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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 78)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(78) by Anne Bishop
  • Geoffrey glanced up sharply. "Only one of interest. A Gray-Jeweled Prince named Philip Alexander shares a paternal bloodline with Robert Benedict and serves Alexandra Angelline. If the bloodline wasn't formally acknowledged, it's not unusual for a bastard to take a surname that reflects the Queen he serves."

    "I'm aware of that. What about Jaenelle?"

    Geoffrey shook his head. "Not listed."

    Saetan steepled his fingers. "She said her name was Angelline, which would indicate that she, at least, is continuing the old tradition of the distaff gender following the matriarchal bloodline. She said she could come in the mornings when Wilhelmina had her lessons. Same family?"

    Geoffrey closed the book. "Probably. Terreille has become lax about registering Blood family lines. But if they registered one child, why not the other?"

    "Because one child wears Purple Dusk," Saetan replied with a cold smile. "They don't realize the other child wears the Jewels at all."

    "Considering the fair-haired Lady, it would be hard to miss."

    Saetan shook his head. "No, it wouldn't. She's never worn the Jewels she was gifted with, and she's lousy at basic Craft. If she never mentioned the more creative ways she uses Craft, they would have no way of knowing she could do anything at all." A cold fist settled between his shoulder blades. "Unless they didn't believe her," he finished softly, remembering what Jaenelle had said about the Shadow Realm. He filed that thought for later consideration and looked at the empty cup. "This stuff tastes vile, but it is helping my head. Any chance of another cup?"

    "Always a chance," Geoffrey said with a hint of laughter in his voice as he pulled the bell cord. "Especially if it tastes vile."

    Saetan brushed his fingers against his chin. "Geoffrey, you've been the Keep's librarian for a long, long time and probably know more about the Blood than the rest of us put together. Have you ever heard of anyone spiraling down to reach the depth of her Jewels?"

    "Spiraling?" Geoffrey thought for a moment and shook his head. "No, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. Ask Draca. Compared to her, you're still in the nursery and I'm just a stripling." He pursed his lips and frowned. "There's something I read once, a long time ago, part of a poem, I think, about the great dragons of legend. How did it go? They spiral down into ebony—'"

    "'—catching the sstars with their tailss.'" The cup in front of Saetan vanished as Draca placed the fresh one before him.

    "That's it," Geoffrey said. "Saetan was asking if it was possible for the Blood to spiral down to the core."

    Draca turned her head, her slow, careful movement a testimony more to great age than to grace, and fixed her reptilian eyes on Saetan. "You wish to undersstand thiss?"

    Saetan looked into those ancient eyes and reluctantly nodded.

    "Remove the book," Draca said to Geoffrey. She waited until she had their complete attention. "Not the Blood."

    A square tank filled with water appeared on the table, each side as long as Saetan's arm and just as high. Slowly withdrawing her hands from the long sleeves of her robe, Draca opened one loosely clenched fist over the tank. Little bangles, the kind that women sew on clothing to shimmer in the light, fell into the water and floated on the surface. The bangles were the same colors as the Jewels.

    In her other hand, Draca held a smooth egg-shaped stone attached to a thin silk cord. "I will demonsstrate the wayss the Blood reach the inner web, the Sself'ss core." Slowly and smoothly she lowered the stone into the water until it was suspended an inch above the bottom of the tank. She had broken the water with such ease that there was no disturbance. The bangles floated on the still surface.

    "When desscent into the abysss or asscent out of the abysss iss made sslowly," she said, pulling the stone toward the surface, "it iss a private matter, a communion with onesself. It doess not dissturb thosse around. When anger, fear, or great need requiress a fasst desscent to the core to gather the power and asscend . . ." She dropped the stone into the tank. It plunged to the full length of the cord, stopping an inch above the bottom.

    Saetan and Geoffrey silently watched the ripples on the surface spread out toward the edge of the tank, watched the bangles dance on the ever-widening rings.

    Draca quickly jerked her hand. The stone shot straight up out of the tank, a little jet of water coming with it. Tossed back and forth in the waves, some of the light-colored bangles sank.

    Draca waited for them to absorb this. "A sspiral."

    The stone moved in a circular motion above the tank. As it touched the surface, the water moved with it, circling, circling, circling as the stone leisurely made its descent. The bangles, caught in the motion, followed the stone. The spiraling descent continued until the stone was an inch from the bottom. By then all the water was in motion, all the bangles caught.

    "A whirlpool," Geoffrey whispered. He glanced uneasily at Saetan, who was watching the tank, his lips pressed tight, his long nails digging into the table.

    "No." Draca pulled the stone straight up. The water rose with the stone, well above the tank, and splashed down on the table. The bangles, pulled out of the tank with the water, lay on the table like tiny dead fish. "A maelsstrom."

    Saetan turned away. "You said the Blood don't spiral."

    Draca put her hand on his arm, forcing him to turn and look at her. "Sshe iss more than Blood. Sshe iss Witch."

    "It doesn't matter if she's Witch. She's still Blood."

    "Sshe iss Blood and sshe iss Other."

    "No." Saetan backed away from Draca. "She's still Blood. She's still one of us. She has to be." And she was still his gentle, inquisitive Jaenelle, the daughter of his soul. Nothing anyone could say would change that.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire