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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 147)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(147) by Anne Bishop
  • Pale and sweating heavily, Randolf restlessly paced the width of the small room, staying on the far side of the round table and chairs that were the room’s only furniture.

    Thera had said to tell all of them, but they hadn’t been able to find Garth, and Jared decided not to waste time looking for him.

    “We’re going to fight,” Jared said.

    Brock muffled a groan.

    Thayne nodded once.

    Randolf swore fiercely. “We’re slaves. Slaves don’t fight.”

    Jared watched Randolf closely. “You fought during the ambush.”

    “There wasn’t much sense in sitting back when the rest of you were tearing the place apart, was there?”

    “There isn’t much sense in sitting back now, either.”

    Randolf slapped his hands down on the table hard enough to make it rock. “Yes, there is. Do you know what happens to slaves who fight? What they’ll do to any of the villagers who survive the first strike will be a slap on the wrist compared to what they’ll do to us.”

    Jared’s control snapped. “We’re not slaves!” he roared. “We haven’t been slaves since we left Raej.”

    Randolf stared at him.

    Brock tried to suppress a pained laugh.

    “We’re not slaves,” Jared said, struggling to leash his temper. “That’s why the Gray Lady’s so dangerous, even if that bitch Dorothea hasn’t realized it. For the past few years, she’s bought slaves at the auction andset them free . They go home, Randolf. Or they make a new home, a new life for themselves in Dena Nehele.”

    Randolf groped for a chair and sat down, his eyes never leaving Jared’s face. “Why didn’t Lady Lia tell us? Why this game?” He shook his head. “You’re wrong. You have to be wrong. We’reRinged .”

    “The Rings don’t work,” Blaed said. “Just enough power was put into them to make us think they were still connected to a controlling ring. But they aren’t. Besides, Lia has no idea how to use one.”

    Randolf rubbed the back of his hand across his mouth. “Why didn’t she tell us?”

    Jared felt two light psychic touches. Talon’s and Blaed’s signals that they were descending to their full strength— and ready to rise to the killing edge.

    “Because,” Jared said quietly, “once she brought us all together, Lia sensed something was wrong, but she couldn’t find the source. So she continued the pretense of bringing slaves to Dena Nehele, and she made things as difficult as she could for whichever one of us serves the High Priestess of Hayll while trying to get the rest to safety.”

    “One of us serves that bitch?” Randolf’s hands curled into fists.

    Jared rested his hands on the table. “If Lia had told you in the beginning that you were free, that you could catch the Winds and go home, would you have gone?”

    Randolf’s head moved slightly before he stopped himself from looking at the children.

    “No,” Randolf said after a thoughtful silence. “No, I wouldn’t have. I’ve got too much pride as a Warlord and a guard to let a young Queen wander around without an escort.” A dangerous gleam filled his eyes. “Do you know who it is?”

    “It’s Garth,” Brock said, wincing as he straightened to his full height and tucked his thumbs into his wide leather belt. “It’s Garth.”

    Jared turned to face Brock at the same moment Randolf exploded out of his chair.

    “I warned you!” Randolf shouted, throwing himself at Jared with enough force to send them both to the floor. “I told you that bastard was tainted! Damn you, why didn’t you listen to me? We might have gotten her home if you’d listened to me!”

    Randolf threw a couple of punches before Blaed and Talon pulled him off Jared.

    By the time Jared got to his feet, Brock had disappeared.

    “Hold him,” Jared said as he rushed out of the tavern.

    Spotting Brock walking purposefully down the road in the direction of the landing place, Jared ran to catch up to him. “Brock! Brock!”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire