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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 6)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(6) by Anne Bishop
  • *Some will live. It is always so.*

    "Not this time. Oh, there will be some who will physically survive the war, but..." Jaenelle's voice broke. She took a deep breath. "All of my Sisters, all of my friends will be gone. All of the Queens will be gone. All of the Warlord Princes."

    *Aw.*

    "There will be no Queens left to heal the land, no Queens left to hold the Blood together. The slaughter will continue until there's no one left to slaughter. The witches will be as barren as the land. The gift of power that had been given to us so long ago will be the final weapon that destroys us. If Kaeleer goes to war with Terreille."

    *Must fight,* the spider said. *Must stop creeping taint.*

    Jaenelle smiled bitterly. "War won't stop it. I know who nurtured the seeds, and if eliminating Dorothea and Hekatah would stop this from coming, I'd destroy them right now. But it wouldn't stop anything, not anymore. It would only delay it, and that would be worse. This is the right place and the right time to cleanse that taint out of the Blood."

    *You speak paths that go no place,* the spider scolded. *You say can't fight but must fight. You confused? Maybe you read web wrong.*

    Jaenelle turned her head toward the spider, a dryly amused look on her face. "And where did I learn to weave a tangled web? If I'm not reading it right, maybe I wasn't taught correctly."

    The spider used Craft to make a harsh, buzzing sound that indicated severe disapproval. *Not fault of teaching spider if little spider pay more attention to catching fly than doing lesson.*

    Jaenelle's silvery, velvet-coated laugh filled the air. "I never once tried to catch a fly. And Idid pay attention to the teaching spider. After all, shewas the Dream Weavers' Queen at the time."

    The Arachnian Queen resettled herself, somewhat mollified.

    Jaenelle's humor faded as she turned her sapphire eyes back to the web. "Terreille will go to war."

    *Then Kaeleer will war.*

    "This web shows two paths," Jaenelle said very quietly.

    *No,* the spider replied firmly. *One web, one vision. That is the way.*

    "Two paths," Jaenelle insisted. "Following the second path, Kaeleer doesn't go to war with Terreille, and the Queens and Warlord Princes survive to heal and protect the Shadow Realm."

    *Then who war with Terreille?*

    Jaenelle hesitated. "The Queen of the Darkness."

    *Butyou are Queen!*

    Jaenelle exhaled sharply. "A war that cleanses the Realms, calls in the debts, takes back the gift of power that was given. There's a way. Theremust be a way, but the web can't show me yet because of that." Her finger pointed to the triangle. "That's not the Queen's triangle." Her finger traced the left side of the triangle. "That thread is the High Lord." She traced the bottom thread. "And that thread is Lucivar." Her finger hesitated at the triangle's right side. "But that thread isn't Andulvar. It should be, since he's the Master of the Guard, but it's someone else. Someone who isn't here yet, someone who can guide me to the answers I need to walk that other path."

    *The thread not tell you its name?*

    "It says the mirror is coming. What kind of answer is—" Tensing, Jaenelle scrambled to her knees. "Daemon," she whispered."Daemon."

    The spider shifted uneasily. Witch had flavored the air with intense pleasure when she had whispered that name— but underneath the pleasure there was a little taste of fear.

    "I have to go," Jaenelle said hurriedly as she leaped to her feet. "I still need to stop at a couple of kindred Territories before I return to the Hall." She hesitated, glanced at the spider. "With your permission, I'd like to keep this one for a while."

    *Your webs be welcome among the Weavers of Dreams.*

    Raising her hand, Jaenelle used Craft to put a protective shield on the tangled web's threads. She looked back at the spider. "May the Darkness embrace you, Sister."

    *And you, Sister Queen,* the spider replied formally.

    The Arachnian Queen waited until Jaenelle caught one of the Winds, those psychic pathways through the Darkness, before she used Craft to float gently toward the tangled web.

    One web, one vision. That was the way. But when Witch spun a web

    Using instinct and all of her training, the spider cautiously brushed a leg against a small thread that floated loose from the Ebony ring. The tangled web showed her the second path.

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