*Give me a minute, Prick,* he said.
Lucivar stepped off the landing web but didn’t come closer.
“Report,” Daemon said quietly to Rainier.
“Sylvia’s court is furious,” Rainier replied. “Her Master and Steward had no reason to think any harm would come to their Queen. They had the impression that the guest rooms were already stuffed with people, which was why Lord Haeze’s family fumbled over having even one escort staying with Sylvia.”
“There were no other guests,” Daemon said.
“This was a trap set for Sylvia?” Rainier shook his head, as if answering his own question. “No. I was told the first invitation didn’t include her.”
“Unless she’s visiting close friends, a Queen usually travels with at least one escort,” Daemon said, “so Sylvia’s presence could have been inconvenient if she’d arrived with one or two of her First Circle in attendance.”
“According to the Steward, the second invitation was extended to Sylvia’s family as a family, not to a Queen and her sons. They gambled she would sympathize with another woman’s desire to reciprocate invitations without beggaring her own family.”
“Unfortunately, they gambled correctly.”
He heard the alarm in Rainier’s voice, but chose to ignore the question under the word. “I brought Haeze back with us. The boy needs protection from whatever is wrong in that place. I’d like you to talk to him and find out everything you can about what’s been going on around his house and the village. You may have to circle around this, but I want to know why his younger brother wasn’t at home.”
“Done.” Rainier looked at the Hall, then at Lucivar, who was still waiting near the landing web. “Did Sylvia come back with you?”
“No,” Daemon said softly.
Rainier took a couple of slow, steady breaths. Then he approached the Hall’s doors, which opened before he could reach for the knocker. When the doors closed again, Lucivar walked up to Daemon.
“How bad?” Lucivar asked.
“Beron’s hurt, and at least half of his injuries were caused deliberately by the bitch Healer that family hired to take care of him. Jaenelle’s working on him, has been since we found him. She says he’ll be all right—and may the Darkness have mercy on that family if she can’t bring him all the way back to full health.”
“Sylvia told Tildee to run. We haven’t found her or Mikal yet.” Daemon blew out a breath and watched the white plume it made. “You’ve seen Sylvia?”
Lucivar looked sad and grim. “Yes. She made the transition to demon-dead and reached the Keep before draining her Jewels completely. He poured a vial of Jaenelle’s blood down her throat.”
Daemon huffed out a pained laugh. “Well, that should give her temper plenty of scratch and kick.” The moment he said the word kick, he felt grief clog his throat. “I brought her legs. I wasn’t going to leave any part of her there. Now I’m not sure what to do with them.”
“Saetan wants to see you. He’s troubled by some cildru dyathe who have appeared in the Dark Realm recently. You can ask him what should be done.” Lucivar shifted his weight, rubbed his hands together.
“Do you want to go in?” Daemon asked.
“I figure you have a reason for standing out here in the cold.”
That simple. It usually was between him and Lucivar.
He blew out another breath just to watch it plume in the cold night air. “If you were Tildee, where would you run?”
“You already know the answer, old son.”
“I’d like confirmation that I’m thinking like a Sceltie.”
“All right. If she or Mikal are wounded, she would go to the closest Sceltie for help protecting the boy. If they got out before things turned ugly, there are four places I would look: here, their home, Manny’s cottage, and Tersa’s cottage. I would go to Tersa’s first. Mikal considers it his second home, and he’s her ‘Mikal boy.’ He’s family.”
“And Tersa is dangerous when it comes to family.”
“Yeah. Which is why I would go there to hide if I were a Sceltie running from danger with one of Tersa’s boys.” Lucivar remained silent for a minute. Then he huffed out a breath. “So are we going to go down and knock on her door, or wait until morning, or just stand here and freeze our balls?”
The Hall’s doors opened. Beale said, “Prince? The carriage will be around front in a minute.” He closed the doors.
Lucivar looked at Daemon. “Did you ask for a carriage to be brought around?”
“Did you think to ask for hot coffee and something to eat?”
Daemon said blandly, “We’ll have to find out.”
Surreal paced the corridor, guarding the guest rooms that held Beron and Haeze. At the midway point, she passed Ladvarian, who trotted in the opposite direction. At the end of the corridor, they both turned and resumed their patrol.
The restless pacing wasn’t necessary. She could have sat in one place and used a psychic probe to remain aware of everything and everyone in and around those rooms, but she needed to move.
All right, the truth was she wanted to go after the son of a whoring bitch who had hurt at least one boy she liked and a woman she considered a friend. She wanted to rip and tear and stab until the enemy was nothing more than a bloody pile of shit. Or find her prey and make the kill quietly, using one of those elegant death spells Sadi had taught her so many years ago.
So damn hard to pace and wait. Since he hadn’t been with them, Rainier would have better luck coaxing information out of Haeze, and her presence in the room would interfere with that. She was more than useless in Beron’s room while Jaenelle was working on the delicate healing needed to restore the boy’s vision, hearing, and voice.
Then Ladvarian froze. Surreal called in her favorite stiletto and stood still, listening.
*It’s Tildee,* Ladvarian said. *She is tired. Mikal is upset. They are with Tersa.*
*Sadi!* Surreal called. *Tildee and Mikal are with Tersa.*
*We’re almost at the cottage,* he replied.
*Any news about Sylvia?*
A hesitation. *She’s with the High Lord.*
He didn’t need to say more.
“The Mikal boy is upset,” Tersa said, blocking the stairs that led to the bedrooms. “The Sceltie is upset and says they must hide.”