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  • Home > Samantha Young > The Tale of Lunarmorte > Blood Solstice (Page 41)     
  • Blood Solstice(The Tale of Lunarmorte #3)(41) by Samantha Young
  • Relief washed through her and she gave her friend a grateful smile. “Thank you.”

    Caia suddenly looked shy as she turned to walk back towards the door. “Don’t. I’d do anything for you, you know that.”

    That was the second person in the last ten minutes to say something that sweet to her. A warm revelation settled over her. The pain caused by her father’s death would never go away, but the loneliness was slowly melting out of existence.

    And all because she was lucky enough to have soul mates.

    Her legs shook beneath her as Caia got down on her knees in the middle of the court. Like last time, all of the Daylights sat upon the rows and rows of benches; the Council seated in the row before her. Unlike last time, her pack was in the crowd and the Council wasn’t out to get her. Well, for the most part, she thought, ignoring Benedict De Jong’s displeased expression. The time for the ceremony had come, and she had been warned, as had the pack and everyone else, that once she inherited the title of the Head of the Coven the impact of the trace would hurt. Trace magik, when inherited as it had been for Caia before her eighteenth birthday, was easier to manage; it was a gradual addition to her magik as she approached her eighteenth year. For most, however, the trace was inherited by ceremony and it could be painful. Thus the Center had been warned not to overreact if Caia displayed signs of discomfort. Her hand twitched. Just how much discomfort were they talking about here? And would the pain last long? The rite asking the gods to take back the trace was not being performed until the Hunter’s Moon, or Blood Moon as it was often called (Caia felt Blood Moon was more fitting considering she had to offer up some of her own during the rite). Anyway, the Blood Moon was another four days away. Four days of excruciating pain didn’t sound like fun to her.

    “Caia Ribeiro.” Alfred Doukas stood up. Like the rest of the Council he wore pale blue ceremonial robes with the Fasces on their left breast. The Fasces was a bundle of rods tied together containing an axe in the middle with its blade projecting. In ancient Rome it had been carried in front of the magistrates and symbolized authority. The Council couldn’t have been clearer about how they saw themselves within the Coven. “You kneel before us today in supplication to the gods, asking them to bequeath favor upon you and grant you the gifts only bestowed upon that of this Coven’s leader.” At that the Council all stood as one and began making their way around the bench to the platform. One by one, they lowered themselves to their knees, Alfred Doukas only marginally closer to her than the others. “We, the Council, kneel with you, and ask the gods to grant this favor.” As one they pulled small daggers from their robes and slit a shallow cut across their palms before holding it up to the heavens. Caia took that as her cue and gripped tight to the dagger Marion had given her, biting her lip as she scored it across her left palm, squeezing back the sting of tears as her flesh opened and the blood ran out. She held it up to the heavens and cleared her throat.

    “Mother Gaia, Potnia Theron, my lady Hemera. I beseech you, praying you find me deserving of the great gift of the trace.”

    A tingling eased the pain in her palm and Caia gazed up at it in amazement as it began to glow with an ethereal light. Dazed, she glanced over to the Council and saw their palms too shimmered with the energy. She gasped as the tingling suddenly grew sharp, turning hard, as if a hand were gripping it tight. And then she was seized, watching helplessly as bolts of energy shot into her body, rushing through her veins as cold as ice crystalizing her very insides. The sensation of falling took over and she blanched as her head struck something hard. The blurry view of the ceiling told her it had been the floor. A soft buzzing began in her ears like little whispers she couldn’t quite make out. And then the whispers grew to voices, drowning out the buzzing.

    And then voices grew into weapons.

    Thousands of energies poured into her, piercing through her skin like a million big needles. The pain was agonizing.

    Vanne and Ryder held Lucien back, while Reuben held onto Jaeden and Magnus. Lucien strained against his friend and the magik’s grip, sweating and spitting, desperate to get to Caia, who writhed and screamed in the middle of the floor like a madwoman.

    “Get off me!” He snarled, pulling out of Vanne’s grip only to be halted by Ryder’s arm hooking around his neck and dragging him back.

    “They told us it would be like this,” Ryder tried to reassure him but Lucien could hear the concern in his friend’s voice. The Daylights all leaned forward in their seats, each wearing the same expression of horror and anxiety. Oh yes, they had been warned Caia might show signs of discomfort… not screaming her head off as if she were on fire! He growled again and attempted to get out of his restraints.

    Caia, he thought imploringly, I’m with you. I’m with you.

    To his astonishment her screams died to groans and she didn’t writhe as frantically. His jaw dropped and he wondered if it was possible she had heard him through the trace. No. He shook his head inwardly, surely not. But as her screams grew again he lurched forward.

    Caia! Don’t, I’m here, you’re OK. You’re going to be alright, just hold on.

    Her screaming dimmed.

    I can’t get to you physically because these a**holes are holding me back, but I’m here. Just take a minute, breathe. Breathe, Caia…

    As Lucien’s voice fought its way through all the others, Caia grabbed tight to it and let its soothing comfort ease the pain. She felt her body relaxing as he crooned to her, and burning ice began to thaw a little. Her head still pounded with all the energies, Daylight and Midnight alike, but concentrating only on Lucien dulled it, sending it to the back of her skull rather than it being an all-encompassing pain.

    “Lucien,” she whispered and grew still.

    After a few minutes, a face appeared above her. Alfred Doukas.

    “Caia?” he queried, his eyes bright with concern. “Are you alright?”

    His energy tingled in her veins and she knew without a shadow of a doubt his concern was genuine. He was a good man, Alfred Doukas.

    “I’m fine,” she croaked and tried to push up to a sitting position.

    “Caia!” She turned to see Lucien bounding down the stairs and onto the platform. He dropped to his knees beside her, his eyes wide and bewildered.

    She smiled wearily at him. “Thank you.”

    His silver gaze turned to smoke. “You mean it worked? You heard?”

    Her eyelids drooped. “I heard.”

    “I think you better get her to her bed, Lucien, before she falls asleep in the court.”

    “Is that it done then?” She heard Lucien ask.

    “It’s done.”

    28 – It’s Between You and Your Gods

    Getting rid of the trace for Caia was just the beginning. No one, not Reuben, nor Saffron, nor Marion, nor the Council, had approached her with explanation or understanding of what would come next once the gods had freed them all from the binding power of the trace. But as the days turned over and she fought off the painful effects of having double the trace, it niggled and niggled at Caia, taunting her and illuminating the fact she would never truly be at peace until the war as it stood was over.

    “But what can you do?” Lucien quizzed softly as they lay together on the third morning after the ceremony. Since that night she had not left his side, now fully comprehending what it meant for him to be her mate – he was the only one who could quite literally ease the pain.

    At first, he had still seemed anxious with her, and her guess he was unsure of her feelings for him after kicking her out of the pack and the Rose debacle (she was now awaiting trial, sitting in prison as they spoke) was correct. She wasn’t going to lie, she had been pissed off and hurt. But so had he. So, Caia had promised him there was nothing to forgive; life was too damn short and she just wanted to live it with him. It had not escaped everyone’s notice they hadn’t left the bedroom since the ceremony, but they would be surprised to know they spent much of it talking (well mostly).

    “I don’t know,” she replied, frowning. “I just know that even after tomorrow… this won’t be over for me.”

    “Are you going to stay and fight?”

    Her breath hitched, “Would it be OK if the answer to that question is I don’t know?”

    Lucien huffed and squeezed her closer. “Of course.”

    “Will you wait for me?”

    Chuckling, he rolled her over so he was braced above her on the bed. “No. I won’t need to.” He laughed again at her scowl and smoothed it away with his fingers. “I won’t need to because I’ll be right there with you, fighting anybody you want me to.”

    She raised her eyebrows, looping her hands around his neck and wriggling provocatively. “Looks like I’ve just been promoted to Alpha then, huh?”

    Lucien made a face. “Well the job is yours if you want it but I should warn you that the contract is bull crap. I’ve received none of the perks that were promised.”

    “Perks?”

    “Oh, you know… a lifetime supply of beer and foot massages, a harem of women to bathe and clothe me etcetera…”

    She snorted and pulled back from him. “Harem of women?”

    He grinned unrepentantly. “Did I mention my sense of humor is also greatly underappreciated?”

    For Caia it was a relief to know Lucien and the pack were behind her as she waded through the murky waters of Daylight politics.

    When she met up with the Council the night before the rite to go through the details of it she fought to ignore the strain of the trace, and decided to put forth the question that had been pressing heavily upon her.

    “So… after this, what next?”

    The Council were seated in Alfred Doukas’ suite, joined by Vanne and Marion. The frosty tension between those two had caused a little awkwardness at the beginning of the meeting but everyone seemed determined to ignore them. Caia threw a quick glance to Vanne who was resolutely snubbing Marion. She remembered how grief stricken he had been when he thought she had died. Obviously, he hadn’t forgiven her for not enlightening him about her plan to deceive Marita.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire