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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Tangled Webs (Chapter 39)      Page
  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(39) by Anne Bishop
  • The resistance was enough to assure he’d have Saetan’s attention when he released that goblet, picked up the other—and poured and warmed another glass of yarbarah.

    Eyrien warriors drank small glasses of yarbarah as part of some of their ceremonies, but drinking a full goblet wasn’t something a living man would normally do.

    He returned to his chair and took a sip of the blood wine, his eyes never leaving his father’s face.

    “Uncle Andulvar told me you had refused to fight in that war. You had said that, as a Guardian, you had no right to interfere with the living Realms.”

    “Yes,” Saetan replied, his voice barely a whisper. “That’s what I said.”

    “Must have galled him when he walked off that field and saw you standing that one careful step away from the line—the step that kept you out of the fight.”

    A ghost of a grim smile, there and gone. “I don’t think he ever forgave me. Not completely.”

    “Funny that he never considered why you were there.”

    “It was a killing field, Lucivar. A slaughter of thousands.”

    “So the High Lord of Hell was there to meet his closest friend and that friend’s grandson to help them make the transition to demon-dead.”

    “Yes.”

    Lucivar smiled and said, “Liar.”

    No answer. Just that vicious—and visible—self-control.

    “Iam brilliant on a killing field, and I think I can see you more clearly than Andulvar ever did.”

    Still no answer. He didn’t expect one.

    “The pivotal battle,” Lucivar said softly. “The place—and the men—who could break Hekatah’s bid to control the Realms. Theman who could break Hekatah’s bid. As long as Andulvar Yaslana, the Demon Prince, could lead warriors into battle, Hekatah’s chances of winning grew less with every fight. So she had to eliminate him, destroy him completely.

    “You had declared yourself out of the fight. A Guardian has no right to interfere with the living Realms. That’s what you’d said. You hold to your code of honor, no matter the cost. Hekatah and Andulvar both knew that.”

    “What’s your point, Lucivar?”

    He heard the warning. Saw something lethal flicker in his father’s gold eyes before Saetan regained all of that formidable self-control. But he was going to finish this, was going to acknowledge something that had remained hidden for fifty thousand years.

    “The army that faced Andulvar and his men that day. All those men on that killing field. They were fodder. They were there to drain the power in Andulvar’s Ebon-gray Jewels, to wound him, weaken him, eliminate the men around him. But Hekatah hadn’t expectedthem to win. Another army was supposed to reach that field. Fresh warriors primed for a fight standing against survivors who had been fighting for hours.They were the warriors who were supposed to win the battle.They were the ones who were supposed to walk off the killing field.

    “But they never got to that field, did they? Because they met another enemy. One whose presence hadn’t been anticipated. One who didn’t fight with a blade. One whose power and skill and temper…Well, as you said, it was a slaughter of thousands.”

    No response. He didn’t expect one. And he wasn’t sure he actually wanted Saetan to admit to breaking the code of honor that kept the man from being a monster.

    “If Andulvar, Prothvar, and their surviving men hadn’t been the ones to walk off the field that day, Hekatah would have won the war between Kaeleer and Terreille, and both Realms would have become the nightmare Terreille became all those long years later.” He took a swallow of yarbarah as a private salute to the warriors who were gone. “So I won’t ask why you were there that day. But I thank you for being there—and for standing that one careful step back from the killing field.”

    They looked at each other, and there, within the silence, acknowledged a man’s betrayal of himself—and a secret that would remain a secret.

    “Anything else?” Saetan finally asked.

    Lucivar stared into the goblet. Easy enough to shrug it off, let it pass. After all, they were both feeling a little raw. But…

    “I don’t remember you, but you shaped the core of me during those early years, and your passion and honor were the forge that made that core unbreakable, despite everything that came after. I don’t know what I would have become without that, but I’m certain I wouldn’t have been worthy of serving Witch. So I thank you for that, too, and…I’m proud to have you as my father.”

    “As I am proud to have you as a son,” Saetan replied softly.

    Time to go, boyo, before you get weepy.He used Craft to float the goblet back to the tray, then stood up and stretched. “Well. I’d better get back. If the little beast wakes up and Marian has to deal with him on her own…” He frowned.

    “What?” Saetan asked.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire