Torrents of Fate

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Chapter 10

Under stormy skies, they travelled along the black creek until they reached the end of the creek with a sea of sand up ahead, and a cavern on the other side. Despite the gale-force winds, Andrea pushed on, pulling Evie along.

Against an unholy wind blowing stronger the farther they went, they travelled south all night, in an endless blackness.

And still, no sign of Qhaphine.

Evie couldn’t get over the idea that her dreams were tormented by the Broxbridge moon goddess. What did Qhaphine want from her? What work did Qhaphine need her to do?

With her mind elsewhere, she bumped into Andrea, who slowed and turned to face her. Shirtless, he was weathering the sandy windstorm unfazed, and didn’t seem to notice her shaking like a leaf.

“Do you need a moment?”

“No.”

The sooner they got out of the storm, the better. At this rate, the cold might kill her before the lair’s trials got the chance. Resting would just squander time they didn’t have; they needed to reach that cavern.

Despite the wind and the awful chill, Andrea continued, and Evie glanced at his enormous hand with a curiously gentle grip on hers. With his hand on hers, he had access to all of her emotions and memories, and she was not in the mood to keep anything hidden. As she trailed behind him, she examined the majority of his features, and her eyes fell to his ass.

His grip on her wrist tightened, and her breath caught as. She licked her lips with a grin; Andrea could feel her lust.

The cold struck again, and the rags that barely covered her yielded. She ducked behind Andrea, using his large form as a windbreak.

About halfway from the sandy sea, the ground shook, and the murky haze grew darker.

“We should rest in there.” Evie pointed to the cave ahead, clutching Andrea’s arm to keep herself steady.

He didn’t flinch in the face of the earthquake. Andrea was silent for a while, regarding her hand on his arm with a faint smile. Then he looked at her, and a thousand suns exploded when their eyes met. Her insides throbbed in need of something unfamiliar, something gratifying.

“We should keep moving,” he said, an inscrutable look on his face. “The storm’s getting worse.”

“All the more reason to seek shelter.” Evie tore her eyes from his, then took her hand off his arm and turned to the cave. It’d be best to avoid contact with her mind teasing mate. He was feeding her emotions she did not care for.

“If you insist.” His breath fanned hot against her neck and she swallowed, and swallowed again, frozen in a fantasy of his lips roaming her naked body. He stepped to her side and passed her a sideways glance.

“Are you coming?”

When she nodded, he swerved away from the sea of sand in front of him, and grabbed the rocks at the foot of the hillside. Andrea arranged them over the black creek to form a walkway. With confusion on her brows, she looked about. He could just as easily glide across the sand sea or creek ahead, why bother with this?

The stench of death and vile turned her from Andrea toward the figure on the slope above them. She peeked a glance at Andrea, still piling on the unnecessary rocks. Odd, he should have picked up on the presence of the creature before her. Her gaze returned to the monster; three more had appeared beside it.

“Andrea.”

He was by her side almost immediately, and with just a brush against him, the hammering of her heart slowed. His ability to soothe her with the tiniest touch was remarkable.

“What are those things?” Evie wondered, as her gaze remained glued to the creatures watching them.

The only thing she could think of was that they were wendigos, which was ridiculous; they didn’t exist. Andrea took a protective stride in front of her, and she choked back a smile. It was a tactic she was used to, both with her guards and with Ethan.

It was silly of them to believe she needed to be protected; did they sometimes forget she was a Crowe? That she was trained in combat by Igor Crowe, or did her lack of abilities really instil such a low opinion of her?

“Dravéns.”

She heard him murmur before he slanted a curious glance at her.

“Is something wrong?”

“No. I’m curious about how you spotted them,” he said, taking her hand and pulling her to him. “I think our trial has just begun,” he whispered.

“What on earth are Dravéns?”

“Evil spirits, from the realm of the dead, and they are invisible to mortals. They, however, hunt the living.” His eyes grew dim.

“How are we able to see them if they are invisible?”

“I have no idea. I only notice them after you spotted them and called my attention.” His keen eyes searched hers. “How did you?”

His hands slid up to caress her shoulders as she shrugged. “Their scent.They reek of death.”

Taking off from the hill, the four Dravéns landed; two on both sides of them. Her eyes darted between the creatures that had them pinned.

“Get to the cave,” Andrea said.

Rather than listen to her mate or the Dravéns’ growls and puffs, she stepped in front of Andrea. At this point, her nerves should have betrayed her, but it was steady as steel and her limited abilities were sharper too.

Her brow furrowed as she examined the Dravéns dark and vibrating, intense auras. What was going on with her? Were her abilities waking up?

“I’ll lure them away, head to the cave, and wait until I show up.”

“When did you last see a Crowe cower or hide?” she asked as she huddled against his back. “These two are mine.”

Evie sized up the Dravéns on her end with a sinister smile. It would have been joyous to have her twin flamberge with her, to hear the clank of their hunger as they devoured these creatures in swift satisfaction.

“Now’s not the time for this, Evie. Get to the cave!” Andrea glanced over his shoulder at Evie.

The Dravéns lunged all at once, and Andrea moved, taking her with him. With his arm around her waist, he sped across the creek with a pace she envied. Her arms held tight around his shoulder, and she watched the Dravéns chase after them.

As she had suspected while she watched him stack those rocks across the creek earlier–they were useless. Did he do that for her?

After setting her down on the other side, he spun around.

“One moment.”

In a single bound, he raced back across the creek, drawing the Dravéns away from her.

“You can’t just throw me here like a princess, and… aargh!”

After throwing a gruff kick in the air, Evie turned to watch her mate. His movements were fluid and fast, and while her eyes kept up with them, the Dravéns couldn’t. Moving between his dark lair and the present, he drew them in one after another in a glorious dance of death.

As she watched her mate, both enthralled and turned on, another Dravén snuck up behind her. Its growl, as it dove, spun her around just in time for it to spear her to the ground, snarling and clawing at her. Evie fell to the ground with a groan, and her eyes flared silver with rage. Once she found her bearings, she caught its arms, pulled them away from her face, and twisted as hard as she could.

When the Dravén growled in her face, Evie growled back. Then she wrapped her legs around its waist, flipped it over and slammed her fist into its heavy jaw repeatedly, with the riveting echo of her blows spurring her on. As the Dravén fought back, scratching at her face, Evie yanked its arms again and twisted until they snapped. The scent of its suffering fuelled her bloodlust, and her silvery eyes twirled in joy. As she stared into its pitch-black eyes, Evie grabbed the throat of the limp Dravén and squeezed until it choked.

From beside her, Andrea said, “That was by far the most seductive thing I have ever seen.”

After Evie cast off the dead Dravén and rose, Andrea took her hands to examine her knuckles. He should see himself fight from out here; a rousing dance of death it was.

“Well, I try,” he replied, smiling into her eyes.

As she cursed, she slipped her hands from his, and he laughed. The sound of his frothy laugh paled in comparison with how his pristine face lit up.

Flushed, she turned away from him with a weltering swallow.

“Are we going to seek shelter in the cave now?” Evie asked, scratching her soiled, dishevelled hair.

There wasn’t time to answer. From the top of the hill, an angry howl echoed, and more howls joined the call. They swapped glances and looked around in the darkness.

“There’s an entire army of them.” Andrea’s gaze fell on her, and worry draped across his brows.

“Andrea, I need a weapon, anything I can use to fight.” The initial fear of being injured in the lair was gone. Her father and brothers trained her for this.

They heard the ground tremble with the approaching herd of Dravéns, and against his very obvious doubt, he vanished into his lair and came back almost immediately with a stinger.

“Decent enough?”

With a firm grip on the handle, Evie let the blade’s ear-splitting song course through her.

“It’ll do.” She smiled at him.

Her hand in his, he glided off with the speed of the wind to the heart of the sand sea. Dravéns sped towards them from every direction, and Evie readied against the sound of their deafening approach.

“Do you trust me?”

With a confused scowl, she glanced over at Andrea. Now wasn’t the time, but he didn’t seem to care. He cradled her face in his hands and said the same question into her eyes.

“Do you, Evie, trust me?”

“I suppose.” Evie shrugged.

Andrea smiled, then said, “good enough,” and vanished into his dark lair.

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