As much as I appreciated their assistance, my sole focus was pursuing the Domina. “Lavinia!” Her head whipped around, her eyes finding me through the haze of dust and the bodies littering the path between us.
“Quickly!” she screamed. “Summon the Master!”
To her right, two Caste members— a vampire and a mage— huddled together with an ancient tome. A third Caste vamp held a knife to Maisie’s neck in front of the two with the book. She stood limply in his grasp as he used her body to shield his comrades. Her wide, haunted eyes met mine across the space. Her pale face, the bodice of her chiton, and her hands were coated in Adam’s blood. She looked up, and for a nanosecond I could have sworn that behind the broken gaze I saw a spark of the old Maisie. The one I knew before Lavinia conspired to rip us apart and break our spirits.
Decision time. I could take the Caste members out now. End the chance of Cain joining the party. But Maisie stood directly in the line of fire.
An ear-splitting crack echoed through the rotunda. One of the beams that held up the dome crashed to the floor, crushing the bodies of two human Brothers. Lavinia sprinted toward the door, pushing the chanting Caste members and Maisie ahead of her. Bodies scattered as the other combatants rushed to follow her example. The urge to give chase was strong, but I wouldn’t leave Adam and Giguhl behind. Dead or alive, I’d never abandon my team again.
I raced through the room, leaping over bodies of the falling, fighting against stragglers running toward the exit. I skidded to a halt several feet from where Giguhl still battled Eurynome.
“Giguhl,” I said. “Finish him!”
As if spurred on by my command, Giguhl seemed to expand and harden. Eurynome raised his claws to deliver a spell. As the white-hot flash of magic zinged through the air, Giguhl ducked and rolled. He came up hard and fast at the Avenger. Claws slashed Eurynome’s face. Black blood oozed from the wound. Before the ram-horned demon could retaliate, Giguhl delivered swift jabs to Eurynome’s midsection, pushing him back toward the curved wall. The impact forced a new, thick crack up the already unstable wall.
I rushed toward them, determined to help Giguhl finish this quickly. My minion didn’t have access to the kind of magic that could send the Avenger back to Irkalla. But I couldn’t get a clear shot with Giguhl in the way.
I grabbed an iron spear from the hands of one of the statues. “G, catch!”
His uppercut slammed into the Avenger’s chin. Turning his head slightly, Giguhl saw the spear flying toward him and caught it. In a smooth motion, he spun around and slammed the metal through Eurynome’s chest. The iron impaled the demon and pinned him to the wall.
“Move!” I yelled.
Giguhl didn’t stop to argue or question. He simply lunged to his right, clearing a path for me.
My hands thrust forward. “Iddumu bara nadzu!” A bolt of black energy sizzled from my fingertips. The spear acted like a lightning rod and delivered the spell directly to Eurynome’s chest. One second the Avenger squirmed and screamed to avoid the spell, and the next he was a pillar of black coal and ash.
My mouth fell open in shock as Giguhl jumped off the ground to run toward me. “Holy shit! You just incinerated him!”
I swallowed the bile that rose at the scent of burning flesh and brimstone. “We need to get the f**k out of here!” I jerked my gaze to Adam’s body.
Beside me Giguhl stilled. “What happened?” he whispered brokenly.
Another loud pop echoed through the crumbling chamber. No time for post mortems or mourning.
“Lavinia happened.” I pulled Giguhl with me. “C’mon, we’ve got to go.”
Crisis mode kept me insulated from the horrific reality that I was staring at the lifeless form of the male I loved. That reality would hit me like an atom bomb once the crisis was over. If I survived.
Giguhl gently lifted and cradled Adam’s body. With a hand on the demon’s back, I ran for the door, keeping my eyes averted from the mancy’s closed eyes and the blood covering his chest.
Together we reached the opened doors a split second before the rest of the shattered dome’s steel frame broke free. We lunged into the night as the impact boomed and a cloud of dust exploded behind us.
We stumbled out onto the stone balcony. Leaning my back on the stone railing for support, I looked back at the imploded room. I blew out a breath. “That was too close.”
A magical percussion burst through the night. In its aftermath, I finally heard the sounds of fighting far below in the cemetery. I turned slowly. “Oh, my gods,” I breathed.
While I’d been busy inside, Lavinia’s goons had run straight into the waiting arms of my own personal cavalry. And they’d brought reinforcements in the form of several Pythian Guards and Queen Maeve’s knights, judging from the uniforms. Plus, on the periphery of the fighting, Zen and PW gyrated and twirled among the tombs.
As I watched, a cyclone swept through the cemetery. A clump of Brothers flew through the air like so much confetti. I’d seen that maneuver before. My eyes sought out Erron Zorn, who stood on the roof of a tomb with Ziggy by his side. I don’t know who or what convinced him to change his mind, but I didn’t have time to do anything but be grateful for their presence. I had to find Lavinia before she could summon Cain.
“Giguhl, take Adam to Rhea. Then go look for Lavinia. We have to stop her.”
Giguhl nodded solemnly. “Watch your back, Red.”
I met my friend’s eyes. “You, too, G.”
With a final nod, he shifted Adam’s limp body in his arms and ran toward the stairs.
I turned and climbed up on the railing. On the far side of the battle I spotted Lavinia, the three Caste members, and Maisie. The Domina attacked a faery from behind. Her fangs ripped out his neck so fast he didn’t know what hit him. As his body fell, she relieved him of his sword. She looked up then and saw me. She wrapped an arm around Maisie’s neck and raised the sword in salute. The iridescent faery steel glinted wickedly in the moonlight.
I’d felt the sting of such a blade before. Specially designed by the fae for killing vampires, the magical blade was made even more deadly in the hands of my grandmother.
But not as deadly as me. The powers of Lilith and Hekate still thrummed through my veins like lightning. A fact Lavinia Kane would soon discover.
I raised my arms up toward the sky, turning my face toward the waning moon. The dark energy pulsed through me. I dove, somersaulting through the air. My war cry burst through the night.