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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 67)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(67) by Anne Bishop
  • “Yes, you told me,” Krelis replied, making sure the man understood he hadn’t believed half of what he’d been told. “But you didn’t have to take the risk. You didn’t have to flush them out. All you had to do was keep them in and send a message to me. I would have been there with enough trained guards to take care of them.”

    “I don’t see you sending any of your trained guards to do the hunting,” the marauder sneered. “I don’t see any Hayllians risking themselves against the Gray Lady.”

    Rage burned Krelis.

    Doubts and fear froze him for a moment, then, circling the whipping posts, he snatched the knotted, triple-tailed whip from a guard’s hand.

    The whip whistled through the air. Struck. Cut deep.

    “Beg for mercy,” Krelis snarled as he applied the lash over and over again. “Beg for Hayll’s mercy, and maybe I’ll let you go.”

    The man screamed, begged, pleaded.

    Deaf to all of it, Krelis let his anger sing through the whip.

    Long after the marauder stopped screaming, Krelis finally dropped the whip and turned away.

    Eyeing him warily, Lord Maryk stepped forward. “What should we do with that?”

    Krelis didn’t look back at the mess that had once been a man. “Castrate him and break him,” he said harshly. “Then let the slave Healer see what she can do. If he lives, work him.”

    Krelis walked away, fighting the need to run.

    Once he was safely inside his office, he closed the shutters on the windows that overlooked the courtyard and pulled a bottle and glass from a corner cabinet. His hands shook as he poured a large brandy, downed it, and poured another. By the third glass, he felt like he could take a steady breath.

    Turning, he stared at the two brass buttons that sat in the center of his desk.

    Deceitful, Gray-Jeweled bitch. Deceitful, cowardly bitch to hide within the borders of her Territory. It was one thing to be up against the Gray Lady’s cunning; it was quite another to have some Green-Jeweled chit running around making a fool of him. He should have had her by now. It would have beenfinished by now if the little bitch had shown some sense or leadership ability. About the only rational thing she’d done was continue to head northwest toward the Tamanara Mountains, and even then her choices had no rhyme or reason. She was either very smart or very stupid. Either way, it shamed him that she’d eluded him so far.

    Unless someone else was behind this.

    Like that Shalador Warlord.

    No. The man had spent the past nine years as a pleasure slave.He wouldn’t have many useful skills outside the bedroom, while he, Krelis, had spent centuries training to be a warrior, a guard.

    He would show everyone, including the older guards who still had doubts about his ability to command, that he was worthy of being Master of the Guard by bringing the Gray Lady to her knees.

    Except Dorothea wasn’t helping, which was something he hadn’t calculated on and didn’t dare point out. Perhaps it was better to say she was helping too much. That trap she’d convinced another Black Widow to set at the creek hadn’t done anything except spoil a good ambush. And no amount of gold marks and promised favors would keep marauder bands on the hunt if they became worried about getting caught in someone else’s trap.

    There was nothing he could do about Dorothea, but that little bitch-witch . . .

    She was threatening all his plans, all his dreams. What made these puny, flash-in-the-pan races think they could be anything but Hayll’s servants? The Green-Jeweled bitch might see a hundred years. He could reach five thousand. Who was she to snuff out his ambitions? She would be gone in a finger-snap of time while he would reap the rewards or suffer the disappointments for centuries to come.

    While he might fear being so close to her, Dorothea had the power and the vision to rule the entire Realm of Terreille. Hell’s fire, almost half the Realm already stood in Hayll’s shadow. And all those Territories would eventually need overseers to remind them of Hayll’s greatness and ensure that they remained loyal.

    When the time came, why shouldn’t he be one of them? Why shouldn’t he receive the wealth of a Territory’s tithes and the power that was the right of those who ruled?

    And with that influence, why shouldn’t he have a light-Jeweled witch for a wife, one who would be so grateful for the safety he offered that she’d submit to his wishes, in bed and out? Why shouldn’t his children serve in important positions in a court?

    Lady Arabella Ardelia threatened all of it.All of it.

    Krelis carefully set the glass on the desk.

    He would find her. He would bring her back to Hayll. He would teach her how to serve like a good little witch.

    Just like he’d taught that other little bitch-Queen.

    Chapter Fifteen

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire