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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Tangled Webs (Chapter 73)      Page
  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(73) by Anne Bishop
  • For a moment, he froze at the sight of the burns and scars on the stranger’s young body. An illusion spell must have hidden those injuries, just as it had hidden her ripped, dirty clothes. He felt sickened by what he saw—and even more sickened by what the girl had done.

    The stranger wore openwork metal gauntlets, a kind of lethal jewelry witches sometimes wore. The fingers ended in razor-sharp talons. The ones on the girl’s hands dripped with blood.

    Her mouth was smeared with blood. It ran down her chin like juice at some kind of primal feast.

    She wascildru dyathe now. A demon-dead child—and a deadly predator.

    Ginger lay on her back on the dirty wood floor, her neck, chest, and arms ripped to shreds by the talons.

    No sound from her.

    No hope for her.

    Thecildru dyathe sprang to her feet and ran toward the back of the room.

    Rainier sprang after her.

    She fumbled at the wall, the talons on the metal gauntlets tearing the old wallpaper as she searched for something.

    In the moment before he reached her, he was nothing but a Warlord Prince on a battlefield and she was nothing but an enemy. When he swung the poker at her back, it carried all his strength and fury in the blow.

    He heard bone break.

    She fell, no longer able to use her legs. Sufficiently Blood to becomecildru dyathe , she didn’t have the skill in Craft to use what power she had in order to get up.

    He stood over her, looking at wounds that indicated torture. Looking at the madness and hatred in the girl’s eyes.

    “I’m sorry,” he said.

    “You’re just like him,” she said, her voice harshened by her hatred. “You’re just like him.”

    “Who?”

    She laughed. “I’ll tell you once you’re dead. I’ll hook my pretty claws into your chest, and you’ll have to carry me. Be my legs since you took mine. Hook my pretty claws into your eyes too. Just for fun.”

    Was that madness talking, or was that a reflection of who the girl had been?

    He took a step back. Took another. Then he turned and walked back to Ginger.

    So much blood, he thought as he knelt beside the dying girl. Too much damage. There were not enough moments left in her to even try a healing. There was not enough he could do for her with the basic skills he had to make a difference.

    Her eyes stared at him but didn’t see him.

    Did landens have some place like Hell? They didn’t become demon-dead. When their bodies died, they were gone. But did their spirits have a place where they spent some time before they were truly gone?

    He didn’t know, had never asked. And right now, he really didn’t want to know.

    “Her name was Anax,” Kester said. “She lived at the orphans’ home. She ran away a couple weeks ago.”

    Had she run away or had the people in charge of the orphans’ home assumed that because Anax had disappeared? Someone had tortured the girl and killed her, leaving her in here to become one of the predators who hunted the “guests” trapped in this house.

    “Did anyone else run away from the orphans’ home recently?” Rainier asked, looking up at the other children.

    “Three or four others,” Kester replied, shrugging as if the loss made no difference.

    Rainier choked back the urge to roar at the boy for being so cold and unfeeling. In order for Anax to becomecildru dyathe , she had to be Blood. Which meant one of the Blood had been cold and unfeeling toward the girl long before Kester and his friends were.

    No life in Ginger’s eyes. No breath when he held a hand above her mouth and nose.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire