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  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(130) by Anne Bishop
  • Despite the risks of the Virgin Night and the vulnerable days of our moontimes, yours is the more vulnerable gender. The need to serve has been bred into Blood males for so long, you can’t be emotionally whole without it. Driven by the most intrinsic part of yourself to need what you fear—I can’t imagine a deeper, more personal nightmare.

    We wanted your ability to trust to be deeply rooted before you had to see the dangers that were the other side of the bond. We waited too long. For that, we’re both sorry.

    Having lost one son, Belarr didn’t wait with your brothers. Sometimes it hurts to see the wariness in their eyes. Sometimes I fear that they’ll never be able to give their hearts fully to a woman because of it.

    The night the Black Widow told me you’d be coming home, I had a dream. I’ve wondered since if she’d cast some spell that allowed me to see the visions in her tangled web that she couldn’t bring herself to tell me. I couldn’t remember the dream, but I woke up terrified.

    The next day, I talked to Janine, and we arranged for Shira, Mariel, and Davin to travel over the Tamanara Mountains with the Black Widow and her family. I tried to get Janos to go with them, but the distrust of unknown witches runs too deep in him. He feels safe in Ranon ‘s Wood.

    I received one letter from Davin before the snow closed the mountain passes. He and the girls are serving in a District Queen’s court in the Territory called Dena Nehele. He misses his home and family, but I think he’ll be able to put down roots and be happy.

    There are two more things I have to tell you.

    Before they left, the Black Widow asked that you deliver a message when you reached Ranon’s Wood. I’m to tell you that she and her brother and his Lady are going to Dena Nehele and hope to serve the Gray Lady. She said she wouldn’t say more than that because they were being hunted, but you would know who the message was meant for.

    The second thing. There were many things Belarr regretted that he didn’t get the chance to tell you. One night he said if he could tell you just one thing, it would be this: that he’d known since you were a boy that you would wear the silver, but if you ever had a chance to wear the gold, you should grab that chance and hold on to it with everything that’s in you. It upset him, so I didn’t ask him what he meant. I simply give you his words in the hope that they have meaning for you.

    If you feel you need my forgiveness, you have it. You’ve always had my love.

    May the Darkness embrace you, my son.

    Reyna

    Jared carefully folded the letter and vanished it.

    The Silver and the Gold.

    Belarr had known about the Invisible Ring.

    Was that why he’d felt sure he’d heard of it before? Was it the echo of something Belarr had said that had kept him from doubting its existence? On one of their rambles through the woods, perhaps. Maybe it had been the kind of comment an adult made in passing and then forgot, but a child never did.

    Belarr had known he’d wear the Silver and had hoped he’d have a chance to wear the Gold.

    Jared paused at the greenhouse door.

    Looking a little guilty, Lia wandered through the herb garden, touching each plant as she passed.

    Shaking his head, Jared went to join her.

    He’d pretend not to see the drops of blood on the leaves.

    This time.

    But he wouldn’t pretend the Invisible Ring didn’t exist. It didn’t matter if she denied it with every breath. He wasn’t going to give up this last tie to his father.

    Lia stuck her fingers in her mouth as soon as she saw him.

    “Prick yourself?” Jared asked.

    She pulled her fingers out of her mouth, and mumbled, “Yes.”

    Jared put his arm around her shoulders and guided her toward the lane, ignoring her attempts to slow down and touch another plant. “The letter was from my mother.”

    That distracted her long enough for them to reach the lane.

    “I thought it might be.” Lia studied his face. “She knew you wanted to take the words back.”

    “Yes, she knew.” He helped her mount the gelding and then swung up behind her. “It’s time we got back to the village. My mother left a message for Thera.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire