Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles Book 5), page 26
“You went through an awful lot of trouble to get to me,” I said carefully.
“You went through an awful lot to become you, Synthia. You are not of my line, pity that. When the Mages come, I will be there for you when called. I owe you that much. We did make a mess of your wedding, after all, but I also brought Faolán to you. Deals with the devil aren’t always a bad thing.”
“You had the Mages bring him here, to me?” I asked.
“He lost face when you escaped. They weren’t happy with his lack of control and disappearing when so many of their brethren fell to Fae blades. He did brag about your death, only to hear it whispered among the Fae that you had survived.”
I shook my head, wondering if she was insane or I was. I wanted to believe her, but she’d hit it on the nose. I wasn’t a trust-giving kinda girl.
“If what you say is true, you and your sisters will abandon the Guild come morning.”
“We will leave once you are there to take control of it.”
“I don’t want control of it,” I replied as I shook my head in denial. “I just want Ryder back.”
“I understand, but there is something I must warn you about,” she hesitated, and I frowned.
“What is it?” I questioned.
“My sisters have tried to do things with him.”
“With who and what?” I asked, confused.
“With Ryder; they wish to mate with him.”
I swallowed as red-hot rage hit me like a truck going 80 miles an hour on concrete. I felt my magic pop as the roaring in my ears intensified. I felt Ristan’s hand as he placed it on my shoulder and saw Hannah step back, placing distance between us.
“I swear to the Gods I will skin them alive if they forced him to do anything. Any. Thing. I don’t give a shit who they think they are—he is mine.”
“They have not shared with me if they have succeeded…”
“Don’t finish that,” I snapped, cutting her off. “Don’t you fucking dare! If they’ve hurt him or done anything else to him that he didn’t want, or that wasn’t part of the show for the Mages, there is nowhere they can hide that I won’t find them. That’s not an idle threat, just so you are aware. You don’t want me for an enemy, because I’ll enjoy what I do to them.”
“I understand,” she murmured softly as she looked at me as if I was a snake poised to strike.
“Get some rest; tomorrow we take the Seattle Guild,” I gritted out angrily and turned to look at Ristan, who observed me closely, sensing the power I couldn’t fully control.
“Save it for the Guild, Flower. We’re going to need it.”
I stood in front of the Seattle Guild, watching the wards as they glowed brilliantly against the cold slate walls. Once upon a time, I’d been in awe of the sheer size of this Guild, so much larger than the one I’d grown up in. The security was ten times that of the Spokane Guild. The prestigious position it held had added to the wonder and amazement the first time I’d been to it. Now, however, the blinders I’d once worn were off, and I could see the neglect. Chips marred the slate, while cracks lined the foundation on which it was built on. I could see the darkness surrounding the building, basking in the shadows of evil of those who now controlled it.
“The wards are unusual,” Ristan observed, pointing out several that pulsed.
“That’s because they’re not ours,” I said sadly. “They are not of the Guild’s making, and they weren’t here the last time we were here,” I clarified, as sometimes I had challenges separating myself from the Guild I grew up in and the Guild it had become. I still felt a part of this place deep down, even though they’d thrown me to the wolves as soon as they had discovered I was Fae. This place was still a part of me, no matter what had transpired between us. I had to admit, that even though they’d thrown me to the wolves—now I was here, leading the pack.
“Mages,” Alden muttered from my left. His worried eyes tore away from the wards and looked at me. He looked defeated at the knowledge that the wards were indeed of the Mages’ magic. “That can’t be good.”
“No, no it’s not. The Guild either fell, or the Elder who is in charge is in fact a Mage,” I muttered as I felt anger pulsing to life inside of me as I remembered the Mage from Andrew’s memory who was masquerading as an Elder. I hated this shit, hated that the Mages were infiltrating my life from every angle. The one establishment meant to protect the humans from the Fae had fallen into the hands of those who wished to eradicate us from existence. They’d let Hecate’s daughters open the portals, fracturing them to a state where they couldn’t be closed, and they’d done it knowing it would place humans in harm’s way.
I exhaled and released my bottom lip as I turned to fully face Alden. My heart was in my throat, beating rapidly as I saw his eyes fill with unshed tears. He knew what those wards meant; there was no reason to deny it after the proof was staring us in the face.
“I’d like to hear your thoughts on it,” I said softly, giving him time to consider his answer. This man was my family. He’d raised most of us, and I loved him no matter what he’d thrown me into, because as Destiny had said, he had only pushed a domino into action. He hadn’t controlled the rest of the pieces.
“I don’t know, kid,” he sighed, his hands tightening against his sides as he struggled against the emotions churning inside of him.
“Do you think they are beyond saving?” I inquired, knowing I was asking him to admit the Guild here had been defeated. I wasn’t sure how many of the other Guilds had fallen to the Mages, but the ones in this state were gone.
“This Guild has fallen,” he admitted, his face tightening with anger, and I knew it was killing him to admit defeat. We knew that other Guilds would soon be facing the same thing if we didn’t get ahead of the Mages.
“What the hell does that mean?” Callaghan asked, finally speaking.
I turned away from Alden to face Callaghan with a grim look. Lucian stood beside him and barely gave the white-armored Paladin a glance, as though having a Paladin in our midst was an everyday occurrence. I closed my eyes against the pain I felt, drawing strength from those around me, and opened my eyes after a moment had passed. I looked out at those who had gathered in front of the Guild. I could see my Fae protectors, dressed in their uniforms of form-fitting armor that was similar to the armor I wore. The Paladin and Lucian’s men stood alongside the Sluagh and the rest of the warriors of the Horde, Blood, Dark, and Light Kingdoms. Even Elijah and his misfits stood with them. The Mages inside had to be shitting themselves with the show of force in front of the Guild. I took a deep breath and addressed the crowd.
“The Guilds in Washington State and Louisiana are no longer under the control of the National or Global Guilds. We are not certain how many others have fallen. The Mages have taken control of them, and it means the Fae are at war on two fronts now. Here and in Faery.” I swallowed hard as the words on my tongue tasted bitter. “It means they’ve either taken the other Guild members as prisoners, or murdered them. Spokane and New Orleans were tests, Seattle was their goal and it looks like they’ve achieved it.”
“You can tell that just from the wards?” Lucian glanced at me skeptically.
“Yes.” I nodded and looked back to the crowd. “No true Guild Elder would allow a separate faction to place their wards on the Guild. It would be considered a sign of weakness. An Elder is supposed to be the strongest in residence, and if he cannot place the wards, another would have taken his place to do so. An Elder’s wards are the strongest in this realm, because he himself can draw power from every coven and Enforcer under his control. My guess is, they killed them once they gained control.” I swallowed hard. “Or the Elder in charge is a Mage.”
“It could also mean that they’ve killed any who argued against allowing the Mages control,” Alden ad
“So, it’s beyond saving,” Zahruk growled.
“I don’t think it can be saved,” I said without hesitation. “These people are not our friends, nor are they part of the Guild. Any that were loyal to the true Guild are most likely dead, just like what happened in Spokane and New Orleans. The Mages took our King, and they will pay for it with their lives. No Mage is to be spared; we will show them the same mercy they gave to those inside the Spokane and New Orleans Guilds. We take no prisoners. The only ones to be spared are the Fae that we know are being held inside, and any members of the true Guild that might be prisoners. Any Guild member who fights us will die.”
“Why kill them?” Alden questioned hesitantly.
“Because if they are in there and are freely moving around, they’ve chosen the wrong side,” I stated with finality. “The Mages want absolute control, and Seattle is a stepping stone to achieve that goal, which will be the National Guild. All orders go through that Guild before being sent to any other one in the United States, sometimes even Europe. Imagine it like this: all of the Embassies around the world get their orders from the White House, where would you attack if you wanted to control them?”
“The White House,” Ristan replied as his eyes left mine and moved to the Seattle Guild. “But I’d need help from others familiar with the building.”
“You’d also need someone who could help prove that you were chosen to lead, so that means that, the someone from the Guild that helped them, is still alive. That, Alden, is why anyone moving about freely in that Guild can’t be saved.”
“I’m sorry, Flower,” Ristan murmured, but I shrugged it off.
“It is done; nothing we do can change what has happened here. What we can do is avenge those who were lost trying to protect it. We can stop them from poisoning the other Guilds.” Movement caught my eye in front of the Guild. “It’s show time.”
We watched as Mages in the robes of the Elders filed out of the huge double doors. No familiar faces, but they had taken care with their appearances. They looked the part, but seemed to be missing some of the finer details that usually marked an Elder. All except one, a familiar Elder, who I had last seen in the memories of a dead wanna-be Enforcer.
“You have brought war to our door?” the one demanded; his eyes were blue, but dulled in comparison to the color of his robes. “You will pay for this! This is our world; we are the protectors of it!” he sputtered.
“What makes you say that?” I challenged, moving past the others to stand at the head of the army amassed in front of the Guild. “What makes you think you are the protectors?”
“Because I am the Elder of the Seattle Guild. I hold the power of the western seaboard! And you, you have no right to bring these monstrosities into this world. It is an act of aggression against the humans. You will bear the responsibility for this,” he laughed quietly, as if we’d played right into his hands. “You stupid girl, you’ve misjudged us, though, haven’t you? You brought lambs to be slaughtered. You cannot control them without their King.”
“How do you figure that?” I watched as he smirked and waved his hands, bringing my attention to the humans that cowered in the doorways of the buildings surrounding the Guild, watching the monsters standing in front of it. Phones were lifted, filming our every move. News crews were setting up; no doubt they had been called by the Mages. Yes, they’d wanted an audience, to build strength for their claim for their self-appointed Elder. They wanted the other Guilds watching as they defeated the Horde, but that wasn’t what was going to happen here.
“Because I have the Gods on my side; the Guild has always protected the weak!” he shouted, turning to make sure the cameras got his face. “The humans have supported us; they’ve watched us defeat monsters before to protect them. The Gods have taken note of our work here at this very Guild and have rewarded us for protecting the humans’ way of life.”
“Gods?” I questioned, wondering if he actually had Gods on his side, or if he thought to pass the Original Witches off as such to the humans.
He clapped his hands and smiled coldly at me as his voice boomed out, carrying to all those around us. “Come forth, my Goddesses.”
I watched as Hannah’s sisters moved to the front of the Mages. The moment they did, they sent a magical pulse searching through the crowd. They were the same Witches I had seen in Andrew’s memory. I took in every detail of them, from the glow of their fingertips to their arms, where runes and magical spells had been written on their flesh.
Their eyes lingered on me before dismissing me as they surveyed the united army in all its glory. I’d painted runes on my skin, ones that concealed the immense power that I hadn’t mastered hiding yet. Their eyes remained on Zahruk and Ristan a little too long for my liking, but then again, they could probably sense the power both held.
“Destroy them all,” the Mage leader hissed with something odd in his tone.
The Witches lifted their hands and weaved them in a wide pattern. The Fae behind me grunted in response and started to cover their ears as Hannah’s sisters began to chant in sync. It was a spell of death. I brought my own hands up and slammed them down, brought them up again, and then pushed my palms out towards them.
I watched as their eyes widened, just before the small assembly was slammed against the walls of the Guild. The Fae behind me rose with little effort. I stepped forward, past the runes that the Mages had scattered on the ground to contain us. I smiled as the Mage in charge blinked in slow motion as I passed the wards meant to prevent Fae from entering or escaping, and ascended the steps to where they waited.
They’d known we were coming. They’d taken steps to ensnare any Fae who was bold enough to try and breach the Guild.
“Demi-Goddess does not a Goddess make,” I said coldly. “Enough with your lies, Mage,” I shouted, making sure those cameras heard my side. “Where are the real members of this Guild?”
“You cannot pass the runes!” he shouted, as if by telling me I’d passed them, I’d magically fall to my knees and give up.
I looked behind me, looked at him, and pointed to my feet. “Well I did, so obviously I can,” I replied sarcastically as I noticed Callaghan, Ristan, Elijah, Lucian, and his men also walking through the Fae wards, picking up the ones that had been scattered on the ground and throwing them away. “Now, for the last time,” I hissed. “Where are the real members of this Guild?” I repeated loudly.
“She’s a Witch, she’s mortal! Kill her!” he screamed, and I felt the Original Witches as they tried to peel through the layers of protection I wore to reveal what I was.
I turned and looked at them, watching as their eyes grew red with their chants as they tried to fight me off, or debilitate me.
“They can’t kill me,” I stated offhandedly. I watched as the sweat dripped from their brows as they continued chanting anyway. I dismissed them, turning my attention back to the Mage. I smiled coldly, flipped my hand, pushing outward, and enjoyed the sound of his body breaking as bones gave way inside of him. The moment he fell over, pain shot through my midsection, catching me off guard. My stomach seemed to heave as a sour taste filled my mouth and I glanced at the Original Witches, wondering if they could spell me or something. I caught a glimpse of Destiny as she watched me from the shadows. Her thick curls moved as she shook her head, and then she disappeared into the very shadows in which she had stood.
Hannah placed her hand on my shoulder and I turned to look at her. Gentle eyes moved from mine to her sisters, and she nodded in their direction. The Mages sputtered with rage as the sisters moved to Hannah.
“Where is the King?” she asked them. They looked at her, as if they weren’t sure they should answer. She allowed a sliver of power out and I swallowed as I felt it. She’d been holding it back, but the moment it was freed, they closed their eyes and smiled. “Where is the Horde King being held?” she repeated.
“He has been spelled, and they hold him in the bowels of this place. He is weakened, but he is unharmed. They have the building warded and spelled so that once the Fae are inside, they will not be able to escape; bombs filled with iron will detonate throughout the structure. This Guild will become a tomb. It is the Mages’ failsafe in case they lost the Guild. Once the Fae are inside, a timer will start to count down.”
“What else lies in wait for us?” I questioned, knowing that wasn’t everything.
“Nothing that should be a problem for you, Goddess,” one of the sisters offered quietly.
Pain was tearing me apart. It felt as if I was being ripped open from the inside out. The Mages were inching their way towards the doors. I raised my hand, flicked my wrist, and pushed down with both hands, hard. The Mages were smashed into the concrete; their bodies looked twisted and warped. More pain; this time I felt something break apart inside of me. As if something was detaching or eroding my organs.
“What else?” I demanded, trying to ignore the intense pain.
“Mages, a lot of them,” she continued. “Some of their strongest are hidden inside. Many are hidden among the corpses of the Guild’s residents. They’ve set it up to look as if the Fae fought the Guild, and at the last minute, they sacrificed themselves to save mankind and the Guild. It’s been staged to make the Fae look evil.” Her meaning was clear. The Mages had staged several types of traps here. Some to trap and destroy the Fae; other’s to woo the court of public opinion. “The King is in a chamber far below.”
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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