*What are we doing here?* Lucivar asked.

*We're the triangle who helped shape the dream,* Daemon said. *We're supposed to hold the dream.*

*Don't go cryptic on me, Bastard,* Lucivar growled.

Daemon snarled at him.

Saetan raised his hand. They both fell silent.

*Who told you that?* Saetan asked.

*A sibilant voice.* Daemon paused. *It sounded like Draca, but it was male.*

Saetan nodded. *Lorn.* He looked around again.

Far, far, far above them, lightning flashed.

*Why did Jaenelle ask you to come to Hayll, Daemon?* Saetan asked.

*She said that the triangle had to remain together in order to survive. That the mirror had the strength to keep the other two safe.*

*She saw that in a tangled web?*

*No. The Weaver of Dreams told her.*

Lucivar began to swear.

Saetan's look was sharp, penetrating, thoughtful.

The lightning flashed a little closer.

*Father, brother, lover,* Saetan said softly.

Daemon nodded, remembering the triangle Tersa had traced on his palm. *The father came first. The brother stands between.* When they both looked at him, he shifted uneasily. *Something Tersa said once.*

*Warnings from Tersa, the Arachnian Queen, and Draca,* Saetan said. *A man might ignore one at his own peril, but all three?* He shook his head slowly. *I think not.*

The lightning flashed a little closer.

*That's all well and good,* Lucivar growled, *but I would prefer a straightforward order.*

*Thesse webss are the besst magic I can give you,* Lorn said irritably. *Usse them to hold the dream. If sshe breakss through all of them, sshe will return to the Darknesss. You will losse her.*

Lucivar puffed out a breath. *That's clear enough. So where—* He looked up as the lightning flashed again. *What's that?*

They all looked up, waited for the next flash—and saw the small dark speck plummeting toward the webs.

*Jaenelle,* Daemon whispered.

*She'll rip right through them,* Saetan said. *We'll have to use our own strength to try to slow her speed.*

*All right,* Lucivar said. *How do we go?*

Saetan looked at Daemon, then at Lucivar. *Father, brother, lover.* He didn't wait for an answer. He exploded upward, racing to intercept Witch before she hit the White web.

Lucivar watched for a moment, then turned to the webs, his eyes narrowed. *If she hits them in the center, she'll break through them. So we'll roll her.* He clamped a hand on Daemon's shoulder, pointed with the other hand. *Not so close to the edge that you'll risk hitting the chasm walls, but away from the center. Then twist and roll while you're using your own strength as a brake.*

Daemon looked at the webs. *What will that do?*

*For one thing, the counter-movement should slow the speed. And if she gets wrapped in the webs—*

*We'll form a cocoon of power.*

Lucivar nodded. *I’ll go up to the Rose. I don't know how much strength Saetan has left. If he's still able to hold her, I can add my strength to his. If not ... *

*Where should I be?* Daemon asked, willing to defer to Lucivar's ability and fighting experience.

*The Green. I should be able to hold her that far.* Lucivar hesitated. *Good luck, Bastard.*

*And you, Prick.*

Lucivar soared upward.

A moment later, Daemon heard Saetan's roar of defiance as the White web shattered. In the flash, he could see two small figures falling, falling.

He floated down to the Green web.

The Yellow web shattered. Then the Tiger Eye.

He heard Lucivar's war cry.

As the Rose web shattered, he saw a twirl of color as Lucivar rolled, fighting against the speed of the fall.

They hit the Summer-sky. Holding on to Witch's legs, Lucivar rolled the other way, catching most of the web before they crashed through.

The Purple Dusk. The Opal.

Daemon met him halfway between the Opal and the Green.

*Let go, Prick, before you shatter the Ebon-gray.*

With a cry that was part defiant, part pain, and part fear, Lucivar let go.

Rage filled Daemon. Love drove him. He and Witch hit the Green web. He rolled, but he didn't have Lucivar's skill. They broke through close to the middle of the web. He kept rolling so that when they hit the Sapphire, they were close to the edge. He rolled the other way, wrapping her in the web's power.

They broke through the Sapphire, but they weren't falling as fast now. He had a little more time to brace, to plan, to pour the strength of his Black Jewels into fighting the fall.

They hit the Red, rolled, clung for a second before falling to the Gray. Only half the Gray strands broke immediately. He strained back as hard as he could. When the other half broke, he rolled themupward while the web swung them down toward the Ebon-gray. He pulled against the swing, slowing it, slowing it.

When the other side of the Gray broke, they sailed down to the Ebon-gray. The web sagged when they landed, then stretched, then stretched a little more before the strands began to break.

His Black Jewels were almost drained, but he held on, held on, held on as they floated onto the Black web.

And nothing happened.

Shaking, shivering, Daemon stared at the Black web, not quite daring to believe.

It took him a minute to get his hands to unlock from their grip. When he was finally able to let go, he floated cautiously above the web. Near her shoulder, he noticed two small broken strands. Very carefully, he smoothed the Black strands over the other colors that cocooned her.

He could barely see her, only just enough to make out the tiny spiral horn. But that was enough. *We did it,* he whispered as his eyes filled. *We did it.*

*Yess,* Lorn said very quietly. *You have done well.* Daemon looked up, looked around. When he looked back at Witch, she faded. Everything faded.

15 / Terreille

Saetan opened his eyes, tried to move, and found himself trapped by two warm bodies curled up around him. His sons.

Oh, witch-child. I hope it was worth the price.

He tried to move again, growled when he couldn't, and finally jabbed Lucivar with an elbow.

Lucivar just growled back and cuddled closer.

He shoved at Lucivar again because he couldn't, even in this small way, push Daemon aside. Not now.

Lucivar's growl turned into a snarl, but he finally stirred. And that woke Daemon.

"I'm delighted you find me such a comfortable pillow," Saetan said dryly, "but a man my age prefers not to sleep on a cold stone floor."

"Neither does a manmy age," Lucivar grumbled, getting to his feet. He rolled his shoulders, stretched his back.

Daemon sat up with a groan.

Watching him, Saetan saw the light fill Daemon's eyes, the joy, the eagerness. It broke his heart.

He accepted Daemon's help in getting to his feet—and noted Lucivar's coolness toward his brother. That would change. Wouldhave to change. But Lucivar wouldn't be approachable until he'd seen Marian and Daemonar, so there was no point in sparking that Eyrien temper. Besides, he was too damn tired to take on Lucivar right now.

Anne Bishop Books | Science Fiction Books | The Black Jewels Series Books
Source: www.StudyNovels.com