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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 79)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(79) by Anne Bishop
  • “I don’t know!”

    “Then I’ll tell you.” Witch reached out and rested one claw above what was left of the black lump. “Her name was Surreal.”

    Pain. Agony. Twelve years old and hiding from whoever had killed her mother. Trying to survive in dirty alleyways. Raped but not broken. She hadn’t been able to protect her body, but she’d been able to protect her Green Birthright power and her inner web. Twelve years old and beginning both careers—whore and assassin.

    The hard black core pushed out, pushed out, pushed out until Witch hooked it with a claw and pulled it out the rest of the way.

    Surreal lay back. Her chest hurt, and it felt hollow—and it felt clean. For the first time in too many years, she felt clean.

    She closed her eyes. The altar felt much warmer and softer now. Comfortable.

    “Rest now, Surreal,” Jaenelle said. “Rest.”

    She snuggled farther under the spell-warmed covers, breathed an easy sigh, and slept.



    Surreal jerked awake and struggled against the hand pressing on her shoulder, holding her down. Then a tenor voice said, “Be easy, cousin. Be easy. The boy is well.” Then a tenor voice said, “Be easy, cousin. Be easy The boy is well.”

    She flopped back, boneless with relief as the voice and words were absorbed. Then she looked at the man who released her shoulder and took her hand, hiding none of the Gray-Jeweled strength behind his gentle touch. Long silver hair and slightly oversized forest blue eyes. Delicately pointed ears and a slender, sinewy build that was much stronger than it looked. “Chaosti?”

    The Warlord Prince of the Dea al Mon smiled. “Welcome back.”

    Hell’s fire. How long had she been gone?

    “Two days,” Chaosti said as if she’d actually asked the question. “It’s been two days since you collapsed.”

    Snips of memory. Lucivar leaving her to watch the boy. A hunt for the missing child. Fear that turned into unbearable pain. And . . .

    “How much of the eyrie did I wreck before I went down?” she asked.

    A sharp, amused smile. “All of it. Every closet, cupboard, and hidey-hole. You were impressively efficient.”

    Shit shit shit. “Didn’t find the boy.” A small ache in her chest where the black lump had been.

    “He and his furry brothers used the wolf pups’ newly learned skill of sight shielding to give themselves an advantage in the game of hide-and-seek. If you’d been aware of that, he would have remained hidden only for as long as you chose to let him have the advantage. As it was, Daemonar is very sorry he scared his auntie Surreal. Whenever he’s slipped away from us, we’ve found him outside this door, hugging an armful of his books, waiting for you to wake up so he can read you a story.”

    “He can’t read yet.”

    “I know. But it’s the only thing he can do to take care of you.”

    Tears stung her eyes. She blinked them away. “Is there any reason I can’t get up?”

    “None.” Chaosti squeezed her hand gently. “But there is something I’d like you to think about before you see the others.”

    She studied his face, but she couldn’t read him as well as she could read Lucivar. “Think about what?” she asked warily.

    “Coming to Dea al Mon for a visit with your mother’s clan. Grand-mammy Teele would like to have some time with you.” He hesitated. “While we waited for your return, Lucivar and I discussed the training he wanted you to have and why he wanted you to have it. I agree with the why—”

    Of course he did. He’d been just as upset with her for not shielding before going into the spooky house as Lucivar had been—and just as adamant that she polish her defensive skills.

    “—but I think a different how and where would suit you better.”

    She blinked at him. “Say that again?”

    “You’re not Eyrien. While learning the Eyrien way of fighting is physically beneficial, it’s not natural to who and what you are.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire