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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 38)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(38) by Anne Bishop
  • He’d been coming out here every night since Theran had givenLady Kermilla an open-ended invitation to stay at Grayhaven. Shira was acting peculiar in a way that unnerved him. He loved the woman with everything in him, but he didn’t forget he was sleeping with a Black Widow, and there was a reason why that caste of witch was feared.

    “Thought I’d find you here,” Talon said.

    He half turned toward the voice, but didn’t speak for a minute. “Something is draining the heart out of Cassidy.”

    “Oh, I think we’ve all figured out what that something is,” Talon said. He kept walking, but he lifted his chin to indicate the stone storage shed where Gray used to live because he was too frightened to enter the house.

    His heart pounding, Ranon glanced at the house before drifting toward the back of the shed. What did the Master of the Guard want to say to him that couldn’t be said inside the house?

    “What . . . ?” he began.

    Talon raised his left hand. The two missing fingers were a reminder that this man had not lived a soft life—even after he became demon-dead.

    A minute later, Archerr, Spere, and Shaddo slipped behind the shed. A minute after that, Bardric and Cayle joined them.

    “Burne, Haele, and Radley are providing a presence in the parlor this evening,” Talon said. “Archerr, you’ll relay instructions to Burne and Haele. Cayle, you’ll keep Radley informed.”

    *I’m your second-in-command,* Ranon said, using a tight spear thread to direct the words only to Talon.

    *I know what you are,* Talon replied sharply. *You have the task of keeping Gray and the Black Widow leashed. And yourself.*

    Shit. *You don’t ask for much.*

    *If you don’t have the balls for it, tell me now.*

    Stung by the verbal slap, Ranon didn’t answer.

    “What about Powell?” Archerr asked.

    “I’ll keep the Steward informed,” Talon said.

    *What did Powell say?* Ranon asked, wondering if anyone else had noticed a slight hesitation in Talon’s reply.

    *Later.* “Our Queen is distressed. The visitors are the reason. We need to find out why.”

    “How does Kermilla know Lady Cassidy?” Spere asked.

    “I can’t see that the two of them have anything in common except caste,” Shaddo said.

    “She reminds me of a carrion eater picking at the bones,” Bardric said.

    Shaddo nodded. “And Dena Nehele is the bones. We’ve seen bitches like her before.”

    “She’s entertaining,” Cayle said. “And she’s false. You can see it in her eyes. What’s she looking for here?”

    Archerr snorted. “Control over the rest of us. What else?”

    “If she did have that control?” Talon asked.

    Ice swept through Ranon, but a steely look from Talon kept him silent.

    The other men shifted their feet and looked uncomfortable. Finally Spere said, “Those escorts aren’t fighters. Got some training—every escort does—but they’re Warlords, not Warlord Princes.”

    Shaddo nodded. “Take them out fast and hard. Have someone coming in behind the others who is strong enough to take out the witch—burst heart and brain with a blast of power that will break her Jewels and finish the kill.”

    Ranon swallowed hard. He thought he’d been the only one thinking along those lines. Apparently not.

    Talon nodded, as if they’d told him what he’d expected. “Not yet. She’s a Queen from another Territory. Another Realm. We made the mistake of not looking for social connections to dark power when Cassidy first came here. Kermilla keeps hinting that she has powerful friends, so let’s not make that mistake again. Cayle, Bardric, you two are least likely to be perceived as a threat, so I want you to spend time with the Warlords who came with Kermilla. Find out what you can about her court and about her connection to Cassidy. They’re not friends, so let’s find out exactly what they are to each other.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire