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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 181)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(181) by Anne Bishop
  • “Done,” her Steward said. “Talon?”

    “I’ll take the copy up to the Keep first.” Talon carefully rolled two of the documents and vanished them. Then he hesitated. “Once I hand this paper to the High Lord and it’s acknowledged at the Keep, the path is chosen. There’s no going back.”

    He was giving her one last chance to walk away. A Queen’s wants, wishes, and will came first, no matter the cost.

    “Safe journey, Prince Talon,” Cassidy said.

    Her legs felt shaky, so she sat at the table while Talon and the rest of the court left the room. Naturally, Ranon and Gray were last and kept glancing at her as if trying to decide if they should stay or leave.

    Shira made it simple by shoving the two of them out of the room. Before the Black Widow could close the door for a private chat, Reyhana slipped into the room.

    “I want to help.” Reyhana squared her shoulders and lifted her chin.

    How much death has this girl already seen?Cassidy wondered.How much more will she have to see? “You serve in my Second Circle, Sister, so you most certainly are going to help.” She stood up and felt reassured that her legs weren’t as wobbly as they’d been a few minutes ago. “I could use a bit more to eat than the half piece of toast I choked down earlier. After that, why don’t the three of us review what needs to be done?”

    “Don’t we first have to find out what Theran is going to do?” Shira asked.

    Cassidy shook her head as she joined them at the door. “War or not, we’ve got two months before spring. Fields will need to be plowed, and crops will need to be sown—and the Queens need to affirm their bond to the land. We need to make sure all the Queens know how to enrich the land, we need to confirm that the villages—landen and Blood—have the plows and other tools they need for their farms and—”

    “All right!” Shira said, laughing. “All right. Point taken. We have plenty to do.”

    Cassidy looked at Shira and knew that, for a moment, they both pictured an orchard of honey pear trees growing out of the bodies of the dead.

    Then they both pushed that image aside, and the three of them went to Cassidy’s study and got on with the business of living.

    EBON ASKAVI

    Saetan read the document carefully. Then, assured that Powell had made all the changes he’d written on the draft, he set the document on the library’s large blackwood table and vanished his half-moon glasses. “We’ll make sure this is preserved. A place will be set aside in the library for any other documents or work from Shalador Nehele that you want preserved outside of your land.”

    “Thank you,” Talon replied.

    Saetan studied the demon-dead Warlord Prince who had been a friend of Jared and Lia. “This is hard for you.”

    “Yes, it’s hard. Not so much that it happened, but the reason why it happened. Makes me wonder what I’ve been fighting for these past three hundred years.”

    “I can tell you that,” Saetan said. “You’ve been fighting for honor and to protect what you cherish.”

    “I failed him.” Talon shook his head. “Theran doing this means I failed him.”

    “You don’t know that. Until he steps up to the line and makes the choice to start a war, you don’t know that. And if there is enough of Jared in him, he may surprise you.”

    “I served a Queen before I turned rogue. She was the reason I turned rogue. I never felt the pull with her that I feel with Cassie. I don’t think I could turn away from Cassie, no matter what she did at this point.”

    “That bond can wane or break, like any other kind of love,” Saetan said. Having faced the possibility of killing a son in order to save his Queen, he knew what Talon was feeling, but there wasn’t much comfort he, or anyone else, could give this man.

    “It’s too late in the morning for you to be traveling back to Dena Nehele,” Saetan said. “I’ll show you to a guest room where you can rest until sunset.”

    KAELEER

    A simple message was sent from the High Lord of Hell to Lord Khardeen, Lady Sabrina, and Prince Daemon Sadi. It said:

    Dena Nehele has broken. Shalador Nehele rises with Cassidy as its Queen. May the Darkness have mercy on them.

    TERREILLE

    Theran read the document a second time, then stared at the man who had raised him and loved him—and was now an enemy.

    “Why?” He tossed the document on his desk. “Hell’s fire, Talon,why? ”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire