“Did Anouk agree to help us with the weres?” Godric casually asked when they finally resurfaced from their lovemaking.
“It took convincing,” Eric said.
“You told her the favor was for me.”
“Yes,” he admitted begrudgingly.
They reviewed logistics. Eric would meet Anouk in Minnesota tomorrow night and they, along with Alcide, would meet the packmaster to try yet again to negotiate a truce. With a little luck, the wolves would buy the story that Eric had been a friend to the pack’s ancestors. There was only one point of contention and on this matter Godric and he butted heads.
“If we turn Greysolon over to them as part of the deal, it will not fail.”
“They will execute him, Eric. Imagine if it draws his maker north? The devastation Marduk would leave in his wake would be unprecedented. No. I do not approve of this.”
“Greysolon is rotting of silver poisoning down in Metairie as we speak. He’s got to die one way or another.”
“It is a waste of life, child.”
“I vowed to kill him. His incompetence has risked us all!”
“It also brought us together.” Godric gestured at their bonded human.
Lillian had only been half listening to their debate. She was at her laptop again. Suddenly, she realized the room had gone quiet and they were both staring at her.
“What about all the humans Greysolon murdered?” she asked, closing the computer. “He turned all those people by force and left them to fend for themselves. Their families will never know what happened. That’s a hideous crime.”
Eric gloated. “She’s right.”
“Plus, it is his fault that his maker is slaughtering people all over New Orleans. Their blood is on his hands too.”
Godric paced the living room. “I do not see the justice in it. It leaves dozens of newborn vampires without a maker.”
“A maker who is a deadbeat!” Eric barked.
Godric thunked his head against the glass wall in frustration. He stared into the dark forested night, searching for some option that eluded him. “Those children are dangerous without his command. They are a danger with it. Throwing him to the dogs so soon is reckless. Unless…Do you know what is supposed to happen, Lily?”
Lillian looked away with a frown. “No,” she admitted. “I still see too many variations in the future. Everyone is moving. Everyone has designs. It’s a jumble.”
“Fine,” Eric huffed. “One way or another that motherfucking prick is going to get what he’s due.”
All too soon, Eric had to leave again. He gave his maker and Lillian quick goodbyes, poorly concealing the knot of anxiety he felt, and rocketed off into the night. Once he was gone, the mood in the house was somber.
Several nights passed. Eric called to say he and Anouk had made a tentative truce with the weres. It was a success and a great relief to everyone but Lillian. She worked silently for long stretches at a time, filling pages with sketches and notes. With so much ancient vampire blood in her body, her visions had tripled, clouding her sleep with snarling images of blood and bone. She spent her every waking moment haunted, obsessively scratching out the sequences, trying desperately to decipher them.
At first, Godric thought she was merely depressed to be apart from Eric and had thrown herself into working out the next phase of their plan. He provided her with a steady stream of jasmine tea and gave her space, occupying himself with a book. Only when he suddenly burst into tears did an ominous chill settle over him. He went to her side at once. She buried her head in his arms and a long sob escaped her.
“I can’t make it work.”
“Make what work?”
“The future. I can’t…every way I try it…It doesn’t work.”
He furrowed his brow. “Come. Let’s take a break from this.” Gently, he pulled her from her stool at the kitchen island and pushed her notebook aside. From the corner of his eye, he caught the word “DEAD” and a series of arrows. He carried her to the couch and curled her against his chest. His hands rhythmically stroked the length of her chestnut hair and the hum of their blood bond quieted her tears.
“What are you seeing that has got you so upset?”
“I can’t, Godric.”
“You must tell me if we are in danger. You must.”
“You already know we’re in danger.”
He fell silent for a beat.
“You said once you would tell me something crucial when it was time.” His tone was as soft and even as ever. “Is it time?”
“Not time or simply not a good time to talk about it?”
“It’s just not fucking time, okay?” she snapped. Then added, “Sorry. I didn’t mean to swear. I’m just at my wits’ end. When I know something, I’ll say something. Promise.”
Godric simply nodded and pulled her closer. Briefly, he considered glamouring her, but decided to employ more traditional means to get his way before resorting to something she would hold against him.
Midday, when the sun was blazing overhead, Godric crept out of their bed and tiptoed upstairs, fighting the hard pull of sleep. He found Lillian’s books right where she had left them on the dining room table. He flipped one open to find stumpy ragged paper edges clinging to the spine. The second was the same. Lillian had ripped out every page of her writing and thrown it into the fireplace, apparently after he had gone to ground. Godric rushed to the ashes, not caring that the red embers singed his flesh raw. He dug through the remains of the fire for some remnant, some clue. Nothing.
There would be no easy answers from his oracle.
At the foot of the bed, he deliberated whether to wake her now and demand an explanation or wait until he wasn’t bleeding from his ears with a pounding headache. Chewing his cheek, he chose to wait. It would not be the right choice.
In the golden hour at sunset, Godric’s eyes slammed open. Something was wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. He immediately felt to his side where he expected Lillian. Her spot had long since gone cold.
Fear, pain, distance. He felt these instantaneously in his bond with Lillian. Godric roared to life, punching Eric hard through the bond to rouse him in Minnesota. Within seconds, he felt Eric flicker awake, sluggishly, then become wracked with the same wave of panic.
Godric’s feet barely touched the floorboards as he tore up the stairs. He was already on the phone with his child by the time he reached the foyer.
“Car keys are missing,” he barked into the speaker. “She didn’t take her purse.”
“She’s been taken,” Eric confirmed.
Godric was about to agree when he saw the note.
He flipped it over, certain there must be more.
“Godric!” Eric cried. “Did they leave tracks?”
“No…There’s a note. From her.”
“SPEAK old man, for Chrissake! What is it?”