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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 29)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(29) by Anne Bishop
  • They didn't know. Titian wondered, guessed too close. But no one outside his confidence knew for sure. A strange child. An eccentric child. A mysterious, puzzling child. That would do. His wise, cautious child. But he couldn't help wondering what experience had made her so cautious so young.

    He turned back to Titian. "I'm teaching her Craft. And I serve."

    Titian looked around the room. "From here?"

    Saetan smiled dryly. "Your point's well taken. I've grown tired of this room. Perhaps it's time to remind Hell who rules."

    "You mean who rules in proxy," Titian said with a predatory smile. She let the words linger for a moment. "It's good you're concerned, High Lord," she acknowledged reluctantly. "It's good she has so strong a protector. She's fearless, our Sister. It's wise to teach her caution. But don't be deceived. The children know what she is. She's as much their secret as their friend. Blood sings to Blood, and all of Kaeleer is slowly turning to embrace a single dark star."

    "How do you know about the children?" Saetan asked suspiciously.

    "I told you. I'm Gabrielle's kinswoman."

    "You're dead, Titian. The demon-dead don't mingle with the living. They don't interfere with the concerns of the living Realms."

    "Don't they, High Lord? You and your family still rule Dhemlan in Kaeleer." She shrugged. "Besides, the Dea al Mon aren't squeamish about dealing with those who live in the forever-twilight of the Dark Realm." Hesitating, she added, "And our young Sister doesn't seem to understand the difference between the living and the dead."

    Saetan stiffened. "You think knowing me has confused her?"

    Titian shook her head. "No, the confusion was there before she ever knew of Hell or met a Guardian. She walks a strange road, High Lord. How long before she begins to walk the borders of the Twisted Kingdom?"

    "There's no reason to assume she will," Saetan replied tightly.

    "No? She will follow that strange road wherever it leads her. What makes you think a child who sees no difference between the living and the dead will see a difference between sanity and the Twisted Kingdom?"

    "NO!"Saetan leaped out of his chair and went to stand before the fire. He tried to suppress the thought of Jaenelle sliding into madness, unable to cope with what she was, but the anxiety rolled from him in waves. No one else in the history of the Blood had worn the Black as a Birthright Jewel. No one else had had to shoulder the responsibility—and the isolation—that was part of the price of wearing so dark a Jewel at so young an age.

    And he knew she had already seen things a child shouldn't see. He had seen the secrets and shadows in her eyes.

    "Is there no one in Terreille you can trust to watch over her?"

    Saetan let out a pained laugh. "Who would you trust, Titian?"

    Titian rubbed her hands nervously on her trousers.

    She was barely a woman when she died, he thought with tender sadness. So frail beneath all that strength. As they all are.

    Titian licked her lips. "I know a Black-Jeweled Warlord Prince who sometimes looks after those who need help. If approached, he might—"

    "No," he said harshly, pride warring with fear. How ironic that Titian considered Daemon a suitable protector. "He's owned by Hekatah's puppet, Dorothea. He can be made to comply."

    "I don't believe he'd harm a child."

    Saetan returned to his desk. "Perhaps not willingly, but pain can make a man do things he wouldn't willingly do."

    Titian's eyes widened with understanding. "You don't trust him." She thought it over and shook her head. "You're wrong. He's—"

    "A mirror." Saetan smiled as she drew in a hissing breath. "Yes, Titian. He's blood of my blood, seed of my loins. I know him well . . . and not at all. He's a double-edged sword capable of cutting the hand that holds him as easily as he cuts the enemy." He led her to the door. "I thank you for your counsel and your concern. If you hear any news, I would appreciate being informed."

    She turned at the doorway and studied him. "What if she sings to his blood as strongly as she sings to yours?"

    "Lady." Saetan quietly closed the door on her and locked it. Returning to his desk, he poured a glass of yarbarah and watched the small tongue of fire dance above the desktop, warming the blood wine.

    Daemon was a good Warlord Prince, which meant he was a dangerous Warlord Prince.

    Saetan drained the glass. He and Daemon were a matched pair. Did he really believe his namesake was a threat to Jaenelle or was it jealousy over having to yield to a potential lover, especially when that lover was also his son? Because he honestly couldn't answer that question, he hesitated to give the order for Daemon's execution.

    As yet there was no reason to send for Marjong the Executioner. Daemon was nowhere near Chaillot and, for some reason, Jaenelle didn't wander around Terreille as she did Kaeleer. Perhaps Titian was right about Daemon, but he couldn't take the chance. His namesake had the cunning to ensnare a child and the strength to destroy her.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire