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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 83)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(83) by Anne Bishop
  • The Eyriens stared at him. Finally Hallevar said, “Thank you for the demonstration, Prince. It was . . . educational.”

    Chaosti tipped his head. “Yaslana is family. It was a pleasure to oblige him.”

    No one mentioned that it hadn’t been his idea, but Lucivar figured the warriors knew the obliging had nothing to do with the match and everything to do with not killing Falonar.

    The Dea al Mon walked out of the communal eyrie.

    No longer concerned about provoking Chaosti into more of a fight, Lucivar felt his temper slip the leash, turning hot and jagged as he walked up to Falonar. “That’s the second time you’ve used a sparring match to strike at a man. I guarantee you won’t survive if you try it a third time.”

    He motioned to Zaranar and Rothvar. “Get Prince Falonar back to his eyrie and summon the Healer. The rest of you are dismissed—except you, Hallevar.”

    The two men hauled Falonar upright, ignoring his snarled protest, and carried him out. The other men departed as quickly as they could.

    When he was alone with the arms master, Lucivar said, “Do you know what’s wrong with him?”

    Hallevar shook his head. “But I’m guessing he’s finding it harder than the others to accept that when it comes to fighting, we might be second best in this Realm. Not you, of course.” He hesitated, then added, “We’re an arrogant race, Lucivar. You know that as well as I do.”

    “We are, and I do. But we’re not stupid, and when a man wears the Sapphire, attacking a Gray-Jeweled Warlord Prince during a friendly sparring match is plain stupid, no matter what race the Gray comes from.”

    “Something has been chewing at him lately, that’s for sure, but I can’t tell you what I don’t know. I can tell you that, even as boys, you and Falonar lived by different shades of honor.”

    “Honor is honor,” Lucivar snapped. “It doesn’t come in shades.”

    “Yeah.” Hallevar smiled. “As boy or man, that line was always clear to you. I don’t think it was ever that clear for Falonar, which is probably why the two of you can’t get along any better now than you did back then. And there’s the other thing.” He frowned, then shook his head.

    “Say it.”

    “You’ve fought your battles, and you’ve got nothing to prove. So you’re content to rule a territory that isn’t churned up all the time with power struggles and fights.”

    “In that, I’m no different than any other ruler in Kaeleer.”

    “Maybe that’s the point. Hard for a man to make a name for himself if there aren’t any battles to win.” Hallevar sighed. “You made your name, Lucivar, whether you intended to or not. You spent most of your life away from Askavi, but you gained a reputation on the killing fields, and hearing your name was enough to put fear in strong men’s eyes. No one is going to feel that way about Falonar.”

    No, no one would fear Prince Falonar. Not in Kaeleer, anyway.

    “Now can I ask you a question?” Hallevar said.

    “Sure. Ask.”

    “Why have you been so soft with the Eyriens in Ebon Rih? Those lazy bastards in the northern camps don’t want to hold their own cocks when they take a piss, let alone do anything useful. Why didn’t you kick their asses off these mountains sooner?”

    “To go where?” Lucivar asked quietly.

    “What difference does it make where—” Hallevar stopped. Stared.

    “Yeah.” Lucivar smiled grimly. “Everything has a price.”

    “You kept them close so they wouldn’t become someone else’s problem.”

    “And because I had hoped that I could build an Eyrien community here. The community didn’t happen, but keeping them close to avoid trouble had worked for a few years. Now it doesn’t, so it’s time for them to go.”

    “Between the women’s settlement in Doun and those of us who are staying in Riada, that’s the start of a community, isn’t it?”

    Lucivar smiled. “Yes, it is.”

    “You think the other Eyriens will survive once they leave Ebon Rih?”

    “Not for long. Not in Kaeleer.” He blew out a breath. “If anyone needs me, I’ll be down at The Tavern for an hour or so. I want to check on Rainier.” And Merry and Briggs.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire