Ryon rotated the ruby encrusted metal. In truth, he doubted that these were rubies at all, but he had no idea what to call them. Some kind of crystal, but no ruby he'd ever seen in a jewelry store had moving flames of jet, orange, magenta, and green in the centre.
He could believe that if he wanted, but he suspected Pike knew as well as he that this little gizmo had unique origins. Pike's eyes hadn't been quick enough to spy the way the Rotting Man had cast it aside, just as the dragonfly's jaws had chomped down on his person. Ryon grimaced in memory, sympathy strong for one who could still recall duty or fellowship in the face of certain death.
He'd cast the armband aside because he hadn't wanted the creature to consume it.
Ryon buried his face in one hand, and clenched the band tightly in the other. Glynt! Was that--that horrifying consumption--what awaited her on the other side?!
He lifted his head and stared into Pike's face.
Pike wasn't unaffected, and he must have figured the gizmo wasn't going to be the source of trouble he'd feared, because he cleared his throat in deep, manly fashion, and headed for the door, resting a hand briefly upon Ryon's shoulder as he went, in a gesture of sympathy. "Gotta check out the land," he explained, voice slightly ragged.
Ryon took this to mean "the lay of the land" and nodded. "I'll be here."
Pike must have taken him at his word. He exited the room without a backwards glance.
Ryon sank down on the blanket Pike had left for him, Glynt at the forefront of his thoughts. The scent of her, the feel of her soft skin against his. Those unruly curls, tangled in his fingers as he kissed her...
Behind his closed eyes, a glass vision hit him so strong and hard that for an instant he thought he was seeing it. With her.
And then she was in his arms. The jeweled band was hot in his hand and he clung to it almost as firmly in that instant as he clung to her, never wanting to let her go.