"In a minute," Lucivar said, swallowing hard when her eyes turned stormy. "You can't go out in your socks. There's snow on the ground."

Jaenelle swore. Lucivar called in her winter boots and handed them to her while a breathless footman brought her winter coat and the belted, wool cape with wing slits that served as a coat for him.

A minute later, they were flying toward Tersa's cottage.

The journey maid Black Widow who was staying with Tersa flung the door open as soon as they landed. "In the bedroom," she said in a worried voice. "Lady Sylvia is with her."

Jaenelle raced up to the bedroom with Lucivar right behind her.

Seeing them, Sylvia sagged against the dresser, the relief in her face overshadowed by stark concern. Lucivar put his arm around her, uneasy about the way she clung to him.

Jaenelle circled the bed to face Tersa, who was frantically packing a small trunk. Scattered among the clothing strewn on the bed were books, candles, and a few things Lucivar recognized as tools only a Black Widow would own.

"Tersa," Jaenelle said in a quiet, commanding voice.

Tersa shook her head. "I have to find him. It's time now."

"Who do you have to find?"

"The boy. My son. Daemon."

Lucivar's heart clogged his throat as he watched Jaenelle pale.

"Daemon." Jaenelle shuddered. "The gold key."

"I have to find him." Tersa's voice rang with frustration and fear. "If the pain doesn't end soon, it will destroy him."

Jaenelle gave no sign of having heard or understood the words. "Daemon," she whispered. "How could I have forgotten Daemon?"

"I must go back to Terreille. I must find him."

"No," Jaenelle said in her midnight voice."I'll find him."

Tersa stopped her restless movements. "Yes," she said slowly, as if trying hard to remember something. "He would trust you. He would follow you out of the Twisted Kingdom."

Jaenelle closed her eyes.

Still holding Sylvia, Lucivar braced himself against the wall. Hell's fire, why was the room slowly spinning?

When Jaenelle opened her eyes, Lucivar stared, unable to look away. He'd never seen her eyes look like that. He hoped he'd never again see her eyes look like that. Jaenelle swept out of the room.

Leaving Sylvia to manage on her own, Lucivar raced after Jaenelle, who was striding toward the landing web at the edge of the village.

"Cat, the Hall's in the other direction."

When she didn't answer him, he tried to grab her arm. The shield around her was so cold it burned his hand.

She passed the landing web and kept walking. He fell into step beside her, not sure what to say—not sure what hedared say.

"Stubborn, snarly male," she muttered as tears filled her eyes. "Itold you the chalice needed time to heal. Itold you to go someplace safe. Why didn't you listen to me? Couldn't you obey justonce!' She stopped walking.

Lucivar watched her grief slowly transform into rage as she turned in the direction of the Hall.

"Saetan," she said in a malevolent whisper. "You were there that night. You . . ."

Lucivar didn't try to keep up with her when she ran back to the Hall. Instead, he sent a warning to Beale on a Red spear thread. Beale, in turn, informed him that the High Lord had just arrived.

He hoped his father was prepared for this fight.

3 / Kaeleer

He felt her coming.

Too nervous to sit, Saetan leaned against the front of his blackwood desk, his hands locked on the surface in a vise grip.

He'd had two years to prepare for this, had spent countless hours trying to find the right phrases to explain the brutality that had almost destroyed her. But, somehow, he had never found the right time to tell her. Even after last night, when he realized the memories were trying to surface, he had delayed talking to her.

Now the time had come. And he still wasn't prepared.

He'd arrived home to find Beale fretting in the great hall, waiting to convey Lucivar's warning: "She remembers Daemon—and she's furious."

He felt her enter the Hall and hoped he could now find a way to help her face those memories in the daylight instead of in her dreams.

His study door blew off the hinges and shattered when it hit the opposite wall. Dark power ripped through the room, breaking the tables and tearing the couch and chairs apart.

Fear hammered at him. But he also noted that she didn't harm the irreplaceable paintings and sculpture.

Then she stepped into the room, and nothing could have prepared him for the cold rage focused directly at him.

"Damn you." Her midnight voice sounded calm. It sounded deadly.

She meant it. If the malevolence and loathing in her eyes was any indication of the depth of her rage, then he was truly damned.

"You heartless bastard."

His mind chattered frantically. He couldn't make a sound. He desperately hoped that her feelings for him would balance her fury—and knew they wouldn't, not with Daemon added to the balance.

She walked toward him, flexing her fingers, drawing part of his attention to the dagger-sharp nails he now had reason to fear.

"You used him. He was a friend, andyou used him."

Saetan gritted his teeth. "There was no choice."

"Therewas a choice." She slashed open the chair in front of his desk."there was a choice!"

His rising temper pushed the fear aside. "To lose you," he said roughly. "To stand back and let your body die and loseyou. 1 didn't consider that a choice, Lady. Neither did Daemon."

"You wouldn't have lost me if the body had died. I

would have eventually put the crystal chalice back together and—"

"You're Witch, and Witch doesn't becomecildru dyathe. Wewould have lost you. Every part of you. He knew that."

That stopped her for a moment.

"I gave him all the strength I had. He went too deep into the abyss trying to reach you. When I tried to draw him back up, he fought me and the link between us snapped."

"He shattered his crystal chalice," Jaenelle said in a hollow voice. "He shattered his mind. I put it back together, but it was so terribly fragile. When he rose out of the abyss, anything could have damaged him. A harsh word would have been enough at that point."

"I know," Saetan said cautiously. "I felt him."

The cold rage filled her eyes again. "But you left him there, didn't you, Saetan?" she said too softly. "Briarwood's uncles had arrived at the Altar, and you left a defenseless man to face them."

"He was supposed to go through the Gate," Saetan replied hotly. "I don't know why he didn't."


Tags: Anne Bishop Books The Black Jewels Series Books Science Fiction Books
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