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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 74)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(74) by Anne Bishop
  • That decided him. He gently closed his mouth on her neck.

    He took a long time to take very little, savoring the contact, hoping she would be fooled. When he finally lifted his head and pressed his finger against the wound to heal it, he read doubt in her eyes. Well, two could play that game.

    "Where have you been, witch-child?" he asked so gently that it was a whip-crack demand.

    The question effectively silenced her protest. She gave him a bland, innocent look. "Saetan, is there anything to eat?"

    Stalemate, as he'd known it would be.

    "Yes," he said dryly, "I think we can come up with something."

    Jaenelle edged backward out of the chair and watched him struggle to his feet. Without a word, she fetched the cane leaning against the blackwood desk and handed it to him.

    Saetan grimaced but took the cane. With one arm resting lightly around her shoulders, they left the study and the lower, rough-hewn corridors, traveled the upstairs labyrinth of hallways, and finally reached the double front doors. He led her around the side of the Hall to the Sanctuary that held the Dark Altar.

    "There's a Dark Altar next to the Hall?" Jaenelle asked as she looked around with interest.

    Saetan chuckled softly as he lit the four black candles in proper order. "Actually, witch-child, the Hall is built next to the Altar."

    Her eyes widened as the stonewall behind the Altar turned to mist. "Ooohh," she whispered in a voice as close to awe as he'd ever heard from her. "Why's it doing that?"

    "It's a Gate," Saetan replied, puzzled.

    "A Gate?"

    He pushed the words out. "A Gate between the Realms."

    "Ooohh."

    His mind stumbled. Since she'd been traveling between the Realms for years now, he'd always assumed she knew how to open the Gates. If she didn't even know therewere Gates, how in the name of Hell had she been getting into Kaeleer and Hell all this time?

    He couldn't ask. He wouldn't ask. If he asked, she'd tell him and then he'd have to strangle her.

    He held out his hand. "Walk forward through the mist. By the time you count slowly to four, we'll be through the Gate."

    Once they were on the other side, he led her back around the side of the Hall and through the front doors.

    "Where are we?" Jaenelle asked as she studied the prisms made by the arched, leaded-glass window above the doors.

    "SaDiablo Hall," he replied mildly.

    Jaenelle turned slowly and shook her head. "This isn't the Hall."

    "Oh, but it is, witch-child. We just went through a Gate, remember? This is the Hall in the Shadow Realm. We're in Kaeleer."

    "So there really is a Shadow Realm," she murmured as she opened a door and peered into the room.

    Certain she hadn't meant for him to hear that, he didn't answer. He simply filed it with the other troubling, unanswered questions that shrouded his fair-haired Lady. But it made him doubly relieved that he'd decided to introduce her to the Hall in Kaeleer.

    Even before her long disappearance, he'd wanted to wean her away from Hell. He knew she would still visit Char and the rest of thecildru dyathe, would visit Titian, but Hekatah was too much in evidence lately, stirring up mischief with the small group of demon witches she called her coven, mischief designed to distract him, draw his attention, while her smug smiles and overly contrite apologies filled him with a dread that was slowly crystallizing into icy rage. Every day he kept Jaenelle away from Hekatah was one more day of safety for them all.

    Jaenelle finished her peek at the rooms off the great hall and skipped back to him, her eyes sparkling. "It's wonderful, Saetan."

    He slipped his arm around her shoulders and kissed the top of her head. "And somewhere among all these corridors is a kitchen and an excellent cook named Mrs. Beale."

    They both looked up at theclick-dick of shoes coming purposefully toward them from the service corridor at the end of the great hall. Saetan smiled, recognizing that distinctiveclick-click. Helene, coming to see exactly who was in "her" house. He started to tell Jaenelle who was coming, but he was too stunned to speak.

    Her face was the coldest, smoothest, most malevolent mask he had ever seen. Her sapphire eyes were maelstroms. The power in her didn't spill out in an ever-widening ring as it would have with any other witch whose temper was up, acting as a warning to whoever approached. No, it was pulling inward, spiraling downward to her core, where she would then turn it outward, with devastating results. She was turning cold, cold, cold, and he was helpless to stop her, helpless to bridge the distance that was suddenly, inexplicably, between them. She twitched her shoulders from beneath his arm, and with a grace that would have made any predator envious, began to glide in front of him.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire