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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 53)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(53) by Anne Bishop
  • Setting the cards down, Rainier checked the title of each book. He’d read all of them, but he wasn’t going to say that, since it was clear it hadn’t been easy for Endar to bring them or admit to owning them. “Thank you. These will help pass the time.”

    Surreal walked through the door and the chatter in the room stumbled before picking up the rhythm again. As she approached their table, he noticed how much Endar tensed, how ready the man was to take up a defensive position. Couldn’t blame him. Not after her attack on Falonar.

    “Surreal, darling, Endar kindly loaned me some books. Could you take them up to my room so they’ll be safe?”

    By the time she’d unbuttoned her heavy coat, he knew she’d assessed his visitor, and his ease with the Eyrien, and understood what the loan of those books meant.

    “Sure,” she said, taking the books. “You want anything from your room while I’m up there?”

    “No, thanks.”

    When she walked away, Endar gulped in a breath, then gulped some ale. Rainier picked up his cards and resumed his game.

    Endar watched for a bit.

    “I’ve played every card game I know more times than I care to consider,” Rainier said. “Do you know any?”

    “Betting games, you mean?”

    He shook his head. “The healing brews I have to drink are strong enough to give me a muzzy head.”

    “Well, there is hawks and hares. But it’s a children’s card game.”

    Rainier smiled. “I could handle that. I think.”

    Endar called in a different deck of cards. “I keep them with me,” he mumbled as he shuffled the cards. “To distract the little ones when Dorian needs some peace.”

    Rainier said nothing, just absorbed all the messages under and around the words.

    Lucivar walked into The Tavern, glanced at the table ringed by Eyriens, and reached the bar just as Surreal lifted the tray of drinks and went off to tend a couple of tables.

    “The way she kept staring at everyone, folks were afraid to come up and order a drink,” Briggs said, standing on the other side of the bar. “Merry suggested that she look after a few tables while she was keeping an eye on things, and she agreed—and promised not to poison anyone’s drink. She was joking about that, wasn’t she?”

    “If Surreal promised not to poison anyone tonight, she won’t.”

    Briggs stared at him. “You want ale?”

    “I’d rather have a very large whiskey, but I’ll take coffee if you have it. It’s my night to give the little beast his bath, so I’ll need my reflexes sharp beforehand and the whiskey after.”

    Laughing, Briggs went to fetch him a large mug of coffee.

    Leaning against the bar, he idly watched Rainier and Endar playing some kind of game, encouraged by Hallevar, Kohlvar, Zaranar, and Rothvar.

    “Endar showed up first,” Surreal said, setting a tray of dirty glasses on the bar. “Loaned Rainier four books. I gathered reading isn’t a shameful activity if a warrior is so badly injured there isn’t much else he can do.”

    Lucivar winced at the sharp edge in her voice.

    “The others showed up a little while ago.”

    “I’m surprised they aren’t entertaining Falonar,” he said.

    She huffed out a breath. “Nothing has been said—at least nothing I heard while moving around the tables—but I have the impression they’re all feeling uneasy about what Falonar did. They haven’t criticized him openly. . . .”

    “But they’re here tonight, giving Rainier company,” he finished. Showing support and indicating they saw Rainier as one of their own instead of being with the leader who hadn’t taken care of an injured man.

    “I haven’t heard Rainier laugh this much since before we walked into that damn spooky house.”

    Lucivar narrowed his eyes. He hated feeling suspicious about men he liked, but the Eyriens hadn’t made much effort to get to know the people of Riada. “How much has Rainier lost? And how much has he had to drink?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire