Davina, p.23
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       Davina, p.23

         Part #3 of Immortal Prophecy series by Tijan
 
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  showed over Lily’s face every time she focused on Tracey. She knew deep down, whether she spoke the words or not. Lily knew Tracey was her aunt.

  She took her hand, tipping her head back so she could look all the way up the bigger vampire. “You’re missing my mommy.”

  Suhnah gasped, but Tracey felt a burning behind her eyes. She was trying not to cry. “You know who I am.”

  Lily nodded. Her little hand squeezed Tracey’s. “But you know that I knew.” Her cheeks puffed out. The color had started to fade, but it pinked again. “My mommy comes to see me. She told me about how nice you are. You came all this way to protect me.”

  Suhnah’s head lifted. She stared at Tracey intensely. “Protect her? From who?”

  “The other lady that broke them out, Mom.”

  The burning moved to her throat. Tracey felt a lump forming. Her niece was trying to reassure her Mori mother, but she looked back to her and when their gazes collided, she knew that the child was aware of so much more than she should’ve been. Tracey knelt down. Her hands rested on Lily’s tiny shoulders. “What do you know about that lady?”

  “She’s here.” Her voice dipped low. She glanced over her shoulder, as if looking for her to arrive right then and there. “She’s coming because she’s scared that I’ll take the thread from her.”

  “What do you mean? She is the thread.”

  “Yeah, but if she’s turned, she’ll come into me. She won’t exist anymore. She’ll just be the thread again.”

  Tracey’s mind was spinning. There’d been talks about how to stop The Immortal, but no one had come up with anything legit. All the ideas were too outlandish and failure was a certainty. None had considered asking the child. She had to know more, so much more, but she forced herself to speak calmly. She didn’t want to alarm her niece. “Lily, do you know how to stop The Immortal?”

  At the mention of her, Lily’s face grew alarmed. Her eyes rounded. The ends of her mouth grew tight and her neck stiffened. She looked like she couldn’t breathe, but she only shook her head in a clipped motion from right to left and back again. A whispered, “No,” came out.

  “Stop it.” Suhnah rushed forward and pulled Lily away. She lifted her up. Lily buried her head into her Mori mother’s neck and held on tight. A whimpering sounded from her. It was low and sent shivers through Tracey, but her niece knew. Her niece knew about The Immortal. She knew she was coming for her. She knew about Tracey. She knew about Talia. She wanted to ask more, know more, but she bit her words back. She wouldn’t find anything out that way.

  Tracey stepped back and lifted her hands up. “I’m sorry. I just . . .” She faltered, feeling an ominous sadness weighing down on her chest. She was going to lose her niece. Her end was coming, but she didn’t know when.

  “If you don’t mind, I think you should stay with the others for the night.” Suhnah cupped the back of Lily’s head. Her eyes flashed in anger. “There’s a room for you. We can talk tomorrow about what happened today.”

  Tracey nodded. “Okay.”

  Suhnah walked away, and she couldn’t do a thing to stop her. The ominous feeling grew, and all she could do was watch. Lily lifted her head. The tears were dried up already, but she held her aunt’s gaze as she was carried away.

  Tracey let out a soft sigh. “Talia, if there’s a time for you to perform a miracle and help me save your child, it’s now. Help me keep her alive.”

  Talia heard her sister. She was on the other side. A barrier was between her and the living, but she was there. She knew what was coming and unlike those still alive, she could see what was coming.

  Saren stepped next to her, watching Tracey who was watching her niece. “We’ll stop her.”

  Talia glanced at her, sadness emanating from every cell of her spirit. “I hope so. I really hope so.”

  “The Immortal knows about us. She must’ve been the one to tell Jacith about us. She’ll come for the child and then she’ll come for us.”

  Another thread-holder sister joined them. Others were there as well. One by one, they all came to stand on the other side of that veil. All watched the child and all knew, their end was near.

  Sireenia said, “She is the last thread-holder. That means something.”

  No one looked at her. No one wanted to remind her that it could mean all their spirit deaths were coming, because more than likely, that was the ending for their prophecy. It was their death and not The Immortal’s.

  Saren was the vessel chosen to fight for them, but it wasn’t time yet. She was waiting, and as they remained there, she was coming.

  The Immortal had arrived.

  ROANE

  Lucas was stuck, literally.

  She froze him in place and all he could do was wait. No matter how much force he tried to break through her invisible boundary, he couldn’t. And he was cloaked, but if he did break free, he’d figure a way around being invisible. Another day, another time Davy would’ve been laughing with glee. She would’ve loved being invisible. All the pranks she could’ve pulled on everyone, even her human friends that annoyed her. She really loved torturing them.

  He started to grin, imagining it. Then, he was brought back to reality with a resounding crash. There was no Davy and there soon wouldn’t be if he didn’t do something about it. She said he could break her free. He had to try, but his Hunters’ tattoo burned at that moment. It had been burning more and more since the battle. The Immortal said it was because the Hunters were nearby, but it was a lie. They kicked him out and turned off his connection to their power. The tattoo was alive because of her. That was the only reason that made sense, but it was scalding him now.

  He tipped his head back and a roar erupted from him. The pain was blinding, even to him. He glanced around, but there was no Immortal. She wasn’t there, so what was happening?

  Then, he heard, “Lucas Roane of the Roane bloodline.” A deep and bellowing voice spoke from behind him. He turned around, but there wasn’t one person. There were a dozen or more.

  Shock had him speechless. He got over that real fast, though and scowled. “Blackstock.”

  Blackstock was the elder of the Hunters’ line. He vowed to protect humans from vampires. It was the terms for why the slayers were discontinued. Too many slayers went rogue, and the Hunters were created. He was old, even for being a vampire, and he had gray hair. Not many vampires had gray hair. It spoke to his eternity. He was close to the end that he chose. Gray hair appeared only when a vampire wanted to die.

  He folded his hands together. “You’ve been feeling your connection again?”

  He meant the Hunter tattoo. Roane continued to scowl. “I’m guessing that’s why you can see me.”

  “It is. We activated your connection when we learned of your new mission.”

  “My mission?” Roane clipped out. “You wanted me to kill Davy.”

  “We had good reason for your order. She is too powerful now.”

  “I know.”

  “This is what we feared. A creature too great to exist on our plane.”

  Lucas groaned. He used to be more professional, but that was when he had been regarded as their best Hunter, before they told him to kill the woman he loved. Since then, since going rogue, he wasn’t feeling any inclination to be polite. “Tell me something I don’t know.” He shot Blackstock a dark look. “Tell me something that’s useful.” He punched at the invisible wall holding him in place. “Get me out of here. That’d be useful!”

  Blackstock frowned, but glanced over his shoulders. The other Hunters nodded. “We will try.”

  “How?”

  “We will give you all of our power.”

  Roane was stunned. That much power . . . he looked at all of them. There were sixteen Hunters standing there and no one was blinking an eye. There was no hesitation. All were ready, merely staring back at him, and waiting for when it was time.

  He said, “This is why you came, isn’t it?”

  Blackstock nodded. “We had to know wh
at side you were on so we came. We waited. We watched and now, we know. It is time.”

  “I . . .” He had no words. “You will die.”

  “It is worth dying for. The Immortal cannot be allowed to live. You must kill her.”

  “But—”

  “There is no time, Lucas of the Roane Bloodline. There is only one more who was created to hold the thread. The Immortal is looking for the child now. She will kill her, and when that happens, there is no more hope.” He raised his hands up. It was the signal. All the Hunters placed their hands on the shoulder of the Hunter before them. The two behind Blackstock both touched his shoulders. They were all physically connected and at the last touch, Lucas doubled over again. His tattoo was a line of fire. It was burning, singeing the air, and the pain was slicing through him. It felt like his tattoo was trying to pull him apart.

  There was no more time wasted. Blackstock immediately began chanting, and as he kept going, one by one the Hunters began to fall to the ground. It was the last line. They started on the left and went to the right. One down. Two. Three. Four. Then, five, six, seven. Lucas couldn’t do anything except watch and count them. Eight. Nine. Ten . . . Six left. They had gotten to the second line of Hunters behind Blackstock. Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen.

  It was the last two behind Blackstock.

  He kept chanting. Lucas’s tattoo was one huge flame. He ceased feeling anything except being burned alive, but he knew it would stop. The higher the flame went meant another Hunter had fallen.

  Fourteen.

  Fifteen.

  It was down to one. Blackstock stopped. He was the last and he lifted his head. His eyes were complete fire. It reminded him of Saren . . . Saren? Lucas frowned. A nagging emotion started, but he couldn’t focus on that. Blackstock spoke, “With these last words, I will pass along the last Hunters’ power to you. We have lived our lives. We have fulfilled our missions. Our new purpose is to live through you.”

  “Blackstock.” Lucas didn’t know what to say. Everything in him was searing pain, but he felt like he should say something. “I’m sorry it came to this.”

  “It would’ve come to pass no matter what course of actions you chose. As long as a thread-holder exists, The Immortal would’ve tried to come alive. It is no one’s fault.” He paused. The older vampire hesitated, just slightly, before his lifted his head even higher. “Are you ready?”

  Lucas nodded. He wasn’t asking him. Blackstock was asking himself. It was time for him to die and he said the words needed. As the last one left his mouth, his head fell back. His arms spread out, palms faced to the sky. A burst of light left him, making his body appear like it was going to blow up, but it shot up in the air and then back down right away. It burst through the invisible barrier and slammed into Roane. He cried out, feeling all of their power inside of him. It was too much. His body couldn’t contain it. He was going to explode. All would be lost, but as he thought that, it was done.

  He was the last Hunter. The power settled into him and he could only stand there and watch as one by one, the Hunters’ bodies died. They withered to corpses, and then to bones, and then to dust. They became one with the earth.

  A last wind raced across the land, sweeping them up, and it grazed over Roane. It was his last goodbye to them, and with that, as they were carried to be scattered over the lands, Roane was alone.

  He saw his sword had fallen to the ground. He bent to pick it up, and as he did, another voice spoke, “You got amped up, I see.”

  It was Saren, but instead of the usual sneer on her face, there was wariness. He finished picking up his sword and sheathed it into place. “You’ve been missing.” She was the one Davy talked about.

  She didn’t come closer. She remained ten yards away and shifted so her knees were bent and she was on the tips of her toes. She was ready to bolt or fight if necessary. Lucas registered her stance. “Are you fearful of me?”

  “She was in your head. She could be speaking through you right now.”

  She—The Immortal.

  It wasn’t meant as an insult, but Lucas still felt it was one. His eyes flashed in irritation. “I was never under her control.”

  “You drank from her. You could’ve been.”

  “She forced me to, but I was never under her control. I was still myself.”

  “She was in your body and your head.”

  She was. Lucas couldn’t argue that. “She’s not anymore. Davy did something. I don’t know what, but The Immortal isn’t in my head anymore. I’m not connected at all to her now.”

  At the mention of Davy, Saren’s head popped up. Her eyes grew more alert. “Davy? You’ve been in contact with her?”

  He nodded. “I don’t know how. It was when I was sleeping, but when I woke up, The Immortal wasn’t in my head.”

  “How’d she react to that?”

  “She didn’t really, but I could tell it bothered her.” He shrugged. “It’s probably why she didn’t let me go with her.”

  “What else did Davy say?”

  “That someone is missing. She said something about being turned and an innocent one.” Talia’s child. Blackstock said the child, but it all clicked with Lucas right then. Talia’s child was here. She was the next thread-holder. It was why they had come to the Mori village in the first place. He couldn’t think about Talia’s child being murdered. He said to Saren, “You’ve been missing. Why?”

  Saren didn’t answer at first. She gazed at him, seemingly studying him for something, Then, she sighed and replied, “Jacith was aware of us. He had cloaked himself to my sisters and me. We didn’t proceed until we knew the reason.”

  “It was The Immortal.”

  “Yes.” Saren nodded, her eyes downcast. “We saw all that transpired. It was alarming to find out that The Immortal betrayed Davy and our sisters. You killed him too early, though.”

  Lucas frowned. “What do you mean?”

  “She was going to use him to help destroy our line. We think that is why she allied with him. That, and because she needed more power to burst free from Davy. Those were the two reasons.”

  “She said she was going to offer me to him. He wanted the Hunters’ power for himself.”

  “No.” She shook her head, moving closer to him. Whatever had been holding her back diminished. Her shoulders relaxed, her words came more freely, and the old Saren spark was revived. He saw the flame light up her eyes, and as she spoke, it burned more and more. “We think that was a ruse. We think she took you and connected you two to keep watch if anyone would plot against her. You are the glue. She knew you sent your friends ahead to plan how to save Davy, but if anyone is able to bring her back, it would be you. We think that was the real reason she took you with her.”

  “But Jacith . . .”

  “If he killed you, her blood would’ve been in him. She would’ve had even better access to his power, and he wouldn’t have known. We think that was the real plan for her to use him and then destroy him when she didn’t need him anymore.”

  “So she would’ve killed me?” Lucas’s head moved back. That thought . . . it didn’t sit well with him. “That bitch.”

  Saren cracked a grin. “Yeah, well, that bitch is going to kill one of my sisters. We will need your help to stop her.”

  Talia’s child. Roane focused again. “What’s the plan?”

  Saren gazed at him, waiting a beat before she said, “You.”

  They felt her coming.

  The winds moved with her. The grass turned toward her. The sun dipped low, as if to light her path better. Clouds formed in the sky, circling over the Mori village. Animals raced for shelter, and a chill went down everyone’s backs because they could all feel her power.

  The Immortal walked across the grass for where the Mori children played. Suhnah was halfway back to their home when she stopped. She turned, holding Lily, and fear slivered through her like she had never experienced before.

  Tracey couldn’t move, not at first. The same fear everyone felt w
as paralyzing her, but then her instincts kicked in and she placed herself in The Immortal’s path. She raised her chin up, challenging, and said, “You will not go any further.”

  The Immortal stopped a few feet away and cocked her head to the side. Her eyes ran over the warrior vampire and then she grinned. “You are Talia’s sister. At last, we meet.” The way The Immortal stood there, her hair billowing from the wind, flying behind her and around her, the image was beautiful, but chilling at the same time. Her white dress was clean, as if she wasn’t a creature of the world. It was like she was above them, a god among them, but Tracey
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