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  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(195) by Anne Bishop
  • "You're saying that the kindred require a human representative before they're entitled to any consideration or any rights?"

    "Precisely," Lord Jorval said, smiling.

    "In that case,I am the kindred's human representative."

    Lord Magstrom suddenly felt as if a trap had been sprung. Lord Jorval was still smiling, still looked benign, but Magstrom had worked with him enough to recognize the subtle, underlying cruelty in the man.

    "Unfortunately, that isn't possible," Lord Jorval said. "This Lady's claim may be under dispute"—he nodded at the petitioning Queen—"but you have no claim whatsoever. You don't rule these Territories. Your rights are not being infringed upon. And since neither you nor yours are affected by this, you have no justifiable complaint. I must ask you now to leave the Council chambers."

    Lord Magstrom shuddered at the blankness in Jaenelle's eyes. He sighed with relief when she walked out of the Council chamber, followed by the High Lord and Prince Yaslana.

    "Now, Lady," Lord Jorval said with a weary smile, "let's see what we can do about yourrightful petition."

    "Bastards," Lucivar snarled as they walked toward the landing web.

    Saetan slipped an arm around Jaenelle's shoulders. Lucivar's open anger didn't worry him. Jaenelle's silent withdrawal did.

    "Don't fret about it, Cat," Lucivar continued. "We'll find a way around those bastards and keep the kindred protected."~

    "I'm not sure thereis a legitimate way around the Council's decision," Saetan said carefully.

    "And you've never stepped outside the Law? You've never overruled a bad decision by using strength and temper?"

    Saetan clenched his teeth. In trying to explain why the family had difficulties with the Dark Council, someone must have told Lucivar why the Council made him Jaenelle's guardian. "No, I'm not saying that."

    "Are you saying kindred aren't important enough to fight for because they're animals?"

    Saetan stopped walking. Jaenelle drifted a little farther down the flagstone walk, away from them.

    "No, I'm not saying that, either," Saetan replied, struggling to keep his voice down. "We have to find an answer that fits the Council's new rules or this will escalate into a war that tears the Realm apart."

    "So we sacrifice the nonhuman Blood to save Kaeleer?" Smiling bitterly^ Lucivar opened his wings. "What am I, High Lord? By the Council's reckoning of who is human and who is not, what am I?"

    Saetan took a step back. It could have been Andulvar standing there. Ithad been Andulvar standing there all those years ago.When honor and the Law no longer stand on the same side of the line, how do we choose, SaDiablo?

    Saetan rubbed his hands over his face.Ah, Hekatah, you spin your schemes well. Just like the last time. "We'll find a legitimate way to protect the kindred and their land."

    "You said there wasn't a legitimate way."

    "Yes, there is," Jaenelle said softly as she joined them. She leaned against Saetan. "Yes, there is."

    Alarmed by how pale she looked, Saetan held her against him, stroking her hair as he probed gently. Nothing physically wrong except the fatigue brought on by overwork and the emotional stress of tallying the kindred deaths. "Witch-child?"

    Jaenelle shuddered. "I never wanted this. But it's the only way to help them."

    "What's the only way, witch-child?" Saetan crooned.

    Trembling, she stepped away from him. The haunted look in her eyes would stay with him forever.

    "I'm going to make the Offering to the Darkness and set up my court."

    Chapter sixteen

    1 / Kaeleer

    Banard sat in the private showroom at the back of his shop, sipping tea while he waited for 'the Lady.

    He was a gifted craftsman, an artist who worked with precious metals, precious and semiprecious stones, and the Blood Jewels. A Blood male who wore no Jewel himself, he handled them with a delicacy and respect that made him a favorite with the Jeweled Blood in Amdarh. He always said, "I handle a Jewel as if I were handling someone's heart," and he meant it.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire