Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles Book 5), page 23
“I should stab you for every time you stabbed him,” I whispered as I fought against nausea at what the Guild and those Witches were doing to Ryder. “I should tear you limb from fucking limb as you beg me to stop.” I smiled against his ear. “Worse, I should leave you alive for when I retrieve him, and let him skin the flesh from your bones to bandage his wounds. Alas, I’m a selfish bitch. You took pleasure in giving him pain, and so I shall take pleasure in taking your life.”
“Synthia?” Alden cautioned as he placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Don’t; he can’t be saved. None of them can,” I spat as I turned to face my mentor. “They’re a poison that bleeds into the Guild. Andrew is a Mage, not an Enforcer. His childhood was rough, but the Elders only looked at his surface memories when they brought him into the Guild to be trained. They were a lie. His mother and father were Mages. His mother visited him once a week and she has been feeding Andrew his orders. He was Enforcer in name only; he was born and will always be a Mage in his heart. So no, he can’t be saved.”
“He was planted?” Alden asked. At my nod, he shook his head. “How many have they planted inside our Guilds that we are unaware of? We trained them to kill the Fae.”
“You did.” I wasn’t going to sugarcoat this and assuage his guilt. “Then you let them loose on the Fae with hidden agendas. It matters little now, and Ryder is inside that Guild. He’s being held with God bolts, and some other type of bolt. I’ve never seen anything like it before. There are other Fae in there being experimented on, as well. The hallways are littered with runes embedded in the walls. The wards are somehow connected to them. My guess is, one mess-up and the entire building locks down.”
“So, what do you plan on doing?” he enquired.
“Andrew here had some great memories of where to find a Druid or two. I’m going to need one,” I answered.
“For?” Alden asked, which he hated doing. It wasn’t easy being on the other end of a mission.
“To wake a Witch, of course. That’s how the Guild woke the rest of ‘em,” I quipped as I caught the glimmer of a shape forming into a woman out of the corner of my eye. The gasping death rattle of the Enforcer didn’t bother me; the Goddess who materialized with her eyes locked on him did.
What the fuck was Destiny doing here?
“I’ll be right back; dispose of the corpse,” I directed.
“Why are you here?” I demanded once I’d closed the door to the main room behind me and entered the staircase. I didn’t ask her to follow me, I knew without asking that she would. I moved down to the next floor and made my way to one of the couches, ignoring the racing of my heart.
“You have no business being here; meddling in human affairs is prohibited,” she said haughtily.
“I haven’t meddled in any human lives; monsters, yes. I’ve killed many of them, but no humans. I have always tried to keep my hands clean of them,” I snapped.
“You are in the human world, child. These lives, they are all part of a tangled web. They’re all connected. You may not see it, but I assure you, they are. There are consequences for being here and harming any who dwell in this world.”
“They attacked us, and they took Ryder from me. Am I just supposed to sit on my hands while they torture him?” I protested.
“You cannot interfere!”
“I cannot sit around while they tear him apart!” I shouted back angrily.
“Synthia, there are forces greater than us that make the rules. We are no more than pawns in this world, and by world, I mean universe. You meddle in things you can’t even begin to understand,” she said softly as she watched me with a wary look.
“They came into my world, ripped Ryder from it, and you’re telling me that I can’t do anything to get him back?” I demanded, as I struggled with the tears that threatened to betray me.
“Every life here is connected. The Guild protects the humans. You plan to raid it, and you will take a life. That life may be destined to save another, or to take another’s life. Humans are like dominos. It’s why, after all this time, no God has ever intervened in this world. The human God connected every life with its own purpose, and that purpose has to play out. Say you kill a child in the human world, and his life was supposed to lead him to meet a woman and create a child. That child has a destiny, which you just severed. Whether his destiny was to simply smile at someone who was having the worst possible day, and that simple smile resulted in that one person not committing suicide; that is a destiny. A single gesture of kindness can change a world; they are fickle creatures at best, but each of them has a purpose. You are the Goddess of Faery and you have now taken a life in the human world, and now they will demand something from you in return.”
“Those assholes took him from my wedding!” I snapped as I pointed my finger in the general direction of the Guild. I understood her logic; it was flawed, but so was this world. “I can’t just stand here and not help him, can’t you understand that?”
“You are a Goddess,” she explained. “Your hands are tied in this world, Synthia Raine. You cannot tamper with the balance.”
“Right now, Faery and Tèrra are connected, and that makes this my playground as well. I can feel it, Destiny. I can feel this world because no matter what, all worlds are tied to it. It is the anchor for every world in the universe. Danu made sure I was able to meddle in Faery, since I would become its Goddess.”
“It doesn’t work like that,” she sighed as if she was trying to be patient with me, and failing a bit. “You can lead them, but you can’t be hands-on in this world. None can die by your hand. Do you understand me? Lead them, but do not interfere directly. The price will be more than you are willing to pay, I assure you of this,” she pleaded.
“He’s the love of my life, the father of my children. I will pay whatever they,” I entreated, making air quotes, “want, but I will get him back!”
“I fear my words fall on deaf ears,” she murmured sadly as she waved her hand and the raggedy old couch turned into a beautiful white couch. “Sit with me, child.”
“You won’t change my mind,” I warned as I watched her warily.
“Danu warned me that there wasn’t anything that I could tell you that would prevent you from your course, not once you’d set your mind to it,” she laughed, but it was hollow and empty.
“I love him,” I sighed helplessly as a vise tightened around my heart. “He’d destroy worlds for me.”
“No, Synthia. He wouldn’t. He didn’t. He chose to let you die,” she snapped offhandedly.
“Because he knew it was what I wanted,” I demurred. “He also didn’t have a choice; I was dying either way. He couldn’t stop that. No one could, not even Danu.”
“That is the truth, and if I am being honest, the situation was shit at best. He would have had to choose between you and his children, and you took that choice away from him. Your last words sealed your fate, but we already knew what would happen. Your mother created you to save the world she loved. She made you for Ryder, but your destiny has always been to replace your mother. Your mother has been aware of it since the moment you were born and I was shown your destiny. I begged her to destroy you. To stop it from happening, to let go of the world she’d created and make a new one. She couldn’t, though; after Madisyn bore you, Danu held you in her arms as Madisyn slept, and the moment she did that, she knew a love that she had never known before. She looked into the eyes of her child and she couldn’t do what she should to save herself. Instead, she tied me to you. She wrapped a strand of my hair around your finger, and tied your destiny to that of the Gods. She should have allowed you to die and avoided this fate, but she couldn’t do it.
“There were many times she watched you as an infant, then later, as a toddler, and throughout your life. The day Faolán killed your parent
“She was there?” I asked as my chest heaved. “She could have helped me.”
“And forfeit your life, or hers? The Gods are vicious creatures. They make the Mages look like children at play. They can demand blood, or worse. She knows it; why do you think she sent me? What do you think the cost was for meddling in your life? You were an Enforcer; you were destined to save hundreds of lives. It didn’t matter that you were of her blood, or that the Fates blessed it. You were sent to this world and became a part of it. Now, now you’re not. Whatever destiny you had here was severed with your mortal life. You are not Fae; you are not a Demi-Goddess. You are a full Goddess now.”
“Then take it back! Because I’d give up my immortality for one mortal life with him! He is everything to me,” I sobbed as I got to my feet, furious that I was crying, but it wasn’t because I was upset. It was because I was pissed.
“My Gods, you’re as sweet as she said,” she whispered as she stood and looked at me. “It can’t be undone, ever. The only way you can lose your life is to make the Gods angry enough to take it, or as payment for meddling where you have no business being.”
“What will they demand of me?” I couldn’t and wouldn’t let him sit in that room to become what the other Fae there were. He had Witches experimenting on ways to kill him. How long before they succeeded? No. Whatever the price was, I’d pay it.
“It’s a first offense, so it’s hard to say. I do know they cannot touch your children. They have already been given their own destinies, and Danu has an arrangement with the Fates that, no matter what you do, they are protected. She took into account that you are as stubborn as she is. Thankfully. It doesn’t mean that they will be kind to you, though.”
“My children are safe?” I asked warily, and when she nodded, I grinned. “Then they can have my life if it is the cost. If it is my life for his, so be it.”
“Ryder’s life could be the price they ask,” she whispered carefully.
“If they take his, they better take mine,” I warned. “Because the monster I would become would be unlike anything they have ever seen before.”
“Synthia, one doesn’t threaten the Gods.”
“It’s not a threat,” I stated coldly. “Right now, they have the luxury of sitting around and watching how things unfold, but if it was the love of their lives being tortured, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind bending the rules a little. I will try very hard not to kill anyone, but I am not a saint. If they fight, I prefer to think it’s because their destiny is to die by my hand. It’s a choice, right? Destiny is what you make of it, not some preordained shit. It may tie in with others, but we control where our lives lead us. You just guide us, because you’re a Goddess, and this gig isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. It’s a lot of tied hands, and rules that don’t allow you to actually control shit.”
She smiled. “I see so much of her in you,” she said tightly, her eyes misting with tears. “She won’t last much longer; if you hurry and save your King, we might be able to have your mother with us when you walk down the aisle to wed your beast.” She swallowed. “How far you’ve come from that angry little girl who cursed me for my interference in your life, Synthia Raine,” she whispered with choked emotion as she expelled a long sigh and smiled softly. “I can’t even be angry with Danu for her choices, because I see it; I see that you are worth dying for. You will do everything she couldn’t and so much more. You are both mother and warrior; something she could never be.”
“She is a warrior, and she is my mother. She will never truly die, not for us or history. We will keep her alive in everything we do.”
“So right, but you are needed below. They’ve taken care of the body and are waiting for you. Go, and hurry. Time is something we don’t have.”
The sound of boots on cold marble floor was the only noise inside the newly built upper level of the Guild. There was no chatter, no sounds of people moving about as they prepared Enforcers for missions or the sound of children as they were being taught to become great Enforcers. The silence was unnerving, and made a place that used to be familiar to me, feel almost foreign now.
Foul had indeed been hard at work rebuilding it, but so far, only the main floor had been finished. Even so, it was progress. My eyes scanned the cold marble, taking in the emblems of the royal houses of Faery. Four crests for four royal castes of the Fae.
The reception desk, which would be the first point of contact with anyone needing our help, was fortified with wards to protect those who would man it. The walls were covered in similar wards, all invisible to the naked or untrained eye.
“It’s a start,” Dristan mused softly, noting my interest in the furnishings. “Not very much to look at yet, nor is it posh, but those things can be added in time.”
“There’s no noise,” I commented and frowned. “That will come with time too, I suppose. It’s just unnerving to me, that this place could ever be so quiet.”
“It’s as quiet as what it was supposed to become: a tomb,” he agreed as he pushed his brown locks away from his face and smiled. “But you’re right. The noise will come once this place is open for business. I’m sure we’ll wish for a little peace and quiet when that happens.”
“The Demon’s here and he’s brought us a present,” I announced, sensing the wards as they buzzed with a warning of the men just outside the door. Seconds later, a commotion sounded from the doors as the Demon dragged the Druid inside and pushed him towards my feet.
He was younger than I’d expected, or at least he looked younger than I thought he’d be. I didn’t try to guess anyone’s age anymore, since the Fae didn’t exactly make it an easy thing to do. The Druid had shoulder-length brown hair and gentle brown eyes. His neck and arms were covered in runes, along with ancient scrawling that looked similar to wards of protection in magical ink—something I’d once had at the base of my skull. His eyes took me in, slowly, then widening with apprehension as he noted the glow coming from within.
“That’s…” He paused, shook his head, and once again continued in disbelief. “That’s a Goddess!” He did a double take before he turned to Ristan, who had dragged him into the Guild. “She’s a Goddess, Demon.”
“Must have slipped my mind,” he mumbled as he turned to look at me. “In all fairness, I never said she wasn’t.” Ristan’s tone was dry and void of emotion.
“I am a Goddess,” I confirmed as I inserted myself into the conversation. “I have it on good authority that the only way to awaken the Witch who sleeps beneath this Guild is with the help of a Druid who can break the spell that keeps her in stasis.”
“You think I would help you awaken her? Or that I would help the Fae for any reason?” he snapped, and I smiled confidently. Good; at least he had a little backbone.
“You’ll help me,” I assured him as I looked at my freshly manicured nails.
“No, I will not. I’m going to tell you the same thing I told the Guilds: Those Witches were never meant to be awakened after the Paladins put them in stasis. I, along with the rest of the Druid order, vowed that I would make sure they stayed in that state. You cannot force me to do it, not even with threat of torture,” he retorted, his tone firm and a bit forceful. Well, shit. This didn’t explain how Andrew the Enforcer/Mage knew about two Druids when these guys were in short supply and notorious about keeping themselves hidden, but it did explain why they had contacted two.
“Somehow, the Guild was able to find a way for the other Druid they dug up to break his oath. I wonder what it was, bribery…torture…or perhaps appealing to similar ideology? I suppose I could peel it out of your mind if you want me to, but I’d really prefer no
“And just how would you peel it from my mind? My mind and body are warded against the Fae and Witches of the Guilds.”
“Good, because I’m neither of those; I’m not sure those wards could withstand me. I do, however, love a good challenge,” I offered with a dangerous smile. “Shall we put them to the test?” I glamoured a dagger into my hand, wrapped my fingers more securely around the handle, and watched as he stiffened. His pupils dilated as the pulse in his neck accelerated—subtle signs of fear that I’d seen many times when I was an Enforcer.
I pressed the tip of the dagger into my finger, softly repeating the spell to draw forth the magical butterfly. I had been toying with calling it a brain sucker, since that was technically what it did. Perhaps as I got better with this spell, I would come up with a name that was a little more catchy and I wouldn’t be afraid to say it around the Fae, as I was pretty sure the Demon would thrive off of the puns he could make with ‘brain sucker’.
“This little beauty is about to go inside your head, and I know for a fact that it’s going to hurt like hell. I should also warn you: the last time I allowed him out, the mind he entered was…not quite the same when I was done,” I purred. It wasn’t a lie. The butterfly hadn’t killed the Enforcer; I had. Not that the Druid needed the details. “So, here’s a little summary of what he can do.” I was almost enjoying the way he squirmed as he watched the beautiful butterfly. “Once I release him, he will slip inside your head through your ear. Hint: That’s the painful part. Once inside, I will be able to relive every memory you have. I will know everything about you, from the first time you pissed your pants, until the Demon dragged you in here. So, why don’t we just skip this thing where I threaten you, we argue, and, of course, the ugly business of pain—and, well, the drooling isn’t something I’d wish for anyone, because I’m sadistic enough to take pictures and send them to you periodically later on. What do you think, Druid?” I bit my lip as I narrowed my eyes on his.
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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