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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 18)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(18) by Anne Bishop
  • Cassandra brought a bottle and two wineglasses to the table. "It's hard to come by here."

    "I'll send some to you."

    They drank the first glass of wine in silence.

    "Why?" he finally asked.

    Cassandra toyed with her wineglass. "Black-Jeweled Queens are few and far between. There was no one to help me when I became Witch, no one to talk to, no one to help me prepare for the drastic changes in my life after I made the Offering." She laughed without humor. "I had no idea what being Witch would mean. I didn't want the next one to go through the same thing."

    "You could have told me you intended to become a Guardian instead of faking the final death."

    "And have you stay around as the loyal, faithful Consort to a Queen who no longer needed one?"

    Saetan refilled the glasses. "I could have been a friend. Or you could have dismissed me from your court if that's what you wanted."

    "Dismiss you?You? You were . . . are . . . Saetan, the Prince of the Darkness, High Lord of Hell. No one dismisses you. Not even Witch."

    Saetan stared at her. "Damn you," he said bitterly.

    Cassandra wearily brushed a stray hair from her face. "It's done, Saetan. It was lifetimes ago. There's the child to think about now."

    Saetan watched the fire burning in the hearth. She was entitled to her own life, and certainly wasn't responsible for his, but she didn't understand—or didn't want to understand—what that friendship might have meant to him. Even if he'd never seen her again, knowing she still existed would have eased some of the emptiness. Would he have married Hekatah if he hadn't been so desperately lonely?

    Cassandra laced her fingers around her glass. "You've seen her?"

    Saetan thought of his study and snorted. "Yes, I've seen her."

    "I'm sure of it."

    "She's going to be Witch. I'm sure of it."

    "Going to be?" Saetan's golden eyes narrowed. "What do you mean, 'going to be'? Are we talking about the same child? Jaenelle?"

    "Of course we're talking about Jaenelle," she snapped.

    "She isn't 'going to be' Witch, Cassandra. She alreadyis Witch."

    Cassandra shook her head vigorously. "Not possible. Witch always wear the Black Jewels."

    "So does the daughter of my soul," Saetan replied too quietly.

    It took her a moment to understand him. When she did she lifted the wineglass with shaking hands and drained it "H-how do you . . ."

    "She showed me the Jewels she was gifted with. A full uncut set of the 'lighter' Jewels—and that was the first time I'd ever heardanyone refer to the Ebon-gray as a lighter Jewel—and thirteen uncut Blacks."

    Cassandra's face turned gray. Saetan gently chafed her ice-cold hands, concerned by the shock in her eyes. She was the one who'd first seen the child in her tangled web. She was the one who'd told him about it. Had she only seen Witch but not understood what was coming?

    Saetan put a warming spell on his cape and wrapped it around her, then warmed another glass of wine over a little tongue of witchfire. When her teeth stopped chattering, he returned to his own chair.

    Her emerald eyes asked the question she couldn't put into words.

    "Lorn," he said quietly. "She got the Jewels from Lorn." Cassandra shuddered. "Mother Night." She shook her head. "It's not supposed to be like this, Saetan. How will we control her?"

    His hand jerked as he refilled his glass. Wine splashed on the table. "We don't control her. We don't even try." Cassandra smacked her palm on the table. "She's a child! Too young to understand that much power and not emotionally ready to accept the responsibilities that come with it. At her age, she's too open to influence."

    He almost asked her whose influence she feared, but Hekatah's face popped into his mind. Pretty, charming, scheming, vicious Hekatah, who had married him because she'd thought he would make her the High Priestess of Terreille at least or, possibly, the dominant female influence in all three Realms. When he'd refused to bend to her wishes, she'd tried on her own and had caused the war between Terreille and Kaeleer, a war that had left Terreille devastated for centuries and had been the reason why many of Kaeleer's races had closed their lands to outsiders and were never seen or heard from again.

    If Hekatah got her claws into Jaenelle and molded the girl into her own greedy, ambitious image . . .

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire