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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(145) by Anne Bishop
  • She went absolutely still, and he was afraid Witch might look right into him and see what he wanted to hide.

    "What is the message?"

    *She said the triangle must stay together in order to survive. The mirror can keep the others safe, but only if they're together.* He hesitated when she just stared at him. *Who is the mirror?*

    "Daemon," she replied absently. "He's his father's mirror."

    She seemed lost for a moment, long enough to make him nervous. *Do you understand the message?*

    "No," she said, looking very pale. "But I'm sure I will."

    9 / Kaeleer

    Luthvian heard her bedroom door open, but she continued stuffing clothes into a travel bag and didn't turn around. Damn Eyrien pup, coming up to her room without permission. And damn Lucivar for insisting that she come to the Keep and insisting that she have an escort. She didn't need an escort—especially not Palanar, who was barely old enough to wipe his own nose.

    As she started to turn around to tell him just that, a caped figure rushed at her. Instantly, instinctively, she threw up a Red shield. A blast of Red power struck her at the same moment, preventing the shield from forming, and the figure was on her. They tumbled to the floor.

    Luthvian didn't realize she'd been knifed until the enemy yanked the blade out of her body.

    Being a Healer, she knew it was bad—a killing wound.

    Furious, knowing she didn't have long, she ripped the hood off her enemy and then stared for a moment, frozen. "You."

    Hekatah rammed the knife into Luthvian's belly. "Bitch," she hissed. "I could have made something of you. Now I'll just turn you into carrion."

    Luthvian tried to fight, tried to scratch and claw, but her arms felt too heavy to lift. She couldn't do anything even when Hekatah's teeth sank into her throat and her blood fed the vile bitch.

    Nothing to be done for the body, but the Self...

    Gathering her strength and her rage, she channeled it into her inner barriers.

    Hekatah pounded against them as she fed, pounded and pounded, trying to blast them open to finish the kill. But Luthvian hung on, letting rage form the bridge between life and death as she poured her strength into her inner barriers. Poured and poured until there was nothing left. Nothing.

    At some point, the pounding stopped, and Luthvian felt a grim satisfaction that the bitch hadn't been able to break through.

    Far, far away, she felt Hekatah roll off her. Somewhere in the vague, misty distance she saw sharp nails descending toward her face.

    The hand stopped before the nails touched her eyes.

    "No," Hekatah said. "If you manage to make the transition to demon-dead, I want you to see what I do to your boy."

    Movement. The bedroom door closed. Silence.

    Luthvian felt herself fading. With effort, she flexed her fingers—just a little.

    Her rage had burned through the transition without her being aware of it, without Hekatah being able to sense it. She was demon-dead, but she didn't have the strength to hold on. Her Self would soon become a whisper in the Darkness. Perhaps, someday, when it had rested and regained some strength, the Self would leave the Darkness and return to the living Realms. Perhaps.

    How many times had Lucivar told her to set up warning shields around the house? And every time he'd tried, she had dismissed it with a sneer. But she'd been secretly pleased that he had tried.

    It had been a test, but she had been the only one who had known that. Every time he had mentioned the shields again after she had dismissed the idea, every time he had endured her sharp tongue while he helped her in some way had been a test to prove that he cared about her.

    Oh, there were times when, seeing the tightness in his face and the coolness in his eyes, she had told herself it would be the last time, the last test. The next time he mentioned the shields, she would do what he wanted so that he would know she cared about him, too.

    Then the next time would come and she would want, wouldneed, just one more test. One more. And one more. Always one more.

    Now there would be no more tests, but her son, her fine Eyrien Warlord Prince, would never know she had loved him.

    All she would have needed was an hour as one of the demon-dead. An hour to tell him. She couldn't even leave him a message. Nothing.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire