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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 22)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(22) by Anne Bishop
  • “I used to have one,” Saetan replied.

    Puzzled, he looked up at his father. “One what?”

    “Small Eyrien boy. I learned this lesson the hard way, and now, my darling, so have you.”

    “You could have warned me.”

    “You wouldn’t have believed me.”

    So what? You still could have warned me.

    Since that wouldn’t get him any help, he swallowed the comment and tried to look woeful. It wasn’t hard to do. “Help?”

    Using Craft, Saetan moved a straight-backed chair from one side of the room, placed it close to Daemon, and sat down. “I’ll show you a trick. As long as you don’t use it too often, you can get away with it. Especially during this season, when males are forgiven their foibles. Mostly.”

    “The first problem is figuring out who these gifts were intended for,” Daemon said.

    “That part is easy. I brought these, so I know which box belongs to which person.”

    “Bt. Dt. Zt.” On the second try, he formed actual words. “You brought these? Then why in the name of Hell didn’t you put shields around them?”

    A raised eyebrow was his only answer—and an unspoken reminder that Saetan could leave the room without incurring a woman’s wrath.

    Sufficiently chastised, Daemon muttered, “Sorry.”

    Figuring it was best to confess the worst, he nudged the box Daemonar had pounded on the floor—and winced at the merry tinkle of broken glass.

    No response. Just the feel of his father’s formidable presence.

    “Lesson one,” Saetan said, sounding too damned amused. “If you shield all the gifts, you also need to shield and Craft-lock the room sufficiently to keep small boys out. Otherwise, that boy will transform from a happy, excited child into a cranky, frustrated child. And trust me, a frustrated Eyrien boy during Winsol is twice as bad as what you’re imagining right now—especially when his little brain is dazzled by boxes and shiny ribbons.”

    “Then Lucivar and I can just . . .” What? Put Ebon-gray and Black shields and locks around the room? That would keep Daemonar out, but it would also keep everyone else out of the room—including wives who wouldn’t appreciate being locked out.

    “All right,” Daemon said, trying not to sigh. “Guard the room when it’s my turn. Don’t shield all the gifts.” He nudged the broken gift. “If you tell me where you got this, I’ll get it replaced in time.” I hope.

    “That? You can dispose of it. It’s just a box of chipped teacups and broken figurines. Helene and Mrs. Beale keep a box of that stuff for just this kind of present.”

    A red haze appeared in front of Daemon’s eyes. “What kind of present?”

    “The kind that rattles enough to sound interesting. Especially once things inside the box start breaking.”

    “You did this deliberately?”

    “Yes.”

    He was trying very hard to remember why he had looked forward to Winsol this year—and why he’d been happy to see his father a few minutes ago.

    “Lesson two,” Saetan said. “Fragile or delicate gifts go in the back where they’re less likely to be noticed by inquisitive children. Even so, they are shielded individually and then are grouped together before a shield ‘netting’ is put over all of them, and that netting is then connected to the floor with Craft. However, there should be one breakable, disposable gift positioned in the front of the tree to catch a boy’s eye. That way, you have a chance of stopping him while he’s distracted by the fake present, and you’re not trying to explain the loss of an expensive gift.”

    Daemon looked at the mounds of gifts. All this work to keep out one boy? What would happen if . . .

    “Marian wants another baby,” he said.

    A stiff moment of silence. Then Saetan said, “In that case, my darling, you’d better learn some of these spells and work on them until you can pull them together in a heartbeat.”

    Or they could just all celebrate Winsol at the eyrie, and then it would be Lucivar’s responsibility to guard the gifts.

    He considered the probability of getting out of guard duty no matter where the family gathered for Winsol—and sighed.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire