• Home
  • Directory
  • Popular
  • Authors
  • Series
  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 59)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(59) by Anne Bishop
  • “What in the name of Hell are you doing?” Falonar finally asked with lethal control.

    “What every other ruler in Kaeleer has already done,” Lucivar replied. “What I didn’t do and should have—released everyone who has fulfilled their emigration contract.”

    “You kept us on to have cheap labor,” one of the men shouted.

    “I kept you on because I’d mistakenly thought you were content to live here,” Lucivar snapped. “Since that’s not the case, there is no reason for you to stay—and there is no reason for me to continue to support you. And since you all did damn little to earn your keep, I wouldn’t call you cheap labor.”

    “You should have paid us more,” the man argued. “We’re Eyriens, not some Rihlander drudges.”

    “Ebon Rih belongs to the Keep, and it tithes to the Keep. As the ruler of Ebon Rih, I receive part of that tithe, which I distributed to all of you equally. What you got is the same as what I kept for myself. Are we clear on that? I shared with you what came to me from this valley. Since what I can give you isn’t enough, you need to look elsewhere.”

    “Look where?” Falonar asked hotly. “Do you know how many Eyriens are struggling to survive because the Queens severed those contracts ?”

    “Probably every Eyrien who had refused to see that the Shadow Realm is not Terreille, who refused to see that the Queens are not going to bend for a race that is coming in from another Realm. If you want to live here, you adapt to the way the Queens rule Kaeleer—or you end up dead. The bitches you all ran from are gone, purged from the Realms. If you don’t like it here, go back to Terreille. If you don’t like the way I rule Ebon Rih, then leave.”

    Lucivar paused, tightened the leash on his temper. “I’ve said all I have to say. Now you all need to decide what you’re going to do.”

    “I’m not going to pay a tithe to that half-breed bastard,” a rough voice said.

    Lucivar focused on the sound. The man thought he was hidden well enough by the crowd? Fool.

    “Pay him to live here?” the man continued, laughing harshly. “He should have been grateful that any of us were willing to take a shit in his little valley.”

    “That’s enough!” Hallevar shouted.

    No room to maneuver for a one-on-one fight, and there were women in the room who could get hurt. Not that there weren’t other ways to kill a man. One blast of Ebon-gray power would burn out the bastard’s mind. But that wasn’t the Eyrien way of meeting a challenger.

    Lucivar whistled sharply. “Yes, that’s enough.” He pointed at the man. “You. Get out of my territory. And take everyone who feels the same way with you.”

    The man looked around at his comrades. “You think you can take all of us?”

    Lucivar laughed and noticed that the men who had seen him fight turned pale. Falonar, on the other hand, looked thoughtful, which was something he wouldn’t forget.

    His gold eyes swept from one end of the room to the other, and he nodded as he saw what some of those men no longer bothered to hide.

    “I’ve marked you,” he said softly. “You’re no longer welcome here. If you try to stay in Ebon Rih, then you’re nothing but walking carrion—and you won’t be walking long. Now. All of you. You’re dismissed.”

    The women from the settlement fled. So did the men from the northern camps. Hallevar and some of the other men who lived around Riada lingered until a sharp look from Falonar made them retreat, taking Nurian with them.

    “Don’t you care at all for the Eyrien people?” Falonar asked as soon as they were alone.

    “I care as much for them as they care for me,” Lucivar replied.

    “I don’t want to stomach being your second-in-command if you’re going to rape Eyrien traditions and then ignore what Eyriens need on top of it.”

    “Fine. You’re no longer my second-in-command.”

    He saw the shock in Falonar’s eyes. Why the surprise? Falonar should know him well enough not to call his bluff. He’d let the other Warlord Prince assume the role of second-in-command because it was a duty worthy of Falonar’s power and caste. And while it had often been useful, he hadn’t needed someone to help him rule the valley.

    But if you accept the other duties Andulvar left on your shoulders when he returned to the Darkness, you do need someone you can trust to look after things here when you have to be elsewhere—when you have to stand as the Warlord Prince of Askavi.

    Not something he would say to Falonar. Not something he wanted to think about right now. And nothing he wanted said out loud. Not yet. The day he acknowledged that he was the Warlord Prince of Askavi, that Andulvar had made it clear to the Queens in Askavi that the Demon Prince had a successor, that the Ebon-gray would continue to defend not just the Keep’s territory but all of Askavi . . . The day he acknowledged that, there would be nowhere in Askavi for the Eyriens who didn’t like him to go.

    “Well?” Falonar said. “Will you release me from my contract?”

    “If you want to return to Terreille, I can release you from the contract,” Lucivar said. “If you want to remain in Kaeleer, you have three more years to serve.”

    “With you.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire