*I think so.* She helped him sit up, and being closer helped clear his vision enough to know he was looking at Jaenelle as she was now rather than the girl in the dream.

*There.* She settled herself on the side of the bed and reached for the two bowls of flavored ice floating on air. She handed him one. *Raspberry. Your favorite.*

He grinned. *It’s as if you knew I wanted some.*

She grinned in return. *Imagine that.*

A voice full of lightning and caverns and midnight skies floated through the Darkness, winding its way through sleep and dreams.

We know your face, the voice whispered.

For most, whether they were demon-dead or living, there was a kind of comfort in hearing the words, in being known by that voice.

We know your face.

But one man opened his eyes and shivered with fear, knowing his time was running out.

SIX

Daemon tucked his hands in his trousers pockets. Then, remembering the gesture didn’t belong to the boy whose face he now wore, he withdrew them and asked, “How do I look?”

Tersa studied him, looking confused in a way that worried him. The mundane world was a fragile thing for his mother, more like an illusion she could interact with than solid ground and living people. For Tersa, the roads of the Twisted Kingdom were far more real.

“You look shorter,” she finally said.

Did she see the illusion Jaenelle had made or did she see right past the illusion to a memory of the boy he had been?

*Are you sleepy? I am sleepy. It is time for bed now.*

Daemon looked at the shadow, the complex illusion that Jaenelle had made using Tildee as the template. “Hush.”

The Sceltie looked at him. Then she sneezed.

“Jaenelle talked to you about this,” he said to Tersa. “Remember? I’m pretending to be Mikal to catch the man who hurt Beron and Sylvia.”

Tersa nodded. “Yes. You have to catch him so that the Mikal boy can stay with me again.”

“That’s right.”

She frowned. “And I am supposed to pretend to be a weak female who is no threat to him.”

“Yes.” He stepped up to her and took her hands. “Darling, he is going to come here, to your cottage. When he does, don’t get in his way. Let him come up here, to the Mikal boy’s room. I’ll be here, pretending to be Mikal, and I will deal with him. Do you understand?”

She nodded. “I will let him come up and see the Mikal boy.”

*Are you sleepy? I am sleepy. It is time for bed now.*

“I’ll warm up some milk for you,” Tersa said. “You shouldn’t have a nutcake so late at night, but it’s all right if it’s a special treat.” She walked out of the bedroom.

*Are you sleepy? I am sleepy. It is time for bed now.*

“Shut up,” Daemon growled.

The Sceltie growled back.

Rolling his eyes, he reached for the mind of the woman who meant more to him than anything else in the Realms. *If you had to stick me with a shadow Sceltie, did you have to make it so realistic?*

Her laughter rippled through the psychic thread. *Problem?*

*The dog is so damn bossy! If she bites me for not going to bed . . .*

More laughter. *I’m making a sacrifice too.*

*And that would be?*

*It’s winter. You’re not here at night. My feet are cold.*

He blinked. *You’re sleeping with a fuzzy, eight-hundred-pound cat. Put your feet on him.*

*I do, but he whines about it. You don’t.*

Kaelas came from Arceria, one of the northernmost Territories, and lived in a den made out of snow. Why in the name of Hell would he whine about Jaenelle’s feet? He should be happy to have a cool spot since he’d grown his winter coat and was staying in a room that was much too warm for him.

Of course, sometimes Jaenelle’s feet were breathtakingly cold during the deep part of winter.

*Is everything all right there?* he asked.

*Yes. Beron is asleep and has Shuveen, Boyd, and Floyd with him.*

Shuveen was sensible and would wake Jaenelle if Beron needed a Healer’s help. Boyd and Floyd, on the other hand, were younger and pretty brainless most of the time. However, those two could make enough noise to wake the entire Hall if a stranger walked into Beron’s room.

*Get some sleep, love,* he said. *I’ll see you in the morning.*

The psychic thread faded.

*Are you sleepy? I am sleepy. It is time for bed now.*

“Tersa is bringing up warm milk and nutcakes. We’ll have our snack, and then go to bed.”

*Snack?* The shadow wagged her tail.

Ignoring the illusion that could fool the eye and, sometimes, even fool the sense of touch, Daemon went to the window and studied the ground in Tersa’s backyard. The snow was all churned up from the play of boy and dog, but he didn’t think there were any fresh tracks.

Lucivar would know.

Jaenelle had taken Beron’s memory of his attacker and brought it into a tangled web of illusions. From there, she’d created a basic shadow—an illusion that was a stationary imitation of a person. An artist came from Amdarh and made a sketch of the shadow, and that was taken to a printer. By the end of that first day, every village in the southern part of Dhemlan had a copy of that sketch, and Daemon hadn’t asked if some of those copies had found their way across the border to worried men in Little Terreille.

He had sent an official letter and a copy of the sketch to Little Terreille’s Queen. She wasn’t a personal friend of Jaenelle’s, but his Lady didn’t consider her an enemy either. So he’d given the Queen the courtesy of sharing the information they had because there were families around Goth who were also grieving the loss of children.

We know your face. Witch’s voice had whispered through the Darkness that first night. For the three nights since then, Daemon had spent the hours between sunset and sunrise in Tersa’s cottage, waiting, wrapped in a strong illusion that would make even a demon-dead predator’s eyes see Mikal, the chosen prey.

*Are you sleepy? I am sleepy. It is time for bed now.*

Daemon sighed. It could have been worse. If Jaenelle had made a shadow that had Tildee’s real personality, he and the dog would be in a relentless argument about bedtime by now—and he’d be on the losing end of that argument, since the shadow wouldn’t see past the illusion spell Jaenelle had created for him.

*Snack?* the shadow asked.

He turned away from the window, frowning. Why was it taking so long to warm up some milk?

Tersa carefully poured the warm milk into a mug and a small bowl. Her boy would make sure the Mikal boy would be allowed to live with her. The tangled web she’d woven after Sylvia left the living Realms had told her that much. The grandfather was a good man, and he had been a good father for the daughter. But he was not the right man for her sons. Lives would be soured, and the love that existed now would die if the grandfather took the sons. So the Mikal boy and Tildee would live with her, and Beron . . . Witch knew best what to do for Beron. She’d seen that too in her web.

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