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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 33)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(33) by Anne Bishop
  • "Would you join me in a glass of yarbarah, Char?" Without waiting for an answer, Saetan poured a glass from the decanter on his desk and warmed it with a little tongue of fire. He handed the glass to Char.

    The boy's hand shook as he took the glass, and his eyes were filled with fear.

    Uneasy, Saetan warmed a glass for himself before settling into the other chair by the fire.

    Char drank quickly, a momentary smile on his lips as he savored the last mouthful. He glanced at the High Lord, at the face that seldom betrayed any flicker of emotion, and looked away. He tried to speak, but no sound came out. Clearing his throat, he tried again. "Have you seen her?" he asked in a cracked whisper.

    Saetan sipped the blood wine before answering. "No, Char, I haven't seen her in three months. And you?"

    Char shook his head. "No, but . . . something's been happening on the island. Others have come."

    Saetan leaned forward. "Others? Not children?"

    "Children, yes, but . . . something happens when they come. They don't come through the Gates, or find the island by riding the Winds. They come . . ." Char shook his head, stumbling for the words.

    Saetan dropped his voice into a deep, soothing croon. "Will you let me in, Char? Will you let me see?" Char's relief was so intense, it made Saetan more uneasy. Leaning back in his chair, he reached for the boy's mind, found the barriers already opened, and followed Char to the memory of what he had seen that had troubled him so much.

    Saetan expelled his breath in a hiss of recognition and severed the link as quickly as he could without harming the boy.

    When had Jaenelle learned to dothat?

    "What is it?" Char asked.

    "A bridge," Saetan answered. He drained his glass and poured another, surprised that his hand was steady, since his insides were shaking apart. "It's called a bridge."

    "It's very powerful."

    "No, the bridge itself has no power." He met Char's troubled look and allowed the boy to see the turmoil he felt. "However, the one who made the bridgeis very powerful." He put the glass down and leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees, his steepled fingers brushing his chin. "Where do these children come from? Do they say?"

    Char licked his lips. "From a place called Briarwood. They won't say if it's a village or a town or a Territory. They say a friend told them about the island, showed them the road." He hesitated, suddenly shy. "Would you come and see? Maybe . . . you'd understand."

    "Shall we go now?" Saetan rose, tugging on his jacket's sleeves.

    Char stared at the floor. "It must be an awful place, this Briarwood." He looked up at Saetan, his troubled eyes pleading for some comfort. "Why would she go to such an awful place?"

    Pulling Char to his feet, Saetan put an arm around the boy's thin shoulders, more troubled than he wanted to admit when Char leaned into him, needing the caress. Locking the study door, he kept his pace slow and steady as he fed the boy drop after psychic drop of strength and the feeling of safety. When Char's shoulders began to straighten again, Saetan let his arm casually drop away.

    Three months. There had been no word from her for three months. Now children were traveling over a bridge to thecildru dyathe's island.

    Jaenelle's new skill would have intrigued him more if Char's question hadn't been pounding in his blood, throbbing in his temples.

    Why would she go to such an awful place? Why, why, why?

    And where?

    5—Terreille

    "Briarwood?" Cassandra warmed two glasses of yarbarah. "No, I've never heard of Briarwood. Where is it?" She handed a glass to Saetan.

    "In Terreille, so it's probably on Chaillot somewhere." He sipped the blood wine. "Maybe a small town or village near Beldon Mor. You wouldn't have a map of that damned island, would you?"

    Cassandra blushed. "Well, yes. I went to Chaillot. Not to Beldon Mor," she added hurriedly. "Saetan, I had to go because . . . well, something strange has been happening. Every once in a while, there's a sensation on the Webs, almost as if . . ." She made a frustrated sound.

    "Someone was plucking them and then braiding the vibrations," Saetan finished dryly. He and Geoffrey had spent hours poring over Craft books in the Keep's library in order to figure out that much, but they still couldn't figure outhow Jaenelle had done it.

    "Exactly," Cassandra said.

    Saetan watched her call in a map and spread it on the kitchen table. "What you've been sensing is a bridge that Jaenelle built." He deftly caught the glass of yarbarah as it fell from her hand. Setting both glasses on the table, he led her to a bench by the hearth and held her, stroking her hair and crooning singsong words. After a while, she stopped shaking and found her voice.

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