Destroyer(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 5)(34) by Connie Suttle
* * *
"Show me what I need to know," Ashe hissed, frightened beyond comprehension. Something was happening, he just couldn't determine what it was.
* * *
"Trajan, will you get a company credit card for Flossie, so she can buy groceries without dipping into petty cash?" Winkler asked his Second.
"Sure, boss," Trajan nodded.
Neither he nor Winkler missed the shouted, "No!" coming from Ashe's bedroom. Both were out the door and running toward Ashe's suite in a blink.
* * *
I need help! Ashe wailed in mindspeech. Would anyone hear him? Could anyone respond to his desperate cry for help? He was terrified and helpless to provide assistance where it was most needed.
* * *
"You think you'll live to marry my son, you sorry excuse for a shifter?"
Sara stared in terror at the gun in Dawn Smith's hand. Her death was coming swiftly. She knew it. Dawn was crazed and angry, her eyes going feral. If the bullet didn't take her down, Sara knew Dawn's werewolf would.
"Randall hasn't asked me. Why do you think he would?" Sara quavered, attempting to delay the inevitable. Her cell was in her purse, but there was no way to call 911; Dawn had taken the purse away the moment she'd appeared behind Sara, who'd been innocently unlocking her front door after driving home.
"Oh, he has it bad for you. I know the signs. I'm here to remove that temptation. He'll have to find someone else when you're dead. Somebody more suitable for the son of a werewolf."
"But what if I have no intention of marrying him?"
"You do. I saw it in your eyes whenever you looked at him. That would be a mistake, and one I'm here to prevent. Back up against that wall, over there. I want as much blood spatter as I can get from your worthless body." Dawn waved the gun at Sara, indicating the wall separating Sara's living area from the kitchen. The wall's surface was painted white, and the red of Sara's blood would make a definite contrast against it.
* * *
"What's wrong, kid?" Trajan had outpaced Winkler and burst into Ashe's bedroom first. Winkler skidded in behind Trajan.
Ashe blinked at both werewolves in terror as a voice—a male voice—filtered into his mind.
You ask, Mighty One. I answer.
* * *
"Maybe I'll kill you as wolf. No bullets left behind," Dawn snarled as Sara cringed. "Turn. Turn to that helpless little bunny. I feel hungry." Dawn's teeth were bared as she made the demand.
"You will not."
Dawn stared in shock at the man who'd appeared. Sara turned her eyes to the one who'd appeared beside her before sliding down the wall in a faint.
"I'll kill you for interfering." Dawn aimed her pistol at the newcomer and fired.
The bullet never reached its target, leaving Dawn blinking in surprise. Aiming the gun, she attempted to fire again.
"Clumsy weapons, these," the pistol disappeared from her hand and reappeared in the newcomer's grip. "It is useless against me." The gun turned to dust and became sparks that dripped from his hand. Dawn blinked in horror before attempting to turn and run.
"No, you will not leave," the man smiled grimly. At any other time, Dawn might have stared at him for another reason—he had the face of an angel.
"Who are you?" Dawn almost stuttered her question.
"I call myself Li'Neruh Rath. In an ancient language, it means Darkest Star. The one who serves the Dark Realm beneath me made a mistake long ago. He promised not to interfere with the Dark races. I made no such promise, and I will rectify part of that mistake now, at the request of one above me. Tell me, do you wish to die at my hand, here, or do you prefer to submit to the justice of your own race? It matters not to me what you choose."
Dawn trembled as the man lifted a hand, as if examining his fingernails. Only the nails lengthened until they were black claws, and his body changed. Grew. At least seven feet tall, he became a creature of nightmares, his body turning to black scales. Horns extended from his forehead and curved around pointed ears, much like a ram's might. Eyes widened and became a deep red, while flames licked their depths. Smoke curled from wide, flattened nostrils as he breathed.
"I—I'll, I choose my race's justice," Dawn whimpered. Something held her up—some sort of power, otherwise she would have dropped to the floor in fear.
"Very well," the voice had become rough and guttural, as if he weren't used to speaking in the form he'd taken. "Go." He waved a hand and Dawn shrieked as she was jerked away from Sara's home in a Chicago suburb and dumped in front of Marcus DeLuca, as he was finishing dinner with his family.
* * *
"We have her restrained, but she's crazy," Marcus reported to Winkler and the Grand Master on a conference call. "I wouldn't have believed half the crap she's saying, except she was dumped on my kitchen floor from thin air."
"Any chance she might escape?" The Grand Master asked. "I'd like to be in on the questioning."
"I'll make sure she's guarded at all times," Marcus replied. "How quickly can you be here?"
"By tomorrow evening, at the latest," Weldon said. "Hold her until then."
"I'll make sure she's guarded well. Not sure she'd go anywhere, anyway. She just keeps babbling about the devil who kept her from killing Randy's girlfriend."
"She was in Chicago?"
"About to shoot Sara Dillon, Randy's shapeshifting girlfriend, yes," Marcus confirmed.
"Does Randy know about this?"
"I think I'll have Nathan tell him, as soon as the vamps are up. Ask him to place compulsion, too, not to interfere with his mother's judgment."
"Probably a good idea. This isn't going to go well, any way you look at it."
* * *
Ashe fingered the medallions circling his arm gently, as if they were tender to the touch. Winkler found him like that, sitting cross-legged on the floor beside his bed.
"Ashe?" Winkler's voice was soft.
"She got James Johnson killed," Ashe said.
"Yeah. Made up some story that she wanted to see him about Randy. She knew Randy kept in touch with James. They were best friends." Ashe stopped stroking the medallions and dropped his hand.
"She got past the barrier?"
"After she lied to James. Paul Harris wasn't the only one involved with the Elemaiya. He was only involved with the Dark side. Dawn was feeding information to both sides, through Josiah Dunnigan at the time."
"Not good. Why did she want James dead?"
"She wanted information from him. He refused. She called the Elemaiya, who'd followed her inside the barrier. James knew they were trouble and tried to run to Marcus, to let him know we were under attack. Instead of challenging him herself, Dawn Smith sent those two Dark Elemaiya after him. Watched while they killed him, too. The Elemaiya went to Mr. Harris afterward and told him that James had seen them accidentally and was running to tell Marcus, so they had to kill him. Mr. Harris told them to dump the body behind our house, to make it look like Dad or one of the vampires was involved. When Mr. Harris got caught, he gave us what he thought was the truth. He never knew Dawn was in it, more than he was."
"But you were supporting Randy's cause through all this."
"Because Randy didn't know about his mother. I didn't know about his mother, either, until just before we got Josiah. Things started coming to me, then. I was hoping, when she didn't participate in Josiah's attempted takedown, that she'd had a change of heart. That obviously wasn't the case."
"The Grand Master is coming tomorrow, to sit in while she's questioned. I'll pass this information to him, so he can ask about it, too."
"James' dad may want the execution."
"Will it be all right if he takes it?"
"She keeps talking about a devil who showed up in Chicago to keep her from shooting Sara."
"I don't know much about that. Couldn't see it with these," Ashe brushed fingers across the medallions again. "Must have been too powerful for them to get the images."
"My question is this—how and why did he show up?"
"Mr. Winkler, I can't really explain that right now."
* * *
"Your mother has been captured. You will not interfere," Nathan placed compulsion. "You will also refrain from discussing this with anyone except those from the community."
"May I see her?" Randy's voice trembled.
"You may visit her once," Marcus agreed. He'd stood behind Nathan while compulsion was placed. "Tomorrow morning. Come at ten."
"Thank you." Randy sounded defeated. "I'll stay here tonight, if that's all right."
"Stay as long as you want," Nathan said before Marcus could interfere or say otherwise.
* * *
"I'm looking for Zeke Tanner," Craig Keller, former cook for William Winkler, had a gun pressed to his neck as he stood uncomfortably next to Hutch.
"Why you want to see him?" Hutch growled next to Craig's ear.
"Got tired of running after Winkler and the Grand Master, if you want the truth. Those two go around, sniffing shifter butt all the time."
"That's exactly how I feel." Zeke Tanner walked into his study, skirting the white buffalo taking up the majority of space beside his desk. He sat down before carefully studying the werewolf Hutch had brought to him. "Why do you want to see me?" he asked.
"Want to go to work for a real werewolf," Craig muttered.
"You think I'm a real werewolf?"
"What are you willing to do for me?"
"Willing to kill William Winkler for me?"
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