• Home
  • Directory
  • Popular
  • Authors
  • Series
  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Shadow Queen (Chapter 67)      Page
  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(67) by Anne Bishop
  • “She told everyone to leave her alone.” It had been so painful to watch her, to know she was hurting and not be able to stop her.

    “Someone hurt her and—”

    “Who?” Gray felt something in him stir. “Who hurt Cassie?”

    “I don’t know, and that’s healthier for everyone,” the Eyrien said. “I do know she was hurting before she went out into the garden, and she was trying to sweat out some of the hurt and temper. Her First Escort should have given her an hour; then he should have used Protocol to stop her. And if that didn’t work, he should have fought her into the ground.”

    Gray frowned. “Protocol? But those are just words.”

    “Yeah. And one sentence that used the right words could have stopped this.”

    He’d gotten a glimpse of Cassie’s hands. One sentence could have stopped that?

    The Eyrien made a sound. Annoyance? Disgust? “This court is supposed to be learning the Old Ways. I know Lady Cassidy brought books of Protocol with her. Haven’t any of you looked at them?”

    “Don’t know.” Gray rubbed his nose with the back of his hand. “If I had said the sentence, she would have stopped before she got hurt?”

    It was the way the Eyrien looked at him that made Gray wonder what the man saw.

    “A Queen doesn’t like having a man set his heels down and get ready to fight her about something, so if you use Protocol to stop her, she’ll probably swear at you. A lot.”

    “That’s it? She’ll swear at me?” He wouldn’t like it, but that didn’t sound so bad. “Will she hit?”

    “Depends on the woman. I’ve gotten slugged in the arm more than once because I annoyed a witch who needed to be protected from herself.” The Eyrien shrugged. “I can take a bruised muscle a lot easier than I can take watching someone I care about get hurt.”

    If he learned the Protocol, then . . .

    Gray looked around and realized where he was. He’d been so focused on catching up to the Eyrien and yelling at the man for dumping water on Cassie, he hadn’t paid attention.

    “Nothing is going to come at you,” the Eyrien said,“because there is nothing here that can get past me.”

    He knew. Somehow this stranger knew.

    “Who are you?” Gray whispered. He wanted to curl up and hide, wanted to run.

    “Lucivar. And you?”

    “Gray.” His body shook with the effort to stand there and not run, not hide, not scream out the old fear until his voice was gone.

    The other Queen never stopped the pain until his voice was gone.

    “I’m not . . . right,” Gray said. That was the reason he couldn’t serve in the court. Talon and Theran had both told him that. Not that he’d wanted to serve in the court. At least, not until he’d met Cassie.

    “No, you’re not,” Lucivar said quietly. “You have scars, Gray, and they run deep. I can feel them in you. When a man has scars like that, there are boundaries he can’t cross, lines he has to draw to keep himself whole. But those boundaries aren’t as small as you might think, and a man can choose to live safe or he can choose to live right up to those lines. He might slip over a line every now and then, and that will hurt like a wicked bitch, but he might decide that what he gains will be worth the price.”

    “Do you have scars?” Gray asked.

    Lucivar nodded. “I have scars. And sometimes they still bleed.”

    Gray studied Lucivar. This man didn’t know him, didn’t know about the times when he was so scared he couldn’t take care of himself, when his body seized up so badly he couldn’t move. And yet there was a message underneath the words, a message that had been there since Lucivar had first turned and looked at him.

    “I’m not a warrior,” Gray said.

    “Yes, you are.” Lucivar smiled grimly. “Just because you fought on a different kind of battlefield doesn’t make you less a warrior.”

    Something stirred, shifted, fit into place.

    “You get a copy of those books of Protocol and you study them,” Lucivar said. “Next time you won’t have to stand back if Cassidy does something foolish.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire