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  • The Invisible Ring(Black Jewels,Book 4)(99) by Anne Bishop
  • “There’s something odd about that shield,” Randolf said, narrowing his eyes. “Never seen anything like that. Didn’t even know you coulddo that.”

    Jared didn’t see anything at first. Then he noticed the weird flickering inside the shield—flashes of Purple Dusk inside the Green. He could almost feel the elation of the men who were sending bolt after bolt of power against the shield.

    “The Purple Dusk is probably her Birthright Jewel,” Jared said. “If the reservoir of power in her Green Jewel is almost gone, she’d switch to her Birthright.”

    “If that was the case, there would be a Purple Dusk shieldbehind the Green one. But it looks like she’s blending the strength of her Birthright Jewel with the strength of her Green. Damned if I know how.”

    One of the marauders shouted something. The blasts stopped. A few seconds later,all of them unleashed at the same time.

    Once.

    Twice.

    On the third collective strike, the Green shield broke and the Purple Dusk power inside it turned into a roaring wall of witchfire that swept across the boulders.

    Men screamed in agony, caught in that flood of fire.

    The witchfire burned out in a few seconds.

    It was more than enough.

    Jared closed his eyes, unable to watch as the bodies ravaged by the fire began to fall.

    “Mother Night.” Randolf whispered sickly. “Mother Night.”

    Shuddering, Jared pressed his forehead against his knees.

    He heard horrified shouts coming from the boulders above him.

    He couldn’t move. Hehad to move. Had to find the others. Had to find Lia.

    In the tense seconds that followed, there were no more blasts of unleashed power. No more shouts.

    Silence, except for a rhythmic pounding somewhere close by.

    “The bastards who were left caught the Winds and fled,” Randolf said, cautiously getting to his feet. “I don’t think there were many of them.”

    Jared slowly raised his head, but couldn’t bring himself to look across the road. Even using the boulders for support, it took a couple of tries to get to his feet.

    “I’ve never—” Jared stumbled over the words.

    Randolf wiped a sleeve across his clammy face. “Nor I. Not like that. Never like that.”

    Jared raked a dirty hand through his hair. He took a deep breath and willed his quivering legs to move. “Let’s find the others.”

    They found Corry and Cathryn a few feet up the road, half-hidden by piles of stones that had been large boulders a short time ago.

    “You can drop the shield now, Corry,” Jared said, noting that the Summer-sky Jewel the boy wore around his neck didn’t have even a flicker of reserve power left.

    “I-is it done?” Corry whispered. The faint freckles on his nose and cheeks stood out lividly against the pasty skin.

    “It’s done,” Jared said.

    Corry slowly uncurled. Cathryn remained in a tight ball.

    Corry patted Cathryn’s shoulder. “It’s all right now. It’s all right.”

    Cathryn’s eyes remained terrifyingly blank.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire