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Asad eyed the young Lord Goffe. “Are you sure?”
Hector’s expression suggested he was. “I just... I would like to know more about this aberration.”
“I see no problem with that,” said Salvador, slapping a huge hand against Hector’s shoulder. “He held his own against Darktide, didn’t he? And myself, of course. I’d say he qualifies.”
The lone Sandlord frowned. Salvador and the others didn’t know about the shield, but Asad recognized his brother’s work well enough. Hector and Garovel hadn’t explained the details--which was their right, of course--but it still left Asad slightly concerned for them.
He held his tongue, though. He certainly understood the desire to keep one’s true strength a secret. He’d been able to do something similar in his youth, thanks to his tattoos. Without a doubt, they were the greatest gift his mother had ever given him, though he certainly hadn’t thought so while receiving them.
And while Asad reminisced to himself and watched the Elroy children hovering around their sleeping father, his hands drifted into the pockets of his still-tattered robe.
Something metallic was there, he realized. Small and round. A ring.
He pulled it out and stared at it with wide eyes. It was simple enough in design--featureless tungsten carbide on the outside, concealing a row of tiny black spikes on the inside. They would tear into his skin if he put it on, Asad knew, but it was indeed meant to be worn on either one of his middle fingers.
Qorvass noticed the item. ‘A new ring?’ he said privately and in Valgan. ‘When did you get that?’
‘...Before we left Kuros,’ Asad said, also in Valgan.
‘And what does this one do?’
‘It enhances the effects of my tattoos.’
The reaper paused. ‘Enhances how, exactly?’
‘It allows them... to absorb more damage and reflect it back at my opponent.’
‘What?! You had something that useful on you this whole time?! Why didn’t you ever use it?!’
‘...I forgot about it.’
‘Asad! Are you kidding?! Do you know how helpful that would have been?!’
‘Why didn’t you just show it to me when you first got it?! I would’ve remembered it for you!’
‘...I’d already forgotten by then.’
‘That quickly?! Asad!’
‘I’m sorry! I remembered it later, on the plane to Rheinhal, but then I forgot again!’