Destroyer(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 5)(24) by Connie Suttle
"Somebody needs to come. We almost had a murder here, tonight, and we have four of those Elemaiya bastards here that the vamps took down."
Winkler cursed. "Look, I have problems of my own. How the hell did they get past the Witch's boundary?"
"No idea. We have an attempted murderer to track, though."
"Who almost died?"
* * *
Ashe heard. From yards away he heard Marcus' words on Winkler's cell. "Kid, somebody will drive you. Just hold on, okay?" Trace had an arm around Ashe as he rose to storm out of the house. "They said attempted murder. Your mom is alive, all right?"
"When? When can I go?" Ashe was shaking and brushing away more tears.
"Kid, we have to get help for Matt and Buck. And we have to find a temporary place for Andy and get bodies cleared away," Winkler moved Trace aside and pulled Ashe down to sit on the steps again. "Everybody's had a bad night." Winkler settled beside Ashe and raked bloodied fingers through thick, black hair.
"Andy was a good friend."
"I know. The best. Loren is standing guard over the body. I think Gavin and Tony will help get the other bodies hauled in, but I need to call Shirley to take the rogue wolves out by boat and dump 'em twenty miles out. Matt wants to ID the humans if he can. I get the idea that somebody else might be involved because Matt was their target. They didn't care about the rest of us."
"Can I talk to somebody—just to make sure Mom's okay?"
"Sure. Here, call Lavonna Anderson. I have a feeling she's there with Nathan."
"Yeah." Ashe took Winkler's offered phone and called Lavonna's cell.
* * *
"Ashe, we're not sure what happened," Lavonna sighed. At first, she couldn't imagine why William Winkler's cell number appeared on her caller ID. She'd learned quickly enough that it was Ashe calling.
"Is Mom okay?"
"She's fine, and we don't understand that. She said herself that she was dying, so something had to happen to change that. It's really confusing, and Nathan and Casimir are still asking questions."
"Trace said he'd find somebody to drive me over," Ashe mumbled.
"You have to find somebody to drive you?" Surprise coated Lavonna's words.
"It's a long story," Ashe said uncomfortably.
"Dori's here, would you like to talk with her? I need to see if your mother wants something to drink."
"Ashe?" Dori's voice came through clearly.
"Dori, do you know anything?"
"No. Half the community is outside your house, though, and all of 'em are asking the same thing. All I heard was there was a bright flash of light after the vampires killed the four Elemaiya. They showed up after your mom was stabbed."
"Mom was stabbed?" Ashe's voice cracked.
"Yeah. Marcus thinks it was a poison dart. I don't know why it didn't work, and I heard somebody say that the wound was closed already."
"That doesn't seem possible," Ashe muttered.
"I don't know whether it's true or not. Your mom is alive, though, and she's answering questions for Daddy and Mr. Casimir."
"Who did it? Do you know?"
"Marcus is in there and he won't tell what your mom said."
"This is ridiculous," Ashe said, rubbing fingers against his forehead. The headache was still alive and pounding out its presence inside his skull.
"For sure. Look, do you think you might come tonight? Things are only gonna get worse, because Principal Wright is expecting shapeshifters to arrive tomorrow morning. Marcus wants to lock everything down and not let anybody in or out, so things might get a little tense."
"Sounds like it," Ashe agreed. "Andy died tonight, Dori."
"What?" Dori sounded shocked. "What happened?"
"Zeke Tanner's trackers happened. Mr. Winkler and his bunch fought back, but Andy took a bullet in the head, I think. He's gone."
"What about the trackers—are they dead?" Ashe could hear Dori's quickened breathing; the night's events were frightening her.
"As far as I know, they all died."
"That stupid jerk," Dori spat. "Doesn't Tanner know when to quit?"
"Apparently not. We lost a friend tonight, Dori. Andy was a good guy."
"Look, I'll call if it looks like I can come tonight. I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know if you hear anything new."
"I will. Ashe, Wynn is coming. We'll call later."
* * *
"I drain my crown to give them enough power to slip past the boundary, and you tell me they are dead?" Friesianna threw the cushion from her throne at Rabis. "I will be helpless for days because of this, and we have nothing to show for it?"
"My Queen, I can only report what I see. Nothing more." Rabis didn't point out that it had been Friesianna's decision to drain her crown.
"This is untenable. The boy must be destroyed. Where is Parlethis?"
"It is quite late, my Queen."
"Wake him. I need advice."
"Of course, my Queen." Rabis bowed himself out of Friesianna's tent and went in search of Parlethis.
* * *
"Jude, where the hell have you been and what the hell did you give that kid? Winkler is so pissed he's ready to rip your throat out."
Shirley Walker, six feet of pure muscle, stared Jude Gilmore down. "And then we can't find you for hours? Tell me what's going on. Make it good, because fifteen werewolves and three humans stormed Winkler's house tonight. All those rogues are dead, but Winkler lost one of his—his assistant. If I learn you had anything to do with this, your life won't be worth the price of a stick of gum."
"They took Tina hostage," Jude whined, wanting more than anything to turn and cringe at Shirley's feet. "I gave the kid a dose of diamor**ine. On the street, it's called he**in. I only gave enough to knock him out for a day. He should be fine, now. He just won't pass any drug tests for a while."
"I hear he isn't fine, and you'll have to answer to the Grand Master for this."
* * *
"Kid, I know you want to go now, but she won't recognize you," Winkler said gently. "Try to get some sleep tonight and we'll go in the morning. Marcus said he'd let me know when the questioning was done."
"Fine." Ashe, his arms crossed tightly over his chest, watched from the deck as several of Shirley Walker's wolves moved the bodies of fifteen rogue werewolves into a waiting van. Only six of them were in human form. Matt had three of his agents there, one of whom was vampire, to haul away three human bodies for identification at a lab in San Antonio. Ashe wanted to curse. With his abilities, he could have identified them easily for Mr. Michaels. As it was, he was still blind to everything, his mother had been attacked and he was helpless.
"Come on, let's go in. I still have some calls to make, Ace is standing guard over Peyton Miller, the Grand Master wants a meeting with me when Shirley Walker gets here and Trajan is growling at everybody."
"What are we gonna do without Andy?"
"I don't know, son." Winkler pulled Ashe into a hug. "We'll have to go on without him, somehow."
* * *
"Thanks for coming in early. I had no idea we'd need your skills," Bear Wright shook hands with Kerry Slater, a tall, thin shapeshifter with gray eyes, brown hair and character in every line on his face. Kerry had graduated from medical school five times in his three-hundred-year lifetime. He carried a case filled with medical supplies and had only been allowed inside the community because Bear had stared Marcus down over it.
"What seems to be the problem?" Kerry asked as Bear led him inside the Evans home.
"Adele Evans was attacked earlier by one of our local werewolves, and will likely have difficulty sleeping if we don't help," Bear replied, leading Kerry up the steps toward Adele's bedroom. Kerry ignored the blood covering the carpet on the steps as he followed Bear.
"I have something that will help," Kerry nodded, avoiding a deep stain of red on a step halfway up.
* * *
"Mrs. Evans?" Bear opened the bedroom door carefully, nodding to Lavonna Anderson as he stepped inside. Lavonna held Adele's hand tightly as Adele wiped tears away.
"Mr. Wright," Adele attempted to keep a sob from rising.
"Adele, this is Kerry Slater, who has at least five medical degrees," Bear smiled gently. "I think he can help you get some sleep."
"I hope so," Adele wiped more tears away. "Mr. Wright, can you please tell me where my husband and son are?"
"I'm not sure where your husband is at the moment," Bear said, struggling to keep the surprise from his voice. "Your son is safe at Mr. Winkler's beach house."
"That's what Lavonna said," Adele nodded. "I just can't believe he's not here right now."
"You'll see him in the morning," Lavonna squeezed Adele's hand and stood up. "Let Mr. Slater help you sleep."
* * *
"You saw a flash of light? That's it?" Marcus asked Nathan. He had no desire to speak with Hector or Edmond. Casimir had wisely pointed out that the community needed guarding and led them away from the DeLuca home.
"Well, perhaps not all of it, but I'll be damned if I can explain it," Nathan muttered.
"What else was there, then?"
"I swear, in the flash of light, I imagined I saw a woman. She was shining, as bright as I remember the sun shining in my youth. But that could be my imagination; my mind playing tricks," Nathan added. "Adele was dead by the time we killed the last of those intruders—I heard no heartbeat. The light came, then, and when it disappeared, Adele was alive again."
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