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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 71)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(71) by Anne Bishop
  • "Jaenelle!" Saetan roared in her ear. "Jaenelle! It's Saetan!"

    "Noooooo!"

    Drawing on the reserved power in the Black Jewels, Saetan rolled once more, pinning Jaenelle between the bed and his body. He opened his inner barriers and sent out the message that she was safe, that he was with her, knowing if she struck him now, she'd destroy him.

    Jaenelle brushed against his vulnerable mind and stopped moving.

    Shaking, Saetan rested his cheek against her head. "I'm with you, witch-child," he whispered. "You're safe."

    "Not safe," Jaenelle moaned. "Never safe."

    Saetan clamped his teeth together, sickened by the images that suddenly flowed into his mind. He saw them all as she had once seen them. Marjane, hanging from the tree. Myrol and Rebecca, handless. Dannie and Dannie's leg. And Rose.

    Tears rolled down his face as he held Jaenelle and made those agonizing memories his own. Now he finally understood what she'd endured as a child, what had been done to her, why she had never feared Hell or its citizens. As the memories flowed from her mind to his, he could see the building, the rooms, the garden, the tree.

    And he remembered Char coming to him, troubled by a bridge and the maimed children who were traveling over it to thecildru dyathe's island. A bridge Jaenelle had built once between Hell and . . . Briarwood.

    The moment he thought the name, he felt Jaenelle's eyes open.

    Suddenly there was impenetrable, swirling mist. It parted abruptly, and he looked down into the abyss. Every instinct urged him to flee, to get away from the cold rage and madness spiraling up from the depths.

    But woven into the madness and rage were gentleness and magic, too. So he waited at the edge of the abyss for whatever would happen. He wouldn't run from his Queen.

    The mist closed in again. He couldn't see her, but he felt her when Jaenelle rose from the abyss. And he shuddered as her sepulchral, midnight whisper rang through his mind.

    "Briarwood is the pretty poison. There is no cure for Briarwood."

    Then she spiraled back down, and his mind was his own again.

    Jaenelle stirred against him. "Saetan?" She sounded so young, so frail, so uncertain.

    Saetan kissed her cheek. "I'm here, witch-child," he said hoarsely, cradling her to his chest. He gingerly probed the room, and quickly discovered using Craft wasn't going to be possible until the psychic storm completely faded.

    "What ..." Jaenelle said groggily.

    "You were having a nightmare. Do you remember?"

    A long silence. "No. What was it about?"

    Saetan hesitated . . . and said nothing.

    A boot scuffed on the balcony outside the open glass door. Someone hurried down the stairs.

    Saetan's head snapped up. Since probing for the intruder's identity was useless, he frantically tore at the sheets tangled around his legs and sprang toward the balcony door."prothvar!" He tried to create a ball of witch light to spotlight the garden, but Jaenelle's psychic storm absorbed his power, and the flash of light he managed left him night-blind.

    On the far side of the garden, something snarled viciously. A man screamed. There was a brief, furious struggle, a blinding sizzle as the strength of two Jewels was unleashed and absorbed, the sound of odd-gaited footsteps, another snarl, and then a door slamming.

    And then silence.

    The bedroom door burst open. Saetan pivoted, his teeth bared, as Andulvar sprang into the room, an Eyrien war blade in his hand.

    "Stay with her," Saetan snapped. He ran down the balcony stairs, reaching for the spells that would seal the Hall and prevent anyone from leaving. Then he swore. That tidal wave of power had shattered all of his spells—which meant the intruder could find a way out before they could hunt him down. And once he got away far enough from the effects of the storm, he could catch the Winds and just disappear.

    "But where were you hiding that I didn't feel your presence before?" Saetan snarled, grinding his teeth in frustration as Prothvar landed beside him in the garden.

    The Eyrien Warlord held out a torn black silk scarf. "I found this near the south tower."

    Saetan stared at the scarf Greer had worn the first time he came to the Hall. His golden eyes glittered as he turned toward the south tower. "I've been too complacent about Hekatah's games and Hekatah's pets. But this pet has made one mistake too many."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire