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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Dreams Made Flesh (Chapter 23)      Page
  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(23) by Anne Bishop
  • *Burned meat?*

    "No, it isn't burned…" Oh.Wolf."…but it is cooked."

    He sighed. *I will eat it anyway*

    She gave the meat to Tassle, ignoring the fact that she could have made a nice steak pie out of it, and began to clear the table.

    "After I wash up and get dressed, could you show me around?" she asked him.

    *I can show you,* Tassle replied. *You do not have to mark territory. I mark our territory. Even Yas cannot mark territory as well as I can.*

    She thought about that for a moment, then bent her head so her long black hair fell forward and hid her grin. Even if nothing else was what she'd hoped for, learning about the kindred was going to be interesting.

    Lucivar stormed into Saetan's study at the Hall and slammed the door behind him. Saetan didn't even flinch, just set the documents he'd been reading aside and leaned back in his chair.

    It figured that the High Lord wouldn't have much reaction to that kind of entrance. After all, he'd been dealing with Jaenelle, the coven, and the boyos for the past five years, and the combination of adolescence, power, and those particularly agile minds when it came to using Craft would have shattered the nerves of a less strong-willed man.

    But that lack of reaction annoyed Lucivar. He needed a battleground on which to vent the emotions churning inside him, and his father wasn't being accommodating. So he shaped the battleground himself.

    "This isn't going to work," he snarled as he paced in front of Saetan's desk. "It just isn't going to work."

    "What isn't?" Saetan asked.

    "Marian."

    Saetan sighed, but there was exasperation underneath the sound. "The woman has barely had time to unpack. What has she…"

    "I can't stand this!" Lucivar shouted. "This is my home. I don't want this in my home." He stopped pacing and raked one hand through his hair. "She's bringing out everything that's savage in me."

    "Why?"

    "Because she's afraid! She's afraid of Tassle and…" It burned him to say it."…she's afraid of me."

    "She has good reason to be afraid of you."

    Oh, now.Here was a battleground and an opponent who wouldn't flinch at his temper. His voice became quiet and deadly. "Meaning what?"

    "Do you know how Marian came to live in Kaeleer?" Saetan asked.

    "Jaenelle brought her in." Another battleground. "And what in the name of Hell was Jaenelle doing in Askavi Terreille?" he roared.

    "Rescuing a hearth witch."

    He heard it then. It wasn't anger under Saetan's calmly spoken words; it was rage. So he chained his temper, no longer sure if he was dealing with Saetan, his father, or Saetan, the High Lord of Hell. He didn't understand why Andulvar Yaslana, the Ebon-gray Eyrien Warlord Prince who had been Saetan's closest friend for more than fifty thousand years, made a point of warning him to be careful when he dealt with the High Lord, but the fact that the Demon Prince felt the need to make the distinction was reason enough for him to be cautious.

    Saetan rose, came around his desk, and leaned against the front of it. That informal stance, rather than his remaining behind the desk, usually signaled a discussion between equals.

    "Marian's father is a Warlord serving as a Fifth Circle guard in a Queen's court," Saetan said, his voice still quiet…and still filled with suppressed rage. "From the information I gathered, he doesn't have the brains, the backbone, or the balls to advance any higher, but he deludes himself by thinking it's his lack of the proper social connections rather than his lack of abilities that keeps him from being in the First or Second Circle. He likes to rub elbows with the aristo males in the court, and he likes to gamble…and some of them tolerate him because they find his expectations amusing and they like winning the quarterly pittance he earns whenever they consent to let him gamble with them. But they wouldn't let him play on credit because they'd quickly realized he had no way to pay them back.

    "But one night, a few weeks ago, they let him play beyond the marks he'd brought to the table. They kept refilling his glass, and they let him play because he had something they wanted. He'd been bragging recently about his younger daughters and how he expected them to become prominent witches once they completed their training as a Healer and a Priestess. But the eldest daughter was an embarrassment to him. A witch whose skills would never provide the family with any status, a witch who did…"

    "Nothing important," Lucivar murmured, remembering the defeated way Marian had held herself when she'd said those words.

    Saetan nodded. "That was exactly what those aristo males wanted… a witch who did nothing important, a witch whose disappearance wouldn't draw the attention of anyone in the court." His hands curled around the edge of the blackwood desk. "So they let the bastard gamble until he was so far in debt he would never be able to repay them. And when he sobered up enough to realize his standing in the court would be ruined if he didn't repay them, they offered him a trade…and he took it.

    "He didn't even have the courage to take her to the meeting place so she would know why she was being sacrificed. He just sent her there. Five Warlords with knives and Eyrien war blades. One terrified hearth witch, tethered so she could fly, since that made it more interesting, but couldn't escape. Shallow slices to prolong the pain and fear. And when she couldn't fight anymore, they pulled her down, intending to rape her while she bled out under them."

    Feeling sick, Lucivar closed his eyes. "So they raped her."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire