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  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(124) by Anne Bishop
  • They glared at one another. Finally Daemon said with menacing quiet, "Like you?"

    Damn, this boy was fun! Saetan took a deep breath and sighed dramatically. "I used to be interesting," he said mournfully. "I used to be respected, even feared. My study was a private sanctuary no one willingly entered. But I've gotten long in the tooth"—Daemon flicked a startled glance at his mouth—"and now I have demons pounding on my door, some upset because she hasn't visited with them, some upset because she has. My cook backs me into corners, wanting to know if the Lady will be coming today so her favorite meat pie can be prepared. And I have merchants cluttering up my doorstep, cringingly seeking an audience, actually relieved to be in my presence while they wring their hands and pour out their tales of woe."

    Daemon, who had become more and more amused, frowned slightly. "The demons and the cook I understand. Why the merchants?"

    Saetan let out another dramatic sigh, but his eyes glowed with dark amusement. "I opened a blanket account for her in Kaeleer."

    Daemon sucked in his breath. "You mean . . ."

    "Yes."

    "Mother Night."

    "That's the kindest thing that's been said to me on that score." Enjoying the drama, Saetan continued, "And it's going to get worse. You do realize that?"

    "Worse?" Daemon said suspiciously. "Why will it get worse?"

    "She's only twelve, namesake."

    "I know," Daemon almost moaned.

    "Just consider what sort of mischief she'll have the capacity to get into when she's seventeen and has her own court."

    Daemon groaned, but there was a sharp, hopeful look in his eyes. "She can have her own court at seventeen? And fill it?"

    Ah, namesake. Saetan sat quietly for a moment, thinking of a politic way to explain. "Most positions can be filled then." Daemon's instant bitterness stunned him.

    "Of course you'll want better for her than a whore who's serviced almost every Queen in Terreille," Daemon said, refilling his wineglass.

    "That isn't what I meant," Saetan said, despairing that any explanation now might seem a poor bone.

    "Then what did you mean?" Daemon snapped.

    "What if, at seventeen, she isn't ready for a consort?" Saetan countered softly. "What if it takes a few more years before she's ready for the bed? Will you hold an empty office, becoming comfortable and familiar while lesser men intrigue her because they're strangers? Time has great magic, namesake, if you know how to play the game."

    "You talk as though it's decided," Daemon said quietly, with only an aftertaste of bitterness.

    "It is . . . as far as I'm concerned."

    Daemon's naked, grateful look was agony.

    They sat quietly, companionably, for a few minutes. Then Daemon said, "Why do you keep calling me namesake?"

    "Because you are." Saetan looked away, uncomfortable. "I never intended to give any of my sons that name. I knew what I was. It was difficult enough for them to have me as a father. But the first time I held you, I knew no other name would suit you. So I named you Saetan Daemon SaDiablo."

    Daemon's eyes were tear bright. "Then you really did acknowledge paternity? Manny said the Blood register in Hayll had been changed, but I had wondered."

    "I'm not responsible for Dorothea's lies, Prince," Saetan said bitterly. "Or for what the Hayllian register does or doesn't say. But in the register kept at Ebon Askavi, you—and Lucivar—are named and acknowledged."

    "So you called me Daemon?"

    Saetan knew there was much, much more Daemon would have liked to ask, but he was grateful his son chose to step back, to try for lighter conversation in the short time left to them.

    "No," Saetan said dryly, "Inever called you anything but Saetan. It was Manny and Tersa"—he hesitated, wondering if Daemon knew about Tersa, but there was no surprise—"who called you Daemon. Manny informed me one day, when I pointed out her error, that if I thought she was going to stand at the back door bellowing that name to get a boy to come in for supper I had better think again."

    Daemon laughed. "Come now, Manny's a sweetheart."

    "Toyou. "Saetan chuckled. "Personally I always thought she just wanted to avoid having both of us answer that summons."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire