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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 32)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(32) by Anne Bishop
  • Daemon . . . Daemon, where are you? Why haven't you come?

    Saetan was about to retrace his steps, intending to find Draca—she always knew whereeveryone was in the Keep— when a sound made him turn toward a half-open door at the end of the corridor.

    As he walked toward it, he noticed how much better his leg felt since Jaenelle started dosing him with her tonic. If he could stomach it for a couple more weeks, he'd be able to put the cane away—and hopefully the tonic with it.

    He had almost reached the door when someone inside the room let out a startled squawk. There was a loudpop fizz boosh, and then a lavender, gray, and rose cloud belched out of the room, followed by a feminine voice muttering, "Damn, damn, and double damn!"

    The cloud began a slow descent to the floor.

    Saetan held out his hand and stared at the chalky lavender, grey, and rose flecks that covered his skin and shirt cuff. Butterflies churned in his stomach, and they tickled, leaving him with an irrational desire to giggle and flee.

    He swallowed the giggle, strapped a bit of mental steel to his backbone, and cautiously peered around the doorway.

    Jaenelle stood by a large worktable, her arms crossed and her foot tapping as she frowned at the Craft book hovering above the table. The candlelights on either side of the book gave off a pretty, stained-glass glow, softening the surrounding chaos. The entire room—and everything in it, including Jaenelle—was liberally dusted with lavender, grey, and rose. Only the book was clean. She must have put a shield around it before beginning . . . whatever it was.

    "I really don't think I want to know about this," Saetan said dryly, wondering how Draca was going to react to the mess.

    Jaenelle gave him an exasperated, amused look. "No, you really don't." Then she gave him her best unsure-but-game smile. "I don't suppose you'd like to help anyway?"

    Hell's fire! During all the years when he'd been teaching her Craft and trying to unravel one of these quirky spells after the fact, he'd hoped for just this invitation.

    "Unfortunately," he said, his voice full of wistful regret, "there's something else we have to discuss."

    Jaenelle sat down, on air, hooking her heels on the nonexistent rung of a nonexistent stool, and gave him her full attention.

    He remembered, too late, how unnerving it could be to have Jaenelle's undivided attention.

    Saetan cleared his throat and glanced around the room, hoping for inspiration. Maybe her workroom, with the tools of her Craft around her, was the best place to talk after all.

    He stepped into the room and leaned against the doorframe. A good neutral place, not invading her territory but acknowledging a right to be there. "I'm concerned, witch-child," he said quietly.

    Jaenelle cocked her head. "About what?"

    "About you. About the way you avoid all of us. About the way you're shutting yourself away from everyone."

    Ice filled her eyes. "Everyone has boundaries and inner barriers."

    "I'm not talking about boundaries and inner barriers," he said, not quite able to keep his voice calm. "Of course everyone has them. They protect the inner web and the Self. But you've put up awall between yourself and everyone else, excluding them from even simple contact."

    "Perhaps you should be grateful for the wall, Saetan," Jaenelle said in a midnight voice that sent a shiver of fear up his spine.

    Saetan. Not Papa. Saetan. And not the way she usually said his name. This sounded like a Queen formally addressing a Warlord Prince.

    He didn't know how to respond to her words or the warning.

    She stepped off her invisible stool and turned away from him, resting her hands on the dusty table.

    "Listen to me," he said, restraining the urgency he felt. "You can't lock yourself away like this. You can't spend the rest of your life in this room creating glorious spells that no one else will see. You're a Queen. You'll have to interact with your court."

    "I'm not going to have a court."

    Saetan stared at her, stunned. "Of course you'll have a court. You're a Queen."

    Jaenelle flashed a look at him that made him cringe. "I'm not required to have a court. I checked. And I don't want to rule. I don't want to control anyone's life but my own."

    "But you're Witch." The moment he said it, the room chilled.

    "Yes," she said too softly. "I am." Then she turned around.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire