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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 81)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(81) by Anne Bishop
  • “Let Auntie Surreal sit by herself now and have something to eat,” Jaenelle said.

    Daemonar scrambled off Surreal’s lap and into the chair next to hers. “Mama made good soup. You eat some. You eat too, Auntie J.!”

    *Hell’s fire,* Surreal said on a Gray psychic thread aimed at Jaenelle. *He’s already got the bossy attitude.*

    *Uh-huh.* Jaenelle set the table. *A Warlord Prince is born a Warlord Prince. Doesn’t take long for the personality traits of that caste to show up.*

    *Any chance of me taking a bath by myself?*

    *Only if you wait until nap time.* Jaenelle brought the bread and butter to the table while Marian ladled the soup.

    They ate quietly. Surreal saw the fatigue in Jaenelle’s and Marian’s eyes, felt the fatigue in her own body. The past two days had been hard on all of them.

    *One more step, Surreal,* Jaenelle said quietly. *You’ve cleansed your heart. In a day or two, when you’re feeling stronger, let Lucivar give you a chance to cleanse the past from your body.*

    *I don’t understand.*

    *You will.*

    The door of the communal eyrie opened.

    Since he was sparring with Zaranar, Lucivar didn’t look toward the door, but he noticed the refreshing scent of crisp, clean air—and he noticed the psychic scent of the male who entered.

    Chaosti’s presence didn’t break his concentration, but it broke everyone else’s, including Zaranar’s. By rights, Lucivar should have thumped the man for getting distracted when an adversary stood in front of him, but he understood why Zaranar instinctively turned toward the door, so he deliberately stepped away, ending the sparring match.

    Even when Chaosti was relaxed and wearing his Birthright Green Jewel, as he was now, there was something wild about his physical and psychic scents that made other men wary. That had been true of the young man Lucivar had met years ago, and it was more true of the mature leader who protected the people and land of the Dea al Mon. Hell’s fire, even Daemon recognized Chaosti as a serious adversary, despite the difference in the strength of Black against Gray.

    It was fortunate for the Realm of Kaeleer that one man was married to Jaenelle and the other was related to Jaenelle. That connection was the only reason they were easy being in a room with each other—at least after the first minute, when they both struggled to leash their predatory natures.

    So Lucivar didn’t take advantage of Zaranar’s distraction. Instead, he vanished his sparring stick and waited for Chaosti to cross the large room and join him.

    No anger. No distress. But Lucivar didn’t feel the tight muscles in his shoulders relax until Chaosti smiled.

    “Surreal is awake,” Chaosti said. “And since your boy has to divide his attention among his three favorite women, she’ll have some chance to eat in peace.”

    Lucivar grinned. Surreal was back. Thank the Darkness for that.

    “I’ve heard the Dea al Mon are skilled fighters,” Falonar said with a tight smile. “The most feared warriors in the Realm. Would you be willing to give us a demonstration?”

    Chaosti turned toward Falonar. “The Dea al Mon and Eyriens don’t fight in the same way. I don’t think you would find our weapons impressive compared to your own.”

    Having seen Dea al Mon weapons, Lucivar didn’t agree with that, but he recognized the diplomacy of a warrior who didn’t want to offend his hosts.

    “Lucivar is quite free with teaching others how to use Eyrien weapons,” Falonar said. “I assumed he’d shown you.”

    Why does that bother you? Lucivar wondered as he absorbed the odd note in Falonar’s voice.

    “He did,” Chaosti replied. Then he shrugged. “If you’ll find it of interest.”

    “It isn’t necessary,” Lucivar said, not liking the undercurrent of emotions that put an unsettling bite in the air.

    He didn’t object to the suggestion itself. After all, he’d enjoyed sparring with centaurs and satyrs as well as the Dea al Mon, not to mention playing stalk and pounce with Kaelas and Jaal. Pitting his skills against someone who had received a different kind of training had added zest to familiar workouts. But there was something about Falonar’s suggestion that felt off.

    Chaosti shrugged again. “I don’t mind. In fact, I would welcome a chance to warm up muscles that have grown tight during the bedside vigil.”

    Lucivar couldn’t argue with that, since it was the same reason he was here this morning—that and Jaenelle’s firm suggestion that he leave the eyrie for a few hours because, according to her, he’d become too edgy to live with.

    “Fine.” He called in two sparring sticks and handed one to Chaosti. “We can start with the warm-up and move into a ten-minute spar. Hallevar? You’ll keep the time?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire