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  • Home > Samantha Young > Warriors of Ankh > Blood Past (Page 8)     
  • Blood Past(Warriors of Ankh #2)(8) by Samantha Young
  • “How can you be? He was a soul eater.”

    “He was your brother. And I didn't want you hurt. You can believe that or not, but we are going to be working with each other and you are going to have to start trusting me.”

    “I don't know if I can do that.”

    “I'm sorry I hurt you, Eden.”

    Their gazes caught as Eden's heart jumped at his apology. It was the first time he'd admitted any real wrongdoing and remorse. She didn't say anything, and the longer the silence grew the more she was sure he could hear her heart thudding against the natural acoustics of the bathroom. A strange heat and tension built within the small confines of the room and she remembered a night that seemed a part of another life, when he had stood in a stranger's kitchen, looking at her as if he had never seen her before.

    Had that been real?

    Was this?

    Did it matter?

    She sighed and lowered her eyes, breaking the tension. “I'm not ready to forgive.” He sighed heavily and turned, reaching for the door handle. “I'm not going anywhere. Take all the time you need. We've got eternity remember.”

    Chapter Six

    All These Things that I've Done

    Tears streamed down Eden's face and she curled into October's duvet, rocking back and forth, stuffing the fabric into her mouth to silence her screams. How could it have been possible that only three hours ago she'd been fine? She had stood in that bathroom, confused and wary of Noah, but strong and ready to begin her new life. But as soon as she'd stepped inside the bedroom to run a brush through her hair, to ready herself for dinner with Cyrus and the Douglas', this wall of memories crumbled in around her, each brick a hit of guilt for what she'd allowed her family to do over the years.

    She kept hearing the screaming, seeing flashes of the red-headed woman, the eyes of the girl in the basement, condemning her, calling her a coward. She could remember each individual scream that had ever escaped that basement. She could see Lana's face, the college Freshman Stellan had soul-eaten, her blank eyes boring accusingly into her head. The pain wracked her body and she begged for it to all go away. How had she lived with herself all these years? How could she let her family destroy people she was born to protect?

    How could she still love and grieve for Stellan when he had been a part of it?

    Ah… there was the thorn.

    She had changed; she had been reborn an Ankh, and yet she suffered her brother's loss despite his heritage. Despite all he had done, despite they were destined enemies, Eden knew she could never bring herself to erase him from her memory, to delete the text messages on her cell, the only remnants of his existence she had left, never mind delete her love for him. And she knew, despite her soul telling her she was an Ankh, a warrior, a protector… she knew… she knew if she were ever given the chance, she would still take her revenge on Romany for Stellan's death. The thought only made her sob harder, no longer aware of Cyrus who sat in the chair by her bed, or Valeria who awkwardly tried to soothe her, or Noah who stood in the corner of the room, his nails drawing blood from his palms his fists were clenched so tight.

    When she hadn't come down for dinner October had come to get her and found her crumpled on the floor, Eden's muffled wailing sending her straight back out the door and downstairs for Cyrus.

    Cyrus had lifted her to the bed and tried to ask what was wrong. But she couldn't stop crying. And over the course of the hours as she fell apart, words escaped her, enough of them for her companions to grasp what was happening to her.

    Go away. Away. Away. Please.

    A secret voice whispered somewhere inside her that the only way to rid herself of the pain was to forgive herself for her past. To seek redemption in her future.

    She tried but the guilt was adamantly holding tight.

    And finally… her reprieve came not in forgiveness, but sheer exhaustion. Her body let go of the guilt, even if her mind did not, and it sank into a deep sleep, drawing her unwillingly with it.

    Noah caught Cyrus' eyes as Eden's hard, wracking sobs finally grew quiet and her body stilled.

    Her soft breathing eased some of his tension as she finally fell asleep. He opened his mouth to speak and Cyrus shook his head, standing up and gesturing to the door. He and Valeria followed the Princeps out, unsurprised to find Christopher and October standing in the hallway with curious, pained looks on their faces.

    “Is she alright?” Christopher whispered, and Noah read the genuine concern in his eyes. For not the first time since their arrival in Edinburgh, Noah wished Christopher was the Scottish Councilman.

    There was something he didn't like or trust about McLeish. For a start he knew the man abhorred the idea of Eden. Cyrus knew it too. They had known it wouldn't be easy bringing her in amongst the Neith, but still it made his blood boil to think of anyone causing her harm, emotional or physical.

    Christopher was a different story. All of the Douglas' were, including October. They were amazingly open-minded, and if Noah wasn't wrong, more curious and awed by the idea of Eden than anything else.

    Cyrus shook his head, his face calm and expressionless now that he was in company. Only moments before in the bedroom his eyes had been full of impotent pain. “I am afraid Eden is suffering a crisis of conscience about her past.”

    Noah stiffened, hating her guilt even more as it was admitted out loud. She had nothing to feel guilty for! She had been brave and courageous to get through her life with the Winslows as unscathed as she had.

    October frowned. “I'm confused. I thought you said she hadn't done anything. That she wasn't completely awakened.”

    Her father stiffened at his daughter's informal and challenging tone in front of the Princeps.

    “October-”

    “It is fine,” Cyrus cut off his admonishment and eyed October, who now squirmed under his direct focus. “October, fear not, I did not lie. Eden has done nothing of which to be ashamed.

    Unfortunately, now that her Ankh soul has taken hold, she feels all the responsibility and weight of her duty and with it the guilt for having not seen to that duty when her soul eater family committed their crimes.”

    October screwed up her face. “But it wasn't her fault so what's her problem?” Noah bristled at her attitude. “How would you feel knowing your father was raping and torturing people in your basement and there was not a damn thing you could do about it-”

    “Noah.” Cyrus touched his arm as October blanched at his forthright and biting retort.

    “Is there anything we can do?” Christopher asked quietly.

    “You have done so much already, friend. But if I could ask young October to make other sleeping arrangements for tonight.”

    October nodded, her curious eyes glued to her bedroom door. “Do you think she'll be OK?”

    “Yes,” Valeria answered with a certainty that eased the tight ache in Noah's chest. “The intensity of it will fade quickly… although I doubt it will ever leave her completely.” Surprised, Noah tried to catch the Ankh's gaze but she lowered her eyes. He wanted to reach out to her and squeeze her arm in comfort but he knew she would never allow it. Noah hadn't realised Valeria carried her own kind of guilt around. He wondered what she had done during her time as one of the Unforeseen.

    “For now let us leave her to sleep.” Cyrus heaved a weary sigh.

    “Can I stay with her?” Noah asked without even thinking about it.

    Cyrus seemed to hesitate before he eyed him carefully. “Yes. She might need you when she wakes.”

    Chapter Seven

    Breakfast with Clan Douglas

    The overwhelming despair from the night before had vanished as quickly as it had arrived.

    Unfortunately for Eden it hadn't taken the guilty conscience with it. That morning she'd awoken to find Noah sleeping in the computer chair beside her bed, his neck craned at an uncomfortable angle, his features strained with worry.

    The sight of him was almost enough to make her crumble a little, to wish that she could trust him.

    But worrying about trusting Noah was the last thing she had time to think about. Seeming to feel her eyes on him, Noah had awakened and she'd immediately asked for Valeria.

    Val would be able to explain what the hell had happened to her last night.

    And she had.

    Val had also promised that the guilt Eden felt for letting Ryan kill so many people wouldn't disappear overnight, but that the intensity of grief from the night before would – it was merely Eden's new body and spirit acclimating to her past. The paradox between the two was what had caused her mind and body to go into shock. Eden thought she understood. She was trying to anyway. At the moment, she was just glad that it was over. She had honestly felt as if she were going to die from the pain of her past memories.

    Now she was just kind of embarrassed. She stood at the top of the stairs of the Douglas' home, readying herself to join them for breakfast. It was the weekend, so they were all home. Great.

    Drawing in a deep breath, Eden made her way downstairs, pleased by the strength in her limbs and how clearheaded she felt.

    Christopher sat at the head of a mahogany table littered with food – eggs, bacon, pancakes, toast, syrup, sausages and some ‘English breakfasty' looking stuff, alien and unfamiliar to her. She swallowed, eyeing this weird black patty thing. OK, stuff that would remain alien and unfamiliar to her.

    “Eden.” Cyrus and Noah both rose from their chairs, an old fashioned gesture that made her smirk.

    She nodded at them all, blinking in surprise at Christopher and his wife, Alison's, friendly greetings.

    She took the seat across from October, between Cyrus and Mhairi.

    “Feeling better?” Mhairi smiled at her knowingly.

    Eden nodded. “Much. Thanks for the makeover. Your blood did good.” Mhairi seemed to enjoy the remark, her eyes twinkling. “You're very welcome.”

    “Eden, help yourself.” Alison leaned around Cyrus to speak to her. “There's plenty of everything and you must be starving. You haven't eaten anything in a while.” Nodding in quiet thanks Eden reached over and started piling her plate with eggs, bacon and sausages. She felt them all watching her and tried to force a blush down as she awkwardly bypassed the food she didn't recognise.

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