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|Sacrifice of Love(Grey Wolves #7) by Quinn Loftis|
Vasile was pretty sure Adam had been joking, but then he was still pretty new to the pack and he hadn’t quite figured him out just yet. He looked at the remaining males in the room and started moving towards the door. “This is all we’re taking,” he motioned to include all of them. “I want to move fast and I want to move quiet. You all heard what I said, no killing.”
“What if we have no choice?” Sorin asked.
Vasile answered even as he began his phase. “Make it clean, make it quick.”
“Hello Thead, I see that magic still protects your home.” Peri smiled as she stepped up to the trees that led into the home the trolls had hidden there. They had used magic to create the illusion of a forest so dense that light didn’t even penetrate it. Only supernaturals could see the entrance and even then you had to know what you were looking for. There was a time when the trolls had occupied the Balkan Mountains on the furthest Western side close to what is now Serbia, but the mountains were becoming more and more travelled by humans. It was either dig deeper into the mountain or leave and find sanctuary elsewhere. They had voted on it, and the majority of their clan had wanted to flee the mountain.
Thead had known there was no way for them to conceal themselves and so he had sought out the help of the fae, well, one fae in particular. Peri had agreed to help them, and she had attached no strings to her assistance. When Thead had asked why she didn’t want any form of payment, Peri had simply said, “Someone is sure to want to find you one day and it will be amusing to laugh while they wander around like idiots looking for you.”
“If it is working, why are you here?” Thead asked.
“Who has been here recently Thead?”
He hesitated before finally speaking, “Lorelle was here.”
“Bloody, freaking—,” Peri let out a stream of profanity worthy of a Jen performance as she paced. It shouldn’t have surprised her that her sister was involved. That would explain how Cypher had known where to go. “Cypher is on his way here now. They are moving very fast and there is a bunch of them. Oh, and they have freaky red eyes,” she added. Though she wasn’t sure why, she thought he should know.
“Peri, you know we are not strong enough to defeat them.”
Peri smiled, just as Alston, Adam and Cyn came walking out of the forest around them. “That, my old friend, is why we are here.” The other three fae bowed to the king and smiled reassuringly.
“Vasile and his wolves are on their way as well,” Adam told him.
Thead looked off into the forest, his eyes searching, his ears listening. “I don’t know why he is doing this now,” he said without looking at the fae.
Peri let out a deep breath as she thought about it. She had to agree that the Cypher she knew would not suddenly declare war on a race that he had kept peace with for so long.
“Have any of your clan been near his mountain?” she asked him.
“No, we rarely leave and I always know who is leaving and where they are going,” Thead told her.
“He’s under a lot of stress right now. He sent his mate away for her own safety and he’s dealing with all this crap about his brother,” she said absently as she thought out loud.
“His brother?” Thead’s voice betrayed the nervousness he hid from his face. “What about Reyaz?”
“He’s decided to come out and play, only no one wants to play the kinds of games he seems interested in,” her words faded off as she thought about them. Games, Reyaz was definitely into games of any variety, including ones that would cause one species to attack another. “Awe crap!” she growled just as the ground began to tremble beneath her feat.
She braced herself, leaning forward on the balls of her feet and watching for the attack that was imminent. The others followed suit. She smiled when she saw Adam did a few standing jumps and then rolled his shoulders like a boxer would just before a match.
“Thead, go back into your forest and do not come out until you hear from me,” Peri told him as she continued to watch.
“I will not hide behind you.”
“You will or I will turn you into a yard ornament.”
Thead’s eyes widened as he backed up and then finally turned and fled into the safety of the protected forest.
“Remember, no killing,” Adam announced just as running warlocks came into view. They moved through the forest like ghosts, whipping around trees and jumping over foliage. It was hard to believe that beings so large could move with such grace. The red eyes that peered out from each of their faces glowed dangerously and their lips were lifted in threatening snarls. Suddenly a knife flew past Peri’s ear so closely that she heard the whistle of it as it spun end over end through the air.
“Screw that,” Peri snapped, “I am in no mood to lose any body parts today, so if it comes down to my ear or them, I will not hesitate to save my ear.”
Adam laughed as he flung his arm out, his magic deflecting another soaring knife. “Vasile won’t be happy.”
“Vasile can go jump in a lake,” her words were followed by a war cry as she dodged the first warlock to finally reach her. As Peri dodged kicks, flung away knives, and dished out magical bursts meant to harm but not kill, her mind briefly jumped to her earlier realization that Reyaz was behind this. She knew it like she knew the sun would rise in the East tomorrow. The red eyes should have been enough to clue her in. But though she knew it was dark magic, her initial thoughts had not been to blame Reyaz and that idea made her think there must have been more to his spell than just planting the thirst for war in the warlocks’ hearts. So why did he do it? she asked herself as she kicked a female warlock in the face. He knew that the trolls couldn’t kill his brother, and that was what he was ultimately after, wasn’t it? At least it had been at one time. So what changed? What variable had been altered enough to change Reyaz’s plans?
When it hit her it was like a punch to the gut, well that and the fact that she was indeed just punched in the gut by the female warlock who refused to stay down. “Lilly,” she muttered, and then revised that statement, “the females.” She flung her hand to the woman’s chest and pushed, sending a jolt into her. The woman collapsed, but she was still breathing. She turned in a circle and saw that Dain and Nissa of the council had joined in the fight. And what a fight it was. Since they were trying not to kill the attackers, they were knocking the warlocks out with jolts of powers, effectively interrupting their nervous system. But warlocks were magical and still pretty powerful, so they weren’t staying down long. Her eyes found Cypher and she stood still, briefly, in awe of his power, grace, and control. He stood back just a ways, watching the battle, waiting for a moment when he would need to step in. His face was blank, void of emotion, and it sent a chill down her spine to see a man who was usually so passionate look so complacent.