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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Dreams Made Flesh (Chapter 163)      Page
  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(163) by Anne Bishop
  • "The debt is paid to your satisfaction?"

    "It's paid." He couldn't sense her mood, and that frightened him. "Jaenelle…"

    She held up her left hand, commanding silence. He felt sick relief when he saw she still wore her wedding ring. "I am what I am," he said.

    Nodding, she turned to face him. "A Black-Jeweled Warlord Prince who grew up in a brutal training ground. That shaped what you are when you become a weapon. But that's only one side of you. The other side is a warm, caring man with a sharp sense of humor and more tolerance for the foolishness of others than you'll ever admit to having. I can accept the Sadist as well as Daemon Sadi. The question is, can you accept me?"

    "I do." He took a step toward her. "I always have." Jaenelle shook her head. "I'm no longer stronger than you. I no longer wear a Jewel that eclipses your power."

    "I know that." He raked his fingers through his hair. "You lost…" "Nothing. Until you can acceptthat, you'll keep stumbling overthis." She tapped a finger against Twilight's Dawn. Then she held out her hand. "There's something you need to see."

    He slipped his hand into hers. One moment they were standing in their sitting room. The next moment, he was standing in a mist-filled place in the abyss. He'd been in the Misty Place twice before…and he wondered why Jaenelle had brought him here now.

    The mist retreated, forming a circular boundary. Almost circular. Straight ahead of him there was clear ground. *Jaenelle?* No answer. Since there was something she wanted him to see, he moved forward cautiously until he came to the edge and could look down into a vast chasm.

    But it was the huge, spiraling web filling the chasm that took his breath away. Anchored to the Misty Place, it curved until it touched the other side of the chasm, then curved again, gently spiraling, going so deep into the abyss he couldn't see the end of it.

    As he studied it, trying to understand, he felt a shiver of power far, far, far below him at the same moment he heard the quiet click of hoof on stone. Turning, he saw her step out of the mist. Here, her true nature wasn't hidden beneath human flesh. Here, she looked like what she was…a living myth, dreams made flesh. The same face and a mostly human body, but a tiny spiral horn rose from her forehead, her fingers had retractable claws, and she stood on delicate hooves instead of human feet. Witch.

    She watched him with those ancient sapphire eyes. And waited. Turning back to study the web, he suddenly understood what he was looking at…a web made out of power. Somehow, the Ebony-Jeweled power she used to wield was being transformed into this web instead of filling a vessel of human flesh. Since it was tied to the Misty Place, surely there was a way for her to regain that power if she…

    He remembered Jaenelle as a child…a girl who felt the distance between herself and other people because of the Black power that was her Birthright, a girl whose family had never accepted her because she was different. He thought about the Queen who could have destroyed them all if that had been in her nature, a Queen so strong her power was a deep chasm that separated her from the rest of the Blood…even someone as strong as a Black-Jeweled Warlord Prince.

    *You didn't want it,* he said, staggered by the strength of that conviction.

    *No,* Witch said, *I didn't want it. Why would I want power so great I could destroy the Realms but couldn't do what almost every Blood child can dobecause I was so powerful?* She looked away, and added softly, *I never wanted a formal court, never wanted to rule, never wanted more power than I already had with the Black. But I made the Offering to the Darkness and formed my court to prevent the Dark

    Council from destroying the kindred and taking their lands. I needed that power to defend Kaeleer and be a weapon to stop a war, but I never wanted it for myself*

    He moved closer to her, wanting to hold her, wanting to offer comfort, but he wasn't sure she would accept it yet.

    *How did you do it?* he asked. *How did you separate the power that was part of the dreams that made you without destroying who you are?*

    She let out a pained little laugh. *I dreamed I wasn't so different from the rest of the Blood…a dream I've had all of my life. That desire was strong enough that the Weaver of Dreams added it to the web… and this is the result.*

    Daemon studied Witch, who looked sad and vulnerable. People had turned away from her before because she was so powerful. Now she wondered if the friends she loved might always feel uncomfortable with the fact that shewasn't so powerful. He didn't think the coven and the boyos would turn away from her, and once they realized she still was who and what she had always been, and was truly happy, they wouldn't care what Jewel she wore.

    Wrapping his arms around her, he fit his body to hers. *This is really what you want for yourself, isn't it? An extraordinary ordinary life.*

    *Yes, it is.*

    *Then that's what I want for you.* He kissed her softly. *For both of us.* Closing his eyes, he kissed her again.

    When he shifted to nuzzle her neck, she said, "Are you sure, Daemon?"

    He opened his eyes and raised his head. They were back in the sitting room.

    "I want to be with you for as many years as life grants us," he said. "I want to be the warm, caring man you see in me and let the Sadist sleep."

    Jaenelle brushed his hair back. "He'll never really sleep. The Sadist is a part of who you are, and he'll always be there, just under the surface… and that's the way it should be."

    He never loved her more than he did at that moment when her acceptance quieted the volatile nature of a Warlord Prince.

    Scooping her up, he held her close to his chest. "What do you say to locking the doors, going to bed, and making love for the rest of the _

    night?"

    "Is that going to be the extraordinary or ordinary part of our life? she asked, laughter and love dancing in her sapphire eyes. He grinned. "Both."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire