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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 66)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(66) by Anne Bishop
  • Watching Dorothea’s hand stroke her rich red gown from breast to thigh, it took a moment for the words to sink in.

    “She’s a young Green-Jeweled Queen. Her name’s Arabella Ardelia. Shesays she’s taking them to Dena Nehele on the Gray Lady’s behalf.” He almost told her the rest and decided against it. Those kinds of details werehis problem.

    “Grizelle’s daughter is a Black Widow,” Dorothea said, more thinking out loud than talking to him. “A well-trained one. She’d certainly be capable of creating an illusion web like that. But to trust ayoung witch with the task . . .”

    Krelis shrugged. “Maybe she resembles the Gray Lady more than other witches in the court.”

    Dorothea stopped pacing, an arrested look in her eyes. Then her lips curled in a malicious smile. “Of course.” She swayed toward him, lightly stroked his face, and drifted away. “You have a delightful mind, Lord Krelis.”

    Krelis wasn’t sure if his knees had jellied from the hot little sexual jolt she’d given him or from his fear of what her nails might have done to his face.

    Then he remembered all the plans that were being threatened by that little bitch-witch, and his fury drove out everything else.

    “I swear to you, Priestess, this Arabella Ardelia will never reach Dena Nehele.” Krelis laughed nastily. “Well, she may reach it, but what’s left of her won’t be any good to anyone.”

    Dorothea gave him a sharp, assessing look. “No,” she said slowly. “She is not to be harmed.”

    Krelis stared at her.

    “She is not to be harmed,” Dorothea repeated. “Bring her here.”

    “Why would you want that filth in Hayll?” Krelis’s voice quivered with outrage.

    Dorothea smiled as if he’d done something pleasing. “A young witch who would be trusted with such a task must be highly valued by the Queen and her First Circle, but she’s still just a pawn we might be able to use against the Gray Jewels—especially if Grizelle feels some emotional attachment to the girl. Here the little bitch can be taught to be of service.” Dorothea’s gold eyes glittered. “And if her own stubbornness or Grizelle’s unwillingness to extend some courtesies to Hayll results in the girl being disciplined, it’s something the Master of the Guard should see to personally. Don’t you think?”

    Krelis bowed. “I would be pleased to teach the little witch how to serve.” More than pleased.

    Dorothea studied him for a moment, then smiled. “I thought so.”

    With a measured stride, Krelis walked across the large courtyard that formed the center of the guards’ quarters. Discreetly hidden from the SaDiablo mansion by a stand of trees, the quarters were close enough for the guards to answer a summons quickly and yet still far enough away not to intrude on aristo pleasures.

    It also meant that the screams that accompanied punishment were distant enough not to arouse the Black Widows in Dorothea’s coven or the other witches in her First Circle. Or the High Priestess herself.

    And it meant that the female slaves who took care of the guards’ needs weren’t blatantly in evidence. Not that the witches didn’t know about them. They knew, just as they knew that the common female servants were used by the court males in the same way.

    Krelis walked toward the end of the courtyard, his eyes fixed on the naked man tied between the whipping posts. Using a hard c**k was one way to get rid of anger.

    This was another.

    Krelis stopped a few yards away from the whipping post and waited for Lord Maryk to join him. “Everything ready?” he asked calmly, pleased that his voice betrayed none of his doubts or fears.

    Lord Maryk looked at him for a moment, then nodded.

    Moving slowly, as if he were stalking prey, Krelis circled the whipping posts until he stood in front of the marauder leader.

    “I helped you,” the man spat as he struggled against the leather straps holding him taut. “Is this how you honor your agreements?”

    Krelis slapped the marauder, just hard enough to sting. “You’re a fool,” Krelis replied, filling his voice with contempt.

    “We were ready for them. A perfect ambush about a mile from that bridge. I told you that. I brought you the buttons. How were we supposed to know the bitch would unleash witchfire like that?”

    Krelis cocked his head. “You didn’t try very hard to find out what happened to the wagon, did you? Didn’t try very hard to catch up with the bitch when you could have taken her by surprise.”

    The man looked at him defiantly. “We found the clearing. Found that rogues’ nest for you.”

    “Found it empty,” Krelis snapped. “If it hadn’t taken youthree days to pick up the trail, it would have been stuffed with prey.”

    “Wouldn’t have mattered if they were there or not,” the man argued. “Itold you what those protection spells were like.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire