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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 58)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(58) by Anne Bishop
  • “What about other kinds of work?”

    “I haven’t been useful lately,” he admitted.

    Daemon raised one eyebrow. “Oh? Lucivar found your assistance very useful. There is more than one kind of dancing, Rainier. You learned some of those other steps while working with the coven and the High Lord. Now I’d like you to consider using those skills for me.”


    “I need a secretary, someone I can trust with private matters.”

    Anger flashed through Rainier. “You’re offering me pity work?”

    “In that Lord Marcus asked me to take pity on him and hire a secretary, yes. You’re an Opal-Jeweled Warlord Prince. That alone gives you weight when dealing with much of the Blood—enough weight to act as my representative at the SaDiablo estates or the minor Dhemlan courts in much the same way that Mephis represented my father. It would be helpful to have you staying at the Hall or in Halaway a couple of days a week to help with the paperwork there, but otherwise you could reside in Amdarh, either at the family town house or in your own apartment—although I would prefer that you work out of the study in the town house.”

    “May I think about it?”

    “Yes, but I’d like an answer soon. I am going to oblige Marcus and get a secretary. If not you, then someone else.”

    Rainier studied Daemon, who looked as sleek and elegant as usual, but also a little uncomfortable.

    “So you’re doing this because Marcus asked you?”

    A hesitation that was too long for Sadi. “I owe him. He took a Sceltie puppy home for Winsol.”

    “Mother Night. Couldn’t he sidestep taking the pup?”

    “Not after I tied a pretty ribbon around the puppy’s neck and gave her to Marcus’s daughter to play with while he and I took care of some last-minute business.”

    When Rainier finally stopped laughing, he agreed to take the job. He wasn’t sure what he was agreeing to do, but he was damn sure his days would be interesting.

    Lucivar watched the Eyriens as they entered the big front room of the communal eyrie. Hallevar and Kohlvar entered first, followed by Rothvar, Zaranar, Tamnar, and Endar. He’d excused Endar’s wife from this meeting, asking her to help Jillian look after the children who had been left at Nurian’s eyrie. After all, she’d hear about this from her husband soon enough.

    He picked up a sense of puzzlement in Hallevar and his companions, especially after Eyriens from the northern camps walked in, but there was no wariness in the men he worked with the most, no worry that he’d found out about some less-than-honorable activity.

    Falonar came in with Nurian. He was full of hot impatience and likely pissed off because he knew no more than the others about why this meeting had been called, despite being Lucivar’s second-in-command.

    Nurian hurried up to the table Lucivar had set up at the back of the room.

    “Prince, am I really needed for this meeting?” she asked. “There are still a lot of people who have that stomach illness, and I promised the Riada Healers that I would help them by making more of the tonic.”

    “This won’t take long,” he said—and wondered if the tonic would be made after she heard what he had to say.

    The last group to arrive were the women from the settlement near Doun. They hugged the wall, watching the men from the northern camps with an uneasiness that made Lucivar wonder if there had been “visits” he should have known about or if this was just the fear that had come with them from Terreille. He also noticed the way one of them gave Kohlvar a timid smile of greeting—and the solemn, respectful way the weapons master tipped his head in acknowledgment.

    When the last man had stepped into the room, Lucivar called in the leather case and took out the papers. A few papers were placed on the right-hand side of the table; the rest went on the left.

    “It’s come to my attention that many of you are no longer content to live in Ebon Rih,” he said, using Craft to make sure his voice carried to everyone in the room. “And I’ve been reminded lately that I’ve neglected one duty as the Warlord Prince who rules here.”

    “More than one,” someone muttered near the back of the room.

    He ignored the remark, but he caught Falonar’s quickly suppressed smile of satisfaction.

    That smile made him choose words that would act as a fast, clean break. “Besides the Eyriens who came to Ebon Rih last summer, there are a couple of you who still have time to serve on the contracts you signed with me. The rest of you have fulfilled the emigration requirement of service and no longer have to serve me in order to remain in Kaeleer. You are free to seek service in a Queen’s court or find another kind of work. If you stay in Ebon Rih, you will be required to pay the tithe in both labor and coin the same as anyone else who lives here. If that is not acceptable to you, you’re free to leave. You have seventy-two hours to tell me if you’re staying in the valley I rule.”

    “What about wages?” one of the men from the northern camps asked.

    “You’ll receive what is due to you up to today,” Lucivar replied. “After that, my financial duty to you is done. From now on, I only pay the people who work for me. That’s all. You’re dismissed.”

    Stunned silence.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire