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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 74)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(74) by Anne Bishop
  • Simmering anger, tightly leashed. That was all she was picking up from her men.

    “Reyhana, stay here. Vae, you stay with her,” Cassidy said.

    “But . . .” Reyhana began.

    “Stay.”Until she knew what this was about, she was not putting Reyhana in a potentially explosive situation.

    *We will stay,* Vae said.

    That much settled, Cassidy strode to the house, Powell puffing to keep up with her. When she reached the parlor that was the waiting room for anyone wishing to have an audience with the Queen . . .

    “Dryden?” Cassidy looked at the Grayhaven butler. “What . . . ?Birdie? ”

    Therewas the reason for the anger—that dark bruise on the little maid’s face.

    *Shira,* Cassidy called. *I need you in the visitors’ parlor.*

    *Cassie, I really don’t feel . . . *

    *The Healer’s attendance is required.*

    Shira didn’t reply. Cassidy didn’t expect her to. Shira the woman had been holed up in her room, riding a mood since she’d gone out to look at properties with Gray, but the Healer would arrive in the parlor ready to practice her Craft.

    Putting an arm around the maid, Cassidy led Birdie to a sofa and sat down with her. “What happened?”

    “I didn’t do anything bad,” Birdie whispered. “I swear by the Jewels, I didn’t.”

    “If I may explain, Lady?” Dryden asked.

    Cassidy looked past him to the other people in the room. Elle, the housekeeper; Maydra, the cook; and four of the young men who worked in the Grayhaven stable and had befriended Gray before he’d begun to heal from the emotional scars that had their roots in the torture he’d endured.

    Shira burst into the room, took one look at Birdie, and said, “Hell’s fire. Let me get some ice from the block in the freeze box.”

    “I’ll do that,” Spere said. He slipped out of the room.

    “We did use a cold spell on a wet cloth to keep the swelling down,” Elle said. Then she added bitterly, “Had enough experience dealing with this sort of thing before.”

    Cassidy rose and stepped aside, giving Shira room to work. Moving to the other end of the parlor, flanked by Archerr and Powell, she faced Dryden, who was flanked by Elle and Maydra. “Explain, Lord Dryden.”

    “Prince Grayhaven’s guest hit Birdie,” Dryden said.

    A flash of rage, quickly chained. From Dryden.

    “What guest?” Powell asked, but his tone said he already knew the answer.

    “That . . . woman.”

    Oh, Hell’s fire. This was bad. She’d only had this experience once, when an aristo witch who had been a guest had tried to coerce a footman into doing “bedroom work.” Because of the social difference between an aristo and a servant, her butler had refused to say the woman’s name when he’d come to her and reported the abuse.

    Or maybe refusing to say the witch’s name had been the measure of the man’s contempt for her behavior.

    “You mean Lady Kermilla?” Powell asked.

    Dryden nodded.

    Elle said, “Lady Bitch,” under her breath, quietly enough that Cassidy pretended no one had heard the housekeeper’s opinion of the other Dharo Queen.

    “Why would she hit Birdie?” Cassidy asked. Her stomach felt like it was full of foaming milk. Hadn’t she voiced concerns about Kermilla when the other Queen had been training with her? The court had adored the pretty, dark-haired girl; the servants had disliked her.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire