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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 122)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(122) by Anne Bishop
  • When Jaenelle was fifteen and had tried attending school with other children, Beron had been her friend. Even now, when he was still an adolescent and she was a grown woman married for more than a decade, they were still friends, and he told Jaenelle things he wouldn’t think to tell anyone else. Mikal spent as much time with Tersa as he did at home, and because of that, Daemon was the adult male he had the most contact with outside of Sylvia’s own First Circle.

    Many years ago, her father had come to Halaway to find work and a wife. He’d found both, and he’d been enormously proud of his daughter, the Queen. He was a good man, and he loved her as much as she loved him. But their love had been strained by her love of another good man—because that man was the High Lord of Hell and the patriarch of the SaDiablo family. Her father saw things one way; Saetan saw things another. Neither was wrong, and both cared deeply for family, but it had scraped against her father’s pride that her sons had found the SaDiablo way of thinking more appealing, even though its rules and code of honor were more demanding.

    Having a man so old and powerful and lethal as her lover and her sons’ surrogate father had not sat well with the man who had raised her. Of course, he had thought the two Consorts who had sired her sons were great fellows because they fit into the social circles that minor aristos like her father found comfortable, and she suspected he’d been behind the interest Mikal’s sire had been showing in his offspring recently.

    Daemon and Jaenelle would make room for her father and brother because they were her family, but whether her blood relatives liked it or not, her sons had become absorbed into the SaDiablo family, and the SaDiablos took care of their own.

    She drained the glass of yarbarah and set it aside. Then she pulled up the long skirt and looked at what remained of her legs.

    The SaDiablos took care of their own. Would Saetan have given anyone else a vial of Jaenelle’s blood so that a Healer could shape shattered bone and ripped flesh into clean stumps? Or heal her fingertips so that she could have full use of her hands? She knew enough about the restrictions he placed on the demon-dead to understand that he’d bent many of his own rules to give her this much.

    If another woman had come to the Keep asking for his help, most likely he would have summoned his sons or trusted demon-dead Warlords to save the children, and he would have provided the blood that would have given the woman enough sustenance to keep the Self inside the flesh until she had the reassurance that her children were safe. What would have happened to her after that? Most likely, in a few days or weeks, that woman’s power would have faded and she would have become a whisper in the Darkness. Saetan was realistic. He had to be. Hundreds of Blood died every day. He couldn’t take care of all of them personally.

    But he could, and did, protect the living from the dead. And wasn’t that part of Saetan’s—and Daemon’s—anger? No Face was demon-dead and was still hunting in a living Realm, was hunting now in Dhemlan.

    Instead of recognizing the rage growing in two Warlord Princes, she had remained focused on another woman’s fear as if it were her own—even though she knew that woman’s choice would not have been hers. She would have gone to the District Queen or the Province Queen or broken down the door at SaDiablo Hall if that was what it took to get help. She wouldn’t have sacrificed another woman’s child, even at the cost of her own.

    Sylvia lowered the skirt and carefully arranged the folds. She was a spectator now, nothing more. As hard as it was to wait, she had to trust the living to take care of the living.

    FIVE

    Beron walked along Halaway’s streets, looking into shop windows and wishing he’d brought along a few coins so he could suggest buying dishes of flavored ice.

    “I have money,” Jaenelle said.

    He looked at her. Long golden hair and sapphire eyes, wearing one of those peculiar outfits that were too big for her. Only fifteen years old, but her eyes were ancient.

    Fifteen? “You’re older now,” he told her.

    “I can be,” she replied cheerfully as she held up a silver mark. “It’s your dream. But at either age, I still have enough money for two bowls of flavored ice.”

    He laughed. It made his throat hurt enough that he really wanted that ice.

    “It’s bad out there,” he said. “But you know that. You knew that before the rest of us did.”

    “There are also strong men out there who will defend and protect,” she said. “They won’t let you come to harm.”

    “I’ve seen his face.”

    “Show me. Let him take shape here.”

    Beron shook his head. “If I show you, you’ll be in danger too.”

    Something brushed against him, muscle and fur hidden within a sight shield. More movement and soft sounds all around them.

    “We won’t be the ones in danger,” Jaenelle said softly.

    The face of the enemy floated in the air before them.

    “He’s rather pretty, isn’t he?” she said. “You would never guess what was hidden under the skin. No matter. Now he doesn’t have any masks to hide behind.”

    Beron opened his eyes. The room looked cloudy, and his ears felt plugged. His heart jumped when someone sat on the bed. He struggled to make his eyes work.

    *Don’t push it,* Jaenelle said on a psychic thread. *Your vision and hearing will improve daily unless you disobey your Healer, being me, and do something stupid, which will give you swollen balls.*

    *Why?* he asked.

    *Because I will kick them.*

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire