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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 13)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(13) by Anne Bishop
  • Of course, it couldn't be. Lucivar had died eight years ago, escaping from the salt mines of Pruul.

    Then the man turned. For a moment, Daemon thought he saw the same fierce joy in Lucivar's eyes before it was lost in blazing fury.

    Seeing the fury and remembering that the unfinished business between them could only end in blood being spilled, Daemon retreated behind the cold mask he'd lived behind for most of his life and started to walk away.

    He'd only gone a few steps before a hand clamped on his right arm and spun him around.

    "How long have you been here?" Lucivar demanded.

    Daemon tried to shake off the hand, but Lucivar's fingers dug in hard enough to leave bruises. "Two days," Daemon replied with chilly courtesy. He felt the mask slip and knew he needed to get away from here before his emotions spilled over. Right now, he wasn't sure if he would meet Lucivar's anger with tears or rage.

    "Have you signed a contract?" Lucivar shook him. "Have you?"

    "No, and there's little time left to do it. If you'll excuse me."

    Lucivar snarled, tightened his grip, and almost yanked Daemon off his feet. "You weren't on the lists," he muttered as he pulled Daemon toward the table under the red banner. "I checked. You weren't on any of the damn lists."

    "I apologize for the incon—"

    "Shut up. Daemon."

    Daemon clenched his teeth and lengthened his stride to match his brother's. He didn't know what kind of game Lucivar was playing, but he'd be damned if he'd go into it being dragged like a reluctant puppy.

    "Look, Prick," Daemon said, trying to balance Lucivar's volatile temper with reason, "I have to—"

    "You're signing a contract with the Warlord Prince of Ebon Rib."

    Daemon let out an exasperated huff. "Don't you think you should discuss it with him beforehand?"

    Lucivar gave him a knife-edged look. "I don't usually discuss things with myself, Bastard. Plant your feet."

    Daemon felt the ground roll unexpectedly and decided it was good advice. "Have long have you been in Kaeleer?" he asked, feeling weak.

    "Eight years." Lucivar hissed as an older Eyrien Warlord signed the contract and stepped away from the table. "Hell's fire. Why is that little maggot taking so long to write a line of information?" He took a step toward the table. Then he turned back, and said too softly, "Don't try to walk away. If you do, I'll break your legs in so many places you won't even be able to crawl."

    Daemon didn't bother to respond. Lucivar didn't make idle threats, and in a physical fight, Daemon knew he couldn't beat his Eyrien half brother. Besides, the ground under his feet kept shifting in unexpected ways that threatened his balance.

    The Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih. Lucivar was the Warlord Prince of the territory that belonged to Ebon Askavi, the Black Mountain that was also called the Keep—that was also the Sanctuary of Witch.

    That didn't necessarily mean anything. The land existed whether a Warlord Prince watched over it or not—or a Queen ruled there or not.

    But Lucivar being alive here nourished the hope in Daemon that he had been wrong about Jaenelle's death as well. Had she sent Lucivar to the service fair to look for him? Had one of Lord Magstrom's inquiries reached her after all? Was she...

    Daemon shook his head. Too many questions—and this wasn't the time or place to get answers. But, oh, how he began to hope.

    As Lucivar approached the table, someone called, "Prince Yaslana. Here are two more for the contract."

    Turning toward the voice, Daemon felt the ground shift a little more. Two men, a Sapphire-Jeweled Warlord and a Red-Jeweled Warlord Prince, were pulling two women toward the table. A brown-haired man with a black eye patch and a pronounced limp angrily followed them.

    The frightened woman had dark hair, fair skin, and blue eyes. It had been thirteen years since he'd seen Wilhelmina Benedict, Jaenelle's half sister. She had grown into a beautiful woman, but was still filled with the brittle fear she'd had as an adolescent. Her eyes widened when she saw him, but she said nothing.

    The snarling woman with the long black hair, light golden-brown skin, delicately pointed ears, and blazing gold-green eyes was Surreal. She had left the island four months ago, giving no explanation except there was something she had to do.

    At first, he didn't know the limping man. When he saw the flash of recognition in the man's blue eye, he felt a stab of pain under his heart. Andrew, the stable lad who had helped him escape the Hayllian guards after Jaenelle had been taken back to Briarwood.

    "Lord Khardeen. Prince Aaron," Lucivar said, formally greeting the Sapphire-Jeweled Warlord and the Red-Jeweled Warlord Prince.

    "Prince Yaslana, these Ladies should be part of the contract," Prince Aaron said respectfully.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire