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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 62)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(62) by Anne Bishop
  • She blushed and no longer even tried to meet his eyes. “Your wife is graceful,” she mumbled.

    “I think so. What’s that got to do with weapons?”

    “It’s the way she moves, the way the training . . .”

    Hallevar would shit rocks if he heard that a woman wanted to learn to use the sparring sticks in order to be more graceful. On the other hand, Eyrien warriors were graceful, more so than most of the Eyrien women. He’d initially insisted that the women learn to use weapons so that they could defend themselves sufficiently until help could arrive. He’d eventually stopped insisting after so many of them whined about handling weapons that shouldn’t be used by anyone but an Eyrien warrior.

    Personally, he didn’t care why they wanted to learn as long as it helped the women acquire skills to protect themselves. Convincing the other men to accept this renewed female interest in weapons might be a bit more difficult.

    “You want to work for me?” he asked.

    “Yes.”

    No hesitation from her, but he felt a slight hesitation that compelled him to say, “You working for me won’t sit well with Falonar. Not after today.”

    She looked sad, confused, sorry. “I love him. I do. But he comes from an aristo family, and I don’t—and that seems to matter to him more and more. I don’t know what he wants from his life, but I’m sure he and I don’t want the same things anymore.”

    “All right,” he said gently. “Once I know who’s staying, we’ll figure things out. Until then, get some rest.”

    She sniffled once, then squared her shoulders. “I have some tonics to make.”

    He waited until she reached the door. “Send Jillian to me.” Seeing the momentary slump of her shoulders before she hurried out, he smiled grimly and thought, Hoped I would forget, didn’t you, witchling?

    Then Hallevar, Kohlvar, Rothvar, and Zaranar walked in, and it was time for the next dance.

    A shadow. A flutter of air. The sound of boots behind him.

    Startled, Rainier stopped his careful walk down the street so that he wouldn’t take a misstep.

    “Prince Rainier?”

    Leaning on his cane, he looked over his shoulder and smiled. “Lord Endar.”

    “Could I talk to you?”

    “I need to walk to the end of the street to fulfill the day’s exertions. I could meet you back at The Tavern when I’m done or at that coffee shop across the street.”

    “I don’t mind walking.”

    A few minutes is too long to wait? “All right.”

    It took a few steps before Endar matched his pace to Rainier’s careful walk. Then, “Have you heard what happened? Yaslana cut us all loose. We’ve got nothing. I have two children, and now we have nothing. I’m not sure if we’re still allowed to live in our eyrie, or if we have to leave because all the eyries belong to him.”

    Wondering whom the young Warlord had been talking to, Rainier said, “The way I understand it, the emigration contracts were finite, a set time to prove that the person coming to Kaeleer could adjust to living in the Shadow Realm. Just like any other contract, each side fulfilled the length of time and the terms. Then the contract ended. You all knew this day was coming. That’s not the same as being cut loose, Endar. When a contract ends, a man is free to negotiate another one with the same person or head out and try something new somewhere else. Maybe you’re used to staying with one court forever, but I know plenty of young men who take short contracts and then move on to another court or even another Territory. They gain polish and experience and spend a few years looking around while they decide what they want to do.”

    “But I’m Eyrien, and Dorian and I don’t want to live somewhere else. We like it here!”

    “Then talk to Prince Yaslana. Tell him you’d like to stay in Ebon Rih. If you’re interested in working for him, tell him that too.”

    “But . . .” Endar said nothing until they reached the end of the street. “Every Eyrien male is trained to fight, but not all of us are good at it.”

    And those of you who aren’t good at it are usually the first to die on the killing field, Rainier thought. Not an easy truth for a man who loves his wife and children.

    “I’m pretty sure Rothvar and Zaranar want to stay, and if they do, Yaslana won’t want to hire someone like me as a guard. Not when he could have them.”

    “Then offer to do some other kind of work,” Rainier said. He stood at the corner, debating with himself if he wanted to cross the street and go up to the coffee shop or just turn around and go back to The Tavern. Coffee and sweet pastries or soup?

    I’ll have the soup later.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire