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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 203)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(203) by Anne Bishop
  • The shouted names of the Territories that now stood in the shadow of Ebon Askavi finally stopped echoing through the chamber. Then a small voice drifted into their minds.

    "Arachna yields to the Lady of the Black Mountain."

    "Mother Night," Saetan whispered, and wondered if the Weavers of Dreams were spinning their tangled webs across the chamber's ceiling.

    "I accept," Jaenelle said quietly.

    Lucivar briefly squeezed Saetan's shoulder in amused sympathy. "Should I wish the Steward of this court my congratulations or condolences?" he said quietly.

    "Mother Night." Saetan staggered back a step. Hands grabbed his arms, keeping him upright.

    Lucivar laughed softly as he slipped around Saetan. He climbed the steps to the Throne and extended his right hand. Jaenelle rose and placed her left hand over his right. A wide aisle opened up as the new court stepped aside to allow the First Escort to lead his Queen from the chamber.

    Starting to follow, Saetan felt something hold him back. Waving Andulvar and the others on, he felt his throat tighten as the kindred shyly blended in with the humans, once more offering their trust.

    The chamber emptied, Draca and Geoffrey being the last to leave.

    No longer having an excuse, Saetan turned toward Lorn. As they stared at one another, he felt gentle sadness pressing down on him, a sadness all the more terrible because it was cloaked in understanding. He knew then why Lorn had remained apart. He had experienced that kind of sadness, too, when petitioners had stood before him, terrified of the Prince of the Darkness, the High Lord of Hell. He knew how it felt to crave affection and companionship and have it denied because of what he was.

    Fingering his Black Jewel, he said, "Thank you."

    "You have made good usse of my gift. You have sserved well."

    Saetan thought of all he'd done in his life. All the mistakes, the regrets. All the blood spilled. "Have I?" he asked quietly, more to himself than Lorn.

    "You have honored the Darknesss. You have resspected the wayss of the Blood. You have alwayss undersstood what the Blood were meant to be—caretakerss and guardianss. You have ussed teeth and clawss when teeth and clawss were needed. You have protected your young. The Darknesss hass ssung to you, and you have followed roadss few but the Dragonss have walked. You have undersstood the Blood'ss heart, the Blood'ss ssoul. You have sserved well."

    Saetan took a deep breath. His throat felt too tight to make an answer. "Thank you," he said hoarsely.

    There was a long pause. "Ass sshe iss the daughter of your ssoul, you are the sson of mine."

    Saetan clutched the Jewel around his neck. Did Lorn have any idea what those words meant to him?

    It didn't matter. What mattered was it formed a bond between them, a bridge he could cross. He would finally be able to talk to the keeper of all the Blood's Craft knowledge. Maybe he'd even find out how Jae—

    "If I'm the daughter of Saetan's soul and he's the son of yours, does that make you my grandfather?" Jaenelle asked, joining them.

    "No," Lorn replied promptly.

    "Why not?"

    Hot, dusty-dry air hit them with enough force to push them back a couple of steps.

    "I suppose that's an answer," Jaenelle grumped. She shook her arms to untangle all the cobwebby strands. "Although I don't see why you're getting all snorty about one little granddaughter."

    "And the wide assortment of grandnieces and nephews that come with her," Saetan muttered under his breath.

    Jaenelle gave him a sharp look and her wrists a last shake. "Well, at least you've finally met. You should've invited him sooner," she added, giving Lorn an I-told-you- so look.

    "He wass not ready. He wass too young."

    Saetan would have protested but Jaenelle beat him to it.

    "I was much younger when you invited me," Jaenelle said.

    Saetan pressed an arm against his stomach and tried very hard to keep his expression neutral. But the emotional flavor of baffled male he was picking up from Lorn was making it very difficult.

    "I did not invite you, Jaenelle," Lorn said slowly.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire