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  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(77) by Anne Bishop
  • Images of hunters and traps pushed away the smiles.

    "Yes," Saetan said too quietly, "do that."

    2 / Terreille

    Seething that her afternoon's intended amusement was now spoiled, Dorothea SaDiablo gave the young Warlord who was her current toy-boy a final, throat-swabbing kiss before dismissing him. Her eyes narrowed at the hasty way he fixed his clothes and left her sitting room. Well, she would take care of that little discipline problem tonight.

    Rising gracefully from the ornate gold-and-cream day-bed, she swished her hips provocatively as she walked to a table and poured a glass of wine. She drained half the glass before turning to face her son—and caught him pressing a fist into his lower back, trying to ease the chronic ache. She turned away, knowing her face reflected the revulsion she felt now every time she looked at him.

    "What do you want, Kartane?"

    "Did you find out anything?" he asked hesitantly.

    "There's nothing to find out," Dorothea replied sharply, setting the glass down before it broke in her hand. "There's nothing wrong with you." Which was a lie. Anyone who looked at him knew it was a lie.

    "There must be some reason why—"

    "There is nothing wrong with you."Or, more truthfully, nothing she could do about it. But there was no need to tell him that.

    "There has to be something," Kartane persisted. "Some spell—"

    "Where?" Dorothea said angrily, turning to face him. "Show me where. There is nothing, I tell you,nothing."

    "Mother—"

    Dorothea slapped him hard across the face. "Don't call me that."

    Kartane stiffened and said nothing else.

    Dorothea took a deep breath and ran her hands along her hips, smoothing the gown. Then she looked at him, not bothering to hide her disgust. "I'll continue to look into the matter. However, I have other appointments right now."

    Kartane bowed, accepting the dismissal.

    As soon as she was alone, Dorothea reached for the wine and swore when she saw how badly her hand was shaking.

    Kartane's "illness" was getting worse, and there wasn't a damn thing she could do. The best Healers in Hayll couldn't find a physical reason for his body's deterioration because there wasn't one. But she'd pushed the Healers until a few months ago, when Kartane's screams had woken her and she'd learned about the dreams.

    It always came back to that girl. Greer's death, Kartane's illness, Daemon's breaking the Ring of Obedience, Hekatah's obsession.

    It always came back to that girl.

    So she had gone to Chaillot secretly and had discovered that all the males who had been associated with a place called Briarwood were suffering in similar ways. One man screamed at least once a day that his hands were being cut off, despite being able to see them, move them. Two others babbled about a leg.

    Furious, she had gone to Briarwood, which had been abandoned by then, to search for the tangled web of dreams and visions that she was sure had ensnared them all.

    Her efforts had failed. The only thing she had been able to draw from Briarwood's wood and stone was ghostly,

    taunting laughter. No, not quite the only thing. After she had been there an hour, fear had thickened the air—fear and a sense of expectant waiting. She could have pried a little more, pushed a little harder. If she had, she was sure she would have found a strand that would have led her into the web. She was also sure she wouldn't have found a way out again.

    It always came back to that girl.

    She had returned home, dismissed the Healers, and begun insisting there was nothing wrong with him whenever Kartane pushed for her help.

    She would keep on insisting, not only because there was nothing she could do, but because it would serve another purpose. Once Kartane felt certain he would get no help from her, he would look elsewhere. He would look for the one person he had always run to as a child whenever he needed help.

    And sooner or later, he would find Daemon Sadi for her.

    3 / Kaeleer

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire