Demon's Quest

Page 33

"Thank Reah and Denevik, she called him and he asked us for help," Garde said.

"I think I'll wait until somebody checks her over and she wakes," Lendill said. "Farzi, Nenzi, are you ready to travel with Reah? Gavril said he had to get back to Campiaa, and for you to stay with Reah."

"We stay," Farzi agreed, moving carefully so Reah wouldn't fall.

"I can carry her," Denevik approached the reptanoids carefully. Farzi let Reah's grandfather lift her. Lendill, now more comfortable with his newly-found skill, folded everyone, Lok included, straight to Le-Ath Veronis.

"I still remember what to do," Edan said softly, checking Reah's vitals.

"He does, I am advancing him swiftly in his classes. He will have his medical degree quite soon," Karzac agreed, standing behind Edan and watching closely as he examined Reah.

"Dehydrated and weak," Edan sighed. "Will you wake her or allow her to sleep a while longer?" He gazed up at his mentor. Karzac's green-gold eyes smiled just a little.

"What do you want to do?" he asked.

"I'd like to see my baby open her eyes, but you'll know best."

"We'll wake her-I think Radolf has something ready she can eat."

"According to our prisoners, the warlock's plan was to take a few students and get away. The Ra'Ak had other ideas, once they saw how many were at that handball match." Norian shook his head as a comesula offered a cup of hot tea to the ASD Director. Norian spoke with Lissa, Gavin and Tony inside Lissa's private study.

"This just proves how crazy they're getting," Lissa shook her head. "Normally, they'd bite a few, turn them loose and let them infect others. What did the Strands say about placing the new spawn in stasis?"

"They said that one of the Ra'Ak placed a shield around the gym to keep anyone from escaping. Then, after the Ra'Ak bit everybody, the warlock managed to put the new spawn in stasis, making them appear to be humanoid dead. He set a trap, after the Ra'Ak modified the original plan." Norian sipped tea and watched Lissa carefully. He knew, just as she did, that the entire Reth Alliance was devastated by the news of so many deaths. All of Boodreatis was in mourning and donations and condolences were pouring in from everywhere.

"This may be the worst I've seen," Lissa muttered, hugging herself. Gavin moved to lift her before taking her chair and settling Lissa on his lap.

"Little rose," Connegar appeared and knelt beside Lissa and Gavin. Reaching out, the tall Larentii brushed Lissa's cheek. "Those young ones and the others were already gone, once they were bitten," he said gently. "Conner escorted those souls herself. They are safe upon the other side."

"But what about their parents? Their friends and families?" Lissa brushed tears away.

"My love, monsters take lives every day. We do what we can, and what we are allowed to do. Our work lies ahead of us, to destroy these monsters and bring what little peace we can to those left behind. The Wise Ones say Reah is a key element in tracking these murderers."

"Then we need her on her feet soon," Lissa muttered.

Connegar nodded at Lissa's words. He didn't say what he, Pheligar and a few other Larentii had discussed with the Wise Ones-that a power of some kind seemed intent on destroying Reah and allowing mentally ill Ra'Ak to move willfully throughout both Alliances, leaving death and chaos in their wake.

"Breah-mul, put your arms around my neck, love." Lendill nuzzled my cheek carefully after Karzac woke me and stepped away. Edan was there, too and he smiled encouragingly as Lendill moved to lift me up. I was dressed in clothing Great-aunt Glinda had brought to replace what I'd lost after turning Thifilatha. I was grateful-Glinda has good taste and I wasn't clothed in ruffles and frippery.

"Daddy?" I whispered, holding a hand out to Edan after Lendill lifted me.

"Baby, how do you feel?" He took my hand and kissed it.


"I know. We'll feed you and get you back in bed," he promised.

Lissa's dinner table was completely full, and Radolf sat to eat with us as well. Tory and Ry were off on some investigation for Lendill; he said as much when he settled me on a chair and then sat beside me. Radolf had the other side, with Farzi and Nenzi next to him. I wondered how long Aurelius would be out, but knew not to bother him with that question. His assignments took as long as they took, and there was no hurrying them.

"This came just a bit ago from Wylend," Lissa passed an envelope down the table toward me. I hadn't seen Wylend since I woke on the second day after my injury, and he hadn't bothered to say good-bye. I figured he had business to attend to on Karathia.

"Here," Lendill opened the envelope for me and pulled the message out. I opened the note bearing the official crest of Karathia, expecting an explanation. I got it in spades, as Teeg would say.

Reah Desh Nilvas Silver, it began, Our engagement is hereby ended. We were informed that you spoke against Our choice as heir, naming another whom you deemed more suitable. On Karathia, that is considered treason. Therefore, as a favor to one whom We once considered worthy of Our care, We are merely banishing you from this world, rather than pronouncing a sentence of punishment. We will not welcome you within Our presence from this day forward-Wylend Giraldus Arden, King of Karathia.

"Radolf," I quavered, handing him the note and rising from my chair. Radolf was still a citizen of Karathia. Was he supposed to stay away from me, too? What about Erland and Rylend? And who'd told? Only one person had heard me say that Wyatt didn't want to be heir-Teeg. He'd told Wylend. Had Teeg known what the result would be? I was betting that he did. Teeg knew just about all there was to know about everything. Now, I'd been fucked by both of them, and not in any good way. I skipped away before Lendill could reach me.

"What the bloody fuck?" Radolf stood, staring at the letter sent by Wylend.

"What does it say?" Lissa was standing, too, an expression of concern on her face.

Radolf read the contents of the letter to everyone present.

"I'll kill him myself," Lissa threw her napkin down, fuming. "I don't give a damn if he is my grandfather. Did she say this to him personally? And whom did she name instead of Wyatt? My father is behind this, I know it." Lissa was nearly shouting, while Gavin, Drake and Drew were trying to calm her.

"Well, that's it for me," Radolf tossed the letter onto the table. "You are all witnesses-I renounce my Karathian citizenship."

Tory sat at the bar inside Starshine, a popular nightclub on the outskirts of Quezlos, the capital city on Surnath. His sixth drink was in his hand and he was about to toss back what was left of it and order another. He'd gotten information through mindspeech from King Wylend, and although he'd known it wasn't all the information available, he'd recognized the truth in Wylend's words. Things had certainly taken a turn he hadn't expected, and in between searching for information Lendill requested, he'd decided to get as drunk as possible.

"Well, hello, there." She was tall, black-haired, blue-eyed and lovely. She also made a point to brush against Tory as she took the barstool next to his. "What's your name, stranger?"

"Torevik." While Tory was working to get drunk, he hadn't achieved his objective, yet. Perhaps it was fortuitous that Lendill had sent him and Ry on an assignment, taking him away from Le-Ath Veronis and the other problems going on. He needed that separation, in order to make a decision involving his future.

"Torevik, how would you like to come home with me for a little while?" Her voice was breathy as she made her proposition.

"Can't right now," Tory replied, turning his eyes away from the beautiful woman beside him.

"That's too bad. Jealous wife?"

"Don't have a wife. Never married her."

"Really? What's the holdup, then?"

"Work. For now."

"Well, if you stop working, you know where to find me. My name's Darletta." She handed a small card to Tory, accepted a drink from the bartender and walked away, swinging her hips suggestively. Tory watched her go, blinking in confusion. Perhaps the alcohol was finally taking effect. He sighed.

"Wylend, I never thought to see you punish someone because you employed an eavesdropping spell and picked up on a conversation two rooms away. She didn't say it to you, personally," Erland pointed out. Wylend had eavesdropped on Reah's conversation with Gavril, angry that he'd been shunted to the side after the attack on his intended Queen. "Did she mention a specific name? Not only that, but she wasn't on Karathia when she said what she did. She was on Tulgalan, and subject to Alliance law."

"She did say a name, and I will not repeat it," Wylend shouted. "I cannot countenance a Queen who will second-guess every decision I make."

"As I understand it, this may be the first and only time that occurred, and since when can someone not be honest and speak their mind with a mate? I have said many things to you that could be considered treasonous."

"But you were not my Queen, Erland Morphis, nor will you ever be."

Erland knew there was no arguing with Wylend when he was in this state of mind. Wylend and any other warlock in a female cycle was moody upon occasion. This appeared to be one of those times. Wylend would come around and see sense; it could take a few days, however. The most damage had been done to Reah. Lissa, too, was seething-he'd already gotten angry mindspeech from his mate over the letter Reah had received. If Erland had known about it sooner, he'd have instructed that it wait a few days, considering Wylend was likely to cool down, see the folly of his ways and wish he could take it all back.

Corolan watched helplessly as Erland argued with Wylend. Wylend hadn't consulted with him before writing and sending the letter. As a result, things were in the worst state of affairs. Reah had saved his life, at nearly the cost of her own. She'd have done the same for Wylend, too. He'd gotten mindspeech from Garek, telling him that Radolf had renounced his citizenship in front of witnesses. Wylend would have to grant it again before Radolf could return to Karathia. Wylend had not bothered to think this through, reacting to a perceived slight when no harm was intended. Corolan was about to react as well.

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