Destroyer(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 5)(33) by Connie Suttle
"I thought Wildrif was crazy as hell before. What do you think he might do as a vampire?"
"I don't want to think about it. And if he's making the turn, what's he gonna do if he wakes up hungry and there's no sire to feed him?"
"People will probably die."
* * *
It had taken a bribe, but Dawn finally managed to get a room at a motel. The walls were cracking, the bed sagged in the middle and the hot water was barely warm. The desk clerk had accepted a one-hundred-dollar bribe in addition to the cost of the room, but it was a room in the barest sense of the word.
"At least there aren't any bugs," Dawn growled as she hefted her bag onto the creaking bed. Her phone needed charging, but as soon as that was accomplished, Dawn intended to find Sara's address. In a day or so, the timid shapeshifter would be dead and Dawn would be on her way to Canada in wolf form.
* * *
"How are the classes?" Trace sat beside Ashe the following morning as Ashe read his English Comp assignment at breakfast. "You get to lift weights this morning, since the bullet wound looks like it's healed." Trace grinned as Flossie put a plate of food in front of him.
"Some of it's boring. Stuff I've already read or researched for papers," Ashe said. "History, especially."
"Then passing tests will be a piece of cake."
"Got two tests on Friday. I have until Monday to turn everything in for the week."
"Too bad they didn't have an online option when I was in school," Trace said.
"You being such an old man and all," Ashe teased.
"That just earned you extra time on the weight bench," Trace's grin widened.
"Bring it on, dude."
* * *
"Dr. Dillon will be here until six, if you want to bring your cat in," the receptionist replied to Dawn's question. "It would be better if you can get here earlier, though, so you both won't be here so late."
"Will she be there alone if I don't get there before six?"
"No, her assistant will be here, too."
"Thanks. I'll try to come early, then." Dawn hung up and cursed Sara's assistant, who seemed to be just as conscientious as Sara Dillon, DVM. Dawn would have to wait for Sara to leave work and follow her home.
* * *
"How did you know about Wildrif, if you don't have your mojo back?" Trace asked as Ashe lifted weights.
"Had a visit from Griffin the other day," Ashe grunted as he bench-pressed two hundred pounds. "Told me he couldn't interfere with the drug in my system, but that the answer to my problem was around my arm. Winkler didn't tell you?"
"He didn't say much. Are you talking about those medallions?"
"Yeah. Accidentally asked one of them a question, but it gave me an answer."
"Kid, while I normally think you're scary, that's even scarier. Does it bother you that those things seem to have a mind of their own?"
"No. It's what they were made for." Ashe huffed a breath before lifting the weights again.
"There's barely a mark where the bullet hit you," Trace examined Ashe's right arm as it was extended.
"I think two of these medallions are for healing," Ashe lowered the weights. "Might explain the quick recovery."
"There are two of each. Two for knowledge, two for healing, two for strength and two for foresight. I got lucky and asked one of the knowledge medallions what I needed to know."
"It told you?" Trace shook his head in wonder.
"Not with words. With images. It's easier that way, to get around language barriers."
"Will they answer anybody?"
"No. Just the person they've chosen, or the person chosen by those who hold the crowns."
"The Bright Queen and the Dark King could say where these went?"
"Yeah. Until I came along. They chose me and cut out the middle Elemaiya."
"Can you choose to give them away?"
"If I want. Right now, I need them."
"I hear that. Do you know how long you'll be down because of that drug?"
"What time is it now?"
"Then it'll be six days, seven hours and twenty-seven minutes."
"Good with math, huh?"
"I guess. Trace?"
"Don't tell anybody except Trajan and Mr. Winkler about the time thing."
"Okay. Wasn't planning to tell anybody else, but I won't for sure, now."
* * *
"Ashe, your father and I had a talk last night, and he says you're upset. We also talked about Mr. Winkler being your guardian."
Adele had called while Ashe was running on the beach. Trace and Ashe had slowed to a walk so Ashe could answer his mother's call.
"Mom, I don't want to do anything about that right now," Ashe said, stopping in mid-step and turning his eyes toward the east to watch the waves washing ashore. Trace stopped as well and stood a discreet distance away.
"Honey, your father said he made a mistake and made you think we'd abandoned you. I realize something happened or I would never have dated Buck while your father was gone. We're together again, and that's how it's going to stay."
"Look, this is, well, it's painful," Ashe shaded his eyes as the sun broke through low clouds hanging overhead.
"But we still love you, honey."
"I know. I'm just trying to get past recent events."
"Aedan said to let you make up your own mind on this, but I really wish you'd come home more often. You only have a few clothes left here at the house. Everything else is gone."
"I know. I think I want to leave things as they are for now. Maybe I can tell you what I want in a few days."
"All right, but I'll ask you again in a week if you haven't made a decision."
"I'll fix meatloaf if you'll come home Thursday night. I have that evening off."
"I'll try to be there."
"I love you, hon."
"Yeah." Ashe ended the call and wiped wetness off his cheeks. Trace started running down the beach. Ashe caught up with him. Eventually.
* * *
"She will meet with you. In four days, my King." Laridael handed the message to Baltis, confirming his words.
"Good." Baltis couldn't help but release a sigh. "Laridael?"
"What, my King?"
"What has brought us to this?"
"May I speak my mind, my King?"
"Since I was a child, all I have seen between the races is bad blood, hatred and death. What has brought us to this, my King? How did this start?"
"I am the eighth King, in a long line of Kings. Old tales said it had something to do with the first King, but I have no knowledge of it. It was not given to me when I destroyed my predecessor and took the throne. I imagine that Friesianna is the same, although she is only the fourth to hold the Bright throne."
"I was born shortly after she came to the throne, and have no knowledge of what came before that."
"I am twice her age, and in my lifetime, things have gotten worse as time passed."
"Do you think any of it might come to an end?"
"Do you know the Legend of the Ir'Indicti, as it is written in the H'Morr?" Baltis asked. "Yes, I have read that cursed book," he added at Laridael's shocked expression.
"No, my King. I have never heard it. I have only heard rumors."
"Ir'Indicti is an ancient word in our language," Baltis said, settling on his throne and flipping back the red robes he wore. "It means Rebuilder, as well as I can determine. You have to understand the ancient language, however, to realize that this Rebuilder will rebuild from the ashes of our races. That our people will die, first, before they can be raised up again. The H'Morr says the Ir'Indicti will attempt to take both crowns. Should he do so, it will leave the races defenseless."
"If he is successful, will he kill us, then?"
"The H'Morr is quite vague in that area, so I cannot say for sure. It does say that after the crowns are taken, if we ally with an ancient and deadly enemy, justice will come."
"What kind of justice?"
"I do not know and the H'Morr does not explain it."
"This is quite frightening, my King."
"It is. That is why the boy must die—I will not give up my crown. The Dark race will survive." Baltis clenched his fists in determination. Laridael nodded respectfully at his monarch's resolve.
* * *
"We have much to do to prepare for the meeting. I do not have time to listen to your bluster about that blasted book!" Friesianna swished her skirts and turned away from Rabis, dismissing him from her presence.
"My Queen, calm yourself. We will have the advantage in this," Parlethis smoothly interjected as Rabis left Friesianna's tent. "That book is a worthless piece of parchment and a waste of the writer's time. It contains nothing but lies and tales to frighten children."
"You are correct," Friesianna snapped. "Where is my tea? Why have they not brought it?"
"It is coming, my Queen," Parlethis soothed.
* * *
"What's wrong?" Loren saw Ashe rubbing his forehead.
"Something, I just can't put my finger on it," Ashe mumbled. Ashe had come to Andy's old office to help Loren with another computer problem. Halfway through, Ashe began to fidget and then rub his forehead. "Can we finish this later? I think I need to go to my room for a little while."
"Sure. Whenever you're ready. I have other stuff I can do."
"Thanks, Loren." Ashe almost ran from the office, heading for the stairs and his room on the third floor.
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