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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(186) by Anne Bishop
  • "The Queen is gone," Tersa said with some heat. "Is that all she was to you?"

    "No," Karla said. "She was Jaenelle. That was enough."

    "Exactly," Tersa said. "It is still enough."

    Surreal jolted, hardly daring to hope. She touched Tersa's hand, waited until she was sure she had the woman's attention. "The Queen is gone, but Jaenelle isn't?"

    Tersa hesitated. "It's too soon to know. But the triangle kept the dream from returning to the Darkness, and now the kindred are fighting to hold the dream to the flesh."

    That brought protests from Gabrielle and Karla.

    "Wait a minute," Gabrielle said, glancing at Karla, who nodded. "If Jaenelle is hurt and needs a Healer, she should haveus."

    "No," Tersa said, her anger breaking free. "She shouldnot have you.You could not look at what was done to that flesh and believe it could still live. But the kindred do not doubt.The kindred will not believe anything else. That is why, if it can be done, they are the ones who can do it." She jumped up and ran out of the room.

    Surreal waited a moment, then followed. She didn't find Tersa, but she found Graysfang hovering nearby, whining anxiously.

    She studied the wolf. Kindred do not doubt. They would sink in and fight for that dream with fangs and claws and never give it up. Well, she would never have a snout that could smell tracks, but she could damn well learn how to be as stubborn as a wolf. She would sink her teeth into the belief that Jaenelle was simply recovering somewhere private after performing an extremely difficult spell. She would sink in and hold on to that.

    For Jaenelle's sake.

    For Daemon's sake.

    And for her own sake, because she wanted her friend to come back.

    Chapter Sixteen

    1 / Kaeleer

    Daemon walked down the steps that led to the garden in the Hall, the garden that had two statues.

    When he woke up from the sedative Surreal and Saetan had given him, he had asked to leave the Keep. They had gone with him. So had Tersa.

    Lucivar hadn't.

    That had been a week ago.

    He wasn't sure what he'd done during the days since. They had simply passed. And at night...

    At night, he crept from his own bed into Jaenelle's because it was the only place he could sleep. Her scent was there, and in the dark, he could almost believe that she was simply away for a little while, that he would wake one morning and find her cuddled up next to him.

    He stared at the statue of the male, with its paw/hand curved protectively above the sleeping woman. Part human, part beast. Savagery protecting beauty. But now he saw something else in its eyes: the anguish, the price that sometimes had to be paid.

    He turned away from it, walked over to the other statue, stared at the woman's face—that familiar, beloved face— for a long, long time.

    The tears came—again. The pain was always there.

    "Tersa keeps telling me that it will be all right, to trust one who sees," he told the statue. "Surreal keeps telling me not to give up, that the kindred will be able to bring you back. And I want to believe that. Ineed to believe that. But when I ask Tersa about you directly, she hesitates, says it's too soon to know, says the kindred are fighting to hold the dream to the flesh.Fighting to hold the dream to the flesh." He laughed bitterly. "They're not fighting to hold the dream to flesh, Jaenelle. They're fighting to put enough of you together again for there to be somethingfor the dream to come back to. And you knew what would happen, didn't you? When you decided to do this,you knew."

    He paced, circled, came back to the statue.

    "I did it for you," he said quietly. "I bought the time, I played the game. For you." His breathing hitched, came out in a sob. "I knew I would have to do some things that wouldn't be forgiven. Iknew it when you asked me to go to Hayll, but I did it anyway. F-for you. Because I was going to come back to you, and the rest of it wouldn't matter. B-because I was coming back toyou. But you sent me there knowing you wouldn't be here when I got back, knowing..." He sank to his knees. "You said no sacrifices. You made me promise I wouldn't make any sacrifices. But what do you call this, Jaenelle?What do you call this? When I got back, we were going to getm-married.... And you left me. Damn you, Jaenelle, I did this for you,and you left me. You left me."

    He collapsed on the grass near the statue, sobbing.

    Lucivar rested a fist against the stone wall and bowed his head.

    Mother Night. Daemon had gone into that game expecting to come back for his own wedding.Mother Night.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire