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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 63)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(63) by Anne Bishop
  • Eryk muttered something and looked sulky.

    Eliot scowled. “She made special treats foryou when you lost a tooth.” “I didn’t knock one out to get a treat,” Eryk said, just loud enough to assure the men heard him.

    “I didnot knock it out,” Eliot said.

    “Did to.”

    “Did not!”

    “Did—”

    “Boys,”Shaddo said.

    They obeyed the tone instantly.

    *I’m impressed,* Ranon said, trying not to grin.

    *Yeah, well, having me around all the time is still new to them,* Shaddo replied. *I figure the pissing contests will start soon enough.*

    He watched Shaddo and the boys until they went into the stables. Then he smiled.

    Tomorrow was a rest day, thank the Darkness. No work, no traveling, nothing but his woman and a sweet summer day. Maybe Cassidy and Gray would be interested in riding over to Mariel’s Pond to swim and have a picnic. Or maybe he and Shira would go alone so they could have long talks and sweet kisses before coming back to their room for a different kind of talking and kisses that were hot instead of sweet.

    With those thoughts in mind, he turned to go into the Residence to get a glass of ale and see if there was anything in the larder.

    *Ranon, I’m at the northern landing web. We’ve got company, and they’re heading for the Queen’s Residence.*

    Ranon tensed in response to the sharp edge in Archerr’s voice. *How many?*

    An odd hesitation. *Depends on who you’re counting.*

    What?*Shaddo, someone’s coming. Keep your boys out of sight.* As soon as Shaddo acknowledged the order, Ranon sent a command to Gray. *Keep Cassidy away from the Residence until you hear from me.*

    He stepped out into the middle of the street, made a quick descent to the level of his Opal Jewel, and waited a heartbeat away from the killing edge for their “guests” to come into sight.

    Then Vae raced out of the Residence, her joy sending out an almost staggering punch.

    *They’re here!* Vae shouted along a common psychic thread that could be heard by anyone within range—which was probably half the village. She raced down the street toward the northern landing web. *They’re here!*

    Who’s here?Ranon wondered.

    The answer to that question turned a corner and came down the street a few minutes later. One man, wearing a vest and jacket over a shirt—too many clothes for the season and the weather. A Sceltie trotted beside him on his right. A few paces ahead of him, Vae bounced and danced with so much excitement it made Ranon tired just to watch her. And behind the man . . .

    Twelve of them, spread out in a V that covered the whole street—and gave every one of them a clear line of sight. Scelties. If men had been coming toward him in a fighting V, he’d know what to do. Faced with dogs, he wasn’t sure how to respond—but a sudden memory of Vae pulling down a full-grown man in a fight had him creating a skintight shield around himself. Just in case.

    Three of the Scelties spotted him and broke their position, dashing toward him. A barked order—literally—from the Sceltie trotting beside the man had them wheeling round, tails down in response to the reprimand, and returning to their position.

    “Good afternoon to you,” the man called.

    Curly brown hair, handsome face, lean body. Not much of a fighter, since he was approaching a stranger with his hands in his trouser pockets as if he were taking a simple stroll in his home village. But the stew of power Ranon was sensing from that group couldn’t be dismissed, and there was something in the man’s blue eyes that said this Warlord knew how to stop trouble—and how to make trouble.

    “Good afternoon,” Ranon replied.

    *They’re here!* Vae bounced and danced, but the men ignored her.

    “Would you be Gray?” the man asked.

    “I’m Ranon, First Circle in Lady Cassidy’s court and the Master’s second-in-command.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire