Vendetta(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 4)(28) by Connie Suttle
Aedan cursed. "Did they find him?"
"Eventually, yes. When Winkler went with him to explain why he'd gone missing, Adele treated the whole thing lightly. Casimir was listening from outside and heard what was said. He says it wasn't the way any normal mother would act when her son was lost or missing. She then blithely allowed Ashe to go home with Winkler to stay."
"Casimir is there?"
"Yes, father. Casimir is here."
"Wlodek is determined to take my son."
"It looks that way."
"You will give no information to any other vampire concerning my son. I command it."
* * *
Ashe didn't speak to Sali or Marco when they came to the exercise room to work out Saturday morning. Cori, Dori and Wynn came, too. The girls worked out with Ace, who was quite patient with them. Ashe caught the white werewolf smiling now and then as he instructed Wynn. Trajan watched over Ashe; Trace worked with Marco and Sali.
* * *
Ashe ran ahead of the others on the beach later so he wouldn't be forced to acknowledge the DeLuca brothers. Cori ignored Marco as well. Ashe found a perverse sort of satisfaction from that. Marco cornered Ashe later in his office and Ashe didn't think he could just throw Marco out without getting into a huge fight. Marco settled on Ashe's guest chair with a sigh.
"Ashe, hear me out first and then decide whether you hate me or not," Marco said. "First off, I’m sorry. I know it's a betrayal of sorts, and that's what bothers me so much. I owe you. Just like Sali and Winkler and the others owe you. At least I remember that I owe you. Most of the others don't, so you have to overlook that. I'd give anything to go back to the place where this hadn't happened yet. Things might have been different, Ashe, if I'd known Dad was involved. We're not speaking right now, Dad and I. That doesn't make me feel good because I care about my parents. Like I know you care about yours. All I can do is apologize and tell you not to let anything slip. Ever again. Cori says she won't come back to me until I make things right with you. But that's not the only reason I’m here. I want things to be right between us, Ashe. I think of you as a friend. A good friend."
"People have a funny way of showing friendship around here," Ashe muttered, tapping on his computer. He was taking a practice exam online for the GED.
"They call it the Fraternity of the Wolf," Marco admitted. "The blood of the race binding one werewolf to another. It's the ritual all young werewolves go through when we run with the Pack the first time and swear the oaths to our Packmaster."
"I guess Obediah and Zeke Tanner forgot those parts," Ashe observed dryly.
"Ashe, you know that every race has its outlaws. The Tanners were werewolf outlaws. Well, Zeke is still out there, so he can cause more trouble after he recovers from the loss of most of his wolves."
"With the way things are in Mexico, that won't take long," Ashe observed. Actually, Marco's mention of the Tanners made Ashe think for a moment. "Marco, did the Grand Master ever find the leak he suspected in the Amarillo Pack?"
"I don't know, but I’ll ask Winkler."
"Okay. Let me know what you find out."
"Will do. Can we at least declare a truce?"
"Should have brought in a white flag, dude." Ashe answered three questions on the computer while Marco stared.
"If I bring in a white flag, will you at least keep talking to me?"
"Here." Ashe lifted a tissue from the box inside a desk drawer. "Wave that. I can't do anything about Cori. You have to make your own peace with her."
"Is that what this is? A kind of peace?"
"Some kind. I just won't trust you again. Or Sali." Ashe's voice was bitter on Sali's name.
"That's too bad. I have a feeling you could ruin Sali with Dad if you wanted. But I’m not about to pry," Marco held up both hands when Ashe glared. "I’ll leave you alone to finish whatever that is. Ashe, I really am sorry."
"Then we’ll agree to a truce. And we’ll talk. It just won't be any exchange of confidences." Ashe waved Marco out of the room.
"Rather hard, isn't it, not having anyone to confide in," the tall, hazel-eyed man was back and sitting in the chair Marco had just vacated.
"You have no idea," Ashe grumbled. "Why are you here? Come to rub it in?"
"No, I came to give you this." Ashe stared as papers appeared from nowhere and now dangled from the man's hand. Reaching out hesitantly, Ashe lifted them from the man's fingers. "I translated more for a friend, and he made the mistake of handing it to someone else, who withheld most of it. This isn't all, but it's what you need right now." The man disappeared as quickly as Ashe could blink.
When Ashe got himself back in hand, he stared at the first sentence on the top page. When the Destroyer appears and the Bright and Dark of the races are at war, the Ir’Indicti will come, it announced.
* * *
Ashe misted the new pages inside his father's safe. He discovered that his mother had removed much of what had been inside. Most of it dealt with her marriage to Aedan. He sighed again over what his father had done. Had Aedan truly meant to leave his wife and son with no contact or support? It made no sense to Ashe. His mother never knew he'd been inside the house—he misted away again without letting her know.
* * *
"How are the sample tests coming along?" Winkler dropped into a deck chair beside Ashe. Winkler had brought furniture from somewhere and piled it on the covered patio behind the house in Star Cove.
"Good. I squeaked by on the first two. I’ll study those books a little more and do another tomorrow."
"After you finish your book?" Winkler's mouth twisted into a half-grin—Ashe's finger held a place two-thirds through the book he'd gotten the night before.
"Let's go see the beach house. We’ll grab lunch on the way," Winkler patted Ashe's shoulder. Ashe rose and followed Winkler into the house.
* * *
"So things didn't go very well with Ashe." Sali looked up at his father's words.
"Dad, I had to tell Mr. Winkler why Ashe disappeared."
"Both my sons, loyal to another Packmaster," Marcus growled.
"That's not it. I told you what you wanted to know. Sold out my best friend to do it and you're still not happy. What would you have done if I'd come to tell you that Ashe figured everything out and took off? Would you have said good riddance and left it at that?" Sali stabbed the spaghetti on his plate. His mother remained silent as she set a plate in front of Marcus.
"Son, I saw those pages the vamps sent. Winkler showed them to me last night. He wouldn't tell me how many of those things Ashe can do. You probably know better than I ever will."
"If you're fishing Dad, you know everything I know."
* * *
"The father is in the London area for the second day," Wildrif informed Baltis.
"Good. One more day and I will send my guards," Baltis replied. "Be sure that the boy's parents are not with others. I do not wish to lose more of our people."
"Of course, my King." Wildrif bowed and was escorted from Baltis’ chambers.
"I am stifled so far underground and do not have the ability to relocate as you do," Wildrif informed his companion, a rather short, white-blond Elemaiya. "Might it be possible to find an entrance somewhere to breathe purer air?" Wildrif's mismatched eyes begged pitifully.
"Very well. Come, we will find one of those round openings nearby."
"That is all I ask," Wildrif nodded deferentially. Sunlight filtered through the keyhole of a metal cover somewhere along the way and Wildrif was allowed to climb up the ladder to sniff better air. He concealed his actions from the guard as he pulled a cell phone from a hidden pocket and sent a quick text before climbing down again and thanking the guard for his indulgence.
* * *
"My spy has information," Friesianna stared at her new Assassins. "Baltis plans to send someone to London—that is where the boy's father is and they suspect the boy is with him. Follow them. I want the boy dead. They want to keep him alive to serve their purposes, clearly expecting to keep his true nature from him. That will not be. Kill the boy and Baltis’ guards. They have spilled enough of our blood. Let the Dark King worry about replacing his assassins with what he has left of his people." Friesianna's voice was cold and determined. If she could locate Baltis’ encampment, she planned to send as much of an army against it as she could gather. Her spy informed her that Baltis left the majority of his people elsewhere, under Prince Beldris’ supervision. She wanted the Prince's death just as much as she wanted Baltis’.
* * *
"She won't know, I promise." Rabis led a small group of Bright Elemaiya to a copse of trees. Two had come originally, worried that they and their children would become fodder for the Queen's army. She'd turned to conscripting artisans and weavers. "Jump from here," Rabis pointed to the ground, "to this spot and then to the gate." He tapped a dot on a human map. "Take this map with you. You should still have enough strength to get through the gate and to the place I described to you. Go there. The old Queen is waiting." He handed the paper map to his companions.
"Your daughter, if I remember correctly," the weaver said softly.
"Do not say that where anyone can hear. Friesianna thinks her dead. Go now or you will be taken on the morrow to serve in the army."
"We leave you with our thanks." The man bowed low to Rabis and he and his party disappeared.
Rabis sighed helplessly. "Only six that see sense," he muttered. "Friesianna will kill us all."
* * *
"This is one of three safe rooms," Winkler tapped the wall with a finger.
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