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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > The Invisible Ring (Chapter 90)      Page
  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(90) by Anne Bishop
  • Half an hour after that, there was still no sign of Thera.

    Jared handed the gelding over to Tomas, then hurried to the back of the wagon to join Lia and Blaed.

    They found Thera curled up on one of the benches, shaking.

    “Cold,” she said as Blaed raised her to a sitting position and Lia wrapped her in spell-warmed blankets. “So cold.”

    “Whiskey would help,” Jared said, settling on the other bench to get out of the way.

    Blaed called in two bottles of whiskey. He handed one to Jared, opened the other, and helped Thera take a couple of swallows since she was shaking too hard to hold the bottle.

    Jared offered the other bottle to Lia. After shuddering through a couple of sips, she handed the bottle back and settled next to him on the bench. He took a healthy swallow, hoping it would soothe nerves frayed from waiting.

    Thera pressed her face against Blaed’s shoulder and continued to shake. Blaed held her tightly, murmuring reassurances while he coaxed more whiskey into her.

    “I need to wash,” Thera said plaintively. “I need to wash.”

    “Soon,” Blaed promised. “I’ll heat some water and help you.”

    When Thera didn’t protest, Blaed raised worried eyes to Jared.

    Jared shared the worry, and not just because he liked Thera and was concerned about her. She was a strong witch, and something that could shake her this badly was a danger to all of them.

    Lia held out her hand. Thera grabbed it.

    In the confined space, Jared felt power flow between them—not just the power of the Jewels and Craft, but the power of the feminine, strength anchoring strength.

    Thera’s shallow breathing eased, became deeper. She took another sip of whiskey. “Garth knows.”

    “Do you?” Lia asked quietly.

    Thera started shaking again. Her hand clamped on Lia’s.

    “Tell us what you can,” Lia urged. “We’ll deal with the rest.”

    Thera took a deep breath. “Garth knows.” Pressing closer to Blaed, she stared at Jared as if each kind of contact was a thread that helped anchor her.

    Slipping off the bench, Jared knelt beside her, keeping his eyes locked to hers.

    “It’s not like the tangled web that almost trapped you,” Thera told him. “It’s less and more and worse.”

    Jared nodded.

    “It’s like someone rooted a psychic weed inside Garth’s inner barriers that produced runners that could cover an area with voracious speed. Some of the runners went down below his inner web and then turned upward outside his barriers, forming a tangled net to keep him locked in. Other runners spread out inside his barriers, so he’s doubly caught.”

    “What did you do?” Lia asked, watching Thera intently.

    Thera licked her lips. “I—Mother Night, Lia, the mind that created that is so vile, so obscene.” It took her a minute before she could continue. “There’s great anger inside him. He must have tried to rip the runners away from the root because I noticed that he could open his first inner barrier a little. So I cut away the tangle surrounding his inner barriers and then . . .”

    “You squeezed through that little opening, not knowing how fast that ‘weed’ might reclaim its ground, to clear a path to wherever Garth had retreated within himself,” Lia said, her voice flattened by anger.

    “You would have done the same thing,” Thera said defensively.

    She would have, Jared thought, and couldn’t choke back the snarl.

    “I don’t think what I cut will grow back. I think that’s why something was added to make his psychic scent so repulsive—so no one would push past it. It felt like . . . like . . .”

    “Falling headfirst into a giant spittoon,” Jared said.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire