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  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(77) by Anne Bishop
  • Jaenelle thought about this. "It's getting late today. I'll be missed if I don't come to lunch." She wrinkled her nose. "I should see Lorn tomorrow. I haven't seen him in a while and he'll be worried."

    He'llbe worried! Saetan bit back a growl.

    "The day after tomorrow? Wilhelmina has her lessons in the morning, so no one would really miss me before lunchtime."

    "Done." He kissed the top of her head, led her to the front door of the Hall, and watched her vanish as she waved good-bye. He stayed long enough to make sure Helene was over any shock she might have had, left explicit instructions about conduct when Jaenelle arrived—particularly if she arrived without him—and made his way back to his private study in the Dark Realm.

    Andulvar found him there a little later, pouring a very large brandy. The Eyrien's eyes narrowed when he noticed Saetan's shaking hands. "What are you doing?"

    "I'm going to get very drunk," Saetan replied calmly, taking a large swallow of brandy. "Care to join me?"

    "Demons don't drink straight alcohol, and for that matter, neither should Guardians. Besides," Andulvar persisted as Saetan knocked back a second glass, "why do you want to get drunk?"

    "Because I'll strangle her if I don't get drunk."

    "The waif's back and you didn't tell us?" Andulvar braced his fists on his hips and growled, "Why do you want to strangle her?"

    Saetan carefully poured his third large brandy. Why had he given up drinking brandy? Such a delightful drink. Like pouring water on a blazing mental fire. Or was it like pouring oil? No matter. "Did you know she jumps the Webs?"

    Andulvar shrugged, unimpressed. "At least half the Jeweled Blood can jump between the ranks of the Winds."

    "She doesn't jump between the ranks, my darling Andulvar, she jumps between the Realms."

    Andulvar gulped. "That isn't possible," he gasped, grateful that Saetan was pouring brandy into a second glass.

    "That's what I always thought. And I'm not even going to think about the danger of doing it while I can still think. That's how she's been coming and going all these years, by the way. Until today, she didn't know there were Gates."

    Andulvar eyed the bottle of brandy. "That's not enough to get us both drunk—assuming, of course, it's stillpossible to get drunk."

    "There's more."

    "Ah, well, then."

    They settled in the chairs by the fire, intent upon their task.

    5—Hell

    "Guardians shouldn't drink, you know," Geoffrey said, too amused to be sympathetic.

    Saetan gave the other Guardian a baleful look, then closed his eyes, hoping they would just fall out so at least some part of his head didn't hurt. He cringed when Geoffrey scraped his chair along the library floor and sat down.

    "Names again?" Geoffrey asked, keeping his voice low.

    "A surname, Angelline, probably from Chaillot, and Wilhelmina."

    "A surname and a place to start. You're too kind, Saetan."

    "I wish you dead." Saetan winced at the sound of his own voice.

    "Wish granted," Geoffrey replied cheerfully as he left to get the appropriate register.

    The library door opened. Draca, the Keep's Seneschal, glided to the table and placed a cup in front of Saetan. "Thiss will help," she said as she turned away. "Although you don't desserve it."

    Saetan sipped the steaming brew, grimaced at the taste, but got down half of it. He leaned back in the chair, his hands loosely clasped around the cup, and listened to Geoffrey considerately turn the register's pages with the least possible amount of noise. By the time he finished the brew Draca had made, the pages had stopped turning.

    Geoffrey's black eyebrows formed aV below his prominent widow's peak. He pressed his sensuous blood-red lips together. "Well," he said finally, "there's a Chaillot witch named Alexandra Angelline, who is the Queen of the Territory. She wears the Blood Opal. Her daughter, Leland, wears the Rose and is married to a Yellow-Jeweled Warlord named Robert Benedict. There's no witch named Wilhelmina Angelline, but thereis a Wilhelmina Benedict who is fourteen years old, Chaillot-born, and wears the Purple Dusk."

    Saetan sat very still. "Any other family connections?" he asked too quietly.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire