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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 187)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(187) by Anne Bishop
  • And because Jaenelle was among those bodies, somewhere.

    Then the unicorns stopped attacking. They circled the group, snorting and pawing the ground, their horns lowered for another charge.

    "Thank the Darkness," Khary muttered as a young stallion slowly climbed up the hill, favoring his left foreleg.

    Relieved, the girls began murmuring about healing teams.

    Watching the young stallion approach, Saetan wished he could share their confidence, but out of all of Kaetien's offspring, Mistral had always been the most wary of humans—and the most dangerous. Necessary traits for a young male who everyone anticipated would be the next Warlord Prince of Sceval, but damned uncomfortable for the man on the receiving end of that distrust.

    "Mistral." Saetan stepped forward, raising his empty hands. "You've known all of us since you were a foal. Let us help."

    "I have known you," Mistral said reluctantly. "That sounds ominous," Lucivar said on an Ebon-gray spear thread.

    "If this goes wrong, get everyone else out of here," Saetan replied. "I'll hold the shield." "We still have to find Cat." "Get them out, Yaslana." "Yes, High Lord."

    Saetan took another step forward. "Mistral, I swear to you by the Jewels that I wear and by my love for the Lady that we mean no harm."

    Whatever Mistral thought about a human male laying claim to the Lady was lost when Ladvarian's light tenor pounded into their heads.

    "High Lord? High Lord! We have some little ones shielded, but they're scared and won't listen. They keep running into the shield. Jaenelle is crying and won't listen either. High Lord?"

    Saetan held his breath. Which would prove stronger— Mistral's loyalty to his own kind or his love for and belief in Jaenelle?

    Mistral looked toward the north. After a long moment, he snorted. "The little Brother believes in you. We will trust. For now."

    Desperately wanting to sit down and not daring to show any sign of weakness, Saetan cautiously lowered the Black shield. A moment later, Lucivar dropped the Ebon-gray.

    They divided into groups. Khary and Morghann went to help Ladvarian and Kaelas with the foals. Lucivar and Karla headed north from the landing place with Karla as primary Healer, Lucivar as secondary, and the rest of their team scouting for the wounded and providing assistance. Saetan, Gabrielle, and their team headed south.

    It hurt to look at the mares' hacked-up bodies. It hurt even worse to see a young colt lying dead over his dam, his forelegs sliced off. There were some he could save. There were many more where all he could do was take away the pain to ease the journey back to the Darkness.

    Hours passed as he searched for the foals that might be hidden under their dams. He found yearlings hidden in shallow dips in the land, dips that held a power unlike any he'd ever felt before. He didn't trespass into those places. The young unicorns watched him with terrified eyes as he carefully circled around them looking for wounds. It came to him slowly as he stepped around torn human bodies that any of the unicorns who had reached these places had, at worst, minor cuts or scratches.

    He continued to work, ignoring the headache the sun gave him, ignoring the aching muscles and growing fatigue.

    His emotions numbed as a defense against the slaughter.

    But they weren't numb enough when he found Jaenelle and Kaetien.

    "There, my fine Lady," Lucivar said, running one hand down the mare's neck. "It'll feel sore for a few days, but it will heal well."

    The mare's colt snorted and pawed the ground until Lucivar gave them a few carrot chunks and a sugar lump.

    When the mare and her colt moved off, he helped himself to a long drink of water and half of a cheese sandwich while he waited for the next unicorn to gather the courage to be touched by a human.

    May the Darkness bless Khary's equine-loving heart. After a rapid look at the carnage, Khary and Aaron had gone back to Maghre. They'd returned with Daffodil and Sundancer pulling carts loaded with healing supplies, food for the humans, changes of clothes, blankets, and Khary's "bribes"—carrots and sugar lumps.

    Seeing Daffodil and Sundancer working confidently with the humans had acted as a balm on the unicorns' fear. The words "I serve the Lady" had produced an even stronger response. On the strength of those words, most of the unicorns had let him touch them and heal what he could.

    Taking the last bite of his sandwich, he watched a yearling colt cautiously approach him, its skin twitching as the flies buzzed around the shoulder wound protected by a fading shield.

    Lucivar spread his arms, showing empty hands. "I serve—"

    The yearling bolted as Sceron's war cry shattered the uneasy truce and Kaelas roared in challenge.

    Calling in his Eyrien war blade, Lucivar launched himself skyward.

    As he sped toward the man running for the landing place, he coldly ticked off each little scene as it flashed under him: Morghann, Kalush, and Ladvarian herding the foals into the trees; Kaelas pulling a man down and tearing him open; Astar pivoting on her hindquarters as she nocked an arrow in a Centauran bow; Morton shielding Karla and the unicorn she was healing; Khary, Aaron, and Sceron protecting each others' backs as they unleashed the strength of their Jewels in short, controlled bursts that ripped the invading humans apart.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire