In this scene from Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, Pietas and the search party sent to find him have stopped their upward mountain trek for a short break. Prior to their reunion the previous day, Pietas had spent a year in confinement, hands bound behind him. He’d been starved to the point of death, but because he’s immortal, he could not die. Although he’s healed since, the brutality left a lasting toll on his once robust physical body. As they prepare to get underway, he unwittingly reveals the impairment and becomes the focus of unwanted attention from a telepath.
Wincing, Pietas stretched to ease cramps in his back.
“Tas!” His sister had started using her childhood name for him since they’d reconnected the day before. “Are you hurt?”
Before he could answer Dessy, a quick telepathic scan from Joss swept over him. Pietas had still been a teenager when she’d trained him to shield his mind from those with her gift. Not that he’d ever been able to block her. She was far too powerful, but today, she’d read him with no more difficulty than a hunter spying trail signs. He’d been near no Ultra telepaths for over a year.
His affinity with Six had made him careless and he’d neglected the basic lessons Joss had taught him.
It wasn’t a lack of trust. Trust had never been an issue with Joss.
He treasured her, but he ought not to have been so unguarded and open. Vulnerable.
“Pietas.” Joss stood. The waves of emotion he picked up from her held love and concern in equal measure. And a bit of disappointment. “You’re injured.”
He ducked his head like a schoolboy who’d forgotten his lessons. Admit mortals had damaged him? Never. Neither would he lie about it. He’d take better care to hide the pain.
“Don’t worry about me.” Whistling, he circled a finger in the air. “Let’s go! Long climb ahead. Joss, you lead.” Last thing he wanted was her behind him, using him as an object of focus. He loved her, but this was unwanted attention.
What telepaths focused upon, they controlled.
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