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  • Queen of the Darkness(Black Jewels,Book 3)(95) by Anne Bishop
  • "You are no longer welcome in Kaeleer. You will never again be welcome in Kaeleer. If any of you return for any reason, you will be executed. There will be no reprieve."

    "Can she do that?" Nyselle whispered.

    Jaenelle's eyes flicked to the Province Queens before returning to Alexandra. "I am the Queen. My will is the law."

    And no one, Alexandra realized,no one would defy that will.

    "You will be taken to Cassandra's Altar and sent back through that Gate to Terreille," Jaenelle said. "High Lord, you will see to the arrangements."

    "It will be my pleasure, Lady," Saetan replied solemnly.

    "You're dismissed." The scepter swung until the unicorn's horn pointed right at Alexandra's breast. "Except you."

    Leland made a wordless protest, but didn't argue when Philip, looking pale and sick, took her arm and led her from the room. The other members of the entourage hurried after them, followed more slowly by Saetan, Daemon, and Lucivar.

    When the double doors had closed and they were the only people left in the room, Jaenelle lowered the scepter. "You should have gone when I first told you to. Now..."

    It took Alexandra a minute to speak. "And now?"

    Jaenelle didn't answer.

    Alexandra swayed, then took a half step to catch her balance as the room began to spiral and everything went dark.

    What in the name of Hell just happened?Alexandra wondered as she caught her balance. Then she looked around.

    She stood alone in the center of a large stone circle. The floor was perfectly smooth. Surrounding the circle was a solid wall of sharp, jagged rock that soared high above her head. Beyond that wall ...

    She felt the enormous pressure pushing against those walls, as if something was trying to break in and crush this space.

    *Where... ?*

    *We're deep in the abyss,* said a midnight voice.

    Alexandra turned toward Jaenelle's voice—and stared at the creature who now stood a few feet away. Stared at the slender, naked human body; at the human legs that ended in delicate hooves; at the human hands that had unsheathed claws instead of fingernails; at the delicately pointed ears; at the gold mane that wasn't quite hair and wasn't quite fur; at the tiny spiral horn in the middle of its forehead; at the frozen sapphire eyes.

    *What are you?* Alexandra whispered.

    *I am dreams made flesh,* the other answered. *I am Witch.*

    Jaenelle's voice. Jaenelle's strange eyes. But...

    Alexandra backed away. No.No. *You're what's inside ... *

    She couldn't say it. Revulsion choked her. This is what her daughter Leland had birthed?This?

    *What did you do with my granddaughter?* Alexandra demanded.

    *I did nothing to her.*

    *You must have! What did you do? Devour the spirit in order to use the flesh?*

    *If you mean the husk you call Jaenelle, that flesh was always mine. I was born within that skin.*

    *Never!Never! You couldn't have come from Leland.*

    *Why?* Witch asked.

    *Because you're monstrous.*

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire