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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 191)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(191) by Anne Bishop
  • *Maybe we could have told you,* Ladvarian said reluctantly after a long silence. *We didn't think humans would believe that she could heal—at least, wouldn't believe enough. But, maybe, if we had told you about all the webs, you could have believed.*

    Not likely. No matter how much he would have wanted to believe, the doubts would have crept in—and might have destroyed everything he wanted to save. "Tersa told me it would be all right. I didn't listen."

    More silence. Then, *It is hard to listen when your paw is caught in a trap.*

    That understanding, that much forgiveness, hurt. He looked at the Sceltie, needing to see the truth. "Ladvarian... did I cripple her?"

    *No,* Ladvarian said gently. *She will heal, Prince. She is healing more and more every day. It will just take longer.*

    Daemon walked back to the tent, stepped inside.

    This time, he only saw Jaenelle.

    *She's all there,* Ladvarian said anxiously.

    Nodding, Daemon slipped off his shoes and jacket, then carefully stretched out beside her, propped on one elbow so that he could look at her. He reached out, tentatively brushed his fingers over her short golden hair, almost afraid to touch even that much. She was so fragile. So terribly, terribly fragile. But alive.

    *We had to crop her fur.*

    Considering the condition she must have been in, it was a practical solution to grooming problems the kindred must have faced.

    His fingers brushed over her cheek. Her face, although horribly thin, was the same.

    Then he noticed the Jewel resting on her chest. At first, he thought it was a Purple Dusk. Then, in its depths, he saw glints of Rose, Summer-sky, and Opal. Green, Sapphire, and Red. Gray and Ebon-gray. And just a hint of Black.

    *It's called Twilight's Dawn,* Ladvarian said. *There's no other Jewel like it.* Then the Sceltie retreated, leaving him alone with her.

    He watched her while she slept. Just watched her. After a while, he found the courage to let his fingers explore a little.

    Ladvarian was right. She was all there, but she was barely more than a thin sheath of skin over organs and bones.

    As one finger delicately traced her nipple, he stopped, thought about the open shirt, then looked at the beach where Ladvarian stood near Kaelas, watching him. *She didn't know I was coming, did she?*

    *No,* Ladvarian replied.

    He didn't have to ask why. If he hadn't been able to accept what he saw, the kindred would never have told her he had come—and Ladvarian would have taken her somewhere else, to someone else to heal over the winter months.

    He knew his answer to that. He loved her, and all he wanted was to be with her. But, despite what Ladvarian had said... because of what Ladvarian had said... he was no longer sure she would want him.

    Then she stirred a little, and he knew he wasn't going anywhere unless she sent him away.

    Carefully bracing himself so that he wouldn't hurt her, he leaned over and brushed his lips against hers.

    He raised his head. Her haunted sapphire eyes stared at him.

    "Daemon?" There was so much uncertainty in her voice.

    "Hello, sweetheart," he said, his voice husky with the effort not to cry. "I've missed you."

    Her hand moved slowly, with effort, until it rested against his face. Her lips curved into a smile. "Daemon."

    This time, when she said his name, it sounded like a promise, like a lovely caress.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire