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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 36)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(36) by Anne Bishop
  • "No, it's not. For Blood males, the First Law is to honor, cherish, and protect. The second is to serve. The third is to obey."

    "And if obedience interferes with the first two laws?"

    "Toss it out the window."

    Daemon blinked. "You actually get away with that?"

    Lucivar scratched the back of his head and looked thoughtful. "It's not so much a question of getting away with it. For Warlord Princes, it's almost a requirement of court service. However, if you ignore an order from the Steward or the Master of the Guard, you'd better be sure you can justify your action and be willing to accept the consequences if they won't accept it, which is rare. I got into more trouble with the High Lord as my father than as the Steward."

    Father. Steward. The ties of family and court.

    "Why are you here, Prick?" Daemon asked warily. "Why aren't you at the practice field observing the warriors you selected?"

    "I was looking for you because youdidn't show up at the practice field." Lucivar shifted slightly, balancing his weight.

    Not yet,Daemon thought.Not now. "And because we have unfinished business," he said slowly.

    "And because we have unfinished business." Lucivar took a deep breath, let it out slowly. "I accused you of killing Jaenelle. I accused you of viler things than that. I was wrong, and it cost you your sanity and eight years of your life."

    Daemon looked away from the regret and sadness in Lucivar's eyes. "It wasn't your fault," he said softly. "I was already fragile."

    "I know. I sensed that—and I used it as a weapon."

    Remembering the fight they'd had that night in Pruul, Daemon closed his eyes. Lucivar's fury hadn't hurt him as much as his own fear that the accusations might possibly be true. If he'd been sure of what had happened at Cassandra's Altar, the fight would have ended differently. Lucivar wouldn't have spent more years in the salt mines of Pruul, and he wouldn't have spent eight years in the Twisted Kingdom.

    Daemon opened his eyes and looked at his brother, finally understanding that Lucivar wasn't offering to meet him on a killing field for somethinghe had done, but as reparation for whatever pain he'd suffered in the Twisted Kingdom. Oh, Lucivar would fight, and fight hard because he had a wife and a young son to consider, but he wouldn't hesitate if Daemon demanded it, even knowing what the outcome would be when Ebon-gray faced Black.

    He also knew why Lucivar was forcing the issue. His brother didn't want the wife and child weighed in the balance, didn't want Daemon to have enough time to develop feelings for them before making this decision. Following the old ways of the Blood, if he forgave this debt now, he couldn't demand reparation later. Otherwise, they would always be wary of each other, always feel the need to guard their backs while waiting for the unexpected strike.

    And, in a way, hadn't the debt already been paid? His years in the Twisted Kingdom balanced against Lucivar's years in the salt mines of Pruul. His grief when he believed Lucivar was dead balanced against Lucivar's grief over Jaenelle's supposed death by Daemon's hand. And if their positions had been reversed, would he have believed any differently or acted any differently?

    "Is that the only unfinished business between us?" Daemon asked.

    Lucivar nodded cautiously.

    "Then let it go, Prick. I've already grieved for the loss of my brother once. I don't want to do it again."

    They studied each other for a minute, weighing the things that went beyond words. Finally, Lucivar relaxed. His smile was lazy, arrogant, and so irritatingly familiar that Daemon smiled in return.

    "In that case, Bastard, you're late for practice," Lucivar said, gesturing Daemon toward a door.

    "Kiss my ass," Daemon growled, falling into step.

    "Not a good suggestion, old son. I have a tendency to bite, remember?" Smiling, Lucivar massaged his upper arm. "So does Marian. She tends to get feisty when she's riled."

    Seeing the warmth and pleasure in Lucivar's eyes, Daemon ruthlessly suppressed a surge of envy.

    Finally reaching an outside door, they headed for the Eyriens gathered at the far end of the expansive lawn.

    "By the way," Lucivar said, "while you were brooding—"

    "I wasn't brooding," Daemon snarled.

    "—you missed the fun this morning."

    Daemon clenched his teeth. He wouldn't ask. Wouldn't. "What fun?"

    "See the embarrassed-looking wolf standing by himself?"

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire