Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles Book 5), page 9
“That’s why it is called history, Vlad. It’s in the past. That’s where it will stay,” I smiled coyly and winked at Vlad. “Now, let us go to the bowels of this place and see what wicked shit lies in the history of the Guild, shall we?”
We stood in front of a large door that held the mark of a pentagram and stared at the intricate wards protecting it. I knew them like I knew the back of my hand. I’d watched countless times as the Elders had woven spells for the wards. As a teenager, I’d been curious as to what was down there, and now, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to know.
“It’s heavily warded,” Vlad broke the silence. “I’m not sure we should go down there.”
“So don’t; you wait up here and we’ll go down.”
Vlad looked at me and shook his head. “I’m at your side. However, I’m not sure Ryder would approve of this.”
“So don’t tell him,” I offered. I brought my fingers up and started tracing the intricate pattern to undo the wards; one by one they came down, until the door was the only thing blocking our path. My hand touched the wood and a shiver raced down my spine.
I pushed the door open and everyone tensed as power rushed from the doorway and into the chamber. I exhaled and stepped closer, only to feel Vlad pull me back as a feminine shape of a ghost appeared and smiled as she looked through us. We stepped back as she moved from the top of the staircase and floated to an altar towards the back of the chamber.
“What the hell,” Adrian whispered, which made the ghost turn towards us and tilt its head. It exposed the neck, which looked as if it had been slit to the bone.
“Well, didn’t see that coming,” Adam whispered.
“It’s just one ghost,” I murmured, hoping it was all that was down here. “It must be tied to this location.”
“She may have been sacrificed,” Vlad pointed out. “She does have her throat slit, which is common in sacrifices.”
All three of us stared at Vlad with worried looks. “Just how old are you?” I peered at him after he snorted at our faces.
“Old enough to have witnessed a few back in the day,” he mused as he moved in front of me to block my path.
“Vlad,” I warned.
“I’ll go first,” he said quickly. “Who knows what other crazy shit lies in wait down there.”
“Fine,” I conceded, knowing he wouldn’t let me go first since he’d made a promise to Ryder and I was already pushing my luck. “What was it like, watching someone be killed as a sacrifice?” I cringed at my awkward attempt at making small talk.
“The first one I watched, well, it was horrible. She went willingly to spare the others in her village from the monster in the castle,” he muttered.
“Me,” he growled. “Her name was Vatina; she was beautiful and yet so naïve. Her people believed that if a virgin was sacrificed to appease the monster, no more bloodless corpses would turn up.”
“You were feeding from her village?” I guessed, and he pointed at me and nodded in the affirmative, as if I had won some sort of prize.
“I was young in the terms of being a vampire; she was much younger. Wallachia was a turbulent place with the Turks raiding it and, well, usually it was easy enough to blame them for my actions. Eventually, a mystic discovered a few corpses had been bled dry. They were actually spies that I had dispatched to protect my land, but the bodies were enough to scare the villagers witless,” Vlad recounted, lost in his memories from another time, another place. “So they offered a sacrifice to cleanse the earth of my darkness. She volunteered, to bring honor to her family who had done some wrong generations before. I was in the crowd as she walked so proudly to the altar, so beautiful,” he explained with a faraway look in his eyes. “She wasn’t even a woman yet, as far as I was concerned, barely fourteen—but in those days, she was old enough to take a husband and breed. She had on a sheer gown that exposed every curve,” he whispered and swallowed loudly. “She looked me right in the eyes as I stood there among them, and begged for the darkness to leave their lands. She knew who and what I was, as I had fed from her before; she knew she had nothing to fear from me, yet she gave her life to clean the stain from her family name. They slit her throat. It took her seconds to bleed out. I considered intervening, but it was what she wanted. Vatina had no idea that she had been sacrificed with my blood running through her veins. After they buried her, I returned to retrieve her.”
“That is twisted,” Adrian said from behind me.
“Back then it was life,” Vlad explained. “She was too beautiful to die so young, and for something so pointless. To this day, she hates me for what I did.”
“Not that, those,” Adrian mumbled as he pointed to the walls surrounding us, which had skulls embedded in it, all with a hexagram carved in their foreheads. Each was marked with a roman numeral in the center of the hexagram.
“Wow,” I whispered as I lifted my finger to trace the line of one, only to watch as it began to glow from my touch. The others that lined the wall began to glow as well. I swallowed down the urge to tuck tail and go back up, but I had to know what was down here. “They’re filled with power, but it’s protection power.”
“It is meant to protect this place,” Vlad announced. “There’s something down here that they offered sacrifices to protect. Judging by the skulls, each one was a young woman.”
“How can you tell?” My eyes moved over several of the closer ones as I tried to see what he had. Maybe it was a vampire superpower.
“Men tend to have thicker skulls than women,” he explained as I snorted and tried to hold back a nervous giggle. “Women’s skulls are usually smaller than men’s in size, and the mandible on the jaw is shorter. There’s also the orbit cavity. Women have a sharper edge than males, and there’s also the glaring fact that there is a group of female spirits at the bottom of these stairs.”
I looked over his shoulder and groaned. It had been a while since I’d dealt with ghosts. I hadn’t gone back to the cemetery since I had been there with Larissa, because it hurt to know she’d sacrificed whatever power she had to help us. She wouldn’t be there, and Adrian wasn’t buried there, obviously. Eventually, though, I’d have to go see the spirits there. I owed them that much.
“They can’t seem to communicate,” Adrian said softly, but I doubted that was the case.
“Or they don’t want to,” I replied. “Ghosts are picky with who they choose to communicate, and normally it takes a Necromancer to speak or communicate with them properly. I can do it, and they know it. They’re choosing not to speak. The one above is newer than these ones. She hasn’t adapted, which would explain why she looked through us. These ones, they can see us.”
“Friend or foe?” Adam enquired.
“I have no idea,” I muttered as I watched one who looked oddly familiar. She stood in the back, watching us as we slowly, carefully moved down the steps. Once we got closer to the large room at the bottom of the steps, the steps turned into skulls. “There are more skulls than spirits,” I whispered as I tried to figure out what was off about this place.
I’d never seen them bring girls down here, and yet some wore fashions from this century. My heart hammered against my ribs as I tried to deduce what the fuck had happened. Alden had insisted we stay away from here, but I’d assumed it was because of the wards.
“Synthia, she’s wearing a concert tee from a Nirvana concert,” Vlad pointed out as a ghostly girl walked through the others and turned her head to look through us as the others watched us, seeing us.
“She’s newer,” I whispered. “What the hell is the Guild hiding that they’d need human sacrifices for?”
“The line, maybe?” Adam asked.
“The Leylines were here before the Guild was built. They don’t require a sacrifice to stay powered, jus
“You mean a Mage,” Adrian muttered helpfully.
“No,” I shook my head. “Quickie update: it seems a lot of what the Guild taught us was bullshit. Ryder told me that what the Guild was calling Druids were really Changelings. Well, at least they were before they separated into two groups. Some became Mages and others became Witches. The strength of the magic that was cast here had to have been the work of one of those old ones.”
The moment our feet touched the ground, flames leapt from candles to light the room we stood in. Glyphs glowed from the walls down winding tunnels, which led away from where we stood. My heart pounded as something flittered through my mind, like butterfly wings searching my memories.
“Stop that,” I growled as one of the older ghosts watched me. I sensed that she was probably the first of the group to be sacrificed. “Stay out of my head.”
“It’s dark in there,” she said softly. “So much darkness for one so young,” she continued as she floated towards me.
“Don’t worry; I made friends with my demons a long time ago. Occasionally I can even talk one of them into painting my nails if I ask real nice,” I assured her as I felt her skimming my memories. I should have stopped her, but I sensed if I did, she’d stop talking. “What is this place?”
I sensed the other ghosts digging through my companions’ minds but, as if they were all connected, they latched onto mine and I swallowed hard as the ghosts dug at my memories. They were looking for something, but what? I exhaled as pain lanced through my mind as they dug through the important memories, moving each one away when they decided it wasn’t needed. It wasn’t until they found the one of Ristan screaming to remove the babies from my womb as I lay dying that they paused and withdrew.
“You have given birth, you’re a mother,” one whispered as she watched me carefully.
“I have,” I admitted.
“But not in this body,” another said softly, her eyes filled with wonder. “You are dead, but alive. Like she is,” she whispered.
“Like who?” I inquired, watching as they grew excited. “Who here is like me?”
I watched as the ghosts moved to one of the largest tunnels and floated down it, forcing us to almost jog to keep up with them. When they stopped, I paused. I could feel the power pulsing from whatever lay beyond the door we stood in front of. They watched us, and looked at me expectantly.
“Who is behind that door?” I asked carefully.
“She who can never die, yet is not allowed to live, either,” one answered cryptically.
“Is she evil?” I asked, wondering if they’d answer, or if they would even know the answer since, to them, whoever it was probably wouldn’t seem evil to them.
“She is neither good nor evil, and she neither lives nor dies,” another one said as she tilted her head, revealing her neckline, which, like the others, was sliced to the bone.
“Why were you sacrificed?” I countered, hoping it would throw them off enough to answer.
“To feed her,” one whispered. “To keep her from living or dying,” the young girl said with a soft smile. “We bleed so that she remains as she is.”
“What happens if she wakes up?” I asked, wondering what the hell we’d just stepped into. None of them answered me, and one by one, they started to vanish. “Stay,” I cried, but it was as if they feared whoever lay behind the door, and they evaporated to nothing more than mist.
“That isn’t good,” Adam muttered, and Adrian agreed. “Maybe we shouldn’t open it?”
“And what, rebuild the Guild without knowing if we are living on top of a freaking monster?”
“You have a point, but dark magic, blood magic, and ancient magic are tricky. What if we open the door and it wakes up that monster?” Adrian’s turquoise eyes bored into mine with worry.
“I can’t reopen the Guild without knowing everything about it. I can’t bring kids here if I don’t know all the facts. Some of those ghosts are from this decade, which means they died while we were living here. Someone or something made sacrifices in this Guild without us knowing it, and that, well that scares the shit out of me,” I admitted as I used my magic to push the door open.
Inside the room was a woman eternally young and beautiful, who lay in a glass box that was etched in ancient glyphs, curses maybe. Like the sacrifices, her hair was the color of a raven’s wing and she had ice blue eyes that seemed to be staring at something on the ceiling. Her hands were clasped together, and she looked as if she was merely sleeping. Eerie blue lights burned along the walls, which I somehow knew were linked to the Leylines that ran right below her glass box.
“Fucking hell, is that who I think it is?” Adrian whispered, and my eyes turned to him.
“It’s not Hecate,” I whispered as I worried my lip with my teeth. “If it’s who I think it is, we need to back out of here, and fast. No one can speak a word of this outside of this crypt.”
“Synthia,” Vlad warned.
“Vlad, I don’t want to lie to Ryder either,” I said. “If she is who I think she is, if she wakes, war will be the least of our worries. Portals popping up randomly will be kid’s play. I have to get to Alden and ask him what he knows. Until then, the Guild being rebuilt is on hold. No one comes down here, and no one speaks of what is down here either. Gods save us if she wakes,” I whispered as I moved out the door, waiting until they’d followed me out before I started replacing wards.
“Synthia,” Vlad started again, watching me as I placed ward after ward until I began to tire from it. I sagged once I was sure no one would try to touch the door or the wards.
“Let’s get out of here, now,” I urged, ignoring him as I moved past him and rushed towards the stairs as if the hounds of hell were nipping at my heels.
My mind raced with the complications of what we’d discovered, but also over the problems we already had. We couldn’t catch our breath before more problems arose for us. How Ryder expected to have a wedding in the middle of the chaos just boggled me.
The building plans Foul had drafted would work, but I had to have a sit-down with Alden and discuss them—and the body in the glass box beneath the Guild. There were stories about the Leylines, hundreds of them, but not one that could be proven as true. Most had been told to us by the Guild librarians. Those had been of mythical creatures, like Gods who gave us magic so that Witches continued to exist. Fables and bedtime stories told to make the minds of children flourish with hope. As an adult, living in the world I was now, I could see how kernels of truth could flourish into those fanciful tales.
My eyes moved to the door. Every passing moment Ryder was gone, I worried more. I hated being apart, but my day hadn’t been normal either. I’d been tossed one curveball after another, with the worst being the end of the day. I hated not being able to just tell him what it was, but whispering it out loud scared me. It made me paranoid that something in the universe was listening, and would alert our enemies to the ticking time bomb beneath the Guild.
I was dressed in a white Grecian style nightie, which had an empire bodice and spaghetti straps with tiny bows on the shoulders. It flowed to my ankles with a satin softness that floated with every step I took, until I stopped in front of the bed and bowed my head.
Where the hell was he? I exhaled and brought my hand up to my shoulder as I tried to rub the tension from it. I closed my eyes as I felt him enter the room behind me. Relief washed through me. One of his hands slid onto my shoulder and he rubbed it where mine had been as his other slid around my waist. He said nothing, but the spice of his unique scent filled my senses, comforting me. We didn’t need words. Ryder and I could communica
“Hard day, Witch,” he murmured as his lips touched the top of my spine, brushing soft kisses over it, sending sensual rivulets of heat to my core.
“I hate not being able to speak to find you and talk to you whenever I want. I miss the connection,” I murmured, not bothering to turn around. His mouth was heaven against my flesh. “Any sign of Ciara?”
“We found a few things out, but nothing is certain yet.” He pushed my hair away from my neck and softly caressed my flesh with his lips. My body clenched in reply and a soft moan tore from my lips. “I can smell you,” he purred as he continued to wreck my system with his skilled lips. “Gods, I’ve missed seeing you this vulnerable,” he murmured.
“I’m never vulnerable,” I smiled as I felt the strap of the nightgown slip from my shoulder, exposing the globe of my breasts. His hand cupped it, testing the weight as he caressed it.
“You’re wrong,” he growled as he squeezed, and I gasped in response. “I know you are, because when I’m away from you, I’m vulnerable. I find myself looking for you. Over my shoulder, that empty void at my side. I feel like a crazed beast searching for you when you’re not with me.” His voice dropped to a whisper and he kissed my shoulder, his hands tightening on both my breast and my hair.
I smiled as tears filled my eyes. We were each other’s weakness. He was right; when he wasn’t near, I searched for him. Every tick of the clock reminded me that he wasn’t beside me, and I hated it, and yet I wouldn’t change it for anything.
“We’ll just have to live with that then, won’t we?” I mused as his fingers rolled my nipple between them, which made my stomach flip in excitement. He had skill with those sinful lips. He was the only man who could kiss you into an orgasm without touching below the waist. He slowly moved his lips over my shoulder, nipping at the sensitive flesh. His hand moved from my breast to cup my chin; he lifted it, and his mouth moved over my ear, the sound of his husky growl setting every nerve in my body on fire.
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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