FOREVER KNIGHTS: #3 Forsaking the Vanquished

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Pack Loyalty

“Meadowbrook, deep in Grier Country. Near the Grier Tutelage.”

“So close.” Deragan breathed.

I should’ve known it’d be so close to her mansion. A smile tugged at his lips.

Gathering strength, he asked. “But?”

“Cimmerii have surrounded it.”

Not even time to get to her first.

I’ll have to work much faster then in the past. He winced.

“They know she’s there.” A hand moved to Deragan’s forehead as he pressed his fingertips into the muscles.

Bast tilted his head. “It’s possible they only tracked her energy, as I did. There’s a chance they don’t yet know who she is.”

“Radix need only look at her and he’ll know.”

“He won’t kill her before you’ve found her.” Bast said reluctantly.

“He’ll want to maximize your pain.” Lucien’s voice was halting.

I can’t think about that.

“Do the others know you’ve found her?” Deragan asked.

Bast’s face brightened. “Would I miss a chance to boast?”

Seeing his captain’s severe look Bast deflated. “Yes. And I told them of the Cimmerii. They’re scattered over the mountain. We’re ready to escort you over the plain.”

I don’t need a damn escort. Recognizing Bast’s chin lift as preparation for obstinance, Deragan subsided. Trying to sway him now will be useless.

I just want to see her.

The cry came from upstairs and Bast’s head lifted to look at the upper floor. “Let her out.” He commanded to Lucien.

Lucien groaned. “She-”

“Let her out!” Bast growled.

“Do it.” Deragan commanded. “Or there’ll be no calming him later.”

Lucien shook his head in defeat. Sighing he jerked his head to the side which had the lock down the hall clicking open.

Deragan gave him a long look and opened his mouth. The question written over his face.

Lucien nodded. “I’ll watch WaterRose until you send someone…And Bast is always here.” He gestured below.

Opening his mouth for thanks, Deragan was stopped by Lucien’s lifted hand.

“No need, Captain. Go to your mate.”

Turning his attention to the painted glass depiction at the end of the corridor he felt his body tighten.

Her face. Framed by shining silver blonde hair spurred him into movement. Focusing on the painting he memorized every line.

Spinning into a crouch Bast’s cloak whipped behind him. Before it touched the floor, he’d become the panther. Fabric dissipated from around him. Claws clacking, he shoved the double-doors open with his snout and shoulders. He was running through the bailey when he heard Deragan’s soulful howl, the cry of the alpha.

They’ll come. Deragan knew.

A window blew out on the second floor. Lightning flashed over painted shards twisting lazy circles as they hovered outside the frame.

Bast looked over a sleek black shoulder and saw Elsabet standing in the corridor where the window had been. Staring back out at him crossing the meadow.

A beautiful blonde statue surrounded by that empty frame and twirling colored bits of glass.

Dropping from the window, the silver alpha landed heavily in the bailey. Making the ground under him quake. In a flash, he was after Bast.

Colored glass scraped back together, realigning in the delicate depiction again.

Together, Deragan and Sebastian ran up the rising drawbridge. Leaping from its ridge. Traveling on silent paws they traversed the meadow until touching the snowy border of their protected valley. Crunching over packed snow they wove through trunks. Discovering what’d been rain in the valley was falling snow on the rest of the mountain.

Whimpering and branches snapping filled the air around them.

Timber wolves fleeing. Sensing the Forever Knights were something else the natural wolves avoided them.

Flecking treetops and gliding past him the trailing snowflakes impeded his pursuit of Sebastian.

In-front of him a dark wolf appeared. Four more fell in behind. Answering his call. Two light colored ones ran parallel the first. Forming a line, they cut a swath for him.

They’re here. My Forever Knights. Deragan thought.

Beyond windswept snowfall he saw yet more wolves arriving in a perimeter around him.

An icy breeze ruffled his fur as he topped the lower mountain peak. So high that a dusting of cloud blocked their view at this level. But he could see below. Barely noticing his Forever Knights flanking him he surveyed the plain below.

See you or not, I feel you. Cimmerii. Emitting a snarl, he shifted his weight. The demon’s telepathic link coated them like a sickness. Dark energy lending a repugnant feel to the air.

Bast is right. They’re everywhere. If we cross the plain, they’ll fight near Southern Vale. He knew. Certain the Cimmerii had already blocked the bridge to the NetherRunnel in case the Forever Knights tried to go that way.

My wolves know. Shifting behind him they huffed softly. Ready to spill Cimmerii blood under his command. A toss of his head sent them down the mountain. Moving as a single unit. Cutting the steep angles until they reached the Grier plain.

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