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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 13)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(13) by Anne Bishop
  • It had cost her some of her strongest demons, but she'd made sure Sadi never had time to figure out for himself how to light the black candles in the correct sequence to open a Gate. Of course, if he had gone straight to Ebon Askavi, his search would have ended months ago. But she had spent century upon century turning a natural awe of the place into a subtle terror—which wasn't difficult since the one time she had been inside the Keep the place had terrifiedher. Now,no one in Terreille would willingly go there to ask for help or sanctuary unless he was desperate enough to risk anything—and most of the time, not even then.

    So Sadi, with no safe place to go and no one he could trust, would continue hiding, searching, running. When he finally got to the Gate where she would be waiting, the strain of the past months would make him all the more susceptible to what she'd planned.

    "Rule Hell while you can, you gutter son of a whore," she said as she hugged herself. "This time I have the perfect weapon."

    2 / Hell

    Saetan opened the door of his private study and froze as the Harpy standing hi the corridor drew back the bowstring and aimed her arrow at his heart.

    "A rather blunt way of requesting an audience, isn't it, Titian?" he asked dryly.

    "None of my weapons are blunt, High Lord," the Harpy snarled.

    Saetan studied her for a moment before stepping back

    into the room. "Come in and say what you've come to say." Leaning heavily on his cane, he limped to the blackwood desk, settled himself on one corner, and waited.

    Titian came in slowly, her anger swirling like a winter storm. She stood at the other end of the room, facing him, fearless in her fury, a demon-dead Black Widow Queen of the Dea al Mon. Once more the bowstring was drawn back, the arrow aimed at Saetan's heart.

    His patience, already frayed from the unrelenting months, snapped. "Put that thing down before I do something we'll both regret."

    Titian didn't waver. "Haven't you already done something you regret, High Lord? Or are you so filled with the pus of jealousy you have no room for regret?"

    The walls of the Hall rumbled. "Titian," he said too softly, "I won't warn you again."

    Reluctantly, Titian vanished the bow and arrow.

    Saetan crossed his arms. "Actually, your forbearance surprises me, Lady. I expected to have this conversation long before now."

    Titian hissed. "Then it's true? She walks among thecildru dyathe!"

    Saetan watched the tension building in her. "And if it is?"

    Titian looked at him for one awful moment, then threw back her head and keened.

    Saetan stared at her, shaken. He had known the rumor would drift through Hell. He had expected that Titian, like Char, the leader of thecildru dyathe, would seek him out. He had expected their fury. Their fury he could face. Their hatred he could accept. But not this.

    "Titian," he said, his voice unsteady. "Titian, come here."

    Titian continued to keen.

    Saetan limped over to her. She didn't seem to notice when he took her in his arms and held her tightly against him. He stroked her long silver hair, and murmured words of sorrow in the Old Tongue.

    "Titian," he said gently when the keening faded to a whimper, "I'm truly sorry for the pain I've caused you, but it couldn't be helped."

    Titian buried her fist in his belly and sent him sprawling.

    "You're sorry," she snarled as she stormed around the room. "Well, so am I. I'm sorry it was only my fist and not a knife just then. You deserve to be gutted for this! Jealous old man.Beast! Couldn't you let her enjoy an innocent romance without tearing her apart out of spite?"

    Finally able to catch his breath, Saetan propped himself up on one elbow. "Witch doesn't becomecildru dyathe, Titian," he said coldly. "Witch doesn't become one of the demon-dead. So tell me which you prefer: that I say she walks among thecildru dyathe, or that I leave a vulnerable young girl open to further enemy attacks?"

    Titian stopped, an arrested look in her large blue eyes. She leaned over Saetan, searching his face. "Witch can't become demon-dead?"

    "No. But you and Char are the only others in Hell who know that."

    "I suppose," she said slowly, "that the most convincing way to fool an enemy would be to fool a friend." She considered this for a moment more and offered him a hand up. She retrieved his cane and looked him in the eye. "A Harpy is a Harpy because of the way she died. That made it easy to believe the rumors."

    That was more of an apology than he'd thought to get from Titian.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire