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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Shadow Queen (Chapter 142)      Page
  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(142) by Anne Bishop
  • When Dorothea betrayed Saetan at Daemon’s Birthright Ceremony, the High Lord had walked away. Because he had known the depth of his rage. Because the boy, like the girl centuries later, would have tried to reach the father, would have gotten caught in the fight.

    Would have died.

    Saetan’s eyes filled with tears. “It . . . could have . . . been you.”

    Here it is, Daemon thought. Here is the cascade of memories that sent a strong man tumbling into the Twisted Kingdom—and almost ignited a cataclysmic rage.

    He didn’t think. Didn’t have to think. He threw his arms around his father and held on as Saetan broke down and wept.

    “I’m here, Father. I’m here. I’m safe. I’m well. You protected me that day. You walked away and kept me safe.” And please, sweet Darkness, please don’t let him think about what that boy’s life had been like after that day. Not now. “I’m here, Father. I’ve got you. I’m here.”

    Choices. And taking chances.

    While Saetan wept, Daemon quietly descended until he stood in the abyss at the level of the Black.

    I am my father’s son. Not much to distinguish between their psychic scents or their power. He was counting on that as he carefully created a link between Saetan’s Black power and his own—and began using his power to absorb Saetan’s, draining them both in the process. Quietly. Carefully. It would leave them both vulnerable, but if he couldn’t bring his father out of the Twisted Kingdom, Saetan wouldn’t have a reserve of Black power, so he would end up tapping into his Birthright Red. Lucivar would be the dominant power coming into that fight—and Lucivar would do whatever needed to be done.

    Thinking of his own Birthright Ceremony and the moment of that betrayal, Daemon wondered how much strength and courage a man needed to take that kind of emotional gutting and walk away in order to protect what was held dear.

    “I’m here, Father. I’m safe. You kept me safe that day.”

    Running out of time. Draining the power faster and faster, hoping he could drain enough.

    Another shock as a flick of temper sizzled along that link.

    Saetan had been aware of being drained. Had been aware all along—and had let him drain the power instead of fighting.

    Now the High Lord pushed back, shutting off his ability to drain the Black without turning the effort into a fight. Saetan also pulled away from his embrace, turning toward the door.

    He and Saetan were still linked, mind to mind, but it wasn’t an intrusive connection, more an emotional awareness now. Enough to tell him that his father was still on the wrong side of the boundary between the Twisted Kingdom and sanity. Enough for Daemon to feel bristling temper being added to an already messy emotional stew.

    As he wondered what had changed, Lucivar dropped the sight shield and spread his wings slowly, giving him an intimidating physical presence.

    How long had Lucivar been standing there? He hadn’t sensed his brother. He’d been too focused on his father. But Saetan had responded and had turned to face an adversary.

    Red shield. Hell’s fire, Lucivar needed more than that. Knew better than to come into a potential fight with less than his strongest shield.

    Then Lucivar smiled the lazy, arrogant smile that always meant trouble, and Daemon realized the Red was simply hiding the Ebony shield in the Ring of Honor Jaenelle had given Lucivar years ago when she’d been cornered into accepting him into service.

    “You’ve upset your daughter,” Lucivar said in the conversational tone that he usually followed with a fist in someone’s face. “You remember her? Well, you’ve upset her enough that she skipped over being pissed off about it and went straight to the scary kind of bitchy. You remember that mood? It’s been a while since we’ve seen it.”

    There was still enough of a psychic link between them that Daemon felt Saetan’s response to the emotional punch—the equivalent of a fist in the gut. And through that link came one flash of memory. One image of a large golden spider, an incredible tangled web—and one small strand of spider silk threaded with a chip of an Ebony Jewel.

    Mother Night.

    He tightened his own control, closed off more of his inner barriers. Now wasn’t the time to share his own memories—especially since neither he nor Saetan had missed the threat under Lucivar’s words.

    Lucivar held up a stoppered bottle. “She sent me here to give you this. It’s a soothing brew. A few hours’ sleep will help you regain your balance.”

    Saetan snarled.

    Lucivar bared his teeth in a smile. “Now, we could tussle about this, which, personally, I think would be fun, but that would get Jaenelle mad at all of us. So I’ll just give you a choice.”

    No, Lucivar, Daemon thought. Not one of your choices.

    “You can drink this and get some rest—or I can let Daemonar loose in the library, unsupervised, and the only way you’ll get your grandson away from all that old paper is by going through me.”

    Crackling tension—and something more.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire