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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Shadow Queen (Chapter 87)      Page
  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(87) by Anne Bishop
  • “What brings Dena Nehele’s Master of the Guard to the Keep?”

    Apparently Prince Sadi was sharing Cassidy’s reports with his father. Why else would the High Lord know who he was?

    Hell’s fire, Mother Night, and may the Darkness be merciful.

    Talon called in the envelope and held it out. “Message from Lady Cassidy.”

    Saetan closed the distance between them and took the envelope just as a chime sounded and a tray with a decanter and two ravenglass goblets appeared on a table.

    “Would you join me in a glass of yarbarah, Prince Talon?” Saetan asked. “Then we can sit comfortably while you tell me whatever it is you came to say.”

    “I’m just delivering Lady Cassidy’s message,” Talon said. “I wear Sapphire and could ride a Wind darker and faster than anyone else in the court could ride.”

    “Give me some credit, boyo,” Saetan said dryly. “I’ve been a Steward. I know a Master of the Guard doesn’t deliver messages, no matter how urgent, unless there’s more than one message. Sit down.”

    He sat.

    “Guess no one gives you much argument,” Talon said, feeling a little stunned that he had obeyed before he’d consciously decided to obey.

    Setting the envelope aside, Saetan warmed two glasses of yarbarah, then handed one to Talon. “A man uses the tools he has available, and he learns to use them well. The males in the court seldom argued with a direct order. The coven . . .” He shrugged, and his smile was as affectionate as it was reluctant. “That tone of voice usually stopped them long enough to give me a chance to argue about what they were—or weren’t—going to do.”

    Settling into a chair, Saetan put his goblet on the tray, picked up the envelope, and called in his half-moon glasses. “So let’s see what has Cassidy so riled up she wasn’t willing to wait to send this with her regular report.”

    Talon almost choked as he swallowed a mouthful of yarbarah. “It’s addressed to Prince Sadi.”

    Saetan broke the seal and removed the sheets of paper. “Prince Sadi gave me the authority to open any messages from Dena Nehele that I felt needed to be considered immediately. I think something marked ‘urgent’ qualifies as such a message, don’t you?”

    “Look,” Talon said, setting his glass aside. “I don’t know what Cassidy and Theran wrangled about today or why it got her so riled, but they seem to butt heads more often than not.”

    “Which is not good for Queen or court,” Saetan said mildly as he read the first page and went on to the second. “But we both know Theran wasn’t chosen to be First Escort because he was qualified for the position.”

    Talon felt his jaw drop.

    Saetan finished reading the second page. He glanced at Talon as he vanished the papers and envelope. “Oh, don’t look so surprised. Theran had decided he didn’t like her before they left the Keep to go to Dena Nehele, and by now Cassie’s dislike for him is probably just as strong.”

    “He’s . . . disappointed.”

    “I don’t give a damn about his disappointment,” Saetan snarled. “If he can’t honor the Queen he chose to serve and do his duties, he should ask to be released from the contract.”

    “There’s only the twelve of us,” Talon protested. “If any man steps aside, we lose the court!”

    “Then maybe you should explain to your boy that he should help build the court instead of trying to break it.”

    “What did she say about him in that letter?”

    “Nothing.”

    Talon sat back, feeling as if he’d been kicked in the chest.

    “She said nothing about him,” Saetan said. “If you hadn’t mentioned Theran, I wouldn’t have known he was involved.”

    “But I was told they’d had words today, and after that, she wrote that letter. I thought—”

    “No, Talon. You haven’t thought.”

    There was an angry heat in Saetan’s eyes, but it was the ice in his voice that made Talon sit very still.

    “So I’ll give you something to think about,” Saetan said too softly. “Your boy doesn’t like the Queen he accepted, and whether you agree with him or not, you’ve let him set the tone. You’ve let his disrespect set the flavor of the court. You’ve seen enough to know better, but you’re letting it happen.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire