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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 93)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(93) by Anne Bishop
  • “When Prince Grayhaven’s bitch takes control of Dena Nehele, there’s going to be another uprising. And this time it won’t end until all of us are dead—or all of you.”

    Ranon stared at James, shocked speechless. Then he shook his head. “Cassidy’s court stands. She rules everything but this town, which is under Prince Grayhaven’s control. Kermilla isn’t going to rule Dena Nehele.”

    “She says she is.”

    No.It wasn’t just that he wanted Cassie to rule; the thought of Kermilla ruling filled him with dread.

    “Thing is,” James said, “I’m tired of destroying, tired of fighting and killing. But if it has to be done again, I’d rather fightfor something than against something.”

    A plea in those eyes. Messages under the spoken words.

    And suddenly Ranon remembered what Jaenelle had said to him:People looked beyond themselves and made room for you. Remember that, Prince.

    Before he could work out what he wanted to ask James, a handful of guards rode up.

    Ranon turned and put up an Opal shield behind him, protecting the landen since the hostility in the guards’ psychic scents was sufficient warning that he’d walked into some kind of trouble.

    The senior guard, Lord Rogir, stared at him for a moment—and the Warlord’s aggression faded with recognition. “Prince Ranon?”

    Ranon nodded, noting the way the other guards had fanned out. Two were keeping an eye on the landens; the others were watching him.

    “Prince, if I could have a few minutes of your time?” Rogir asked.

    Taking a careful measure of the tempers around him, Ranon dropped the Opal shield behind him and turned to James. “I’ll be back.” Then he strode far enough away to be out of earshot.

    Lord Rogir dismounted and followed him.

    “Is the Rose Queen coming back to Grayhaven?” Rogir asked.

    “No,” Ranon replied. “She’s settled in Eyota. So is the court.”

    “Is Lady Cassidy leaving in the spring? Is it true the other Dharo Queen is going to rule Dena Nehele?”

    “You all seem to know something more than Cassidy’s court knows,” Ranon said. “Lady Kermilla can fart words all she wants. Doesn’t change who is ruling Dena Nehele now—or who is going to continue to rule. The court stands. If the Queen is challenged, we’ll fight.” It wasn’t really his place to make such a statement without more of the First Circle present, but he was sure of the truth of it.

    Rogir glanced at James Weaver. “Can you do anything for them? This town isn’t safe for that family anymore.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “Whether she rules officially or not, Theran Grayhaven has given this town over to the other Queen. She says she outranks the Rose Queen and can countermand any orders we’ve been given.” Fury swept over Rogir’s face. “She brought those two Warlords, Garth and Brok, into this part of town a few days ago—and she made the kind of warning threats we’ve all heard before about what will happen to anyone who opposes her now. Since then, my men and I have kept a close watch on this courtyard. Those Warlords came back this morning, and they were looking for Weaver’s little girl. They blame her for the punishment they damn well deserved. If they get their hands on her this time, they’ll do a lot worse than throw horse shit and stones.”

    Ranon felt sick, cold.

    “I’ve got a wife and a daughter about the same age as his.” Rogir tipped his head toward James. “I’ve kept an eye on these folks because of that. Gotten to know them. Blood and landen . . . We may be from the same race, but we’re not the same. We’ll never be the same, so we don’t fit together easy. But a father is a father, and I think about the fear that would be eating my gut if two Warlords hadthat look in their eyes when they asked aboutmy little girl.”

    Easy enough to guess where this conversation was heading, but the words had to be said. So Ranon waited.

    Rogir cleared his throat. “Those landens need to get out of Grayhaven. And I want my family out of here. The guards who have been riding with me to protect the landens and have followed the Queen’s command? They want to get out too. Especially the one who is newly married and hoped for a better life than he or his wife had known before.”

    People looked beyond themselves and made room for you. Remember that, Prince.“I can’t make any promises before discussing this with the Queen,” Ranon said.

    “Understood.”

    Listen to your heart.“I’ll meet you back here after dark, and one way or another, we’ll figure out how to get your family out of this town. The other guards as well.” He glanced at James Weaver. “And them.”

    “I’ve got a sister . . .” Rogir trailed off.

    “Have a list ready for me.” Ranon hesitated, but it had to be said because it could make a difference between someone choosing to go or stay. “You’ll probably end up living in the same village as the court. That means living in a Shalador reserve.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire