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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(133) by Anne Bishop
  • "No one in Terreille will think it's anyone but Sadi and Yaslana," Dorothea said gleefully. "They'll think the High Lord ordered the attack and sent his sons to oversee it."


    "Which will prove that all my warnings were justified. And once people start wondering why there has been no word from friends or loved ones..." Dorothea sank back in her chair with a sigh of pleasure. Then she straightened up reluctantly. "We still have to find a way to contain Jaenelle Angelline."

    "Oh, with the proper incentive, she'll willingly place herself in our hands."

    Dorothea snorted. "What kind of incentive would make her do that?"

    "Using someone she loves as bait."

    7 / Kaeleer

    Chilled to the bone, Saetan listened to Lucivar's and Daemon's reports. He would have liked to believe Lord Hobart had hired a company of Eyriens to help him seize control of Glacia, would have liked to believe Morton's death and the attack on Karla were strictly a Glacian concern. But he'd had other reports in the past twenty-four hours. Two District Queens in Dharo had been killed, along with their escorts. A mob of landens had attacked a kindred wolf pack that had recently formed around a young Queen. While the males were dealing with that threat, some Blood had outflanked them, killed the Queen, and vanished, leaving the landens behind to be slaughtered by the enraged males. In Scelt, a Warlord Prince, a youth still not quite old enough to make the Offering to the Darkness, had been found behind the tavern in his home village. His throat had been slit.

    Even more troubling, Kalush had been attacked while walking through a park in Tajrana, her own capital city. The only reason neither she nor her infant daughter had been harmed was because her attackers couldn't break through the protective shield around her—the Ebony shield that was in the ring Jaenelle had given her—and because Aaron, alerted by the link through the Ring of Honor he wore, had arrived riding the killing edge and had destroyed the attackers with a savagery that bordered on insanity.

    It didn't take any effort to see the pattern, especially since he recognized it. Fifty thousand years slipped away as if they had never existed. It might have been Andulvar and Mephis sitting there, voicing their concerns about swift, seemingly random attacks to a man who had insisted that, as a Guardian, he could no longer interfere with the affairs of the living. He was still a Guardian, but he was too entangled in the affairs of the living to obey the rules Guardians abided by.

    They were going to war.

    He wondered if Daemon and Lucivar realized it yet.

    And he wondered how many loved ones he would have to assist through the transition to becoming demon-dead this time—and how many would disappear without a trace. Like Andulvar's son, Ravenar. Like his own son, his second son, Peyton.

    "Father?" Daemon said quietly.

    He realized they were both watching him intently, but it was Daemon he focused on. The son who was a mirror, who was his true heir. The son he understood the best— and the least.

    Before he could start to tell them about the other attacks, Beale knocked on the study door and walked in.

    "Forgive the intrusion, High Lord," Beale said, "but there's a Warlord here to see you. He has a letter."

    "Then take the letter. I don't want to be disturbed at the moment."

    "I suggested that, High Lord. He said he needs to deliver it in person."

    Saetan waited a moment. "Very well."

    Lucivar sprang out of his chair and positioned himself so that he would flank anyone standing near the desk. Daemon rose and resettled himself on a corner of the desk.

    The intense warrior and the indolent male. Saetan imagined they had played these roles before—and played them well. With Lucivar's temper so close to the surface, the attention would be on him—but the death blow would come from Daemon.

    The Warlord who entered the study was pale, nervous, and sweating. He paled even more when he saw Lucivar and Daemon.

    Saetan walked around the desk. "You have a letter for me?"

    The Warlord swallowed hard. "Yes, sir." He extended an envelope, the ink a little smeared from his hands.

    Saetan probed the envelope. Found nothing. No trace of a spell. No trace of poison. He took it and looked at the Warlord.

    "I found that in the guest room desk this morning," the man said hurriedly. "I didn't know it was there."

    Saetan looked at the envelope. There was nothing on it except his name. "So you found it this morning. Is that significant?"

    "I hope not. I mean—" The man took a deep breath, made an effort to steady himself. "Lord Magstrom is— was—my wife's grandfather. He came to visit us last fall, just before... Well, before. He seemed disturbed about something, but we weren't paying much attention. My wife... We had just found out for sure that she was pregnant. She'd had a miscarriage the year before, and we were concerned that it might happen again. The Healer says she has to be careful."

    Why was the man pleading with him? "Is your wife well?"

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire