Chapter 74 - Help
When Rowan returned to the library, she seemed angry and in no mood to share with Marcus and Alena whatever happened during her absence. Alena watched Rowan with a thoughtful frown, and when she glanced away, she noticed that Marcus had been watching Rowan too, and their eyes met.
Neither of them had to be psychic to know that the stranger questioned Rowan. Over the last couple of days, the watchers summoned both Marcus and Alena to the main council chamber to questioned them extensively about their intentions, the purposes of the Dark one, and why Rowan traveled with them. Both Marcus and Alena picked up on the fact that this lady who came to fetch Rowan, wasn’t an ordinary human.
Rowan’s silence worried them. Something about it seemed different. Her mind worried at things she didn’t want to or couldn’t share with them. They could sense her concern, and they didn’t know if it was for herself, them, or all of their sakes.
Her silence worried them, but there was no way she could explain to them what happened, not while they weren’t truly alone. Rowan retired early to her rooms and this concerned them even more as she realized it would, but she needed time on her own to think.
Rowan arrived late the next evening to find Alderin in the library with Alena and Marcus. She felt their unease, and she wasn’t happy to see how comfortable Alderin made herself. Unarmed and dressed casually, she chatted with the two vampires as if she didn’t have a concern in the world. This alone made Rowan wary. She understood Alderin t0o well. She also knew what this was about.
“Ah, you’re finally here, I have news,” Alderin said in amicable tones, but the hair on the back of Rowan’s neck stood on end, “We have decided to assist you, but that help comes at a price that Angel has agreed to pay,” the words Alderin spoke seemed casual enough, but the tension that crept into Rowan’s manner put the two vampires on their guard. Whatever that help was, she didn’t like it, and feeling clearly conveyed itself to them, even though she tried to hide it.
“You may leave now, Rowan,” Alderin dismissed Rowan with a challenge in her eyes. Rowan glared at Alderin for only a moment before she turned on her heal and left. Alena tried to prevent Rowan from leaving, but Alderin’s command stopped her short.
“I would not do that if I were you. The deal was struck, and if it isn’t honored, Rowan will pay the price.” The icy tones of Alderin’s voice warned Marcus and Alena that there were circumstances at play here that they didn’t know about it.
“What deal?” Marcus demanded, and Alena realized that Alderin kept glancing at the portrait behind Marcus.Alena her connection to Marcus to convey to him a sense of alarm.
“I cannot tell you that,” Marcus would have moved toward Alderin with menace in his manner, but Alena grabbed his hand and squeezed it hard enough for him to look at her. He frowned when he saw the caution in her eyes and noticed the direction of her stare.
“If she’s hurt in any way,” Marcus threatened with the promise of retribution in every line of his body, but Alderin didn’t respond to the threat.
“They’re gone,” Alena stated when the sensation of being watched vanished, and a slight noise alerted her to the absence of their watchers.
“I know, I am Alderin,” Alderin introduced herself, and Marcus’s frown deepened at the sudden change in the atmosphere as he caught on to what just happened.
“Angel has made her choice, don’t waste what it bought you,” she looked at them with great sadness in her eyes and more than a touch of anger in her voice. Alderin abruptly rose to her feet.
“Clair?” She called out with wry amusement, and there was a hush of sound on the other side of the panel on the opposite wall, but Clair didn’t come out.
“I know you’re there,” Alderin allowed the pretense of anger to slip into her voice. “I want the dark chronicles,” Alderin demanded and when nothing happened, a small annoyed frown formed before she shrugged it off. Claire was obviously angry, Alderin deduced, which meant she learned the truth about Rowan’s mission.
“We will find nothing here, come with me,” Alderin bade Marcus and Alena. They hesitated before following her out the door. They had questions, and they were afraid for Rowan, but they had the distinct impression that Alderin would tell them no more.
Marcus and Alena followed her with reluctance. They were angry at her and at Rowan for whatever choice she made without speaking to them first, which meant that they would never have allowed her to do whatever task she took on.
They entered a library. Alderin bade them to make themselves comfortable, and they didn’t have to wait long before Claire brought appeared from the shadows like a wraith with a large, leather-bound volume which seemed to be almost a thousand pages thick. She dumped it on the table with none of her usual care of books.
Claire made angry gestures with her hands, and Alderin seemed taken aback by whatever Claire said.
“This was none of my doing,” Alderin snapped, and Claire seemed to hesitate before she gestured at the vampires. Alena glanced at Marcus. Claire left with an angry frown speaking volumes, while Alderin looked concerned at whatever information Claire just gave her.
“Are you all right?” Alena drawled with just the tiniest bite to her voice.
“Not that you give a damn, but no. I have to go do something,” Alderin came to her feet with the grace of a leopard and something dangerous in her manner. Marcus and Alena both noted that although her face became expressionless, her eyes were dark with anger.
“Everything you want is in that damn book,” Alderin bit out with unexpected venom and went on her way with a swish of cloth. She firmly closed the door behind her.
“What was that all about?” Marcus wondered, and Alena sat back with the air of someone puzzling at something.
“Rowan, I think,” Alena revealed. She sensed how angry Marcus was, but Rowan wouldn’t do anything stupid, she knew they needed her, but what would these people do to her? A better question yet, what would Rowan deem an acceptable price for the information in that book?
“We have to write it down,” Alena reminded with a hard look in her eyes and Marcus agreed. Rowan bought them this chance, and until they were in full possession of the facts, there was nothing they could do.
Helplessly waiting while fate played itself out, didn’t sit well with either of them. They kept glancing at the door, waiting for Rowan to return. Time passes slowly for those who wait, and dawn came with no sign of Rowan, or anyone else.