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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(138) by Anne Bishop
  • Tersa dipped one finger into the bowl. As she raised her hand, a drop of water clung to her finger. Instead of falling, the drop began to expand, like a little bubble of blown glass, a pearl of water. Using her thumbnail, Tersa jabbed a finger on her other hand. A drop of blood welled up on the finger. "And the Blood shall sing to the Blood."

    Ladvarian felt the power flowing into that drop of blood.

    "Let blood be memory's river." Turning her hand, she brushed the drop of blood against the drop of water. The blood flowed through the water bubble until it was contained inside it.

    After placing a protective shield around it, Tersa tucked the water bubble into a small padded box and extended it toward Ladvarian. "Look."

    He opened his mind, sent out a tentative psychic probe.

    Images, memories flowed past him. Memories of a young girl leading an exhausted woman out of the Twisted Kingdom. Memories of Jaenelle, older, promising to find Daemon. Memories of conversations, laughter, delight in the world. Tersa's memories.

    "You will tell the Weaver?" Tersa asked.

    Ladvarian vanished the box. *I will tell her.*

    "One other thing, little Brother. Don't refuse Lorn's gift. The Weaver will need that, too."

    5 / Kaeleer

    Leaving the door open, Daemon walked into Jaenelle's workroom. She had been spending hours there every day since she'd brought Karla to the Keep to continue the healing, but he didn't think her distraction or the controlled frenzy of her activities had anything to do with Karla. In fact, he was certain he was the only one who had been allowed a glimpse of that frenzy. Something was eating at her, and after the little scene in the meeting room, he was determined to find out what.

    "Jaenelle, we need to talk."

    She glanced up from the mound of books that filled one

    table. "I don't have time to talk now, Daemon," she said dismissively.

    With a flick of a thought, he slammed the door so hard all the objects in the room jumped—including her.

    "Make time," he said too softly. When she started to protest, he cut her off. "I'll do anything for you.Anything. But before I put myself against the rest of the First Circle, I want to know why."

    "Kaeleer cannot go to war with Terreille." Her voice trembled.

    "Why?"

    Hot, angry tears filled her eyes. "Because if we go to war, every person who was in that room will die."

    "You don't know that," he snapped.

    The tears spilled over, slicing his heart. "Yes, I do."

    Daemon rocked back on his heels. She was a very strong, very gifted Black Widow. If she'd seen their deaths in a tangled web of dreams and visions, there was no room for doubt.That explained her resistance.

    He took a deep breath to steady himself. "Sweetheart... sometimes killing is necessary. Sometimes it's the only path to take in order to save what is good."

    "I know that." Jaenelle slammed a book on the table. "I've spent the past three weeks searching for an answer. No, I've spent longer than that, but time is running out. I can feel it."

    "Jaenelle," he said carefully, "you have the strength ..." The look in her eyes was almost hateful, but he pushed on. "A portion of your strength would eliminate a Terreillean army."

    "And while I was eliminating that one, six more would be killing the Kaeleer Blood in other Territories. Even if I do destroy them, one army at a time, it won't make any difference."

    "You wouldn't be the only one fighting," Daemon insisted, bracing one hand on the table to lean toward her. "Hell's fire, woman, look at the strength of the males in this Realm. Look at the Jewels. The Blacks. The Ebon-grays. The Grays. We have the dominant strength."

    "Kaeleer had the dominant strength in the last war, too," Jaenelle replied quietly. "And Kaeleer won—barely, but Kaeleer won. But all those males died. And it didn't make any difference. The taint that fed that war is still in the Blood, even stronger now."

    "Hekatah and Dorothea can be destroyed."

    Jaenelle moved around the table in order to pace. "It wouldn't do any good at this point. Even if they're destroyed, even if Kaeleer wins the initial war, the Shadow Realm won't win. The taint's too widespread now. Terreille will keep sending armies. Will keep sending them and sending them, and the fighting will go on and on, in Terreille as well as in Kaeleer, until the Blood can't remember who they are or that they were supposed to be the caretakers of the Realms."

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