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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 139)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(139) by Anne Bishop
  • "We're at war, Jaenelle," Daemon said earnestly. "It doesn't matter if it's been formally declared or not. Weare at war."

    "No."

    "You have the strength to make the difference. If you unleash—"

    "I can't."

    "You can."

    "I can't."

    "WHY NOT?"

    She turned on him. "BECAUSE, DAMN YOU, I'M TOO STRONG! If I unleash my strength, it will destroy the Blood.All the Blood. In Terreille. In Kaeleer. In Hell."

    Daemon's legs turned to water. Weakly, he pushed aside some books so that he could sit on the table.You had said she was six times stronger than our combined strength. Oh, Father, you were so wrong. Six times? Six hundred times? Six thousandtimes?

    Enough power to wipe the Blood out of existence.

    With her arms wrapped around herself, Jaenelle paced. "The Keep is the Sanctuary. It wouldn't be affected. But how many could it hold? A few thousand at most? Who chooses, Daemon? What if the wrong choices are made and the taint is still there, hidden because someone is so damn sure she's right?"

    She was thinking of Alexandra. Would anyone have considered Alexandra tainted? Misguided, certainly, but unless they were obviously twisted, the Queens would definitely be among the chosen. And what about someone like Vania? Not tainted the way Jaenelle was talking about, but the kind of woman who could sour the males around her and eventually ruin a land. Exactly the kind of woman Dorothea cultivated.

    "The Blood are the Blood," Jaenelle continued. "Two feet, four feet, it doesn't matter. The Blood are the Blood. The gift of Craft came from one source, and it binds all of us."

    So not even the kindred could be spared. No wonder this had been ripping her apart. "Does Kaeleer win?" Daemon asked quietly. A full minute passed before Jaenelle answered. "Yes. But the price for winning will be all the Kaeleer Queens and all the Warlord Princes."

    Daemon thought about the decent people he had met since he'd come to Kaeleer. He thought about the kindred. He thought about the children. Most of all, he thought about Daemonar, Lucivar's son. If, for some reason, they didn't destroy Dorothea and Hekatah, and those two got their hands on Daemonar... "Do it," he said. "Unleash your strength. Destroy the Blood." Jaenelle's mouth fell open. She stared at him. "Do it," he repeated. "If that's the only way to get rid of the taint Dorothea and Hekatah have spread in the Blood, then, by the Darkness, Jaenelle, show some mercy for those you love and do it."

    She began pacing again. "There has to be a way to separate Blood from Blood. Therehas to be."

    A memory teased him, but he couldn't catch hold of it while her frenzied movement seemed to put everything in motion. "Stand still," he snapped. She came to an abrupt halt and huffed. He raised a hand, commanding silence. The memory continued to tease, but he caught the tail of it. "I think there's a way."

    Her eyes widened but she obeyed the command for silence.

    "A few centuries ago, there was a Queen called the Gray Lady. When a village she was staying in was about to be attacked by Hayllian warriors, she found a way to separate the villagers from the Hayllians so that when she unleashed her strength, the villagers were spared."

    "How did she do it?" Jaenelle asked very quietly.

    "I don't know." He hesitated—and wondered why he hesitated. "A man I knew was with her at the time. A few years before his death, he sent a message to me that he had made a written account of the 'adventure' and had left it for me in a safe place. She was a good Queen, the last Queen to hold Dorothea at bay. He wanted her remembered."

    Jaenelle leaped at him, grabbed him. "Then youdo know how she did it!"

    "No, Idon't know. I never picked up the written account. I decided to leave it where it was, out of Dorothea's reach."

    "Do you think you could find it?" Jaenelle asked anxiously.

    "That shouldn't be difficult," Daemon replied dryly as he wrapped his arms around her, suddenly needing to touch her. "He left it with the Keep's librarian."

    "I retrieved it from the Terreillean Keep the first time you came to Ebon Askavi with Jaenelle," Geoffrey said as he handed Daemon a carefully wrapped parcel. "I wondered at the time why you didn't ask for it. What made you think of it now?"

    The question sounded innocently curious, but there wasn't anything innocent about it.

    Looking straight into Geoffrey's black eyes, Daemon smiled. "I just remembered it."

    He didn't unwrap it, didn't look at it. He probed it just enough to make sure there weren't any spells hidden in it that would be triggered if someone besides him handled it. Then he gave it to Jaenelle and spent the next several hours denying access to the Queen to just about every member of the First Circle. That had caused hard feelings but was easy enough. No one but the Steward, the Master of the Guard, and the Consort were permitted free access to the Queen's chambers. Lucivar had taken one look at him and had retreated. Stalling Saetan and Andulvar had been much more difficult, and he sensed it wouldn't take many more polite confrontations to erode their trust in him. Considering Jaenelle's behavior lately, he could appreciate their concern. It still hurt.

    When he finally returned to her, he found her in her sitting room, her arms wrapped around herself, staring bleakly out the window.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire