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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 40)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(40) by Anne Bishop
  • It was tempting to agree, tempting to let her run with that idea. But if he did that, sooner or later the truth would bite him in the ass.

    “It’s not like that. Lady Shayne doesn’t eat at The Tavern, but if there was trouble there, her court would know about it and take care of it.” He huffed out a breath. “Look. I’m scorned by some because I don’t rub elbows with the aristos in Riada—or anywhere else for that matter. But the truth is, when I’m among those people, I am the Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih. Aristos never forget that, so I can never forget that. But when I walk into The Tavern, I’m Lucivar. I get teased; I get scolded; I get sent on errands. I sit at a table with a bowl of stew and the bread I’ve picked up from the bakery for Merry and hear the village’s gossip—who needs help, who needs watching. I hear about families in the other villages in Ebon Rih. I hear all the things an aristo wouldn’t and the Queens’ courts probably don’t. And if I hear something I think Shayne needs to know, I will tell her.

    “More than that, Merry and Briggs are friends. And lighter Jewels notwithstanding, they would fit in with Jaenelle’s First Circle. Because of that, I thought you and Rainier would be comfortable there. If that’s not the case . . .” He shrugged. Marian had voiced the concern that Surreal and Rainier both ran in Amdarh’s aristo society and might not like The Tavern. Maybe his darling hearth witch had been right about that.

    “So you drop by every day that you’re home to keep an eye on the village and listen to the talk that might alert you and Riada’s Queen to a problem?” Surreal asked.

    “Sure.”

    “What a boot full of shit.”

    He stiffened. “I beg your pardon?”

    She let out a hoot of laughter. “You’re like a damn Sceltie who’s handpicked his own flock, and Merry is one of the sheep. Sure, you run errands and put up with being scolded, but I bet you know when her moontime is supposed to start each cycle, and you get bossy when you think she’s working too hard. I bet you’ve even stood behind the bar and served drinks with Briggs after pushing her upstairs to take the nap you decided she needed.”

    Caught. “What’s your point?” Not that he was going to admit to any of this.

    “Just making an observation that there is a dual purpose to your visits to The Tavern. And it’s good to know there’s no trouble for Merry or—” She started coughing. It sounded like her chest was being ripped up.

    Swearing, he pulled her close, wrapped his wings to form a cocoon, and created a warming spell around them.

    “Damn it, Surreal. Why didn’t you tell me you were this sick? We could have had this discussion inside.”

    She leaned her forehead against his chest. “Don’t like being weak. And I’m not that sick.”

    “Are you coughing blood? And don’t try to lie to me or this will get very unpleasant.”

    “No blood. Jaenelle would have told you if I was coughing up blood.”

    “Unless you didn’t mention it to her.”

    She laughed a little. It sounded liquid and rough. “I’m not stupid, Lucivar. I’m not going to tangle with Witch over the condition of my lungs.”

    “All right.” He rubbed her back and waited for his heart to settle back into its normal rhythm. “Look. Maybe . . .”

    She punched him. Wasn’t much of a punch since she was snugged up against him, but it was still a punch.

    “This is what you have to work with,” she growled. “Deal with it.”

    “Remember you said that in the days ahead.”

    “Ah, shit.”

    He eased back. “Come on, witchling. It’s time to get you back to your room. The days start early here.”

    Rainier waited in his room, as ordered. Apparently Lucivar had a few more things to say to him before he officially started this required training.

    But when Lucivar rapped on the door and came in, Rainier felt a jolt of uneasiness because Saetan came in with him.

    “High Lord,” Rainier said, struggling to get to his feet. Where had he put that damn cane?

    “Prince Rainier,” Saetan replied. Then he looked at Lucivar and raised one eyebrow as a question.

    Lucivar stared at Rainier before turning to his father. “Do you remember what I looked like when I first came to Kaeleer?”

    “I’m not likely to forget,” Saetan said softly.

    Lucivar tipped his head toward Rainier. “Show him.” He walked out of the room.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire