DERAGAN - Problem
"Captain." Chavias called up the stairs. Rushing up them.
"What?" Deragan left his mate's side to stride into the hallway. Already in black breeches and a white shirt he stopped atop the stairs to watch Chavias climb them two at a time.
"There's something on the lawn."
"Deal with it." Deragan turned to return to his chamber.
She hardly slept last night. He was eager to return to Nora's side in the hope that she would get some peace this morning.
"No, Sir." Chavias' lips tightened and he shook his head adamantly.
Deragan slowly turned his dark head to level piercing blue eyes on his best warrior. "What do you mean, 'no'?"
"I mean no defiance, Alpha. But I am not equipped to take on this problem." Chavias strode around the bannister and passed Deragan to walk to the end of the hall where he tugged back the red curtain to reveal the bench and window it concealed.
And the drive below. Deragan's gaze landed on the sight of what stood below.
"Ye. Oh." Chavias echoed. Blinking huge gray eyes at his Captain. "What do we do?"
"I'll wake her up." Deragan turned away.
"Nora." He shook her slightly.
"Airon!" She cried. Sitting bolt upright. Her hair falling around her face and over her shoulder as she hoped she woke from a fitful nightmare.
"No." Deragan shook his head. Face tight. "He's gone."
She looked crestfallen. Her face crumpling.
"But I've something I must show you."
"What?" She blinked blue eyes at him.
"Come." He offered her a hand up. "Let's get you dressed."
He helped her into a clean gown while her hands shook.
"What is it?" She whispered. "I can't take much more bad news, Deragan."
"I don't think this is."
"What is it."
"Let me show you. It's not something I can explain."
He laced her gown for her and took her hand to guide her out into the hall and down the stairs on her shaking legs. He caught the shine of fresh tears in her eyes as they went down.
Mourning the loss of her little brother. He felt for her.
He walked ahead of her to the dais of the front door. Easing it open let in the yellow morning light to spill across the dark wooden floor.
As the door swung wide with a creak. It revealed a crowd of women standing motionless on the lawn bordering the drive.
"Oh, My God..." Nora whispered. "Where'd they all come from."
"You tell me." Deragan whispered.
"What do they want?"
"I don't know. But I can't imagine who else they'd be here for." He looked over at Sebastian who stood with his arms crossed and one foot on the bottom step of the stairs. He nodded slowly.
They're all Watchers. Here for her.
The women stood as still as statues. Only one stepped forward. "We all heard you. We need your help."
"We heard you say, you could free us. We know we're different."
"Wings..." She murmured.
The red haired woman at the forefront dropped her head and concentrated. As she did, light began generating from her back. And the top of white wings arced over her shoulders. Though they jerked violently they couldn't work free.
"What do we need to do?" The woman asked her.
Nora lifted her hands helplessly. "I don't know."
Deragan put a hand to her back reassuringly. "Give it time. Invite them in."
"What if it's a trap?"
"Bast can see if they're tainted. I'll call him in."
"Please," She called out over the crowd of women staring at her patiently. "come in. We've much to discuss."
Nora was unaware that beyond the border of trees of Gunnison Forest, beyond where the wolves guarded there were Firoque men. They'd grabbed a huge number of the women that'd made their way to Rosewynn during the night.
There were over a hundred that were creeping backward. Only the fifteen that stood on the lawn had made it through the line of Cimmerii.
"Radix will be pleased." One Firoque whispered to a quaking woman. Her mouth covered by a withered gray hand. "We find more of you then they get."
Okine turned, making sure his feet slid rather than lifted to quiet his step. He waved for the others to follow. Their captives lifted off their feet and held against their rotting bodies. Terrified women who'd soon be turned.
"Where are we taking them, Commander?" Another Firoque whispered.
"To valkyrie. She'll know darken them. They follow."
"Why not to the Master?"
Okine swung his huge hand back and nearly crushed the face of a young woman as he knocked the Firoque in the head. "As Master Order. Master say valkyrie."