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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 61)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(61) by Anne Bishop
  • "Mmm. Of course, they were a bit more—" He scanned a page. He carefully closed the book. "Then again, maybe not." He removed his glasses and vanished them before they steamed up.

    Jaenelle nervously fluffed her hair. "Papa, if I have any questions about things, would you be willing to answer them?"

    "Of course, witch-child. I'll give you whatever help you want in Craft or your other subjects."

    "Nooo. I meant . . ." She glanced at the book in front of him.

    Hell's fire, Mother Night, and may the Darkness be mer-

    ciful. The whole prospect filled him with delight and dread. Delight because he might be able to help her paint a different emotional canvas that would, he hoped balance the wounds the rape had caused. Dread because, no matter how knowledgeable he was about any subject, Jaenelle always viewed things from an angle totally outside his experience.

    Menzar's thoughts, Menzar's imaginings flooded his mind again.

    Saetan closed his eyes, fought to stop the images.

    "He hurt you."

    His body reacted to the midnight, sepulchral voice, to the instant chill in the room. "I was the one performing the execution, Lady. He's the one who is very, very dead."

    The room got colder. The silence was more than silence.

    "Did he suffer?" she asked too softly.

    Mist. Darkness streaked with lightning. The edge of the abyss was very close and the ground was swiftly crumbling beneath his feet.

    "Yes, he suffered."

    She considered his answer. "Not enough," she finally said, getting to her feet.

    Numbed, Saetan stared at the hand stretched toward him. Not enough? What had her Chaillot relatives done to her that she had no regrets about killing? Even he regretted taking a life.

    "Come with me, Saetan." She watched him with her ancient, haunted eyes, waiting for him to turn away from her.

    Never. He grasped her hand, letting her pull him to his feet. He would never turn away from her.

    But he couldn't deny the shiver down his spine as he followed her to the music room that was on the same floor as their suites. He couldn't deny the instinctive wariness when he saw that the only light in the room came from two freestanding candelabras on either side of the piano. Candles, not candlelights. Light that danced with every current of air, making the room look alien, sensual, and forbidding. The candles lit the piano keys and the music stand. The rest of the room belonged to the night.

    Jaenelle called in a brown-paper package, opened it, and leafed through the music. "I found a lot of this tucked into back bins without any kind of preservation spell on them to protect them." She shook her head, annoyed, then handed him a sheet of music. "Can you play this?"

    Saetan sat on the piano bench and opened the music. The paper was yellowed and fragile, the notation faded. Straining to see it in the flickering candlelight, he silently went through the piece, his fingers barely touching the keys. "I think I can get through it well enough."

    Jaenelle stood behind one candelabra, becoming part of the shadows.

    He played the introduction and stopped. Strange music. Unfamiliar and yet. ... He began again.

    Her voice rose, a molten sound. It soared, dove, spiraled around the notes he was playing and his soul soared, dove, spiraled with her voice. A Song of Sorrow, Death, and Healing. In the Old Tongue. A song of grieving . . . for both victims of an execution. Strange music. Soul-searing, heart-tearing, ancient, ancient music.

    Witch song. No, more than that. The songs of Witch.

    He didn't know when he stopped playing, when his shaking hands could no longer find the keys, when the tears blinded him. He was caught in that voice as it lanced the memory of the execution and left a clean-bleeding wound— and then healed that.

    Mephis, you were right.

    "Saetan?"

    Saetan blinked away the tears and took a shuddering breath. "I'm sorry, witch-child. I ... I wasn't prepared."

    Jaenelle opened her arms.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire