• Home
  • Directory
  • Popular
  • Authors
  • Series
  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 142)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(142) by Anne Bishop
  • “Of course it would have been safer—ifwe can reach Dena Nehele without another fight. If we can’t . . . The Green Jewel is still vulnerable in a one-on-one attack by a darker Jewel, but there are only two Jewels that can overwhelm a Gray.”

    The Ebon-gray and the Black. And only two Blood in the entire Realm of Terreille wore them: Lucivar Yaslana and Daemon Sadi.

    Jared didn’t think Dorothea SaDiablo would be foolish enough to let either ofthem be part of a welcoming committee.

    But thinking of Daemon reminded him of something else.

    “Have you ever heard of the Invisible Ring?” Jared asked.

    Talon looked startled, then thoughtful. He blew on his hands to warm them before slipping them into his coat pockets. “It’s been quite a few years since I’ve heard anyone mention the Invisible Ring,” he said a little sadly, a little bitterly. “Seems like once the Ring of Obedience starts being used in a Territory, men shy away from any mention of a Ring of any kind.”

    Jared let his breath out slowly. “I wear the Silver.”

    “I thought you did.” Talon looked at him and smiled. “So do I.”

    Jared didn’t know what to say.

    Talon looked up at the sky. It had been drizzling a couple of hours ago, making everyone uncomfortable. Now the clouds had passed, and the star-filled sky was clear.

    Talon said quietly, “These two things a man may choose as long as stars shine up above. For the Silver Ring is Honor, and the Ring of Gold is Love.” He smiled ruefully. “Not good poetry, but that’s how I was taught it.”

    Jared leaned against the Sanctuary. “Not a tangible Ring, then, but real all the same.”

    Talon nodded. “Very real. And sometimes it weighs heavily enough on a man to almost feel tangible.”

    “Yes,” Jared said softly.

    Talon nodded again but continued to look at the stars. “I was about your age when I turned rogue. I still had two years left to the contract I’d signed to serve a Province Queen, but things started happening in the court. She started to change, started showing a little too much deference to the Hayllian ambassadors and aristos who visited the court. One day I realized that the only way I could continue to serve her was to give up the Silver Ring.” He paused. “I wasn’t willing to give it up. Not then. Not now. So I used the first excuse I could find to be away from the court for a couple of days . . . and I just kept going. I promised myself then that I’d never serve in another court, that I’d never put myself in the position of having to choose between breaking a solemn vow or giving up my honor.”

    “That’s why you don’t formally serve the Gray Lady.”

    “I made no vows, so I’ll break no vows. But make no mistake about it, Jared. In my own way, I do serve her.”

    Thinking of a mistake made by the boy he had been, Jared sighed wearily. “How many men become ensnared by what they think is love and then find that they’ve sacrificed something precious?”

    Talon rested a hand on Jared’s shoulder. “The Gold doesn’t ensnare, Warlord. The Gold doesn’t demand the Silver in exchange. That’s how you know it’s the Gold.”

    Jared studied the older man. “Have you ever loved?”

    Talon hesitated. “No,” he finally said. “I’ve never worn the Gold. Come on. Let’s warm up by the fire for a bit. We’ve still got a few hours before sunrise.”

    Thoughtful, Jared followed Talon to the fire.

    Maybe it was because he was cold and tired and concerned about Lia that he had thought he’d heard something that hadn’t been there.

    Or maybe there reallyhad been a touch of wistfulness— and envy—beneath Talon’s words.

    The sky was starting to lighten when Lia and Thera walked out of the Sanctuary.

    Jared strode toward the two pale, exhausted women who had their arms around each other as if they needed the support. But he stopped abruptly before he reached them, too shocked to continue moving.

    Lia’s psychic scent hadn’t changed.

    Itshould have changed. He should have been able to sense the deeper, richer power of the Gray in her. But all he picked up was a solid, unmistakable Green.

    Lia glanced at him but wouldn’t meet his eyes.

    Jared struggled to breathe.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire