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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 90)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(90) by Anne Bishop
  • "Are you?" he asked softly. "I'm not sure I am."

    Sylvia stared at him. She hesitated. She said nothing.

    He let her go.

    "You're going out?"

    Jaenelle leaned against the wall opposite his bedroom door, her finger tucked between the pages of a Craft book to hold her place.

    Amused, Saetan raised an eyebrow. It was usually the parent who insisted on knowing his offspring's whereabouts, not the other way around. "I'm going to see Tersa."

    "Why? This isn't your usual evening to see her."

    He caught the slight edge in her voice, the subtle warning. "Am I that predictable?" he asked, smiling.

    Jaenelle didn't smile back.

    Before her own catastrophic plunge into the abyss or wherever she'd spent those two years, Jaenelle had gone into the Twisted Kingdom and had led Tersa back to the blurred boundary that separated madness and sanity. That was as far as Tersa could go—or was willing to go.

    Jaenelle had helped her regain a little of the real world. Now that they were living near each other, Jaenelle continued to help Tersa fill in the pieces that made up the physical world. Small things. Simple things. Trees and flowers. The feel of loam between strong fingers. The pleasure of a bowl of soup and a thick slice of fresh-baked bread.

    "Sylvia came to see me this afternoon," he said slowly, trying to understand the chill emanating from Jaenelle. "She thinks Tersa's upset about something, so I wanted to look in on her."

    Jaenelle's sapphire eyes were as deep and still as a bottomless lake. "Don't push where you're not welcome, High Lord," Witch said.

    He wondered if she knew how much her eyes revealed. "You'd prefer I not see her?" he asked respectfully.

    Her eyes changed. "See her if you like," his daughter replied. "But don't invade her privacy."

    "There's no wine." Tersa opened and closed cupboards, looking more and more confused. "The woman didn't buy the wine. She always buys a bottle of wine on fourth-day so it will be here for you. She didn't buy the wine, and tomorrow I was going to draw a picture of my garden and show it to you, but third-day's gone and I don't know where I put it."

    Saetan sat at the pine kitchen table, his body saturated with sorrow until it felt too heavy to move. He'd joked about being predictable. He hadn't realized that his predictability was one of Tersa's touchstones, a means by which she separated the days. Jaenelle had known and had let him come to learn the lesson for himself.

    With his hands braced on the table, he pushed himself up from the chair. Every movement was an effort, but he reached Tersa, who was still opening cupboards and muttering, seated her at the table, put a kettle on the stove, and, after a little exploring in the cupboards, made them both a cup of chamomile tea.

    As he put the cup in front of her, he brushed the tangled black hair away from her face. He couldn't remember a time when Tersa's hair didn't look as if she'd washed it and let it dry in the wind, as if her fingers were the only comb it had ever known. He suspected it wasn't madness but intensity that made her indifferent. And he wondered if that wasn't one of the reasons, when he'd finally agreed to that contract with the Hayllian Hourglass to sire a child, that he'd chosen Tersa, who wa's already broken, already teetering on the edge of madness. He'd spent over an hour brushing her hair that first night. He'd brushed her hair every night of the week he'd bedded her, enjoying the feel of it between his fingers, the gentle pull of the brush.

    Now, sitting across from her, his hands around the mug, he said, "I came early, Tersa. You didn't lose third-day. This is second-day."

    Tersa frowned. "Second-day? You don't come on second-day."

    "I wanted to talk to you. I didn't want to wait until fourth-day. I'll come back on fourth-day to see your drawing."

    Some of the confusion left her gold eyes. She sipped her tea.

    The pine table was empty except for a small azure vase holding three red roses.

    Tersa gently touched the petals. "The boy picked these for me."

    "Which boy is that?" Saetan said quietly.

    "Mikal. Sylvia's boy. He comes to visit. Did she tell you?"

    "I thought you might mean Daemon."

    Tersa snorted. "Daemon's not a boy now. Besides, he's far away." Her eyes became clouded, farseeing. "And the island has no flowers."

    "But you call Mikal Daemon."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire