Shalador's Lady by Anne Bishop

Shalador's Lady by Anne Bishop

Author:Anne Bishop [Bishop, Anne]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Published: 2013-02-13T01:38:42.870000+00:00

Theran leaned back to let the servant he’d hired for a thief’s wage remove his plate.

The dinner wasn’t going well. That wasn’t Kermilla’s fault. She was doing her best to entertain these men, but he should have realized Warlord Princes who had spent most of their lives being both predator and prey in the ongoing fight to protect what they could of Dena Nehele wouldn’t have much interest in the conversation of a twenty-one-year-old woman they couldn’t bed.

They were polite. He couldn’t fault them for their manners. They even extended the courtesy of showing interest they clearly didn’t feel. At least, it was clear to him.

They were also getting pissed off at Correne’s catty remarks. The girl wasn’t liked in her own village. In fact, she was one of the young Queens the Warlord Princes were vehemently opposed to seeing rule even the smallest village. That she seemed to be trying to compete with Kermilla for the men’s attention—and the fact that Kermilla was taking the bait and blatantly flirting—wasn’t lost on these men.

“Kermilla has been helping the Queens in the northern Provinces re-learn the aspect of their power that nourishes the land and benefits the harvest,” Theran said, laying his hand lightly on Kermilla’s wrist.

She gave him an arch look, and for a moment he thought she might say something imprudent. Then she slipped her wrist out from under his hand and smiled at Ferall.

“Yes,” she said. “I was shocked to learn that my Sisters had forgotten such a basic part of what makes a Queen a Queen.”

The skin around Ferall’s eyes tightened.

Kermilla added hastily, “So I was, naturally, pleased to be of some small service to them.”

“You haven’t set up a court yet?” Ferall asked.

“Silly man, of course I have a court.” Kermilla gave Ferall a dazzling smile. “I rule a Blood village and a landen village in Dharo.”

“So who has been taking care of the Queen’s duties there while you’ve been visiting Theran here?”

Anger flashed through Theran. Had Kermilla heard the criticism in that question?

Kermilla put aside the flirtatious playfulness as easily as she might put aside a shawl. She gave Ferall a look at the Queen beneath the young-woman banter. “Dharo is an old Territory with a strong web of Queens. The village I rule can be run very well by my Steward and Master of the Guard for the time being. I am kept apprised of what is happening there and would return home in an instant if I was urgently needed.” She placed her hand on Theran’s arm. “I am not negligent in my duties, Prince Ferall, which is what you are implying. But a village that is well established requires little supervision from its Queen, so I offered to stay and give Theran whatever assistance I can in repairing the damage that has been done to his people.”

Her speech warmed Theran’s heart, but Ferall seemed less impressed. He gave Theran a hard look and said, “I thought that’s why Lady Cassidy came here. I thought that’s why we all agreed to have her as the Queen.


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