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  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(58) by Anne Bishop
  • Dorothea laughed bitterly. "I don't think anything will curb him."

    "Hmm. Then you must send him away."

    Dorothea spun around, hands clenched at her sides, lips bared to show her gritted teeth. "Where? No one will have him. Any Queen I send him to will die."

    "The farther away the better," Hekatah murmured. "Pruul?"

    "Zuultah has the half-breed, and you know those two can't be in the same court. Besides, Zuultah's actually been able to keep that one on a tight leash, and Prythian doesn't want to move him."

    "Since when have you been concerned about what that winged sow wants?" Hekatah snapped. "Pruul is west, far west of Hayll, and mostly desert. An ideal place."

    Dorothea shook her head. "Zuultah's too valuable to our plans."

    "Ah."

    "We're still cultivating the western Territories and don't have a strong enough influence yet."

    "But you have some. Surely Hayll must have made overturessomeplace where notall the Queens are so valued. Is there nowhere, Sister, where a Queen has been an impediment? Nowhere a gift like Sadi might be useful toyou? "

    Dorothea settled into her chair, her long forefinger nail tapping against her teeth. "One place," she said quietly. "That bitch Queen has opposed me at every turn. It's taken three of their generations to soften their culture enough to create an independent male counsel strong enough to remake the laws. The males we've helped rise to power will gut their own society in order to have dominance, and once they do that, the Territory will be ripe for the picking. But she keeps trying to fight them, and she's always trying to close my embassy and dilute my influence." Dorothea sat up straight, her eyes glittering. "Sadi would be a perfect gift for her."

    "And if his temper gets out of control . . ." Hekatah laughed.

    Dorothea laughed with her. "But how to get him there."

    "Make a gift of him."

    "She wouldn't accept it." She paused. "But her son-in-law is Kartane's companion and a strong leader in the counsel—through Hayll's graces. If the gesture was made tohim, how could he refuse?"

    Hekatah toyed with her glass. "This place. It's to the west?"

    Dorothea smiled. "Yes. Even farther than Pruul. And backward enough to make him chafe." Dorothea reached for her cloak. "If you'll excuse me, Priestess. There are things I must attend to. The sooner we're rid of him, the better."

    "Of course, Sister," Hekatah replied sweetly. "May the Darkness speed your journey."

    Hekatah stared dreamily at the fire for several minutes. Emptying the bottle, she admired the dark liquid in the smoky black glass, then raised the goblet in a small salute. "The sooner you're rid of him, the better. The sooner he's in the west, the better still."

    8—Hell

    "SaDiablo, there's something you should know."

    Silence. "Have you seen her?"

    "No." A long pause. "Saetan, Dorothea just sent Daemon Sadi to Chaillot."

    PART III

    CHAPTER SIX

    1—Terreille

    Instantly awake, Surreal probed the dark room and the corridors beyond for whatever had disturbed her sleep.

    Men's voices, women's voices, muted laughter.

    No danger she could feel. Still . . .

    A dark, cold ripple, coming from the east, rolled over Chaillot.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire