“I picked this up from a trader a few days back. Would you take a look at it, tell me what you think it’s worth?” Kallinesha kept the ring in her fist, out of sight, so Daistar would have to take it in his own hand to examine it.
He stared at her fist, stared into her eyes. Then he reached out and she dropped it into his waiting hand. Instantly she felt more alive, freed of the sleep enchantment bound to the ring. She set her hand on her dagger, just in case.
He turned it over in his hand several times. His eyes should be drooping by now. He should be thinking of his nice soft bed, the smooth linen, the quiet peace of an afternoon nap. But when he spoke there was nothing sleepy about his words. “It’s gold, I believe, but not very fine work.”
The baron leaned forward. “I hope you didn’t pay much for it.”
What? The beauty enchantment should have dazzled a man like the baron, who clearly liked his comfort. But when Kallinesha looked again at the ring, it no longer sparkled as before.
Daistar was staring at her again, and she feared she’d exposed her surprise.
“Maybe if you put it on…” she faltered.
He slid it halfway down his ring finger, twisted it, held it out to admire it, then took it off again. He grabbed her wrist, roughly, and pressed the ring into her palm. The sleep enchantment, she knew at once, was gone. How had he broken it so quickly? Mistress took hours to unravel spells as strong as the ones they’d cast. This was power as she’d never before seen. She had to stop him. She tightened her hold on the dagger. She’d only have one chance. It had to be his throat. But his hand was still on her wrist, and he tightened his grip.
“I wouldn’t, if I were you,” he whispered, as pain burst into life where he touched her.
His other hand, she saw, was on his own dagger, and she was sure beyond any doubt, without any magic to tell her so, that he’d had a lifetime more practice than she had. A mage and a warrior.
She took her hand off her dagger, jerked away from him, and stood up.
“Baron Selkimear, I believe I must see to my servant. Thank you for the sumptuous refreshment.”
She fully expected not to live to see the outside of the dining hall.
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