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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(188) by Anne Bishop
  • "You're still the Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih because the people want you to be the Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih. But Daemonar may not want to rule—or you may have other sons or daughters who want a different kind of life. You'll be the caretaker of that land because the SaDiablo family has been the caretaker of that land for thousands of years. Is that understood?"

    "Yes, sir," Lucivar said quietly.

    "And you?" Saetan said, pointedly looking at Daemon.

    "Yes, sir," he replied just as quietly. Well, that explained why Saetan had insisted on spending the past two months teaching him the family business. He'd thought it was just a way to keep him occupied and too busy to think too much.

    He'd welcomed the work, especially when he realized that Saetan had shouldered the burden of helping Geoffrey with a far more difficult task. He and Lucivar had been told the results, but he knew he couldn't have tolerated accumulating the information.

    Over forty percent of the Blood in Terreille were gone. Completely gone. Another thirty percent had been broken back to basic Craft. The Blood who were left in Terreille were reeling from the devastation—and the sudden freedom.

    He hadn't asked what had happened to Alexandra, Leland, and Philip—and Saetan hadn't offered the information. Or if he had, it had only been to Wilhelmina.

    The numbers were about the same in Little Terreille as they were for the Realm of Terreille. But the rest of Kaeleer was mostly untouched—except for Glacia. Karla was struggling to reunite her people and re-form her court. The taint Dorothea and Hekatah had spread in the Blood might have been destroyed, but the scars remained.

    Everything has a price.

    "What about Jaenelle's house in Maghre?" Lucivar asked.

    Daemon shook his head. "Let Wilhelmina have it. She's decided to settle in Scelt, and—"

    "The house was leased for Jaenelle," Saetan said firmly. "It remains for Jaenelle. If you have no objections to Wilhelmina living there until she finds a place of her own, so be it."

    Daemon backed down. He loved that house, too, but he wasn't sure he could ever live there again. And he wasn't really sure if Saetan truly believed Jaenelle was coming back or if his father just wasn't willing to do anything that would acknowledge that she wasn't. After all, it had been two months now with no news of any kind, just Tersa's continued—and useless—assurance that it would be all right. "Is that it?"

    He read the message in Saetan's eyes. "I'll be with you in a minute," he said to Lucivar when his brother rose and looked at him.

    When they were alone, Saetan said carefully, "I know how you feel about Ebon Askavi now."

    Daemon rushed in. "I truly hope you will come to visit, Father, because I'll never set foot in the Keep again."

    Saetan said gently, "You have to go one more time. Draca wants to see you."

    3 / Kaeleer

    "There iss ssomething I want to sshow you." Draca unlocked a door and stepped aside.

    Daemon walked into a huge room that was a portrait gallery. Dozens upon dozens of paintings hung on the walls.

    At first, he saw only one. The last one.

    Unable to look at it, he turned his back to it and began to study the rest of them in order. Some were very, very old, but all of them had been exquisitely done. As he slowly walked around the room, he realized the portraits spanned the species who made up the Blood—and they were all female.

    When he reached the last one, he studied Jaenelle's portrait for a long time, then looked at the signature. Dujae. Of course.

    He turned and looked at Draca.

    "They were all dreamss made flessh, Prince," Draca said gently. "Some only had one kind of dreamer, otherss were a bridge. Thesse were Witch."

    "But—" Daemon looked at the portraits again. "I don't see Cassandra's portrait here."

    "Sshe wass a Black-Jeweled witch, the Queen of Ebon Asskavi. But sshe wass not Witch. Sshe wass not dreamss made flessh."

    He shook his head. "Witch wears the Black. She's always a Black-Jeweled Queen."

    "No. That iss not alwayss the dream, Daemon. There have been quiet dreamss and sstrong dreamss. There have been Queenss and ssongmakerss." She paused, waited. "Your dream wass to be Conssort to the Queen of Ebon Asskavi. Iss that not true?"

    Daemon's heart began to pound. "I thought they were the same. I thought Witch and the Queen of Ebon Askavi were the same."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire