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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Shadow Queen (Chapter 154)      Page
  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(154) by Anne Bishop
  • “Shalador bastard,” the Warlord growled.

    “Since you understand the Shalador temper so well,” Cassidy said, “your little bastards will work under Prince Ranon’s supervision.”

    “Don’t you insult my boys.”

    “Ten days or ten lashes,” Cassidy snapped. “Choose.”

    “It’s not right, making my boys work like landens,” the Warlord protested.

    “It will help them appreciate what someone without Craft has to do in order to accomplish a task. Choose.”

    “You’ve got no right!” the Warlord shouted.

    Something in the air. Something delicate being weighed down by words. Bending, bending. Almost breaking. If it broke . . .

    Theran stepped closer to Cassidy. “She is the Queen of Dena Nehele. Her will is the law. You’ve been given a choice, Warlords, and the Queen’s First Circle stands witness.” And may the Darkness help me, I stand witness.

    The feeling in the air was gone, as if a question had been answered.

    “Ten days’ labor,” the Warlord said. “And I’ll bring the gold marks when—”

    “No,” Cassidy said. “The three of you are forbidden to set foot in the landen section of this town. You come here again, you’ll be exiled from Dena Nehele.”

    The guards gasped. Even the Warlord Princes who supported her looked stunned.

    “You will report to the Steward of the court and give the payment to him,” Cassidy said.

    “Can’t come up with that much all at once,” the Warlord said.

    “Then you’ll work out a payment arrangement with the Steward—and if you don’t show up with the payment, the First Circle will be showing up on your doorstep to find out why. And they can take the payment however they see fit.”

    *Mother Night, Cassidy,* Theran said. *You’ve just told him the Warlord Princes can rip him apart without penalty.*

    She looked at him with eyes still filled with fury.

    He didn’t know this woman. Didn’t know this Queen.

    But he knew with cold certainty that he was seeing the Old Ways of the Blood, and that under the same circumstances, the Warlord Princes in Kaeleer wouldn’t hesitate to do the Queen’s will.

    And he wondered for the first time if bringing the Old Ways back to Dena Nehele had been a mistake.

    “One other thing.” Cassidy stared at the two younger Warlords, finally settling on the one who wore the Summer-sky Jewel. “If the girl loses her eye because of the stone you threw, you forfeit a hand. This is the Queen’s Justice.”

    “Queen’s Justice.”

    It was a shout, a battle cry. And Theran heard his own voice raised with the others.

    No more fight in the Warlords. No more thinking they could somehow slide out from under what they had done. The predators had gathered and were held by the Queen’s leash. And by nightfall, the whole town would know for certain that these Warlord Princes belonged to Cassidy.

    “Prince?” asked one of the guards who had escorted the pony cart.

    “Prince Ranon is the Master of the Guard’s second-in-command,” Theran said, nodding to Ranon, acknowledging another truth.

    “Escort those three back to their home,” Ranon told the guard. “Prince Archerr will assist you.”

    The guard glanced at Cassidy. “I’ll inform the others of the Queen’s command. We’ll make sure these Warlords don’t come back to this part of town.”

    The Warlords were led away.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire