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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Dreams Made Flesh (Chapter 12)      Page
  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(12) by Anne Bishop
  • "How is the woman?" he asked quietly.

    "Marian will be all right," Jaenelle replied just as quietly.

    Marian. Saetan tightened the chain on his temper. The bastards hadn't known her name, hadn't cared who she was. Finishing the kill shouldn't have taken more than a few minutes for each of them. It waswhy they'd done it that had spurred him to prolong their suffering with a viciousness that wasn't a side of himself that usually surfaced. But they had deserved everything he'd done after he helped them make the transition to demon-dead…and then proceeded to rip their minds apart before he drained what was left of their psychic power, finishing the kill so they could become a whisper in the Darkness.

    "She lost a lot of blood," Jaenelle continued, "but all the wounds were shallow. Her wings were sliced in several places, but they were easily repaired. A couple of days of bed rest and good food will rebuild her strength. There won't be any permanent damage to her body."

    Yes, Jaenelle would make the distinction between body and heart. Her body had healed from the brutal rape that had almost destroyed her when she was twelve years old, but she carried the emotional scars… and always would.

    "Have you eaten?" Saetan asked, noticing the decanter of yarbarah on the table in front of the couch.

    When she gave him a wary smile, he knew his daughter was back.

    "I was waiting for you." Shifting her legs, Jaenelle poured a glass of yarbarah, warmed it over a tongue of witchfire, and offered it to him.

    Accepting the glass, he sat on the couch, and tipped his head to read the title of the book between them. "Are you going to loan that to me when you're done?"

    "Why?"

    Oh, yes. His daughter was back. "A father should be aware of his children's interests."

    "Then why don't you ask Lucivar what he's reading?"

    "Because Lucivar rarely picks up a book, let alone reads any of it. If he showed an interest in one, any comment from me would more than likely embarrass him into putting it down and not picking up another for at least a decade."

    "You could point out some of the stories have sex in them,"Jaenelle said.

    A topic his son found even less interesting than his daughter did.

    A quiet chime sounded. Moments later the small table on one side of the sitting room held a basket of fresh bread, a small bowl of whipped butter, and two steaming bowls of soup.

    Grateful for the interruption, Saetan offered his hand and led Jaenelle to the table. As a Guardian, he really didn't need more than yarbarah and a token amount of fresh blood once in a while, but he could eat and enjoy food again, thanks to the tonics Jaenelle made for him, and she'd eat more if someone joined her than she would alone.

    She settled into her meal with a healthy appetite that relieved him… and enforced the decision not to tell her why Marian had been attacked by those five Eyrien males unless she specifically asked him.

    They'd finished the soup and were halfway through the prime rib that followed before Jaenelle spoke again.

    "I was thinking," she said with enough hesitation to make him watch her sharply. "If Marian doesn't want to return to Askavi in Terreille, she'll need a place to stay. So I was thinking she could stay with Luthvian for a while. Help out a little with small hearth-Craft things while she regains her strength."

    "Why Luthvian?" Saetan asked, keeping his voice painfully neutral.

    "She's the only Eyrien female in Ebon Rih. She could help Marian adjust to living here. And she's a Healer, so she could keep an eye on how well Marian is recovering."

    He focused his attention on his meal, biting back all the comments that were ready to spill out if he wasn't careful. His relationship with Luthvian, who was Lucivar's mother, was too tangled and adversarial, and any response he made would reflect that. But he understood why Jaenelle would think staying with another woman would be easier for Marian right now, and she could be right. So he offered no opinion.

    "If it doesn't work, I'll find another place for her," Jaenelle said.

    "Then it's settled." He didn't feel easy about it, but he let it go. For now. "In that case, witch-child, tell me about this book you're reading."

    She evaded, he pursued, and they ended the evening with a delightful hour of haggling over the value of various kinds of stories that helped them both step back from the blood and the fury that had started the day.

    FOUR

    As twilight softly deepened into night, Marian stood behind Luthvian's house, relishing a quiet moment with nothing to do. Her back was sore, and it worried her because Lady An-gelline had been very insistent that she take things easy for a fortnight and not overwork muscles that still needed time to fully heal. But every time she mentioned feeling strain in her back or legs, Luthvian dismissed the concern and implied…when she didn't say it outright…that Marian was just trying to get out of earning her keep. The criticism stung. Since arriving at Luthvian's, she'd done nothing but wash, scrub, polish, and mend. And everything she did was adequate but not good enough that she should even dream of looking for a position in another household. Luthvian was letting her stay as a favor to Jaenelle.

    It didn't matter, she told herself, feeling despair rise up before she choked it down again. She was alive, and she was living in Kaeleer, the Shadow Realm most people had thought nothing more than a myth until a few years ago. She didn't have to go back to Terreille, didn't have to trust her life to the whims of male temper.

    Not as much, anyway.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire