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  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(66) by Anne Bishop
  • “I’ll find a bowl,” Rainier said.

    He did, and used his shirttail to wipe the dust out of it.

    Wasn’t much food to share between them, Surreal thought as she dumped the contents of the jar into the bowl. But a little food and liquid would help postpone the time when they’d have to use Craft to get to the supplies they were carrying and—

    “What’s that?” Sage asked, leaning closer to the bowl. “Are those grapes in there?”

    “Mother Night,” Rainier said, turning away.

    She felt her gorge rise, but she stared at the mouse heads mixed in with the peach slices.

    “So,” she said too softly, “no water, no food. And nothing we can trust.” She set the jar down, then slipped her stiletto into the boot sheath and picked up one of the candles. “Time to see what’s upstairs.”

    “What’s down there?” Ginger said, pointing to the cellar door.

    “You didn’t go down there.”

    “And we’re not going to,” Rainier said. He picked up the oil lamp, then used the poker to point at the table. “One of you take the other candle.”

    “There might be food down there,” Ginger said. She walked over to the door and pointed dramatically. “I’llgo down there ifyou’re too afraid.”

    “You do that, sugar,” Surreal said. “But I’ll only tell you this once. From here on, we’ll do our best to protect you from whatever is in this house, but we won’t protect you from your own stupidity. You want to open that door after we’ve told you not to, you go right ahead. If something comes after you, you deal with it or die.”

    “You have to—”

    Something on the cellar stairs suddenly hit the door hard enough to rattle the hinges.

    Ginger ran back to the other girls.

    “Guess that answers the question, doesn’t it?” Surreal said.

    “Guess it does,” Rainier replied. “I’ll take point. You watch our backs.”

    “Done.”

    They didn’t get to see the first big surprise. No matter. There would be plenty of opportunities for them to meetthat one. And now that they were climbing the stairs to the second floor, they were finally starting the interesting part of the adventure.

    FOURTEEN

    Using Craft, Daemon flung open the Hall’s front door, almost hitting the footman, who scrambled out of his way. Beale, wary but determined, stood in the center of the great hall. A prudent position, Daemon thought as he strode toward the man. He couldn’t avoid noticing the butler’s presence and yet the man wasn’t in his direct path.

    “Lord Khardeen has been waiting to see you,” Beale said.

    “Not now,” Daemon growled as he headed toward his study. He needed a few minutes to settle himself before he went to Halaway—and also take care of the other worry that had occurred to him on his way back to the Hall.

    Hell’s fire! He hoped that message reached Lucivar in time. He could have contacted Yaslana on a psychic thread before leaving the landen village—he was strong enough to reach the Ebon-gray from any part of Dhemlan when his brother was at home—but they didn’t use that kind of communication for casual matters at that distance. Sensing that something was wrong, Lucivar would have ignored the words and responded in typical Eyrien fashion: he would have headed for the location from which the message had been sent—and he would have ended up at that damn house. Sending a written message had been a gamble, one Daemon hoped he wouldn’t regret.

    Before he reached the study, Khardeen stepped out of the informal reception room.

    “We need to talk,” Khary said.

    “I don’t have time, Warlord,” Daemon said as he opened the study door. “Beale, I need to get a message to the Keep. Find the fastest messenger within easy reach.”

    “Make time,” Khary said.

    He choked on the instinctive desire to lash out at any Warlord insolent enough to usethat tone of voice when addressing a Warlord Prince. But because this was Khardeen, Warlord of Maghre and husband to the Queen of Scelt, he held on to his temper with all the slippery self-control he could command at that moment.

    Last year when Jaenelle was secretly building the webs of power that would cleanse Hekatah’s and Dorothea’s taint from the Blood, he had stood as a wall between her and her First Circle—and had broken the trust of every other male who served her. It had been Khary’s willingness to accept him again that had persuaded the other men in Jaenelle’s First Circle to give him another chance. The friendships were still tentative, but they wouldn’t exist at all if Khary hadn’t made that first gesture. So he looked back at the man who still had a powerful influence with the rest of the dominant Warlords and Warlord Princes in Kaeleer.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire