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Authors: penelope fletcher

Demon Dark (21 page)

BOOK: Demon Dark
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I winced because that just had to hurt.

 

Wasp was behind us, but paused by Gwendolyn s body. After a tense pause, she smiled, and left the vampire to follow us. Two steps later, with a start, I realized Wasp had waited to check that Cael hadn t destroyed the Queen & she had checked to make sure she would still get to do the deed herself.

 

Outside was just as beautiful and wrong as inside, and Cael walked at a frantic pace until we climbed to the top of an incline and could see far out into the city.

 

He let go of me and flung out his arms.

What do you see,

he asked.

 

The Northern City. Vampire territory.

 

He made a noise of impatience.

Yes, yes, and?

 

I see nothing but a city, Cael. A place filled with demons you ve decided to terrorize and repress.

 

He sighed.

I see pain. I see anguish and despair. The entire world was filled with selfish, self-absorbed beings that when given the opportunity murdered and raped and took great pleasure in doing so. Still is if you look hard enough.

He paused.

Do you know why the vampires bow to me?

 

I frowned.

The answer I got from a vampire was vague. She said the oldest vampire in her Nest made a bargain with you and lost.

 

His head bobbed from side to side.

Almost. The vampire you speak of the Nest King was once my master. You see, he knew what I was. I may look human with glamour, but I smell fairy. I cannot rid myself of it, even with magic.

Cael looked disgusted with himself for this apparent failing.

He took me from my adoptive family and made me his … pet.

Cael crossed his arms over his chest.

He told me what I was. I didn t believe him, at first. But slowly, day after day he showed me what I was capable of.

 

Then why

 

Cael spoke over me with loathing,

He also showed me what he was capable of. You see, I never had any protection, Rae. I didn t have anyone to watch my back, not even my own family.

 

Conall couldn t have known that you….

I trailed off as the words became a lie and bit my bottom lip. Conall had known. He was young when our mother broke the balance, but old enough to know what had happened.

He was young, and angry. You can t place the burden of our failings as a family on his shoulders alone. How would he even know where to look for you?

 

He searched for you. For nearly two centuries, he searched for you. The Rupture came and went and still he searched for his precious baby sister.

Cael s face dared me to deny it.

He left me to the whims of a deranged vampire who thought having a half-breed fairy-boy of royal descent as a plaything was great fun.

He smiled without humor, a cruel thing meant to scare me, and I have no shame admitting it did.

He passed me around a few of his friends. They do love to play games, vampires. They like the taste of fairy too, our blood sustains them physically longer than human blood, a tasty snack. To remain sane they need to feed on humans though, and that is why I was even more appealing. My mixed blood was a perfect blend to give them sanity and strength.

He fingered his throat that was ragged with scars. I winced. Bite marks from vampires left permanent scars on our skin like iron did.

But then you see one day I realized that I was stronger than him. I was more powerful than the oldest vampire known to this world. And not only was I strong, but I had magic. The more I focused the easier it came to me. It was then I started to plot my revenge. It was all I had to hold onto, that one day I would make everyone who had ignored or hurt me suffer. Days passed into years, and I still did nothing. My spirit was broken, and I had become dependant on the affection of the King. That s when Eva found me. She sensed my magic, and came to investigate the presence of a he-witch that had not harkened to her. She was once the Coven Mother and my kind paid tithe to her.

He smiled.

They pay tithe to me now.

 

But why would she claim you?

I asked.

You are fairy.

 

You see, because of my human half my magic has the … tang … of a he-witche s casting. When she discovered what the vampires were doing to me, she attacked them, and gave me a choice.

He gave me a hard look.

Kill or be killed. She decimated the Nest. She was magnificent, her rage blinding, her magic brutal. She was glorious, and still is when I ask it of her. The King was too much for Eva to handle, of course, but seeing him feed on her … all the rage I d held back for so long exploded.

His face took on a haunted look that tore at me.

I punished him like I have never punished another. I changed that day, became someone to fear that day. So I made my choice as to what I would do when I found you a long time ago, and the rest….

He shrugged.

The rest is simply detail. I grow stronger every day. It s my nature to be this monstrous thing Nyal abandoned to the whims of the world.

 

When Lord Nyal gave you up to the humans,

Breandan said quietly,

he thought it was best you were with your own kind. You are not like our people, you could not stay at the Wyld a vivid and constant reminder of the pain Lady Sorcha had caused.

Breandan sighed heavily.

When we mate it is for life. Adultery is punishable by death. The Lady Sorcha did not face her fate, she ran, and Rae was lost to them. The Tribe grieved. To keep you at the Wyld would have stirred too much trouble, and too much strife had already been endured. No child should be exposed to the hatred you would have suffered had you remained. It was supposed to be a kindness.

 

How is abandoning a child to those who would loathe it kindness?

Cael sneered.

I am not like you, you say. Look at me. I do not look human. I don t think or feel like a human does, and it makes it hard to live among them. It was not kindness that was done me, but wickedness born of jealousy. Even if I could forgive Nyal, my suffering would have been eased had my Elder claimed me when his father died. Instead he ignored me in favor of a full-blooded babe that was for all purposes lost to him, nothing but a ghost of a memory.

 

Cael spoke the unadorned truth. That much was clear from the way his whole body shuddered with emotion. The worst thing was I knew exactly what he described. I too had lived as a human under the Sect. I knew what it was like to feel alone and like you didn t belong. I knew what it was like to have people look at you or treat you oddly because they couldn t figure out why you felt alien to them. I knew the pain of wondering why your family had simply tossed you away without a second thought.

 

What was the difference between Cael and I?

 

I had only lived a score of years. Conall had found me, claimed me, and professed his love for me. I had been embraced, accepted, and sought after. I had been showered with affection and love since people had learnt I still lived. Even those who would hurt me still spoke to me as an equal and still craved my attention.

 

Cael?

 

A vampire had secured him when he was young and treated like property. When he finally discovered who he was, the family he desperately craved had searched for another and shunned him. He was hunted, cursed, and struck at, and those who knew of him wanted him dead. Who did he have to love him? All Cael had known was the care of a witch, a woman who used black magic to take what she wanted.

 

Had my circumstances been his, could I pretend I would be any different?

 

Grimacing, Breandan looked somewhat ashamed of what had happened.

Conall holds great guilt over how you have been treated. He never knew that you suffered so greatly.

 

Cael shook his head bitterly, fists clenching.

He didn t bother to look, and what would you know of it?

 

I was born long after the bitterness of Sorcha and Nyal s mating, but as Wyld Guardian it was my purpose to ensure order. When it became clear the vampires were not the driving force behind the Rupture the previous guardian made it his duty to discover what was. I have continued this charge, and I know that even now Conall would right this wrong if you d let him.

 

Tentative, I placed a hand on Cael s forearm.

Our Elder

 

He is not my Elder!

Cael s face darkened as he battled with his own inner turmoil.

 

I held my palms up.

Okay, I mean, fine. Conall has been in as much pain as we have. Can you not see that?

I waved my hands around.

We re all trapped in this web our parents spun. We don t have to stick to it, we can go our own way and be free.

 

I will never be free of this.

 

I snorted.

Of course you will. I ll help

 

Cael grabbed my arms and jerked me to him. His grip was brutish and was meant to hurt me. I could see he d snapped, abruptly and violently. I d grown too much at ease and forgotten my brother was a dangerous force, unpredictable.

 

I will never be free of this. I will have my revenge, even if it means burning down those Wylds you all treasure so much to rid me of you all.

His eyes landed on my amulets. Their weight became abruptly heavy, and I resisted the urge to cover them with my hand.

I finally have what I need.

 

Breandan s anger was instant. His nature flared, and his protective instincts kicked in. The power of the bond swelled and rage heated my blood.

 

Release her,

Breandan growled.

 

Back off,

Cael snapped.

 

He waved a hand, and Breandan was knocked down the slope. The force of the impact was powerful enough to punch the silence with a horrible thump.

 

Cael shook me roughly.

You think words will stop me seeking my revenge? You think telling me to

get over it

will stop me exacting justice to those who deserve it?

 

Unable to help myself, my eyes rolled off to the side. Breandan struggled to stand. Cael flicked his wrist, and Breandan slammed back down, magics pressing him down until the earth shifted.

 

Stop,

I whispered.

He hasn t hurt you. Those who deserve your anger are dust. They re gone, we are their legacy,

I looked Cael in the eyes,

and you are the worst of it.

 

The blood drained from his face, his eyes wide and startled.

 

Wasp ran to Breandan s side and tried to help him fight Cael s spell, but the fairy had no magic of her own, and wasn t getting far.

 

Go,

I yelled to her.

Warn the Tribe.

 

I didn t get a chance to see if she obeyed.

 

Cael hit me, the back of his hand connecting with my cheek. The knock was hard enough to have my sight blackening for several moments.

 

My eyes opened, and I was sprawled across the floor. I didn t remember falling. Pain lanced through my skull and I grunted. I staggered up, the dull throb on my face off-putting.

 

Defensive magics welled in my fingertips, ready to ward off any further blows.

 

Cael was nonchalant. His anger receded behind a veneer of calm.

I didn t want to hit you, I dislike doing so.

He frowned.

Our time together has ended. Give me the amulets. Then leave.

 

Breathless, I could not keep the incredulity from my expression.

No,

I blurted, flabbergasted he would strike me then ask me to hand them over as if he were asking for a favor.

You ll have to kill me before I give them to you.

 

He huffed a sigh.

So dramatic, so tiresome, I don t have time for games.

His voice deepened, and he curled his fingers in the air.

Sleep now.

 

The strangest feeling washed over me. I shook it off and found myself swaying on the spot. I could not blink without my eyes becoming heavier with each motion. My arms and legs felt leaden, my body a dreadfully heavy thing I could not manage.

 

Cael caught me as I crumpled and set me gently on the ground.

I m sorry to have to do this, but if it keeps you out of my way &.

 

A tearing noise registered before the pain. My right wing burned before stabbing pains radiated down my pinion to the middle of my back. He d sliced my wing.

 

I was too tired to scream and managed a scared whimper.

 

Hush, hush, that s it, softly, softly. I see you ve been tortured, and that s not my plan. I doubt it would accomplish anything looking at how far they pushed you. You will sleep, and when you wake it will be over. Sleep now.

 

Cael removed the leather cord from around my neck the amulets.

 

The last thing I heard was Cael taunting Breandan for his failure. The last thing I felt was pain down the bond as he took his spite out on my fairy.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Consciousness is a tricky thing. When you re weighed down, it s hard to grasp it and hold on. Many times my eyes opened to stare lifelessly before shuttering closed again.

 

I knew I needed to wake up, but I was so very tired, and it was so blessedly easy to sink back down into the darkness. What did it matter if I never woke? I d failed. Again. Cael had the amulets and no doubt he was already on his way to take the grimoire from my friends and family.

 

The same friends and family that had cast me out thinking me too dangerous to keep around.

 

I burrowed deeper into the darkness, the agony of the truth too much. Much to my dismay, my pitiful attempt to hide was soon thwarted.

 

I woke with a start.

 

My arms and legs tingled from being asleep so long, but a deep frustration is what woke me up. I was hungry too, not a sensation I will ever come to enjoy having, and was one of the things I regretted about the awakening of my fairy nature.

BOOK: Demon Dark
12.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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