Home > Dark Song (Dark #30)(13)

Dark Song (Dark #30)(13)
Author: Christine Feehan

She is your lifemate, Ferro, Siv said, using the pathway only the brethren shared. Without emotion, using only the logic of the hunter, what they say holds merit. I see and feel her distress. Only you can determine how this is going to play out.

Siv was pragmatic about issues, and he hadn’t given any indication of whose side he would come down on. Ferro couldn’t very well take exception to the triplets’ apology. Their logic made far too much sense. He would have looked at every angle without emotion as well.

“Sometimes, Ferro,” Gary said, “as you well know, the smallest irregularity can be overlooked. We are tied together. I ask that you allow me to examine your lifemate just to ensure that Sergey cannot get to her. Once you know for a certainty that she is safe, I offer freely to aid you in safeguarding her until we find the security breach.”

Ferro had tied his soul to Gary’s, along with Sandu and Lorraine, in order to save Andor. It was impossible not to know another when entwined at that level. Gary had laid it on the line for him—and yet Ferro still felt that vague uneasiness and knew the threat came from the healer. He just didn’t know why. Very gently he ran his hand down the back of Elisabeta’s head, over the thick silky hair.

Minan piŋe sarnanak, Gary can see things that perhaps I cannot. I do not want to take the chance that the vampire has left some part of himself behind that allows him access to you. I will be with the healer while my brethren guard us.

No. No. No. She shook her head and tried to pull out of his arms, a wild, terrified bird trying to escape. He will see me. He is searching for something damning . . .

Ferro wrapped her up easily, feeling as if his arms were like the thick bars of the cage she had been prisoner in for so many centuries rather than something that gave her comfort and peace. He despised that.

“I will take my lifemate and leave this compound. Thank you for the offer, Gary. It is appreciated.” Sas, Elisabeta, you will make yourself sick. We will leave this place.

“Sergey’s spies have surrounded the compound,” Tariq objected. “They will know the moment you leave and they will pursue you, Ferro. You cannot hope to outrun them with her.”

Ferro knew he was right. He had to take control of Elisabeta. She responded to firm control. He didn’t want to resemble Sergey in any way, but it wasn’t in his nature to allow his woman to hurt herself, throwing her thin, fragile body against his strength like a broken bird because she was so panic stricken she couldn’t think straight. He had to think for her.

Stop this immediately, Elisabeta. Get a hold of yourself. You will do as I tell you to do. He poured absolute authority into his voice. Absolute steel. Elisabeta froze. He caught her chin and tilted her face up to his. She had her eyes tightly shut. Look at me now.

Her long lashes fluttered and then lifted. He looked into that well of dark despair. He could see absolute terror.

You were told that I would take care of you. I have done so. I have not allowed anything to hurt you. Is that not so? Answer me now.

Elisabeta swallowed hard but she nodded her head. Yes.

There is no reason for all of this fear. You are in my care. I want the healer to search for anything the master vampire has left behind, and so you will allow him to do so without objection. Do you understand me? I will not allow him to find anything else. I will be right there with him the entire time.

Her heart beat so fast and loud, Ferro knew the others in the room couldn’t fail to hear. They were used to hunting. Carpathian males were predators and his little songbird sounded like cornered prey.

I am isäntä—master of the house. Your master. You will answer me.

Holding her gaze captive, Ferro could see that the firmness of his commands did have an effect on her fears. Her eyes stared into his, clinging as if he were her lifeline. The tip of her tongue touched her lips to moisten them, but she was far calmer, stilling in his arms. Although the shivering was continuous, she had ceased struggling.

Yes.

I will hold you here in my lap and my brethren will remain close to guard my body. I will enter with the healer. You will not fight either of us, do you understand?

He did not release her gaze. Liquid filled her mind but not her eyes. She didn’t weep tears. He tightened his arms around her.

Elisabeta, do you think I am less than the others in this room because I have shown you kindness? You are my lifemate and capable of going into my mind and looking into my past. I was careful to keep you from seeing what I thought might frighten you, but if you persist in thinking your lifemate cannot protect you, then look quickly. These warriors have other things to do this rising than wait on us.

Deliberately, he allowed his voice to grow colder.

Her lashes fluttered again and then she capitulated completely. I will not fight.

He would have liked it better had she referred to him by name, but at least he managed to get her cooperation, and her fear level had dropped tremendously. She was governed by rules—the stricter they were, the more she understood. It wasn’t right, but he was going too fast with her, trying to force her into a world she didn’t yet understand because he didn’t want to appear anything like Sergey. He was her lifemate and he had to be what she needed. Right then she needed someone to tell her what to do and to allow her to lean completely on his strength.

“She will submit to your examination, Gary, but only yours. I will be with you.” He kept his voice as neutral as possible, knowing no matter how he worded it, the threat was there.

The healer didn’t hesitate, moving out around the others and coming closer to crouch beside Ferro. The moment he did, Sandu came up behind Ferro’s chair and Siv followed the healer to stand behind him. Ferro and Gary both shed their bodies at the same time, becoming pure healing light. Gary’s light was blazing, a strong beacon that was hot and powerful, moving through Elisabeta’s body slowly, meticulously, starting with her brain.

The high mage had left tiny slivers of himself in others in order to spy on his enemies before he realized that by doing so, it diminished him. It was known that Sergey had at least two slivers of Xavier, the high mage, in him, giving him access to the knowledge of dark spells and trickery the mage had practiced for centuries before he died. Gary methodically began the inspection of Elisabeta’s brain to try to find the tiny dark splinter that would signal Sergey had left a little piece of himself behind in her.

Ferro stayed very quiet, keeping back as Gary inspected her systematically and carefully. As the healer finished each section, Ferro went over it a second time just to be certain. Gary was thorough, never considering that Tariq or anyone else might be waiting. He moved slowly, sometimes going over and over the same place.

Ferro watched every movement as the healer pushed close to Elisabeta’s memories. Each time, prickles of unease slid through Ferro’s mind. He couldn’t tell if it was his own warning system or Elisabeta’s going off, but he was uncomfortable with Gary’s inspection. Still, he observed no wrongdoing, nor did either of them find anything suspect no matter how hard or how long they looked.

In the end, when they both emerged, they hadn’t found any evidence of the master vampire in Elisabeta’s brain. Both men were weak and needed blood. Siv and Sandu offered their wrists immediately. Gary looked at Tariq and shook his head as he took what Siv offered. He sat on the floor beside Elisabeta and Ferro’s chair while he consumed the nourishing ancient blood.

“Did you access her memories?” Tariq asked.

Ferro shot him a fierce glare. Elisabeta’s entire body went rigid at the inquiry. Gary glanced up at Ferro. He had been in Elisabeta’s mind so recently that it was impossible not to feel her emotions. Her feelings were chaotic, all over the place, and her terror filled the room, impossible to contain. Tariq’s question added to her growing panic and his growing distrust. She was cooperating because Ferro had commanded her to do so, but he feared she was going to pass out soon just from lack of air.

Gary might tell them all that he was searching for evidence of the master vampire, but Ferro was certain that Tariq and the healer were looking for something else—something they might be willing to kill his lifemate for. He glanced around the room, a quick assessment once more, just to assure himself he was in a position where he could fight his way to the door if there was need.

Breathe with me, piŋe sarnanak, Ferro ordered. Let your lungs follow mine. You are beginning to hyperventilate. There is no evidence of the vampire hidden in your brain. That should make you happy, not more upset. We are clearing the possibilities one by one.

As he directed her lungs to follow the rhythm of his so her breathing would slow to a more normal pace, he continued to ease the tension from her, massaging her scalp, the nape of her neck and her shoulders. His touch was gentle but firm. She needed to know that he was in charge.

“You may access only her memory of the risings when she is in the healing grounds,” Ferro said aloud. “There is no need to see anything else.”

Tomas, Lojos and Matias stirred as if all were in the same body. Clearly, they were of the same mind. Ferro’s gaze jumped to them. He wasn’t the only one. Sandu, Benedek, Petru and Nicu all turned their heads, their eyes going red and feral. At once the tension in the room mounted again.

“You have an objection you would care to voice?” Ferro asked softly— making it a clear challenge. He moved then, gently shifting Elisabeta as if to set her to one side.

She shook her head almost wildly, her arms sliding up around his neck tentatively as if she could hold him there. Ferro. Please. I cannot stop myself. I know I am making things worse for you. You do not have to defend me. Let me go into the ground. Send me away. Do not fight them because I cannot control myself.

“I think that is more than reasonable,” Tariq said, his voice mild, as if there were no tension whatsoever in the room. “Does your lifemate agree, Ferro? I know this must be extremely difficult for her.”

Ferro framed her face with his hands, tilting her chin so she was forced to look into his eyes. You do not have to subject yourself to anything more. You did what I told you to do. We can go. The brethren will go with us.

   
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