• Home
  • Directory
  • Popular
  • Authors
  • Series
  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 22)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(22) by Anne Bishop
  • Karla took a deep breath and exhaled her disappointment. She took the arm Morton offered and went back into the banquet hall.

    He stayed close to her for the rest of the evening, and she was grateful for his company. But she would have traded his caring and protection in an instant if that faint but so very dark psychic touch she'd imagined had been real.

    2 / Kaeleer

    When Andulvar Yaslana settled in the chair in front of the blackwood desk in Saetan's public study, Saetan looked up from the letter he'd been staring at for the past half hour. "Read this," he said, handing it to Andulvar.

    While Andulvar read the letter, Saetan looked wearily at the stacks of papers on his desk. It had been months since he'd set foot in the Hall, even longer since he'd granted audiences to the Queens who ruled the Provinces and Districts in his Territory. His eldest son, Mephis, had dealt with as much of the official business of Dhemlan as he could, as he had been doing for centuries, but the rest of it ...

    "Blood-sucking corpse?"Andulvar sputtered.

    Saetan watched with a touch of amusement as Andulvar snarled through the rest of the letter. He hadn't been amused during his first reading, but the signature and the adolescent handwriting had soothed his temper—and added another layer to his sorrow.

    Andulvar flung the letter onto the desk. "Who is Karla, and how does she dare write something like this to you?"

    "Not only does she dare, but the courier is waiting for a reply."

    Andulvar muttered something vicious.

    "As for who she is . . ." Saetan called in the file he usually kept locked in his private study beneath the Hall. He leafed through the papers filled with his notes and handed one to Andulvar.

    Andulvar's shoulders slumped as he read it. "Damn."

    "Yes." Saetan put the paper back in the file and vanished it.

    "What are you going to say?"

    Saetan leaned back in his chair. "The truth. Or part of it. I've kept the Dark Council at bay for two years, denying their not unreasonable requests to see Jaenelle. I've given no explanation for that denial, letting them think what they chose—and I am aware of what they've chosen to think. But her friends? Until now they've been too young, or perhaps not bold enough, to ask what became of her. Now they're asking." He straightened in his chair and summoned Beale, the Red-Jeweled Warlord who worked as the Hall's butler.

    "Bring the courier to me," Saetan said when Beale appeared.

    "Shall I go?" Andulvar asked, making no move to leave.

    Saetan shrugged, already preoccupied with how to word his reply. There hadn't been much contact between Dhemlan and Glacia in the past few years, but he'd heard enough about Lord Hobart and his ties to Little Terreille to decide on a verbal reply instead of a written one.

    Long centuries ago, Little Terreille had been settled by Terreilleans who had been eager for a new life and a new land. Despite that eagerness, the people had never felt comfortable with the races who had been born to the Shadow Realm. So even though Little Terreille was a Territory in Kaeleer, it had looked for companionship and guidance from the Realm of Terreille—and still did, even though most, Terreilleans no longer believed Kaeleer existed because access to this Realm had been so limited for so long. Which meant any companionship and guidance coming from Terreille now was coming from Dorothea, one way or another—and that was reason enough for him to feel wary.

    Saetan and Andulvar exchanged a quick look when Beale showed the courier into the room.

    Andulvar sent a thought on a Red spear thread. "He's a bit young for an official courier."

    Silently agreeing with Andulvar's assessment, Saetan lifted his right hand. A chair floated from its place by the wall and settled in front of the desk. "Please be seated, Warlord."

    "Thank you, High Lord." The young man had the typical fair skin, blond hair, and blue eyes of the Glacian people. Despite his youth, he moved with the kind of assurance usually found in aristo families and responded with a confidence in Protocol that indicated court training.

    Not your typical courier,Saetan thought as he watched the young man try to control the urge to fidget.So why are you here, boyo?

    "My butler must be having a bad day to overlook introducing you when you entered," Saetan said mildly. He steepled his fingers, his long, black-tinted nails resting against his chin.

    The youth paled a little when he saw the Black-Jeweled ring. He licked his lips. "My name is Morton, High Lord."

    Now you're not quite so sure that Protocol will protect you, are you, boyo?Saetan didn't allow his amusement to show. If this boy was going to approach a dark-Jeweled Warlord Prince, it was better he learn the potential dangers. "And you serve?"

    "I—I don't exactly serve in a court yet."

    Saetan raised one eyebrow. "You serve Lord Hobart?" he asked, his voice a bit cooler.

    "No. He's just the head of the family. Sort of an uncle."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire