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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 179)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(179) by Anne Bishop
  • Saetan jerked upright. Seventy-two hours.

    Confined to a sitting room in the Keep, he had paced. "From sunset to sunrise. That's how long an Offering takes. For the White, for the Black, that's how long it takes."

    "For the Prince of the Darkness," Tersa had said as she pushed around the pieces of a puzzle. "But for the Queen?"

    When Jaenelle had made the Offering to the Darkness, it had taken her three days.Seventy-two hours.

    "Mother Night," he whispered, shifting into a sitting position.

    The door opened. Daemon rushed in and dropped a bundle of clothing on the bed.

    Before Saetan could say anything, one of Daemon's hands was clamped behind his head and the other was holding a cup to his lips, pouring warm liquid down his throat. He had no choice but to swallow or choke. He swallowed. A moment later, he wished he had choked.

    "Hell's fire, what did you just give me?" he gasped as he bent over and pressed his forehead to his knees.

    "A tonic," Daemon said, vigorously rubbing Saetan's back.

    "Stop that," Saetan snapped. He turned his head just enough to glare at Daemon."Whose tonic?"

    "Jaenelle's—with my blood added."

    Saetan swore softly, viciously, with great sincerity.

    Daemon winced and muttered, "She said it would kick like two teams of draft horses."

    "Only someone who's never had to drink one of these little tonics would describe it that mildly."

    Daemon went down on his knees in front of Saetan and busily undid the chains. "I couldn't search for your clothes, so I brought you these. They should fit well enough."

    Saetan gritted his teeth as Daemon massaged his legs and feet. "Where did you get them?"

    "Off a guard. He won't be needing them."

    "Damn things probably have lice."

    "Deal with it," Daemon growled. Taking a ball of clay out of his jacket pocket, he rolled it into a stubby cylinder, then carefully forced the Ring of Obedience to open enough to slide off Saetan's organ. It clamped down on the clay with the same viciousness it had clamped down on flesh.

    Setting the cylinder on the bed, Daemon glanced at Saetan's organ and sucked in a breath.

    "It doesn't matter," Saetan said quietly. "I'm a Guardian. I'm past that part of my life."

    "But—" Daemon pressed his lips together. "Get these on." After helping Saetan into the trousers, he knelt again to deal with the socks and boots. "It's almost midnight. We'll be cutting it close since we've got to cover a bit of ground in order to reach the nearest strand of the Winds. But in a few more hours, we'll be at the Keep. We'll be home."

    The desperate eagerness in Daemon's eyes tore the veil off the vision.

    Two webs. One moldy, tainted. The other beautiful, full of shining beads of power.

    She had found a way to separate those who lived by the ways of the Blood from those who had been perverted by Hekatah and Dorothea.

    But the third web .

    She was a Queen, and a Queen wouldn't ask for what she herself wouldn't give. And perhaps it was also the only selfish thing she'd ever done. By sacrificing herself, she wouldn't have to carry the burden of all the lives she was about to destroy. But...

    He doesn't know. You didn't tell him. He came here expecting you to be waiting for him when he got back. Oh, witch-child.

    Which is why she had asked him to take care of Daemon, why she had known he would need to.

    Maybe it wasn't too late. Maybe there was still a way to stop it, to stop her.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire