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  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(2) by Anne Bishop
  • She did not understand this Need, but it flavored the flesh her venom liquefied for her to ingest. So at night, when she was safely tucked beneath the scales in the hollow created by her feedings, she drifted on the tangled, silken threads of the dragon's longings and dreams…and began to learn how to weave a different kind of web.

    5

    Perhaps the other Seers were right. Perhaps her particular gift was too dangerous to give to the new caretakers of the Realms. Perhaps there was no other race that could, or should, take the deepest heart-dreams and provide a bridge for those dreams to become flesh.

    But those dreams would be needed in the world. She knew that with unshakable certainty. They would be needed…and it was unlikely even the simplest of those dreams would ever exist because she hadn't reached the caves as she'd intended. She wouldn't make the same transition as the rest of her race, transforming her scales into Jewels that would serve as a reservoir for the power the new caretakers could not contain in their smaller, weaker bodies. The Jewels that came from her should have been the vessels that contained her gift and would have changed the wearer into a Seer that could shape dreams into flesh. Now…

    Did her mother know she was trapped on this island, exposed and dying? Did her sire, the great Prince of the Dragons, sense her fading presence in the world? Would they feel disappointment in her that, during moments of despair and heartache and hope, she was trying to pass her gift to a small, golden spider?

    She should have stayed in the dark mountain that was the lair of the Prince and the Queen. She should have curled up in one of the deep hollows within that mountain and followed the rest of her race into the forever sleep. Instead she had followed a vision of a cave filled with dreams—a vision that would never come to pass.

    Soon now. Soon. Her body was failing. Her power was fading. Soon she would be free of the world. Soon.

    Closing her gold eyes, she drifted on dreams.

    6

    So much sorrow gave the flesh a bitter taste, but the spider remained, burrowing deeper beneath the scales for meat that still seeped blood, was still fresh. And it wasn't all bitter. When the daring male had approached her and indicated his willingness to mate, Dragon's flesh had been tastier that day, as if the mating had drawn sweeter memories to the surface.

    Since she wanted her hatchlings to feed on this flesh that was making her more than just a spider, she worked to find a way to reach the memories, to see the dreams.

    Dragon had shown her before. Why wouldn't Dragon show her now?

    Frustrated, she climbed up to Dragon s jaw, anchored a strand of silk, and began to build a web. But as she built the web, she… felt things. So she spun them into the web, ignoring instinct and placing the threads where they needed to be. Sorrow. Pain. Longing. Need. Hope.

    As she cautiously traveled the strands of the completed tangled web, warmth flowed through her. She paused, absorbed the feel of this sensation, and added one more small thread. Joy.

    Suddenly she saw the caves, the place Dragon had intended to go to do the finest dreaming. And in those caves, she saw golden spiders, much larger than herself, spinning tangled webs.

    Sound, faint and fading, filled her.

    *You have learned well,* Dragon said. *But heed me, little one. You must guard the webs you weave that make dreams into flesh. Many beings will cherish those webs because they are spun out of magic that lives in the heart. But there will be others who will want to destroy that heart-magic before it can touch the world. Guard the webs…Weaver of Dreams.*

    Dragon's breath came out in a long sigh… and then there was silence.

    7

    The golden spider spun out the last thread of the web that filled the space between Dragon's jaw and shoulder. Most of her offspring had gone away, just ordinary spiders who would spin ordinary webs and catch ordinary prey. But the few who were different, who were like her, had stayed nearby, learning how to spin the tangled webs.

    Despite the size of her web, she had caught only one small dream, but that one held a deep well of yearning… and a taste of sorrow that was, somehow, connected to Dragon. So she plucked the thread of yearning, sending it back to the heart it had come from.

    As day turned to night, she settled into the most sheltered edge of her web…and wondered about the dreamer.

    8

    Day had barely touched the sky when she sensed a Presence that resonated with her tangled web. She waited, feeling the faint tremble of footfalls on the earth, the change in the air.

    *Sso. My daughter wass able to passs on her gift after all.*

    The voice that flowed through her felt like Dragon, but wasn't quite Dragon.

    The Presence approached her web. Her offspring plucked the strands of their own webs, trying to ensnare the Presence's mind. But the Presence didn't respond, didn't give any sign that it had felt the tugs and whispers in those webs.

    *Blood singss to blood,* the Presence said, leaning over the spider's tangled web. *Remember me.*

    A drop of blood fell on a knot of tangled threads, a glistening bead of power.

    The spider waited until the Presence went away before hurrying over to devour the offering.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire