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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(153) by Anne Bishop
  • Which was true.

    “I need Shira here,” Cassidy said, glancing at Ranon.

    “I’m here. Drop your shield, Cassidy, so I can get to the girl.”

    More shields. Layers of them going up in front of Cassidy and curving around to close off the area where the landen family huddled.

    Layers of shields formed by the Warlord Princes who served Cassidy.

    But not the Green. His strength wasn’t needed, and if he added it now, it would feel like a lie.

    “You can drop your shield now, Lady,” Ranon said.

    The Rose shields behind Cassidy vanished. Shira rushed over to the girl, who was still wailing.

    “Let me have a look.” Shira pulled the girl’s hands away from her face. “I’m a Healer. I’m going to help—”

    “Shira?” Cassidy said.

    “Hell’s fire,” Shira said. Then she looked at the girl’s mother. “Give me a hand. Come on, darling. Come back here with us.” She hustled the girl to the back of the family’s space, where they had a canopy for shade and a small table and chairs.

    “Shira?” Cassidy said.

    “Let me work!”

    It’s bad, Theran thought, remembering other Healers who had that particular tone in their voices.

    “That Healer should be looking after my arm, not some slut’s face,” the older Warlord said.

    “If he’s the one who threw the stone, I’ll be happy to take care of his arm,” Shira said. “And I promise there won’t be much left of it when I get done.”

    All the men, even Ranon, looked startled by the words. Cassidy just nodded.

    “Well,” the older Warlord said,“I guess it’s done. We’ll be on our way.”

    “It isn’t done,” Cassidy said. “Everything has a price, and your little bit of sport is going to cost you.”

    “Now, look here . . . ,” the Warlord began, taking a step toward Cassidy.

    Blades were raised in warning. Cassidy and Vae bared their teeth and snarled.

    “What is the Queen’s will?” Theran asked.

    Cassidy walked over to the loom and stared for too long before she turned back to the men.

    “The weaving is ruined,” she said. “From the smell of it, there’s horse manure along with some other muck. Since the streets are dry, the only way to make this kind of shit soup is by making it somewhere else and bringing it here.”

    A quick glance at the youngsters’ faces confirmed it.

    “So that ruined piece of weaving will cost you one hundred gold marks,” Cassidy said, her eyes filled with a wild fury as she stared at the older Warlord.

    “What?” the Warlord yelled. “For that piece of—”

    Vae snarled, and the sound rumbled through the whole street.

    “One hundred gold marks as compensation for the lost work and as a penalty for not teaching your boys some manners. As for them . . .” Cassidy’s eyes focused on the two younger Warlords. “Ten days’ labor, without using Craft, or ten lashes.”

    “I’ll handle the whip if it comes to that,” Ranon said. “And I’ll strip flesh from bone.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire