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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Shadow Queen (Chapter 141)      Page
  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(141) by Anne Bishop
  • “The Warlord going to his friend had caused problems for the Lady—the kind of problems that can be resolved only by relocating to another Province where her previous activities wouldn’t be common knowledge. So she hired a young actress and purchased an illusion spell from a Black Widow to play a prank on a ‘good friend.’

    “The Warlord was going to move back to the family home after the Birthright Ceremony. His wife had already told him she would grant paternity, assuring his rights to his daughter, but his formal return as husband and father would come after the Ceremony. So he wasn’t at the house when the package arrived with the second shirt and a note that was skillfully written and indicated that the Warlord had been leaving his wife’s bed and going straight to his lover’s for some real pleasure instead of duty sex.

    “The words were meant to cripple a woman’s pride and kill a piece of her heart. In that, they succeeded.

    “That afternoon, the Warlord watched his little girl be gifted with her Birthright Jewel, and he waited for the last part of that ceremony that would give him back what he’d learned he held dear.

    “Then his wife looked at him and said three words:‘Paternity is denied.’ ”

    Saetan closed his eyes. “There are moments in a man’s life when a decision is made, and once made, there is no going back, no changing it.” When he opened his eyes, they were no longer blank. They were filled with a terrible, and growing, grief.

    “The shock. The pain,” Saetan said. “You don’t know what it feels like to hear those words.”

    “It’s a stupid law,” Daemon said.

    Saetan shook his head. “No, it’s not. Considering the nature of Blood males, there are good reasons for that law. That was true when that irrevocable custom began, and it’s still true. That law protects more than it harms. But it still . . . hurts.”

    “What happened to the Warlord?” Daemon asked.

    “He backed away. He saw the shock on the faces of friends and family—people who had been aware of the reconciliation. He didn’t know what happened, but he knew something had gone very wrong.

    “So he backed away, but when he turned, she was standing there. And she laughed at him. That’s all she needed to do. She laughed at him, laughed at his pain and his loss—and something inside him broke.

    “He didn’t remember what happened after that. She laughed, something inside him broke, and the next thing he remembered was standing in the middle of a slaughter. The witch, the young actress who had been hired to wear an enemy’s face as a prank, was dead. So was the Warlord’s closest friend, two of his cousins . . . and his daughter.

    “When he saw his little girl . . . In that moment when he wondered, he dropped his shields, deliberately, and the blasts of power from other males fighting to defend friends and family ripped into his body and killed him.”

    “Mother Night,” Daemon whispered. A terrible story, but he had the feeling that it was the crust holding back something even more terrible.

    “Insane rage—and no memory of who had fallen by his hand,” Saetan said. “And the feeling, the fear, that he had killed his little girl.”

    “Did he?”

    Saetan finally looked up, finally looked him in the eyes. “Yes.” He smiled—and the insane rage within that gentle smile was a living thing. “She had been trying to reach him, had been trying to protect him with her newly acquired Jewel.”

    Daemon felt tears sting his eyes and blinked them away.

    “His blast of power took half her face. Part of her shoulder,” Saetan said too gently. “He made the transition to demon-dead, and when he reached the Dark Realm, he begged for an audience. Then he begged me to finish the kill.”

    “Did you give him mercy?”

    “Yes, I finished the kill, and he became nothing more than a whisper in the Darkness.”

    Daemon’s stomach rolled as another thought occurred to him. “The little girl became cildru dyathe, didn’t she?”

    “Yes, she did. But she didn’t stay long. When I found her, I told her that her father loved her, and that he was very sorry she had gotten hurt, and if he could take that moment back and do it over, he would have walked away. For her sake. To keep her safe from what was inside him.”

    “Father . . .”

    “It could have been you, Daemon. She could have been you.”

    He looked at those gold eyes glazed with madness and took a step back.

    Pain. Shock. A moment to make a choice before insane rage eclipsed all ability to think.

    Manny’s words, when she finally told him about his father.

    So he left. Went to that house you keep visiting, the house you and your mother lived in, and destroyed the study. Tore the books apart, shredded the curtains, broke every piece of furniture in the room. He couldn’t get the rage out. When I finally dared open the door, he was kneeling in the middle of the room, his chest heaving, trying to get some air, a crazy look in his eyes.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire