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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 153)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(153) by Anne Bishop
  • *Web is ready,* the Arachnian Queen replied, delicately brushing a leg against one of the drops of blood sealed in shielded water bubbles. *I add memories now. But... Need human memories.*

    Ladvarian bristled. *She wasour dream more than theirs.*

    *But theirs, too. Need kindredand human memories for this Witch.*

    Ladvarian's heart sank. It had been easy with the kindred. He had told them what was required and that it was for the Lady. That's all the kindred had needed to know. But humans would want to know why, why, why. They would take time to persuade—and time was something he didn't have.

    *The Strange One will help you,* the spider said.

    *But the Lady knows packs of humans, wholeherds of humans. How—*

    *The First Circle have strong memories. They will be enough. Ask the Gray Black Widow. For a human, she is a good weaver.*

    She meant Karla. Yes. If he could persuade Karla...

    *Wait for the right time to ask. After Witch has gone to her own web. The humans will listen better then.*

    *I'll go to the Keep now and wait.* Ladvarian looked around one more time. There was nothing left to do. The chamber was ready. The tangled web was ready. The kindred who belonged to the Lady's court were gathered on the Arachnians' island to give their strength to the Weaver's web when the time came.

    *One more thing,* the spider said. *Gray dog. You know this dog?*

    An image appeared in Ladvarian's mind. *That's Graysfang. He's a wolf.*

    *Send him to me. There is something he must learn.*

    18 / Terreille

    It was a war camp, not the sort of place he would have looked for Hekatah or Dorothea. Around the wide perimeter, metal stakes had been driven into the ground every few yards. Embedded in the stakes were two crystals, one on each side, spelled so that anything going between them would break their contact with the crystal in the next stake and would alert the guards. The camp itself had clusters of tents for the guards, a few small wooden cabins built close together near the camp's center, and two wooden huts that had heavily barred windows and layers of guard spells around them. In front of the cabins were six thick wooden stakes that had heavy chains attached to them. For prisoners. For bait.

    As soon as he walked past the perimeter stakes, they knew he was coming. On the journey there, he had thought again about what he was going to do. He could kill Hekatah and Dorothea. He could unleash the strength of his Black Jewels, destroy everyone in the camp, and take Lucivar, Marian, and Daemonar home. But it wouldn't stop the war. Terreille needed to be confronted with a power that would terrify the people sufficiently that they wouldn'tdare fight against it. So it always came back to provoking Jaenelle enough for her to unleash her Ebony power and give the Terreilleans a reason to stay in their own Realm.

    As he walked toward the center of the camp, guards followed him. No one approached him or tried to touch him.

    Round candle-lights set on top of tall metal poles lit the bloodstained bare ground at the exact center of the camp. Lucivar was chained to the last stake. The lash wounds on his chest and thighs had scabbed over and didn't appear to be deep enough to cause him serious harm. There were bruises on his face, but those, too, would cause no permanent damage.

    Saetan stopped at the edge of the light. He hadn't seen Hekatah in ten years—hardly more than a breath of time for someone who had lived as long as he had. And he had known her for most of those years. Even so, despite Dorothea standing beside her, she had withered so much,decayed so much, he wasn't really sure it was her until she spoke.

    "Saetan."

    "Hekatah." He walked to the center of the bare ground.

    "You've come to bargain?" Hekatah asked politely.

    He nodded. "A life for a life."

    She smiled. "Forlives. We'll throw the bitch and the babe into the bargain. We don't really have any use for them."

    Did she think he didn't know they would never give up Daemonar? They had been striving for centuries to get a child out of Lucivar or Daemon that they could control and breed in order to bring back a darker bloodline.

    "My life for theirs," he said.Everything has a price.

    "NO!" Lucivar shouted, struggling against the spelled chains."Kill them!"

    Ignoring Lucivar, he focused on Hekatah. "Do we have a bargain?"

    "For a chance to see the High Lord humbled?" Hekatah said sweetly. "Oh, yes, we have a bargain. As soon as you're restrained, I'll set the others free. I swear it on my word of honor."

    They ordered him to strip—and he did.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire