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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Tangled Webs (Chapter 11)      Page
  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(11) by Anne Bishop
  • “Well…,” Jaenelle began.

    “You said you were thinking of ghostly narrators. So just tell the”—maggot-brained beasts—“boys not to open that door. If they’re anything like Daemonar, they’ll open the door as soon as they can just to find out why they’re not supposed to.”

    “But these aren’t little children Daemonar’s age,” Jaenelle protested. “These children will be old enough to have gone through the Birthright Ceremony—or would be if they were Blood. A child that age isnot going to open a door after he’s been told not to.”

    “Then have an illusion of a boy the right age. Havehim be the one who opens the door. In fact, don’t even have a knob on the door until the ghost boy appears. Then a ghostly knob will appear that only he can turn.”

    “He’d been told not to open the door, but he did—and the knob came off in his hand, breaking the locking spell on the door,” Jaenelle said. “The ghost boy will back away, and visitors will hear a malevolent laugh as the door slowly opens.”

    “And that’s when they’ll see the skeleton of the boy who had been told not to open that door and had disobeyed.”

    And, apparently, would still be disobedient even as a ghost.

    “The skeleton,” Jaenelle said softly. “Yes. A boy’s skeleton. With just enough scalp left to hold a little hair, but otherwise ragged clothing over clean bones.”

    “Isn’t that what we all have in the closet that holds the tablecloths and napkins?”

    Silence filled the room. Then…

    “Marian,” Jaenelle breathed, “that’s brilliant. We’ll have to figure out why he wasn’t supposed to open the door, but…It’sbrilliant. ”

    That would teach her to try to be bitchy. Obviously she didn’t have the temper for it.

    “Come on,” Jaenelle said, heading for the hallway. “Let’s see what sort of nonsense we can come up with for the upstairs rooms.”

    Marian stared at the empty doorway and considered what would be upstairs. Bedrooms. Bathrooms. Closets. And above that, the attic.

    As she reached the doorway, she heard the loud creak of the old stairs. Heard Jaenelle’s delighted laugh. She looked at the list Jaenelle had made based on how landen boys thought the Blood lived.

    May the Darkness have mercy.

    Daemon carefully leaned back against the large blackwood table that provided a work space for the scholars who were permitted to use the material in this part of the Keep’s library. A sore muscle in his back. Nothing more than that. All things considered, he’d gotten off lightly.

    Damn cat.

    “What brings you to the Keep today?”

    Affection. Dry amusement. Love. He heard all those things in the deep voice. He turned his head to look at the man sorting the books stacked in the center of the table.

    A handsome Hayllian whose thick black hair was heavily silvered at the temples. His face was beginning to show the weight of his long life, but it was the laugh lines fanning out from the golden eyes that cut the deepest in the brown skin. He was a Guardian, one of the living dead, and had walked the Realms for more than fifty thousand years.

    He was Saetan Daemon SaDiablo, a Black-Jeweled Warlord Prince who was the Prince of the Darkness, the High Lord of Hell, the High Priest of the Hourglass. Formerly the Steward of the Dark Court at Ebon Askavi—and still the unofficial Steward of that same unofficial court—he was now the assistant librarian/historian at Ebon Askavi.

    He had one other title, the one Daemon considered the most important: father.

    They hadn’t known each other for that many years. The Birthright Ceremony, where a child acquired the Jewel that indicated the power born within that young vessel, was also the time when paternity was formally acknowledged or denied. At Daemon’s Birthright Ceremony, while he’d stood proudly holding his Red Jewel, paternity had been denied. Saetan had been stripped of all rights to his son, and they had been lost to each other—until the need to protect a powerful but fragile girl brought them back together.

    Now he had a father, someone he could talk to, someone who, being the only other male who wore Black Jewels and was also a Black Widow, understood his nature better than anyone else could. Even Lucivar.

    “Do I need a reason to visit you?” he asked.

    “Certainly not,” Saetan replied, walking to the far end of the table and putting three books next to another stack.

    Daemon shifted a little to get a better look at the stacks. Were those the books to be discarded or the ones Saetan and Geoffrey, the Keep’s historian/librarian, were trying to preserve?

    Old books, from the looks of the covers. Most were so old the titles had faded and the bindings had become fragile despite the preservation spells that must have kept them intact for so long. Culling the volumes in the Keep’s vast library was an ongoing project, and every book had to be handled with care.

    “I’m always delighted to see you, Daemon,” Saetan said, returning to the stacks in the center of the table. “But I recognize the difference between a casual visit and when one of you drops by because you have something on your mind.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire