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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(63) by Anne Bishop
  • And it would make no difference to him if Alexandra was left behind to explain her granddaughter's disappearance—or was the one who ended up paying whatever price the High Lord chose to extract.

    5 / Terreille

    The rage twisted inside Dorothea like a choking vine. The brief report dangled from one hand.

    "You're distressed, Sister," Hekatah said as she shuffled into the room and took a seat.

    "Kartane was gone to Kaeleer." She couldn't draw a deep enough breath to give her voice any strength.

    "Gone to see if any of their Healers can cure him?" Hekatah thought about that for a moment. "But why now? He could have gone anytime in the last few years."

    "Perhaps because he thinks he has something to barter now that would be worth more than gold marks."

    Hekatah hissed, immediately understanding. "How much does he know?"

    "He was at my 'confession' the other day, but that's not much to tell someone."

    "It's enough to put Saetan on his guard," Hekatah said ominously. "It's enough to make him start asking questions."

    "Then perhaps something should be arranged before Kartane has a chance to talk to anyone outside of Little Terreille," Dorothea said softly, almost absently. She could think of a number of interesting "arrangements" that could be made for a son who wanted to woo her enemy.

    Hekatah stood up and paced around the room for a minute. "No. Let's see if we can use Kartane as bait to lure a specific Healer to Little Terreille."

    Dorothea snorted. "Do you really think Jaenelle Angelline is going to helpKartane ?"

    "I'll go to Little Terreille tonight and speak to Lord Jorval. He'll know how to phrase a discreet request." When Hekatah reached the door, she paused. "When your little Warlord comes home, perhaps you should give him a lesson in loyalty."

    Dorothea waited until Hekatah left before going over to the fire. She dropped the report into it, watched the flames devour the paper.

    When the war they were going to start was over, she would build a bonfire and watch the flames devour that desiccated walking corpse. And while she watched Hekatah burn, she would give her son that lesson in loyalty.

    6 / Kaeleer

    "I need a favor," Karla said abruptly after ten minutes of small talk and discussion about the Eyriens whom Lucivar had brought in.

    Jaenelle glanced up from the piece of needlepoint she was working on, her eyes filled with wary amusement. "All right."

    "I want a Ring of Honor like you gave the boyos in the First Circle."

    "Darling, they wear the Ring of Honor on their cocks. You may be ballsy, but you don't have one ofthose."

    "The kindred males don't wear them there. You had small Rings made that attach to the chain holding their Jewels."

    "So you want a Ring of Honor," Jaenelle said, still sounding amused, still adding stitches to the needlepoint design.

    Karla nodded solemnly. "For everyone in the coven."

    Jaenelle looked up, no longer amused.

    Karla met that look, recognizing by the subtle change in the sapphire eyes that she was no longer talking to Jaenelle, her friend and Sister. She was talking to Witch, the Queen of Ebon Askavi.Her Queen.

    "You have a reason," Jaenelle said in her midnight voice. It wasn't a question.

    "Yes." How much would she need to say to convince Jaenelle? And how much of what she'd seen in the tangled web could be left unsaid?

    A few minutes passed in silence.

    Jaenelle resumed her stitching. "If it's going to be worn on a finger, it should look decorative enough so that it's real purpose isn't obvious," she said quietly. "I assume you're mostly interested in the Ring because of the protection spells I added to it."

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire