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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 17)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(17) by Anne Bishop
  • Krelis started to turn away, but Dorothea didn’t move. She continued to stare at the young Warlord until his eyes turned tear-bright and his muscles started to quiver. Swallowing hard, he opened his trousers all the way and slipped his hand inside.

    Satisfied, Dorothea led Krelis out of her sitting room and began to stroll toward another wing of the SaDiablo mansion.

    “So the bitch took the bait,” Dorothea said.

    “Yes, Priestess.”

    “But?”

    Krelis’s mouth dried up. Sweat gathered in his armpits. “She disappeared. She bought passage for the westernmost station that could be reached by taking a Coach out of Raej, but when the Coach finally reached the station, it was several hours overdue and there was no one in it except the drivers. Neither of them could explain the lost hours nor what had happened to the Gray Lady and the slaves she’d purchased at the auction.”

    “I see,” Dorothea said. “Has she crossed theTamanaraMountains?”

    “No, Priestess.”

    “Are you sure?”

    He wasn’t sure, but he wasn’t about to admitthat . “We’ll find her, Priestess. I swear it. I should have her location soon.”

    Dorothea said nothing for a moment. Then, with a hint of distaste, “From your pet?”

    “Yes, Priestess.”

    Pet slaves had their uses, especially when it came to spying on other slaves. Using his status as Dorothea’s Master of the Guard, he had gone to Raej early to inspect the available slaves, and found one who had been more than willing to be a pet in order to gain whatever favors Hayll might grant.

    Dorothea hadn’t been enthusiastic about his plan, but she had woven the spells he had requested, including the spells that would ensure that his pet was among those the Gray Lady purchased at Raej.

    There was a lot of land between Hayll and theTamanaraMountains, but those Territories now stood in Hayll’s shadow and would offer no safety. There were also plenty of marauder bands who were more than willing to hunt down a Queen if they were offered enough gold marks and a promise not to be hunted in turn. All he needed was the signal from his pet and he’d have the Gray bitch.

    Dorothea let a heavy silence build while she led him through the hallways. Finally, she said, “Do you still have my present?”

    Remembering the white feather, Krelis shuddered. “Yes, Priestess.”

    “She always was a cunning bitch,” Dorothea said softly. “She might have anticipated an ambush at a station since that’s where the attack happened the last time. Did she have an” escort waiting for her at any of those stations?“

    “Yes. They were eliminated.”

    “Good. That means shehad intended to go to that station and whatever had changed her plans was unexpected—

    which means her court is probably just becoming aware that something went wrong.“

    “She could have sent the escort to the station as a decoy.”

    “She wouldn’t have sent them there just to die. Grizelle isn’t that practical.”

    Unlike you? Krelis thought—then hastily buried that thought. “If she buys passage on another Coach . . .”

    “There aren’t that many passes over theTamanaraMountains. She’ll have to reach a station located near one of them and travel overland for some of the journey, no matter what she does.”

    “She could ride the Winds.”

    Dorothea shook her head. “She’s thwarted herself in that as much as she’s thwarted me. There’s some kind of spell that acts as a barrier across the Winds, preventing anyone from riding them into her Territory. Anyone trying to get into Dena Nehele from this side of the Tamanara Mountainshas to use one of passes.”

    She smoothed her coiled black hair. “Find out where the slaves she purchased came from. If any of them were from prominent families, she might try bartering with their kin for assistance.”

    Krelis’s shoulders sagged in relief. At least he’d done this right. “I’ve already sent someone to Raej for the list, Priestess.”

    Dorothea gave him a smile of approval. “I’m sure, once you have it, you’ll be able to offset your miscalculations.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire