Chapter 5 - Indisputable Truth
“This will spill into their world soon enough, would you care then, when it is too late?” Marcus demanded, goading her with his pretense at anger. He saw the familiar spark of blue in her eyes and even before she spoke, he knew he swayed her.
“Do not insult me, sir. I do what needs doing. This has already spilled into their world. The creatures destroyed three of their villages in three days, more die as we speak,” Rowan allowed her gaze to settle on Alena, studying her briefly, before she returned her attention to him.
“Take the advice of your mate, let me leave,” Rowan stressed the word mate to give it the slightest air of insult, but he could tell she wouldn’t leave without cause. Her jab at Alena was a ruse to make Alena insult her and give provide Rowan a valid excuse to take off, which he wasn’t about to allow.
Alena moved to speak, but sensing the trap, pressed her lips together instead. She already overstepped her bounds once, and she would not do so again, not at the goading of another. Rowan’s opinions of her did not matter, but Victor confined Alena to the care of Marcus and angering him would do her no favors. He was a hard man to get to know. She could tell he bore many secrets, but he didn’t share much of himself or his past with anyone. Alena paid heed to the warning in his eyes. If she caused Rowan to bolt, he would never forgive her, and she knew better now, she would not underestimate Rowan again. She sensed Victor’s intellect behind those strange eyes, and his ability to read people.
Marcus watched them with the oddest concentration. He could see the way their eyes kept finding each other. They may deny it, but blood, the connection of one being to another through their parentage, was a powerful thing. A bond they could and should not deny.
“Choose your next words carefully,” Alena finally bit out. Her eyes bright with anger, but little of her emotions showed on her face. Victor tutored her far too well. He wasn’t a man who allowed the world to discover what he did not want it to see. His emotions were rarely out of hand, and if he got angry, the world shuddered in the wake of that outrage. Blood flowed, and people died. Alena didn’t favor her father in this; she took after her mother in that one area. She avoided unnecessary conflict, and Victor saw her reserve as a weakness. One she could never overcome and did not want to.
“Or what? Will you have me flogged? Beaten? Killed? I fear none of those things,” Rowan challenged Alena before she turned to Marcus. Many emotions were fighting in her eyes, many layers of things that conflicted with and contradicted each other. She hadn’t quite attained their level of control, her emotions showed under the stress of the situation, but Marcus suspected she wasn’t trying very hard either. It was her way of pissing them off, making them see her as just what they expected and thus dismissing her from their sight, which was what she wanted. Yet Marcus knew she would not be here if she didn’t have some hope that they could do something about the events outside of these walls.
“You were once human, sir, but you speak of them as if they do not concern you,” Rowan spoke to Marcus but pointed her finger at Alena. He felt the barb hit home. The images of his family flashed before his eyes, and he recalled the pain of leaving them and never returning, but it was an old pain, one he had long since learned to live with. His face tightened, but he showed no other reaction.
“She was never human, to begin with, and I am only a half-breed, too human for your tastes. What good will insults do against all this? What good will my unwanted presence do?” Rowan demanded before she approached to within a few feet of him. Close enough that he could kill her if he wanted, and they all knew that.
“You said you knew a way to bring this to an end?” Rowan asked in a more controlled manner while she watched his face carefully, she moved to speak again, but instead, she stepped back, away from him. Her eyes scanned the darkness, and he realized that she misinterpreted the unrest that must have shown on his face.
“It is no trap,” Alena assured Rowan. She knew Marcus well enough to say that, but why she felt compelled to ease Rowan’s fears, she would not admit, not now and not ever.
“You don’t know, and you wasted my time,” Rowan concluded from something in his manner, and she became suddenly tense like an animal caught in a trap but controlled like a panther in a cage. Gone were the pretenses, and she clearly regarded their meeting as concluded. If they did not do something and do it fast, they would lose their only chance to get through to her, to find out if the truths they learned were more than misguided fantasies conjured up by their need to find answers.
“We’ve been following these creatures for months, and every once in a while we spotted you or your men,” Marcus explained as he tried to calm her, but she spun unexpectedly towards the gate through which they entered. Her eyes flared vampire and scanned the darkness beyond before she allowed herself to glance at their horses.
Everything was quiet.
They suddenly sensed it too. Something felt wrong. The quality of the night wasn’t right. It had changed while they spoke. Their blood spiked, and their senses heightened as adrenaline coursed through their systems. Danger became a presence in the air, a cool chill beneath the tepid heat. Nothing moved, not even the breeze, but outside the walls, the darkness seemed denser, the silence heavier, and they were no longer alone. They stared into the blackness, and the dark stared back, a malevolent oppression that watched them with anticipation.