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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Daughter of the Blood (Chapter 94)      Page
  • Daughter of the Blood(Black Jewels,Book 1)(94) by Anne Bishop
  • 2—Terreille

    As Greer looked out the embassy windows at the city called Beldon Mor, he heard the door quietly open and close. He probed the room behind him, expecting that some hand-wringing ambassador was waiting to tell him the meeting would be delayed. Instead he felt nothing but a slight chill. The fools who served here had a decent expense account. The least they could do was heat the rooms. Perhaps the little sniveler had entered, seen him, and scurried out without speaking.

    Sneering, Greer turned from the windows and took one involuntary step backward.

    Daemon Sadi stood by the closed door, his hands in his trouser pockets, his face that familiar, cool, bored mask. "Lord Greer," he said in a silky croon.

    "Sadi," Greer replied contemptuously. "The High Priestess sent me with an offer for you."

    "Oh?" Daemon said, raising one eyebrow. "Since when does Dorothea have her favorite act as a messenger boy?"

    "This wasn't my idea," Greer snapped and immediately changed tack. "I do as I'm told, the same as you. Please." He gestured with his left hand toward two chairs. "Let's at least be comfortable."

    Greer stiffened as Sadi glided over to the chairs and gracefully settled into one of them. The way the man moved pricked at him. There was something feline, something not altogether human in that movement. Greet sat in the other chair, the sunlight to his back, so that he could easily observe Sadi's face.

    "I have an offer for you," Greer repeated. "It doesn't please me to be the one to bring it."

    "So you've said."

    Greer pressed his lips together. There wasn't even a spark of interest in the bastard's face. "The offer is this: one hundred years without having to serve in a court, to live where you choose and do what you choose, to spend your time in whatever society amuses you." Greer paused for dramatic effect. "And the offer includes the same terms for the Eyrien half-breed. Excuse me—your brother."

    "The Eyrien is Ringed by the High Priestess of Askavi. Dorothea has no say as to what is done with him."

    That was a lie, as Sadi well knew, but it annoyed Greer that there were no questions, no subtle changes in voice or expression. Could things have changed? Did he no longer have any interest in Yaslana?

    "It's a generous offer," Greer said, fighting to control his desire to lash out, to force Sadi to react.

    "Beyond words."

    Greer's left hand clutched the chair. He took a deep breath.He had wanted to do the goading.

    "And what's the string attached to this generous offer?" Sadi said with a feral smile.

    Greer shivered. Damn those little idiots. When he was done with them, they'd know how to heat a room! He had to make this offer just right, and it was hard to think with the room so cold. "A good friend of the High Priestess has discovered that her consort has been dallying with a young witch, is besotted with her, in fact. She would like to do something to end that activity, but because of political sensitivities is unable to do anything herself."

    "Mm. I would think that if she wants her consort quietly buried, you'd be more skilled to handle it than I."

    "It's not the consort she wants buried." Hell's fire, it was cold!

    "Ah. I see." Sadi crossed his legs at the knee and steepled his fingers, resting his long nails on his chin. "However, as you must know, my ability to travel is severely limited by the desires of the Queen I'm serving. An unexplained jaunt would be difficult."

    "And not necessary. That's why the offer is being made to you."

    "Oh?"

    "The High Priestess's friend has reason to believe that her nemesis is in this very city." Greer's feet were numb. He wanted to rub his hands together to warm them, but Sadi didn't seem to notice the cold, and he wasn't about to show any sign of weakness.

    Sadi frowned, the first change in his face since the interview began. "And how old is this nemesis? What does she look like?"

    "Hard to tell exactly. You know how hard it can be to judge these flash-in-a-day races. Young, though, at least in looks. Golden hair. That's the only definite feature. Probably has a strange aura—"

    Sadi laughed, an unnerving sound. He looked highly amused, but there was something queer about the glitter in his eyes. "My dear Lord Greer, you're talking about half the females living on this clump of rock. Strange aura? Compared to what? High-strung eccentricity is a prepubescent epidemic here. You won't find an aristo family on the whole damn island that doesn't have at least one daughter with a 'strange aura.' What do you expect me to do? Approach each one while her chaperon looks on and ask her if she's screwing a Hayllian from one of the Hundred Families?" He laughed again.

    Greer ground his teeth. "Then you're refusing the offer?"

    "No, Greer, I'm simply telling you that without more information, the friend's consort is going to be playing with his toy for a very long time. So unless you can tell me more than that, it isn't worth the effort." Sadi stood up and tugged his jacket sleeves down over his cuffs. "The offer is intriguing, however, and if I stumble across a golden-haired girl with a taste for Hayllians, I'll give her a very good look. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm overdue at a dressmaker's shop where my tasteful opinions are required." He bowed mockingly and left.

    Greer counted to ten before leaping out of the chair and stumbling to the door on his numb feet. He clawed at the door, the knob so cold it almost stuck to his skin. He finally pulled the door open, stepped into the hallway—and sagged against the wall.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire