Visions (Dragon Reign Book 7), page 1
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What do you get when you cross a sorcerer with the Goddess of Light?
What does the king of the wolf shifters get when he falls in love with Sabella during the end times?
A whole heap of trouble.
Join Tristan and Sabella in their continuing journey to defeat evil.
Tristan was going to kill me.
I swore I’d stay at the castle, stay where it was safe, with Lucy and the others, waiting for him and the hunting party to get back.
I might’ve found out I was part god, but my power wasn’t the most reliable thing in the world. Worked wonders when I was under a high-stress situation, like fighting for my life or saving those around me. Otherwise, it was just pretty flashing lights.
Which was why he ordered me to remain behind. Too bad I wasn’t a very good listener, but he should’ve known that by now. Even harder to stay behind after having a vision telling me there was going to be an ambush that he didn’t know about.
With Hank and the few other wolves with me—my personal guard actually thanks to my new position and Tristan’s overbearing nature. We traipsed through the mud and muck of the boggy lands near the outskirts of Torolf before reaching elven territory.
I hadn’t been to Silver Valley yet, but Tristan promised it was on our travel list, if we could ever find a way to beat back the darkness that had taken over all the realms.
For three weeks now, there’d been no sun. No light except for fires and torches and it was starting to get on my nerves. Everyone’s nerves really. The only bright side to any of this was spending so much time around Tristan kept the insanity far, far away. The visions would come and go, but now at least, I could see clearly.
Too bad I couldn’t see everything Baladon was about to throw at us.
“We’re getting close,” Hank whispered behind me, pointing to the exact cliff face I’d described from my vision. “You're sure they’re up there?”
I’d been wandering around the castle, impatiently waiting for Tristan and the rest of his hunting party to return from rescuing a group of villagers they said were bogged down by more of Baladon’s nightmarish creatures.
I’d found myself in his room. I’d barely touched the wardrobe when the vision hit me full force. I saw the hunting party at the village, killing the three grotesque, massive rats with their rabid young scurrying around the village, attacking anything that moved. They’d killed them, but it was when they’d been leaving the village the ambush happened. Spiders, the size of carriages, and pincers longer than my arms had descended from that cliff and the dying screams of the hunting party had been ringing in my ears as I’d sprinted through the castle in search of Hank.
“Yeah, they’re there,” I assured him.
“Four, maybe five?”
I closed my eyes, forcing myself to concentrate on the power within me.
My mother Farrah was a goddess of light, and she’d passed on some of that power to me. I thought only of the light, and when I opened my eyes, I knew my eyes were glowing, lighting up Hank’s face right before he shifted to his wolf form. He didn’t have to tell me he expected me to stay behind him, but it all depended on how the fight went.
We crept through the trees, nothing to light our way except the glow from my eyes. I mostly clung to Hank’s back since they had much better night vision than I did.
I wished I could say I was fearless, but every time I left the castle, it took everything I had not to curl up in a ball somewhere and hide. If not for the fact I was saving Tristan’s butt, and the rest of the hunting party I’d become close to, I would not have left the castle.
Baladon had unleashed every beast and monster ever conceived. Each time we encountered a new one, I felt my newly regained sanity tested. Creatures I didn’t have names for attacked scouts and tore them to pieces. Left behind piles of nothing, or worse, pools of blood and clothing. Everything else was eaten or taken.
I thought I knew what a real nightmare was, but since the darkness had fallen, we found ourselves living in a never-ending hell that was only going to get worse.
When we started ascending the rear of the cliff, Hank grunted and shrugged his shoulders, signaling for me to fall back. I almost refused, but I’d seen those spiders in my vision, and unless I could get my power to work correctly, I’d be pincered in half instantly.
Though I’d shown some skill fighting Baladon’s demonic statue, I was far from being on the same level as shifters who had been trained since they could walk. I stopped, watching their furry bodies slink further away before they were gone from my sight.
I took a few more steps, hoping we’d get rid of this threat before Tristan and his party ever came close to this spot. I squinted at the wisp of white floating high above me in the trees.
Quietly, I moved closer, reaching my hand up to grab it.
“Webs,” I whispered, staring ahead of me in the trees. “Oh, no.”
Webs covered the treetops and were hanging down in long strands, glowing a dull white in the surrounding shadows, barely visible. If Hank and the others walked into those, they’d be stuck, and the spiders would kill them before they went after the hunting party.
Muttering angrily at my visions for not being more helpful, I raced up the hillside after Hank, hoping I caught up to them in time. It was hard to see, and the glow from my eyes kept flickering in and out as my fear started to get the better of me.
I stumbled into something malleable and furry. When I reached down, I felt fur covered in sticky webs and heard an annoyed growl.
“Hang on,” I whispered, not sure who I just walked into.
I pulled at the webs, cutting them with the dagger from my hip holster, until the wolf was free.
“Might be easier not to be in wolf form,” I added.
A moment later, Danielle stood in front of me, her yellow eyes flaring in anger.
“I got that,” she muttered and drew her sword. “The rest are stuck, too.”
We moved together, and each time we found a wolf trapped in a web, we raced to get them unstuck so they could shift back, and we could continue on our way.
The further along we got, the more my unease grew, and I felt like we were being watched.
“They’re in the trees,” I said in a breath, grabbing hold of Danielle’s arm to stop her.
I gulped as I those pincers began clicking.
right above us.
None of us moved, though I couldn’t stop myself from shaking as tree branches creaked under the weight
Danielle put a finger to her lips when I met her eyes, and I nodded.
Then she motioned to the shifters we’d freed, waving for them to spread out further as the creaking grew louder.
I shut my eyes when leaves fell over my shoulders, throwing a hand over my mouth to stop myself from squealing in alarm.
A shadow fell over me, and I felt this evil presence drawing closer and closer…
“Now,” Danielle yelled the attack and grabbed my hand at the same time, dragging me out from under the beast as it crashed down to the ground.
It shrieked as the shifters swiped at it with their blades, reared back on its rear legs, those pincers clicking loudly, dripping with a thick, gelatinous substance that made me gag as the stench of rotting meat hit me.
I fell to the ground with Danielle as those long legs swiped toward us until another shifter drove his blade right into its abdomen. It screamed, black blood that smoked was pooling on the ground.
The beast whirled around, still going strong.
“Some of that light magic would be great right about now,” Danielle yelled.
The sounds of whining wolves up ahead turned frantic. More creaking sounds came from the trees above head.
“We have to get the others out of the webs.”
“Sabella, wait. Damn it.”
She yelled for me to get back, but Hank and the rest of my guard were about to be eaten alive, and I was not just going to stand there cowering in the shadows while it happened. I shook my hands out hard as I ran, willing the light to work with me, but nothing happened, other than a few sputtering attempts.
“You’ve got to be shitting me,” I muttered, staggering into another trapped wolf and furiously hacking away at the webs to free him. It wasn’t Hank, but he stuck with me as I moved to the next and the next until another dark shadow fell from the trees.
A wolf snarled in fury, and I gripped my dagger tighter.
Hank, that was Hank, about to be torn apart by that beast.
Not thinking, and ignoring the guards trying to pull me back, I launched myself forward with a yell and felt a rush of power explode outward.
The spider tumbled backward, crashing through the trees as I raced to Hank’s side. As soon as his fur was free of the webs, he shifted back and drew his sword.
“It’s coming back!”
I gasped as Hank threw me to the side and then he hit the ground, letting the monster run overtop him. He rolled back and jammed his sword upward, over and over again, into the spider’s underside until it collapsed with a thud that shook the ground.
It remained down, and when Hank found his feet, he was covered in the black, sticky blood, grimacing as he tried to wipe some of it off. The shifters down the slope yelled in triumph as they managed to take the first one down, but then leaves fluttered over our heads, and I was filled with a sense of dread.
I craned my neck, trying to make out the shapes in the shadows of the trees.
“How many did you say?” Hank asked, holding his sword at the ready as we backed up together, our eyes glued to the branches overhead.
“I don’t remember,” I hissed.
A web shot out of the shadows and took Hank with it, plastering him to a tree.
I aimed my hands and prayed for the light to work through me, but all it did was sizzle. “Come on. Just work already.”
“Sabella, get out of here,” Hank yelled as another spider crashed through tree branches and hit the ground, those pincers clicking menacingly.
I froze until those eight, blood red eyes turned to me, and it stood on its back four legs.
Then I was running, drawing the monster as far away from Hank as I could get it.
I yelled when a shot of webbing flew past my head, weaving between the trees as another monster hit the ground to my right, knocking over trees and sending me staggering far off to the left. I felt the light inside me, but no matter how hard I tried, or how loud I yelled at it to come out, nothing happened.
With those pincers clicked right behind me, and death coming for me much sooner than I expected, I growled in disbelief. Silly me, I’d thought I’d be lucky enough to have a vision of when my time would come so I could prepare for it. Apparently, that hadn’t been in the cards.
“Shit,” I shrieked as my arms windmilled at my sides when my toes reached the edge of the cliff and a fifty-foot drop onto sharp, jagged rocks.
The two spiders clicked their pincers excitedly as I turned around, gulping while I stared them down. Or tried to.
Those eyes reflected their hunger, and I desperately tried to get my power to work, mumbling under my breath as I stretched my hands out again and again, but after yet another bright flicker, the light was sucked away by the shadows.
I swore the spiders cackled as they moved in. Did I let myself get eaten or jump off the cliff? The spiders prepared to shoot me with their damned webs, and I crouched low, covering my head.
A thunderous snarl cut through the night, and a large, furry body appeared out of the darkness, throwing itself into the two spiders and tackling them to the ground.
All three figures disappeared into the trees, and I ran after them, waiting for a yelp of pain from the wolf. Instead, I ducked as a long, hairy insect leg came flying toward me, followed by more before the shrieking of the spiders.
Their shrieks were cut off by fierce growling and the wet, sticky sound of bodies being torn apart. That same furry body stalked out of the shadows, yellow eyes glowing, black blood covering his face and half his body.
He bared his fangs at me, his hackles raised.
“Don’t look at me like that,” I snapped at Tristan.
He huffed a snarl.
He shook out his head, refusing to shift back.
I crossed my arms and didn’t back down. “I know you told me not to leave, but what choice did I have, huh? I got a vision of those things attacking you and your party. And what about the villagers that were with you?”
He growled louder as Hank and my guard slowly crept forward from the shadows. He started to turn toward them, but I picked up a stick and chucked it at his head. He whipped back around, eyes narrowed at me as he gnashed his jaws.
“Don’t you dare take it out on them,” I warned. “They came out here to keep me safe just like you ordered them. And you can’t sit there and tell me you would’ve checked this ridge? Would you?”
When he didn’t move a muscle, I smirked in triumph.
“That’s what I thought. I came out here to save your ass,” I said.
“Yeah, I know you wound up saving mine, but still. I wasn’t just going to sit back at the castle, waiting for you to come back home when I knew these things were waiting for you.”
His eyes moved in a circle, and I threw another stick at him making him snap his jaws.
“Did you seriously just roll your eyes at me? Really? You know what, maybe the next time I see you being torn apart by some vicious monster, I won’t come help you. How about that?” I stalked past him.
He moved his body to try and block me, but I kept on walking.
I was not in the mood to deal with him right now. Ungrateful furball. “Hank, let’s go.”
I could tell Hank was trying to hide a grin and failing.
Tristan snapped his jaws at him, and Hank coughed harshly as he fell in line behind me. The remainder of my guard followed, and I stomped down the slope, stepping carefully over spider corpses, sloshing through puddles of black blood, until we finally reached the trees where we’d hitched our horses.
“You know he’s going to give you hell once he gets back,” Hank warned as we mounted up.
“And I’m just saying, maybe you should start listening to him more.”
“So, you want me to not let him know when I have a vision t
“I’m saying you’re acting like a seer and not part of the pack,” he corrected. “I know you’re not a shifter, but you have to see this from his side, Sabella. The alpha is always obeyed.”
I flicked the reins, and my chestnut mare started down the road. “Maybe it’s time for a change.”
“You can’t change instincts,” he warned, but I ignored him.
Shifter or not, Tristan was making it very difficult for me to do what I was brought here to do. Protect him and the rest of the races. Every time I had a vision now, his first order of business seemed to be finding out what it was, and then tricking me into staying behind while he sent others out to deal with the threat.
Forrest had returned to Gregornath to deal with the sudden threat of hellhounds and banshees that had moved into his territory, but Craig and Kate were still in Torolf. There’d been plenty of nights where I would find her and vent about Tristan.
I thought that after proving to him I could handle myself, he would let up a bit on the over-protectiveness, but it had only gotten worse.
The darkness unleashed by Baladon did nothing to help me prove I could keep myself safe. It zapped the light from me every time I tried to use it, just like tonight. I might get one or two hits with it, but then it would just disappear.
Tonight would be like so many others.
As soon as Tristan returned, he’d track me down and lecture me on putting my life in danger, and on and on and on. I told him repeatedly, though he refused to listen, that being part god meant I was not as fragile as he assumed. I healed much faster from wounds now, and though I wasn’t sure about the whole immortal thing, I sensed it would take a lot to kill me. I hoped. That didn’t mean I wasn’t scared of having that theory tested, such as tonight, when I was almost eaten by spiders, but it should’ve made him feel better. Not like he had to watch me every second of the day.
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