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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Twilight's Dawn (Chapter 86)      Page
  • Twilight's Dawn(Black Jewels,Book 9)(86) by Anne Bishop
  • How much preparation did they need to do to accommodate one person? Maybe she should ask Jaenelle about that. She didn’t want to cause problems for her kinsman.

    “When do you think you’ll go back to Amdarh?”

    “Hopefully soon.” Rainier hesitated. “I wish my leg hadn’t been injured, and more than that, I wish I hadn’t acted like a fool about it. But the work Daemon offered me will be challenging, and I’m ready to get started.”

    “And ready to tell your family that you don’t need pity work and they can take a piss in the wind?” she asked.

    He sighed. “That too. Although I will be more polite in how I phrase it.”

    Surreal grinned. “That’s because you’re not a cold bitch.”

    He huffed out a laugh. “Come on. We’re here to sweat, so let’s sweat.”

    She stripped off her coat, called in her sparring stick, and began going through the warm-up moves.

    She felt good, better than she had in weeks. Still a touch raspy when her lungs were working hard or when she’d been out in cold air too long, but she felt lighter now, freer.

    Except for one piece of unfinished business that kept scratching at her—the piece Jaenelle said Lucivar would help her finish.

    Thank the Darkness this practice was in the afternoon, when few Eyriens would be present. She didn’t want an audience for whatever Lucivar had in mind.

    She’d completed her warm-up and was going through the moves a second time when Lucivar walked in, followed by Hallevar, Tamnar, and Jillian. The girl ran to the selection of sparring sticks that were kept on one wall and returned with two. Handing one to Tamnar, she settled into her own warm-up routine.

    Surreal watched Lucivar watch Jillian. Any male who thought the girl didn’t have a father to protect her was in for a rude, and rather terrifying, surprise.

    After a nod of approval to Jillian and Tamnar, Lucivar called in his sparring stick and went through the warm-up. Then he stepped into the sparring circle, looked Surreal in the eyes, and smiled his lazy, arrogant smile. “Come on, darling. Let’s see if you learned anything.”

    She stepped into the circle. “I’ve learned more than you think, darling.”

    “Shield,” he said as he created a Red shield around himself.

    She created a Green shield around herself.

    He shook his head. “No. For this, witchling, you’ll need the Gray.”

    “To spar?” she asked, surprised.

    “To cleanse,” he replied quietly.

    She understood then what he was offering—to be a target for her anger against all the enemies she hadn’t fought but who had crowded her dreams, including the Eyrien bastard who had killed Kester and hurt Rainier. In order to do that, Lucivar wasn’t going to hold back, so that she couldn’t hold back.

    She glanced at Jillian, Tamnar, and Hallevar. “Maybe they should leave.” She didn’t care if Rainier stayed, but she didn’t want Lucivar to have trouble with the Eyriens over this kindness to her.

    “No,” he said. “There are lessons that need to be learned. Let them learn.”

    With that, he began the sparring match, his strikes against her stick so light and controlled it was almost an insult. But she didn’t push harder, didn’t escalate. Not yet.

    Light. Easy. Wouldn’t stay that way. She could feel the anger rising, that last piece of unfinished business. But nothing was pushing her temper enough to snap the leash, and the sparring they were doing would exercise the body but it wouldn’t finish cleansing the heart.

    Then Jillian took a step closer to the circle, and Lucivar turned on the girl and struck out. She squealed, but raised her stick and blocked the blow.

    A deliberate move, but not against Jillian. The move was intended to provoke her. And it worked. Surreal felt her temper snap the leash, and she went after Lucivar hard and fast, using everything he’d taught her about fighting with the sticks.

    He met her, matched her, a powerful adversary. She didn’t know how long they’d been fighting, wasn’t going to care if some fool called time. But Hell’s fire, she was feeling the rasp and burn in her lungs, so she wasn’t going to be able to go on much longer.

    She used Craft to enhance the sound of her raspy breathing to make sure her adversary heard it and thought she was fading. She fumbled a move, deliberately—and saw him hesitate for a heartbeat before he responded.

    “That’s enough, Surreal,” he said.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire