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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 93)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(93) by Anne Bishop
  • “Nothing yet—and we want to keep it that way.” She had a feeling there was plenty happening. But not in Riada.

    A minute later, Rainier gave her a psychic tap. She dropped the Gray lock on the door long enough for him to slip inside, then locked it again.

    Rainier said, “Until someone makes a move, we’ve done what we can do.”

    Surreal nodded—and hoped what they had done was enough.

    Eyriens called it red rain. The gritty mist made from the flesh, blood, and bones of bodies exploded by unleashed power sometimes hung over killing fields for days, suspended by the very power that had destroyed the bodies.

    The young Warlord who waited at the edge of the killing field couldn’t see much, not with the rain hanging so thick around the center of the field, but he could still hear the fighting—the snarls of enraged men, the clash of war blades.

    He hadn’t expected Yaslana to last this long, not with so many superior fighters working to bring him down. Not when a half-breed was fighting against real Eyriens.

    An explosion of power ripped past him. Thunder drowned the field and shook the ground. Red rain hit him, even here at the edge of the field, and something struck his face. He pulled a small shard of bone out of his cheek and stared at it until he realized there were no sounds. None at all.

    But something still moved on the field. He was certain of that.

    The young Warlord backed away. He thought about calling to the other men, but he wasn’t sure who—or what—would answer him. If some of the Eyriens made the transition to demon-dead during the fight, they would be looking for fresh blood to consume. It would be better if he didn’t confront his comrades when he was alone.

    He backed away from the field until he was able to catch the Rose Wind and race back to Riada with the terrible news that Lucivar Yaslana was dead.

    THIRTEEN

    “What are we still doing out here, Falonar?” Rothvar asked. “We’ve done a flyover of Doun and the landen villages that answer to the Queen there. We’ve checked the settlement—” that answer to the Queen there. We’ve checked the

    Kohlvar growled an opinion about so many men going there without Yaslana—especially since he was the one who had been required to offer assurances about the men who were with him.

    “—and the women are tucked in just fine. Plenty of food, plenty of wood,” Rothvar continued.

    Tucked in, Falonar thought as he turned to face Rothvar. Some of those women should have been providing domestic service for the northern camps instead of keeping their skills—and their bodies—to themselves. Not one of them wore dark Jewels or came from a female caste that carried any prestige and required being handled with care. He’d allow the children to remain in the Doun eyries and work out a rotation for the women. A few would remain to care for the children while the others provided the service they should. If their performance was satisfactory, they would be allowed to visit their children and rest during their moontime days before returning to the camps.

    Some might think that was harsh treatment, since these women hadn’t been required to cuddle anyone but themselves, but the new arrangement would benefit the warriors, and in the end, what benefited the warriors benefited all Eyriens—including the aristo Ladies who would soon have a reason to settle in Ebon Rih.

    “Do you have a problem with following orders?” Falonar asked coldly.

    “Nope,” Hallevar said. “But we could have spread out and taken a good long look at this part of the valley from the Keep to the southernmost edge in half the time.”

    “If we’re spread out, then each man is a single target,” Falonar said.

    “We weren’t flying in a fighting formation,” Zaranar said. “Routine check of this part of the valley, you said. Nothing different from what we do every week.”

    “Except only a handful of men usually go out for these flyovers,” Rothvar said. “And we’re more than a handful of men.”

    “Funny how all the men assigned to this flyover are the ones who signed on to work for Lucivar,” Hallevar said. “Wasn’t any reason for me to be out here today. Or Tamnar, Endar, or Kohlvar.”

    Zaranar and Rothvar had already descended to their full strength, and they were already protected by at least one shield. Within moments, the other men would do the same. No dark Jewels among them, but if a fight started, they would focus on bringing him down, not on surviving—would focus on buying enough time for whoever was sent from the fight to warn the Queens and the Keep.

    He couldn’t afford that fight. Backing down left a sour taste in his mouth, but this morning proved one thing: He wasn’t going to be able to trust any of these men once he became the Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih. That was a hard disappointment, especially the loss of a weapons maker of Kohlvar’s skill.

    But he would deal with that another day.

    “I followed my instructions, and that included who was assigned to this flyover,” Falonar said. “If you have a problem with those instructions, take it up with Yaslana.”

    “We’ll do that,” Rothvar said.

    They moved out in two fighting formations, flying hard and fast until each group caught the Wind that could accommodate all of them.

    Falonar stayed on the mountain overlooking Doun. He’d catch up to them easily enough, and be back in his eyrie when the news came from the north.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire