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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 172)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(172) by Anne Bishop
  • Closing his eyes again, he let his mind drift.

    He was standing in an enormous cavern somewhere in the heart of Ebon Askavi. Etched in the floor was a huge web lined with silver. In the center where all the tether lines met was an iridescent Jewel the size of his hand, a Jewel that blended the colors of all the other Jewels. At the end of each tether line was an iridescent Jewel chip the size of his thumbnail.

    He had been in this place once before, on the night when he had linked with Daemon in order to draw Jaenelle back to her body.

    But there was something else in the cavern now.

    Stretching across that silver web on the floor were three massive, connected tangled webs that rose from about a foot from the floor to almost twice his height. In the center of each web was an Ebony Jewel.

    Witch stood in front of those webs, wearing that black spidersilk gown, holding the scepter that held two Ebony Jewels and the spiral horn Kaetien had gifted her with when he'd been killed five years ago.

    Behind the webs were dozens of demon-dead. One of them approached the webs, smiled, then faded. At the moment the person faded, a little star the same color as the person's Jewel bloomed on the middle web.

    Puzzled, he moved to get a better look at the tangled webs.

    The first one repulsed him. The threads looked swollen, moldy, tainted. At the end of every single tether line of that web was an Ebony Jewel chip.

    The middle one was beautiful, filled with thousands of those little colored stars and a sprinkling of Black and Ebony Jewel chips.

    The last one was a simple web, perfect in its symmetry, made of gray, ebon-gray, and black threads. It, too, had Black and Ebony Jewel chips that had been carefully placed on the threads to form a spiral.

    He glanced at Witch, but she was focused on the task, so he shifted again to watch.

    He saw Char, the leader of the cildru dyathe, approach the webs. The boy grinned at him, waved a jaunty good-bye, and faded to become another bright star.

    Titian approached him, kissed his cheek. "I'm proud to have known you, High Lord." She walked over to the webs and faded.

    As he watched her, something nagged at him. Something about the structure of those webs. But before he could figure it out, Dujae, the artist who had given the coven drawing lessons, approached him.

    "Thank you, High Lord," the huge man said. "Thank you for allowing me to know the Ladies. All the portraits I have done of them are at the Hall in Kaeleer now. My gift to you."

    "Thank you, Dujae," he replied, puzzled.

    As Dujae walked away, Prothvar stepped up. "It's a different kind of battlefield, but it's a good way to fight. Take care of the waif, Uncle Saetan." Prothvar hugged him.

    Cassandra came next. Cassandra, whom he hadn't seen since the first party when they had all met the coven and the boyos.

    She smiled at him, a sad smile, then pressed her hand against his cheek. "I wish I had been a better friend. May the Darkness embrace you, Saetan." She kissed him. When she faded, a glorious Black star began to shine in the middle web.

    "Mephis," he said when his eldest son approached. "Mephis, what—"

    Mephis smiled and hugged him. "I was proud to have you for a father, and honored to know you as a man. I'm not sure I ever told you that. I wanted you to know. Good-bye, Father. I love you."

    "And I love you, Mephis," he said, holding on hard as he felt grief swell inside him.

    When Mephis faded into the web, the only one left of the demon-dead was Andulvar.

    "Andulvar, what's going on?"

    "And the Blood will sing to the Blood," Andulvar replied. "Like to like." He looked at the webs. "She found a way to identify those who have been tainted from those who still honor the ways of the Blood. But she needed help to keep those who followed the old ways from being swept away with the rest when she unleashes. That's what the demon-dead will do—our strength will anchor the living. We'll burn out in the doing, but as Prothvar said, it's a good way to fight."

    Andulvar smiled at him. "Take care of yourself, SaDiablo. And take care of those pups of yours. Both of them. Just remember that your mirror truly is your mirror. You only have to look to see the truth." Andulvar hugged him. "No man could have asked for a better friend or a better Brother. Hold on. Fight. You have the hardest burden, but your sons will help you."

    Andulvar walked to the webs. He spread his dark wings, raised his arms... and faded.

    As he blinked back tears, Jaenelle walked over to him. He wrapped his arms around her. "Witch-child ..."

    She shook her head, kissed him, and smiled. But her eyes were filled with tears.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire