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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 105)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(105) by Anne Bishop
  • Having been in the position of entertaining to excess because a guest brought several unanticipated companions—and having her children grumble about the other parties they couldn’t attend after she paid the bills for that excess—she understood the dilemma Haeze’s mother faced: Pay for a visit by a District Queen that might not net enough social value to be worth the cost, or have the means to send Haeze to several parties in other villages.

    Her Steward and Master of the Guard had voiced no objections to Sylvia not bringing a human escort because Tildee was coming with her. The Sceltie, who was a Summer-sky witch, poked her nose into everything that had to do with her family, especially when it came to Mikal, who was her special human.

    So Sylvia had accepted the second invitation for a family visit.

    She stopped walking. She’d been careful not to wander beyond the formal gardens, but she was still alone in the dark. Thinking about the invitation that brought her family here, she used Craft to create several balls of witchlight and tossed them in the air to float above her as she headed back toward the house.

    There would have been room for a couple of escorts because she and her boys were the only guests—and that second invitation had given her the distinct impression the house would be crammed with guests. Haeze’s younger brother wasn’t eagerly waiting to meet Mikal as she’d been told. The boy wasn’t even here, and the excuses being made for his absence rang false.

    She should have listened to Tildee when the Sceltie growled about something smelling wrong near the house. The dog had wanted to get away from this place and these people within minutes of arriving.

    Thank the Darkness she had a code phrase the Sceltie promised to obey. If used, Mikal would be taken away from the danger, no matter what else might be lost.

    When had a sense of something wrong turned into a conviction there was danger?

    *Mother?* Beron called on a psychic thread.

    *Coming,* she replied. If a son had noticed her absence and come looking for her, she had been out in the garden longer than she’d intended.

    Sylvia lengthened her stride, the witchlights bobbing along with her. Hearing Beron’s voice helped her make her decision. She didn’t care if she was being rude. She didn’t care if she embarrassed her son and his friend. She was taking her boys home!

    The attack came without warning. A bolt of power hit her in the chest, knocking her down, shattering the shield beneath her clothes. As she scrambled to her feet, a male figure, dressed in black, rushed toward her.

    “Bitch,” he snarled. “This is your brat’s fault.”

    She threw a Purple Dusk shield between them, certain the feel of power clashing would bring the men in the house running to help. The man shattered that shield and kept coming toward her, destroying the next one too as she backed away.

    A hint of rotting meat in the air now, and a foulness to his psychic scent that gagged her more than the physical smell. In the moments before he struck again, she knew why Haeze’s brother wasn’t home. Since she couldn’t hold this Warlord off for long and it was clear she wasn’t going to get any help from the people in the house, she made her choice.

    Everything has a price.

    *Beron! Run!* she shouted on a psychic thread. *Tildee! Run now!*

    As the enemy lunged at her, she wrapped shields around herself and ran, hoping to lure him away long enough for her boys to escape. She didn’t worry much about Mikal. Asking Tildee to run meant something terrible had happened, and the Sceltie would protect the boy with everything in her while getting him to a safe place. But Beron . . .

    “Mother?” Beron shouted, sounding much too close. “Mother?”

    *Run!* she screamed.

    A blast of power hit her legs, breaking her shields and exploding her knees. She struck the ground hard and rolled, denying the pain while she twisted around to face the enemy.

    “Mother!”

    No time to argue with Beron about running toward her instead of running away. She blasted the enemy with everything she had in her Purple Dusk Jewel. It didn’t break his shield, but it stopped him for a moment. He was stronger, had a deeper reservoir of power than she did, and that meant he would win this fight.

    She’d still make the bastard work for the kill.

    Slipping on the blood and shattered bones, he fell on her and began tearing at her clothes. She tore at him with her nails, breaking through his shield long enough to rip her fingers on a protective mesh that covered his face.

    He rammed a knife between her ribs. Before her body registered pain, he yanked it out.

    “I’m going to give you a smile from ear to ear,” he snarled.

    A blast of power knocked him off her. Leaping to his feet, he grabbed her torn clothes and used Craft to fling her far out into the garden.

    As she flew through the air, in those moments before the physical death, she saw the enemy attack Beron.

    Daemon followed Jaenelle into her sitting room, closed the door, then wrapped his arms around her.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire