Dark Blood Page 6

The humming grew loud, and he recognized now what those notes meant—approval—acceptance without reserve. Colors swirled and banded throughout the room. Those ancient warriors recognized him, recognized his bloodline, not just the blood of Fen and Dimitri who claimed kinship, but his own, born of a union not all Lycan.

Bur tule ekämet kuntamak. The voices of the ancestors filled his mind with greetings. Well met, brother-kin. Eläsz jeläbam ainaak. Long may you live in the light.

Zev had no knowledge of his lineage being anything but pure Lycan. His mother had died long before he had memory of her. Why would these warriors claim kinship with him through his own bloodline and not Fen and Dimitri’s? That made no sense to him.

Our lives are tied together by our blood. They spoke to him in their own ancient language and he had no trouble translating it, as if the language had always been a part of him and he had just needed the ancients to bridge some gap in his memory for it all to unfold.

I don’t understand. That was an understatement. He was more confused than ever.

Everything including one’s lifemate is determined by the blood flowing in our veins. Your blood is Dark Blood. You now are of mixed blood, but you are one of us. You are kont o sívanak.

Strong heart, heart of a warrior. It was a tribute, but it didn’t tell him what he needed to know.

Who was my mother? That was the question he needed answered. If Carpathian blood already flowed in his veins, how was it he hadn’t known?

Your mother’s mother was fully Carpathian. Lycans killed her for being Sange rau. Her daughter, your mother, was raised wholly Lycan. She mated with a Lycan, and gave birth to you, a Dark Blood. You are kunta.

Family, he interpreted. From what bloodline? How? Zev knew he was taking far longer than either Gary or Luiz had, but he didn’t want to leave this source of information. His father never once let on that there was any Carpathian blood in their family. Had he known? Had his mother even known? If his grandmother had been murdered by the Lycans for her mixed blood, no one would ever admit that his mother had been the child of a mixed blood. The family would have hidden her from the others. Most likely her father had left his pack and found another one to protect her.

The humming began to fade and Zev found himself reaching out, needing more.

Wait. Who was she?

It is there, in your memories, everything you need, everything you are. Blood calls to blood and you are whole again. The humming faded away.

“It is done,” Mikhail said formally. “So be it.”

2

Fen clapped Zev on the shoulder hard enough to make him wince. “Looks like I’m your big brother. I knew eventually there would be an upside to meeting you. I’ve got another little brother to boss around.”

Dimitri groaned. “Now we’re in for it. He’s going to strut around all puffed up. No one will be able to live with him.”

Zev tried not to fall over. His stomach throbbed with pain. For the first time since he’d been so gravely injured protecting Arno, one of the Lycan council members, he looked down as if he might see the wound through the white shirt Fen had provided. His hand went up to cover the spot where it felt as if he had a huge hole torn through him. He half expected to feel the flesh gone right through the shirt.

The revelations from the ancient warriors were almost too much to process, just as all the information they had packed into his mind was. He swayed with weariness. He found he could barely think with his mind turning over and over trying to understand the things about him that had been revealed. Had he been in a dream state? Was it real? Right now, only the pain felt real. The rest of it felt surreal.

His fingers bunched the material of the shirt into a fist and he looked around slowly, carefully, wanting to see only one person. His breath caught in his throat. He felt his wolf leap forward as if to protect him. He was still disoriented, and it was impossible in his present state to process the wealth of information now imprinted on his brain. He found it difficult to stand, let alone think, and he needed her.

“Maybe you should sit down,” Fen suggested, genuine concern in his voice. “I’m happy you’re alive, Zev, but we may have called you back a little too soon.” He glanced over Zev’s shoulder to the man approaching him from behind.

Zev didn’t think there was much question about it. He wasn’t fully healed yet. He could barely control his body temperature. There was a note of guilt in Fen’s voice that his mixed blood picked up when his mind seemed to be all over the place. “There must have been a reason to wake me.”

He knew the prince had come up behind him. Mikhail made no sound, but the awareness of power couldn’t be mistaken. He turned to greet the prince of the Carpathian people.

Mikhail clasped Zev’s forearms in the welcoming of warriors. “You gave us all a scare, Zev. We weren’t sure you would make it.”

“Neither was I,” Zev admitted. He looked around the chamber. He needed to see her. To touch her. Where was she?

“You need rest, Zev,” Mikhail said.

As if he hadn’t figured that out for himself. Why did you wake me? he asked Fen.

“Dimitri and Fen feel more comfortable in the forest and both have homes there. We can accommodate your preference, forest, mountain or even the village itself, but you’ll still need care, at least until you’re stronger,” Mikhail continued.

He only wanted one person caring for him, and she was no longer in the chamber.

Where are you?

Was that him? He sounded possessive, even irritable that she dared leave without his knowledge. He didn’t want her out of his sight.

“Thank you, I appreciate the offer of a house. I’m still a little shaky.” He pinned Fen with his steel-colored eyes. He may have just come back from the dead, but he’d always gone his own way, fought his own battles and was a force to be reckoned with. There was another reason to awaken him before he was healed other than to present him for judgment before the ancient warriors.

Where are you, Branislava?

His snapped the question a second time, demanding an answer. He used his most commanding voice, one that brooked no refusal.

I need to reassure Tatijana that I live.

She had the same, perfect melodic voice, unaffected in the least by his domineering, idiotic short-tempered pack leader voice.

Wait for me.

He winced, hearing himself. He sounded like a dictator. He couldn’t help how he sounded. It should have been a plea, not a command. She wasn’t part of his pack, but he was used to obedience. Even the Lycan council took his word as law. More, he was annoyed that he didn’t understand why it was so necessary to have her with him. It made no sense to him and until it did, until he could figure out why it was so important to keep her close, she wasn’t going anywhere.

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