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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 125)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(125) by Anne Bishop
  • “He wasn’t trained as a guard,” Jared said quietly. “He wasn’t trained as a warrior.”

    “No. He was a strong man and a fine administrator and he’d served his Queen and Ranon’s Wood well, but he wasn’t a trained warrior.”

    Belarr had had the strength of the Red, but hadn’t had someone like Randolf to show him how to use that strength to kill, hadn’t had a Warlord Prince like Blaed with him who would surrender to instinct and find the killing field within himself.

    “They had to kill him, you see,” Yarek continued in a low voice. “They had to. They couldn’t let a Red-Jeweled Warlord live after they’d torn his wife’s body apart enough to make her scream but not enough to let her die quickly.”

    Jared made a choking sound.

    Yarek didn’t notice. “They paid dearly, Jared. The bastards paid for Reyna with their own blood. And they didn’t really win in the end.

    “She was in the village when the attack started. Janos died trying to reach her. And she went down fighting to protect a young girl.

    “I don’t know how Belarr reached her or where he found the strength to get her away from them. They were both dying by the time he got her home, and she . . . she kept trying to heal him. He asked me to leave them be, to look for Janos when the fighting was over. Then he carried her up to their room and lay down with her on the bed. Wasn’t my place to be there, so I closed the door.”

    Yarek pulled out a handkerchief and wiped his nose. “I left the house and hid in the woods. Sounds cowardly ...”

    Jared shook his head. “You’d already fought one battle. You weren’t strong enough to fight another.”

    “I did have another reason,” Yarek said slowly, tucking the handkerchief into his pocket. “On and off all through the winter, Reyna kept saying you were coming home this autumn. I didn’t have much hope for Janos. I figured someone from the family should be here to meet you, and I was the only one left.”

    “The only one?” Jared whispered. “Those bastards killedall of them? All the aunts and uncles? All the cousins?” He put his head between his knees and tried to breathe. ‘“Aunt Janine?”

    Yarek rubbed Jared’s back. “My Lady died at Wolfs Creek.”

    Jared squeezed his eyes shut. “Shira and Mariel? Mother Night, they didn’t take Shira and Mariel, did they?” He sat up too fast.

    Yarek pushed Jared’s head back down. “No, they didn’t get Shira and Mariel. My girls crossed the Tamanara Mountains last autumn, with Davin as their escort.”

    “Davin?” Jared braced his hands on his knees and pushed himself upright. “Davin as escort? But he’s—”

    “Old enough,” Yarek said firmly. He rubbed his chin. “Reyna was fretful last autumn. One day she showed up and talked to Janine. The next thing I knew, the girls were sent off with Davin and some travelers who were resting up in Ranon’s Wood before heading west, hoping to serve that Queen on the other side of the mountains.”

    “They went to Dena Nehele.” Jared sighed. “Thank the Darkness.”

    “You know something about the Gray Lady?” Yarek asked sharply.

    “She’s a Queen worthy of the best a man can give. If she took Davin into her court, he’ll do well.”

    “Then she may be the only Queen left whois worthy of it.”

    “No,” Jared said softly, “there’s one other.”

    Yarek gave his nephew a considering look. “You rode in alone. What happened to the witchling?”

    Jared blinked. “The witchling?”

    “The one bitten by the viper rats. The one the little Black Widow’s been fretting about so much.”

    Jared blinked again. “Little Black Widow?” He rubbed the back of his hand over his mouth. “What did she say about Lia?”

    “Ambush. Viper rats. You taking off with the witchling to find help. The rest of them hightailing it here.” Yarek shook his head and huffed. “Poor thing was making herself sick with all the fretting, and that young Warlord Prince knew about as much as an ant can piss about soothing a witch who’s got herself fretted. Now, me”—he waved his hand—“Iknow something about soothing a fretting witch. Janine wasn’t much of a fretter. All I had to do for her was keep some cheap clay pottery around that she could smash whenever she got really annoyed. That and a long, hot ride between the sheets usually eased her mood.”

    “What?” Jared said weakly.

    “Can’t settle things the same way with a daughter—”

    Jared choked.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire