• Home
  • Directory
  • Popular
  • Authors
  • Series
  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Tangled Webs (Chapter 17)      Page
  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(17) by Anne Bishop
  • “If you don’t have brains enough to shield, you deserve to get hurt.”

    He felt his temper flex, lightly testing the leash of self-control.

    “I know why we were closed out of the library today.”

    Daemon blinked. Worked to shift his mental balance.

    “Daemonar’s just a little boy,” Lucivar growled. “He doesn’t understand about the thrice-damned precious books.”

    There was the hurt, suddenly bubbling up to the surface. And there was something more under the hurt. Something that worried him.

    “That’s right,” Daemon said carefully. “He’s just a little boy. That library isn’t an appropriate place for him.”

    “Isn’t appropriate for an uneducated Eyrien, isn’t that what you mean?”

    Someone had managed to hit Lucivar in one of the few places where the man was emotionally fragile.

    Daemon’s temper unsheathed its claws. He pushed away from the desk. “Who took a jab at you?”

    “What?” Lucivar stopped prowling. His wings opened slightly for balance. And wariness was now added to the messy stew of emotions that filled the room.

    “Who?”Because whoever had hurt his brother would find herself in a deep grave—and the bitch wouldn’t necessarily be dead when he put her there.

    “I’m not like you! I can’tbe like you. Either of you.”

    A mental skid on emotional ice. Trying to restrain a temper that wanted to snap the leash. So this was about him after all.

    The truth of it was like a knife slicing his heart.

    “No, you’re not like me, any more than I can be like you.” He went back to the blackwood desk and leaned against it, clamping his hands on the edge of the wood. “What is this about, Lucivar? You were pissed at me when we were at the Keep; you’re still pissed now. Why?”

    Vulnerable. Fragile. He couldn’t stand seeing Lucivar like this.

    “I don’t have the schooling you do,” Lucivar said, looking at the wall, not meeting his eyes.

    Do I hug him or kill him?“Eyriens don’t value that kind of schooling. I absorb information from books for the pleasure of it, but it’s also another kind of weapon.” He paused to assess the battleground and the man, and then added, “Besides, you don’t like to read.”

    “I can read.” Quick, automatic defense.

    “I know you can,” Daemon said dryly. “From the first time I met you—or the first time I thought I’d met you—I pushed and bullied and bruised your ego until I goaded you into learning. In the same way that you pushed and bullied and bruised my ego until I learned a few basic moves with hand weapons.”

    During the centuries they had been enslaved and had clashed over and over again, they hadn’t understood why they felt compelled to push at each other to share the knowledge and skills they had acquired. Even after they had learned they were brothers, they hadn’t realized that this need to protect each other’s weaker side had begun in a childhood they didn’t remember.

    Lucivar’s shoulders relaxed a little, and the smile was fleeting but genuine.

    “You can read,” Daemon said, “but you don’t enjoy reading. It was always difficult for you. Maybe that’s not just you, Lucivar. The Eyrien race has a strong oral tradition to pass on stories, but they don’t put much value on the written word.”

    “Marian reads a lot,” Lucivar mumbled. “She likes books.”

    “Then maybe it’s cultural. Reading is a female entertainment, something the males can sneer at indulgently.”

    “I don’t sneer,” Lucivar said. Then added under his breath,

    “Wouldn’t dare.”

    They were circling around the heart of the wound now, so Daemon just leaned back and waited. And felt memories stir awake.

    “Maybe it is a part of being an Eyrien male,” Lucivar said.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire