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  • Home > Samantha Young > The Tale of Lunarmorte > Blood Solstice (Page 42)     
  • Blood Solstice(The Tale of Lunarmorte #3)(42) by Samantha Young
  • “Next?” Benedict sneered at her.

    “When the trace is gone, what next? We’ll be free, but the war as it stands will still exist. How do we end this?”

    “We don’t,” Benedict retorted sharply. “The details of the war will be left for the Council to deal with.”

    “Now Benedict-” Penelope began but Caia wanted to speak for herself.

    “You mean you intend to use me and then discard me?”

    “No, Caia,” Penelope rushed. “That is not at all the intentions of the Council.”

    “I think Caia should be put forward for a place on the Council,” Vanne interrupted.

    A place on the Council? Caia stared at him wide-eyed. She hadn’t meant that as such but… well actually… it was an idea. If she were a member of the Council she would have a say in how they went about ending the war. She could have an impact on the treatment of Midnights and Daylights alike.

    The Council gazed at him open-mouthed for a moment, before Marion cleared her throat, “I agree with Vanne.”

    He glared at her. “I didn’t ask you to.”

    “Well I do,” she snapped irritably, muttering under her breath about idiots acting like children.

    Benedict was outraged. “How dare you suggest such a thing?! There are only nine places on the Council and those have been filled.”

    The young magik, Derren, cleared his throat and everyone turned to face him. He was an enigmatic man and appeared only to ever speak when he had something of import to impart. “I agree with Vanne and Marion. Caia is too valuable a member of the Daylights to throw her back out to the wolves. She should be an integral cog in our machine, as she has already proven her worth tenfold.”

    Wow, she must be way cooler than she thought she was because that was mighty praise indeed.

    Shocked silence settled around the room. Finally, Alfred stood up. “Well… if it would be the will of the Council I suggest we at least discuss the possibility of adding Caia to our noble ranks after the rite has been performed.”

    “Here, here,” Penelope muttered and a round of the same followed from the rest of them. Well… all except Benedict who was content to skewer Caia with his gaze.

    The rite was not to be performed before the entire Center as the Acquisition of the Trace Ceremony had been. It was a private ceremony between Caia and the gods, and so she was led to the deepest level of the Center where makeshift caverns were sculpted into the building like damp, salty-smelling sea caves. The goddess Gaia, unlike Zeus who had roamed the skies, preferred enclosed spaces, and so it was often thought appropriate to perform any rites to Her within dwellings like a house or a cave.

    “Are you ready?” Penelope asked her softly as they stood inside the humid space, waiting as the torches were lit around the area for Caia.

    She nodded, shivering a little with nerves. Or cold… she was completely na**d beneath her blue robe (significantly missing the gold Fasces on the left breast).

    “We’ll be back out at the elevator. Waiting.”

    She nodded again and watched silently as Penelope and the two magiks who lit the torches fumbled their way out of the dark caves. Taking a deep breath, she turned back to gaze at the almost circular room. In the middle stood a tripous (Greek for tripod) – a three-legged sacrificial altar with a large stone basin upon it. Carved into stone were the names of the living gods accompanied by a prayer to them to hear her. With great trepidation Caia removed the dagger from her robes, and then removed the robes themselves, standing shivering and as na**d as the day she was born. Thank goddess she got to perform this one alone. She actually blushed even though there wasn’t anyone else to see her.

    Well except the gods, Caia, she reminded herself.

    Tentatively, she approached the altar, wincing a little at the gritting sand and stone beneath her feet. And, even though she knew it wasn’t possible, she swore she could hear the rush of the ocean in the distance. It was so weird.

    Standing before the tripous, Caia raised her hand over the bowl. She was utilizing her other hand this time, the one with the annulet. She took the dagger and sliced deeper than before, cutting through the silver symbol on her palm, ignoring the searing pain it caused. The blood trickled into the bowl. Once there was enough, she morphed her hand to wolf and back again, regenerating her skin so only a faint red line was left. Exhaling, she then placed the tips of her fingers into the blood and pushed a flow of her magik energy into it.

    “Mother Gaia, hear my plea. I ask that you take back the gift of trace from your children and let us live liberated in a new world… forever your undying servants, forever loving.”

    Over and over she repeated the words the Council had advised her to use and for a while it seemed as if their endeavor was futile. But on the tenth round of the rite Caia felt the beginnings of an inexplicable shudder jolting through her. At first she thought the ground was actually moving, but as she looked down she found it still as glass. A fierce jerk knocked her back from the altar and she began to shake uncontrollably. Panic suffused her as her teeth chattered together and her brain jiggled about in her skull. It grew fiercer and more painful, feeling as if her very organs were smacking up against her bones and muscles. And then the eye watering pain began. If felt as if someone had grabbed a hold of her insides and were pulling them out of the top of her head, the energy encased in her body being shunted upwards and out with supreme force. She thought she might be screaming but the chaos of her body left her ignorant to anything else. She writhed helplessly on the floor of the cavern… until a sudden stillness drew the pain to an abrupt end. Caia sucked in a deep breath, air rushing into her panicked lungs with joy and relief.

    She nudged around with her energy. A giant, exhausted grin spread across her face. Caia would never have thought she would ever be this happy to be so alone inside.

    The trace was gone.

    Jaeden shot up from her chair at the exact same time Lucien did. At the exact same time shocked exhalations poured out of the pack as they gathered together in Lucien and Caia’s suite, waiting for the rite to be over. An electricity had tingled through her nerve endings in one sharp, smooth maneuver, and an instant understanding thrummed in her being. It was like an IM from the gods explaining in one concise note that Caia Ribeiro, the half-magik, half-lykan, had existed as both Heads of the Covens and had just given the trace back to the gods, unbinding them all.

    “You felt that?” she gasped around at them all. They nodded totally bemused.

    Reuben glanced between them and Laila. “There is no longer a hum in your energies to tell me who is Daylight and who is Midnight.”

    “Yeah ‘cause it’s gone,” Jaeden explained. “And it came with a message about Caia and her giving up both traces. Telling us we’re free.”

    “Which means the Midnights probably felt it too.” Lucien shook his head in amazement, gazing at Laila for confirmation. She nodded her head slowly.

    “They’ll know about Caia?”

    “Yeah, they’ll know about Caia,” he confirmed.

    Jaeden trembled and lowered herself slowly to her seat. What did this mean? Now the supernatural world understood with perfect clarity that there was no trace and no longer any Head for either coven… was the war teetering on the edge of the end… or standing on the precipice of bloody disaster?

    Caia stumbled back out of the caverns, her body shaking uncontrollably. As she approached Penelope and Alfred waiting for her by the elevator with guards she tightened the robe around her.

    “What the hell is going on up there?” Alfred was yelling at the wall.


    Then Caia noticed he was pressing his ear and she realized he was wearing one of the ear pieces she remembered some of the staff wore at the Center.

    “Well, shut down the portals until we can sort it out!”

    Oh goddess what was going on?

    Alfred threw up his hands in frustration. “Well, take those who have already gotten in into the Court. But lock down those bloody portals before every Daylight on earth shows up!”

    “Caia.” Penelope came towards her pale-faced and took a hold of her arm to steady her. “Are you alright?”

    Well I was until I saw you guys. “I’m fine, what’s going on?”

    Alfred grimaced. “We have a problem.”

    “I’m getting that. What’s going on? The gods took the trace back… I thought we would be good after that.”

    Penelope shook her head. “The gods removed the bind from us all. We all felt it.”

    “You did?” Caia asked amazed.

    “Yes. But it came with a message about you being Head of the Daylights and Midnights, of what you are and how you had given the trace back to the gods. The Center has been bombarded with supernaturals demanding to know what is going on.”

    Holy Artemis. Oh this was a problem.

    “Do the Midnights know?”

    Penelope grew even more wan. “I think we better talk to Laila.”

    29 – Method in the Madness

    Frustration tickled beneath her skin as she skimmed another page. Nothing! The history section in this library sucked. Caia groaned and waved her hand above the table, a glass of water materializing in front of her. She gulped it down hoping it would renew her energy.

    The last few days had been exhausting to say the least. Along with the Council she had had to retell her story thrice over to large groups that visited the Center, demanding answers as to who she was and why the trace was gone. Caia wasn’t shocked. A good population of the Daylights had known of her existence, but there were those who lived quiet lives away from the war who were blissfully unaware of her. But now they knew and they seemed to know a Hades lot about her… including this miraculous power she seemed to have that no one else did. Some were hostile, but for the most part she was a curiosity and pretty much their savior. Freeing them all from the trace had brought untold happiness to many of them. There were the more conservative supernaturals who believed strong leadership had been the key to winning the war, but for many it had been an invasion of their privacy. Once the excitement and buzz had died down, however, the questions such as ‘What next?!’ came battering down on them. Would the war go on as it was? Would the soldiers continue to train at the Center? Or was the idea to infiltrate the Midnights and find out how they were handling things?

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