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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Tangled Webs (Chapter 36)      Page
  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(36) by Anne Bishop
  • “Did you get one of these?” she asked, holding out a cream-colored invitation.

    “No,” he replied after he read it.

    She watched his expression change into a thoughtful frown. “What?”

    “Well, Jaenelle and Marian both know anyone they invite to view the spooky house will show up—especially anyone from the family—so why set this up like a test of obedience?” He studied her deliberately blank expression. “Queens—especially young Queens—sometimes test their First Circle by making demands that aren’t harmful but also aren’t considerate. The phrasing on this invitation makes this a command to attend, and since the viewing is for this evening, you’re expected to cancel whatever plans or commitments you had made and obey.”

    “Maybe they wanted to make sure the invitations wouldn’t be ignored.”

    “Maybe.” But Rainier didn’t sound convinced.

    It didn’t sound like something Jaenelle or Marian would do, but they could have gotten the jitters about showing the spooky house and hadn’t thought out the phrasing of the invitations.

    Surreal hooked her hair behind her pointed ears. “Doesn’t matter. There isn’t much time to get there, so I’ve asked for a quick meal. We’ll eat in a few minutes. I’m going to change clothes. You talk to Helton and find out where this village is.”

    “Surreal.” Rainier looked a little embarrassed. “I wasn’t invited.”

    “Did you or did you not tell me you would stand as an official escort whenever I needed one?”

    “Yes, I did.”

    “Then it’s settled. I’m going to change, and you’re going to find out how to get to the spooky house.”

    He flashed a smile at her as he opened the sitting room door. She returned the smile as she walked past him. Then she bolted up the stairs. But she paused when she reached her bedroom, bothered by Rainier’s comment that the phrasing of the invitation sounded like a test—especially since the invitation arrived just a few minutes before he did, and barely gave them time to grab a quick meal before they had to leave.

    What bothered her even more was the feeling that she’d recently read or heard about someone who had been given a similar kind of test, but she couldn’t remember where—or why.

    The eyrie was quiet. Much too quiet. And there wasn’t a single lamp or candle in use even though the rain and clouds here in Ebon Rih had brought on nightfall sooner than usual.

    Leaving the front door open, Marian removed her cape and hung it on the coat-tree. Using Craft, she created a small ball of witchlight, which she tossed into the middle of the room. Then she called in the hunting knife Lucivar had given her. She handled knives all the time in the kitchen, which was why he’d decided this was a practical weapon for her to carry.

    It felt different—because it was meant for something different. She could accept that. Even embrace it. She had changed enough from the timid hearth witch she had been when she’d first come to Kaeleer that she could—and would—use that knife to protect her family.

    Using Craft to keep the witchlight moving in front of her, Marian crept toward the kitchen. Then she stopped. Sniffed. Brought the witchlight closer to the floor and studied the telltale spots of dried pee that hadn’t been wiped up. She raised her hand and gave the candle-lights inside the lamp on the kitchen table a touch of power.

    The lamp’s soft light filled the kitchen.

    Nothing out of order.

    Moving farther into the eyrie, she passed the room where Lucivar conducted the formal business of being the Prince of Ebon Rih, and continued on into the family rooms.

    And then she found her husband and son in the room they used as a family parlor—a room that was comfortable for adults but could withstand the rough-and-tumble play of an Eyrien boy. Lucivar was in the rocking chair. Daemonar was on his lap. Both were sound asleep.

    Marian studied the doorway. Felt the light presence of power. The shield around this room would alert Lucivar to someone’s presence the moment anyone or anything crossed the threshold. And the moment that happened, even before he was fully awake or had opened his eyes, he would be primed to attack.

    "Lucivar," she called softly on a psychic thread.

    A change in his breathing, telling her he was awake and aware. He didn’t open his eyes, but he dropped the shield, allowing her into the room.

    She entered the room, brought the ball of witchlight back to her hand, then set it in a bowl made of stained glass that sat on a table near the doorway.

    As she crossed the room, Lucivar opened his eyes. For a moment there was baffled annoyance, as if he’d been angry with her for some reason but now couldn’t remember why. Then he looked at her right hand—and smiled.

    Puzzled by his amusement, she looked down.

    “It was dark and quiet,” she said, huffing out a breath as she vanished the hunting knife.

    Lucivar’s smiled widened. “Worried about me, sweetheart?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire