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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Dreams Made Flesh (Chapter 18)      Page
  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(18) by Anne Bishop
  • She didn't wait to hear Jaenelle's reply. She simply hurried up to the small, second-floor room Luthvian had given her. There wasn't much to pack. When Jaenelle had brought her to Luthvian's cottage, she had only the trousers, tunic, and underthings she'd been given at the Keep since

    her own clothes had been destroyed in the attack. Luthvian had given her a skirt and two tunics the Healer no longer wanted and had grudgingly purchased two sets of underthings for her. Her only other possessions were the things that, through Craft, she always carried with her…her moontime supplies, the hairbrush and hair ornaments her sisters hadn't permanently "borrowed," the book she'd asked for last Win-sol and had actually gotten as a gift from her mother, and the small loom and cloth bag of yarns.

    She vanished the clothes, since she had no other way to carry them, and had just walked out of the room when thunder shook the cottage. Her heart pounded as she rested a hand against the wall to steady herself. There had been no sign of a storm when she was outside a few minutes ago. Where had the… A different kind of thunder.

    A chill went through her. Her heart pounded harder. The kind of thunder that happened when a witch revealed enough of her temper to be a warning to those around her.

    Biting her lip, Marian gave herself a few seconds to gather her courage before going downstairs to the kitchen. Luthvian sat at the kitchen table, her gold eyes full of resentment and fear. Jaenelle stood in the doorway, not actually in the kitchen but also not waiting outside.

    Marian hesitated. She should say something to Luthvian, but she didn't know what it would be. She couldn't thank Luthvian for the hospitality since she'd more than earned her keep while she'd stayed at the cottage…and hadn't felt welcome in the first place. And she was afraid that no matter what she said right now, Luthvian's response would be brutal and heart-shattering. So she looked away and walked to the outside kitchen door.

    Jaenelle stepped back and to one side to let her pass. The door closed behind them with a gentleness that was worse than a bad-tempered slam.

    "Can you walk a bit?" Jaenelle asked when they reached the gate in the low stone wall that surrounded Luthvian's land. Marian nodded. They walked in silence for several minutes. Then Jaenelle said, "I'm

    sorry things were difficult for you. I thought…" She shook her head. "It doesn't matter what I thought. It was an error in judgment, and you paid the price for it."

    There were things Luthvian had hinted at, reasons why enduring work she knew was harming her was better than being told to leave. But now that she'd beentaken from the cottage…

    "I don't want to go back to Terreille," Marian said, the words bursting out of her.

    "No one said you had to,"Jaenelle replied.

    "But if I don't serve Lady Luthvian…"

    Jaenelle swore. Marian didn't know the language, but she understand the vicious way the words were said.

    "You don't serve Luthvian," Jaenelle said tightly. "You serve inmy court."

    Marian stopped walking, too stunned to keep moving. "I…Your court?"

    Jaenelle turned to face Marian. After studying the hearth witch, she said, "Eighth Circle. Don't you remember signing the contract after I explained that you needed to serve in a court for eighteen months if you wanted to stay in Kaeleer?"

    She remembered Jaenelle handing her a piece of parchment and explainingsomething about her needing to sign the document in order to stay in Kaeleer, but she'd still been feeling too weak and woozy to take in anything except that signing would let her stay. And when Luthvian had implied that staying or being sent back to Terreille rested onher decision…

    "What do I have to do?" Marian asked.

    Jaenelle shrugged. "Service in the Eighth Circle? A meal once in a while when I'm staying at my cottage in Ebon Rih would cover the requirements."

    A meal. Would Jaenelle supply the food for her to cook, or would she be expected to provide it?How would she provide it? "Where are we going?"

    Now Jaenelle smiled. "Your skills reallyare required elsewhere. I know someone who needs a housekeeper."

    Marian relaxed a little. If wages were included as well as room and board, she could fulfill her obligation to the Lady's court.

    Jaenelle looked up at the sky and winced. "Come on. We'd better ride the Winds and get there. If I'm late getting back to the Hall, Papa will give me that patient look. I really hate that patient look…especially when I deserve it."

    Before Marian could wrap her mind around the idea that the Queen of Ebon Askavi had a papa who would dare criticize her, even if it was just with a look, Jaenelle took her hand and launched both of them onto the Purple Dusk Wind.

    A few minutes later, they dropped from the Winds and landed on a flagstone courtyard in front of an eyrie. Marian winced when she saw the rock-strewn, overgrown mess on one side of the eyrie, but she didn't have time to decide if it had once been a garden or had always been a wild, overgrown tangle before Jaenelle opened the door without knocking and pulled her inside.

    "Lucivar!"Jaenelle called.

    A sharp whistle came from another room in the eyrie.

    Lucivar? Fear rushed back into Marian as Jaenelle pulled her toward the archway on one side of the big empty room.

    "I thought you…" a male voice said.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire