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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Shadow Queen (Chapter 27)      Page
  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(27) by Anne Bishop
  • “I see,” Saetan said softly. A physical wound, even a permanently crippling one, would have been less destructive for Daemon. She had known that—and her choice of weapon would have shocked any man back into the present.

    “Well.” Jaenelle closed her right hand, then fluffed her hair with her normal fingers. “I’m heading out to Dharo. Aaron should be here by now.”

    “Oh?” He kept his voice carefully neutral, but he wondered if Jaenelle was being honest about her own emotional state. He understood her summoning him in the early-morning hours so that he would be here when Daemon most needed him, but summoning Aaron could indicate a need to escape.

    “Oh.” Those sapphire eyes looked through him—and understood everything he didn’t say. “The purpose of the visit has changed, but the arrangements were made several days ago. I’m not hurt, Papa. I promise you. I’m . . . shaky. I won’t deny that. But I’m not hurt.”

    He nodded.

    She laid her hand on his. “Will you stay over today? Be here for him? I think you can do more to help him heal right now than I can.”

    “Yes, I’ll stay.”

    Her fingers curled around his. “Daemon can’t go back to Terreille. In memory of a friend, he’ll try to do what’s right, but he can’t go back to Terreille.”

    “He has no defense against the memories anymore, does he?”

    “No. His mind and his sanity are intact. He may feel broken right now, but that’s a surface feeling, an emotion. Last night didn’t actually break him. I did descend into the abyss during one of the times he fell asleep, and I made a thorough assessment of his mind, so I’m sure of that. But he’s going to be fragile for a while. If it’s needed, Lucivar can go to Dena Nehele.”

    “If Lucivar goes to Dena Nehele, he’ll walk in ready to fight.”

    Jaenelle huffed. “That’s not new. Lucivar walks into every place ready to fight.”

    Saetan laughed softly. Hard to deny the truth about his Eyrien son’s temper. “All right.” Raising her hand, he kissed her knuckles, then let her go. “You head out to Dharo. . . .”

    “And you’ll look after our guest?” Jaenelle asked knowingly.

    “That I will. But first I’m going to read my boy a story. I had thought of reading him Unicorn to the Rescue! or Sceltie Saves the Day—”

    Jaenelle’s silvery, velvet-coated laugh eased his heart and vanished his concern about this child.

    “—but I don’t think he’d appreciate the humor of being read a story appropriate for his nephew,” he finished. “At least, not today.”

    “No, I don’t think he would. Not today.”

    When their laughter faded, Jaenelle called in a small wooden frame Black Widows used to hold their tangled webs. “That room needs to be cleaned and aired before Daemon can go back in. I think Helene will find this useful. Marian and I have been working on a way to cleanse a bedroom after a Warlord Prince goes through a rut. The vial is opened with a basic housekeeping spell. Once it’s triggered, the web will absorb the psychic scents in the room, while the oil in the vial absorbs the physical odors. The whole thing takes a couple of hours. When it’s done, the spider silk of the web will look thick and greasy. Same with the oil. We haven’t figured out how to cleanse the frame or vial after it’s been used, so the whole thing should be put in a shield and burned with witchfire, then buried so the ash doesn’t drift on the Wind.”

    He had to marvel that no one else had ever thought of this. Of course, there probably hadn’t been that many friendships between Black Widows and hearth witches, and until Marian and Jaenelle started working together to create specific spells, no one, to his knowledge, had thought to combine those two kinds of Craft.

    “Yes,” he said. “I’m sure Helene will find this useful.” Setting it aside a moment, he asked about something that had troubled him in Daemon’s story. “Witch-child, you must have known Daemon wasn’t in the best frame of mind. Why did you wear something that . . . ?” If she weren’t his daughter and his Queen, he wouldn’t have any trouble in phrasing the question.

    “Why did I wear an invitation?” she asked.

    He nodded.

    She fluffed her golden hair. The look she gave him was a little amused and embarrassed. “It’s been said that when a man is feeling a bit broody about something, sometimes he wants sex as a comfort but doesn’t feel secure enough to ask for it.”

    The thought of Jaenelle’s coven exchanging confidences about their husbands and/or lovers made him want to run and hide, but he just sat there and nodded.

    “I thought Daemon was feeling moody about Jared, about remembering a friend who was gone, but I hadn’t realized it was more than that until it was too late. Anyway, I was reading a story, and the clothes the woman was wearing had caught the man’s interest, so . . .” Jaenelle shrugged. “I knew if Daemon wasn’t interested, he wouldn’t notice the clothes and would be oblivious to the invitation.”

    “I beg your pardon?” Saetan blinked, sure he’d misheard. “Daemon wouldn’t notice what you were wearing? Daemon?”

    “Yes, Daemon.”

    “Witch-child . . .” He shook his head. “Maybe he pretends not to see, but he does notice.”

    “Before Surreal went back to Ebon Rih, we went shopping in Amdarh, and she picked out some things that she swore would make Daemon’s tongue hit his toes and have his eyes roll back in his head.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire