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Authors: penelope fletcher

Demon Dark (9 page)

BOOK: Demon Dark
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Everything had an electric blue tinge in the dark, my fairy sight.

 

Breandan took my hand and lead me though a glade, edged by silent and solemn forms.

 

Sentries.

 

Fairy Knights.

 

We walked over a bridge, and underneath ran a lovely stream. When I followed its path with my gaze, I realized it lead to the pool I d escaped to on my first visit.

 

Daphne was beside herself. Her edginess made me jittery.

Where shall I put the book?

she hissed.

 

Hide it,

I replied in a low aside.

 

She nodded absentmindedly and slipped away silently, blurring she ran so fast.

 

I tugged on Breandan s hand to slow him down to give her time. I didn t think it was a great idea to leave her wandering around on Wyld land on her own for too long.

 

Will she be in danger?

I asked Breandan, waiting until I was sure she was out of hearing range. I had a feeling Daphne would be offended if I suggested she couldn t defend herself in enemy territory.

 

She ll be fine as long as she returns soon. The sentries would have spotted us the moment we set foot on Wyld land. Our number and anyone recognizable would have been relayed back to the first Warrior at hand, and since I am one & or was one, they will be at ease unless we do something to suggest our intentions are anything but peaceful. Since there is a Meet being assembled they will be less leery of strangers.

 

It s beautiful,

I murmured appreciatively.

 

The Wyld is practical in its splendor. The heart holds the ClanTrees, you ve seen them before. Surrounding them are many copses, treefall gaps, and glades.

He motioned around him.

Like this, but smaller. We use these clearings for everyday life and social gatherings. The ClanTrees are where the Tribe sleep and gather for personal time between kin. Because of this, the earth beneath them is filled with life and magic. The ground is scared. We have a platform high in the middle ClanTree plant crown to meet the dawn. I once thought there was nothing more beautiful.

He slanted a look at me.

I now know better.

 

It took me a while to catch the compliment, but once I did, I blushed and scooted closer. I lifted my heels of the floor, and balancing on my tiptoes, I cupped his face and kissed him. I was trying to be modest, but he grabbed me by the arms, lifted me up, and deepened the kiss. His tongue boldly swept into my mouth when I gasped, and he groaned low in his throat. I flung my arms around his neck and happily locked my legs around his waist, rubbing myself against him. Breandan s hands smoothed down my sides and gripped my hips.

 

Ah, Rae?

Daphne s voice floated past my ear.

People are looking, and they look & confused.

 

I broke away breathing hard and licked my bottom lip, enjoying the sweet taste that lingered.

 

Rae &.

 

Breandan rested his head on my shoulder and narrowed his eyes, glowering at the interruption. I kissed his jaw and patted his cheek to let me down. He released me reluctantly and kept his arms looped around my waist.

 

I spun in the circle of his arms and found a stressed looking Daphne.

Yeah, I ve hidden the book under these boulders I found,

she said.

You ve got to have the strength of my kind to lift them, and I think they re dense enough to absorb some of the book s energy.

Her eyes scanned the edge of the clearing.

People are watching us from the trees.

 

It s okay. You came with us, so you re safe.

 

Okay, I ll rephrase. People are watching you, rather, watching you rub all over each other like bitches in

 

Okay then,

I butted in loudly. Feeling Breandan grow angrier behind me from the stiff lines of his body, and the repeated flexing of his hands on my waist, I thought it prudent to disrupt her chatter. He didn t like reminders of his brother s claim on me.

The last time I was here Lochlann made it look like & well & um & he made it seem like we were, ah, y know. Together.

 

Oh. Is he cute?

Daphne s eyes twinkled mischievously, and she slyly glanced at Breandan.

Yours is handsome, but I prefer a more mature man.

 

I took Breandan s hand and tugged him along before his head exploded.

We should probably get to the Meet. If it s started, we need to be there. I did call it after all.

 

Breandan allowed himself to be towed along until his dark mood passed and he took the lead again. We passed over a wooden bridge engraved with what looked fairies frolicking with wolves, cats, birds and bears. Shifters. I pointed this out to Breandan in the hope of engaging him long enough to stop scowling at Daphne who ambled along gaily.

 

We used to have strong ties to the Prides, Aeries and Packs. We even visited the bears, and you know how temperamental they can be.

He remembered that I didn t know, and smiled, brought our joined hands to his lips for a kiss.

Well, you will know, I m sure.

 

Breandan led us from the clearing up a path that lead into denser thicket. There were many smaller paths leading off in different directions, but Breandan kept us on the main path until he took a deep breath and clasped my chin.

Stay strong,

he murmured and kissed me fiercely.

 

By the time he d finished, and tugged my hand to get me moving, I was worried.

CHAPTER FIVE

The first thing my drifting gaze fixed on was Lochlann. Bulkier about the torso than Breandan, and rugged in appearance, his ears had the point of fairy, and his skin the faintest of green tinges. He had no tail or wings, but what he did have was a powerful and commanding presence that intimidated me, and made me say foolish things. His hair brushed his shoulders in a blonde mane, and the clean cuts of his jaw were attractive, a more severe forming of Breandan s sensual jaw line. The most striking thing about this fairy lord was that he had one green eye and one blue, both as wintry and aloof as his aura.

 

So much of my Breandan was reflected in Lochlann, and through his piercing stare it made me hot and uncomfortable.

 

Tradition dictated that Lochlann should have been the one to mate me, not his younger brother. Would things be different now if Breandan had never helped me when I saw Maeve captured by the Clerics? If I had met Lochlann first would I have accepted his claim on me? Maybe, but I suspected things would have gone downhill the moment Breandan and I saw each other. One touch, and we would have bonded, and betrayed everything the Tribe believed in. Just like my mother had when she betrayed High Lord Nyal and took a human lover. She even gave birth to a child according to some. I may have more family, and the thought often teased the edges of my concentration. It was one that made my heart soar, and made we wish to somehow find them, as Conall had done me. I would love them no matter what and care for them. As pleasant as the thought of finding more people to love was, I had other things to be concerning myself with, and Breandan had told me to follow up on such ties would bring me pain. I guess I could see his point. The discovery of a human fairy half-breed wouldn t have gone down well. Who could predict how such a merging would turn out? What had happened to that splinter branch of my family tree? Did that baby live as a human and die in the Rupture? It was a horrible thought and one I didn t wish to dwell on. In truth, nothing my birth parents did was worthy of too much reflection. I was ashamed of them ashamed of what they had done. Ana s claim that my mother had shifted the balance all those years ago, and set the world on a course of destruction put mountains of pressure on my head, and on poor Conall s.

 

Where was Conall? I hadn t seen him in what felt like forever. Now I had a brother I couldn t get enough of his affection and attention.

 

Rae?

The soft gasp pulled me from stray thoughts, and I waved my hand weakly in hello.

 

Lochlann visibly shook himself when the shock of seeing me wore off.

 

The leaders of demonkind were probably expecting someone taller, more beautiful, and waiflike. Instead, they got me. Twitchy, covered in scars, ready to bolt at the first rippling of fear & me. Gods, those damn scars drew every eye. I still wore the sloppy black tunic given to me by Papa Obe and the thin leather trousers worn at the knee and seat.

 

I looked like a peasant, not a High Priestess.

 

Self-conscious, I pushed the hair from my eyes. The heel of my palm glanced off my circlet, always an effective reminder of who I was when I felt like crap. I rubbed the scar on my collarbone, fingers knocking the leather cord my amulets hung on. My fidgeting increased, and for the life of me, I couldn t stop it.

 

Breandan sensed my hesitation, and smoothed a hand over the small of my back. The touch calmed me. The others couldn t see it, so I was allowed to feed on his confidence without anyone being the wiser.

 

Relaxing my arms at my sides, I straightened my shoulders, and stood tall so they could look their fill. To make myself more imposing, I flexed my wings, and let them shine brilliant gold as my tail brushed the ground.

 

What happened?

Lochlann asked flatly, his eyes raking over me and seeing more than I was entirely comfortable with. He briefly took in the change to Breandan s form, but did not react to the silver wings resting on his back and his tail. Only Lochlann could act like his younger brother maturing into the ancient fairy form was nothing.

The others returned without you yet could not say where you went.

His eyes settled on the marks covering me, and unexpectedly his expression softened.

What happened to you, Rae?

 

I worried my bottom lip, worried about his reaction to me, and worried that to everybody else my scars appeared the result of a lack of care from Breandan.

They told you what happened at Temple?

 

Lochlann s cutting look probed me then twitched to focus on his younger brother accusingly.

I was & informed of the situation, but given no detail.

 

Maeve stood behind him, Alec at her side. She fidgeted, fiery hair cascading over rounded shoulders, the darkened tips sliding across green collarbones. Her willowy limbs were relaxed into elegant lines, but when tensed battle ready moved with an incredible grace making her a beautiful young woman and a fierce warrior.

 

She sent me a lopsided smile of apology; her scarlet eyes silently confessing she was Lochlann s information source.

 

I wasn t mad, she had no choice, and it saved me the trouble of having to confess to the High Lord I hadn t exactly been successful in keeping my attachment to Breandan discreet.

 

Lochlann repeated his earlier question when I remained silent busy taking in the familiar and strange faces surrounding me.

What happened? Where did you go?

 

I sucked in a breath and chanced a glance at Daphne. Her gaze was fixed on Lochlann and made me do a double take.

 

She looked winded.

 

He noticed her then and his eyes narrowed suspiciously. Less than a heartbeat s study later, Lochlann s brow plunged, and he glared. Ruddy color rode high on his sharp cheekbones.

I let you shelter a vampire here once. Not again. You will escort that & demon from Wyld land.

His eyes glittered dangerously.

Remove her now or she will be dragged out. Kian!

 

A slender fairy male to Lochlann s immediate left jumped to attention and darted a look at me. I shook my head. He gave me an apologetic look and took a step toward Daphne.

 

I slid in front of her and met Lochlann s eye.

Daphne is with me.

 

Vampire,

Lochlann growled and the demons in the small group echoed his outraged rumble of disapproval.

 

Nostrils and tempers flared as they picked up her distinct scent.

 

The fairy looked uncertain at my hard look.

I m your Priestess,

I reminded him.

If you touch her I will defend her.

 

His stride shortened but he did not stop, his loyalty to Lochlann understandably greater than that to me.

 

I panicked and magics crackled at my fingertips. Fighting was not the way to bring about acceptance of Daphne, but words hadn t worked, and this was the one thing I knew. The one thing I was learning I had a knack for surviving. A fight.

 

Breandan hissed warningly from behind me. His influence blanketed me and pushed out to engulf anybody standing too close. The depth of his anger cut through the air, and everybody shuddered in reaction to the feral caution.

 

The fairy stopped dead in his tracks and his expression struggled to settle on an emotion. Fear, watchfulness, confusion, and effrontery all battled over his face until defeat won, and he stepped aside, bowing his head to his lord in apology.

 

Will the entire Tribe defy me,

Lochlann bellowed. He strode forward and Daphne moved clear of me, her expression defiant as he grabbed her arm and dragged her behind him.

I will do it myself.

 

I have the grimoire,

she blurted.

 

Lochlann slammed to still and spun into her. For a moment, it was just the two of them locked in a bubble of tension. Daphne was tiny compared to him yet she craned her head back, pointed chin jutted forward proudly eyen as fear flashed in her eyes. His thick fingers flexed individually on her upper arm before uncurling and releasing her.

 

Daphne took a hasty step back, and crossed her arms over her chest.

Thought that might get your attention,

she muttered moodily.

BOOK: Demon Dark
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