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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 76)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(76) by Anne Bishop
  • Randahl stared at slices of roasted beef and the mound of fresh vegetables. “Did we decide what to eat?”

    “Apparently we did.” Smiling, Rainier picked up a fork and dug in.

    A thick-vined plant tried to eat him, which snapped Daemon out of his complacent wandering of the Keep’s outer courtyards. In Hell, the Realm of forever twilight, most of the native flora and fauna welcomed the opportunity to dine on fresh blood, and any man who stumbled into this Realm was meat for the taking.

    Even if that man was a Black-Jeweled Warlord Prince.

    He turned toward the door and mentally stumbled when he saw Draca standing there, clearly waiting for him.

    She said nothing. Just the same, he felt chastised for staying in the Dark Realm so that he could look round a bit—and for his boyish excitement at seeing a place that was usually forbidden to anyone who still walked among the living.

    “Draca,” he said pleasantly, as if the past hour or so had been nothing out of the ordinary. Hell’s fire. How long had she been keeping track of him?

    “Prince Ssadi,” she replied. “Come with me.”

    She led him back to the Dark Altar and opened the Gate. Moments later, he felt the difference and knew they were in Terreille. Which was where he should have been in the first place.

    “You’re probably wondering why I was wandering around the other Keep.”

    “You are your father’ss sson,” Draca said. “The firsst time he ssaw Hell, Ssaetan alsso became disstracted and forgot to return to the Gate.”

    The look she gave him muzzled curiosity. Doing his best to appear meek, since he had a feeling that anything else would get him tossed out of the Keep, he followed her to one of the sitting rooms that had a large blackwood worktable.

    “It iss a cold day,” Draca said. “You should eat ssomething hot.”

    “I just wanted to talk to Geoffrey about . . .” Daemon studied the Seneschal. “Thank you. That would be welcome.” And he was going to eat it whether he wanted it or not.

    He also understood that he was supposed to stay where he had been put. Too bad this particular room was singularly uninteresting. Maybe that was the reason she had put him here.

    Slipping his hands in his trousers pockets, Daemon wandered over to a window. Another courtyard. Here the plants slept under a cover of snow.

    He knew this was Terreille, but he felt more uneasy, more vulnerable, than when he’d been foolishly wandering around the Keep in Hell.

    He turned when the door opened and watched a servant set a tray at one end of the blackwood table and retreat, pausing in the doorway to let Geoffrey enter.

    The Keep’s historian/librarian looked around the room, then looked at him with black eyes that glittered with sharp humor. “What did you do to end up here?”

    “Wandered where I wasn’t supposed to.”

    The black eyes still glittered, but the humor was gone. “A dangerous thing to do.”

    “Yes,” Daemon replied quietly. “And not something I’ll do again without permission.” It suddenly occurred to him that most people who stumbled into the Dark Realm never returned to the living—and he had too much to live for to be so careless.

    “In that case, is there something I can do for you?”

    “Surreal wants whatever family information you can find about Falonar.”

    “That might take a little while, but I should be able to tell you something from the registers,” Geoffrey said. “Eat your meal while it’s hot.” When he reached the door, he stopped and turned back. “Pondering this should keep you out of trouble for a while.”

    As soon as Geoffrey left the room, a large piece of parchment appeared above the blackwood table, then drifted down to cover half the surface.

    Not exactly a map, Daemon decided, feeling an excited chill. Two webs, one drawn in black ink, the other in red. The center point was labeled “Ebon Askavi” in his father’s handwriting.

    He picked up the bowl of soup and ate while he walked back and forth, studying the markers. The Keep. SaDiablo Hall. The Khaldharon Run and the Blood Run. The cildru dyathe’s island. The Harpies’territory. The thirteen Gates. Not a map showing terrain or boundaries. Not a map useful to anyone who couldn’t ride the Black Winds, but he learned a great deal about Hell in the hour he spent perusing that piece of parchment, including the locations of the most benign and most dangerous sections of the Dark Realm.

    Then the parchment vanished, the door opened, and Geoffrey returned.

    “I found some information that might be of interest to you,” Geoffrey said. “You can review the material in the private section of the library. Then you will go home.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire