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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Dreams Made Flesh (Chapter 96)      Page
  • Dreams Made Flesh(Black Jewels,Book 5)(96) by Anne Bishop
  • Still lost in the mental twilight, he was also aware that he had climbed twisted roads within his own mind and now stood on one side of a familiar border. Still on the misted side of that border, where it was quiet. He wasn't ready to cross that line back to sanity. Not yet.

    Food. Water. He consumed both, then realized he had no memory of getting out of the shower or putting on the long, warm robe that now wrapped his body. Didn't matter.

    He held on long enough to climb into bed, even though the sun was still shining. He held on long enough to put a Red shield around the bed. Not as much protection as a Black shield, but it would do.

    Then he surrendered to the sleep he needed before he could step across the border and leave the Twisted Kingdom.

    12

    Hell's fire! He should have reached the islands by now, should have sensed one of the landing beacons at the very least.

    Dropping from the Ebon-gray Wind, Andulvar spread his wings and glided over the ocean. After a minute, he flew higher, swearing silently. Even if he'd misjudged and taken the wrong threads when he'd switched from radial to tether lines and back again, he couldn't bethat far off. Heknew where the islands were.

    He went higher, then flew in a wide circle, searching. Searching. Six large islands and twice that many smaller ones. He should be able to seesomething.

    He spiraled toward the water, calling himself a fool even while he did it. What did he think he'd see closer to the ocean that he wouldn't see higher up?

    But he did see something. A bit of green floating on the swells. He glided toward it. Dipped down to snatch it.

    The ember of dread that had settled in his belly kindled. His heart pounded as he exploded upward, away from the water, away from… What?

    He circled back. Breathing hard and sweating, he hovered above the green.

    Just a piece of a palm tree. Nothing to fear.

    But he couldn't make himself get closer to it. Couldn't think about touching it.

    He stared at it, floating on swells. He stared at the ocean. The big, empty ocean.

    "Saetan," he whispered. "Saetan, what have you done?"

    13

    "What do you mean he's gone?" Hekatah said, wincing a little as she surged to her feet. "There are still settlements to discuss, arrangements to be made for our share of the profit from the first Dhemlan shipment."

    "I know that," her mother snapped. "But I'm telling you the Zuulaman Ambassador isgone . The servants at the town house he keeps here don't know when he left or when he'll be back. But he took all his Zuulaman bric-a-brac with him." Her mouth thinned to a hostile line. "Are yousure your husband signed the trade agreements?"

    "Yes, I'm sure." Hekatah's hands curled into fists. The Zuulaman Queens wouldn't dare try to cheat her and her family out of what was owed them. They wouldn'tdare. "Send someone to Zuulaman. Find out what the Queens know about the Ambassador's sudden departure."

    14

    "There's something I have to show you," Geoffrey said, turning toward one of the archways that led to the stacks of books that were kept separate from the rest of the Keep's huge library.

    Andulvar growled. "I don't have time for…"

    "Make time."

    He studied the man. Geoffrey had been the Keep's historian and librarian since long before Andulvar had been born. He was a Guardian, one of the living dead. He was also the last of his race…a race he never mentioned by name, never talked about. There was nothing that could touch a man like Geoffrey when he was inside the Keep. Nothing a man like him should fear inside the walls of Ebon Askavi.

    But it was fear Andulvar heard underneath the temper in Geoffrey's voice. So he followed the Guardian through the archway and between the shelves of books until Geoffrey finally stopped walking and pointed.

    "What do you see?"

    Andulvar shrugged. "Empty shelves."

    "Yes," Geoffrey said. "Empty shelves. Yesterday, those shelves held examples of Zuulaman's literature. Stories, poems, novels. Those shelves also held examples of pottery, held copies of songs as well as a flute and drum. They're gone now."

    "I need to talk to someone from Zuulaman," Andulvar said, deciding against telling Geoffrey about the other stolen items that had come from Zuulaman…at least until his own business at the Keep was concluded. "Can you check the Registers and…"

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire