Copyright © 2004 Anne Bishop. Used with permission.
“Well, shit, sugar. Someone had a party and didn't invite
me.” And it was the kind of party I used to like. Nasty.
And yet, as I stood in the doorway, looking at what had been
a nicely decorated sitting room, I felt edgy, uneasy. There's
no law against murder among the Blood, and if I'd come upon a
room like this when I lived in the Realm of Terreille, I wouldn't
have thought twice about it. But in the Realm of Kaeleer, the
Blood still live by the old ways, and the whole dance of Protocol
and power usually works to keep confrontations from becoming
So what happened last night that ended with three men being
hacked to pieces, resulting in a room now redecorated in a blood-and-gore
And why did I think hacked? Using Craft and the power
that makes the Blood who and what we are, a person could do just
as much damage to a human body. But something in the room whispered
to me that this was...not personal, exactly, but definitely a
hands-on killing. There was a lingering sense of fury here, hatred
I know those feelings well, and my past contained rooms just
as messy. But there was something else here that I almost recognized
but couldn't quite name.
Of course, that could have been nothing more than annoyance
with myself for being here at all. If I'd stayed home this morning,
I would have been tucking into breakfast right now. But I'd gone
for a walk and had ended up at this establishment because they
serve a fine breakfast—and because this place was the closest
thing to a Red Moon house in Kaeleer. So I'd come here to take
a look at my past, which had contributed to my recently failed
The Blood have a saying: Everything has a price. The price for
my first attempt at a physical relationship with a man where
money didn't change hands was a bruised heart. Funny how the
heart gets bruised when someone tells you you're not what he
wants—even when you already know he's not what you want
But there's nothing like a bit of slaughter to take a person's
mind off her own problems.
Using Craft, I stepped up on air so that I was standing a handspan
above the carpet. I walked into the room. Three male bodies were
splattered over the carpet, the walls, the furniture, and the
painted screen that turned one corner of the room into a private
area. I assumed there were only three because I found three left
hands—and I found other body parts in triplicate.
As I turned toward the doorway, I lowered my right hand and
called in my favorite stiletto, using Craft to keep it sight
shielded so it wouldn't be obvious I had a weapon ready. A moment
later, when I recognized the man in the doorway, I vanished the
Rainier was an Opal-Jeweled Warlord Prince from Dharo, another
Territory in Kaeleer. I'd seen him a few weeks ago at a party
here in Amdarh and, more recently, enjoyed dancing with him at
a family wedding. I'd also noticed him in the dining room this
morning, reading a book while he ate breakfast. A fine-looking
man with a dancer's build, fair skin, dreamy green eyes, and
a mane of brown hair, he stood out in Dhemlan's capital city
where the residents had the common coloring of light-brown skin,
black hair, and gold eyes. Which was, actually, the common coloring
of all three of the long-lived races.
Being half-Hayllian, I had the black hair and light-brown skin,
but my eyes were gold-green and my ears came to delicate points—the
legacy of my mother's people. I was also a Gray-Jeweled witch,
so my power was darker and deeper than his. That didn't mean
I could afford to be careless. Warlord Princes were natural predators
and also very protective. That should have been a contradiction,
but it wasn't; it just made them extremely lethal.
Back Cover Copy for Powers of Detection:
This one-of-a-kind collection features stories from some of
the biggest names in mystery and fantasy — blending the
genres into a unique hybrid where PIs may wear wizard's robes
and criminals may really be monsters.
Sit in on a modern-day witch's trial, visit the halls of a magical
boarding school with murder on the curriculum, spend some time
with Sookie Stackhouse, visit London's hidden world of the Nightside,
and become spellbound with eight more tales of magical mystery.
Laura Anne Gilman
Simon R. Green