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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 20)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(20) by Anne Bishop
  • “Prick,” Karla muttered.

    “Always,” Lucivar replied. Then he pointed at Reyhana. “She can join you and learn a few basic moves for defending herself. And you, Gray. I’ll teach you a few things that will help you strengthen those back muscles.” He turned and whistled sharply. “Surreal! You’re helping me with this.”

    Ranon felt an odd twitch in the belly. Surreal was standing in the yard, halfway between the house and their group. Open ground. Sure, she had probably used a sight shield to get that close without being noticed. Sure, Lucivar and Karla had been a distraction, but . . .

    Lucivar had known she was there.

    . . . this wasn’t a witch a man wanted coming up on him without warning.

    “Helping you with what?” Surreal shouted back.

    “With making this lot sweat,” Lucivar replied.

    Surreal laughed. “In that case, sugar, I’ll go hone a knife.”

    “What?” Ranon said.

    Karla laughed and headed for the house, while Surreal moved to join her.

    Lucivar gave Ranon a lazy, arrogant smile. “Show some balls, Ranon. You’re not afraid of one little assassin, are you?”

    “Assassin?” Reyhana squeaked. Or maybe that was Janos.

    Lucivar shrugged. “Surreal is Dea al Mon. I think they’re born knowing what to do with a knife.”

    “Mother Night,” Ranon muttered—but not until Lucivar walked away. Then he looked at Gray, who was staring at the house with a strange, thoughtful expression in his eyes.

    “Cassie has some interesting friends,” Gray said.

    Interesting,Ranon thought as the four of them separated for a few minutes before joining Lucivar for whatever lessons the Eyrien had in mind. Yes, the Blood from Kaeleer were certainly interesting. But he wondered if Theran was paying any attention to their visitors and the influence they were having on the people here. They were both the forge and the fire that could shape the Blood in Dena Nehele into bright steel—or leave them broken. And he wondered if, like himself, Theran was paying attention to the kind of man Prince Jared Blaed Grayhaven was becoming in the heat of that forge.

    “Do you have a reason to be concerned about Karla?” Surreal asked.

    “A particular reason?” Lucivar shook his head. “Her Master of the Guard works with her to help her maintain strength in her legs, and I won’t step on the man’s territory. But that doesn’t mean I won’t take an opportunity to assess her for myself and send along a suggestion or two if I think something needs more of his attention.”

    “Are her legs getting weaker?”

    “Not yet, but the day will come when they won’t support her.” Considering what Jaenelle had to do in order to save Karla, the fact that Karla could walk at all was testimony to Jaenelle’s skills as a Healer and Karla’s strength of will. But the ever-present cane and the face aged beyond its years were a reminder that even the best Healer and the strongest will couldn’t eliminate the effects of terrible poisons that should have destroyed a Gray-Jeweled Queen. “I’ll help her postpone that day for as long as possible,” Lucivar added quietly. Then he smiled at Surreal. “You’re looking good.” And since she hadn’t tried to knife him, he figured she’d finally forgiven him for the time she had spent in Ebon Rih.

    “I’m feeling more comfortable about a lot of things,” she replied. “About myself. About this.” She called in a stiletto.

    Lucivar tensed—which seemed to amuse her.

    “Relax,” she said, vanishing the stiletto. “When I first arrived at Chaosti’s clan, Grandmammy Teele gave me some old sacks. I spent the evenings embroidering your name on them, then stuffed them with rags, tied them to a tree, and stabbed them until my arm cramped.”

    “Shit,” Lucivar said. He’d pushed her because he cared. He hadn’t meant to push her so much she hated him.

    Surreal laughed. “You should see your face. Breathe easy, Yaslana. I was just teasing. I would never spend that much time on embroidery.”

    This time he swore in Eyrien and said a whole lot of things he didn’t want her to understand.

    “I do recognize some of those words,” she said.

    “Good for you,” he snapped.

    She grinned at him.

    He stared at the people gathering in the yard. They stared back at him and Surreal like dumb sheep facing a couple of wolves.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire