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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 127)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(127) by Anne Bishop
  • "Prince."

    Daemon's fist smashed the dresser again. "If you're so curious, ask your damn mentor!" He turned away, struggling to regain control. After a moment, he turned again, saying, "Jaenelle, I'm sorry."

    She was already gone.

    4—Hell

    Saetan and Andulvar sat around the blackwood desk, drinking yarbarah while waiting for Jaenelle. Saetan had returned to the private study beneath the Hall in order to have some private, concentrated time with Jaenelle for her lessons after discovering thatall of the Kaeleer staff seemed to make their way into his public study on some pretense or other just to say hello to her.

    "What's the lesson to be today?" Andulvar asked.

    "How should I know?" Saetan replied dryly.

    "You're the one in charge."

    "I'm delighted that someone thinks so."

    "Ah." Andulvar refilled his glass and warmed the blood wine. "You're still annoyed about Tersa?"

    Saetan studied his silver goblet. "Annoyed? No." He rested his head against the back of his chair. "But Hell's fire, Andulvar, trying to keep up with these leaps she makes . . . the enormity of the raw strength it must take to do some of these things. I want her to have a childhood. I want her to do all the silly things young girls do, whatever they are. I want her to be young and carefree."

    "She'll never have a normal childhood, SaDiablo. She knows us, thecildru dyathe, Geoffrey and Draca—and Lorn, whatever and wherever he may be. She's seen more of Kaeleer than anyone else in thousands of years. How can you hope for a normal childhood?"

    "Those thingsare normal, Andulvar," Saetan said wearily, ignoring Andulvar's grunt of denial. "Do you wish you'd never met her? Don't scowl at me that way; I know the answer." He leaned forward, resting his folded hands on the desk. "The point is, a child plays with the unicorns in Sceval. A child visits friends in Scelt and Philan and Glacia and Dharo and Narkhava and Dea al Mon—and in Hell—and who knows how many other places. I've listened to her stories, the innocent, albeit nerve-racking, adventures of young, strong witches growing up and learning their Craft. No matter where she is when she's doing those things, she's a child."

    "Then what's the problem?"

    "The only place she never mentions, the only place that doesn't figure into these adventures of hers, is Beldon Mor. She says nothing about her family."

    Andulvar thought about this. "SaDiablo, you're jealous enough as it is. Would you really want to know that the people who have more claim to her adore her as much as you? Would a child as sensitive to others' moods as she is be willing to tell you?"

    "Jealous?" Saetan hissed. "You think it's jealousy that makes me want to tear them apart?"

    Andulvar eyed his friend before saying cautiously, "Yes, I do."

    Saetan snapped away from his desk, rose halfway out of his chair, then reconsidered. "Not jealousy," he said, closing his eyes. "Fear. I keep wondering what happens when she leaves here. I keep wondering about some of the things she's asked me to teach her, wondering why a child wants to know about some things, wondering why I sometimes hear desperation in her voice or, worse, a chilling anger." He looked at Andulvar. "We survived brutal childhoods and stayed true to the Blood because that's what we are. Blood. But she . . . Oh, Andulvar, in a few short years she'll make the Offering, and when she does, she'll be beyond reach. If she feels isolated from us . . . Do you really want to see Jaenelle in her full, dark glory ruling from the Twisted Kingdom?"

    "No," Andulvar said quietly, a faint tremor in his voice. "No, I don't want to see our waif in the Twisted Kingdom."

    "Then—" There was a quiet knock on the door. Saetan and Andulvar exchanged a look. Andulvar's face settled into a frown. Saetan's became neutral. "Come."

    Both men tensed when Jaenelle walked into the room, the set of her shoulders all the warning they needed.

    "High Lord," she said, giving him a regal nod. "Prince Yaslana."

    "A bit formal, aren't you, waif?" Andulvar said with good-humored gruffness.

    Saetan pressed his lips together, gratefully dismayed. Trust an Eyrien to push a battle into the open. What made him wary was Jaenelle's lack of response.

    She turned to Saetan, her sapphire eyes pinning him to the chair. "High Lord, I want to ask a question, and I don't want to be told I'm too young for the answer."

    Saetan could see Andulvar become very still, gathering his strength in case it was needed. "Your question, Lady?"

    "What does being shaved mean?"

    Andulvar stifled a gasp. Saetan felt as if he were falling down a bottomless chasm. He licked his lips and said quietly, "It means to remove a man's genitals."

    For a brief moment the room felt the way a sky full of lightning looks. Saetan didn't dare take his eyes off Jaenelle's, didn't dare miss whatever he might read in them.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire