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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 39)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(39) by Anne Bishop
  • "I can't leave them, Saetan." Jaenelle looked up at him.

    The tears sliding down her bruised face twisted his heart, but his face was stone carved, and he waited in silence.

    "There's no one else. Don't you see?"

    "No, I don't see." His voice, although controlled and quiet, rumbled through the room. "Or perhaps I do." His cold glance raked her shaking body. "You prefer enduring this and remaining with your family to living with me and what I have to offer."

    Jaenelle blinked in surprise. Her eyes lost some of their haunted look, and she became thoughtful. "Live with you? Do you mean it?"

    Saetan watched her, puzzled.

    Slowly, regretfully, she shook her head. "I can't. I'd like to, but I can't. Not yet. Rose can't do it by herself."

    Saetan dropped to one knee and took her frail, almost transparent hands in his. She flinched at his touch but didn't pull away. "It wouldn't have to be in Hell, witch-child," he said soothingly. "I've opened the Hall in Kaeleer. You could live there, maybe attend the same school as your friends."

    Jaenelle giggled, her eyes momentarily dancing with amusement. "Schools, High Lord. They live in many places."

    He smiled tenderly and bowed his head. "Schools, then. Or private tutors. Anything you wish. Ican arrange it, witch-child."

    Jaenelle's eyes filled with tears as she shook her head. "It would be lovely, it truly would, but . . . not yet. I can't leave them yet."

    Saetan bit back the arguments and sighed. She had come to him for comfort, not a fight. And since he couldn't officially serve her until she established a court, he had no right to stand between her and her family, no matter what he felt. "All right. But please remember, you have a place to come to. You don't have to stay with them. But . . . I'd be willing to make the appropriate arrangements for your family to visit or live with you, under my supervision, if that's what you wish."

    Jaenelle's eyes widened. "Under your supervision?" she said weakly. She let out a gurgle of laughter and then tried to look stern. "You wouldn't make my sister learn sticks with Prothvar, would you?"

    Saetan's voice shook with amusement and unshed tears. "No, I wouldn't make her learn sticks with Prothvar." He carefully drew her into his arms and hugged her frail body. Tears spilled from his closed eyes when her arms circled his neck and tightened. He held her, warmed her, comforted her. When she finally pulled away from him, he stood quickly, wiping the tears from his face.

    Jaenelle looked away. "I'll come back as soon as I can."

    Nodding, Saetan turned toward the desk, unable to speak. He never heard her move, never heard the door open, but when he turned back to say good-bye, she was already gone.

    2—Terreille

    Surreal lay beneath the sweating, grunting man, thrusting her hips in the proper rhythm and moaning sensuously whenever a fat hand squeezed her br**sts. She stared at the ceiling while her hands roamed up and down the sweaty back in not-quite-feigned urgency.

    Stupid pig, she thought as a slobbering kiss wet her neck. She should have charged more for the contract—and would have if she'd known how unpleasant he would be in bed. But he only had the one shot, and he was almost at his peak.

    The spell now. Ah, to weave the spell. She turned her mind inward, slipped from the calm depths of the Green to the stiller, deeper, more silent Gray, and quickly wove her death spell around him, tying it to the rhythms of the bed, to the quickened heartbeat and raspy breathing.

    Practice had made her adept at her Craft.

    The last link of the spell was a delay. Not tomorrow, but the day after, or the one after that. Then, whether it was anger or lust that made the heart pound, the spell would burst a vessel in his heart, sear his brain with the strength of the Gray, shatter his Jewel, and leave nothing but carrion behind.

    It was an offhand remark Sadi had made once that convinced Surreal to be thorough in her kills. Daemon entertained the possibility that the Blood, being more than flesh, could continue to wear the Jewels after the body's death—and remember who had helped them down the misty road to Hell. He'd said, "No matter what you do with the flesh, finish the kill. After all, who wants to turn a corner one day and meet up with one of the demon-dead who would like to return the favor?"

    So she always finished the kill. There would be nothing traceable, nothing that could lead them to her. The Healers that practiced in Terreille now, such as they were, would assume he had burned out his mind and his Jewels trying to save his body from the physical death.

    Surreal came out of her reverie as the grunts and thrusts increased for a moment. Then he sagged. She turned her head, trying not to breathe the enhanced odor of his unwashed body.

    When he finally lay on his back, snoring, Surreal slipped out of bed, pulled on a silk robe, and wrinkled her nose. The robe would have to be cleaned before she could wear it again. Hooking her hair behind her ears, she went to the window and pulled the curtain aside.

    She had to decide where to go now that this contract was done. She should have made the decision days ago, but she'd kept hesitating because of the recurring dreams that washed over her mind like surf over a beach. Dreams about Titian and Titian's Jewel. Dreams about needing to be someplace, about beingneeded someplace.

    Except Titian couldn't tell her where.

    Maybe there were just too many lights in this old, decrepit city. Maybe she couldn't decide because she couldn't see the stars.

    Stars. And the sea. Someplace clean, where she could take a light schedule and spend her days reading or walking by the sea.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire