Vendetta(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 4)(3) by Connie Suttle
"So there's a method to the apparent madness?" Ashe gave Winkler a curious glance.
"Yep. Buck will come back to Dallas for the next full moon and run the Pack for me if I don't come myself."
"The Pack knows Winkler will bust my butt if I don't do things right," Buck held out a large hand to Ashe, who took it. Ashe was surprised—few werewolves offered to shake with a young shapeshifter. Briefly, he wondered what happened to gruff Orville.
"Come on, kid, our bags are already on the jet," Trajan pulled Ashe into a headlock, hugging him quickly before letting him go. "We thought you were dead," he muttered close to Ashe's ear before stepping back.
"Yeah. I know," Ashe ducked his head. He was getting butterflies over seeing his parents. They'd be upset for sure and he hated to see his mother cry.
"Come on, they're ready," Winkler jerked his head toward the jet, which was revving its engines. Ashe climbed aboard, flanked by Winkler and Trajan.
"What can you tell me about Star Cove?" Winkler asked as Trace handed out bottles of water and soda before sitting next to Trajan. Winkler sat beside Ashe across the aisle. Buck and Andy took seats nearer the front.
"Which part?" Ashe asked.
"All of it, if you don't mind."
Ashe began to describe what he'd found the moment he brought the kidnapped teens back to Star Cove. He told Winkler about the four Bright Elemaiya who'd shielded themselves so they were invisible to everyone else.
"You could see through their shields?" Winkler lifted an eyebrow.
"He could on St. Joseph Island, too, boss," Trajan pointed out. "We couldn't see the camp from overhead. Ashe saw it and took us lower."
"You're right," Winkler nodded. "What then?" He turned back to Ashe. Ashe spoke about the four Dark Elemaiya and the vision he'd had when they threatened Randy Smith. Randy would have died if Ashe hadn't gotten him away. Then he explained his next vision of Jackson, when he'd brushed against the four shielded Bright Elemaiya. The contact forced Jackson through the change for the first time. Jackson died from a hurled fireblast immediately afterward.
"I was out in the street as quick as I could get there, but Jack was already dead," Ashe sighed. "The four Dark Ones who threatened Randy followed me out of the house, and when they saw the Bright four, they started a firefight of some kind. There were other Elemaiya there, too, from both sides. Things weren't looking good, Mr. Winkler. They set a lot of houses on fire, I know that much."
"We're rebuilding those. Most of the important things were saved, kid," Winkler said gently. "We're even getting my insurance company to replace the boats. Doesn't hurt that I sit on the board of directors."
"I guess," Ashe shrugged. "In the middle of all the fireblasts," he continued, "Lavonna, Cori and Dori went after the Elemaiya, and Mom was diving down from overhead. I was afraid they'd be killed, just like Jackson was. I knew I was the target for both sides, so I started yelling. That got their attention right away. The Elemaiya came after me so I jumped to a boat in the canal. They came after me again, and that's when I set the water on fire."
"Uh, Ashe, did you just say you set the water on fire?" Trace stared at Ashe, disbelief plainly displayed in his eyes.
"Yeah. Those pages Tony Hancock gave me about the Elemaiya? The person who translated that stuff said something about manipulating the elements. He said somebody really talented in that area might be able to burn oxygen from the air. Well, water has oxygen in it, too. I just did a little extrapolation. I have no idea if there were any fish in the canal. If there were, they likely died of oxygen starvation." Ashe felt bad about that. He felt horrible about burning sixteen Elemaiya, too, but they were out to kill others and attempting to take him. Ashe couldn't let that happen.
"I didn't hear any reports of dead fish," Winkler said dryly.
"Mr. Winkler, I think I killed all those people," Ashe whispered. "All those Elemaiya."
"Ashe, you can't worry about that," Winkler's dark eyes raked Ashe's face. "They'd already killed some of ours and would have killed others, and then they'd have killed or kidnapped you. You did what had to be done; don't ever think otherwise." Winkler breathed a fatigued sigh. "Kid, I've gotten research from Matt Michaels; he tallied up the number of deaths related to that fertility clinic. We estimate at least six hundred eighty-five deaths of children, ranging from preteen to early twenties, and those are the ones we can confirm. Those are murders, Ashe, plain and simple. That doesn't include all the reported kidnappings, or the human boy who died outside Cloud Chief's boundary. Who knows how many other humans have died just by being in their way? This is a war between them, and they don't care who falls."
Ashe couldn't speak around the lump in his throat. He settled for nodding instead. "Here," Winkler tapped the water bottle on Ashe's table tray. Ashe removed the cap and drank. He didn't say what he'd been thinking the past few days—that Earth looked to be the battleground the Elemaiya had chosen to pursue their wars. And people like the Tanners fell right in with them, working together to take whatever they wanted in order to further their cause. He thought about Sali and Dori in the clutches of drug runners and shivered.
"Kid, it'll be all right," Winkler patted Ashe's shoulder lightly.
"Mr. Winkler, there's something else you need to know," Ashe heaved a shaky sigh.
Ashe peeled back the left sleeve of his knit polo, revealing the biceps and triceps that Trajan had been working on in the weight room. Surrounding his upper arm, much like a tattoo might, were eight square gold medallions with unusual markings. They shone with the brightness of newly minted gold coins.
Winkler swore when he saw them. "What the hell is that, Ashe? Did you get a tattoo?"
"No, sir. These were on my arm the morning after the whole Star Cove thing. I went to sleep in my old bedroom in Cloud Chief and woke up with these. They're not tattoos. As far as I know, there's no ink that will come out gold like that." Ashe lowered his sleeve over the flat, gold images.
"They look like some of those transfers—you know—like the ones they wear at football games and stuff?" Trajan was up and lifting Ashe's sleeve again.
"But these don't scrub off—I've already tried," Ashe muttered. "They're not going anywhere. And if I pick at 'em, I start heaving."
"You're kidding?" Winkler stared at the eight medallions, moving Ashe's arm this way and that to see them more clearly.
"Not kidding. I don't know what they are, but they're here to stay." Ashe pulled his arm away. The medallions were beginning to itch and burn with all the handling. He felt immediate relief when people stopped touching them. Now more than ever, he wished that the Vampire Council had given him more information on the Elemaiya. The three pages they'd offered weren't nearly enough.
"I have to make a phone call," Winkler unbuckled his seat belt and walked to the front of the jet where Buck and Andy were seated. Ashe watched as the Dallas Packmaster pulled out a cell phone and made a call. With the noise of the jet and Trajan suddenly asking more questions about what happened in Star Cove, Ashe couldn't make out Winkler's words.
* * *
"He has eight square medallions circling his upper arm, like a tattoo," Winkler said. "He doesn't know where they came from and it upsets him if anybody touches them. He said he tried to pick at them and it made him nauseous. Is there anything in the information you have that explains this?" Winkler had dialed the Head of the Vampire Council immediately. Night still lay over England—perhaps one or two hours remained before dawn arrived. Winkler wanted to insist that all information be given to Ashe, but knew better than to demand anything from the vampires. It was tricky dealing with them. At the moment, Winkler was playing his hand carefully with Wlodek. At least Wlodek was answering his calls. For now.
"Give us time to do research," Wlodek replied smoothly, making Winkler want to curse. Wlodek, like most vampires, had a very good memory and likely knew much already. For whatever reason, he wasn't willing to give information to Winkler.
"Thank you for your assistance, Honored One," Winkler said respectfully. Wlodek ended the call.
* * *
"Charles," Wlodek leveled a glance at his assistant, "Go through the records and learn what the precedents and adverse effects are regarding underage turning." Charles stood in shock for seconds before going to do as the Honored One requested.
* * *
"Mr. Winkler will bring him here; he has transportation waiting at the airport," Marcus reminded a restless Sali. The young werewolf stalked a path through the kitchen, media room and then through the patio doors to the deck. Marco shook his head at Sali's impatience. Sali wanted to drive to the airport and meet Ashe there, but Marcus held him back. Nathan and Lavonna were doing the same—keeping Dori and Cori inside the house. Dori was also upset, for many reasons. Marco's cell buzzed.
"It's Winkler," Marco whispered and answered the call.
"We're on the ground. Probably be there in forty-five." Winkler hung up. Marcus heard Winkler's voice clearly on the other end.
"Come on, they'll go to Adele and Aedan's," Marcus jerked his head toward the door. Denise, Marco and Sali followed him as he left the house.
* * *
"Aedan, please stay calm. He thought to protect us," Adele's hands shook as she attempted to calm her husband. Aedan was pacing, much as Sali had been. When the doorbell rang, Adele went to answer it, ushering the DeLucas and the Andersons inside. Marco had called Cori quickly as he followed his father out the door, and she'd shared the information with Dori and her parents. Now they were all gathering inside the Evans home to wait. Adele offered drinks, but there were no takers. All of them were waiting for Ashe to arrive.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online