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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Shadow Queen (Chapter 4)      Page
  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(4) by Anne Bishop
  • Theran glanced at Talon, who nodded. “There’s a Warlord Prince who owes my family a favor.” That wasn’t exactly the way Talon had phrased it. More like, For Jared’s sake and memory, he might be willing to do the family a favor. “If I can find him . . .”

    “You think this Prince can get us a Queen from Kaeleer?” Shaddo asked. “Who has that kind of influence and power?”

    Theran took a deep breath. “Daemon Sadi.”

    Ninety-eight Warlord Princes shivered.

    “The Sadist owes your family a favor?” Archerr asked.

    Theran nodded.

    A dozen voices muttered,“Hell’s fire, Mother Night, and may the Darkness be merciful.”

    “Talon and I talked it over and figured asking at the Keep is the simplest way of finding out if anyone knows where Sadi is.”

    “He could be dead,” Spere said, sounding a little hopeful. “His brother disappeared years ago, didn’t he? Maybe Sadi got caught in that storm like the rest of the Blood.”

    “Maybe,” Talon said. “And maybe he’s no longer among the living. But even if he’s demon-dead, he still might be able to help. And if he’s among the demon-dead who went to the Dark Realm, going to the Keep is still our best chance of finding him.”

    “What happens if we do get a Queen from Kaeleer?” Shaddo asked.

    “Then at least twelve males have to be willing to serve her and form her First Circle,” Theran said. “We’ll have to form a court. Some of us will have to serve.” The next words stuck in his throat, but on this too, he and Talon had agreed. “And Grayhaven will be offered as her place of residence.”

    “You say we’ll have to form a court,” Ranon said, still sounding cold. “Will Shalador be asked to serve? Will Shalador be allowed to serve? Or will the blood that also flows through your veins, Prince Theran, be held to the reserves, ignored unless we’re needed for fodder?”

    Before anyone could draw a line and start a fight that would end with someone dying, Talon raised his hand, commanding their attention.

    “That will be up to the Queen, Ranon,” he said quietly. “We’re all going to hone the blade and offer her our throats.”

    “Hoping we won’t end up with someone who will crush what is left of us?” Ranon asked.

    “Hoping exactly that,” Talon replied.

    A long silence. Ranon took a step back, then hesitated. “If a Kaeleer Queen comes to Dena Nehele, some of the Shalador people will offer themselves for her pleasure.”

    Talon looked thoughtful as they all watched Ranon walk back to the gate. Nothing was said until the Shalador Warlord Prince caught one of the Winds and vanished.

    “If you can get a Queen from Kaeleer . . .” Archerr didn’t finish the sentence.

    “I’ll send a message,” Theran said.

    The Warlord Princes retreated to the gate. No breaking into groups, no talking among themselves. Some looked back at him and Talon.

    “Looks like you’re going to the Keep,” Talon said.

    Theran nodded as he watched the last man vanish. “Which do you think worries them more? That I won’t be able to find Sadi—or that I will?”

    CHAPTER 2

    KAELEER

    Cassidy sat back on her heels and brushed her chin with the tail of her long red braid.

    “So,” she said as she considered the ground in front of her. “Does the rock stay or does the rock go?”

    Since the question had been offered to the air and the patch of garden in front of her, she didn’t expect an answer. Besides, it wasn’t really her decision. She’d volunteered to clear the weeds out of this bed as a way to have something to do—and a way to work with a little piece of land. But this was her mother’s garden, and whether the rock was an unwanted obstacle or a desired, important part of the whole depended on how one looked at it.

    Which was true of so many things.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire