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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Tangled Webs (Chapter 34)      Page
  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(34) by Anne Bishop
  • “And packages?”

    “Yes, sometimes.”

    Lucivar stared at him.

    “It would drain my Jewels faster if I shielded every time I handled a message,” the Warlord protested. “Besides, everything is checked at the message stations before we’re given our bundles to deliver.”

    Lucivar just stared at him.

    Beads of sweat popped out on the Warlord’s forehead.

    “First of all,” Lucivar said, “it requires very little power to maintain a shield after you’ve created it, unless the power is being drained because something is striking it in an effort to get to you. Second, since the dangeris minimal and you look old enough to have made the Offering to the Darkness, there is no reason why you can’t use your Birthright Jewel to shield and tap into the reservoir of power in your Summer-sky Jewel to ride the Summer-sky Wind and deliver your messages at your best speed. Third, even if you believe the danger is minimal, walking into an unknown without shielding is a stupid kind of arrogance—and not an arrogance I’ll tolerate where I rule.” He continued to stare at the Warlord and waited.

    “So all messengers coming into Ebon Rih should shield before handling the messages?” the Warlord finally asked.

    “That’s right. And if it’s shrugged off, I’m going to kick someone’s ass—and I’m not going to be particular about whose ass gets kicked. Make sure you deliverthat message to whoever is in charge of the message station.”

    “Yes, Prince.”

    The Warlord managed a stiff-legged control all the way across the courtyard, then raced headlong down the stairs to the landing area, where he could catch the Summer-sky Wind and get out of Ebon Rih.

    Lucivar closed and locked the door, released Daemonar and the wolf pup from the protective shield, and walked back into the kitchen muttering, “No shields? What are they teaching these boys?” Since the messenger had come from Dhemlan, he’d talk to Daemon about this. No, he’dwrite to Daemon, who would understand the effort required. Andthat would guarantee the message would get the sharp edge of his brother’s attention.

    Just look at that,Lucivar thought as he opened the envelope.Now that I’m settled down and respectable, more or less, I can be twice the prick I used to be and not even have to leave my own home.

    A glance at Daemonar and the pup, who were sitting close to each other and were quiet. The quiet wouldn’t last more than another few moments, so he pulled the heavy paper out of the envelope and tossed the envelope on top of the other papers spread out on the kitchen table. Then he gave his attention to the words.

    “‘Your presence is requested at a private viewing of The Spooky House,’” he read aloud. An invitation from Jaenelle and Marian. More than an invitation. “Your presence is requested” was a phrase used in Protocol, and the gentleness of the wording didn’t change the fact that it amounted to a command. Especially when it came from his Queen and his wife. But…

    Lucivar twisted around to look at the clock on the other end of the kitchen counter.

    “Hell’s fire, Marian,” he muttered. “You didn’t leave me much time to find someone to watch the little beast and reach a village in the middle of Dhemlan.”

    He read the invitation again, and the insult under the words pricked his temper. He was a Warlord Prince, and he was the ruler of Ebon Rih. And this…invitation…despite the formal, and correct, wording, left a taste ofslave in the air.

    Sending this shit piece of paper to him was selfish, especially since Marian could have told him about this viewing yesterday so he wouldn’t have to jump on command and scramble to find someone to watch the boy. If it had been anyone but Marian and Jaenelle, he would have told her to take a piss in the wind. And he still might, even though one woman was his wife and the other his sister.

    Andthat , damn it, was the bone that stuck in his throat. Jaenelle and Marian were both originally from Terreille, but they had never acted like the bitches who lived in that Realm. Until now.

    He closed his eyes and forced himself to breathe slow and easy. A man didn’t make decisions because of an insult hidden within words. A man made decisions based on honor—and Protocol. So he would heed the command, even though it rankled. He wouldn’t disappoint his wife, and he wouldn’t disobey his Queen. But…

    He hadn’t seen the spooky house—the Ladies had insisted that he and Daemon not see the place until it was completed—so he didn’t know the exact location of the damn village.

    First things first. He needed to find someone to—

    The wolf pup yipped. Daemonar yelped.

    Opening his eyes, Lucivar flipped the invitation toward the counter as he moved to separate boy and pup, but before he’d completed that first step, he knew this wasn’t one of the usual boy-and-pup tussles. Something more had happened during those moments of inattention, because Daemonar’s fist was raised in real anger and the pup’s teeth were bared with intent to harm.

    And he, seeing a disaster in the making, made a sound that thundered through the eyrie—the primal, undiluted roar of a furious adult male.

    The three of them froze.

    As Lucivar stared at the boy and pup, who were staring back at him, he thought,Mother Night. I sound like my father.

    The thought, like the stone that starts an avalanche, broke open something inside him. He felt the cascade, felt the pressure of the storm on his skin, in his bones. No telling what was coming or how long he could hold it back. But the children had to come first.

    So he moved, scooping up Daemonar in one arm and the pup in the other. He vanished the papers on the kitchen table and plunked boy and pup down—and faced the next problem as he kept pushing back that storm, thatsound.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire