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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 126)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(126) by Anne Bishop
  • Saetan stared at the skin sack filled with organs and muscles—and the brain. Daemon had thought to put a bubble shield around the sack before bringing it to the Keep. That was fortunate because the contents were starting to drain from the orifices.

    Considering what the Warlord had done to his victims, it shouldn’t matter if the bastard heard them or not, but the man’s mind had broken under the horror of the punishment, so Saetan added an aural shield over Daemon’s bubble shield, and then hid it all in a mist so that neither of them had to look at it.

    “I’ve walked the Realms for over fifty thousand years, and I’ve never seen this before,” he said as he walked over to the end of the courtyard where Daemon stood.

    “He told Tersa to show him the boy, not the Mikal boy.” Daemon swallowed hard. “To her mind, he threatened me, not the illusion.”

    “And she reacted.”

    Daemon nodded.

    “And Jaenelle told her how to do this?”

    Another nod.

    His boy was looking glassy-eyed and green, which matched how he was feeling. The speed with which it happened and the grotesque result would have unsettled both of them under any circumstances, but the feral natures and the tempers of the women involved scared the shit out of him. No matter what she’d told Tersa, Jaenelle had not learned to do this by deboning a chicken.

    If the Darkness was merciful, he would never learn why or how his daughter had acquired this particular piece of Craft—and he hoped with all his heart that Daemon never learned why or how either.

    “What do we do now?”

    Linking his arm through Daemon’s, he led his son back into the Keep. “You’re going to go home, take a sedative, and get some sleep.”

    “Maybe I should—”

    “You’re the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, not the High Lord of Hell.” Saetan put enough bite in his voice to clear the glassy look from Daemon’s eyes. “You did your part in this, Prince. Now it’s time for me to do mine.”

    “And your part is?”

    “To sift through what is left of his mind for the names of his victims before releasing him to the final death. I’ll send you the list. I’m sure you’ll know how to quietly pass on the information to the people who need it.”

    “What happens after that?”

    “He is demon-dead,” Saetan said gently. “After his Self returns to the Darkness, the meat will be left for the flora and fauna of Hell.”

    SEVEN

    A week after No Face had been destroyed, Saetan walked into the sitting room where Sylvia was reading, and sat down in a ladderback chair next to her wheeled chair.

    “It’s time for us to talk,” he said.

    She marked the page in her book and set it aside. She’d known this was coming, but she hadn’t expected it to come this soon. Even with the heartache and worry about her sons, there had been comfort in his presence. She felt the drag of daylight as soon as the sun rose, and went to bed to avoid the drain in her power. She would wake for a moment when he joined her later in the morning, and then sleep again, cradled in his arms, until they both rose at sunset.

    “It’s hard for the living to let go of the dead, and it’s hard for the dead to let go of the living. That’s why my rules about interaction between the living and the demon-dead are so strict, and that’s why I’m so harsh when those rules are broken.”

    “Did you live by your own rules, Saetan?” She knew the man, so she already guessed the answer.

    “Everything has a price,” he said softly. “When I became a Guardian, I made a choice. It wasn’t prudent to let some things, like Dhemlan Kaeleer, leave my control, but the personal things ...” He sighed. “I never met Mephis’s wife. I never knew his children. I never held them or played with them or read them stories. I straddled the line between living and dead, so I didn’t belong with them. I had contact with Mephis only here at the Keep. He was a grown man, and it was necessary because we were all waiting for the promised dream to become flesh. But I kept my distance from his family, asking no less of myself than I required of the other citizens of Hell.”

    “But you know Daemonar,” she said.

    He let out a pained laugh. “Yes. Well, Lucivar is not Mephis. When I gave Mephis an order, he obeyed it. When I give Lucivar an order, half the time he ignores it and pisses on my foot. When Daemonar was born, Lucivar told me he didn’t give a damn about my rules. The boy was going to know his grandfather.” He paused, then added, “And things changed after Jaenelle came into our lives. The boundaries didn’t exist with the people she touched. That’s why I know that while the rules I’ve set for the citizens of Hell must be strictly enforced most of the time, there can be exceptions.”

    She felt a zing that had nothing to do with her body and everything to do with her heart. “I can see my boys one more time?”

    “If that’s what you want,” he replied. He leaned forward and took her hands, rubbing his thumbs over her knuckles. “Prince Sadi denied your father custody of your sons.”

    “Why?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire