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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Shalador's Lady (Chapter 83)      Page
  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(83) by Anne Bishop
  • “Only a little,” he said, giving her a boyish smile.

    She gave his arm a light, dismissive smack as she glanced at Ranon. Then she looked at Gray, and Daemon felt the change in her—and saw Gray go absolutely still.

    “This is the one,” Tersa said softly. She called in a glass globe supported by a carved wooden base and set it in front of Gray. Then she touched the small amethyst in the base. “Watch.”

    Smoke filled the globe as the spell engaged.

    Changes,Daemon thought.Metamorphosis. He watched as a dagger was cocooned, then emerged as a small boy who had no limbs. That image cocooned and emerged as a dead tree, which cocooned and emerged as a living tree that bore daggers as its fruit. That image cocooned and emerged as a dragon breathing fire—a powerful warrior.

    All the color had drained out of Gray’s face when he saw the first two images—and something Daemon couldn’t name filled those green eyes when Gray saw the last image.

    The sequence started again. When the image of the dagger tree cocooned, the sequence stopped.

    “This is where you are,” Tersa said.

    “How do I get to the last stage?” Gray asked, his eyes fixed on the shrouded image.

    “When the time comes, accept the fire that lives within you.”

    *Tersa?* Daemon asked.

    *Trust your wife—and trust your own heart.*

    She kissed him and walked away.

    Shaken, he sat down and drained the glass of ale. Gray and Ranon did the same, so he flicked a thought at the tavern owner, who hurried out a minute later with a cold pitcher of ale.

    “Who is she?” Ranon asked after the second glass of ale.

    “My mother,” Daemon replied.

    “She’s . . . different,” Gray said, clearly not wanting to offend, but just as clearly wanting an answer.

    “She’s a broken Black Widow,” Daemon said. “She’s been walking the roads of the Twisted Kingdom for a long time, but her mind completely shattered a few centuries ago when she made the choice to forfeit sanity in order to regain her Craft. In the past few years, she’s been living closer to the border of sanity, which lets her have a life in the village.”

    “If she can’t wear a Jewel, how does she . . . ?” Ranon asked.

    “I don’t know. Even my father doesn’t know. But sane or not, Jewels or not, she has always been a formidable witch.”

    “Does Jaenelle know how Tersa regained power through madness?” Gray asked.

    “Probably, since my Lady has walked roads even darker than the ones Tersa has traveled.” But this was not something he wanted to think about right now, so he said, “Gentlemen. Let’s talk about doing business.”

    TERREILLE

    Thank the Darkness neither of us have to drive this Coach,Ranon thought as he and Gray huddled in the comfortable back compartment of the SaDiablo Coach provided by Daemon. They’d had a delicious dinner. At least, he assumed it was delicious. He couldn’t remember a single bite of it. Afterward, Sadi had opened the Gate next to the Hall and instructed one of the drivers who worked for the SaDiablo family to take his guests back to Dena Nehele. So they were heading home directly from the Hall, riding the Opal Winds.

    “Mother Night, Gray,” Ranon said, keeping his voice low even though they couldn’t be heard through the closed door separating their compartment from the driver’s. “Five million gold marks. Do you have any idea how much that is?”

    Gray shook his head. “I don’t think I’ve everseen a gold mark. I got a ten silver mark once for my birthday, and I thought it was a fortune. Do you really think we could spend that many gold marks?”

    Ranon took a deep breath and felt his body tremble as he breathed out. “Wouldn’t be hard to do. We’ve had so little for so long, it wouldn’t be hard to do. Paying it back is a different thing altogether.”

    “Shops and supplies,” Gray said. “Forage for the animals if the harvest falls short this year.”

    “Food for us if the crops fall short this year,” Ranon said. Although with so many Blood dead in the past two years, having people starve was less likely. Having the crops rot in the fields because there weren’t enough hands to harvest them was a possibility, even if the Blood used Craft and drained their power every day to get the harvest in.

    “We’ll have to find the right kinds of buildings for the shops Daemon wants.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire