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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 99)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(99) by Anne Bishop
  • “Ferall, wait.” He grabbed the other man’s arm.

    “There’s nothing more to say.” Ferall pulled out of Theran’s grasp.

    “She’s young and high-spirited.”

    “Too young,” Ferall said. “She should have slapped that little bitch down for insulting the Queen like that. And if people in her old villagedid say that about Cassidy, who told Correne about it so that it could be slung around here?”

    “Probably one of Kermilla’s escorts,” Theran snapped. “They’re here too, and they come from Dharo.”

    “A court takes its temper from its Queen,” Ferall said. “And what was at that table tonight is not something I want ruling my village. Good night, Theran.”

    He let them walk away. There was nothing else he could do.

    No, he thought as he closed the door, therewas something he could do. But he would wait until Kermilla retired for the evening. Maybe he’d even wait until tomorrow when things settled down a little more.

    Hell’s fire, Ranon thought when he led the horse out of the Coaching station stables and ran into Ferall and the other three Warlord Princes. Could his timing be any worse today?

    “Ferall,” he said, then nodded to the other men.

    “More personal business?” Ferall asked.

    Ranon shook his head. “Queen’s business in the town.” Meaning, it wasn’t the business of anyone who lived in the mansion.

    Ferall hesitated. Actually looked uncomfortable. “Does the Queen have any objections to visitors in her home village?”

    What an odd question. “No objections at all,” Ranon said.

    “Would it be all right if the four of us came by a week from today to take a look around?”

    Something was going on. Too bad he didn’t know what it was—and couldn’t afford to care. Not tonight. “I can’t promise Lady Cassidy will be available, but I’ll make sure I’m there. Why don’t you come by in the morning?”

    “We’ll do that. Good evening to you, Ranon.”

    The other Warlord Princes followed Ferall into the Coaching station. Wasn’t any reason for them to hire a Coach to ride the Winds back to their homes—unless they wanted that time to talk among themselves before going their separate ways.

    “That’s a worry for another day,” Ranon muttered as he mounted the horse. Good thing they hadn’t seen him leaving the Coach he’d brought. There would have been questions about that—and about Burne and Haele being with him if they’d been spotted by the other men.

    He kept the horse at a walk, waiting for his Brothers in the court to catch up. When they did, the first thing Haele said was, “What was Ferall doing in town?”

    “Not our business,” Ranon replied.

    “You know better,” Burne said. “Ferall is a savage fighter, even beyond what you’d expect from the Opal. And it’s said he’s the eyes and ears of a half dozen Queens in the Province where he lives.”

    Like me,Ranon thought. The Shalador Queens hadn’t left the reserves for a few generations. That had kept at least some of them safe from the twisted Queens. But that didn’t mean they hadn’t been aware of what was happening in the rest of Dena Nehele, because there had always been men who reported back to them.

    And some of those men had paid for being a Queen’s eyes and ears by losing their eyes and ears—and tongue.

    Ranon said, “Maybe we’ll have a better idea of what Ferall was doing here today when he comes to visit us in a week.”

    Haele swore softly. They respected Ferall as a man, but hewas a savage fighter. The thought of Ferall being in their village for any reason that wasn’t peaceful was a reason to sweat.

    Don’t borrow trouble,Ranon thought.We’ve already got plenty.

    They didn’t speak again until they reached the craftsmen’s courtyard and found it empty.

    “Are we ahead of time?” Burne asked as he scanned the surrounding buildings and the street.

    “No,” Ranon replied. “And if we were late, someone would have waited.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire