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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 43)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(43) by Anne Bishop
  • Jared backed away. Shields weren’t considered permissible Craft for slaves, so a smart man tried to frighten his victim into shielding without using Craft himself. That way, the witch who owned them, alerted by her controlling ring to a forbidden use of power, punished the offender—the victim—with pain sent through the Ring of Obedience.

    A man made helpless by a Ring was an easy man to kill.

    Jared didn’t think Garth had that much cunning left, which really didn’t matter since Garth wouldn’t need Craft to snap him in half, and he wouldn’t stand a chance in a fight without it.

    Jared dodged, slipped, tried to scramble out of reach.

    Garth grabbed the back of Jared’s coat and set him on his feet hard enough to make his teeth rattle.

    “Jared,” Garth said, holding out his huge, clenched hand.

    Swallowing hard, Jared held out his hand. He shuddered with revulsion as the brass button Garth had been holding dropped into his palm. The button had the same slimy feel as Garth’s psychic scent.

    Anger washed through Jared. All this over abutton ?

    He looked up just in time to see the knife leave Randolf’s hand, aimed straight for Garth’s back. “NO!”

    Garth spun around, knocking the knife away with his forearm.

    Randolf looked shocked.

    Jared stared at Garth and wondered what the man had been before he’d ended up on the auction block at Raej.

    Cold fury filled Garth’s face as he walked over to where the knife lay in the road. He stepped on the blade, grabbed the hilt, and snapped the knife in half. Returning to Jared, he pointed at Jared’s hand. Sweat ran down his face and his hand shook as if he were fiercely struggling against something.

    “Jared,” Garth said. The glitter faded from his eyes, replaced by the confused, imploring, familiar look.

    “It’s a button. Garth.”

    Garth made a frustrated sound.

    Jared waited, but he could see Garth was losing the inner battle.

    Garth raised his arms and let them fall, his big hands slapping his thighs in a gesture of defeat. Shaking his head, he walked away.

    Randolf didn’t move until Garth was well past him. Then he turned on Jared. “Now do you understand why I don’t like him?”

    Jared looked at the brass button. Holding a handful of phlegm wouldn’t make his stomach any queasier.

    His face twisting with disgust, Randolf walked over to Jared, plucked the button out of his hand, and tossed it into the bushes beside the road.

    Jared rubbed his hand on his trousers.

    Randolf bared his teeth. “What’s it going to take to convince you that he’s a danger to us?”

    “Leave him alone,” Jared snapped. “He’s not dangerous unless he’s pushed. He can’t help being broken.”

    “He’s not just broken, he’stainted .”

    Jared’s body tightened until it shook. To call one of the Blood tainted was a vicious insult, because blood was the connection between the body and the psychic strength. Someone who was condemned as being tainted was considered so fouled that his blood would contaminate whatever it was used for. That person’s blood couldn’t be given for an offering, couldn’t be used for any Blood ceremony, couldn’t be used for a healing.

    “You don’t know that,” Jared said, forcing the words out.

    “And you don’t know he’s not. He’s out of sight half of the time, and whenever he’s around the rest of us, he’s always watching.”

    “He’s mind-damaged, Randolf.”

    “Oh, I won’t argue that someone tampered with him, but after seeing him just now. do you still believe he’s as mind-damaged as he seems?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire