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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 131)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(131) by Anne Bishop
  • "Because the other women fought, while this one expected a different kind of reward," Lucivar replied. When Falonar stared at him with horror-filled eyes, he laughed, a low, nasty sound. "You spent enough time in the Terreillean courts to know how to get dirty, Prince Falonar.Someone had to help that Green-Jeweled bastard go through the Gate to get back to Terreille—or at least keep the old Priestess from realizing the Gate was being used without her knowledge or consent. As for the beating ... I guess when the bastard realized he was trapped in here, he needed to take it out on someone."

    "The cat didn't kill him slow enough," Falonar muttered, turning away from the room. "Not nearly slow enough."

    I imagine the High Lord will know how to extract the final payment for the debt,Lucivar thought, but he didn't tell Falonarthat.

    As they left the Sanctuary, Zaranar made a "come here" gesture.

    "Rothvar's at the back door," Zaranar said uneasily. "I think you should handle this. All we've done is keep an eye on the doors," he added quickly.

    Before Lucivar could move, Kohlvar sent an urgent message. *Prince, there's a Glacian at the landing web who says he's Lady Karla's Master of the Guard. He's got forty guards with him.*

    *Tell him to stay put,* Lucivar replied sharply as he and Falonar headed for the back of the house. *I'll talk to him in a few minutes.*

    Before he reached the back door, he could hear the nervous snarls coming from inside the house. Rothvar stepped aside. Lucivar started to go in, then stopped abruptly.

    The Arcerian Warlord was almost full-grown, so there wasn't much room in the small kitchen for a cat his size to pace. On the table was an odd assortment of food. On the floor was a goat, neatly killed.

    When Lucivar took a step toward the goat, the cat pounced on it and snarled.

    *Mine,* the cat said.

    "All right," Lucivar replied mildly.

    The cat seemed puzzled by his easy agreement. *Payment for work.*

    Interesting, Lucivar thought. Was this a kindred testing of a human idea? "Since you're guarding this place instead of hunting, it's fair that you be paid with meat."

    Relaxing a little, the cat looked at the table. So did Lucivar. There wasn't anything on it he thought a cat would want to eat. "Is that also payment for work?"

    *Human food.* The cat made it sound more like a hopeful question.

    "Yes, it is."

    *A she-kitten would like this food?*

    Lucivar rubbed his chin. "I don't know."

    The cat growled, but the sound was filled with discouragement. *We burned some meat for her, but she would not eat.* He wrinkled his lips to indicate what he thought of ruining good meat by cooking it. *I promised to bring human food.*

    A chill whispered down Lucivar's spine. "A child survived this place?"

    *Yes. The she-kitten. KaeAskavi's friend.* The cat studied him, then asked hesitantly, *You will help?*

    Lucivar blinked away tears that would only confuse the cat. "Yes, I will help."

    5 / Kaeleer

    "Did we do the right thing?" Daemon asked as he and Lucivar air walked above the deep snow toward the place that was designated as an official landing web. They weren't making that effort just to avoid floundering in waist-high snow; tracks might have shown an enemy where the Arcerian dens were located.

    "What else could we do?" Lucivar replied wearily. "The girl has lost her mother, her village, everyone she knew. KaeAskavi's the only friend she has left. There are pockets of fighting going on throughout Glacia, so placing her in another village... There's no guarantee she would survive the next time a place is attacked. Marian and I would take her to live with us, but ..."

    Daemon shook his head. "You were right about that. She wouldn't be able to handle being around Eyriens right now." Which was why Lucivar had insisted that Daemon come with him to Arceria in the first place.

    "And we can't take her anywhere else," Lucivar added grimly. "Not until we know if this attack was part of Hobart's attempt to regain control of Glacia or if it's something more. You said the girl was physically all right."

    "She sprained an ankle, but the Arcerian Healers have the Craft to take care of injured limbs. Other than that, she was... unharmed." He couldn't say the word "rape." He would never forget the fear that had jolted through him when he had crawled into that den and seen Delia—fair-haired, blue-eyed, ten-year-old Delia. She didn't look anything like Jaenelle, except in coloring, but that had been enough to cause the memories of what had happened in Chaillot thirteen years ago to come rushing back at him. His hands had trembled as he'd cautiously examined her for injuries, as he had used a delicate psychic probe to answer that particular question. His hands had also trembled because she had been gripping a stuffed toy cat in one hand and a fistful of KaeAskavi's fur in the other—which meant the cat had been literally breathing down his neck. It was the way she had held on to KaeAskavi that had forced him to leave her there. She needed to feel safe in order to heal—and snuggling up to four hundred pounds of muscle and fur obviously made her feel very safe.

    Lucivar rested a hand on Daemon's shoulder. "A few weeks among the Arcerians won't hurt her. At least this way she can be 'mothered' without feeling like she's letting someone take her mother's place."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire