Davina, p.14
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       Davina, p.14

         Part #3 of Immortal Prophecy series by Tijan
 
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  He withdrew from the table that he tossed her onto and grabbed a washcloth. Wiping at the blood left on his hands, he washed himself clean and glanced over when the door opened to the room.

  Jiyama stood there, her eyes going to Kates’s broken body first. An emotion akin to sympathy flashed in her gaze before she said, “Three of our men never returned from their mission. They’re believed to be dead.”

  Davy . . .

  His jaw hardened. “Did the Healers go out?”

  She nodded, her head bowed to the ground. “Their essence was last sensed at the river. It is believed they died there.”

  That meant . . . He frowned, distracted for a moment by Jiyama’s actions. She was acting like a demure little girl. He ground his teeth against each other before asking, “Why are you acting like this?”

  She stiffened and her hands tucked under her long sleeves. “I feel . . . remorse . . . I think.”

  “You think?”

  She lifted her head then, and a pained expression was there. Her gaze trailed to Kates before she said, softly, “I’ve only felt wonder. I’ve wondered about life, about who Davy was, about the magic inside of her, about the world beyond these lands, about life as a human, but I have never felt this sensation inside of me.” Her hand, fisted around her sleeve, lifted and pressed between her breasts. She kept it clutched tight to herself. “I have never wondered about the side of life, about right versus wrong, but this—” her hand left her chest and indicated Kates, who hadn’t moved or made a sound. “I feel almost like crying. I’ve never experienced that emotion.” She lifted haunted eyes to Lucan, her bottom lip falling open. “Why is that?”

  Anger filled him, but he bit back a curse and moved to the vampiress. Cupping the side of her face, he made sure his tone was soft as well. “That just means you are evolving. That is all.”

  Her eyes traced back to Kates. “I feel a pit in my stomach. I have only felt the fullness of blood in there.” Her eyebrows pinched together. “I do not like this emotion.”

  “It’s because you’ve spent too much time near humans.”

  A brightness filled her eyes. She asked him, “It’s because of them?”

  He nodded, leaning forward to brush his lips over her forehead. “Yes. Right and wrong, guilt and sadness, those are all human emotions. You’ve spent too much time near them with Davy before and now this one.” He moved, adjusting her so his back was to Kates. He was blocking Jiyama from looking at her, and he pressed another gentle kiss to the Mori vampire. “They are a unique species, wracked with silly emotions. It’s like a cancer to them, one that they don’t realize is something to be expunged. They almost worship these sensations.”

  Her hand lifted up and grabbed onto his arms. “They do?” She was pressing her forehead tight to his lips. Her entire body was against his.

  “They do. I didn’t realize their ‘humanity’ could infect you.”

  “Humanity?”

  “Hmm mmm.” He nodded, clasping her to him still. “It’s their sickness. I’m plagued with it too, but once I have The Immortal thread in me, I won’t suffer from it anymore.”

  “You think Davy suffers this same sickness?” She pulled back, leaving enough space to look up at him.

  Lucan paused, sensing there was more to her question other than curiosity. He frowned slightly, still holding her head in his hands. After a few beats, he asked, almost gruffly, “Why do you ask?”

  Her hand fell to his chest, and she stepped to the side to see Kates again. “Davy said they were friends. If she is sick as well, I can’t imagine what she would feel knowing what we have done to this human.”

  His frown deepened. “Why are you saying this, Jiyama?”

  She stepped completely away from him. Her hands fell from his chest and balled into fists around her long sleeves once more. “The Immortal was good. I knew that as soon as I touched her. I don’t know what this ‘sickness’ is that you’re talking about, but it was different for Davy. I remember that. She was like honeyed blood. She was alluring to me. I had to go back and experience her again, but it wasn’t her blood I wanted.” A stricken wonder entered her gaze. “I wanted to give her my magic. I wanted to help her, and I haven’t been able to get that out of my head. I keep thinking about our time with this one.” She stepped forward and touched the table near Kates’s leg. “I don’t think she would be happy with what we did. She cared about this one. I knew that when I touched her. Lucan,” she looked back to him. “I don’t think we should have done what we did.”

  “No, Jiyama.” He shook his head and moved once more so he was between her and the table. His hands lifted to her head again and he cupped her cheeks. “You’re sick. That’s all this is.”

  “I don’t understand the sickness, but I remember how I felt when I helped The Immortal—”

  He cut her off, saying, “And that will be me soon. I will become The Immortal. Remember? You will be helping me again. You can experience the same feeling with me, too.”

  “You want to become a vampire once again.”

  “No. I’ll have to stay as a human if I become The Immortal.”

  She shook her head. “The Immortal will only go to a female. That’s what they said—” She broke off, her eyes wide and startled. She jerked backwards from his touch. “I—”

  A deathly stillness came over Lucan. He cocked his head to the side and narrowed his eyes. “They said? Who is they?”

  She took another step backwards.

  He took the same step toward her. “Who have you been talking to, Jiyama?” His tone was so soft, eerily soft.

  “The child.”

  “The child . . .” He stepped back, his thoughts whirling, but then it clicked. He took Talia’s child with him. She had been given to a Mori family to be raised. It was decided that he would not raise her and he had forgotten about the child till then. Then, it began to click with what else Jiyama had said. “You’ve been to the child’s home?”

  She nodded. “I was curious, Lucan. I wanted to know more about The Immortal and about Davy. I was not used to this feeling, wanting to know but not having the answers given to me. The child is still human. I thought she could explain more to me.”

  A human child within close proximity and a female one at that. No. He had completely forgotten about the girl . . . she came from an Immortal thread-holder already. Once the thread would leave Davy, it wouldn’t bounce to him. There hadn’t been a male thread-holder, but he had been determined to become the first. No other human within close distance, it would have to go to him, but now he realized his mistake. He had planned to turn Kates when the witches told him Davy was close to losing the thread, but the child—it would’ve gone to the child then.

  The family . . . he was trying to remember whom the child had been given to. They were going to let her grow as a normal human until she got to the age she wanted to be at for eternity. He was recalling all of the meetings now. She hadn’t been born a Mori. If she were turned, she wouldn’t continue to grow as the Mori vampires did. There’d been so much debate about the child, they had been furious he brought the human into their lands in the first place, but then a woman fell in love with the girl. She volunteered to raise her, and the husband . . . “Who took her in?” he muttered under his breath. His hand turned into a fist, and he rapped it against the table. “Who was that . . .”

  His questions were spoken out loud before he realized how they sounded, and he felt Jiyama’s withdrawal immediately. The air grew cold as she stepped away, a scowl instantly on her face.

  “Jiyama.” He reached for her. “It’s not how it sounds—”

  She clipped her head from side to side. “No.” Her eyebrows bunched together again. The corners of her mouth dipped down even more. “I felt your intentions just now. You want to murder the child. That goes against the Mori. You must not touch a child. Ever.”

  His anger rolled into fury, but he kept it contained. He knew he was broadcasting his emotions. Jiyama was in tune wi
th the earth and all sensations rolled together. She could feel his rage even though he was trying to keep it blanketed. She just hadn’t sensed how much rage he had. He was still trying to keep it locked inside of him. As her eyes became hard and accusing, he knew he was failing.

  He knew what he had to do then, but he wouldn’t think about it. If he did, she would know. He couldn’t let himself experience that sadness, because he really did love her.

  “Jiyama,” he said quietly. “I need to thank you.”

  She paused, thrown from his change in demeanor. “Thank me?”

  He nodded, tucking all his hostility aside. He reminded himself that he would become The Immortal. Davy was close. She had to be. No one else would be able to kill three Mori vampires, unless they came upon an army. All would happen as it should. He would find Davy, because she was coming for her friend. She would try to rescue Kates, and he would grab her then. He would use the child to distract her. Everything would work wonderfully, and as he let himself believe his thoughts, a peace settled inside of him.

  Jiyama felt the peace, and she started to look more reassured.

  He went to her, closing the distance between them. They were lovers and he held her face for the third time that day. He leaned down until his forehead rested against hers and he breathed out, “I would’ve completely forgotten about Talia’s child, if you hadn’t reminded me.”

  Her eyes widened, but before she could recoil—he snapped her neck.

  He let her body fall to the floor, and he murmured, “And then all would’ve been in vain. So thank you, Jiyama, for you saved my plans after all.” And then, knowing he would have to burn her body to kill her completely, he reached down and hoisted her up. He carried her to where he had kept Davy imprisoned and tossed her body onto the fire in the corner. No one would think to check this room. It was considered forbidden because it was used to hold captives, and they would never consider checking the ashes for any Mori essence.

  Lighting the fire, he waited until Jiyama was burned beyond recognition, and then he left, knowing the fire would die down on its own.

  He had an Immortal child to hunt down now, but once he stepped into the hallway, a Mori guard came rushing toward him. “Lucan.” The guard stopped, his chest heaving. “There are two armies approaching our lands.”

  Lucas.

  Lucan narrowed his eyes. “Who are they?”

  “One is your brother, but the other army have their own magic.” He stepped back and gestured down the hallway. “The Archon requests your presence.”

  The Archon was the Mori leader . . . and Jiyama’s father. Lucan nodded and proceeded ahead of the guard, but this wasn’t good. This wasn’t good at all.

  ROANE

  “This is ridiculous.”

  Saren appeared next to Roane, who was perched in a tree and watching as five Benshire wolves were combing the trees a mile away. They were doing what he and the Christane wolves had already done. They arrived at the river three days earlier. On the other side were the Mori lands, but a protection spell was cast as soon as they tried to cross the water. Two wolves exploded in thin air and since then, no one ventured across. Because they couldn’t move forward, Roane and the Christane wolves set up their camp and scouted their perimeter. They arrived three days ahead of the Benshire wolves and the Romah vampires. It was why Roane was in place and was disguised when the Benshire wolves would move underneath him.

  He shot Saren a dirty look. “I’m trying to hide here.”

  She waved a hand and snapped her fingers. Immediately, Roane felt the difference. They were blanketed in place. It was like being on the inside of an invisible plastic bubble, but the plastic was rock solid. He asked, “What is this?”

  “I shielded us. We can talk. They won’t hear us, smell us, or see us.”

  “It’s like a cloaking spell?”

  “Cloaking is harder. This one was easier, takes less of my strength to keep it up, but if the wolves try to climb this tree, they’ll know we’re here.”

  “The plan is to sneak behind and kill them, one by one.”

  She nodded. “I’ll wait until they move far enough ahead. We can both slip behind them.”

  His eyes narrowed. “You’re going to help?”

  She’d been absent for the last week of their trip. Once Wren arrived, Saren disappeared. Roane didn’t know why and he wasn’t the only one who realized it. Christian asked one night as well, but Roane couldn’t tell him the reason. He had a feeling it had something to do with Davy, but he wasn’t sure, and he didn’t know if he even wanted to ask.

  “Are you asking me why I’ve been gone?”

  “I guess I am, yeah.”

  Two Benshire wolves were almost directly underneath them. Roane’s instincts quieted him, but he knew the spell would protect them. Davy’s magic was strong, and he knew Saren was connected to the same power. The other three wolves spread farther down. They were all in one line, a hundred yards between each of them. The other three wouldn’t react fast enough. He could jump down and take care of both wolves before they’d be on him, but he still waited. One paused to sniff the tree where he sat.

  He met Saren’s gaze. She had quieted as well and was watching alongside him. He asked in his head, “Does that spell protect my trail as well?”

  When there was no answer, he had the answer.

  Roane nodded to himself. It was time. He reached and pulled out one of his daggers. It would do better in such close quarters against an enemy.

  Then, Saren held up her fingers. She counted down, from three . . . two . . . on one, the air exploded. The spell was lifted and both leapt down from their spots. The wolf reacted too late. He’d been too startled.

  As soon as he realized they were there, Roane was already in front of him. Saren landed behind him, and as the wolf glanced back, taking note of his surroundings, Roane plunged his dagger into his heart.

  It was an instant death, but as quick as they were on this wolf, the second was on them. Roane had enough time to pull the dagger out and turn around. The second wolf was in the air and leaping onto him. Before its claws and teeth could pierce him, Saren slammed into it from the side. The two fell onto the ground and rolled once, then twice before coming to a stop, but Roane didn’t wait. He wasn’t watching as a bystander. He leapt in the air with them and as soon as they came to a stop, he waited long enough for Saren to roll free from the wolf before he was on the wolf’s back. It reared up, trying to pull him off, but it couldn’t. Roane was too fast. His hand went back as he plunged the dagger into another wolf. This time he was coming from the back so he used his entire body strength and weight to drive the dagger all the way into the body, ripping through skin, cartilage, and organs.

  Roane held on, pushing it into the wolf, who was wriggling around. The wolf was trying to dislodge Roane, but he held on. He was vulnerable, though, and seeing his situation, Saren readied on her feet.

  She drew her sword and braced because the other three wolves were coming. They were moving at a faster speed than normal, and they were on them before she could blink a couple times.

  A silver-maned one leapt right at her. His mouth was open and his fangs ready. The other two, an all black-haired one and another black with a white strip running from under his head and down his torso, went for Roane, but as she swung the sword up and sliced across the wolf’s nose, one of them turned to help. There were now two against Saren and one trying to bite into Roane, to pull him off.

  Saren couldn’t help him.

  She swung the sword, but it only grazed across the silver wolf. He pulled his head back in time, but recoiled in pain.

  Roane had been watching and he saw the smoke that rose from the silver wolf’s gaping hole.

  The sword was spelled as well. He didn’t know with what, but he didn’t care. Then, he was brought back to attention when the white-striped wolf bit into his back—or tried. Roane saw the teeth coming and yanked out his dagger. He couldn’t keep pushing for the heart. Pulli
ng his weapon free, he swung it at the striped wolf. It did the same as Saren’s sword. It only grazed the wolf, who pulled back in time.

  Roane fell to his feet and rounded.

  The two wolves held back, regarding him. The first one was hurt badly and was panting for breath. He was falling down, even as Roane surveyed the scene. There was no element of surprise anymore. It would be a head-on confrontation. Hearing a sudden roar from behind him, he knew Saren was holding her own.

  Then, he saw his opening.

  The hurt wolf looked at his comrade and in that split second, Roane shot forward, kicking off the tree behind him for an extra burst of speed. He slid to the ground, coming up underneath the hurt one, but he didn’t stop. He slid all the way under the wolf and as he did, he plunged the dagger into the heart, releasing it as he kept going. Coming to a stop, he watched as the wolf fell to the ground, impaling the dagger further into the body. Roane had a split moment where he grimaced before he realized a worse danger.

  The striped wolf stopped, lifted its head, and howled. The bellow sent chills down Roane’s spine. It was haunting, but there was more to this howl. He heard other wolf howls, but this one held more power.

  “It’s Jacith.” Saren stepped next to him, wiping her sword against the grass to clean the blood from her sword. “The wolf’s call traveled farther and imprinted its urgency on the rest of the Benshire wolves. They’ll be here faster than normal.”

  And that left them with one option.

 
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