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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 5)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(5) by Anne Bishop
  • "We've gained one reluctant ally this afternoon—Alexandra Angelline, the Queen of Chaillot." Dorothea's lips curled in a vicious smile. "She was shocked to discover that her younger granddaughter has been under the High Lord's thumb for all these years, thanks to Daemon Sadi."

    Hekatah frowned. "She's a fool, but she isn't stupid. If she convinces Jaenelle to help her maintain control of Chaillot ..."

    Dorothea shook her head. "She doesn't believe Jaenelle has any power. I could see it in her eyes. I spun her a little story about women who are reservoirs of raw power—she didn't believe that either. She can accept that Sadi and the High Lord might have wanted Jaenelle for their own twisted reasons, but she'll continue to believe what shewants to believe about Jaenelle Angelline. Once she gets to Little Terreille, Lord Jorval will be waiting to offer his assistance.He'll never mention that Jaenelle is the Queen of Ebon Askavi. And I doubt Alexandra will believe anythinganyone at the Hall tells her."

    Hekatah laughed gleefully.

    "And I imagine that once she actually meets Prince Saetan Daemon SaDiablo, the High Lord of Hell, she'll be more than happy to send along any information she thinks will be useful to us."

    "And if he discovers her deceit..." Hekatah shrugged. "Well, we would have had to get rid of her after the war anyway."

    Dorothea stared at their reflections in the glass. They had been lovely women once. Now Hekatah looked like a corpse that the worms had been feasting on, and she...

    Sadi had created some kind of spell to age and twist her body, but he hadn't done anything to diminish her sexual appetite. The Blood called him the Sadist, but she hadn't really appreciated the depths of his cruelty. He had known her appetites—how could he not since he'd had to satisfy them when he was young? He had also known the humiliation she would feel when she saw revulsion in the eyes of the males she rode instead of that exciting combination of lust and fear. Now, after her tearful confession, she wouldn't even be able to indulge in that much.

    "You've informed your pet Queens that they'll have to abstain from their more—imaginative—pleasures for the time being?" Hekatah asked.

    "I've told them," Dorothea replied irritably. "Whether theywill restrain themselves is difficult to say."

    "Any who indulge will have to be eliminated."

    "And how do we explainthat ?

    Hekatah made an impatient sound. "Obviously they, too, have been under the High Lord's spell. Your gallant struggle to free yourself from his power also freed a number of your Sisters, but, unfortunately, not all of them. All it will take is one or two of them being killed for the others to understand the message and behave properly."

    "And after we've won?"

    "After we've won, we can do whatever we damn well please. We'll rule the Realms, Dorothea. Not just Terreille, butall of them—Terreille, Kaeleer, and Hell."

    Wanting to savor that possibility, Dorothea didn't say anything for several minutes. Then finally, reluctantly, she asked, "Do you really think that fear of the High Lord will be enough to start a war? Do you really think this will work?"

    What was left of Hekatah's lips pulled back in a terrible smile. "It worked the last time."

    6 / Kaeleer

    The Queen of Arachna settled next to the shoulder of the weary, golden-haired woman who leaned against a flat-sided boulder.

    *Is bad?* the large golden spider asked in her soft voice.

    Jaenelle Angelline brushed her hair away from her face and sighed. Her haunted sapphire eyes narrowed a little against the early-morning sunlight as she once again studied the delicate strands of the tangled web that she'd woven during the night. "Yes, it's bad. A war is coming. A war between the Realms."

    *Can stop?*

    Jaenelle shook her head slowly. "No. No one can stop it."

    The spider shifted uneasily. The air around the woman tasted of sadness—and a growing, cold rage. *The two-legs have fought before. Is more bad this time?*

    "You may look."

    Accepting the formal invitation, the Arachnian Queen opened her mind to the dreams and visions in the large tangled web Jaenelle had spun between a boulder and a nearby tree.

    So much death. So much pain and sorrow. And a creeping taint that soiled the ones remaining.

    Pulling back from the dreams and visions, she studied the web itself and noticed two odd things. One was the delicate silver ring set with an Ebony Jewel that had been placed in the center of the web. A Jewel chip was rarely woven into a tangled web because the magic that shaped those webs was powerful—and dangerous—enough, and this particular Jewel belonged to Jaenelle, who was Witch, the living myth, dreams made flesh. The other odd thing was the triangle. Many threads were connected to that ring, but overlying them were three threads that formed a triangle around it.

    Intrigued, the spider continued to study the web. She had seen that triangle before. Strength, passion, courage. Loyalty, honor, love. She could almost taste the male tang in those threads.

    "If Kaeleer accepts Terreille's challenge and goes to war," Jaenelle said softly, "it will destroy the Blood in both Realms. All the Blood. Even the kindred."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire