DIS: I've had this idea in my head for awhile and I had to put it down before I went mental. This isn't my usual fandom, so forgive me if it's not the best thing you've ever read. Please read below for notes/warnings. Enjoy!
Summary: Lady Arabella Ardelia meets Lady Jaenelle Angelline, Kaeleer's Heart, while Daemon and Jared discuss the rings they now wear since they last spoke to each other. One shot.
Disclaimer: I do not own Anne Bishop's The Dark Jewels Trilogy, although I do admire her for coming up with such a world.
Notes/Warnings: Crossover of The Invisible Ring and Dreams Made Flesh. You might be a bit confused if you haven't read those books in the trilogy. Set after the story, Kaeleer's Heart, in Dreams Made Flesh.
Jared rubbed his chin with the top of his hand, frowning slightly. He hadn't wanted to come to Amdarh, Dhemlan's capital city. Oh, certainly, there were many different shops with a plethora of things to choose from to buy. There was also a multitude of people in the city, ranging from different races. Jared, a Shalador Warlord, didn't stick out like he usually would. There were other bronze-skinned males in Amdarh, some even being of darker Jewels.
But it wasn't any of this that concerned Jared. His wife, Lia, or more formally known as Lady Arabella Ardelia, had insisted on coming to Amdarh to meet the Queen of all of Kaeleer, Lady Jaenelle Angelline. As the Gray-Jeweled Queen of Dena Nehele, it was only natural that she would wish to meet the Queen that had obliterated Dorothea and cleansed the corruption she had sown into the land. Even that wasn't what caused Jared to be so anxious and wary in this relatively peaceful city.
It was Lady Angelline's husband and once-Consort that made his skin crawl.
It been far too long since Jared had last seen Daemon Sadi. Right before he returned to Dena Nehele to see Lia, Daemon had called him to an abandoned traveler's inn and had been the reason Jared accepted that he had to go to his Queen; his strong, stubborn Gray-Jeweled Queen. Nonetheless, Jared had listened to the things that had been happening. He had even witnessed the day that Jaenelle Angelline never allowed the sun to rise. He remembered Lia's sudden fear that day and Thera's irritation. From then on, everything seemed to revolve around the Queen of Kaeleer. Witch. He had heard the myth enough times and knew, when he learned of her holding the Dark Court, that she was the woman Daemon had said he was waiting for, that she was the one that would destroy Dorothea.
Calming his nerves, Jared rubbed his hands and glanced around the parlor they had been shown to by Helton. He didn't want to be here. Hell's fire, how he didn't want to be here! Lia kept sending him amused glances, which he glared at, because she didn't know the Sadist. He'd only be reassured if Daemon came walking in with a fluffy sweater on and his hair in pigtails. A hysterical snicker slipped past his lips. He could just imagine him looking like that.
"Lord Jared," a silky voice purred from the doorway. Jared stiffened and lowered his hands and got to his feet as Lia did. As usual, Jared was faced with the very face of elegance. At least he looked better than he did when they last met. Last time he'd just returned from the mountains with Talon. At least he was dressed nicely this time. Daemon's eyes shifted to Lia, who shivered a bit from his naturally seductive gaze. "Lady Ardelia."
"Prince Sadi," she answered in a steady voice. She lifted her chin a bit, moving forward and raising her hands. Smiling, he slid his underneath hers in a formal greeting. She beamed and let her hands drop to her sides. "It's a pleasure to meet you. Jared has spoken so kindly of you." One of Daemon's smooth, ebony eyebrows lifted in question and he sent an amused look to Jared.
"Is that so?" He asked mildly, his golden eyes locking with Jared's. "I'm glad Lord Jared thinks well of me." The corners of his mouth were twitching to hold in his laughter. If Jared wasn't afraid that Daemon would have a mood swing, he would kick the man right where it hurt. Then again, Jared didn't think that anyone would have been able to get close enough to do such a thing.
"Queen Arabella Ardelia," a soft voice spoke. Jared glanced to Daemon's side to see a petite, fair-haired female with cerulean eyes and pale skin. He shuddered. He felt like he was seeing two sides of the same coin. Although Jaenelle no longer wore the Ebony Jewels, he could still feel the remainder of the power she used to have. He was facing the two strongest people he would ever meet, not to mention the complete opposites. One was dark, the other was light. He glanced at Lia, wondering if she had seen that.
His wife was too experienced in locking her emotions in. If she was intimidated, there were no signs suggesting so. She merely glided towards Jaenelle in the same manner she had done towards Daemon and placed her hands beneath Jaenelle's outstretched ones. Her smile was welcoming and warm as she greeted, "Queen Jaenelle Angelline. It is an honor."
"As well as for me," the latter Queen replied. She took Lia's hands and guided her to a divan, sitting down with the woman beside her. She glanced at Daemon, a slightly wry look in her eyes.
"Jared," Lia said in a clearly petulant tone, "you two don't have to stand over us like dogs!" Daemon's mouth pursed as he contained his laughter while Jared gave her a stunned look. Jaenelle raised a hand to cover her knowing smile. "You and the Warlord Prince should do something useful." Her gray eyes narrowed. "I let you fuss all the way here, so - "
"Alright!" He interrupted, throwing his hands up irritably. "I'll go, but you can't order another Lady's man to leave." But Jaenelle simply sent a look to Daemon and he was turning and out of the room before Jared could take a step. Glowering, he followed the Black-Jeweled male out of the parlor and flinched as the door snapped behind him. He muttered something vulgar beneath his breath as Daemon muffled his laughter with his hand.
"Your Queen seems to have a very tight control on you," Daemon remarked when his laughter had faded. Jared stared back at him coldly, his jaw tight. Snickering, Daemon gestured for him to follow him down the hall to his office. Jared unwillingly followed, feeling that he had no other choice but to do as he wished. Daemon had taught him how to survive in the courts of once-corrupt Terreille by using balls-and-sass and although Jared feared the Warlord Prince, he also respected him very deeply.
There was nothing about Daemon Sadi, "the Sadist," that didn't cause him to look upon him with an air of awe. The graceful beauty and lazy smile that only he could possess was enough to make him admire him besides the power and controlling temper. True, there had been plenty of times that Sadi had been on the killing edge, but his temperament was better than Jared's and that said something.
"Sit," Daemon ordered with his casual smile as he pointed a black nail to the chair across from his desk. Making a quick observation of the room and everything in it, Jared settled himself into the chair as comfortably as he could, feeling his companion's eyes on him all the while. Keeping his control in check (just as he had been taught by the other male) he let his gaze move slowly along the walls of the office, gliding to every finely made piece of furniture until he at last let it drop back to Daemon who held a glass of wine to him. Jared took it, smiling slightly in thanks. He knew how to keep his anxiety from this particular male, but by the mild look in the golden orbs piercing him, he suspected Daemon knew all along how uncomfortable he was feeling in his presence.
But then, that was natural.
"I have heard rumors to the effect of things that have happened with you and your lady," Jared cautiously began, taking a drink of his wine. He watched Daemon mimic the gesture and caught a glimpse of the glistening Consort's ring around one of his bronze fingers and wondered why he still wore it, even when his Queen no longer held court.
"How can you have not, puppy?" Daemon questioned him with a slightly mocking air. Jared's eyes narrowed slightly, acknowledging the taunt, but refusing to rise to it, keeping his mouth shut and his eyes fixed on the other man's. After a pause, Daemon settled in the chair behind the desk opposite of Jared and took another drink of the wine before saying, "It has been a long while since we last spoke or saw each other, would you not agreed, Warlord?" Jared offered only an inclination of his head. Giving a slow, lazy smile that made a shiver of warning creep up Jared's spine, Daemon continued in a bored tone, "In that time, much has happened. Do you recall me saying that I was waiting for my Queen? I have found her and it took many hardships before I could be at peace with her."
"I see," was the neutral response given.
"You have heard of my brother, Lucivar." It wasn't a question and Jared didn't treat it as one. Daemon fingered his wine glass thoughtfully. "He drove me to the Twisted Kingdom. I won't speak of it, as it isn't my event to speak of, but I will say that it included Jaenelle and she is very dear to me. In any case, I was there for quite awhile, Warlord, until she retrieved me." Jared observed his swirling wine in silence, feeling his eyes droop with sadness. That anything could drive such a man as Daemon Sadi to the Twisted Kingdom saddened him. "When I recovered, I made it to her court, but she had two powerful enemies, as you no doubt know, and her life was difficult. It was only natural she was wary of me." He paused and Jared knew he was awaiting a comment from him.
"An unfortunate situation," he murmured. "How did you cope?"
"Not well," Daemon admitted. "Lucivar, feeling guilty already, helped me, as well as Saetan, my father." Jared sputtered for a moment, staring wide-eyed at Daemon. The Warlord Prince merely raised a smooth brow in question, an amused smirk lifting his lips upward. He was obviously expecting a burst of shocked exclamations and inwardly, Jared was giving them.
"...The High Lord of Hell, then," he said weakly. "Of course...I should not be surprised he is your father..." Daemon's smirk widened the slightest bit.
"In any case, I eventually coaxed her to grow closer to me. I saw a side of her that was much like the side of me you are used to, Warlord. I didn't balk from it like others did, even accepted it. And soon, I was able to bring her to bed." Daemon glanced at his hand, where the Consort's ring laid restfully around his finger. "Father went to Dorothea and Hekatah, taking Lucivar's family, as well. Lucivar went and both he and father were prisoners. So," he raised his eyes to Jared's face, "I went and played the part of the Sadist before I was able to pit Hekatah against Dorothea and kill her. And then Jaenelle finished the rest." He paused, appearing to be deliberating over something. "I am glad to see you and your Queen survived."
"...Lia is wise," Jared muttered briefly before taking a long, deep drink of his wine to empty the glass. Daemon watched him without any expression, which was typical and not strange to Jared, since he knew very well who and what this man was. There was indefinitely a different aura about Sadi now, though, that he had noticed. Underneath the surface, Jared knew how much he cared and loved Jaenelle. He also knew that, by Daemon telling him his story, however brief, he was acknowledging him as a friend and trustworthy of such friendship. Jared was glad for it, but it made him no less wary of Daemon Sadi. "Let me ask you something, Sadi. Why do you still wear the Consort's ring?"
"Why do you still wear the Gold ring?" Daemon countered with a knowing smile. Jared just stared at him for a pause, his brow wrinkling slightly.
"I imagine you wear it, too," he carefully replied, though with a note of confusion and question in his voice. The Warlord Prince across from him gave a graceful inclination of his head to agree.
"And do you not wear the Consort's ring, as well, puppy?" His eyes moved down to Jared's gloved hands in encouragement. Frowning darkly, Jared set his empty glass on the desk and pulled both gloves off, exposing his lightly tanned fingers and ring that was vastly similar to Daemon's and was placed on the same finger on the same hand. Daemon's mouth curved lightly. "I could not see a protective Shalador Warlord such as yourself allowing his Queen to have a different man in her bed."
"My position is different than yours, as you may know," the latter coldly responded, tucking his gloves in his pocket and leaning back with a taut mouth. Leisurely, Daemon refilled their glasses and floated Jared's to him with Craft. Grunting, Jared took the glass and took a sip and adding, "Lia still holds court. If my sources are correct, your Lady is not."
"Yes, she is not. I will tell you this, Warlord, that although everyone was being attacked by Dorothea and many territories were corrupted by her, I sometimes think that the days when Jaenelle held the Dark Court were the good ones. Everyone was close then and at the beginning, not so many were dead or harmed. Things are not so now. We mourn losses and we regret some things that we neglected to look upon."
"And so you wear the Consort's ring to remind yourself of those days?" Jared assumed. Daemon simply took a drink of his wine while sending him an answering look. "Hmm...Do you know how much I admire you, Sadi?" Daemon smiled.
"A compliment, how nice. I rarely ever receive sincere ones," he cheerfully commented. Jared scowled and drank the last of his wine, feeling a tugging at the back of his mind. He wanted to discuss more with Daemon, but he knew the feeling in his mind to know well enough that Lia was finished with her visiting. He rose to his feet and Daemon followed suit. "We must speak again," Daemon suggested, giving his familiar smile.
"Yes," Jared agreed as Daemon came to stand by him and they walked out to the hall together, "we will." Jared gave a small smile, seeing Lia's startled expression as he and Daemon stopped a few feet from her and Jaenelle. Both women raised their hands, palms down and with a brief glance to each other, the males slid theirs beneath the women's in formal greeting. When they withdrew their hands, Jared could feel both of the Queens' grave gazes moving over him and Daemon and knew that the pair of them, side-by-side, was an odd and even slightly intimidating picture. He suspected that if Daemon and Lucivar were beside each other, it would be an even more shocking image than the one Lia was being faced with now.
"It was pleasant speaking with you," Jaenelle quietly said to Lia with a true look of warmth coming to her face, "and I am glad you came, Warlord, and occupied Daemon." She smiled at him and Daemon took one of her hands, pressing the back to his lips briefly before the two showed their guests to the door.
As Jared and Lia descended down the stairs towards Craft-operated carriage, Jared's eyes moved to the side and met the curious and suspicious gaze of another's. He almost paused in his tracks at seeing the massive wings at the man's back that marked him as an Eyrien warrior. The woman beside him was a beauty with skin as tan as Sadi's and hair just as black. Her jade eyes grazed him only briefly, but by the shared look between her and her male companion, Jared had a feeling that if he was ever in Amdarh again to visit Daemon, he would likely encounter these two people. They left his vision as they disappeared into the home he and Lia had just vacated.
"What are you ogling?" Lia asked him with a hint of concern in her voice. He merely shook his head, taking her hand and guiding her into the carriage.
"I'm simply thinking over the conversation Sadi and I had." She cast a puzzled look to him, but gave no questions.
The carriage moved forward and as it did, Jared became sure of one thing: the man that he had caught a glimpse of was sure to be Lucivar Yaslana, Daemon's fierce half-brother. If Jared ever had a chance upon meeting that man, he had a strong feeling there would be only ill feelings in the beginning.
Well, Jared mused as he sat back, when that time comes, I'll deal with it.