Hallevar looked at the rest of the Warlords, then jerked a thumb toward the door.
The men bolted, no doubt glad to be clear of the anger and whatever problems were coming.
“Falonar is a Sapphire-Jeweled Warlord Prince and your second-in-command,” Hallevar said. “I trained you both when you were youngsters in the hunting camps, and that gives me some leave to speak my mind, but a Warlord Prince only tolerates so much of that.”
Lucivar just waited.
“It started with Falonar saying something about assessing Rainier’s skills, and Rainier saying he thought it was best to wait for you. Guess that didn’t sit well with Falonar because the next thing I knew, he tossed a sparring stick to Rainier and started the moves. Once you’re that far, the choice is counter the moves or get whacked. I began watching close. You’d said the Dharo Warlord Prince had been wounded in a fight and you had him here to heal and improve his skills. I don’t think you said how bad the leg was. That’s not an excuse, but I don’t think you actually said.”
“A war blade sliced through the muscles of Rainier’s leg and halfway through the bone. He was fighting a demon-dead Eyrien Warlord who had worn Jewels stronger than Opal,” Lucivar said.
“Then Rainier never had a chance.”
“No. He wasn’t supposed to have a chance. He wasn’t supposed to survive. No one who had been trapped in that spooky house was supposed to survive.”
Hallevar sighed. “I don’t know what’s wrong with Falonar lately, but I do know it’s something to do with you.”
Lucivar echoed the sigh. “Not surprising.”
“Not surprising,” Hallevar agreed. “But I think you’d best find out why.”
Lucivar and Daemon waited in one of the Keep’s sitting rooms while Jaenelle did what she could for Rainier.
Daemon had blocked him from talking to Jaenelle when they arrived at the Keep. She’d gone to the room where Rainier had been taken; Lucivar had ended up prowling a sitting room with a brother whose effort to control an icy temper was much too obvious.
“How angry is she over this?” Lucivar finally asked.
“Old son, you don’t want to ask that question,” Daemon replied softly.
“It wasn’t Rainier’s fault. Something’s been pushing at him and he’s been stupid about the leg because of it, but this wasn’t his fault.”
“He’s not the only one who has something pushing at him,” Daemon said. “I’ve been informed, discreetly, that Surreal isn’t sleeping well, is up reading or just pacing in the town house’s sitting room through the wee hours of the morning. She locked down so tightly after getting out of the spooky house, I don’t think she’s allowed herself to feel. Sooner or later that control will break.”
“And things will get messy.”
He circled the room a couple of times before Daemon said, “What’s chewing on you?”
“A lot of things, but the one bothering me the most is how she went after Falonar. Sight-shielded knife. Man sees a pissed-off woman throwing herself at him with nothing visible in her hands, he thinks of fists and flailing and angry words and boohooing. She knew that. She didn’t challenge him, didn’t square off for a fight.”
“She’s not Eyrien, and she’s not male. Surreal doesn’t play by those rules.”
“Sometimes she does,” Lucivar said. “Sometimes she’ll draw the line, and there’s no mistake she’s looking for a punch-and-roll brawl. But she wasn’t interested in giving a warning this time. She went for him, Daemon. If I hadn’t been there, she would have killed him before he’d realized that was her intent.”
“Are you sure that was the intent?”
He nodded. “If I hadn’t been swinging her away, she would have been in position to drive that knife right through his heart. Even if he realized the intent at the last moment, Sapphire shields wouldn’t have stopped a blade backed by Gray power. Didn’t stop a blade backed by the Gray.”
“Do you want to know what I’m wondering?” Daemon asked. “Surreal has a tendency to kill a man in a way that balances the harm he did to his prey. She hid a physical knife. What kind of blade was Falonar hiding—and who was it aimed at?”
Before he could think of an answer, Jaenelle walked into the room.
“Kindly inform Prince Falonar that if he gets near Prince Rainier again, I will strip his legs, muscle by muscle, until there is nothing left but skin and bone.”
Hell’s fire, Mother Night, and may the Darkness be merciful. The look in her eyes made Lucivar shiver, made his knees weak. This was no idle warning, no embellished expression of anger. Jaenelle meant exactly what she said, and though she no longer wore Black or Ebony Jewels, there was more than enough power in Twilight’s Dawn to deal with a Sapphire-Jeweled Warlord Prince.
Daemon rose, a deliberate move to draw her attention, for which Lucivar was grateful.
“How is Rainier?” Daemon asked.
“He tore muscles that were already held together with healing spells and spider silk, and the bone is broken all the way through,” she snapped. “How do you think he is?”
They said nothing.
Jaenelle closed her eyes and took several deep breaths. When she looked at them again, sharp temper was still there but so was the usual control. “My apologies, Prince Sadi.You don’t deserve my anger.”
“No, I don’t,” Daemon replied, “but I’m not feeling polite right now either, so I understand.”
“Rainier wants to see you. I suggest you go now. He won’t be awake much longer.”
Lucivar waited until Daemon left the room before asking, “Will Rainier be able to walk on that leg?”
Jaenelle rubbed her hands over her face. When she let her hands fall, he saw the frustration and regret in her eyes. “He’ll walk. I’m not sure he’ll be able to do more than that at this point, but he should be able to walk.”
Sorrow burned in his chest. “I’ll work with him. Whatever it takes, I’ll work with him.”
Jaenelle sank into a chair. “I meant what I said about Falonar.”
He looked at her—and remembered that some of who and what she was had also come from the Dea al Mon. “I know.”
Rainier drifted, fighting the sleep he needed, fighting the healing spells and the healing brew for a little while longer.