Cherishing Destiny (A Dangerous Destiny) (38 page)

Gates stumbled back away from the beast and bumped solidly
into Alex. He roared his frustration and attacked.  Alex struggled with the
half mad Vampire as Aurora chased after the Warlocks who were almost out of
sight. 

Ryan dropped the Chief’s limp body to the ground and lit
out after Aurora as she was just about to catch up to the Warlocks.  By the
time Ryan arrived Aurora had already knocked the creep, that had been carrying
Destiny, to the ground, and she had put herself between them and the bound
child.  The Warlock she hit was already climbing back to his feet, and the
others were closing.  Ryan’s wolf stood shoulder to shoulder with Aurora, and
he growled with a sound that sent a chill down Aurora’s spine even though they
were on the same side.  The Warlocks didn’t even blink.  Aurora shouted at
Ryan.  “Take Destiny and run!  I will hold them!”

Ryan hesitated.  He couldn’t leave Aurora to face these
ghouls alone, but his heart and soul were screaming for him to save the girl,
just as Aurora was doing.

“Go!!” Aurora screamed in the face of the wolf.

He turned and snatched Destiny’s coat in his teeth and fled
with the precious girl.  He wanted to take her to safety, but everyone was
fighting and there was no safe place for him to leave her so that he could turn
back for Aurora.  A pair of Vampires came at him, and he put himself between
them and Destiny and fought to keep her safe.  He dispatched the two and looked
over toward Alex just in time to see the Vampire throw Gates to the ground, put
a knee in the middle of his back and rip the head from Gates shoulders with his
bare hands.   The Ancient Vampire roared his triumph in the throes of his blood
lust.  Ryan shifted and called to Alex several times before the Vampire snapped
out of it and looked at him.  “Aurora is fighting the Warlocks.  Stay with
Destiny,” he shouted, meaning to race after Aurora.  But, the first part was
all Alex needed to hear, and he was tearing after the Warlocks, who were out of
sight, to find his beloved. Ryan cursed and felt helpless, but he wouldn’t
leave Destiny. 

As the fighting came to an end, it was clear that the
Weres
had the won the battle.  The Vampires left alive were mostly young and had
never fought before. They were outmatched by the wolves.  Elvis and Alex had
talked many times and Elvis knew that the animosity between the
Weres
and the Vampires was being perpetuated by Gates, but that others, like Alex,
believed in working together for their future.  Elvis ordered the violence to
an end, and any remaining Vampires were taken prisoner without injury.  He went
to try and talk to the council of elders, but found them in a state of
disarray.  Lily said that they appeared to be under the influence of some kind
of spell when he called for her to examine them.  Her opinion was that it would
eventually wear off and so he would have to wait to make peace with the
council. 

Alex came back, walking dejectedly until he saw Ryan.  He
approached the
Were
in shock.  “I lost her trail,” he said woodenly. “I
can’t find her.”

Ryan pulled Alex into a hug, patting his back and
reassuring him. “We are going to get Aurora back. We’ll find her. Don’t worry. 
We are going to find her.”

∞∞∞

Elvis decided to stay in Syracuse until the Vampire council
recovered from whatever influence they were under, and Ryan, Alex, Tyler and
the L.T. started tracking Aurora and the Warlocks.  Destiny’s leg was already
healing.  She was like the Vampires in that respect.  But still, Lily kept Destiny
by her side day and night. Lily felt horrible and guilty for letting Sue Ellen take
her place on the day of the attack, and she knew after looking at Sue Ellen
before they left that she was not likely to make it, and if she did make it,
she would not be the same person at all.  Lily also hated and punished herself
because the first thing that popped into her mind when she thought about Sue
Ellen dying was that Stephan would be free. 
Oh, good spirits, I’m a despicable,
sick person.
 She hugged Destiny a lot over the next few days and cried. 

Ryan tracked Aurora and the Warlocks a hundred and fifty
miles to Buffalo, where a village had been established for some time, and the area
was relatively safe.  The Warlocks were not exactly low profile, so they were
able to get information from witnesses when they couldn’t use their noses. 
They eventually ended up at a wharf on the shore of Lake Erie, and that’s where
the trail ended.  A toothless old man, repairing nets on the dock, informed
them that the Warlocks sailed, but he had no idea where, and he didn’t remember
seeing a woman with them, but he hadn’t really been looking either.  With
hundreds of miles of shoreline, they had no idea where to begin, and they
decided it would be best to go back and regroup.  Alex was lost. He didn’t speak
for days.  Sara arrived in Syracuse with several others when Elvis decided that
they should relocate now that the settlement wasn’t secret anymore, and even,
she could not snap him out of it.  So, she spent her time helping Lily and
consoling Stephan who was also grieving over Sue Ellen.  Sara was holding it
together for everyone, but Ryan heard her crying softly at night sometimes.  He
wasn’t sure if it was for Aurora or for Alex that she cried, but he was sure
that she loved them both.

 

Forty
-one

Destiny stretched and tried to see if she could tell how
well her bones were healed.  She had been in the cave more than two days, and
she was getting stir crazy.  She was growing weary of the past, and she wanted
to forge ahead into her future.  Besides, if she kept following the forked trail
of her own memories and those of her mother from that time forward, there was a
lot of sadness and heartache to sift through.  She shook her head as if to clear
the sadness, and she smiled when she thought of her friends and of Hope.  Those
were the things that made all the hardships worthwhile.  Her mother felt the
same way about her father, Alex, and in her last years, she felt that way about
Destiny and Sara too.  A tear trickled down her cheek, when she thought about
how she missed her friends and family.  She was indulging in self-pity, and she
knew that it had a lot to do with spending too much time in her mother’s head. 
Old Vampires were prone to depression that they called melancholia and her
mother struggled with it sometimes, she knew.  When she took on her mother’s
memories she took on a serious side that she hadn’t really known before. 

She just needed to get out of here and quit thinking about
it.  She went to the cave entrance, a gaping hole in the side of an enormous
cliff was a more appropriate description.   Down was an impossible drop into a canyon
that might take weeks to get back out of.  Up was a two hundred foot climb, up
a vertical face, with only the canyon below.  She could see hand holds, but
they were small, and this was going to be treacherous.  She paced back and
forth at the entrance and finally slapped the cave wall in front of her in frustration. 
The pain in her wrist from that childish outburst, confirmed that her wrist,
and probably her ankle too, were not ready for that harrowing climb.  She
needed to wait a little longer, wait and face the memories of her childhood.

 

Epilogue

One afternoon, when they had been in Syracuse for nearly
three weeks, Ryan walked by Alex’s bedroom carrying three year old Destiny in
his arms.  The door was open, and Ryan could see Alex sitting on a window seat
in the sun.  He wasn’t looking out the window. He was staring at his hands. 
Destiny tapped on Ryan’s shoulder, a signal to be put down, and when he set her
on her feet, she went to her father and climbed up onto the seat.  She held his
face in her little hands and waited for him to look at her.  He did look at her,
but there was an emptiness in his eyes that gave Ryan the chills.  Destiny just
smiled and said, “Eskimo kisses.” She was better at saying it now.  Alex just
blinked at her without any comprehension, but she was not deterred.  She leaned
in and touched her button nose to his and rubbed them together.  Ryan saw
Alex’s lips part and felt electricity in the air.  He couldn’t see anything,
but he knew what she was trying to do.  He knew that she could not take life
force from Alex as Greta had described his spark as the absence of light, a
black hole always needing and taking.  She said it was the nature of a Vampire,
but Ryan could see Alex’s eyes waking and coming more alive, and he suspected
that the nature of a Vamphyr was as much about giving as taking, and he knew
that Destiny’s light shined brightest of them all.

 

Author’s
note

I hope you enjoyed Cherishing Destiny (Book 1 of A
Dangerous Destiny).  I feel a little guilty about leaving Destiny in her cave,
but there is so much more she needs to face before she leaves it and I could
not cram it all into this book.  But, if it will make you feel better, the next
book in this series, Following Destiny, will be fast on the heels of this one. 
Book 2 practically wrote itself while I typed away at book 1.  Every time I
paused for air, I had to take notes on all of the things that I knew were going
to happen in the future.  My notepad is full of book 2, and I won’t make you
wait long, I promise. 

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