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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Queen of the Darkness (Chapter 93)      Page
  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(93) by Anne Bishop
  • "What did you think was going to happen to Wilhelmina?" he asked.

    "Osvald was going to get her out of Kaeleer, and then we would take her home."

    As Saetan studied her, a deep sadness filled his eyes. "Not a payment then," he said softly, "but a bargaining chip."

    "What are you talking about?"

    "How were you planning to get Wilhelmina out of Hayll?"

    Alexandra stared at him. "She wasn't going to Hayll."

    "Yes, she was. Those were the orders, Alexandra. Wilhelmina would have been Dorothea's 'guest' for as long as you were willing to make concessions. How many concessions could you have made to Hayll before your people choked on them and refused to accept you as their Queen any longer? What could you have bargained with then to keep her safe?"

    "No," Alexandra said. 'No. Dorothea agreed to help me because—" Because Dorothea was preparing to go to war with this man and had wanted Jaenelle's alleged dark power away from his control. But she couldn't let him know that. "Wilhelmina wasn't a bargaining chip." But wouldn't Jaenelle have become exactly that? A bargaining chip in the game of war? That was different. Jaenelle was obviously already permanently warped by the High Lord's attentions, and ifJaenelle had ended up as Dorothea's "guest"...

    With brutal honesty, Alexandra knew that she would never have made any concessions to Hayll to ensure Jaenelle's well-being. She would have told her court about a family sacrifice made for the good of her people. And in truth, she wouldn't have felt more than a twinge of guilt over that sacrifice. Always such a difficult child, always...

    "Wilhelmina wasn't a bargaining chip," she said again lamely.

    Saetan snorted softly. "Think what you choose."

    That casual dismissal, as if it no longer mattered, disturbed her. "What happened to Osvald? Were his wounds at least treated?"

    Something queer filled Saetan's eyes. "He was executed. So were the three men who had been waiting for him."

    Alexandra stared at him. "What right do you have—"

    "He tried to abduct one member of the court and killed another. Did you really expect us to just sit back and swallow that?"

    "He wasn't abducting her!" Alexandra shouted. "He was helping her leave this place. That animal attacked him. He had to defend himself."

    "He was taking her against her will. That's abduction."

    "He was carrying out the wishes of her family."

    "She's a grown woman," Saetan snarled. "You have no right to make decisions on her behalf."

    "She's mentally fragile. She doesn't have the ability to make—"

    "Is that how you deal with anyone who doesn't agree with you?" Saetan's voice rose to a roar. "You declare them mentally incompetent so you can justify locking them away in a place that revels in violating and torturing them?"

    "How dare you?"

    "Knowing what I know about Briarwood, I dare a great deal."

    The air whooshed out of her lungs. His eyes were filled with the hatred he no longer bothered to mask.

    With effort, she gathered her strength and sat up straight to face him. "I am a Queen—"

    "You're a naive, snotty little bitch," Saetan replied in a singsong croon that made the words feel like a violent— and violating—caress. "Live a long life, Alexandra. Live a long life and burn yourself out at the end of it so that you return straight to the Darkness. If you don't, if you end up making the transition to demon-dead, I'll be waiting for you."

    It took her a moment to understand him. TheHigh Lord of Hell.

    "Robert Benedict made the transition," Saetan crooned, "and he paid his part of the debt that is owed to me for what was done to the daughter of my soul."

    "I owe you nothing." Alexandra tried to sound firm, but she couldn't stop her voice from shaking.

    Saetan smiled a gentle, terrible smile.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire