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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 76)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(76) by Anne Bishop
  • Jaenelle muttered something uncomplimentary about male thought processes, then said tartly, "Does the beef at least meet with your approval?" She gave Saetan a brittle smile. "Smoke says the beef is much better than the squawky white birds." Her expression changed from annoyed to dismayed. "Squawky white birds? Chickens? You ate Mrs. Beale's chickens?"

    Smoke whined apologetically.

    Saetan leaned back in his chair. Oh, it was so satisfying to see her thrown off stride. "I'm sure Mrs. Beale was delighted to feed a guest—even if she wasn't aware of it," he added dryly, remembering too well his cook's reaction when she learned about the missing hens.

    Jaenelle pressed her hands into her lap. "Yes. Well." She nibbled her lower lip. "Communicating with kindred isn't difficult."

    "Really?" Saetan replied mildly, amused by the abrupt return to the original topic of conversation.

    "You just . . ." Jaenelle paused and finally shrugged. "Shuck the human trappings and take one step to the side."

    It wasn't the most enlightening set of instructions he'd ever heard, but having seen beneath her mask of human flesh, the phrase "shuck the human trappings" gave him some uncomfortable things to wonder about. Was it more comfortable, more natural for her to reach for kindred minds? Or did she see kindred and human as equal puzzles?

    Alien and Other. Blood and more than Blood. Witch.

    "What?" he asked, suddenly realizing they were all watching him.

    "Do you want to try it?" Jaenelle asked gently.

    Her haunted sapphire eyes, dark with their ancient wisdom, told him she knew exactly what troubled him. She didn't dismiss his concerns, which was sufficient acknowledgment that he had a reason to be concerned. And no reason at all.

    Saetan smiled. "Yes, I'd like to try it."

    Jaenelle touched the minds of the four men just outside the first inner barrier and showed them how to reach a mind that wasn't human.

    It was simple, really. Rather like walking down a narrow, hedged-in lane, sidestepping through a gap in the hedge, and discovering that there was another well-worn path on the other side. Human trappings were nothing more than a narrow view of communication. He-—and Andulvar, Prothvar, and Mephis, and maybe Smoke as well—would always be aware of the hedge and would have to travel through a gap. For Jaenelle, it was just one wide avenue.

    "Human." Smoke sounded pleased.

    Filled with wonder, Saetan smiled. "Wolf."

    Smoke's thoughts were fascinating. Happiness because Jaenelle was glad to see him. Relief that the humans accepted him. Anticipation of bringing his pack to a safe place—clouded by darker images of kindred being hunted, and the need to understand these humans in order to protect themselves. Curiosity about how humans marked their territory since he hadn't smelled any scent markers in this stone place. And a yearning to water a few trees himself.

    "I think we should go for a walk," Jaenelle said, standing quickly.

    The human males stepped through the gaps in the mental hedge, their thoughts once more their own.

    "After your walk, there's no reason Smoke has to return to the woods tonight," Saetan said casually, ignoring the sharp look Jaenelle gave him. "If your room's too warm, he could always bed down on the balcony or in your garden."

    "I will keep the bad male away from the Lady." '

    Apparently Smoke was accustomed to sliding through

    the mental hedge. Saetan also noticed the wolf sent the thought on a spear thread, male to male, so that Jaenelle couldn't pick it up.

    "Thank you," Saetan replied. "Finished tomorrow's studies?"

    Jaenelle wrinkled her nose at him and bid them all good night, Smoke eagerly trotting beside her as they headed for an outside door.

    Saetan turned to the others.

    Andulvar whistled softly. "Sweet Darkness, SaDiablo. Kindred."

    "Kindred," Saetan agreed, smiling.

    Andulvar and Mephis returned the smile.

    Prothvar drew his hunting knife from its sheath and studied the blade. "I'll go with him to bring the pack home."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire