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  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(34) by Anne Bishop
  • "That's not how a bridge is built," she said tightly.

    "Not how you or I would—or could—build one, no."

    "Only Blood at the peak of their Craft can build a bridge that spans any distance worth the effort. I doubt there's anyone left in Terreille who has the training to do it." She pushed at him, then snarled when he didn't let her go. "You'll have to talk to her about this, Saetan. You really will. She's too young for this kind of Craft. And why is she building a bridge when she can ride the Winds?"

    Saetan continued to stroke her hair, holding her head against his shoulder. Five years of knowing Jaenelle and she still didn't understand what they were dealing with, still didn't understand that Jaenelle wasn't a young Queen who would become Witch but alreadywas Witch. But, right now, he wasn't sure he understood either. "She's not traveling on the bridge, Cassandra," he said carefully. "She's sending others over. Those who wouldn't be able to come otherwise."

    Would the truth frighten her as much as it had frightened him? Probably not. She hadn't seen those children.

    "Where are they coming from?" she asked uneasily.

    "From Briarwood, wherever that is."

    "And going to?"

    Saetan took a deep breath. "Thecildru dyathe's island."

    Cassandra pushed him away and stumbled to the table. She grabbed the edge to hold herself upright.

    Saetan watched her, relieved to see that, although she was frightened, she wasn't beyond reason. He waited until she'd regained her composure, saw the moment when she stopped to consider, and appreciate, the Craft required.

    "She's building a bridge from hereinto Hell! "

    "Yes."

    Cassandra pushed a stray lock of hair from her face, the vertical line between her eyebrows deepening as she thought. She shook her head. "The Realms can't be spanned that way."

    Saetan retrieved his glass of yarbarah and drained it. "Obviously, with that kind of bridge, theycan. "He studied the map, beginning at the south end of the island and working north toward Beldon Mor, section by section. He rapped the table with his long nails. "Not listed. If it's a small village near Beldon Mor, it might not be deemed significant enough to identify."

    "If it's a village at all," Cassandra murmured.

    Saetan froze. "What did you say?"

    "What if it's just a place? There are a lot of places that are named, Saetan."

    "Yes," he crooned, a faraway look in his eyes. But what kind of place would do that to children? He snarled in frustration. "She's hiding something behind that damned mist. That's why she doesn't want anyone from the Dark Realm in that city. Who is she protecting?"

    "Saetan." Cassandra tentatively placed a hand on his arm. "Perhaps she's trying to protect herself."

    Saetan's golden eyes instantly turned hard yellow. He pulled his arm from beneath her hand and paced around the room. "I'd never harm her. She knows me well enough to know that."

    "I believe she knows you wouldn't deliberately harm her."

    Saetan spun on the balls of his feet, a graceful dancer's move. "Say what you're going to say, Cassandra, and be done with it." His voice, although quiet, was full of thunder and a rising fury.

    Cassandra moved around the room, gradually putting the table between them. Not that it would stop him. "It's not just you, Saetan. Don't you understand?" She opened her arms, pleading. "It's me and Andulvar and Prothvar and Mephis, too."

    "They wouldn't harm her," he said coldly. "I won't speak for you."

    "You're insulting," she snapped, and then took a deep breath to regain control. "All right. Say you show up on her family's doorstep tonight. Then what? It's unlikely they know about you, about any of us. Have you considered what kind of shock it will be to them to find out about your association with her? What if they desert her?"

    "She can live with me," he snarled.

    "Saetan, be reasonable! Do you want her to grow up in Hell, playing with dead children until she forgets what it feels like to walk among the living? Why would you inflict that on her?"

    "We could live in Kaeleer."

    "For how long? Remember who you are, Saetan. How eager will those little friends be to come to the house of the High Lord of Hell?"

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire