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  • Home > Samantha Young > Warriors of Ankh > Blood Past (Page 5)     
  • Blood Past(Warriors of Ankh #2)(5) by Samantha Young
  • Taking his mother's cue, Cameron first shook Cyrus' hand and then smiled warmly at Eden, taking her hand rather than waiting for her to extend it. He grinned down at her. “Nice to meet you, Eden.”

    His lilting accent made her smile. “And you.”

    “Uncle Neil tells me you'll be training here. I'd be happy to assist.” His grin turned wicked and his green eyes sparkled playfully.

    Eden laughed inwardly, grateful to this boy, whose flirtatiousness made her feel less of a freak.

    “I'd like that.”

    Cyrus nodded approvingly at Mary and Cameron as they backed away after greeting Val and Noah, pleased with their more than friendly response, especially in contrast to the Councilman's. Neil frowned at his sister, who shot him a look. Eden decided right there and then that she liked Mary immensely. There was something defiant in her body language when faced with her big brother that appealed to Eden.

    Clearing his throat, McLeish introduced more of his family, cousins and two men from his council he considered brothers: John MacDonald and Richard Liddle. Both men appraised Eden in the exact same manner McLeish had. Their obvious contention was making Eden more than a little uneasy. As if sensing it, a throb of energy hummed out into the room from Cyrus' direction and the group grew more hushed and reverent. Liddle dropped his gaze, the gaze that had been boring into Eden with suspicion. Understanding dawned on the group and from then on their greetings were warmer, like Mary's and Cameron's.

    And then finally… what Eden had been waiting for.

    She was introduced to Merrit's bloodline. As a group, it was a small one. Only four of them remaining.

    Before McLeish could do the introductions, a broad-shouldered dark-haired man of average height strode forward to grasp Cyrus' hand. He looked somewhere in his forties and had a strong face and body; his eyes were sharp and intelligent, and there was an aura of safety and calm about him.

    “Princeps, it is an honour to meet you. I'm Christopher Douglas, and we're pleased to be of any help that we can be with your daughter's situation.”

    She knew by the relaxing of Cyrus' body that her guardian liked this man immediately. Eden understood. Call it intuition but there was something innately honourable about him.

    Why couldn't he have been the damn Councilman?

    “Miss MacDouglas.” Christopher was reaching a hand out to her now. “‘Tis a pleasure.”

    “Good to meet you, too.” And for once she actually meant it.

    Once he was done shaking Val and Noah's hand, Christopher turned and gestured to a willowy woman with blonde hair. “This is my wife, Alison.”

    Alison was very pretty with golden blonde hair and wide amber eyes. She shook all of their hands, smiling brightly the whole time. Like Christopher, Eden found her presence very soothing.

    “And this is our daughter, October,” Christopher said softly, nudging a teenage girl forward.

    October had her father's colouring. In fact… she looked a little like Eden with her midnight hair and tip-tilted eyes. When she grinned, it was a sharp smile with attitude and confidence.

    When she grinned she and Eden looked like family. There was no questioning it.

    October blushed when Cyrus shook her hand and it diminished her bravado a little. However, it came back in full force as soon as she turned in Eden's direction. October walked over to her, eyeing her, a pleased quirk on her lips. Unlike Eden, October's hair was cut sleek and short to suit her delicate features. She was dressed in tight black jeans with a neon pink belt and neon pink Converse.

    Her tight black t-shirt had the words ‘ Born This Way' scrawled across the chest. Eden smirked back at October as she drew to a stop in front of her. They were almost the same height.

    “Hi.” October nodded casually, appraising Eden. “I like your shirt. Didn't know they were big in the US.”

    Eden glanced down at it. It was the Biffy Clyro shirt she'd bought off eBay. “Uh, well they are with me.”

    The girl nodded again. “Cool. You like The Kooks?”

    “Never listened to ‘em.”

    “Oh, well I've got their albums. You should have a listen.”

    “Sure, I'll check them out.”

    “Cool. You're sharing my room anyway, so… cool.”

    “Cool.”

    Christopher cleared his throat, “I think we've established that everything is cool. October, let your nana meet Eden.”

    October stood back and Eden turned as an older Neith stepped forward. She held herself regally, her hand clasped around an elegant cane. Her white hair was cut fashionably short, and her ocean-coloured eyes were amazingly bright and alert. Eden knew who this was. This was Mhairi Douglas -

    not Mary like Eden had thought when she saw her name written down on Cyrus' notes. It was pronounced Vari - the Celts really liked to complicate life when it came to spelling and pronunciation. Mhairi was the eldest living member of the Douglas' and the one who would be donating her blood to Eden's cause. Unbelievably, Eden had been informed that Mhairi was eighty-eight years old. She didn't look a day over sixty. But her age explained the cane. Neith were very resilient and healthful people. You had to be hitting the really elderly age bracket to be walking with a cane.

    “Well let's have a look at you.” Mhairi peered at her, those incredibly lively eyes running the length of her. She huffed as if disbelieving and turned to Cyrus. “You're right, Princeps. This has to be one o' mine. The hair, the skin, the shape o' the eyes. Definitely one o' mine. The surname fits.

    Do you know I rather envy you it. Our family dropped the prefix Mac a few centuries ago when one o' my great-great grandfathers married a Sassenach and she convinced him Douglas was more civilised sounding than MacDouglas. ”

    What was a Sassenach?

    “An Englishman,” Noah murmured in her ear, and she ignored the shiver that cascaded down her spine at the feel of his breath on her neck. She twisted around to frown at him. OK, she knew he was good at reading her, but how could he possibly read her when her back was to him?

    “I could have changed it I suppose but I was too busy hunting, unlike my lazy ancestor.

    Fortunately his son was a magnificent hunter and got our family legacy back on track. He had your colouring. Yes, aye,” she turned to Cyrus, “This one is definitely one o' mine.” He nodded. “Thank you for doing this Ms Douglas.”

    “Please call me Mhairi.” She shooed away his formality. “And I'm happy to do it. It's a nice change o' pace in fact.” Mhairi grinned at Eden. “The first time in this long life o' mine that I'll be getting rid o' a soul eater without killing the bugger.”

    Eden frowned. “Am I the bugger in that sentence?”

    The old woman chuckled. “Only for the next twenty four hours.” She turned back to Cyrus. “Shall we begin?”

    “Already?” Eden squeaked. She started to lose control of her heart rate. She hadn't realised this would be happening so soon.

    Cyrus nodded and she felt Val squeeze her hand. “We should get it over with, Eden.” She gulped and glanced back up into Mhairi's eyes. “Are you sure you're OK to do this?”

    “I can get by without a pint o' blood, don't you be worrying about that.” Suddenly the room felt very warm as the hunger realised death was imminent. It burst into flames inside of her and began screaming at all those souls so close.

    So close. Take. Need. Want. No! Take. Need. Need. NEED!

    She shuddered and clutched harder to Val's hand. “OK. Then let's do this.” Chapter Three

    Leaving Your Ass

    in the Dust

    The Douglas' bathroom was a good size but it felt seriously diminished by the number of people inside of it.

    Eden looked around at them with narrowed eyes, her teeth grinding together. She couldn't believe she was going to have to do this in front of them. Was it really necessary? They were asking her to put someone else's blood into her. Actual human blood?! And there was to be witnesses to this weirdness?

    Valeria knelt beside Mhairi Douglas, a needle, tube and blood bag in hand. “Are you ready?” she asked the older woman quietly.

    Mhairi gazed at Eden and her eyes sharpened. She tutted and turned to look up at the gathering.

    “No one needs to see the girl do this.”

    There was grumbling as Eden nodded gratefully, still too anxious to offer a smile of gratitude.

    “Mhairi is correct. We will leave them in Valeria's capable hands.” Cyrus began ushering them out. Noah was the last to leave. He stared down at Eden stonily, her skin prickling under his gaze.

    Unwillingly, she lifted her chin to meet his suddenly expressive eyes. I can stay if you need me,  they said.

    A few weeks ago Eden would have jumped on the unspoken offer. She would have tugged on his hand and brought him down on the cold tile beside her and shimmied into his side to collect the warmth of his comforting nearness. But now, despite his continued attempts to ‘be there for her', she was unsure of him. Was he just following orders still? She hated him for that, because not too long ago he had been the one thing in her life she was utterly sure about. Losing something like that was almost as bad as death taking it from you.

    The pain of Noah's betrayal sliced through her as it always did when she allowed herself time to dwell on it.

    I'll never need you again.

    Noah flinched at the message in her eyes and allowed Cyrus to guide him from the room. The sight of her guardian leaving caused a knot of panic in her chest. “Cyrus!” She called out.

    He stopped abruptly, his brow furrowing. “Yes?”

    Eden felt silly all of a sudden. Would he laugh at her? Think her a child?

    “Eden?”

    She bit her lip and caught Valeria's look. It was kind and understanding. Val nodded as if telling Eden to ask for what she wanted. With a heavy sigh, Eden shrugged. “Will you stay?” His eyes softened, something they hardly ever did, although they certainly did around Eden, which was in itself a small, special comfort to her. “Of course, if you would like me to.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire