Dark Blood Page 91

“Let them know we’re counting on them to stand in front of the others,” Paul said. “Make certain they take you seriously.”

Travis nodded. He went into the first playroom. Marie was there with the baby and his two younger sisters, Chrissy and Blythe. Chrissy was eight and Blythe six months younger. Chrissy was reading aloud. She stopped when he entered and immediately her face fell. She went to Blythe and put her arm around her.

“Paul thinks it’s a good idea to move everyone down below, to the safe room,” Travis said, trying to use his most matter-of-fact voice. “Just as a precaution. It’s probably nothing, but just in case.”

Marie came to her feet immediately. “Chrissy, we’ll need those two bags right there. Hurry and do as your brother says.”

Travis waited until Chrissy and Blythe had the bags Marie had indicated before turning to leave the room.

“Trav, wait,” Blythe said. Her voice shook. “Are you coming, too?”

“In a few minutes. I need to get the boys. Peter and Lucas will be with you until I get there. Jubal is coming. Paul and I are just going to look around outside.” Travis tried to reassure her, but her eyes had grown big and she looked about to cry.

He walked back into the room and gave her a clumsy hug, not looking at Marie. He was always a little embarrassed showing his affection, but he loved his brothers and sisters, and Falcon had told him repeatedly that men showed those they loved their feelings and it wasn’t at all girlie. Blythe clung to him and then Chrissy joined in the hug.

After a moment, Chrissy took Blythe by the hand. “Help me carry the bags for Marie. We don’t want the baby to wake up.”

Travis left them to it and went to find his brothers. Peter and Lucas had tied Jase, their six-year-old brother, to a chair and were running around him yelling like banshees. It took a few minutes to get their attention. The only way he managed it was to stand in their path and let them run into him.

“We’ve got real trouble,” he announced soberly.

Peter immediately loosened the bonds so Jase could get up. Lucas put his arm around Jase, pulling him close.

“What do you want us to do?” Peter asked.

“I’ll be bringing Anya, Anastasia, Stefan and Alexandru down soon. Jennifer is with them and so is Angelina and Ginny. They’ll know something is wrong, but you still have to act like everything is going to be all right. Whatever Marie and Angelina say to do, just do it, keep the peace, no matter how long this takes. If something happens, Peter, you and Lucas have to stand between whatever the danger is and the younger ones.”

Peter nodded. Travis gripped his brothers’ forearms in the traditional warrior’s greeting, making the ritual solemn, so they understood the danger coming. When he was certain they would get Jase to safety and take their mission seriously, he went to the last room to tell Angelina.

Angelina, Ginny and Jennifer were playing games with the younger children. Laughter ceased the moment he entered. Stefan stood up, placing his body in front of Alexandru. The twins, Anya and Anastasia, moved up on either side of the prince’s son. They all faced Travis with somber faces.

He forced a smile, but the dread in his stomach had grown and he knew something was definitely wrong. “Just as a precaution, everyone needs to move down to the safe room. Don’t give Marie or Angelina any trouble, even if it takes a long time. Remember the new baby. We don’t want her to be alarmed. Jubal is coming, and we’ll be all right, but we have to make certain everyone is in the safe room just in case.”

Ginny picked up Alexandru and Angelina took the twins. Jennifer took Stefan’s hand. They immediately complied without asking questions.

Travis went room by room, making certain all the children were safely down in the room Mikhail and Gregori had provided. He made his way back to the sitting room. Paul was outside on the verandah, pacing back and forth. He had gathered up weapons, slinging them over his shoulder and looping them through his belt. Travis’s mouth went dry but he did the same, slowly donning all the weapons one needed to fight off a vampire or his puppets. Rogue packs of werewolves required silver stakes and silver knives. He added those as well before joining Paul on the front porch.

The feeling of impending doom grew in him, a dark dread that seemed to swallow him whole. He risked a quick glance at Paul, hoping he would see something there to help him shake off his anxiety, but Paul looked every bit as grim as he felt.

“They’re all in the safe room,” he reported, managing to keep his voice steady.

“Jubal is around the back. He feels it, too.”

“A vampire?” Travis asked almost hopefully.

“No vampire can be out at this time of day. Not even the Sange rau. Our own mixed bloods have managed every now and then, but it still takes a toll. To battle in the sun, I don’t know what that would do to one of them.” Paul shook his head. “We just have to hold out until the sun goes down.”

“What are we facing? A rogue pack?” Lycans could be out during the day, and certainly a pack of werewolves could as well.

The wind rushed toward them, carrying the scent of burning brimstone, a sulfuric stench much like burnt rotting eggs. Paul caught Travis by the arm. “Get inside now. Hurry. Don’t argue with me, just do it.”

Travis wanted to protest. He needed to help protect the younger children, but the urgency in Paul’s voice alarmed him. He retreated indoors, going to the window, notching an arrow tipped in silver into his crossbow.

“Jubal,” Paul called. “Do you smell that? What is that?”

“Hellhounds,” Zev answered, striding into the yard, his long dark coat swirling around his boots. “Hounds of hell. Mage magic.”

Jubal skidded to a halt when he caught sight of Zev, his eyes going wide in shock at the sight of a Carpathian walking boldly in the sun. Travis came out of the house as well, standing uncertainly on the porch.

“It just made sense, after all the things Branislava told me about the High Mage, that he would come after the children,” Zev said. “I caught their scent in the wind and pushed it toward you, hoping you’d be prepared.”

“How do we prepare?” Jubal asked.

“This is not the first time I have encounterd them. We need oil. Hyssop oil.” Zev looked around, found an old cooking pot and quickly summoned the oil. “Dip your arrows in that. Coat every weapon you have. If necessary, pour it over yourself. The oil will continue to flow as needed.”

Prev Next
Free Novels Read Online | Read Wuxia Novel | Read Xianxia Novel