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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(128) by Anne Bishop
  • "No. I want you to stay here with the other women."

    Her eyes frosted. "Why?"

    Abruptly impatient, he snarled, "Because you wear the Gray, and I trust you." He waited until he knew she understood. "My eyrie has Ebon-gray shields, but Marian can key them. Don't let anyone in that she doesn't know—for any reason. I'll be back as soon as I can."

    Surreal nodded. "All right. But you be careful. If you get hurt, I'll smack you."

    Lucivar waited until she was out of earshot before he waved Hallevar over to him. "Send Palanar to my mother's house. He's to escort Lady Luthvian to my eyrie without delay."

    Hallevar shifted uneasily. "She'll take a strip out of the boy."

    "Tell her it's an order from the Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih," Lucivar said. "Then I want you to keep an eye open around here. If you see anything, hear anything, sense anything you don't like, you send one of the boys to the Keep and the other to the Hall for help. The wolf pack will also keep watch. If you see anyone who doesn't live right here, whether you knew them well in Terreille or not, treat them as an enemy. Understand?"

    Nodding, Hallevar went off to attend his duties.

    A short time later, Lucivar and five of his men were flying toward the Keep.

    2 / Kaeleer

    Lucivar set the metal bucket on the opposite end of the worktable and watched Saetan pour fresh blood into a bowl of simmering liquid. "I thought you would be at the Hall, waiting for the reports to come in."

    "Draca sent for me," Saetan replied, lightly stirring the bowl's contents. "What brings you here?"

    "Morton is dead."

    Saetan's hand hesitated a moment, then resumed stirring. "I know."

    Lucivar tensed, then said cautiously, "He's in the Dark Realm?"

    "No, he's here. That's why Draca sent for me. He came to report."

    Lucivar paced restlessly. "Good. I'll talk to him before—"

    "No."

    The implacable tone in Saetan's voice stopped him—for a moment. "I don't care if he's demon-dead now."

    "He does." Saetan's voice gentled. "He doesn't want to see you, Lucivar. Not any of you."

    "Why in the name of Hell not?" Lucivar shouted.

    Saetan snarled. "Do you think it's easy making the transition? Do you think anything will be the same for him? He'sdead, Lucivar. He's a young man who will never do a great many things now, who is no longer who and what he used to be. There are reasons why the dead remain, for the most part, among the dead."

    Lucivar resumed his pacing. "It's not like the First Circle isn't used to being around the demon-dead."

    "You didn't know them when they walked among the living," Saetan said softly. "There were no ties with them that needed to be cut. Yes, the tiesdo need to be cut," he said, overriding Lucivar's protest. "The living have to move on—and so do the dead. If you can't respect that, at least respect the fact that he needs time to adjust before he has to deal with the rest of you."

    Lucivar swore softly. "How bad... ?"

    Saetan set the spoon down and moved to the other end of the table. "The wounds aren't visible when he's dressed. In fact, they wouldn't have been fatal if the arrows hadn't been poisoned."

    "Poisoned," Lucivar said flatly as he stared down at the bucket.

    "There's not much Morton could tell you, and without more information, even what he knows doesn't help us much."

    Lucivar pointed at the bucket. "You may find your answers in there."

    Saetan lifted the dark cloth, looked inside the bucket, then let the cloth drop.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire