Unraveling destiny the f.., p.5

Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles Book 5), page 5

 

Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles Book 5)
 



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  “Because you have feelings for Lena,” I mused. “I don’t envy your situation, and while you could easily kill them all and be done with it, you have found a way to give them mercy. I admire that. But this is a seriously fucked up house of cards, and no matter how you stack it, eventually it’s going to fall. I pray for your sake and the sake of the worlds, that when it comes to it, you’re not forced to make that choice. It’s fucking morbid, but I’ll be honest, I always did love a good romance story. You’re a good man, even if you don’t want to be. You are not as evil as you want everyone to believe, and that should count for something, Lucian. But don’t worry; I won’t whisper a word of it to anyone else, not even Ryder. War is coming to Faery. I hope that when the time comes, you’ll help us. We can use some powerful allies, and we’d gladly owe you for it.”

  “I will be in contact with you, Synthia. When I am ready, you will give me what I ask for.” He brushed me aside with a flick of his hand, purposely ignoring my request.

  “Actually, we didn’t shake on it.” I hopped off his desk and looked at him as he rose to his full height. I watched his eyes burn red as he considered ripping my head off. “It’s a good thing I’m honorable,” I smirked as I held out my hand and watched him frown. “Not every asshole is out to get you, Lucian. Not everyone expects something from you, and some of us may even wish to consider you an ally. Sometimes you have to trust people to stand beside you,” I said as I reached for his hand and slipped my fingers against his. “I’ll also need my uncle tomorrow, and I’d prefer not to be the one who interferes with what you have going on here. I’ll be here around one or so; please have him here and I’ll make sure he leaves without an incident, and is returned the moment I am finished with him. If I don’t come, it means I’ve decided it isn’t safe enough for him to be there.”

  “You could have sifted with the wards down; why didn’t you?” He made his way around the desk.

  “Because I made a deal, and you answered my questions. There’s also the fact that you have Alden. You promised me he wouldn’t be harmed, and I intend to hold you to that. And, again, some of us aren’t out to fuck you over. You now know that if we make a deal, I will always honor it. Remember that, because I may need your help soon. This one I’d almost sell my soul to accomplish. Almost,” I whispered as I shook his hand, kissed his cheek, and vanished.

  I materialized into the chambers that Ryder and I shared, to a growling Ryder, who didn’t look the least bit impressed. I moved towards him slowly and frowned.

  “Yes, I know you didn’t want me to meet with Lucian, but someone had to go—and if you went, he would have asked for more than he did.”

  “And just what the fuck could he have said that was worth trading him anything for?” he snapped.

  “I think I know how to narrow down the list of who could be opening new portals.” I tried to keep my tone bright and positive.

  His golden eyes glowed with barely suppressed anger. “What did you promise him, Pet?”

  “He hasn’t told me yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be something from inside the Spokane Guild’s catacombs,” I muttered and looked away from his eyes. Negotiating with Lucian was a huge risk.

  He relaxed and pulled me into his arms. “Don’t do that again,” he murmured against my ear.

  “Lucian isn’t as horrible as everyone makes him out to be. He’s got a heart beneath that armor, one that beats for Lena. He knows we know his weakness, and he also knows he can trust us now.”

  “Ever consider that maybe he wants us to underestimate him?” he kissed my forehead and the side of my neck, making my pulse tick wildly. “Your parents are in the war room with the babies. It’s time to say goodbye.”

  Chapter Four

  I sat between Madisyn and Darynda as bags were handed to the small entourage who had come to retrieve the babies. Liam frowned as he picked up yet another bag and hefted it over his shoulder.

  “We do know how to glamour in the Blood Kingdom, sister,” he grunted as he was weighed down with another heavy bag. The familiarity with which he called me sister tugged on my heart.

  “I didn’t say you couldn’t,” I retorted as I moved to sit on the floor with the babies.

  “She wants to be the one who creates their wardrobe. It’s perfectly normal, and not an easy thing when you know your child is leaving you.” Madisyn squeezed my shoulder in encouragement. She probably did the exact same thing when she sent me off for my own safety. “We will protect them with our lives, and the nursery we set up is in the far wing of the palace, protected by wards—and no one will be allowed in unless they are sanctioned by you and Ryder.”

  “They don’t sleep a lot, and they don’t like to be separated, and if you try to walk with Kahleena out of their sight, they tend to scream,” I advised, fighting the emotions that tugged inside of me. My stomach twisted and my eyes burned. I wanted to hold them close and never let them go, but there was too much that required Ryder’s and my attention right now, and I knew in my heart that this was the right thing to do for the children. “Cade likes to cuddle and Zander always wants to feed first.” I swallowed. “Zander doesn’t like to be held too long. If his brother and sister are picked up and he isn’t, he gets jealous and then he’ll allow it.”

  “Kahleena likes to be between them when she sleeps,” Ryder added. He could sense that I was about to lose it, and he knelt beside me. “Cade doesn’t like baths, but he doesn’t mind them so much if he isn’t alone in it. We wash them together to prevent him from screaming.”

  “Synthia.” Liam laid his hand over his heart. “They’ll be loved, but more than that, they’ll be safe. I have my fiercest protectors with me, and we will die before we allow anyone to hurt them. They are blood of my blood, and I vow that we will never allow them to come to harm.”

  “I know, and I’m sending Cailean with you too. He will protect my children and watch over them. He did it for me.” I looked up at the silent man who stood beside me, observing my pain. “I know you want to remain here, but I need you with my children, Cailean.”

  Cailean’s dark brown and spring green eyes turned to me, and he frowned. “I wish to stay with you and protect you.”

  “I know, but I don’t need to be protected; Ryder and his brothers have that protection thing handled.” I smiled weakly. “My children need you, and you vowed to protect them—I’m calling that vow in. You will go with them to the Blood Kingdom and you will protect them with your last dying breath, should the need arise. No one knows Faolán as you do, and he would be the one to come after them. You will not fail me twice; we both know it. You asked me to forgive you for failing to protect me. Here is where you show me your worth.”

  “As you wish, my princess,” he said, nodding his head in acknowledgement, which caused his light blonde hair to move in front of his face. “I will protect them for you, I vow it.”

  It took over an hour before I was willing to finally say goodbye to the babies, and even then, it took longer to get me out of the war room and into the throne room, where we heard the grievances of the people for the rest of the day.

  Everyone pretended it was all normal. Darynda and the rest of the handmaidens were going to take shifts in the nursery, and the Elite Guard placed heavy wards, sealing the entry points with magical barriers to prevent anyone unauthorized from entering the living quarter floors. New wards were placed in plain view of the people inside the castle, and to them, it looked as if we were simply adding to the existing ones to protect the triplets.

  Everything was normal, except Ryder wasn’t listening to the people who came in and complained about mundane shit—my heart wasn’t in it either.

  “My King?” a low Fae asked, his muted brown hair and eyes searching my face before moving back to Ryder’s.

  “Tell us again.” I tried to redirect my attention to the situation at
hand.

  “My village was invaded by shape shifters. The village and surrounding farms were completely sacked and ruined. They took our food, set fire to our houses and they stole a few of our females,” the lower caste Fae explained.

  “How do you know it was shape shifters that did this?” I raised an eyebrow speculatively.

  “Because they took the form of Dragons and they no longer walk the lands or fly the skies. They were all slaughtered at Alazander’s orders,” he stammered, and lowered himself to the floor as he got on his knees. He shook his head as if he’d done a great wrong to his King. “I mean no disrespect my King—only that it is the truth of what happened.” I sensed Ryder tense at the mention of Dragons, or maybe it was the mention of his father, but it got my attention.

  “Speak freely,” Ryder said softly. “I am aware of my father’s deeds.”

  “Wait, Dragons are real?” I interrupted, my eyes bulging a little.

  “Thousands of years ago, they roamed the skies of these lands,” Ryder acknowledged. “Eventually their numbers dwindled, and a few hundred years ago my father ordered the slaughter of what remained of their people.”

  “He killed an entire race?” I wasn’t sure I was hearing him right. Here I thought Hitler was the worst killer in our history, but Alazander was probably in hell having coffee with him about now.

  “Alazander ordered that every Dragon in Faery be slaughtered, even the females and their young. No one was spared, and afterwards, the castle of the Dragon Lord was burned to nothing more than a blackened reminder that Alazander had no mercy in his soul. I can personally vouch to the fact that there are no Dragons left in Faery, since I was present when the last Dragon fell,” Ryder rumbled.

  “I swear it, my King. I saw it with my own eyes. It was a Dragon,” the Fae argued.

  “Okay, so you saw a Dragon.” I waved my hand a little bit to try and get the angry Fae in front of me to calm down. “How can you be sure it wasn’t a different kind of shape shifter?”

  “Because the kind of shifters that can imitate a Dragon cannot hold the form for very long…minutes at best,” the lesser Fae disclosed.

  “Did you have eyes on it the entire time?” I narrowed my eyes at him as my mind jumped from scenario to scenario. “Or could it have changed forms several times when you saw it? Since you are alive and your wife is missing, I’m assuming you weren’t close to the village when it happened.” Or he was the world’s biggest asshole.

  “I wasn’t close, but I was close enough to know what I saw, and I saw Dragons,” he mumbled nervously.

  “And where did the Dragons take your wife to…?” Ryder observed him carefully. Ok, so it seemed as if Ryder was getting the same vibe I was getting from this guy.

  “Haggis, Sire.” He bowed again. “My name is Haggis. I followed them to the mortal world, to the portal. They went through it. I found pieces of her dress, and other things…and blood, so much blood.”

  “What are the chances that it was a true Dragon?” I glanced at Ryder, who turned and considered my question. “What if your father didn’t kill them all?”

  “Pray to your God that he did, because if they’ve hidden for hundreds of years and have been breeding this entire time, we’d most likely face a war with them. We have enough to deal with as is; Dragons aren’t something I want to add to it.” He paused, looked at Haggis, and exhaled. “I will send men out to investigate this claim and we will let you know of our findings. One last question: Are you sure they passed through into the mortal realm, or could they have led you there to make you assume they had passed through it?”

  “I guess they may have doubled back, but it is forbidden to pass through the portal. I turned around and came directly here, my King,” he mumbled as he wrung his hands together with worry.

  “Thank you for your honesty; we will look into this matter immediately.” Ryder stood, turned to the guards who watched him, and spoke loudly. “Court will resume tomorrow; any other grievances will wait until then to be heard.”

  I stood to follow him when the wards began to glow around us. I paused, and turned to watch as the Elite Guard surrounded us. The lesser Fae were rushed from the room and more guards moved in to guard the doors as Ryder turned and moved me towards the war room situated behind the throne.

  “Someone has breached the living quarters,” Ryder growled, and my stomach did a somersault. I stopped walking and looked at him, my heart stuck in my throat as I growled as well.

  “Go; find out who it is and show them no mercy. No one comes into our house and tries to harm our children. Their bodies can hang from the battlements of the castle as a warning to anyone who tries to harm the babies.”

  “Damn,” Ristan sighed. “Bloodthirsty vixen suits you, Flower.”

  “I know you won’t go if I do, so go, Ryder, I’ll wait here with Ristan,” I said firmly, watching as his clothes disappeared and the beast stood before me in all his winged glory. “Go destroy them. Leave enough of their bodies to serve as a warning to any other who dares mess with our little beasties.”

  I was followed into the war room by Ristan, Olivia, and a few guards. I didn’t sit as Ristan suggested. Instead, I paced the length of the room until I noticed Ristan tilting his head to the side, as if he were listening to someone speaking to him. I tilted mine, but it was silent. The wards inside the room continued to pulse in silent alarm, and my powers had fizzled the ability to hear the men when they spoke on their channel in each other’s heads, and yet I held out hope that eventually I’d be able to hear them again.

  “What is it?” I leaned closer, as if I could magically pick up what was being said along the mental pathway.

  “Darynda is hurt, but she’ll live. Zahruk is taking her to Eliran, but Ciara is gone. They can’t find her, and Darynda says she was taken. We can’t reach her on the mental link, and Ryder can’t feel her presence inside the castle. The bracelet he gave her that had a tracking charm on it was torn from her wrist. There are also signs of a struggle, and a lot of blood.”

  “Why would someone take Ciara? I thought she was in the Pavilion?” I probed.

  “She wanted to help with the new wards and she was part of the rotation with the handmaidens on pretend nursery duties; there was no reason not to allow it. Not with the amount of guards protecting the living quarters.”

  “They got away?” I wondered how the crap it was possible with an entire army in the residence. “How is that possible?”

  “I’m not sure, but Ryder and Zahruk are heading out to search the grounds with the rest of the Elite Guard, with the exception of me. I’m stuck babysitting until…Ow,” he groaned and I raised my eyes to find Olivia shaking her hand after punching Ristan’s shoulder, while giving him the look. He held his hands up at her innocently. “Hey, I’m here protecting you two until they return.”

  “How does someone get inside the castle without being seen?” I pondered. “Unless they were already inside, just waiting for their chance to strike,” I mumbled. Mentally, I started going through every scenario I could think of, knowing that Ristan would chime in if I made any damn sense.

  “They could have been inside, that’s possible. We were allowing more of the lesser Fae into the castle since Ryder took the throne, and Ciara was just allowed outside the Pavilion about the same time. She’s the only acknowledged daughter of Alazander, and once the rest of the women were released from the Pavilion, there was no keeping her there anymore, even though she would have been a target for our enemies. News of the triplets hasn’t yet reached the Farlands, and we have enemies aplenty there.”

  “Would the people of the Farlands know how to open portals?” I tested and observed his expression as he considered it.

  “Anything is possible; however they’re mostly farm people, and peaceful. It’s why they live away from the Horde castle. We seem to cause ma
yhem no matter how hard we try not to. Over the past fifty years or so, there have been increasing reports of our enemies hiding among the peaceful farmers.”

  “Where are the Farlands located?” I made my way over to Ryder’s chair and sat in it, since I knew he’d sense I was there; it would give him my strength as he searched for his baby sister.

  Ristan cracked a lopsided grin and shook his head. “Far. It’s kinda why it’s named the Farlands.”

  “Smartass,” I groaned as I rubbed my temples. “Where did the Dragons live?”

  “Closer to here, in a castle on the farthest end of the north-eastern side of the Horde lands. They were Horde, or at least they were until father destroyed them.”

  “How would we know if any survived?” I dropped my hands to the table as I ran my finger over Ryder’s crest and name.

  “They couldn’t have. He hunted them down, the ones who ran were ferreted out, and he didn’t stop until every Dragon was removed from this world,” Ristan’s voice was soft and his shoulders slumped as he took his seat and pulled Olivia down to sit on his lap. “I think it was almost six hundred years ago when it happened. The Dragon Lord refused to send his daughter to be one of Alazander’s concubines. They were a proud people, and of course, they’d heard the rumors of the horrors Father did to his wives and concubines. Fury wanted no part of sending his only daughter to the Horde King. In an effort to hide her, he sent her to the Light King, who promised to protect her. Only, he had no intention of hiding her; instead he handed her over to our father in front of the Dragon Lord, and Alazander tore her apart as his Elite Guard held Fury down. Once she was dead, Alazander tortured Fury slowly before eventually killing him.” He closed his eyes and something that looked like regret passed over his features as he sighed heavily. “Every once in a while, as sleep takes me, I can hear her screams mingling with the wrath of the Dragon Lord as he fought to escape us; I can still hear the cries of the children as they were slaughtered when we marched on their keep.” Olivia shivered in his arms as he opened his strange silvery eyes and looked at me sadly. “Without their lord, the Dragons fell easily and, eventually, became little more than a myth of our history.”

 
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