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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 56)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(56) by Anne Bishop
  • Using the chair for support, Hekatah got to her feet, drifted to the windows, and studied the sheer curtains. She reached up slowly.

    Selfish bastard. There were ways around him. Did he think after all this time she didn't know his weak spot? It had been such good sport to watch him squirm, the great High Lord chained by his honor, as those two sons she'd helped Dorothea create were battered year after year, century after century.They hate you now, High Lord. What bastard doesn't hate the sire who won't claim him?

    The half-breed had been a bonus. Who could have anticipated Saetan having so much fire and need left? Fine, strapping boys, and neither one capable of being a man. At least the half-breed could get it up, which was a great deal more than anyone could say for the other.

    With her help, Dorothea had gotten the strong, dark SaDiablo bloodline returned to Hayll. Waiting until Daemon's Birthright Ceremony to break the contract with Saetan had been a risk, but that was the time when paternity was formally acknowledged or denied. Up to that point, a male could claim a child as his, could do everything a father might do for his offspring. But until he was formally acknowledged, he had no rights to the child. Once the acknowledgment was made, however, a male child belonged to his father.

    Which had been the problem. They had wanted the bloodline, but not the man. Having watched him raise two sons, Hekatah had known from the beginning that any child who grew up under Saetan's hand could never be reshaped into a male who would give his strength for her ambitions. She had thought that, since he visited each boy for only a few hours a week, his influence would be diluted, that the mark he would leave on them wouldn't begin until they were his and he began their training in earnest.

    She'd been wrong. Saetan had already planted his code of honor deep in the boys' minds, and by the time she had realized that, it was too late to lead them down another path. Without knowing why, they had fought against anything that didn't fit that code of honor until the fighting, and the pain and the punishment, had shaped them, too.

    And now there was this girl child.

    Five years ago, she'd sensed a strange, dark power on thecildru dyathe's island. Ever since then, she'd been following whispered snippets of talk, leads that faded to nothing. The tangled webs she'd created had only shown her dark power in a female body, the kind of power that, if it were molded and channeled the right way, could easily control a Realm.

    It had taken five years to discover that Saetan was training the child, which infuriated her. That girl should have been hers from the start, should have been an emotionally dependent tool that would have fulfilled all of her dreams and ambitions. With that kind of power at her disposal, nothing—and no one—could have stopped her.

    But, again, she was too late.

    If Saetan had been willing to share the girl, she might have reconsidered. Since he wasn't willing, and she wasn't going to let that child mature to become a threat to her plans, she was going to use the most brutal weapon she had at her disposal: Daemon Sadi.

    He would have no love for his father. He could be offered ten years of controlled freedom—still held by the Ring, of course, but not required to serve in a court. Ten years—no, a hundred—not to kneel for any witch. What would eliminating one child be, a stranger fawned over by the very man who had abandoned him, compared with not having to serve? And if the half-breed were thrown in for good measure? Sadi had the strength to defy even the High Lord. He had the cunning and the cruelty to ensnare a child and destroy her. But how to get him close enough for an easy strike? She'd have to think about that. Somewhere to the far west of Hayll. She had tracked the girl as far as that, and then nothing . . . except that strange, impenetrable mist on that island.

    Oh, how Saetan would twist, screaming, on the hook of his honor when Sadi destroyed his little pet.

    Hekatah lowered her arms and smiled at the curtains hanging in shreds from the rod. She made a moue as she pulled a bit of fabric from a snag in one of her nails and hurried out of the parlor, eager to get away from the Hall and begin her little plan.

    Saetan Black-locked his sitting room door before going to the corner table that held glasses and a decanter of yarbarah. A mocking smile twisted his lips when he noticed how badly his hands shook. Ignoring the yarbarah, he pulled a bottle of brandy out of the cupboard below, filled a glass, and drank deep, gasping at the unfamiliar burn. It had been centuries since he'd drunk straight alcohol. He settled into a chair, the brandy glass cradled in his trembling hands.

    Hekatah would be elated if she knew how badly she'd frightened him. If Jaenelle became twisted by Hekatah's ambition and greedy hunger to crush and rule . . . No, not Jaenelle. She must be gently, lightly chained to the Blood, must accept the leash of Protocol and Blood Law, the only things that kept them all from being constantly at each others' throats. Because soon, too soon, she would begin walking roads none of them had ever walked before, and she would become as far removed from the Blood as they were from the landens. And the power. Mother Night! Who could stop her?

    Whowould stop her?

    Saetan refilled his glass and closed his eyes. He couldn't deny what his heart knew too well. He would serve his fair-haired Lady. No matter what, he would serve.

    When he had ruled Dhemlan in Kaeleer and Dhemlan in Terreille, he had never hesitated to curb Hekatah's ambition. He'd believed then, and still believed, that it was wrong to use force to rule another race. But if Jaenelle wanted to rule ... It would cost him his honor, to say nothing of his soul, but he would drive Terreille to its knees for her pleasure.

    The only way to protect the Realms was to protect Jaenelle from Hekatah and her human tools.

    Whatever the price.

    6—Terreille

    Daemon reached his bedroom very late that evening. The wine and brandy he'd drunk throughout the night had numbed him enough for him to hold his temper despite the onslaught of innuendoes and coy chatter he'd listened to at the dinner table, despite the bodies that "accidentally" brushed against him all evening.

    But he wasn't numb enough not to sense the woman's presence in his room. Her psychic scent struck him the moment he opened his bedroom door. Snarling silently at the intrusion, Daemon lifted his hand. The candlelights beside the bed immediately produced a dim glow.

    The young Hayllian witch lay in the center of his bed, her long black hair draped seductively over the pillows, the sheet tucked demurely beneath her pointed chin. She was new to Dorothea's court, an apprentice to the Hourglass coven. She had watched him throughout the evening but hadn't approached.

    She smiled at him, then opened her small, pouty mouth and ran the tip of her tongue over her upper lip. Slowly peeling off the sheet, she stretched her naked body and lazily spread her legs.

    Daemon smiled.

    He smiled as he picked up the clothes she'd strewn across the floor and tossed them out the open door into the hall. He smiled as he teased the sheet and bedcovers off the bed and tossed them after the clothes. He was still smiling when he lifted her off the bed and pitched her out the door with enough force that she hit the opposite wall with a bone-breaking thud. The mattress followed, missing her only because she'd slumped over on her side as she began to scream.

    Following the sound of running feet, Dorothea rushed through the corridors while the mansion walls shook with barely restrained violence. She pushed her way through the pack of growling guards until she reached the abigails and other witches of the coven whose concerned twittering was drowned by screams increasing in pitch and volume.

    "What in the name of Hell is going on here?" she shouted, her usual melodious purr sounding more like a cat in heat.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire