Burning Skies Page 67

She knew one thing. She needed to get the tube out of her right arm, the one carrying her blood away from her body. Someone had made a mistake. She tried to reach over but she couldn’t move her arm very far.

She turned once more and saw a black chain. She lifted her hand. The chain was connected to her right wrist by a heavy black bracelet decorated with butterflies. It was pretty in a way but more goth than she liked.

“I don’t intend to drain you, if that’s what you fear.”

The voice was male, sort of familiar, and sounded chipper.

Drain her? That made no sense. Why would someone in a hospital talk about draining her and of what? Her blood?

She looked at the man and worked hard to focus. His features started to take shape through the fog of her mind. She had seen him before.

A whisper of fear moved through her. She was looking at Crace, the death vampire who had attacked her in her town house. Why was he in her hospital room?

“Yeah, I had to give you a drug, otherwise you’d just fold out of here or worse, head into the darkening, and I can’t have that. But don’t worry. The bruises will heal. Don’t you remember? You struggled when I put the manacles on. Again, don’t worry. The manacles are high-tech. They have clip releases and hinges because every once in a while I’ll need you out of chains.” He laughed.

“It’s hot,” she whispered as more sweat dribbled into her eyes and burned all over again.

“You’re in my forge, Havily Morgan, and you’re going to be here for a long, long time. Welcome home.”

* * *

Marcus lay shaking. He drifted from complete blackout, to awakening in so much pain he would do a dry heave then black out again.

He woke up this time, his sight bleary, and turned his head to empty his empty stomach once more. He remained awake despite the sensation that all his skin had been peeled from his body.

Jesus H. Christ.

He ignored the pain. “Havily. Where’s Havily?” What had happened to his voice?

“Good. You can talk.”

He shifted his gaze, turning his head slowly until a mountain of black hair came into focus. She’d looked the same way at the COPASS hearing, like a wild child. “Endelle? Did you find her? Is she dead?”

“We haven’t found her yet.”

“Crace has her.” He struggled to sit up. “I have to get to her.”

“Easy, Marcus.” Endelle again. “We know. Let Horace and his team take care of you.”

“I ran away from her. He had her and I ran away. I abandoned her. She’ll never forgive me now.”

“No, Marcus.” He knew that voice, Kerrick’s voice. It came from behind him but very close. “I saw what happened. Crace had a bomb in his hand, lit, ready to go off. You ran away from the crowds, to direct the explosion toward you. You saved a lot of lives tonight.”

He tried to sit up. “I have to get to her. I have to find her.”

Kerrick, however, pinned him down with hands on his shoulders. “We’ve got to get you healed first.”

He shifted to try to look at him. Pain streaked through him, all over his skin, into his muscles. “Kerrick. Go after her. Find her. Please.”

“Marcus, ease down,” Kerrick’s voice sounded anguished. He put his hand on Marcus’s chest and held it flat, a weight that … settled him. His chest had been bouncing. Oh, shit, he couldn’t see because he was crying. Fuck.

Marcus shifted his head toward Endelle. “Can you find her with your voyeur’s eye? I know that’s one of your powers.”

“I’ve tried,” she said. “But I can’t get a fix on her. She must be in one of Greaves’s locked-down military facilities. Sorry, Warrior. When we’ve got you on your feet, I’ll go into the darkening, but without a location it will be a goddamn crap shoot.”

Kerrick leaned close. “We’ll find her,” he said straight into Marcus’s ear. “Somehow. We’ll find that bastard. We’ll slay him, brother, if it’s the last thing we do.”

Marcus turned once more and met Kerrick’s gaze. He’d missed the bastard. Goddammit, for two hundred years he’d missed Kerrick. Now Kerrick was making promises about finding Havily and avenging her kidnapping.

Oh, dear Creator, was Havily still alive? She had to be.

He nodded and his eyesight dimmed. He faded again. Dammit.

* * *

Endelle stared down at the mess that was Warrior Marcus. She had rare moments when she felt like this, not enraged because enraged was too small a word. Explosive. Yes, more like that. She wanted to stretch out her arms, draw in power from every corner of the universe, let it flow through her, then annihilate the entire planet.

If she understood what had happened, High Administrator Crace was now a death vampire of tremendous power and he’d made it his priority to gain control of Morgan, which he had. The few people in the vicinity who had seen the abduction and were still alive told the same story: A huge, muscled man, shirtless and dressed in a black kilt and battle sandals, had put his arm around Havily’s neck then disappeared with her.

That he’d been able to fold into and out of a locked-down site like this … Shit. She could do it. Greaves could, which meant there was another entity on Second with powers that could challenge hers … so, yeah, shit.

Though she rarely made use of her healing gifts, she employed them now. She put her hands over Marcus’s face. His eyes, now closed, were blood red. His cheek and neck were burned into deep tissue. She worked over his eyes first as Horace worked his legs, where the greatest damage was done. Horace had summoned healers from all over the globe to help with the disaster. Several worked beside him now just on Marcus, his skin knitting together by magic beneath so many sets of warm, glowing hands.

As for the attack, it would be weeks before she had a report from Seriffe on exactly how the bombs had been cached in the fireworks batteries, whether they’d arrived as part of the original orders or if some other kind of stealth had been employed. If Crace had been behind the incendiary bombs then probably stealth. So, again … shit.

The death toll, however, hadn’t risen very high so far, just eleven confirmed, and thank the Creator the number was so small. But in her opinion, one was too many.

Within an hour she was sweating, but Marcus opened his eyes again and this time he didn’t hurl. He started to talk but she said, “We’re about halfway, Marcus. Just try to relax. We’re healing you as fast as we can. You feeling better yet?”

“Yes.” But the word came out hissed.

“Good. Now relax.”

“Fine.” He closed his eyes, and though she could tell he was still conscious and anxious to be moving, he stopped struggling against his incapacitation.

She glanced at Kerrick, surprised that he was the one cradling Marcus’s head on his lap. “You okay?” she asked.

“Too many fucking memories.”

She chuckled. “No shit.”

Kerrick met her gaze, his eyes wet. “Yeah.”

“You thinking of Hannah?” Endelle asked.

At that Marcus’s eyes popped open, and as though the men had practiced together for months they bit in unison, “Helena. Her name was Helena.”

Endelle smiled, and the tension eased out of her shoulders as she held her hands just above Marcus’s neck. “You boys are just too easy to bait.”

* * *

Parisa stood next to Warrior Medichi. She kept replaying in her head what Madame Endelle had told Warrior Marcus earlier about not being able to find Havily with her voyeur’s eye. From that point, a terrible feeling of dread had descended on her. What if Endelle asked for her help? What if Endelle wanted her to try to use her special eye, to open her voyeur’s window and try to locate Havily?

She couldn’t do it. She just couldn’t.

She stared at the battlefield around her, at Madame Endelle working over Warrior Marcus, at Warrior Kerrick supporting the man’s head and upper shoulders on his lap, at the healers clustered around Marcus’s almost naked body. Her gaze extended beyond. There were people on the ground everywhere, but dozens of healers were working on the worst of the victims. Most of the moaning had stopped, thank God.

She kept swiping at her cheeks.

Shortly after the attack started, Thorne had called for Medichi. Of course he had to come to the scene, all of the Warriors of the Blood were here, which meant she’d had to come as well.

But oh how she wanted to leave, to be freed from the sight of so much destruction. People had died here tonight and so many were injured, burned. Most of the fires along both sides of the banks had been put out, but the air smelled torched and rotten.

She’d vomited once but Antony had been so kind. Even now he kept a hand around her waist, very lightly, as though steadying her—and maybe he was. She couldn’t exactly feel her knees.

Alison was busy as well. Going from victim to victim and laying her hand upon each forehead. Parisa would watch bodies stiffen then relax, every time. She was a different kind of healer since she’d been a therapist on Mortal Earth, dealing with the mind instead of the body.

Parisa felt useless right now. She wanted to help, but then her stomach kept taking nosedives and it was all she could do to keep from throwing up again.

Besides, she had her own internal battle going on. She had been a librarian most of her adult life; prior to that she had volunteered in the library of whatever school she had been attending. She had lived in a world of books, not in a world made up of life, real life. And this life was so very real. It was all about war and battling, trying to stay alive, trying to keep one another alive.

She really didn’t want to be part of this.

She wanted to go home and lock herself in her house, maybe nail boards to the inside of every door and window and stay there. Yes, that’s exactly what she wanted to do.

What if she started hunting for Havily but found her burned the way Marcus was burned? She could smell him, for God’s sake.

“I need to ask you something,” Medichi said, his voice almost a whisper. “Do you think you could locate Havily, I mean through your special visions? Endelle has just said she can’t, but do you think you could find her?”

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