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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 57)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(57) by Anne Bishop
  • Daemon stepped out of his bedroom, calmly tugging his shirt cuffs into place. The hallway walls instantly glazed with ice.

    Dorothea studied Daemon's face. She'd never actually seen him when he was deep in the cold rage, had seen him only when he was coming back from it, but she sensed he was in the eye of the storm and something as insignificant as the wrong inflection on a single word would be enough to set off a violent explosion that would tear the court apart.

    She narrowed her eyes and tried not to shiver.

    It was more than the cold rage this time. Much more.

    His face looked so lifeless it could have been carved from a fine piece of wood, and yet it was so filled withsomething. He appeared unnaturally calm, but those golden eyes, as glazed as the walls, looked at her with a predator's intensity.

    Something had been pushing him toward the emotional breaking point, and he had finally snapped.

    Among the short-lived races, pleasure slaves became emotionally unstable after a few years. It took decades among the long-lived races, but eventually the combination of aphrodisiacs and constant arousal without being allowed any release twisted something inside the males. After that, with careful handling, they still had their uses, but not as pleasure slaves.

    Daemon had been a pleasure slave for most of his life. He'd come close to this point several times in the past, but he'd always managed to step back from the edge. This time, there was no stepping back.

    Finally Daemon spoke. His voice came out flat, but there was a hint of thunder in it. "When you've gotten the stench completely out of my room, I'll be back. Don't call me until then." He glided down the hall and out of sight.

    Dorothea waited, counting the seconds. Several minutes passed before the front door was slammed with such force that the mansion shook and windows shattered throughout the building.

    Dorothea turned to the witch, a promising, vicious little creature now modestly covered with the sheet and bravely whimpering about her cruel treatment. She wanted to rake her nails over that pretty face.

    There was no way to control Sadi, not after tonight. Pain or punishment would only enrage him further. She had to get him away from Hayll, send him somewhere expendable. The Dark Priestess had been full of suggestions when he'd been conceived and when they broke the contract in order to keep the boy for the Hayllian Hourglass. Well, the bitch could come up with a suggestion now when he was cold and possibly sliding into the Twisted Kingdom.

    Straightening the collar of her dressing gown, Dorothea gave the young witch a last look. "That bitch is expelled from the Hourglass and dismissed from my court. I want her and everything to do with her out of my house within the hour."

    Taking the arm of the young Warlord who'd been warming her bed before the screams began, she returned to her wing of the mansion, smiling at the wail of despair that filled the hall behind her.


    Dorothea hurried up the broad path to the Sanctuary, clutching at her cloak as the wind tried to whip it from her body. The old Priestess, bent and somewhat feeble-minded, opened the heavy door for her and then fought with the wind to close it

    Dorothea gave the old woman the barest nod of acknowledgment as she rushed past her, desperate to reach the meeting place.

    The inner chamber was empty except for two worn chairs and a low table placed before a blazing fire. Throwing off her cloak with one hand, she carefully placed the bottle she had held tight against her body on the table and sank into one of the chairs with a moan.

    Two short days ago, she had felt insolent about asking for help from the Dark Priestess, had chafed at the offerings she had to provide from her court or Hayll's Hourglass. Now she was ready to beg.

    For two days, Sadi had stalked through Draega, restlessly and relentlessly trying to blunt his rage. In that time, he'd killed a young Warlord from one of the Hundred Families—an exuberant youth who was only trying to have his pleasure with a tavern owner's daughter. The man had dared protest because his daughter was virgin and wore a Jewel. The Warlord had dealt with the father—not fatally—and was dragging the girl to a comfortable room when Sadi appeared, took exception to the girl's frightened cries, and savaged the young Warlord, shattering his Jewels and turning his brain into gray dust.

    The grateful tavern owner gave Sadi a good meal and an ever-full glass. By morning the story was all over Draega, and then there were no tavern owners or innkeepers, Blood or landen, who didn't have a hot meal, a full glass, or a bed waiting for him if he walked down their street.

    She wasn't sure the Ring would stop him this time, wasn't sure he wouldn't turn his fury on her if she tried to control him. And if he outlasted the pain . . .

    Dorothea put her hands over her face and moaned again. She didn't hear the door open and close.

    "You're troubled, Sister," said the crooning girlish voice.

    Dorothea looked up, trembling with relief. She sank to her knees and bowed her head. "I need your help, Dark Priestess."

    Hekatah smiled and hungrily eyed the contents of the bottle. Keeping her cloak's hood pulled well forward to hide her face, she sat in the other chair and, with a graceful turn of her hand, drew the bottle toward her. "A gift?" she asked, feigning surprised delight. "How generous of you, Sister, to remember me." With another turn of her hand, she called in a raven glass goblet, filled it from the bottle, and drank deeply. She sighed with pleasure. "How sweet the blood. A young, strong witch. But only one voice to give so much."

    Dorothea crawled back into her chair and straightened her gown. Her lips curved in a sly smile. "She insisted on being the only one, Priestess, wanting you to have her best." It was the least the little bitch could do, having caused the trouble in the first place.

    "You sent for me," Hekatah said impatiently, then dropped her voice back into the soothing croon. "How can I help you, Sister?"

    Dorothea jumped out of the chair and began to pace. "Sadi has gone mad. I can't control him anymore. If he stays in Hayll much longer, he'll tear us all apart."

    "Can you use the half-breed to curb him?" Hekatah refilled her glass and sipped the warm blood.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire