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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 15)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(15) by Anne Bishop
  • “Rainier.”

    Not what he’d expected. He relaxed a little.

    “He’s not healing the way he should.”

    She grabbed her golden hair and pulled hard enough to make him wince.

    “Maybe it’s because I can’t . . . because I’m not . . .”

    “No,” he said softly, a clear enough warning to anyone who knew him. And Jaenelle, his daughter and Queen, knew him.

    She lowered her hands and looked him in the eyes. “Maybe if I took back the power—”

    “No.” Saetan straightened, then lowered his arms so that his fingers rested lightly along the edge of the table. “That part of your life is done.”

    “I didn’t lose the Ebony like everyone thought. Maybe I can—”

    “Damn you to the bowels of Hell, you will not do this.”

    He saw the change in her and recognized the instant when it was Witch staring at him through Jaenelle’s sapphire eyes.

    “You don’t know why things are different, High Lord,” Witch said in her midnight voice.

    “Yes, I do, Lady. I went to Arachna. I met the Weaver of Dreams. I saw the tangled web that made dreams into flesh. And I saw that one slender strand of spider silk that changed the dream when she came back to us. There was another dreamer. You.”

    She stepped back, wary now. “How long have you known?”

    “A while now. Before you and Daemon married.” He paused, then added dryly, “Well, between the secret wedding and the public one, anyway. The point—and I hope you believe I will do what I say—is that my daughter has the life she wanted for herself, and taking back the Ebony would ruin that life.” And there was no certainty—none at all—that Jaenelle could still be a vessel for that much power, that taking back the Ebony wouldn’t kill her. “So you need to understand that I will fight my Queen into the ground in order to protect my daughter’s life. Witch-child, you never wanted that kind of power, so the only way you will take it back is by going through me. You’ll have to destroy me completely, because I will fight you with everything I am.”

    Her face turned alarmingly pale. “You mean that.”

    “Yes, I mean that. Everything has a price, Lady. That will be the price if you try to reclaim the Ebony.”

    A heartbeat. Another. Then he was no longer facing Witch. It was Jaenelle studying him with haunted eyes.

    “But . . . Rainier,” she said.

    “I’ll remind you of a few things you’ve obviously forgotten.” His voice slipped into that tightly controlled scolding tone that could intimidate any child. Even this one. “When you were seventeen, you put Lucivar back together. Considering the condition he was in when Prothvar brought him to your cottage in Ebon Rih, he shouldn’t have survived at all. But you not only healed the broken bones and internal damage; you rebuilt his wings out of the few healthy scraps that were left.”

    “I wore the Black then and had a reservoir of thirteen Jewels to tap,” Jaenelle said, her voice full of frustration. “And Lucivar was all-or-nothing. Systemic healing. He came out of it whole or he died.”

    “The Black isn’t Ebony,” Saetan said. “You’ve never used Ebony for healing because it was too dark, too powerful. You used the Black.”

    “Well, Twilight’s Dawn isn’t the Black,” she snapped.

    “No, but there is a Black thread in your Jewel. Compared to a true Black, you’ve got a thimbleful of power at that level, but it’s there. You also have two Black-Jeweled Warlord Princes and an Ebon-gray Warlord Prince who would have given you whatever power you needed for a healing web. And if you’d needed that kind of strength to add to a healing brew, Daemon or Lucivar would have given you the blood. The power was available, witch-child. This has nothing to do with the Jewels you no longer wear.”

    “Then why isn’t Rainier healing?” Jaenelle paced, circled—and began snarling in a way that made Saetan wish he could put a shield between them without insulting her. “He was healing. He was.”

    “Could he dance again?”

    “Yes!” She paused. Thought. “Not everything. Not the demanding dances he and I used to do sometimes as a special performance. His leg muscles will never be able to support that kind of demand. But all the social dances, yes. All the kinds of dances he taught.” She looked cold and bitter. “But he’s done enough damage to those muscles now that he won’t be able to do that.”

    “Then whatever is wrong with Rainier has nothing, or little, to do with the healing itself,” Saetan said quietly. “I don’t think it’s his leg that needs to heal so much as his heart.”

    He opened his arms. She stepped into the embrace and held on.

    “Would you like some advice?” he asked.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire