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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 31)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(31) by Anne Bishop
  • Why couldn't Draca fill a table with useless bric-a-brac like everyone else? he thought sourly. At least then there would be a way to hide the damn thing since Jaenelle had put some kind of neat little spell on the cup that prevented it from being vanished.

    "Hell's fire," Andulvar finally said.

    "What does she put in it?" Mephis said, rubbing his stomach.

    Prothvar eyed Geoffrey. "You know, you've almost got some color."

    Geoffrey glared at the Eyrien Warlord.

    "What did you all want to see me about?" Saetan asked.

    That stopped them cold. Then they began talking all at once.

    "You see, SaDiablo, the waif—"

    "—it's a difficult time for a young girl, I do understand that—"

    "—doesn't want to see us—"

    "—suddenly so shy—"

    Saetan raised his hand to silence their explanations.

    Everything has a price.As he looked at them, he knew he had to tell them what the past two weeks had forced him to see.Everything has a price, but, sweet Darkness, haven't we paid enough?

    "Jaenelle didn't heal." When no one responded, he wondered if he'd actually said it out loud.

    "Explain, SaDiablo," Andulvar rumbled. "Her body is alive, and now that she's returned to it, it will get stronger."

    "Yes," Saetan replied softly. "Her body is alive."

    "Since she's obviously capable of doing more than basic Craft, her inner web must be intact," Geoffrey said.

    "Her inner web is intact," Saetan agreed. Hell's fire. Why was he prolonging this? Because once he actually said it, it would be real.

    He watched the knowledge—and the anger—fill Andulvar's eyes.

    "The bastard who raped her managed to shatter the crystal chalice, didn't he?" Andulvar said slowly. "He shattered her mind, and that pushed her into the Twisted Kingdom." Pausing, he studied Saetan. "Or did it push her somewhere else?"

    "Who knows what lies deep in the abyss?" Saetan said bitterly. "I don't. Was she lost in madness or simply walking roads the rest of us can't possibly comprehend? I don't know. Ido know she is more and less and different than she was, and there are some days when it's hard to find anything left of the child we knew. She told me that she'd put the crystal chalice back together, and from what I can tell, she has. But she doesn't remember what happened at Cassandra's Altar. She doesn't remember anything that took place during the few months before that night. And she's hiding something. That's part of the reason she's withdrawing from us. Shadows and secrets. She's afraid to trust any of us because of those damn shadows and secrets."

    Mephis finally broke the long silence. "Perhaps," he said slowly, "if she could be persuaded to see us in one of the public rooms, just for a few minutes at a time, it might help rebuild her trust in us. Especially if we don't push or ask any difficult questions." He added sadly, "And is being locked within herself while she lives in her body really any different than being lost in the abyss?"

    "No," Saetan said softly. "It's not." It was a risk. Mother Night, was it a risk! "I'll talk to her."

    Andulvar, Prothvar, Mephis, and Geoffrey left after agreeing to meet him in one of the "smaller parlors. Saetan waited for several minutes before walking the few yards that separated his room from the Queen's suite. Once Jaenelle established her court, no males but her Consort, Steward, and Master of the Guard would be permitted in this wing unless they were summoned. Not even her legal guardian.

    Saetan knocked quietly on her bedroom door. When he got no answer, he peeked into the room. Empty. He checked the adjoining sitting room. That was empty, too.

    Running his fingers through his hair, he wondered where his wayward child had gone. He could sense that she was nearby. But he'd also learned that Jaenelle left such a strong psychic scent, it was sometimes difficult to locate her. Perhaps it had always been that way, but they'd never spent more than an hour or two together at any given time. Now her presence filled the huge Keep, and her dark, delicious psychic scent was a pleasure and a torment. To feel her, to yearn with all one's heart to embrace and serve her, and to be locked out of her life ...

    There could be no greater torture.

    And it wasn't just for Andulvar, Mephis, Prothvar, and Geoffrey that he was willing to risk her emotional stability by asking for contact. There was one other, lately never far from his thoughts. If she didn't heal emotionally, if she could never endure a man's touch . . .

    He wasn't the key that could unlock that final door. There was much he could do, but not that. He wasn't the key.

    Daemon Sadi was.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire