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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 46)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(46) by Anne Bishop
  • "Not for that," she screamed at him, "but for what came after." There was no understanding in his eyes. "You only cared about the baby. You didn't w-want to b-be with me anymore."

    Saetan sighed and wandered over to the picture window, fixing his gaze on the low stone wall that surrounded the property. "Luthvian," he said wearily, "the man who guides a witch through her Virgin Night isn't meant to become her lover. That only happens when there's a strong bond between them beforehand, when they're already lovers in all but the physical sense. Most of the time—"

    "You don't have to recite the rules, High Lord," Luthvian snapped.

    "—after he rises from the bed, he may become a valued friend or no more than a soft memory. He cares about her—he has to care in order to keep her safe—but there can be a very big difference between caring and loving." He looked over his shoulder. "I cared about you, Luthvian. I gave you what I could. It just wasn't enough."

    Luthvian hugged herself and wondered if she'd ever stop feeling the bitterness and disappointment. "No, it wasn't enough."

    "You could have chosen another man. You should have. I told you that, even encouraged it."

    Luthvian stared at him.Hurt, damn you, hurt as much as I have. "And how eager do you think those men were once they realized my son had been sired by the High Lord of Hell?"

    The thrust went home, but the hurt and sorrow she saw in his eyes didn't make her feel better.

    "I would have taken him, raised him. You knew that, too."

    The old rage, the old uncertainties exploded out of her. "Raised him for what? For fodder? To have a steady supply of strong fresh blood? When you found out he was half Eyrien, you wanted to kill him!"

    Saetan's eyes glittered. "You wanted to cut off his wings."

    "So he'd have a chance at a decent life! Without them he would have passed for Dhemlan. He could have managed one of your estates. He could have been respected."

    "Do you really think that would have been a fair trade? Living a lie of respectability against his never knowing about his Eyrien bloodline, never understanding the hunger in his soul when he felt the wind in his face, always wondering about longings that made no sense—until the day he looked at his firstborn and saw the wings. Or were you intending to clip each generation?"

    "The wings would have been a throwback, an aberration."

    Saetan was very, very still. "I will tell you again what I told you at his birth. He is Eyrien in his soul and that had to be honored above all else. If you had cut off his wings, then yes, I would have slit his throat in the cradle. Not because I wasn't prepared for it, which I wasn't since you took such pains not to tell me, but because he would have suffered too much."

    Luthvian honed her temper to a cutting edge. "And you think he hasn't suffered? You don't know much about Lucivar, Saetan."

    "And why didn't he grow up under my care, Luthvian?" he said too softly. "Who was responsible forthat?"

    The tears were back. The memories, the anguish, the guilt. "You didn't love me, and you didn't love him."

    "Half right, my dear."

    Luthvian gulped back a sob. She stared at the ceiling.

    Saetan shook his head and sighed. "Even after all these years, trying to talk to each other is pointless. I'd better leave."

    Luthvian wiped away the single tear that had escaped her self-control. "You haven't said why you came here." For the first time, she looked at him without the past blurring the present. He looked older, weighed down by something.

    "It would probably be too difficult for all of us."

    She waited. His uneasiness, his unwillingness to broach the subject filled her with apprehension—and curiosity.

    "I wanted to hire you as a Craft tutor for a young Queen who is also a natural Black Widow and Healer. She's very gifted, but her education has been quite . . . erratic. The lessons would have to be private and held at SaDiablo Hall."

    "No," Luthvian said sharply. "Here. If I'm going to teach her, it will have to be here."

    "If she came here, she would have to be escorted. Since you've always found Andulvar and Prothvar too Eyrien to tolerate, it would have to be me."

    Luthvian tapped a finger against her lips. A Queen who was also a Healerand a Black Widow? What a potentially deadly combination of strengths. Truly a challenge worthy of her skills. "She would apprentice with me for the healing and Hourglass training?"

    "No. She still has difficulty with much of the Craft we consider basic, and that's what I wanted her to work on with you. I'd be willing to extend her training with you to the healing Craft as well, if that's of interest to you, but I'll take care of the Hourglass's Craft."

    Pride demanded a challenge. "Just who is this witch who requires a Black-Jewelled mentor?"

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