FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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Wolf Cries

The cries of the wolves below drew Nora’s attention from her moonlit bath.

Yellow eyes turned up to her as they howled more loudly, yipping in high tones. Some tipping onto back legs so their chorus could rise to her window.

Singing approval at her ability to whisper to the moon.

Her return to power.

Deragan slipped into his wolf form as he crept through the front door and out onto the lawn with them. To see her.

Close behind him was a white wolf. Wandering contentedly to mix with the crowd.

In all the movement only one among them was still. The largest. A silver and black beast.

Retreating from the window, made their howls cease. She eased back just enough to glimpse the panther weaving from the trees to the house to nudge roughly against the biggest wolf. Tossing its head in what seemed pride toward her window.

The other wolves circled their alpha snapping playfully at him and lunging against him as if sharing some great joy.

You’re gaining power.

You’re allowing yourself to become what you are. Yet again. For Deragan it meant there was hope.

The moon heard her call and was returning her power to her, whether she knew it or not.

Pieces of her remember...


The following morning, Deragan stood near the trees listening with the wolves.

He heard her waking with first light. Charged from last night’s moon.

Barely pulling a half-fastened gown over her head she flew headlong down the stairs, across the foyer, threw open the door and tripped down the steps. Slamming wildly into a solid wall.

His arms wrapped her.

Her breath was knocked from her and only the strength of his arms kept her up. She automatically clung to him to stay standing.

He stared down at her in surprise. Not expecting her to come running out. His face immediately fell to the top of her head, catching the scent of her hair. Deragan’s skin was hot to the touch through his thin shirt, like flames burned under it, the material soft under her hands. A direct contrast to his tensed body. Like silk over steel.

She was surrounded by his heady scent. Rain and raw earth. Hypnotic warmth enveloping her. Where his fingers touched her, her body lit in ripples of excitement. Moving with a will of their own her hands traced the curved muscles of his back, caressing over his shoulder blades and clinging to his shoulders. She felt the weight of the pendant dangling between them.

He spoke to her, but the words came from far away.

She was mesmerized by the beckoning movement of sensual lips as she struggled to understand his words.

Pulling away from her, he gripped her upper arms. Shaking her lightly to get her attention.

She unconsciously leaned close to nuzzle his neck. Pressing her lips to the column of his throat.

He moaned softly in response. Then louder in frustration. Pushing her further away. “Stop! Or I swear you’ll destroy my resolve.”

“Resolve to do what?” Blinking hard his words registered. She took several steps backward, eyeing his outstretched arms.

As she backed up the steps, her eyes assessed him.

He hung his arms. “It was you who sought me.”

“H-how’d you know?”

“You summoned me.” He murmured. Rounding he walked away and ordered. “Come.”

She stood unmoving.

“Come.” He repeated giving an impatient gesture.

Her gaze fell to her bare feet.

“Here.” He flicked his wrist. Making silver flakes appear in his palm. Uncurling his fingers sent them spiraling toward her.

She watched as they surrounded her feet to form slippers.

He stared over his shoulder, brow lifted as he coaxed. “You coming?”

You’ll be safe.

Taking a few hesitant steps, she caught up to him. Eyes flitting to catch his profile in the woods. Catching his square jaw and slashing black brows framed by the gold rays of sunlight.

“What are you looking at?” He didn’t look at her.

“It’s strange that you were the voice speaking to me all those years.”

It was the only way I could.

He gave her a quick look but didn’t deny it. “Why is it strange?”

“You consoled me. In spirit.”

“I did.” He admitted.

“It’s strange that you’re here next to me now.” She finished. “In some ways I trust you more than any person in Ardae.”

That’s nice to hear.

“But?” He pushed a branch aside and ducked another.

“But you scare me.”

How so?

“Why?”

“I don’t understand what you are.”

I’m complicated.

“You will.” He paused. “I want to be far from any prying ears.”

“Ms. Morris and her daughters?”

The fey women?

“No. Others.” He said blandly.

Cimmerii.

The trees parted and the cave she could see from her chamber window was revealed.

“I’m not going in there.” She lurched to a stop.

“It’s safe. I just want to talk.” He offered his hand.

No harm will come to you.

“Said the spider to the fly…” She drew a steadying breath and grasped his hand. The moment their palms touched she vibrated as images flooded her mind. When they ceased, she let him lead her into darkness so black she was completely blind. “It’s so dark.”

When he stopped abruptly, she nearly ran into him again. “Sorry. I forgot you can’t see.”

I need to be more attentive.

Next to her something popped. She screamed but realized it was only the sound of a torch lighting above her. Echoing pops echoed through the cavern as torches bloomed down the wall next to Deragan, every step he took.

“H-how are you doing that?”

“How do you breathe?”

It’s natural. Moving magic is like moving an extra limb.

“What do you mean?”

“It’s natural, something you do to survive. You’ve done it so long you’re barely aware of it. Air pours through your body giving you life. Magic is the same for me.” He explained. “Us.”

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