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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 175)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(175) by Anne Bishop
  • Her mood seemed bittersweet, and he suspected he was the cause of whatever bitterness dimmed her pleasure in this special day. She had been his partner, his friend, his lover. They had laughed together and worried together and, sometimes, fought with each other.

    He hadn’t been the husband she deserved. He had taken care of her body and enjoyed doing it, and he’d made an effort not to deliberately hurt her heart. He cared for her, deeply, but he’d never said the words that matter most to a woman.

    And yet, she had stayed—and he wanted her to stay because he wanted to be with her, wanted to share his life with her.

    Maybe, once this day was behind them, the tension that had been building between them would go away, along with the unspoken questions and doubts.


    Or maybe, like the previous patriarch of the SaDiablo family, he would find himself surrounded by people he loved and yet always feel alone.

    His heart ached with love and pride as he looked at the people who were his family. Sylvia’s boys, Beron and Mikal. Manny, who had taken care of him when he’d been a child. Tersa, his mother. Jillian. Marian and the children. Lucivar. And Surreal.

    Giving his arm a squeeze, Surreal slipped away to talk to Manny. Lucivar shifted to fill the space.

    “How did you survive this twice?” Daemon asked.

    Lucivar shrugged. “Nothing I could do about it. A child will wear the Jewels a child will wear. I figure it’s my job to teach them to live up to their own potential instead of trying to match someone else—including me.”

    “That’s not what I meant.”

    “If you don’t know the answer to that, old son, then you haven’t been paying attention to the woman you’ve lived with these past fifteen years,” Lucivar said quietly, turning enough to make the words private. “She loves you. You know that, don’t you? And she’s as committed to her daughter as you are.”

    “I know.” Daemon sighed. “I know.” But was that commitment enough?

    “Boys,” Tersa said.

    He and Lucivar immediately looked toward the Sanctuary where the first girl was coming out with her new Jewel.

    “Oh,” Marian said with warm pleasure. “She has a Summer-sky.”

    The next child in line, a boy, went into the Sanctuary with his chosen witness while the girl stood beside her mother, who proceeded with the formal granting of paternity.

    Another child went in, and another man was granted legal rights to the child he had made.

    Daemon called in chairs for the women and spread a blanket for the children so that they could sit on the ground and play hawks and hares. Lucivar called in a jug of water and let Daemonar take a glass to Jaenelle while he poured water for the rest of them.

    By the second hour, Manny was dozing in her chair, and Surreal had gone off with Marian, who needed to feed and change the baby.

    “A dozen children is too many,” Daemon said, accepting the glass of wine Lucivar poured for him. “We should have been split up into smaller groups throughout the day, like they did in Ebon Rih when your children went through the Ceremony.” When Lucivar said nothing, he felt like a fool. “I should have insisted on this group being split into smaller groups.”

    “Maybe. Not that it would have made any difference. Not today. They are here to watch you and your daughter.”

    “Isn’t that delightful?”

    “Everything has a price.”

    By the time they reached the third hour, children were getting whiny, adults were getting restless, and Daemon was ready to exile every Queen and aristo present. He’d had enough of the speculative looks and the whispers behind their hands. He also made note of the ones, like Lady Zhara, who had remained gracious and friendly during the long wait, and didn’t appear to be there for any other reason than to offer her good wishes.

    Then, finally, Jaenelle was the only one waiting her turn.

    He held out his hand, palm side down. Surreal placed her hand over his, standing on his left. They walked up to the Sanctuary, where the Priestess waited for them.

    The Priestess looked at Jaenelle. “Who will stand as your witness?”

    Daemon tensed and felt Surreal do the same. How was Jaenelle supposed to choose one parent over the other in public?

    Before he could insist on both of them going in with her, Tersa walked up to them and held out her hand. “Come with me, little Sister.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire