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The Shadow Queen

The Shadow Queen

Titel: The Shadow Queen
Autoren: Anne Bishop
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reached it. A Warlord who served the Keep in Terreille nodded to them and said, “High Lord, a Warlord Prince has arrived.”
    “His name?” Saetan asked.
    “He wouldn’t offer it,” the Warlord replied. “And he wouldn’t say which Territory he’s from. He says he’s looking for someone, and he insists on talking to ‘someone in authority.’ ”
    “Does he?” Saetan said softly. “How foolish of him. Put our guest in one of the receiving rooms. I’ll be with him shortly.”
    “Yes, High Lord.”
    The Warlord’s look of gleeful anticipation told Saetan how deeply the idiot had offended those who served the Keep by not following the basic courtesies. Fools who tried to withhold their names when asking to speak with someone here were usually given as much as they’d offered—which was nothing.
    When the Warlord left, Saetan turned and touched Daemon’s arm. “Why don’t you go back to Kaeleer and ask for a meal. I’ll talk to this unknown Prince and join you when I’m done. I doubt this will take more than a few minutes.”
    The air around them chilled—a warning that a violent temper was turning cold, cold, cold.
    “If you’re going to talk to anyone from Terreille, you should have someone watching your back,” Daemon said too softly.
    He wasn’t sure if he should feel flattered or insulted by his son’s desire to protect, but he decided it was best to keep his own temper out of this conversation—especially now that Daemon’s temper had turned lethal. “Have you forgotten that I’m a Black-Jeweled Warlord Prince and do know how to defend myself?”
    One sweep of those golden eyes that were now glazed and sleepy. One pointed look at his left hand—which was missing the little finger.
    “I haven’t forgotten anything,” Daemon crooned.
    A shiver went down Saetan’s spine.
    The boyish posturing was gone. Even their relationship as father and son was gone. The man before him was a Warlord Prince of equal rank, who was standing one step away from the killing edge. A Warlord Prince the Blood in Terreille had called the Sadist. A man who was capable of doing anything if provoked the wrong way.
    And that, more than anything else, was reason enough to get Daemon out of Terreille.
    “Would you have told Lucivar he had to have someone guarding his back?” Saetan asked.
    “I wouldn’t have needed to,” Daemon replied. “He would have known I’d stand with him.”
    This isn’t a fight, Saetan thought.But he caught,too late,the undercurrent that had been hiding beneath the boyish posturing.
    For Daemon, simply being back in Terreille meant being prepared to fight. To kill.
    “Prince, I’m asking you to return to Kaeleer. This is the Keep. It’s a sanctuary. To treat someone as an enemy simply because they’ve come here requesting information would be a violation of everything this place stands for. Daemon, it isn’t done.” At least, not by another guest. What guarded the mountain called Ebon Askavi passed its own judgment on anyone entering the Keep. And people who entered did not always leave.
    “I’m sorry I didn’t realize how difficult it is for you to be in this Realm, even here at the Keep,” Saetan said. “If I had, we would have left hours ago.”
    That keen mind assessed his words while those golden eyes assessed him.
    “You’ll shield?” Daemon finally asked.
    “I will shield.” Despite his efforts to hold on to his own temper, the words came out in a growl.
    Daemon’s lips twitched in a reluctant smile. “You would have made the same demand of me if I was the one staying.”
    “Of course I would, but that’s different. I’m your father.”
    Daemon’s smile—and the air around them—warmed. “Fine. I’ll go back to Kaeleer and see about getting us a meal.”
    Saetan waited, tense, until he no longer felt the presence of the other Black Jewel—confirmation that Daemon had gone through the Gate and returned to Kaeleer. Then he sagged against the doorway until he heard the sound of Craft-enhanced footsteps announcing the Warlord’s return.
    “Is everything all right, High Lord?” the Warlord asked. “I felt . . . We all felt . . . Prince Sadi went cold for a minute.”
    “Yes, he did. Being in Terreille makes the Prince feel a little defensive.”
    The Warlord stared at him. “If that’s how Prince Sadi reacts when he’s feeling a little defensive, I wouldn’t want to be around him when he’s feeling really defensive.”
    “No,” Saetan said quietly, “you wouldn’t want to be around him.”

    Theran opened the glass doors that led out
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