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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 171)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(171) by Anne Bishop
  • Randahl shook his head. "None of us are strong enough to ride the Winds right now, but we're overdue by a day, so someone ought to be out on the roads searching for us."

    "When your people arrive, I want Mari escorted to the Hall."

    "We can look after her," Randahl replied sharply.

    But would Mari want to be looked after by the Blood in Agio?

    "Escort her to the Hall," Lucivar said. "She needs time to grieve, and she needs a place where her heart can start to heal. There are some at the Hall who can help her with that."

    Randahl looked unhappy. "You think the Dhemlan Blood will be kinder to her than we were?"

    Lucivar shrugged. "I wasn't thinking of the Dhemlan Blood. I was thinking of the kindred."

    Having gotten Randahl's agreement, Lucivar stopped inside the community hall long enough to see Mari and tell her she would be going to the Hall. She clung to him for a few minutes, crying fiercely.

    He held her, giving what comfort he could.

    When two of the landen women, casting defiant looks at the rest, offered to look after Mari, he let her go, sincerely hoping he'd never have to deal with landens again.

    He found Jaenelle a few steps outside the village boundary, curled up into a tight ball, making desperate little sounds.

    He dropped to his knees and cradled her in his arms.

    "I didn't want to kill," she wailed. "That's not what the Craft is for. That's not whatmy Craft is for."

    "I know, Cat," Lucivar murmured. "I know."

    "I could have put a shield around them, holding them in until we got help from Agio. That's what I meant to do, but the rage just boiled out of me when Khevin ... I could feel their minds, could feel them wanting to hurt. I couldn't stop the anger. I couldn'tstop it."

    "It's the drugs, Cat. The damn things can scramble your emotions for a long time, especially in a situation like this."

    "I don't like killing. I'd rather be hurt than hurt someone else."

    He didn't argue with her. He was too exhausted and her emotions were too raw. Nor did he point out that she'd reacted to a friend's pain and death. What she couldn't, or wouldn't, do for her own sake she would do for someone she cared for.

    "Lucivar?" Jaenelle said plaintively. "I want a bath."

    That was just one of the things he wanted. "Let's go home, Cat."

    11 / Terreille

    Dorothea SaDiablo sank into a chair and stared at her unexpected guest. "Here? You want to stayher?" Had the bitch looked into a mirror lately? How was she supposed to explain a desiccated walking corpse that looked like it had just crawled out of an old grave? "Not here in your precious court," Hekatah replied, her fleshless lips curling in a snarl. "And I'm not asking for your permission. I'mtelling you that I'm staying in Hayll and require accommodations."

    Telling. Always telling. Always reminding her that she never would have become the High Priestess of Hayll without Hekatah's guidance and subtle backing, without Hekatah pointing out the rivals who had too much potential and would thwart her dream of being a High Priestess who was so strong even the Queens yielded to her.

    Well, shewas the High Priestess of Hayll, and after centuries of twisting and savaging males who, in turn, did their own share of savaging, there were no dark-Jeweled Queens left in Terreille. There were no Queens, no Black Widows, no other Priestesses equal to her Red Jewel. In some of the smaller, more stubborn Territories, there were no Jeweled Blood at all. Within another five years, she would succeed where Hekatah had failed—she would bethe High Priestess of Terreille, feared and revered by the entire Realm.

    And when that day came, she would have something very special planned for her mentor and adviser.

    Dorothea settled back in her chair and suppressed a smile. Still, the bag of bones might have a use. Sadi was still out there somewhere, playing his elusive, teasing game. Although she hadn't felt his presence in quite some time, every time she opened a door, she expected to find him on the other side waiting for her. But if a Red-Jeweled Black Widow High Priestess was staying at the country lodge she kept for more vigorous and imaginative evenings, and if he happened to become aware of a witch living there quietly . . . well, her psychic scent permeated the place and he might not take the time to distinguish between the scent of the place and the occupant's psychic scent. It would be a shame to lose the building, but she really didn't think there would be anything left of it by the time he was done.

    Of course, there wouldn't be anything left of Hekatah, either.

    Dorothea tucked a loose strand of black hair back into the simple coil around her head. "I realize you weren't asking my permission, Sister," she purred. "When have you everasked me for anything?"

    "Remember who you speak to," Hekatah hissed.

    "I never forget," Dorothea replied sweetly. "I have a lodge in the country, about an hour's carriage ride from Draega. I use it for discreet entertaining. You're welcome to stay there as long as you please. The staff is very well-trained, so I do ask that you not make a meal out of them. I'll supply you with plenty of young feasts." Frowning at a fingernail, she called in a nail file and smoothed an edge, studied the result, and smoothed again. Finally satisfied, she vanished the nail file and smiled at Hekatah. "Of course, if my accommodations aren't to your liking, you can always return to Hell."

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