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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 159)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(159) by Anne Bishop
  • She cautiously held out her arm, her body angled away from him. Stepping only as close as necessary, he poured water over the scratches, washing away the blood and, he hoped, most of the dirt.

    "Have a sip of water," he said, offering the waterskin. If he could coax her into taking a drink, maybe he could coax her into standing still for five minutes—something she hadn't done since he'd brought them to this part of Ebon Rih.

    "Stay away from me." Her voice came out low and harsh. Desperate.

    He shifted slightly, still offering the water.

    "Stay away from me."She whirled and ran through the Ebon-gray shield as if it weren't there.

    He took a long drink and sighed. He would get her through this, somehow. But after the past two days of unrelenting movement, he wasn't sure how much more either of them could take.

    Hell's fire, he was tired. The Masters of the Eyrien hunting camps couldn't match Jaenelle's ability to set a grueling pace. Even Smoke, with that tireless, ground-eating trot, was struggling. Of course, unlike one drug-driven witch, wolves liked to do things like eat and sleep, two items now high on Lucivar's list of sensual pleasures.

    He called in his sleeping bag, unrolled it, and used Craft to fix it in the air high enough so that his wings wouldn't drag the ground. Pushing the top of the sleeping bag against the tree trunk, he sat down with a groan he didn't try to stifle.

    ""Lucivar?"

    Lucivar looked around until he spotted Smoke peering at him from behind a tree. "It's all right. The Lady's tearing up a shack."

    Smoke whined and hid behind the tree.

    He puzzled over the wolf's distress, then hastily sent a mental picture of the broken-down structure.

    "Cabin made by stupid humans." Smoke sneezed.

    Lucivar smothered a laugh. He couldn't argue with Smoke's conclusion. The wolfs reference points for a "proper human den" included the Hall, the cottages in Halaway, the family's other country houses, and Jaenelle's cabin. So it made sense that Smoke would see the shack as a den made by an inept human.

    As knowledge of the kindred's reemergence spread, the human Blood had divided into two camps arguing over the intelligence and Craft abilities of the nonhuman Blood. It had amused and dismayed the few humans who had the opportunity to work with the wild kindred to discover that they had similar prejudices about humans. Humans were divided into two groups: their humans and other humans. Their humans were the Lady's humans—intelligent, well trained, and willing to learn the ways of others without insisting their way was best. The other humans were dangerous, stupid, cruel, and—as far as the feline Blood were concerned—prey. Both the Arcerian cats and the kindred tigers had a "word" for humans that roughly translated "as "stupid meat."

    Lucivar had argued once that since humans were dangerous and could hunt with weapons as well as Craft, they | shouldn't be considered stupid. Smoke had pointed out that the tusked wild pigs were dangerous, too. They were still J stupid.

    Reassured that the Lady wasn't attacking anything with four feet, Smoke disappeared for a moment, returning with a dead rabbit. "Eat."

    "Have you eaten?" When Smoke didn't answer, Lucivar called in the food pack and large flask Draca had given him before he and Jaenelle left the Keep. He'd almost refused the food, thinking there would be plenty of fresh meat, thinking there would be time to build a fire and cook it. "You keep the rabbit," he said, digging into the pack. "I don't like raw meat."

    Smoke cocked his head. "Fire?"

    Lucivar shook his head, refusing to think about fires and sleep. He pulled a beef sandwich out of the pack and held it up.

    "Lucivar eat." Smoke settled down to his rabbit dinner.

    Lucivar sipped from the flask of whiskey and slowly ate his sandwich, his attention partly focused on the sound of breaking wood.

    This trip hadn't gone as he'd expected. He'd brought Jaenelle out here so that she could release the savage, drug-induced needs on nonhuman prey. He'd come with her to give her the target that would enrage, and satisfy, the bloodlust the most—a human male.

    She'd refused to hunt, refused to buy herself a little relief at the cost of another living creature. Including him.

    But she'd had no mercy for her own body. She had treated it like an enemy worthy of nothing but her contempt, an enemy that had betrayed her by leaving her vulnerable to someone's sadistic game.

    "Lucivar?"

    Lucivar shook his head, automatically probing for the source of Smoke's anxiety. A few birds chattering. A squirrel scrambling through the branches overhead. The usual wood sounds.Only the usual sounds.

    His heart pounded as he and Smoke ran to the little clearing.

    The shack was now a pile of broken timbers. A few feet away, Jaenelle sat on the ground, spraddle-legged, her hands still gripping the sledgehammer's handle while the head rested between her feet.

    Approaching cautiously, Lucivar squatted beside her. "Cat?"

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire