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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 15)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(15) by Anne Bishop
  • Jaenelle hesitated, licked her lips, and pointed her finger.

    Saetan felt the surge of raw power through his Black Jewel.

    The paperweight didn't move.

    "Try again, witch-child. In the other direction."

    Again there was that surge, but the paperweight didn't move.

    Saetan rubbed his chin, confused. This was simple Craft, something she shouldn't have any trouble with whatsoever.

    Jaenelle wilted. "I try," she said in a broken voice. "I try and try, but I never get it right."

    Saetan hugged her, feeling a bittersweet ache in his heart when her arms wrapped around his neck. "Never mind, witch-child. It takes time to learn Craft."

    "Why can't I do it? All my friends can do it."

    Reluctant to let her go, Saetan forced himself to hold her at arm's length. "Perhaps we should start with something personal. That's usually easier. Is there anything you have trouble with?"

    Jaenelle fluffed her hair and frowned. "I always have trouble finding my shoes."

    "Good enough." Saetan reached for his cane. "Put one shoe in front of the desk and then stand over there."

    He limped to the far side of the room and stood with his back to Cassandra's portrait, grimly amused at giving his new Queen her first Craft lesson under the watchful but unknowing eyes of his last Queen.

    When Jaenelle joined him, he said, "A lot of Craftwork requires translating physical action into mental action. I want you to imagine—by the way, howis your imagination?" Saetan faltered. Why did she look so bruised? He'd only meant to tease a little since he'd already seen that butterfly. "I want you to imagine picking up the shoe and bringing it over here. Reach forward, grasp, and bring it in."

    Jaenelle stretched her arm as far as it would go, clenched her hand, and yanked.

    Everything happened at once.

    The leather chairs by the fire zipped toward him. He countered Craft with Craft and had a moment to feel shocked when nothing happened before one of the chairs knocked him off his feet. He fell into the other one and had just enough time to curl into a ball before the chair behind the blackwood desk slammed into the back of the chair he was in and came down on top of it, caging him. He heard leather-bound books whiz around the room like crazed birds before hitting the floor with a thump. His shoes pattered frantically, trying to escape his feet. And over all of it was Jaenelle wailing, "Stop stop stop!"

    Seconds later, there was silence.

    Jaenelle peered into the space between the chair arms. "Saetan?" she said in a small, quivery voice. "Saetan, are you all right?"

    Using Craft, Saetan sent the top chair back to the blackwood desk. "I'm fine, witch-child." He stuffed his feet into his shoes and gingerly stood up. "That's the most excitement I've had in centuries."

    "Really?"

    He straightened his black tunic-jacket and smoothed back his hair. "Yes, really." And Guardian or not, a man his age shouldn'thave his heart gallop around his rib cage like this.

    Saetan looked around the study and stifled a groan. The book that had been on the lectern hung in the air, upside down. The rest of the books formed drifts on the study floor. In fact, the only leather object that hadn't answered that summons was Jaenelle's shoe. "I'm sorry, Saetan."

    Saetan clenched his teeth. "It takes time, witch-child." He sank into the chair. So much raw power but still so vulnerable until she learned how to use it. A thought shivered across his mind. "Does anyone else know about the Jewels Lorn gave you?"

    "No." Her voice was a midnight whisper. Fear and pain filled her sapphire eyes, and something else, too, that was stronger than those surface feelings. Something that chilled him to the core.

    But he was chilled even more by the fear and pain in her eyes.

    Even a strong child, a powerful child, would be dependent on the adults around her. If her strength could unnervehim, how would her people, her family, react if they ever discovered what was contained inside that small husk? Would they accept the child who already was the strongest Queen in the history of the Blood, or would they fear the power? And if they feared the power, would they try to cut her off from it by breaking her?

    A Virgin Night performed with malevolent skill could strip her of her power while leaving the rest intact. But, since her inner web was so deep in the abyss, she might be able to withdraw far enough to withstand the physical violation—unless the male was able to descend deep enough into the abyss to threaten her even there.

    Wasthere a male strong enough, dark enough, vicious enough?

    There was . . . one.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire