Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles Book 5), page 30
“I don’t pretend to know you, or if you would lie. What I do know is that I have been told by multiple beings that if Faery dies, all of the creatures of that world will try and jump to the world that is intended for humans. If that happens, both worlds will be destroyed. I grew up in that world and I think she wanted me there so I could care about the humans too. She wanted me to appreciate both worlds, so I intend to do my best to stop the destruction of Faery and look for a way to heal that world. I will, to the best of my ability, try and police the Fae who have escaped and have them comply with the laws of the Horde, as well as try to keep the remaining Fae in Faery.”
“Do you intend to keep your mother alive as well?” Atum interrupted.
I stared at him and considered why he was entertaining this line of questioning. Was it some kind of test? I chewed my lip and tilted my head.
“If I could, I would,” I admitted. “Frankly, I think the reason she is dying is bullshit.”
I heard the other Gods begin to argue that I should be punished or banished, but Atum remained silent, staring at me with curiosity.
“It is a rare girl who would stand in front of a King and speak what is on her mind, even when she knows it could end her very existence.”
“Yeah, I tend to not have a filter for my mouth, and sometimes I word-vomit. That’s something most people tend to learn about me rather quickly,” I admitted and watched as he threw his head back and laughed.
“With all due respect, Atum,” I started, hoping I didn’t end up a pile of ash. “Destiny and Danu have, in not so many words, told me that this is your doing. That this was the price she had to pay for interfering with me, and there isn’t anything I can do about it. So, at the end of the day, this is sort of a moot conversation. One thing I know in my heart about death, and I have experienced enough of it, is that just because a body dies, doesn’t mean the memory fades. You can keep someone alive until the end of time as long as you remember them. They live inside of you. They alter who you are with their presence; they become a part of you. She’s my mother, but she was also my protector. In the little time I knew her, she changed me more than those I lived with every day of my life. So, respectfully, I will keep Danu alive in my memories—she is Faery. She’s inside of everything that is Faery, and therefore, she will always be a part of me and what I will protect.”
I wiped at a tear that had made its way down my cheek and swallowed against the tightness of my throat.
“You love her,” he murmured; his eyes softened and he sat back and stared at me, causing me to fidget under the intensity. “You look just like her, so beautiful and full of fire. I do not believe she made her decision hastily. She saw herself when she looked into your eyes, as I do.”
I wondered if Danu had gotten busy with Atum at any point in time. I could have sworn in the mythologies I had read at the Guild that he had a consort or wife or something, so I wondered if he had gotten horizontal with Danu. Atum didn’t strike me as living up to the same randy reputation Zeus had. Zeus was chronicled in most every story as getting it on with just about anyone, Goddesses and humans alike. Atum’s eyes smiled as if he could read my thoughts.
Oh, please don’t let him be able to have heard that. Please?
“I’ll pretend I didn’t hear your thoughts, child,” he teased, and the crowd laughed.
“You were given several warnings about meddling with the humans, and yet you persisted. I need to know that if you walk out of here, you will not interfere with their affairs again. The next life that will be taken will be one that you know and love.”
“Mages came into Faery and took something from me. I simply took it back. I intended no harm or disrespect, but I won’t be made to look weak, and neither would you. They weren’t human either; they were creatures of both races, ones who intend to do harm to the Fae, and the humans are just collateral damage for them.”
“There are rules, ones you must adhere to. I need your word that you understand me. Destiny has informed me of your plans for a new Guild on Tèrra and while I cannot give permission, I cannot say no either. It is my duty to warn you that should you follow this course, your every step and move will be monitored. Tread carefully, and make sure that if you give an order, it must be received with free will. You cannot demand they do it, or force the outcome. You order and watch. You do not participate while on that soil.”
“Noted and agreed,” I answered. “I intend to run it, but I do not intend to force anyone to be there, or become employed without their own free will deciding it. Unlike the Guild. I will be the one in control, but I will be in the shadows as others are the face of it.”
“You smell of her,” he commented offhandedly. “Out of all of my women, she was my favorite.”
Oh, holy farting fairy buckets.
“Rest assured that my consort is in the room and I no longer ‘caveman’ it up, as you would call it. Return to your wedding, but do so with care, for I will give you no more warnings, no matter how much I cared for your mother. Go,” he ordered, flicking his hand, and I was right back where I’d been.
I stared at Adam and looked down at Kahleena with a worried look as they were still frozen in time. Oh shit. What the fuck had just happened?
“Synthia,” Destiny called softly from beside me. Her hands held a delicate chain with a blue crystal the size of my pinkie nail dangling from it. “When you’re ready, swallow it,” she said softly. “It will take root, and the rest will play out the way it was meant to be. I will be here if you have need of me. Your mother is…” Pain shot through me and a huge wind gust shook the giant trees. Faery cried, screaming in pain. I swayed on my feet as tears filled my eyes. “Gone, she’s gone,” Destiny cried softly, deep sadness etched in her eyes.
The necklace lit from within and I stared at it briefly before ripping the delicate chain of the necklace Ristan had created away from my neck, and replacing it with the one Destiny had given me. My hand wrapped, around it and I closed my eyes as I said a prayer that everything would work out.
“Marry him, Synthia. He’s waited this long for you. Your mother approved; she created the perfect mate for him with her own essence. Be blessed and, again, if you need me, all you have to do is whisper my name on the wind,” she said and then vanished.
“What the fuck just happened?” Adam demanded, his tricolored green eyes looked at me as if he was hallucinating. “The land is crying,” he mumbled, feeling what every living thing inside Faery was.
“Danu is dead,” I murmured, slipping my arm through his as I straightened my spine and looked at Kahleena, who couldn’t understand what she felt. “Stand up straight, daughter mine.”
“Momma,” she whispered sadly, and I wondered if even the innocent of the land understood the severity of what had just happened. “Momma,” she whimpered as she rushed to me and grasped the folds of my dress, burying her face into the soft fabric. I bent down, picking her up, and hefted her onto my hip.
“We will be okay, Kahleena, no matter where we are,” I whispered.
I nodded to Adam, who started towards the willow limbs that blocked the others from seeing us. Adam nodded to a woman who gave us a wary look, and she wiped at her eyes as she started the music.
All of Me by John Legend played, and I smiled. I’d forced Ryder to choose a song; it had been the only thing he’d been asked to do. The limbs of the willow moved and I stared at my King. He was dressed in his armor, which was traditional for the Horde.
This entire wedding I had asked to be a tribute to his people, and they’d been allowed in to watch it. My eyes drifted to the side of the aisle that I’d assumed would be empty, but it wasn’t. Madisyn was there, my father, and my entire family of Blood Fae. Alden was beside them, along with Lucian and his men. Adrian nodded and mouthed ‘wow’ which caused a growl fr
I leaned down to let Kahleena go as she was handed a basket, and I smiled as she grinned mischievously and threw a handful at me before she took her place in front of me. The little imp. My eyes lifted from her bouncing curls to the matching gold eyes and I was a goner.
I started to move towards Ryder, which caught Adam off guard, as he’d been waiting for a cue. I didn’t wait for him, because right now I was marrying my man, and I was doing it before anything else could happen.
I released Adam’s arm and sifted, slamming against Ryder with a smile as I reached up and pulled his mouth to mine.
“I fucking do,” I whispered.
Laughter erupted from the rows of people.
“You skipped the vows,” the High Priest admonished with a wry smirk.
I smiled against Ryder’s mouth and laughed as he lifted me up and fisted my hair, growling as his lips found mine in a soul-crushing kiss. Coughing erupted behind us and I pulled away and smiled at him, but his eyes searched mine. He knew she was dead, he’d felt it. They all had.
“I’m so sorry, Pet,” he whispered.
“It’s okay, I know how to fix it,” I replied as I pulled away and slid down his body. “Let’s get hitched, Fairy. Quickly, before something else happens.”
“Hurry,” he said as he turned to the High Priest. It took ten minutes for us to get through repeating our vows, and five to get away from the crowds of onlookers. I changed for the party and smiled when I realized he wasn’t changing.
“Armor?” I asked. “How are you planning on dancing with me?”
“I may need this armor to protect my feet from your clumsy dancing, Witch,” he teased.
“We’re married,” I mused as I chewed my lip. “Fuck me, Fairy. The first time I met you, I was pretty sure I was going to kill you.”
“And I was pretty sure I was going to fuck you,” he laughed. “I had never wanted anything so bad in my entire life. I wanted to fuck you until you begged me to stop, and then I intended to bend you over and keep going until the only thing you knew how to say was my name as you screamed it to the Gods.”
“You and that mouth, Fairy,” I grinned. “You better hold that thought and save that shit for the honeymoon.”
“You think we should still go?” he asked. His hands pulled me close and he wrapped his arms around me.
“I think we should go more than ever. There’s always going to be something trying to kill us, and that’s okay. We will face whatever comes at us together. We can’t live in fear anymore. It almost destroyed us. So yes, we’re going on the damn honeymoon, and there will be beaches and we will be naked on them. I plan to ride that cock in all sorts of different positions, and do really bad things to you.”
“Fuck the party. Let’s go, Pet; let’s go now.”
“No way,” I laughed. “I want to see our children before we go. I’ve missed them so much.”
“Fine, we’ll go see them and then we sneak out.”
I’d thought we were going to skip the human traditions at the reception, but it wasn’t to be. There was the obligatory cake cutting and I was able to swipe a bit of frosting on Ryder’s face before he painted a smear on my lips and then licked it off. Although he wasn’t used to public speaking that had nothing to do with battle or training for battle, Zahruk did his very best to do the toast before Ristan interrupted and took the toast down a far raunchier path. Adam glamoured a bouquet for me to throw, and Darynda caught it, then anxiously asked Adrian what she was supposed to do with it.
Then came the dance of the father and bride. I danced awkwardly with my father to Rascal Flatts My Wish as he’d told me that he was glad Faolán was dead and couldn’t touch us anymore. He’d explained that, while they had needed space after his death, having the babies there had helped them to heal and see the reason why it had to happen.
Alden had danced with me next, and the old man could cut a rug for his age, which he assured me wasn’t as old as I had always made him out to be. I’d danced with my brothers, and laughed at their expense with the women who had come with them. Even Liam had asked me to dance.
Adrian took a turn with me as well, and when I danced with him, Ryder managed not to pull his spine out through his mouth as he’d threatened to do many times before.
“You look so beautiful tonight,” Adrian commented as he watched me. “I think it has little to do with the outfit, and everything to do with that smile in your eyes. I almost hate you because you’re so fucking happy without me.”
“I was happy with you at one time, but we were kids,” I replied gently as I wrapped my arms around his neck and smiled as we danced. “That kind of love, it wouldn’t have lasted. We weren’t in love as much as we loved the idea of being in love.”
“I know I loved you,” he affirmed. “I still love you, and I will always love you. You will always love him, though, and it’s okay. I’m happy because you’re happy. Plus, you guys make really cute kids. You’ll have others, eventually.”
“You knew I was pregnant.” All of his and Vlad’s worried looks made sense now. His turquoise eyes roamed around the room before finally returning to mine.
“I heard the heartbeat, but you didn’t seem to know. It wasn’t the time to bring it up. We were in the field, and I knew you’d ignore it no matter what I said. Besides, I don’t think it would have lived much longer. The heartbeat was slow, weak. Probably because its mother was exhausted and had no idea it needed her to rest. It wasn’t your fault; sometimes, these things just happen.”
“They took it from me, for interfering in the human world.” I replied as I watched him frown with the news. “I didn’t know I was pregnant, but I killed an Enforcer, and it didn’t matter that he was really a Mage. I’m winging this Goddess shit, and I didn’t understand what they meant when they said a sacrifice was going to be demanded of me if I didn’t stop interfering with human affairs. So, lesson learned. I can give orders there, but I can’t be an active participant or they will demand another sacrifice. I know I’m going to need a lot of help running the new Guild, and I have to find people that will man it and follow my orders without feeling like they are being forced or coerced.”
“Talking war at your own wedding?” Adam interrupted as he cut in and twirled me around. “Tsk, what are we going to do with you?”
“Love me,” I smirked. “You’re coming with me to the Guild when we start recruiting, right?” I asked and Adam frowned.
“Keir is sending me to the Dark Towers because it’s time I find my missing bride,” he said with a pained look. “”I’m supposed to divide my time between there and the stewardship of the Light Kingdom, but I’ll still be close to you. If you need me, you can tell him that I have to put aside my duties to serve the newly-crowned Queen of the Horde.”
I looked over to where Keir was speaking with Ryder, whose eyes searched for me on the dance floor. I was about to move towards him when the sound of giggling caught my attention.
I turned, finding the men with the babies, playing what looked like leapfrog over each other as the women around them ogled them.
“Excuse me; I think my little beasties are being used to catch pussy,” I groaned as I moved towards the men, finding Sinjinn watching me as I approached.
“You look stunning, sister,” he remarked. “Hardly the time to get married when our flesh and blood sister is missing, wouldn’t you agree, Synthia?”
I was taken aback at his words, and shook my head in denial. Sinjinn was one of those people who could be a lot of fun, but you never knew when they were teasing or serious. “Ciara is handling her situation. There’s always a threat hanging over our heads. Should we stop life every time it h
He swallowed and I felt the electrical hum of Ryder as he stood at my back. He didn’t say anything, nor did the others. He was quietly supporting me, he just wasn’t taking control.
“I heard you ripped the throat out of the leader of the Sluagh?” Sinjinn asked after he’d considered my words.
“Indeed; I’ve been told that to lead the Horde you have to become them, but that is neither here nor there. We will get Ciara back; she asked for me to leave her there. There is something she wants to do and I have to give her that chance. She’s earned it. If she isn’t home soon, I will bring her back. She asked me to trust her, and that’s what family does. They have your back, but they also trust you. Ciara isn’t weak; she’s the Princess of the Horde. I’m sure if she is in danger, more throats will be torn apart. Give her a chance; she just might surprise you.”
“I believe this dance is mine, Pet,” Ryder interrupted as he slipped his fingers through mine and pulled me out onto the dance floor as the others looked on. Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud started to play. “You have exactly one last song and one last dance before I rip this dress off of you and take you in front of everyone here.”
“One song?” I smirked.
“One, because the moment I saw you at the other end of the aisle, I’ve wanted to do nothing else besides rip this dress off and slide into you slowly.”
“Slowly?” I asked softly, my eyes locked on his lips as he moved us around the floor. “That’s a new one,” I whispered. “I don’t think you can take me slowly.”
“Is that a challenge?” he teased, his reverent gaze warmed me as he moved us—and by move us, I mean my feet were on his, and he effortlessly danced without missing a step.
“You bet your ass it is.” I laughed, and then we were gone.