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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Tangled Webs (Chapter 67)      Page
  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(67) by Anne Bishop
  • “Give me five minutes, and I’ll deliver your message myself,” Khary said.

    Khary wore the Sapphire Jewel. Except for Beale, who wore Red, there was no one at the Hall who could get a message to the Keep faster. And there was one advantage to sending this particular Sapphire-Jeweled Warlord instead of a Red-Jeweled butler—Beale would have to talk to the High Lord, but Khary could talk to “Uncle Saetan.”

    “Five minutes,” Daemon said as he walked into the study.

    He hurried to his desk and pulled out a sheet of paper. By the time Khary walked into the study, he’d scribbled his message and was sealing the folded paper with wax.

    “If this is about the spooky house…,” Daemon began as he pressed the SaDiablo seal into the wax.

    “In a way, but mostly it’s about Jarvis Jenkell and theother spooky house. The one I don’t think is meant as an entertainment for children.”

    Daemon froze for a moment. Then he wrote a name on the front side of the message before saying, “What do you know about the other spooky house? And why would a landen mystery writer be involved?”

    “Maybe because the writer was raised as a landen but is actually Blood.”

    Daemon straightened up and watched Khary pour two glasses of brandy from the decanter on the corner of the desk.

    Khary handed a glass to him, then took a sip from the other and shrugged. “It happens. Not all the Blood live the way you do. Or the way I do, for that matter.”

    “And how do I live, Lord Khardeen?” Daemon asked a little too quietly.

    “This is a dark house. The people who live here use Craft for all kinds of mundane things without thinking about it—lighting fires; using candle-lights, which require power, instead of candles or oil lamps; warming spells to supplement heat from fireplaces in the winter; cooling spells to make things comfortable in the summer. Anything a landen needs fire or ice to accomplish we can do with a spell and power. This place was designed as a home for dark-Jeweled Blood, and the reason so many things here require Craft is because you all need safe ways to siphon off some of the power. The Jewels provide a reservoir, but even they only hold so much.”

    Khary paused and took a long swallow of brandy. “But as deep as your power is, there are others on the opposite end of that scale. They’re Blood, but their well of power is very shallow and is used up quickly. They would be almost as helpless as a landen in a house like this that requires using Craft for even simple things. Those Blood often form their own community within a Blood village in order to harness their limited power to better advantage.”

    Khary sat down, stretched out his legs, and crossed them at the ankles.

    Since it looked like Khary was settling in until they discussed all he came to discuss, Daemon gave in and sat in the chair behind the desk.

    “Fine,” Daemon said. “Not all the Blood have a seemingly inexhaustible well of power. Not all the Blood live in mansions the size of a small village. Not all the Blood are wealthy or come from aristo families. I am aware of all that, Khardeen. What does any of this have to do with Jenkell?”

    “There’s a wide, deep chasm between a dark-Jeweled Blood and a landen,” Khary said.

    “That psychic chasm is just as deep and wide between a half-Blood and Blood,” Daemon said.

    Khary shook his head. “That’s what the Blood in Terreille may have been taught, but it’s not the reality. At least, not here in the Shadow Realm. In truth, when you’re looking at the difference between someone who is full Blood with very little power and a half-Blood, that psychic chasm is more like a rift that can be spanned, and it’s more like a crack between a half-Blood and a landen. There’s a difference between Blood and landen, to be sure, but that difference isn’t always as noticeable as you might think. So sometimes, for whatever reason, Blood will live in a landen village. They can pass for landen in ways that you or I never could. And since theydo have just that little bit of something extra, they usually live quite comfortably.”

    “They take control of a landen village?”

    Khary made a dismissive sound. “They’re no doubt successful enough in their chosen work, but most prefer to live quietly and not call too much attention to themselves. since calling attention to themselves by trying to dominate a landen village would also bring them to the attention of the more powerful Blood living in the same part of the Territory. You’d have to check with the Dhemlan Queens, but in Scelt the Queens are aware of any Blood who have chosen to live in landen villages.”

    “So they live in a landen village; they marry—and have children,” Daemon said, beginning to see where Khary was heading.

    “They do. And if the full Blood was a generation or two back and the secret was kept a secret…”

    Daemon considered that. Two half-Bloods marry—and neither has power, so neither is aware of the potential for power. No reason for them to think their children would be Blood. No reason to recognize a spark of power and train that child as even the weakest Blood child would be trained.

    “How would Jenkell have found out he was Blood?” Daemon asked.

    “Maybe it started as professional jealousy when Lady Fiona’s stories about Tracker and Shadow became popular. It was after her books began receiving as much notice as his that he began writing his books with a Blood character.” Khary’s eyes took on that distinctive twinkle that was usually a prelude for his causing a little mischief—or just enjoying someone else’s efforts. “Fiona tends to avoid Jenkell at literary gatherings. It seems he resents the fact that she was able to ‘acquire’ one of the kindred and he could not, despite his considerable success as a novelist.”

    Daemon felt a flicker of dry amusement in response to that twinkle. “Hasn’t anyone told Jenkell that the acquisition isn’t done by the human?”

    “Even if he knows, I’m not sure he cares,” Khary replied. “This is guesswork and most of it comes from Fiona, based on things she’s observed or overheard at gatherings where Jenkell has also been present. Fiona says he changed while he was writing his first Landry Langston story. That he seemed more demanding and yet less confident.”

    “The first story was the one where the Langston character discovers he’s Blood.”

    Khary nodded. “Wouldn’t be that hard to find someone who would tell Jenkell how to make the Offering to the Darkness—at least in general terms. Some might have been willing to tell him because they like his work and enjoyed the thought of providing research for a story. And there are always some who will do a great many things in exchange for a generous stack of gold marks.”

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