“I don’t need to justify myself to you,” Mona told him, smoothly. “You are but a tool to be used in my plan. You do what I ask and then you may leave.”
“You really think that it is going to be that easy? Is anything ever that easy Mona?”
“Are you attempting an intervention? Is that what this is?” Mona motioned with her finger between them. “Let me save you the trouble King, there is no saving me.”
Cypher laughed. “Oh, believe me, I am well aware of just how un-savable you are, but you don’t have to take us all to hell with you.”
Cypher watched as she closed her eyes and waved her hands in front of a group of trees. The wind picked up and the sky grew darker as black clouds rolled in. A shimmer in the air between the trees formed and Cypher could feel the evil trapped behind the veil.
“You’ve been hiding it?” He asked her.
“I didn’t want just any old idiot coming across it and I didn’t want the demons using another to write a book on how to open it.”
Cypher’s brow rose. “You know about the book that was written?” He didn’t name the book for fear that she would realize that he had it, and because he didn’t want to draw attention to himself from those beyond the veil in front of him.
Mona laughed, dryly. “You do remember who you are talking to, right?”
Cypher glared at her, but held his tongue. He and Peri had decided that he needed to appear as cooperative as possible for as long as possible.
“Enough chit chat,” she motioned for him to move closer. “I’m assuming that since you are here then you know what you are doing?”
Cypher moved towards the veil and pulled a knife from his leg sheath.
“You know what they say about assuming right?” He asked her as he ran the knife across his arm.
Desdemona rolled her eyes. “We all know that I’m an ass Cypher, that’s not news to anyone.”
Cypher cut another slash across his arm, and another.
“You aren’t going to bleed out before you’ve opened it right?”
“Do you want me to do this or not?” Cypher growled.
“Touchy, touchy,” Mona muttered, as she leaned back against a tree. She watched as Cypher slashed his other arm the same number of times as the first. Rivers of blood snaked down his arms dripping to the ground around his feet. Mona watched in fascination as the blood, almost as if it had a life of its own, began to join and flow as one towards the shimmering covering of the veil.
Cypher closed his eyes and began to murmur the words that Peri had taught him. His mind was drawn back to the look on Peri’s face as she explained the requirement of the magic. She explained that dark magic could never be accomplished without paying some form of price and it was usually a life or blood. Peri’s face has taken on an ashen hue as she read the words of the book. She had looked up at him and he could see the answer to his unasked question.
“It will take your blood,” she told him.
“Come now Peri, we are both too old to skirt around the truth,” he had teased.
Peri’s eyes had shimmered with unshed tears.
“It will take all of your blood,” she finally told him.
Cypher nodded. He knew that a life was the requirement to open the veil. He had hoped that there would be a loop hole.
“You’ve only just found her,” Peri had whispered to him. “She has finally, after so long, found the one who can fill the void in her only to lose him.” She had looked up at him and Cypher had felt his heart breaking as he watched one as ancient as Perizada hurt for Lilly, who she had claimed as one of her own.
“You need to tell her,” Peri had growled at him.
“No,” his answer had been final. He refused to leave Lilly with the knowledge that he would not be coming back to her. When he had left that morning, she had hugged him and kissed him and the smile that radiated on her face gave him the courage to do what was necessary. If it had been her tears, he didn’t know if he would have been able to walk away.
So now he stood before an ancient evil that longed to be unleashed into the world and he longed for the life that he knew he didn’t deserve. His blood would slowly weaken the opening to the veil and the words from the Nushtonia would give the demons strength.
He and Peri had gone to Vasile and explained their strategy and it was simple. He would bleed as slowly as he could, giving the wolves time to travel the twenty miles to his location. Desdemona did not know what it took, nor how long it would take to open the veil so he could use that to his advantage.
He felt the warm, wet blood flowing down his arms and fought the urge to try and kill Mona himself. He had argued for that, but Peri had told him that he alone would not be able to defeat Mona, not at this point. She had spent too many centuries amassing power.
So, he stood there, bleeding like the sacrificial lamb waiting for death to take him, and wishing for one more day with the human who had stolen his heart.
Ainsel stood just beyond the trees, watching as the Warlock King bled freely. He had given his blood without force or coercion. He stood of his own free will as his lifeblood created a puddle at his feet and flowed towards the veil.
“Ainsel, please join us,” Mona’s voice crawled over his skin like prickly insects making him want to recoil. But, she knew he was here, he had no choice but to step forward.
“Desdemona.” The King of the Pixies bowed his head slightly to the witch.
“I see you have come to uphold your end of the bargain,” she told him, with a toothy smile.
“I am here,” was his only response.
“Good,” she folded her arms across her chest as she turned back to the bleeding Warlock King, “because things are about to get interesting.”
Vasile stood, flanked by Alina and Decebel, gazing at the warriors arrayed before him. Each of the packs, along with the Fae, Warlocks, and the Elves were assembled on the practice field in tight formations. Vasile wondered how many of them, if any, would return from this battle. He hoped they would all return. For the first time in his memory, he felt as if there was a real chance for his race to be united.
“Today will not be a day of mourning, or a day of loss,” his deep voice filled the empty space reaching into the hearts of his brothers, reminding them of why they were created, and why they stood where they did today. “Today will not be a day of defeat. Today is the day that we finally take a stand against evil. Today, though we are separate species, though we come from different places, and have served different purposes, today we are one pack. Toda y we combine our strengths and use them for the greater good, when others cannot fight for themselves, today we will. I will not tell you to be fearless, for a lack of fear will make you reckless. I will tell you to be courageous. Stand your ground in the face of adversity, set your feet, and brace your body for impact, because today you will fight for your right to simply exist. You fight for the existence of your friends, your brothers and sisters, and your mates. Today I am proud to fight beside each of you. FOR THE PACK!”