Lord of the Wolves Chapter Nineteen

January 21st, 2018  |  Published in Haventon Chronicles

Start | LoTW Chapter Eighteen| Index | LoTW Chapter Twenty

A/N: Sorry this is late. I was waiting on a new laptop charger

The cat that walked calmly into Maelin’s lair was a pretty tabby that would have looked just like a short haired domestic house cat were she not at least twice the size of a normal cat. She was probably supposed to be there, Colin decided since she had one of the key discs attached to a flea collar. Indeed Maelin seemed unperturbed to see her.

“Mia! Welcome! Did your clowder find out what I requested?”

There was a pause as the cat shifted into the form of a pretty young woman, slim and tall with a heart-shaped face dark hair and the vivid green eyes of a werecat.

“Lord of the Wolves.” She inclined her head respectfully. “I am sorry for the delay in bringing you this information, but I had to stop and obscure my trail because I was spotted and I feared that the wolves had my scent. I did not wish to bring your enemies to your door.”

“I suspected that was the case,” he said. “I’m sorry if I have driven a wedge in your relationship with them. I would not have asked if it were not important.”

Mia made a dismissive sound and flipped her hand. “Don’t worry about it. Philip knows our clowder owes you a favour though he doesn’t know how large of one. He’ll be angry but it’s not like we’re formal allies with his pack so he won’t consider this a betrayal and won’t attack us. I’m probably going to get a tongue lashing when I next encounter him.”

“So the girl? Is she there or not?”

“She’s there,” Mia said. “And she’s a vampire – Michael’s child, but something is wrong, Maelin. The girl can’t move and I feels for all the world like she’s elfshot. Can you even do that a vampire? I thought that power only worked on humans?”

Maelin frowned. “No, not usually,” he said in a brooding tone. “As you say it usually only effects humans, but Sabren can do it and that would explain Aaron’s testimony about the night he discovered that the girl was alive.” He rose to his feet and started pacing. “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that she’s awake as well.” He buried his head in his hands. “I’m going to have to fight her again, aren’t I? Why won’t she listen to me?”

“Because as much as she hates Gwen and even knowing what the summer bitch did to her she doesn’t want to believe that she’s fallen far enough to use that sort of magic herself,” Lucy said. “And you tend to get incoherent with rage when you try to talk about it. That’s why Karen had to explain it to me. Combine those two things together and it’s a recipe for a misunderstanding.”

“I see,” he said. “That seems unfortunately likely. I have tried to keep calm when talking about what Gwen did to my father and his potential successors but…” He clenched his fists. “I just can’t.” He turned back to Mia. “Thank you, Mia, consider your Clowder’s debt to me discharged.”

“No it isn’t.” The werecat smiled and inclined her head to him. “You saved our kits from the hollowers who would have used their skins to emulate us, Maelin. There is nothing we can do to repay that. Nothing at all.” She hesitated. “But are you really planning to kill that poor vampire child? I don’t see what she could have done to offend you.”

“She’s done nothing,” he said sadly. “I just have no choice to stop my mother and save the child from my mother who would do worse to her.”

Mia looked confused for a moment then she went pale and swayed on her feet. “Oh God, no, you mentioned your father.” She looked sick. “You are not saying what I think you are, are you?”

“Unfortunately I am,” he said. “It’s not a fight you need to be involved in though. And please don’t consider yourself so bound to me. That’s not why I saved your kits.”

“I know,” she said. “That’s exactly why we feel we owe you.” She inclined her head to him a third time. “I wish I could help you resolve this issue without killing the girl. We won’t help you kill her but if you find another solution you know where we are. Your mother must be stopped.”

“You have no idea,” he said. “Be well, Mia.” He waited until she had gone then buried his head in his hands. “This is a mess, Lu. What am I going to do?”

“I don’t know,” Lucy said. “I’d say leave it for now because if you can’t sense her then Gwen can’t target her either, but Gwen know where David is…”

“And if she attacks, as she surely will… Yes that’s what I’m thinking. Three days until her next sacrifice deadline. I’m surprised she’s not tearing the town apart.”

“She probably is,” Lucy said. “If only we could warn them what she intends for the girl.”

“I tried to tell Sabren, she didn’t understand. I think even after what mother did to her she can’t comprehend a mistwalker using that kind of mag–” He broke off and looked up with a strained smile as Rachel appeared in the door.

“Good news!” she said. “I’ve managed to gather all the components for full sacrifice ritual so we don’t have to do the whole asking forgiveness later thing.”

“Well something is going well at…” Maelin trailed off and a calculating look crossed his face. He tapped his fingers on the arm of his chair in a stacatto rhythym obviously thinking furiously. “Could you do it as a gifting ritual instead. I’d still grant permission of course.”

“Well I can,” Rachel said. “But you want that monster alive?”

“For now, yes,” he said. “I have need to talk to the local traitor pack and given what he did to one of Philip’s human nieces he’ll make a fine truce gift.”

“If you can get to the part where you can offer a truce gift,” Lucy said drily. “Knowing my family that’s not likely.”

“That’s why I want you to deal with making the first approach, Lu,” he said. “They won’t kill you on sight.”

“No,” she conceded. “But they won’t listen either. Not without a lot of work and I don’t think that we have time for that.”

“Hmm… I think you are right.” He tutted to himself, obviously considering what other options he had.

Colin looked from Lucy to Maelin and back again. He felt dizzy and they seemed to be going in and out of focus. He started to tug on Lucy’s sleeve to find out what was happening but the world went black.

When he woke up it was dark and he was lying in his bed and Aunt Rachel was kneeling by the bed looking more awestruck than worried.

“What happened, Aunt Rae?” he asked.

“You had a vision,” she said. “It seems to have changed everything they were planning. I still had to do the gifting ceremony before dawn, which is why I’m still here but Maelin and Lucy rushed off with the rest of the pack after what you said while you were out. I came up to check on you as soon as the ritual is done. I never knew that you were a seer.”

“Neither did I until a few days ago,” Colin told her. “Lucy is going to help me learn to control it so I don’t pass out when I have vision. What did I say?”

“You were speaking some language I don’t know but Maelin translated it for us. That Gwen and the court of seasons would attack the farm where the potential winter warrior is tonight,” she said. “It was already twilight so I hope they make it in time. You don’t remember what you saw at all?”

Colin shook his head. “Not yet. Lucy says I will once I have a bit more practice.”

***

Anna was scowling across the table at Abigail when the sudden wave of dizziness and a rising sense of panic hit her. She nearly passed out but her mother’s presence yanked her back to consciousness.  Concentrate, Sweetie, her mother said. What do you see?

See? Anna was confused for a moment but then the images started rising in her mind. A small army of mistwalkers attacking the farm and the tall elegant woman with unnaturally high cheekbones, pointed ears sitting astride a horse made of golden crystal watching. Anna grabbed onto the edge of the table and gasped. Abigail reached out and touched her wrist.

“Are you okay? What did you see?”

Anna gasped for breath aware she hyperventilating but unable to stop, even her mother’s presence seemed unable to calm her. “They’re coming,” she managed finally. “We have to warn everyone.”

“The court of seasons?” Abigail asked.

Anna nodded because her breath had gone again she couldn’t reply.

“Go and warn David and Laurel,” Abigail said. “I’ll find Lady Sabren, Michael and Philip, and breath Anna you won’t be much use if you suffocate.” She hurried out of the back door.

Anna clutched the table harder and finally managed to get herself under control. That done she ran up the stairs and into the bedroom where David and Laurel were holed up.

“Anna? What?” David asked, obviously recognising the panic in her face.

“They’re coming,” she said. “I saw them.”

David didn’t ask who, instead he looked around the room quickly, obviously taking stock of what they had to defend themselves. He was much cooler headed than she was, Anna decided.

A vision like that would panic anyone, her mother said.

“Do either of you have your vampire hunting gear with you?” Laurel asked suddenly.

“Mine went up in smoke when Ragnar attacked Tanya’s car,” Anna said.

“And mine is outside on my bike,” David said. “I didn’t think bringing it inside would be politic.”

“A pity,” Laurel said and when he looked at her in obvious confusion she grinned at him. “Your kind don’t like rowan or hawthorn either,” she reminded him. “We could have used the stakes as a last ditch weapon.”

“Oh!” he stared at her for a moment. “That’s good thinking. Failing that we need iron or gold and I don’t think we have–”

“Can any of you use a gun?” Kate had appeared in the doorway.

Anna shook her head. “It’s not something they teach vampire hunters.”

“No,” Laurel said. “I don’t like guns.”

“What use would a gun be against mistwalkers anyway?” David added.

“That rather depends on the bullets,” Kate said. “Mine are alchemically prepared by an old friend and have gold and iron bonded to them. They are pretty nasty for our kind. I was going to lend one of you my gun but if you can’t use it I’ll hold on to it.”

“That’s one heck of a weapon,” David said. “Somehow I thought…”

Kate laughed. “You thought we’d be all traditional weapons and chivalry? Yes, many are, but I’m a great believer in adapting to survive. If you can’t blend in you eventually get noticed. If you can’t outmatch your enemy’s firepower you lose. Unless you are like Gwen and spend almost all your time in the Mists of course.” She sat on the bed, pulled out her gun, which was some sort of old fashioned hand gun, and began loading bullets into it. “Not that this old thing is state of the art or anything. I should probably update it soon.”

“Is that thing even legal?” Laurel asked.

“Of course not,” Kate said. “But it’s not like I’d ever use it on humans and I keep it glamoured, so no human copper is ever going to find it.”

“Okay.” David stared at her. “Is there any sign of the attack yet?”

She shook her head. “They are out there. I’m sure of it, and Anna’s vision confirms it. But Gwen isn’t stupid just nasty. She’s a fair tactician as well. I imagine that she’s checking where we are positioned and what forces we have before attacking. I don’t think she has realised that Stephen is with us – she knows I stopped him but I don’t think she realises that he’s not bound to be neutral after what she did – which means the Hunt is our primary surprise force. It’s a good thing but I wish we had more.”

 

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