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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Shadow Queen (Chapter 40)      Page
  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(40) by Anne Bishop
  • “No, it’s not,” Talon said gently. “But he may not be able to do this. Most likely, he can’t do this.”

    Theran stood up abruptly, no longer able to stay still. “Let’s find out.”

    They were both twenty-seven years old. They both had dark hair and green eyes, although the shade of green came from different bloodlines, and one of them had fairer skin than the other. They were similar enough in body and face that they could easily be mistaken for each other at first glance.

    But one of them had become a man only in terms of physical maturity and had retreated, mentally and emotionally, to being a docile boy, despite also being a Warlord Prince who wore Purple Dusk Jewels.

    Jared Blaed Grayhaven. The young Warlord Prince who was supposed to be Theran’s blade and shield in the same way that Blaed had backed Jared.

    They were cousins through their mothers. Gray, as they called him, had no link to the Grayhaven bloodline, despite being given that family name, but he could trace his line back to Blaed and Thera, the Black Widow who had been Lia’s closest friend.

    Had their names been a deliberate attempt at deception or a way to honor the past? Theran had wondered about that a lot after what happened twelve years ago.

    Theran’s shield. Gray had been that. They had been making a rare visit to a village near the mountains and had separated to take care of their own business before returning to the camp they were currently calling home.

    The Province Queen’s guards, making a surprise inspection of the village, had spotted Gray and taken him to the Territory Queen, who had kept him to “serve” in her court. The guards had grabbed him and run, not wanting to tangle with the rogues who frequented the village when they had captured such a prize—and not realizing there had been a second boy.

    They’d thought they had captured the Grayhaven bloodline, and Gray never told them anything different, never revealed that he wasn’t the descendant of the Shalador Warlord who had been Lia’s husband.

    They worked him—and they tortured him—for two years before Talon was able to rescue him and get him back to the mountains.

    Gray was fifteen when he was taken.

    They didn’t break his Jewels or castrate him—two common methods of diminishing a male who might be a threat. But they broke him in other ways, and now, as he sat across from Theran, his green eyes so full of fear, Theran wondered if taking Gray back to Grayhaven would be the ultimate act of betrayal.

    “You’re all right?” Gray asked. “You’re not hurt?”

    Didn’t matter if Theran was returning from a fight or slipping into a village to spend a couple of needed hours with a woman; the questions were always the same because, for Gray, the last time he’d left the mountains, he’d lost everything he was.

    “I’m fine, Gray. I’m fine,” Theran said, leaning over to give his cousin’s hand a friendly squeeze.

    “But something bad has happened.”

    Too perceptive.

    “Not bad, no.” How to say this to cause the least harm? “We’re getting a Queen, Gray. Do you remember me talking with Talon about that?”

    “A Queen?” All the color drained out of Gray’s face.

    “From Kaeleer, the Shadow Realm. She’s going to rule Dena Nehele.”

    “She’s coming here?”

    “Not to the mountains, no. She’s going to be living at Grayhaven.” Theran took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “And I’m going to be living there with her.”

    “You can’t!” Gray leaped up, giving Talon a desperate look. “He can’t! If she’s at Grayhaven and knows who . . . who he . . .”

    The keening started as Gray sank to his knees. That horrible keening of a boy in terrible pain.

    “Gray.” Dropping to his knees, Theran wrapped his arms around his cousin. “Gray, I have to do this. For all of us.”

    “She’ll hurt you, she’ll hurt you. I’m Grayhaven. I’m Grayhaven!”

    The last words were said in a rising scream that echoed the pain remembered.

    Theran looked at Talon, whose face was grim and sad. The old Warlord Prince had searched, and searched hard, to find the boy. But Talon didn’t find Gray soon enough.

    Talon went down on one knee and put a hand on Gray’s shoulder. “You don’t have to go down there. You can stay up here in the mountains. You know how to fend for yourself. I taught you that. And there will be others staying up here. You don’t have to go back to Grayhaven.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire