Costin reached for Sally again, and again, and again, as he ran. She had been there in his mind and then even when she had closed the bond he could feel her, like white noise in the background. She was always there, until now. There was nothing. He felt empty, devoid of anything good, as if he had no mate at all. The thought was like a knife to his heart, twisting in the organ, preventing it from beating. The pain radiated out to his limbs and he stumbled briefly before he once again felt his legs regain their rhythm as he ran with his pack. He could never go back to a life without Sally. She was his light, his warmth, his healer, and she had restored all the places inside of him that he hadn’t even realized had been broken. He tried again in vain to feel her and again he felt his heart wrench. His wolf was on the verge of taking over at the thought of losing their mate and he had to fight to keep control. He couldn’t find her if he lost control. He wouldn’t be able to help her and so he latched onto that knowledge and ran as hard as he could. They would get their females back, and they would destroy the one who took them, just as they had destroyed the evil that came before him.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are,” Peri sung into the forest close to the veil of the fae realm. She could sense her sister and could feel the anger that radiated off of her and the madness that had begun to ooze into her mind snaking around her thoughts and emotions. She had given evil a foothold and now it wanted the whole freaking mountain. “Come now, Lorelle, since when have you ever been a coward? Face me like the powerful fae you are.”

“Not as powerful as you,” her voice carried from beyond the trees and Peri waited to see if she would emerge.

“Those are your words, not mine,” Peri pointed out.

“Truth, nonetheless.” Lorelle stepped from the shelter of the trees and eyed her sister warily.

“What games have you been playing Lorelle? It seems you have taken up with some new playmates lately and I have to say that I do not approve. They seem to be poster children for 'how to turn into a twisted, evil nit-wit overnight'.”

Lorelle laughed and Peri noticed that even her laughter had changed. It was no longer a happy sound, but more of the sound that came just before a crazy witch stabbed you with her fork.

“Perizada, always clever with words, always talking but never saying anything,” Lorelle cooed. “I have grown tired of living in your shadow. I want my own power, in my own right, not because we share the same blood.”

Peri’s brow creased as she stared at the woman who she had grown up with and now hardly recognized. “Do you realize how ridiculous you sound? We all possess the power we have because of where we come from, whether it is great power or a little. You cannot bleed yourself dry to rid yourself of our bloodline and then fill yourself back up again. Whether I live or die, Lorelle, you will always have the same power in you that flows in me.”

“NO!” she shrieked. “I will only have the power you allow me to have. You have taken any power that I could have had and kept it as your own. You have always made sure that I was one step behind you and I’m tired of looking at your backside.”

Peri was beginning to realize that there would be no reasoning with her sister. She had deluded herself into thinking that Peri had stolen her power or kept her power from her. What Lorelle didn’t realize was that she was very powerful, but her power had yet to reach its full potential because of Lorelle’s spirit. She desired that power simply for the sake of having it, not for the good that she could use it for. She no longer remembered the things they learned when they joined the council. The rules and laws that came with great power can be given and can be taken away. But no amount of words would bring the truth to light for her sister. She had allowed too much wickedness into her.

“Where are the females, Lorelle?” She decided to go with a direct approach, though Peri had a feeling that it would take a little bit of taunting to get the truth from her proud sister.

“Females? Whatever are you talking about sister?”

Peri rolled her eyes and leaned casually against a tree, as if she had all the time in the world, which in fact she definitely did not.

“Okay I’ll jog your memory, six or so she-wolves, one of which is knocked up, a fae and a human all hanging out in the great state of Texas. Ring any bells yet?”

Lorelle simply stared at her.

“Okay, how about the mates of said females that would pretty much rip your head off of your body, fight over who got the bones, and then spit you out just for thinking about taking their mates? Remembering anything now?”

“Peri, do you really think I would waste my time with some worthless females that belong to the worthless wolves?” Lorelle picked at her nails as if they were more interesting than the conversation at hand.

“I think that you seem to like to waste your time with the likes of Reyaz and if I’m guessing correct, I’d bet you’ve become his lackey. I thought you wanted power? And yet you would choose to work for him as a beck and call girl, running his errands, collecting his prey instead of sitting on the high council of the fae? Have I summed it up pretty good for you? Maybe you should change your name to Renfield.” Peri saw Lorelle’s jaw tighten and her hands clenched into fists at her sides. She was fighting it as hard as she could, but she was losing. The need to put Peri in her place was so very strong and so very tempting.

“I’ve accepted that for now, Reyaz will be more powerful and therefore is calling the shots. But it will not always be so, and though I’m not known for my patience, for this I can wait. I’ll see you soon sister, though I don’t know if you will be seeing me.”

“Dammit all!” Peri yelled as her sister disappeared. She thought she had her, thought she had pushed her far enough that she would tell her where the women were, just to prove to Peri that she had been powerful enough to capture them all by herself. She had underestimated her sister's desire to see Peri in a grave, because no doubt Reyaz had promised just that, if Lorelle cooperated with him.

“I really want to say that things couldn’t get worse, but then I’m sure something worse would happen, like me growing a horn out of my butt or all of the males running off getting themselves turned to stone or something. Then I’d have to run off to save them looking like a freaking fairy hornet,” Peri laughed under her breath at her description and knew that Jen would appreciate it. Now if only she could get them back so she could tell Jen about her ludicrous thoughts.