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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 33)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(33) by Anne Bishop
  • She dropped the mask of humanity—and the mask called flesh—and let him truly see her for the first time.

    The tiny spiral horn in the centre of her forehead. The golden mane that wasn't quite fur and wasn't quite hair. The delicately pointed ears. The hands that had sheathed claws. The legs that changed below the knee to accommodate the small hooves. The stripe of golden fur that ran down her spine and ended at the fawn tail that flicked over her bu**ocks. The exotic face and those sapphire eyes.

    Having been Cassandra's Consort all those years ago, he thought he knew and understood Witch. Now he finally understood that Cassandra and the other Black-Jeweled Queens who had come before her had beencalled Witch. Jaenelle truly was the living myth, dreams made flesh.

    How foolish he'd been to assume all the dreamers had been human.

    "Exactly," Witch said softly, coldly.

    "You're beautiful," he whispered. And so very, very dangerous.

    She stared at him, puzzled, and he realized there would never be a better time to say what he had to say.

    "We love you, Lady," he told her quietly. "We've always loved you, and it hurts more than words can express to be locked out of your life. You don't know how hard it was for us to wait for those few precious minutes that you could spend with us, to wonder and worry about you when you were gone, to feel jealous of people who didn't appreciate what you are. Now . . ." His voice broke. He pressed his lips together and took a deep breath. "We surrendered to you a long time ago. Not even you can change that. Do with us what you will." He hesitated, then added, "No, witch-child, we arenot grateful for the wall."

    He didn't wait for an answer. He left the room as swiftly as he could, tears shining in his eyes.

    Behind him came a soft, anguished cry.

    He couldn't stand their kindness. He couldn't stand their sympathy and understanding. Geoffrey had warmed a glass of yarbarah for him. Mephis had tucked a lap rug over his legs. Prothvar had stoked the fire to help take away the chill. Andulvar had stayed close to him, silent.

    He'd started shaking the moment he had entered the safety of the parlor. He would have collapsed on the floor if Andulvar hadn't caught him and helped him to the chair. They had asked no questions, and except for a hoarsely whispered, "I don't know," he had told them nothing about what had happened—or about what he had seen.

    And they had accepted it.

    An hour later, feeling somewhat restored physically and emotionally, he still couldn't stand their kindness. What he couldn't stand even more was not knowing what was happening in that workroom.

    The parlor door swung open.

    Jaenelle stood on the threshold, holding a tray that contained two small carafes and five glasses. All her masks were back in place.

    "Draca said you were all hiding in here," she said defensively.

    "We're not exactly 'hiding,' witch-child," Saetan replied dryly. "And, if we are, there's room for one more. Want to join us?"

    Her smile was shy and hesitant, but her coltish legs swiftly crossed the room until she stood beside Saetan's chair. Then she frowned and turned toward the door. "This room used to be larger."

    "Your legs used to be shorter."

    "That explains why the stairs feel so awkward," she muttered as she filled two glasses from one carafe and three from the other.

    Saetan stared at the glass she gave him. His stomach cringed.

    "Um," Prothvar said, as Jaenelle handed out the other glasses.

    "Drink it," Jaenelle snapped. "You've all been looking peaky lately." When they hesitated, her voice became brittle. "It's just a tonic."

    Andulvar took a sip.

    Thank the Darkness for that Eyrien willingness to step

    onto any kind of battlefield, Saetan thought as he, too, took a sip.

    "How much of this do you make at one time, waif?" Andulvar rumbled.

    "Why?" Jaenelle said warily.

    "Well, you're quite right about us all feeling peaky. Probably wouldn't hurt to have another glass later on."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire