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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 52)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(52) by Anne Bishop
  • Twelve men studied her, and she knew they heard the tears she couldn’t quite hide.

    “The elders won’t object,” Ranon said. “But thisis one of the reserves. I doubt we can offer the kind of life they’re used to.”

    “Any of those cottages is better than what they’re living in now,” Shaddo said.

    “I have a sister,” Archerr said. “She has three children, two boys and a girl. Their village was burned during the landen uprisings. They survived because they weren’t home that day. They’d been out picking berries, and when they saw the smoke, they hid. She’s doing the best she can, but she needs some help to make a new start for herself and the children.”

    And neither of you mentioned these women and children in the weeks since the court was formed?Cassidy wanted to rail at them for not speaking sooner. She couldn’t because she knew exactly what Lucivar and her cousin Aaron would say: defend and protect. For Shaddo and Archerr, the best way to protect the people they loved wasnot to bring them to her attention.

    Until now.

    “Shaddo, if you want, take one of your Brothers in the court to help you get your family packed and moved here. While you’re in the west, you can deliver messages to any of the Queens you can contact. Powell and I had sent messages about using the Queen’s Gift to help the land. The Ladies should be told where they can find me if they need instructions. That goes for you, too, Archerr. Powell, you’ll be responsible for converting the rooms the court needs for offices and gatherings.”

    Cassidy took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. Now the fight began. “The rest of you will assist me.”

    “To do what?” Gray asked, narrowing his eyes.

    He was getting too damn good at sensing when she was about to throw water on a bag of cats, as her father would say.

    “This is the growing season,” Cassidy said. “The land is in desperate need of help. The Queens need to do something to increase the harvest, and they need to do itnow .”

    “No,” Gray said.

    “Gray—”

    “No!”

    His voice thundered in the room as he leaped to his feet, knocking the chair over.

    Cassidy pushed away from the table and rose. Since he’d been sitting on her left, there was nothing but the corner of the table between them. So all they needed to do was lean forward a little to be nose to nose.

    “Yes,” she said.

    “Doing that almost destroyed you, Cassie.”

    “I was careless. I won’t make that mistake again. But it isvital to take care of the land and to do it now. Gray, youknow it’s vital. What the Queens can do will make a difference for everyone in Dena Nehele. And this is a ritual. This is part of the Old Ways you all said you wanted to learn.”

    “Not at the risk of you getting hurt again!” Gray snapped.

    “I’m with Gray,” Ranon said, starting to get to his feet.

    “You sit down!” Cassidy pointed at him.

    Ranon froze. Then he looked at Talon for instructions, which really pissed her off.

    “Sit down, Ranon!” she yelled. “You too!” She gave Gray a push. It wasn’t much of a push, but the look on his face had Ranon reaching across Shira to clamp a hand on Gray’s arm.

    “Hell’s fire,” said a voice full of biting laughter, “this sounds just like home.”

    The men whipped around to face the doorway. Shira had a look in her eyes that made Cassidy wonder if the woman was preparing to use some of the Black Widows’ Craft. Reyhana looked fearful.

    Strap some steel to your spine.Cassidy turned and stared at the black-haired woman who had delicately pointed ears and the handsome man who leaned on a cane.

    Mother Night, what was Surreal doing here?

    “Doesn’t it sound like home, Rainier?” Surreal asked her companion.

    “It does,” he replied. “Although these two are clearly still novices. When Jaenelle and Lucivar used to go at it, they could make the glass in the windows shake—until their father had enough of listening to them and roared them into silence.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire