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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 110)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(110) by Anne Bishop
  • *Then I can handle this.*

    Ladvarian went with the women as they hurried to get Beron to the Coach. Daemon remained, his hands in his coat pockets, doing nothing but staring at the people huddled together. Now that Witch was out of the room, he was, once more, the dominant predator.

    “Prince?”

    The male voice was unfamiliar and cautious. Not surprising, since the man was coming up behind him and wouldn’t want to be mistaken for an enemy.

    Looking over his shoulder, Daemon studied the Warlord wearing the badge of a Master of the Guard. “Come in.”

    The Master entered the room, flanked by several other Warlords. “Someone has been hurt?”

    “The Queen of Halaway’s son,” Daemon replied. “And Lady Sylvia is missing.”

    “How may we be of service?” The Master’s voice turned grim.

    “Lord Ladvarian and I are going to search the grounds for Lady Sylvia. Have some of your men search the house.” Daemon pointed at the Healer, then at the adults he assumed were Sylvia’s hosts. “Keep them under guard, separately, until I’m ready to have a little chat. Take the boy to his room, under protection.”

    “Done,” the Master said.

    Daemon walked out of the room as the Warlords swarmed around the people being detained. The Master followed him out.

    “Something else?” Daemon asked, pausing at the top of the stairs.

    “Does this have anything to do with the missing children?”

    Cold rage swept through him, but he kept it chained. “What do you know about missing children?” And why hadn’t you shown some balls and come up to the Hall to tell me about them?

    The Master licked his lips, a nervous movement. “Sometimes borders are just lines on a map. The folks living in the towns and villages on the other side of the border in Little Terreille? They’re good people. We have no quarrel with them. When children started going missing, they asked us to keep a lookout for them. Not hard to do. A child from Little Terreille isn’t going to have the looks that would blend in with Dhemlan children, so he’s easy enough to spot. Most of the time, when a youngster runs away, he’s angry or unhappy, but no one has done him real harm, if you understand me.”

    “I do. And if you do suspect real harm?”

    “The youngster is brought before the Queen and isn’t returned to his family unless she’s satisfied that the reason he left home wasn’t more than growing pains.”

    “Do you think the missing children are runaways?”

    The Master hesitated, then shook his head. “No, I don’t think so. We’ve checked the runaway houses within our Queen’s territory.”

    Most small villages had at least one runaway house—a safe place an unhappy child could go to receive a hug, nutcakes, and a sympathetic ear, or be given some space to brood over some trouble at home.

    “I want to know if there are any children missing from Dhemlan villages.”

    “I’ll check with the village guards, but I haven’t heard of any children going missing,” the Master said. Then he finished grimly, “Which doesn’t mean there haven’t been some that have gone missing.”

    “I want daily reports until this is settled,” Daemon said as he started down the stairs.

    “You’ll have them.”

    “And get in touch with the Province Queen’s Master and make him aware—”

    *Daemon!*

    The urgency in Ladvarian’s voice made him rush down the rest of the stairs and out of the house. Dim balls of witchlight hung over a spot in the garden, so it wasn’t hard to find the dog.

    And it wasn’t hard to see what the Sceltie had found.

    Ladvarian circled the lower halves of two severed legs. The legs were bare; the feet were still covered by ankle boots.

    *These smell like Sylvia,* Ladvarian growled as he daintily walked on air to avoid leaving paw prints in the blood. *And I smell dead flesh.*

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire