Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles Book 5), page 15
“I understand,” she said softly. Her eyes watered as she turned away from me. I knew it was difficult for her to grasp, but her son was a monster. I’d left out a lot of the things he’d done to me, but I wouldn’t place my children into the precarious position of being used against me. They were defenseless, and innocent in this.
“Anything else that needs my attention?” I sighed.
“Shoes; you have yet to pick out the ones you want to wear.” She shuffled through the papers until she found what she was looking for. She handed me a page full of what looked to be different styles of glittering, almost transparent shoes. “Ryder said he had seen you admiring some shoes that you said a story character wore. What was she called…Cinderella? He described the story, so we found some designs for similar ones.”
I grinned as I looked through the delicate looking shoes, and settled on a pair that had small heels and didn’t look like they’d break if I walked in them. Once we’d finished with a few more details, she left, reminding me of the rehearsal wedding tomorrow so that I wouldn’t be lost when the time came to walk down the aisle to Ryder.
Once she’d sifted, I moved to the study and pulled out the maps I’d been poring over before she’d arrived. There was a patch of rough terrain and mountains that the men had immediately scratched off the search grid and, while they dismissed it, my instincts were drawn to it. If I was hiding from the Horde, I would go to the last place in this world that they’d think to look. But hey, that was just me. Ryder had explained to me that no one would look there because it wasn’t habitable—even the plant life there was carnivorous. He’d told me in vivid detail about it and the monstrous creatures that were part of the land itself.
I paused and tilted my head, my finger moved over the map as I glamoured on my form-fitting armor, swept the ridiculous curls into a ponytail, and glamoured a few cleverly concealed sheaths for daggers at the wrist grieves, hips, and boots. I moved towards the window and looked down at the men, who were just returning from the search, and considered waiting for Ryder, but as I watched him dismount from his horse with slumped shoulders, I knew what I had to do.
I hated that every time they returned, they grew a little more defeated at the prospect that she may not be out there to be saved. There had been a lot of blood on the floor and furnishings when she’d been taken, and it had been hers. She’d fought her attacker with everything she had, but just how much had it cost her?
I watched as amber eyes rose to mine as if he sensed my presence in the window, and he shook his dark head. Defeat was new to him, but he wasn’t ready to admit it yet, and neither was I.
I’d sifted into the area that I had chosen to call the Monstrous Mountains. Ryder, locked himself in the war room with his men to pore over more charts. He’d scour this entire world to find her; she was the only acknowledged daughter born to Alazander, and Ryder’s only sister. One he’d vowed to protect. Being unable to find her was hurting them all. They all loved her.
I moved through the trails slowly for hours, looking for any hidden threat, anything that would prove that Dragons or anyone else had been present here. I made it through a group of trees and stopped cold as the sight in the clearing came into view.
The smell of meat cooking lingered in the air as the mist parted momentarily and revealed a camp. Genius, hiding among the mist, which was normally too thick to see through, even from the skies above.
I could hear the voices of men and women moving around, and the sound of children playing erupted as squeals came from somewhere deeper in the camp. I made my way to the edge of the camp as my eyes adjusted to the dense mist as it parted and swirled. I noticed that tents had been erected around the outer perimeter, and wards had been carved into large stones around the tents to keep up the magic of the mist and disguise these people from intruders, which was probably why no one knew they were here.
I pulled an invisibility glamour around myself, then worked my way around the edge of camp to watch as men congregated in groups that were either sparring or gaming, and women tended to cooking fires or cared for the children. Some of them were carrying heavy baskets of clothing or other things. The fog shifted, and I realized there were not just several tents; there were hundreds of them set up in this clearing. It wasn’t just a camp that had been set up overnight; it was a very well-established one that must have been here for years. I could make out rocks with runes carved into them littering the border of the camp, and the more I looked, the more wards I saw.
My instinct was to back away and go grab Ryder, but if these were the Dragons, I needed more proof than just my suspicions. I exhaled and scanned the camp, looking for the biggest tent. I hadn’t come this far to go home without proof, or without looking for Ciara.
I watched the men, noting they had Dragon tattoos or glyphs that matched Ryder’s. Ryder had mentioned that the Dragon brands had developed shortly after he had received the Heir brands. These ones moved on their skin—proof of what they were. Glyphs couldn’t be faked; they remained true to the breed, and these were mother-freaking Dragons. Holy farting Fairy buckets. Dragons!
I backed up until I was hidden in the line of trees that I’d originally come from as I figured out my next move. I should have left, should have run to Ryder and told him immediately of this discovery, but I wasn’t going to do it and I knew that. These men looked almost human.
Some men and women stood around large campfires and shared drinks as they talked within their small groups. Small boys played with wooden swords, and I swallowed past a lump as I realized what this was.
Displaced people who had banded together to survive.
If I returned and told Ryder what I had found, he’d need to neutralize the threat. He’d have to, and I hated knowing that it was probably what I needed to do. On the other hand, we needed to know more about them, what they were doing and planning. I doubted they could forgive him easily, even if he’d only been following orders. However, they’d survived it; he hadn’t wiped out an entire race after all. I watched as a man moved into an empty space and shifted, taking the form of a huge, glittering green Dragon, and with a sweep of his gigantic wings, he took to the air. A scout? They’d remained hidden this long because they’d been smart. They’d moved into a place that was thought of as uninhabitable, and yet here they were—motherfucking Dragons.
My eyes moved back to the camp and settled on the largest tent, which had guards surrounding it. Either someone important was in there, or they had someone that they didn’t want to escape from there. I’d have to search the other tents, but my money was on the tent that looked like it belonged to whoever was in charge of this place.
I slowly made my way to where a warded post was set into the ground. My fingers extended, pushing, testing the wards, and when they didn’t go off, I stepped through them. I paused, expecting them to sound a siren of alarm, but they didn’t. Once I knew I was safe, I walked deeper into the camp, past the playing children to where a couple of the men were playing a game with dice that looked like crystals as they cheered and clapped each other on the back.
“Damn! You have to be cheating, Aiden, no one is that lucky!” the man who sat opposite of the table shouted as he slammed his palms on the table and glared in open challenge.
“It is dice; you cannot cheat at it, Syphon. Look at them! Then watch your tongue before you accuse me of cheating you,” the other growled, death peering from his eyes as he watched his opponent.
“No one is that bloody lucky,” Syphon snapped and removed his hands from the table. I moved away from them, watchful of those around me so that no one ran into me. I made my way to the closest tent and stood in front of it for a few moments, listening for anyone who might be inside before moving on to the next.
Tent after tent revealed no sound, no noise. Everyone seemed to be
“He’ll show her how our people felt as they raped innocent women,” one commented while she stirred something in a large wooden bowl.
“If you ask me, he should just take her head and return it to the King on a pike. He’d be done with it, and we could wash our hands of her. Her presence here places us all in danger.”
“If he did that, they’d be sure to come. Right now they search for her everywhere, but they’ll never look here. Not when so many other monsters hide in these mountains. I, for one, am sick of being here, hiding like rats. These mountains are freezing my tits off.”
“Faye dearie, you barely have teats,” an older woman teased as she stifled a laugh behind her hand as the other woman peered down at her tits. “Not even big enough to feed a bairn, girl. Now all of you shush your slander. The Lord knows his business; whatever he decides to do with her is his business. It’s not chatter for the baking oven. Now get to work; this food doesn’t cook itself, you know. Plus, we have washing to do or we will all be wearing our undergarments soon.”
I swallowed and moved past them, heading directly towards the biggest tent here. Once I was there, I noted the guards I’d seen earlier and stopped as I considered something that I hadn’t thought of before I’d entered the camp: I couldn’t get into a tent without them noticing the flap move. I held my breath as I heard a whimper from the other side. The flap opened without warning and I slipped inside as a large, burly man pushed his way out.
My heart stopped beating as my eyes adjusted to the dimness of the tent and I got a good look at Ciara. She was wearing only a thin, torn, and ragged dress, and was chained in a standing position to one of the tent supports. Her hair hung in unkempt waves, and her cheeks were bright red as she glared at a man who was lounging atop a bed piled with furs. His hair was light brown, reaching a few inches below his shoulders. Twin Dragons in midflight had been tattooed on his sinewy back. His ass was firm, and his cock was limp but even so—it was impressive.
“Blushing from the Horde princess?” he taunted, crystal blue eyes watching her every move. He sat up and I eyed his naked perfection, but more so, Ciara’s blush intensified as he stood and moved closer to where she was chained. His hand cupped her chin and lifted it until she was forced to make eye contact with him. “You have nothing to fear from me, Ciara. I don’t force myself upon unwilling women as your kind is known for doing. I don’t slaughter the innocent. No, you needn’t ever fear that I’d lower myself to fucking you, no matter how much I’d enjoy this beautiful flesh.” He swallowed hard, and I could tell it was taking everything he had not to do exactly what he’d just vowed he wouldn’t do. She flinched, and it took effort not to pull my blades and end his life right then and there.
“Do what you will to me, Blane, but I will never be used to lure my brothers here to their deaths. You forget, I am Horde,” she hissed as her eyes slowly moved from his face to his other features with a hungry look. “You’ll have to feed me sooner or later, or watch me wither away. I need to feed regularly, and I’m ravenous. Tell me, Dragon, which will it be? Watch me wither and lose your only tool for revenge, or feed me?” she taunted in a throaty tone that left little to wonder what her game was: seduction.
I grinned. Here we’d been worried about her, and she was holding her own. I was so proud. She’d survived, and she wasn’t afraid of him. At least, she wasn’t showing that she was. She moved her hips and the thin belt cinched around her waist that gave a hint of her curves chimed like an alarm. She was a fucking trap. My eyes slowly moved to a gold chain that rested on her hips, and I noticed it had thin metal slivers that dug into her flesh as she moved. I blanched, but kept my temper under control as blood appeared where the slivers had dug into her exposed skin.
Blane’s eyes hadn’t missed it either; he swallowed as small trickles of blood trailed down her waist and onto the remains of the dress, which had dried blood covering a large section of it. He swallowed as she wiggled her hips a tiny bit more, watching his reaction. His hand slowly rubbed down his face as he turned and moved so quickly that I had no warning to move. Luckily, he passed without bumping into me as he exited the tent. I grinned at Ciara, knowing she had rattled him so badly that he’d left without even bothering to grab a pair of pants.
I watched as Ciara’s features crumpled and her eyes watered. I slowly moved to the other side of her, noting the markings on the inside of the tent were indeed wards to keep her and any other creature of the Horde inside this tent, should they enter it. Yep, definitely a trap.
“Ciara,” I whispered.
“Syn?” she called out, and I hushed her.
“Quiet or the guards will hear you,” I hissed. “Are you hurt?” I murmured softly, and when she shook her head, I released the breath I’d been holding. “Dragons, who knew?” I slowly lowered myself to be eye level with the chain and belt she wore, so as not to create more pain than she was already experiencing.
“My brothers?” she whispered.
“Going crazy looking for you,” I murmured, focusing on the weird links.
“They can’t find me here, Syn,” she rushed out, flinching as one of the tiny slivers jabbed her a little too deeply as I touched the chain. “It’s a trap, and the moment anyone from the Horde enters, they won’t be able to escape. The entire camp is rigged to capture them should they try to sneak in.”
“I know; I’m aware of the wards and this…” I paused and waved at the tent, listening as Blane approached.
“You need to go, now,” she hissed.
The flap was thrown open and Blane strode in, still naked and holding a pail of water that he placed at her feet. He watched her speculatively for a few moments.
“Talking to yourself?” he mocked, his fingers slowly trailing over her breasts as he watched her body react. I could take him, but her reaction to him gave me pause. Her pupils dilated, and her back arched as if his touch excited her.
Shock me, Ciara, the naughty little imp. She liked him.
“I don’t talk to myself, I talk to Gods,” she sneered and kicked the bucket over, sending suds over the tarp that covered the ground beneath her feet.
“That was stupid,” he growled, and two of the guards opened the flap to see what the disturbance had been about. Their swords were drawn, ready to cut Ciara to ribbons if she’d escaped. “You could just use glamour, and then you wouldn’t stink or need me to wash your flesh, woman.”
I almost snickered. She was smart; magic left a taint in the air. Had she used it to clean herself up, her brothers could have traced it. She knew they were tearing this world apart to find her, and all she would have had to do was use her magic to bring them right to her, to this well-laid trap they’d created with her as the bait.
I watched as he gripped a handful of her hair and twisted her head back. His lips inched towards her ear as his body closed the distance between them. He wasn’t as unaffected as he pretended to be either.
My hand slowly moved to the dagger at my hip but as I watched, he struggled against his emotions. I didn’t dare try to read his mind, because he might feel it. I could feel his power, intense, raw, and hot. The more turned on he got, the hotter the temperature in the tent was. It put a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘hot damn’.
His lips grazed hers and she moaned as she opened her mouth in a slanted smile, then closed her eyes as she felt him fight a battle between what he wanted to do and what he intended to do.
“Feed me or free me,” she murmured against his lips. “One or the other, Dragon—or, kill me, and send my remains to my brother. You’ll have to choose soon, because time isn’t something I have.”
“You think I’d fall
I almost growled, but her laughter startled me.
“Any who are willing, Dragon,” She laughed and wiggled her hips, and more blood seeped from the chain and down the gown. “A girl has to feed, and with my appetite, often is preferred.”
“You’re not adding me to their numbers,” he snarled. His hands moved to his head and his fingers threaded through his hair as he calmed his breathing. His dick throbbed, and yet he held himself composed as he moved to the bed, giving me his back.
I took a step and he paused, turned, and looked at Ciara carefully. His eyes searched the tent speculatively and then he turned, allowing me to breathe as he pulled a pair of pants from the bed and shoved his legs into them.
“Keep testing me and you may not like how I choose to feed you,” he warned. “I won’t be kept or swayed from my goal by a slick pussy, or a willing whore.”
I swallowed and considered gutting him. Fuck the consequences. Screw it if she liked him; that mouth of his needed to be taught a lesson. I watched as his eyes moved to the blood, and the muscle in his jaw ticked with his anger. He didn’t like her hurting herself either.
Did she know that? Had she picked up on it and continued to use it? He grabbed a shirt from the same pile his pants had been in, a sword, and a harness, and moved towards her slowly as he smiled with a coldness that sent a shiver racing down my spine.
“He will come for you, even if I have to lure him with bits and pieces of you, Ciara. After I’ve killed him and taken his throne, I may just keep you chained to my bed for eternity. I wonder if you’d beg me to feed you then, or would you beg me for a painless death?”
AMELIA HUTCHINS SERIES:
Other author's books:
- Unraveling DestinyEscaping DestinyFae Chronicles 01 - Fighting DestinySeducing DestinyTaunting DestinyDeath Before DawnClaiming the Dragon KingA Demon's Dark Embrace
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