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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 75)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(75) by Anne Bishop
  • Jaenelle gave him an approving pat. "Those are herbs. Humans use them to alter the flavor of meat and vegetables." Then she laughed. "I don't know why we want to change the taste of meat. We just do."

    Smoke selected a hunk of beef.

    Jaenelle gave Saetan an amused smile, but there was sadness in her eyes and a touch of anxiety. "Smoke's pack is still in their home territory. He came alone because . . . because he wanted to see me, wanted to know if I'd come and visit his pack like I used to."

    He missed you, witch-child. They all miss you.Saetan swirled the yarbarah in his glass. He understood her anxiety. Smoke was here instead of protecting his mate and young. That Jaenelle had taught them about poisons made it obvious that the kindred wolves faced dangers beyond natural ones. It would require some adjustments, but if Smoke was willing . . . "How much territory does a pack need?"

    Jaenelle shrugged. "It depends. A fair amount. Why?"

    "The family owns a considerable amount of land in Dhemlan, including the north woods. Even with the hunting rights I've granted the families in Halaway, there's plenty of game. Would that be sufficient territory for a pack?"

    Jaenelle stared at him. "You want a wolf pack in the north woods?"

    "If Smoke and his family would like to live there, why not?" Besides, the benefits certainly wouldn't be one-sided. He'd provide territory and protection for the wolf pack, and they'd provide companionship and protection for Jaenelle.

    The silence that followed wasn't really silence but a conversation the rest of them couldn't hear. Jaenelle's expression was carefully neutral. Smoke's, as he studied each man in the room, was unreadable.

    Finally Jaenelle looked at Saetan. "Humans don't like wolf-kind."

    Saetan steepled his fingers and forced himself to breathe evenly. Jaenelle had rarely mentioned kindred. He knew

    she had visited the dream-weaving spiders in Arachna and once, when he'd first met her, she had mentioned unicorns. But Smoke's presence and the ease with which she and the wolf communicated spoke of a long-established relationship. What other kindred might know the sound of her voice, her dark psychic scent? What others might be willing to risk contact with humans in order to be with her again? Compared to what might be out there in those mist-enclosed Territories, what was a wolf?

    The girl and the wolf waited for his answer.

    "I rule this Territory," he said quietly. "And, as I said, the Hall and its land are personal property. If the humans don't want our kindred Brothers and Sisters as neighbors, then the humans can leave."

    He wasn't sure if he was trying to reach out with his mind or if Smoke was trying to reach toward him, but he caught the edge of those alien, feral thoughts. Not thoughts, really, more like emotions filtered through a different lens but still readable. Surprise, followed by swift understanding and approval. Smoke, at least, knew exactly why the offer was being made.

    Unfortunately, Jaenelle, reaching for her coffee, caught some of it, too. "What bad male?" she asked, frowning.

    Smoke suddenly decided the meat was interesting.

    From Jaenelle's annoyed expression, Saetan deduced the wolf had turned evasive. Since it wasn't a topic he wanted her to pursue, he decided to satisfy his own curiosity, aware of the effort Andulvar, Prothvar, and Mephis were making to sit quietly and not begin a barrage of questions. The kindred had always been elusive and timid about contact with humans, even before they had closed their borders. Now there was a wolf, kindred and wild, sitting in his drawing room.

    "Prince Smoke is kindred?" Saetan asked, his tone more confirmation than question.

    "Of course," Jaenelle said, surprised.

    "And you can communicate with him?"

    "Of course."

    He felt the wave of frustration coming from the others

    and clenched his teeth.Remember who you're talking to. "How?"

    Jaenelle looked puzzled. "Distaff to spear. The same way I communicate with you." She fluffed her hair. "You can't hear him?"

    Saetan and the other men shook their heads.

    Jaenelle looked at Smoke. "Can you hear them?"

    Smoke looked at the human males and whuffed softly.

    Jaenelle became indignant. "What do you mean I didn't train them well? I didn't train them at all!"

    Smoke's expression as he turned back to the meat was smug.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire