Deadly Politics

Summary: A Homeless Queen, A Loyal Warlord Prince and a Secret Keeping Healer from Dorothea's court enter a game of Deadly Politics, working against every witch, warlord and time itself with Sadi, Yaslana and Kindred in the battle to save Glacia...

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters, settings and events from the Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop. This is fan fiction and as such, not entirely my own ideas. While I understand Anne doesn't condone fan fiction, though I respect her immensely, here I am writing this primarily because I enjoy reading the fan fiction and I don't think it's sporting to simply read without posting my own contributions.
This story is already Finished but Reviews are still encouraged; you're welcome to tell me what you thought worked/didn't work.

Chapter One: A Homeless Queen

The figure on the narrow, hard bed moaned and thrashed, trapped in the throes of a nightmare. Her pale face gleamed with sweat and her dark hair was a tangled knot from having unconsciously pulled it in her anxiety. "No…. please no….. NO!!" The girl sat up, suddenly awake, golden eyes wide with fear, froze for a moment, then lost her balance, tumbling to the cold stone floor with a resounding thud.

She did not get up.

Minutes passed before she finally lifted her head, regret and pain written amongst the silent tears sliding down her face. She was breathing heavily. Too late the voice whispered. What is the point if you're too late? Why do you bother when the gift you seek shall never be yours Sadelle? The golden eyes registered utter hopelessness, desolation. Exhausted, she crawled back onto the somewhat uncomfortable bed, shuddered and fell into a fitful, uneasy sleep.

Sadelle was woken by the servant maid the next morning, having overslept. Daenira, the maid, was opening the curtains. She had a black, swollen eye and a split lip. For the thousandth time, Sadelle wished she were a healer, wished with everything she was... But she was not. Jandra, her older sister had been one…. Sadelle blinked away tears.

"Daenira…. please… sit down." Sadelle said quietly to Daenira, who flinched at the sound of her name. She did as Sadelle bade, too frightened to disobey. Servants did not "sit down." Sadelle took the jug of fresh water Daenira had bought in earlier and poured some into a cup.

Using craft, she froze the water and then wrapped it in the pillowcase Daenira had been about to put on her pillow. Daenira squealed in horror, protesting against the use of the fine linen. Sadelle held it to the maid's eye gently. She was no healer, but secretly researched all she could on healing. Her skills were as basic as any landen, but at least she tried. She was brought back to the present by the maids grateful sigh at the numbing cold, but Daenira's shrieks were renewed when Sadelle began to do the maid's job. Sadelle smiled, and held a finger to her lips.

.:Shhhh, it will be our secret:. she sent to the maid on a distaff thread. The maid's eyes opened wide with surprise but before she could say anything Sadelle felt someone through her psychic "tripwire". She had set up a green thread to be able to tell if anyone was approaching.

Quickly she motioned to the maid to get up. Daenira got up so quickly she nearly fell over. Sadelle vanished the ice and pillowcase just in time as a knock at the door sounded. Sadelle answered it.

A greasy looking, sneering coven messenger stood at the door. "You are to attend the coven assembly, please dress and continue to the court immediately." He said, a malicious look on his face. She closed the door to see the maid's look of horror.

She gave the maid the hand signal that the court used to dismiss servants, but unlike most others, she was courteous when using it. The maid rushed out as fast as she could respectfully leave. Sadelle sighed.

She had been trapped here for so long. She had been so very young when Dorothea had butchered her parents, sending warlords to bring back any promising young witches for her coven. The soldiers slaughtered most of the village, breaking any potential rivals just as Dorothea had known they would. Her mother was killed trying to save Sadelle and Jandra… stabbed by a soldier's sword- sexually and literally. Sadelle and Jandra had run, run run, but not fast nor far enough. Their father was brought to Dorothea's coven, and tortured. When he eventually died, he was one of the brotherhood of the quill. Sadelle knew this from the taunts she had received from Dorothea's first circle. Sadelle was a Queen, but a homeless one. She could never consider Hayll home. She barely recalled her home, or her mother or father. Jandra and Sadelle had been introduced to Dorothea's fourth circle of witches. Jandra, an Sapphire Jewelled Healer, had spent everything she had, all the money to pay an Ebon-Grey Black Widow to weave a spell to make Sadelle's Green Birthright jewel appear as a Summer Sky jewel. Only someone darker than the Ebon Gray could sense the difference. It had saved Sadelle's life. Jandra never had the same chance to protect herself. She had not yet made the Offering, had not yet had her virgin night.

Jandra had been a strong, strong rival. A terrible danger to Dorothea, not only the possibility of a darker jewel but a Healer. Jandra had been attacked that night.

Sadelle smiled viciously. At least she had taken some of them down with her. It had taken 10 warlords and princes braided strength to break Jandra. She never stopped fighting. Sadelle would never forget the screaming, the pain through the link. Never forgot the moment she tried to help- before Jandra was broken. The man holding her back laughed, drawing his hand back and hitting Sadelle so hard he broke two of her ribs. He didn't stop hitting until Sadelle couldn't stand. After the carnage that followed with Jandra's rage at Sadelle's treatment, they could never allow Jandra to live. They destroyed her mind, when she was already broken and helpless. Tortured the body. Left the wreck of what had once been Sadelle's sister…. Sadelle had prayed to everyone she could think of, begged. She tried to heal her sister…. She wished for the healing gift. But Jandra died, an empty husk, blood pooled around her body. The image haunted Sadelle, even so many years later. Sadelle hadn't made the offering to the darkness… because she could not stomach the virgin night.

Oh she pretended she had, yes there was a well paid consort who received a considerable amount just making the right sounds and keeping quiet. But Sadelle was no fool, a virgin in Dorothea's court? Survival value in that situation was zero.

She shook her head. Survival was now, not the pain-filled past. What could Dorothea want now? She knew only too well what happened in this court, but acted the snobby, slightly stupid, prissy bitch that the court seemed to think was safe. Hell's fire, would the day come when she could finally stop acting?