Rising Darkness (Rylee Adamson #9) - Page 45

He reached up and scratched the back of his neck. “Can’t Track her anyway, can you? She’s in an oubliette, you know what one of those is?”

I was shocked he didn’t add, “yeah” at the end of his sentence. No, it was time to focus. “I’ve been in one before.” The castle deep in the Russian forest, guarded by a water dragon had an oubliette within it where prisoners had been kept. I shivered.

“Then you know you have to be almost on top of it before you can sense anyone stuck in it, yeah?”

My lips twitched. “Yeah.”

His eyes narrowed. “I went to see her once, when I checked on my grandson a year or so ago. Of course, I didn’t actually say hello to him, just took a peek to see what he was up to, yeah?”

“Why the hell didn’t you let her out?”

Griffin’s eyes never left mine, never blinked. “Not my place. Your place is to free her. If I’d let her out then, things wouldn’t have happened the way they did. That is my curse, to see the different ways a path can diverge. I saw it then. If I took her out, as she asked me to, I would have doomed us all. You can help her, Rylee. She is going to be mighty pissed when you bring her out of that hole, and only you can help her, yeah? Do you understand?”

My shoulders tightened. “I don’t know why it is only me, but I will take you at your word. I need her help, I need her at my side for the last of this.”

Eve fluttered her wings beside me. “Are you truly okay, Rylee? You were laying there, your body twitching and you kept crying out.”

I put a hand on her wings, stilling her. “I was reliving some pretty shitty memories, that’s all.”

Even as I said it, Larkspur’s face came to the forefront of my brain. She was my friend, and it galled me that anyone could take my memories of her.

“Griffin, you know where Lark is then? You can tell me that much, right? So

spit it out.”

He spread his hands wide in front of his stomach. “Even I have restrictions on me, Tracker. But I can tell you this. There is a place you know well, a place that has been both salvation and death to you and yours. A place of in between and a place of darkness.”

I frowned at him. Now we had to deal in riddles? It was a cheap way out. “Thanks, that really helps.”

He grinned. “I can do no more than that. But you’ll figure it out. My grandson wouldn’t have picked a stupid woman as his mate.”

We went back to the fire. Alex was eating away and the smell of roasting turkey had my stomach rumbling. I tore off a piece of meat and it was only then I realized how long I must have been out. Hours.

I ate, not really tasting the meat but knowing Griffin was right. I had to eat, had to keep my strength up.

“Four hours until the sun sets and your vamps can crawl out of their dirt bed,” Griffin said. “You sleep, I’ll keep watch.”

I didn’t argue, just lay down beside Alex and curled around his body. Eve lay behind me and covered both of us with one wing, shading the light from my eyes.

Alex was already asleep, but it took me longer. Full belly, safe, warm. But there was so much to do. So many people depending on me.

The last thought as I drifted off was of Liam holding me as I fell into dreamland. Just one more time.

CHAPTER 20

Rylee

The dream was fuzzy, like a TV set out of focus. Doran stood a few feet away and I stared at him. He wasn’t moving. Was he a statue? Was this a real dream or one I would wake from unrested but having gained information?

“Rylee.”

A hundred points for unrested and information. “Doran, what’s going on?”

“Deanna is sick. She refused your blood so we could use it for others. Everyone else who took some is doing fine, but we are still keeping clear of the worst of the plague centers.”

“Smart. But you wouldn’t contact me just to tell me that.” Which meant something bad was coming my way.

“There are vampires in your area that have broken free from me. They are coming for you, Rylee. And they mean to take all of your blood.”

“Oh, that’s just fucking awesome,” I whispered. “How many?”

“Four. But before you say that isn’t too many, they are old and strong and very, very scared. Which in a vampire is a dangerous combination.”

“Wonderful.” I grimaced and then lifted my eyebrows. “Any other tidbits you’d like to offer up?”

“Faris is a tricky bastard, you know that. But even I didn’t realize the depth of his conniving. Apparently, he could kick out Liam’s spirit if he wanted. But he hasn’t, correct?”

I shook my head. “I know all this. It goes both ways. Liam could leave if he wanted to, but he hasn’t. So they’re both up to no good.”

Doran grinned at me. “They’re both on your shit list? How wonderful for me.” He swooped in and grabbed me around the waist. “I don’t suppose you want to pick out colors for the bedroom, do you?”

I slapped his hands away, but I was laughing, which I was sure was the point of his game. “Stop it. You know Berget is madly in love with you.”

He frowned and slung an arm over my shoulders. “After all we’ve been through, you still push me toward her?”

“Look at it from my point of view. She’s my little sister, how would she feel if she knew you were hot to trot for me and from time to time I encourage you?”

Laughing, he kissed me on the cheek. “I think perhaps you are one of the best friends I have ever had, Rylee. No matter what happens, don’t let that change.”