Unraveling destiny the f.., p.18
Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles Book 5), page 18
“Afraid, sister dear?” he smirked as he produced blades and gave up pretending to be our father. His features shimmered back to the ones that had haunted me for most of my life. He was still beautiful; his eyes shone deceivingly, the ethereal beauty of the Fae his only redeeming quality, but it was a lie. What lay beneath that beautiful façade was monstrous. He tilted his head and watched me as he stepped closer, only for me to sidestep, placing more distance between us.
“I am not afraid of you,” I replied easily, showing no weakness. He was cold, maniacal, and his kind fed off fear. I glamoured the veil off and stepped out of the Cinderella shoes I’d worn for Ryder. He loved fucking me in heels that looked particularly hot on his shoulders. “I was as a child, when you slaughtered the people who were protecting me. Did you know how close you were to me that day?” I taunted, drawing his attention away from my breasts, which his eyes feasted on. “I was there, brother. I watched you take my adopted mother over and over again before you bashed in my father’s head. I was right beneath your nose and you still couldn’t find me. So close, Faolán, and yet always just out of your reach.”
“You’re alone now, sister, and I’ve brought others with me. Others who want to see the end of your betrothed’s line. The Horde will be no more when I finish with them, and when I have, you’ll be mine. This time, I will take what is rightfully mine from you. I may even allow you a little pleasure before I end your pathetic life.”
“Always with the fucking; Faolán, I’m your sister. You sick fuck,” I laughed. “You’re not man enough to take me, not now, not ever. Whoever you brought here will be slaughtered, and this will end here and now.”
“It ends when I find your twins and slaughter them,” he shouted, spittle exploding from his lips.
“Triplets, Faolán, I had three. Three children who are all more worthy of inheriting the Heir brands than you. I pity you; you’re a sad little thing.” I shook my head in disgust as I glamoured swords and waited for him to strike. “You always lose, and that’s because you want it too bad. Too much. You’ll never lead any caste of the Fae, because you are not a leader. You ran to the Mages and sought their help because you’re too weak to do anything yourself. Here, we call you Faolán the Failure; born to fail anything you set out to do.”
“I captured you once, whore; I will do it again and I will force him to watch as I spread your thighs and take you. You will scream for me; whether in pleasure or pain, you will scream!” he shouted as he lunged, and I danced around it, dodging the attack and deflecting it with my blades as I placed my back to the door and watched him.
His blades were iron, the handles were wrapped in swathes of cloth, but to the Fae, they were deadly. He’d been carrying them, slowly draining himself to get to me. I’d been waiting for him, knowing that this wedding wouldn’t happen if he showed, but this was more important.
This was everything.
“Iron?” I raised an eyebrow at him, wondering why he was working so hard to kill me if he intended to have me still.
“Iron kills Fae; you think I came here to take prisoners?” he spat.
“No, I think you came here to die,” I answered calmly.
He lunged, swinging, and I parried as he advanced. An age-old dance of warriors, each swing was effortless as I deflected his blows with my lighter, thinner blades. I dropped and rolled when he got too close to me, kicking out as I went down, which sent him crashing through the doors he’d entered through.
The moment we entered the halls, the sound of faint screams reached my ears, and I ignored it. Nothing mattered except killing him. I brought my blade up as he lunged, deflecting the blow that had been meant to sever my head from my body.
I stepped backwards, and for a moment I seemed to lose control of my body as a concussive blast of noise and sheer force knocked me off my feet; stone and wood blew around the hallway. The explosion sent both me and Faolán sailing as debris scattered over us and landed everywhere. I was the first up, searching for my blades as my ears continued to ring from the noise. I was covered in a sheen of fine dust from the stone. I didn’t stop to look as I found a blade and turned in time to deflect another blow and lunge, and then parried him as he attacked ruthlessly.
My heart skipped a beat as screams erupted from the main hall, the place where Ryder was supposed to be waiting to marry me. I didn’t dare run to him, because Faolán would vanish the moment I did. I was down a blade, having lost it in the debris, and I could feel the wards around us humming with the warning of danger.
In my free hand, I brought up an energy ball; fluorescent blue power sailed through the air at Faolán before he could think to block it. It hit him in his chest, sending him careening into the wall behind him. Smoke billowed from the hall, and my heart beat wildly as the screams lingered. Terrified shrieks and moans of pain carried on the billowing smoke that reached into the hallway, filling it with a smoky haze that made it next to impossible to see Faolán.
One after another I continued to slam magical balls of energy in his direction. Unable to see if I hit the mark, I moved closer, only to feel searing pain as one of his hit me. I ducked, not daring to roll with the rocks and other debris that littered the floor. My side was on fire, but I wasn’t losing this battle.
I remained still, unmoving. I didn’t even dare to breathe as he searched for me in the thick, billowing smoke. The moment he got close, I brought my sword up and slid it through his center, but he pulled away from the pain. His scream told me I’d hit my mark, and once again I was silent as I moved across the room, using the smoke as a screen and a shield.
He fumbled. The sound of feet crushing rock gave his position away and, once again, I gave up my location to swing my blade as I used my other hand to project energy from it; his grunt of pain was satisfying.
“You bitch, you ruined everything!” he shouted, the sound hollow; he must have been choking on the blood that was surely flowing from his lungs. “I should have been the Heir, and then I could have killed our sniveling father and taken his crown! But you, you ruined it all! They threw you away like trash, and you could have stayed away and lived, but you returned to Faery and triggered your destiny. Now, that destiny will kill you!”
“I’m not just the Heir to the Blood throne, Faolán. I’m a Goddess,” I snapped angrily. “No one would have let you sit on that throne, no one! You are evil to the very center of your rotten core. Danu and Faery would have fought you so that the heir brands would go to Liam over you. This land fights against those who harm it, or hadn’t you noticed that?”
“I would have killed them all—and their children!” he shouted, catching me off guard as he shot another energy ball towards me, hitting the side of my head.
He lunged, trying to use the element of surprise against me. I was ready, and swung my blade as I felt the power in the room shift in the hall, and he collided with my blade. It stuck through his shoulder, but once again he moved away into the thick clouds of smoke.
I went silent, sensing him as he cradled his arm and grunted with pain. I moved soundlessly, gliding over the rubble as I snuck closer to him. The moment I did, I paused, staring at his back. His shoulders drooped in defeat; he was defeated and he knew it.
“You can change,” I tried. For Madisyn’s sake, I would at least try—but my hope died an ignoble death as he turned with his hands full of energy. In that moment, I knew he’d never change what he was: Evil until his last dying breath.
My sword swung out before he could send the huge glowing balls of magic at me, severing muscle from flesh as his head detached from his body and went rolling across the debris-strewn floor. My eyes followed it as it rolled towards the screams that still filled the hall. Blood dripped from my face, and I vaguely realized it was arterial flow from his decapitation. My dress was ripped, torn from the fight, and yet I didn’t stop, I couldn’t.
My feet move
I waved my hand, clearing the smoke that filled the room, and gasped as bodies were revealed. Bodies with limbs missing and dead corpses littered the floor. Adam was laying on the floor, forcing me to move into action as I made my way through the bodies to get to him.
“No, no, get up,” I pleaded as I searched the room for Ryder. “Adam, please,” I begged, and when he opened his eyes, I sagged in relief. My magic searched him for injuries, finding several contusions but nothing that would be debilitating. “What happened?”
“Jesus,” he gasped, holding onto me as he searched me for injuries. “You’re bleeding.”
“It’s not my blood,” I assured him. “Ryder?”
“I don’t know; he wasn’t here when the room exploded.”
“How did it explode?” I asked, looking around, searching for clues. The debris went outwards; rocks were thrown outwards from what had once been a wall. The damage was the worst by the dais, which meant it was the point of the origin of the blast. “It was meant to kill him.” I tried to swallow the lump that appeared in my throat at that realization.
“You don’t know that,” he grunted as I helped him to his feet as we stumbled over the bodies, stone, and debris.
“Look at it, it’s gone,” I whispered as I swallowed the scream that was lodged in my throat. There was no sign of him or his brothers. My eyes moved to those who were stirring, finding Lasair, Keir, and Madisyn on the far side of the room, covered in dust and blood. “Could they have found a way to kill him? I can’t lose him, Adam,” I sobbed. I couldn’t. He was my world. If he was gone, I’d unravel. I’d come apart. I’d become a monster to avenge him. “We have to help the wounded,” I announced resolutely. My voice quivered as I fought to control it. “We have to get them out of here.”
I watched as Adam reached down, picking up a child who he had shielded from the explosive blast, and closed his eyes. He opened them, looked at me, and tried to sift again. Nothing happened.
“It’s a ward, to nullify Fae magic,” I whispered as I sent feelers out to figure out what was blocking him. “This wasn’t a hit,” I said softly, for Adam’s ears alone. “This was the Guild; those are Witch spells and wards.” They’d placed a spell to keep the Fae from sifting, to block our power, which meant they’d come here to send a message, to take something.
My stomach dropped as I turned and looked at the dais, where it had been. The attack on the main hall would have been a distraction, which meant whatever they’d come for hadn’t been inside the hall yet.
“We need to find Zahruk and Ristan.” I fought against the fear that was trying to engulf me.
“And Ryder.” Adam looked around the room for my fiancé as I looked at him with cold eyes and nodded.
I moved through the hall, numb and oblivious to the crying and screaming that surrounded me. Blood covered my dress, belonged to Faolán as well as others who I had helped as we moved the dead and the debris into the courtyard while we cleared the room to be able to reach the living. Adam was at my side; and hadn’t left it in the hours that had followed the explosion.
I’d done my best to take control of the situation, although chaos still reigned inside the main hall as people struggled to get to the dead or the dying. The wards that had prevented the Fae from sifting had been found and disabled.
The worst part of finding them was seeing the runes that I knew like the back of my hand. Guild runes. The smooth rocks with runes etched in them were found scattered against the walls outside the castle, as well as inside. The bomb that had first exploded had been placed beneath the dais of Ryder’s throne. Smaller energy bombs had been placed at several other locations throughout the castle, making the number of wounded climb into the hundreds. Explosives didn’t have the power to kill or wound Fae; surround the bomb with iron fragments, though, and you have another matter completely. Iron nails, filings, and other small metallic particles were embedded in the walls, support columns and mixed in with the debris from the bombs. This wasn’t a normal weapon for the Guild, but the smaller energy bombs were something even a novice at the Guild would know how to use.
I spun in a circle, taking in the severity of the damage. It wasn’t until a group of familiar men walked in that my heart stuck in my throat, and the floor seemed to fall from beneath me. Ristan and Zahruk slowly made their way through the mess to where I stood. I unconsciously held my breath and felt Adam’s hand at the small of my back for comfort.
“Where is he?” I whispered, barely loud enough for even the Fae to discern.
“We should go somewhere quiet. We need to talk.” I had never heard Zahruk speak so softly before, and the set of his jaw told me this wasn’t going to be good. His blue eyes searched my face as I sagged against Adam so I wouldn’t fall in view of those who needed my strength.
“Where is he?” I repeated shakily, unable to stop the question from leaving my tongue. “I have to know.” Once they said the words I had been dreading, I couldn’t go back to not knowing.
“They took him,” Ristan said carefully.
“Okay.” I took a deep breath as I swayed, the reality of it hitting me. “Where the fuck were you guys?” I demanded with accusation lacing my tone.
Zahruk glanced at Ristan and then back at me as if he was weighing his words. “You said you needed to speak with him.” His piercing gaze seared mine. “Change of heart, you told him. So he went with you to the council chambers to discuss it.” Zahruk waved his hand to where the council chambers that adjoined the throne room were and I saw that the doors were smashed open. “Madisyn joined us a few moments later and said you were ready. That’s when we figured out that it wasn’t you in the room with him. He was gone before we were able to break the door down,” he let out an angry sigh. “We searched for him for hours, but there wasn’t a sign of him anywhere. Whoever took him had it planned out to the very last detail because they didn’t leave a single clue as to where they have taken him.”
“The Guild,” I scowled. “It was the Guild. No clues, other than every fucking bomb fragment they left behind, have Guild fingerprints all over them.”
“How do you know that?” he asked.
“The energy bombs that were used are common diversion weapons. Adam is a specialist in making those types of bombs and grenades. The runes outside and inside the castle are basic ones, but they hold enough power to keep Fae from sifting,” I pointed to Ristan, “he would have seen the runes for those types of wards all over the place when he was in the Spokane Guild. I know the Guild; I know their signs in an attack. If I was going to come into Faery to take the strongest creature, I would have planned something similar. This assault was only a diversion to make us focus on it instead of what was really happening.”
“Where do you think they would have taken him?” Ristan grimaced.
“My guess would be the Seattle Guild. It is the closest and the most fortified one to the portal that is failing.” I spoke on autopilot, unable to wrap my mind around what had happened. “We need to get the people out of here, down to Eliran. We’ve lost a lot of people.”
“Damage control can wait; the King is missing,” Zahruk hissed.
“The King is with the Guild. We can’t just walk in and get him. We need a plan,” I stated, watching as he considered what I’d said, and after a moment, nodded his agreement somewhat hesitantly. “Help us move the ones with the most critical injuries; the others can wait.”
“Synthia, are you all right?” Ristan murmured as he took in the blood smeared and splattered on my face and dress.
“You did what?” Zahruk demanded, and Adam pointed to the body that Madisyn was sitting next to.
“He’s gone. That’s all that matters.”
My eyes slowly went to where Madisyn sat. She’d been hysterical when Adam had carried Faolán’s headless body out with the intentions of laying his body with the rest of the dead, when Madisyn had stopped him. I hadn’t made eye contact with her yet, nor had I offered comfort, even though I knew the pain she was in had to be eating her alive. He’d turned on his family, on me. It had taken everything I had in me to offer him a chance to change his ways, but his actions had told me everything I needed to know.
“She will want to take him home,” Ristan said softly. “He cannot be buried in the Blood Kingdom and can’t be honored in death. It’s too bad he can’t be subjected to the traitor’s punishment by having his skin harvested regularly over the next couple of centuries, however, he must be cast to the abyss as the traitor he was.”
“She is aware of that. Lasair has stated as much already. She just needs a moment; he was her child, no matter how much of a monster he’d become.” I sifted a body to the courtyard and came back, glamouring the blood from my hands as I trembled with uncertainty of what the Guild intended to do with Ryder. The Guild had very limited information on the Horde; it was the one race we’d fumbled blindly against. That would work in our favor for getting him back.
by Amelia Hutchins / Fantasy / Paranormal / Romance have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes