalador reserves and the five southern Provinces are breaking from the rest of Dena Nehele to form a new Territory,” Gray said.

    “That makes the Heartsblood River your northern boundary?” Lucivar asked.

    “How did you know?” Ranon asked.

    Foolish boy,Saetan thought, looking up to watch this part of the drama. An Eyrien could see a great deal from the air while riding the currents. Especially when that Eyrien was an Ebon-gray Warlord Prince.

    Lucivar shrugged—and then winced so slightly no one but family would notice. “It’s a natural border, not to mention a means of travel and a source of water. Stands to reason you’d want to hold on to one side of it. How many Warlord Princes on your side of the line?”

    “About forty,” Gray said. “That’s almost half of the adult Warlord Princes in Dena Nehele.”

    “Adult,” Lucivar said. He gave Ranon a long look. “If this gets messy, your brother will end up on the killing fields with the rest of you. You know that.”

    “I know,” Ranon said quietly.

    “That’s why I’m looking over this document,” Saetan said. “To try to avoid the necessity of anyone standing on a killing field because of a preference for one Queen over another.”

    Another assessing look at him before Lucivar focused on the other two men. “Have Talon deliver the copy of the document to Grayhaven. He’s the one man Theran won’t challenge.”

    Saetan crossed out a sentence and wrote his changes in the margin. “And be sure to have a copy of the final, signed document brought here to the Keep. Documents can be lost or destroyed in a Territory when it’s convenient to hide information. Nothing can touch them here.”

    That wasn’t quite true, but there was no one else in the room, including Lucivar, who could destroy a race so completely that all trace of them was eliminated from all the Realms.

    Gray had brought a map of Dena Nehele, so while he, Ranon, and Lucivar reviewed how to make the best use of the trained warriors they had, Saetan worked through Powell’s draft, making subtle word changes that would place the burden of war squarely on Theran Grayhaven’s shoulders. Only a fool would start a war under these circumstances.

    Of course, a man driven to serve a particular Queen could be ten times a fool. He might hate himself for it, but he’d still follow the Queen’s command and be her instrument.

    They would all have to wait and see how firmly Kermilla held Theran’s leash.

    He finished his changes, read them again, and then handed the document back to Gray. The Warlord Princes from Dena Nehele didn’t linger, and Saetan thought that was wise. News would travel. Rumors would begin. The sooner the official document was in the open, the better.

    When they were gone, Saetan looked at Lucivar. “Well?”

    “Gray and Ranon are solid,” Lucivar replied, rubbing his left biceps. “And they’re a good team. You fix their paper?”

    “Yes, I did. It’s still possible that Kermilla can goad Theran hard enough to try to start a war, but I don’t think he’ll be equally successful in convincing enough Warlord Princes to join him on that particular killing field.”

    “I hope you’re right.”

    Saetan waited a moment. “What’s wrong with your arm?”

    “Nothing.”

    “Would you like to answer that question again without lying to your father?”

    Lucivar made a face. “It’s nothing. A bruise. She didn’t break skin.”

    “I beg your pardon?”

    “Well, Hell’s fire, the woman’s got some temper when she’s riled.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire