Author Note: Alright, this explains a lot. No spoilers up here but yeah, romance will pick up later. You will see what I mean when you read. - LadyKnight
Rhiannon burst into the cafeteria, her heart pounding.
She looked around frantically for the one figure she could recognise anywhere. There was no sign of her. Nothing. Everything slowed down, as panicked nurses grabbed patients and led them away from the damage. The smell of smoke and brimstone wafted in the air, embers flying in all directions.
Her eyes flew to the huge gash in the wall, smoking heavily. It looked as if the wall had been melted, steel leaked down like candle wax. It took Rhiannon a while to process what had happened, her mind worked slowly. Her head spun, and her knees could no longer support her.
Her breathe caught in her throat. She felt strong arms embrace her, as she collapsed into them. She couldn't bear thinking. She breathed in the strong aroma of coffee and heat. It brought her back to her senses. Maybe her grandmother had gotten out before – What had happened? Where could she be? Was she dead?
Rhiannon knew her grandmother was not amongst the people who had escaped, she would've seen her. Her grandmother would've searched her out in the chaos.
"You're safe. It's alright. Please, please don't cry. I promise you will always be safe with me." Kian whispered into her hair, cradling her to his chest. She felt the warmth of his skin through his shirt, she wanted to get closer to him. She hadn't noticed that tears had escaped from her eyes, she wiped them away hurriedly with the back of her hand. Rhiannon pushed away from Kian, offering her thanks.
She had feel safe in his arms, she felt like she fitted there perfectly. She shook those thoughts out of her mind, as she slowly gathered the courage to glance around again. She ignored Kian's smouldering blue eyes as they stayed on her.
The room was empty now, except for Devlin, Kian and herself. Devlin was examining the scorch marks. It was as if an inferno had invaded the hospital.
"Devlin, what do you see?" Rhiannon asked, desperate that there would be some kind of clue as to what happened.
"It's better, if you come and look." Devlin called back, hand extended for her to come along.
Rhiannon saw it and she gasped. She couldn't help it. It was a note, burnt into the wall. Who could've done this? It would've have taken longer than the few seconds - She stopped herself. This was a world with genies and any number of other magical creatures for all she knew. She couldn't make any assumptions, no matter how comforting.
Insurance, should you ever decide to mess with me again
your little girlfriend's grandmother is toast.
And I don't think you want that one your conscience, do you?
Give my regards to the Fair One.
"Rhiannon, it's not what it looks like." Kian began.
"Really, Kian? Then what does it look like? Because to me, it looks like you've got a whole lot of explaining to do and you owe it to me to tell me. Actually –" Rhiannon spun to Devlin. "I wish that my grandmother was brought back, safe and sound, right here in front of me."
Devlin shook his head sadly. "My power doesn't work outside of the mortal realm."
"What do you mean 'outside the mortal realm'?" Rhiannon exclaimed exasperated by how much she didn't know.
"It means his powers won't work in Fey or anywhere else in the Underworld for that matter." Kian explained, placing a hand on her shoulder to calm her.
Rhiannon shrugged of his touch. She didn't want to be comforted.
She wanted answers and quickly.
"I think this will be easier if we were at your house." Kian touched her hand with an apologetic smile. The familiar scent of oatmeal surrounded her, light filtered in from the windows. It was surprising to see sunlight after all the things that had happened, something so ordinary.
"Sit and explain." Rhiannon ordered. She pushed him into the sofa seat, and straddled a chair. She was tired of her own ignorance, she wanted to know everything.
"I think –"
"No, Kian. Devlin, get your tush here now." Devlin materialised behind her, she could sense his power and it comforted her a little. She could feel his strength seeping into her, she needed it.
"Yes, my lady?"
"Grovelling like a dog as always, Fair One. Do you think that even your magic could keep me here if I did not want to be?" Kian growled, struggling against invisible restraints. Rhiannon silently thanked Devlin, at least this way there was no way Kian could escape.
Rhiannon glared at Kian. "You will not talk to Devlin like that or this will end very unpleasantly, understand me?"
Kian moved his head to the side, Rhiannon took it as assent.
"Devlin, I wish that Kian will answer all my questions truthfully and in great detail, without the need for force." Rhiannon watched Kian, there was no significant change. No glitter falling from the sky. She had to look to Devlin to see if he'd done anything.
"It is done, my lady. I suggest you find out his true name, that way you may control him." Devlin sounded so formal and cold, she didn't realise how much warmth he showed her until that moment.
"What is your real name?"
"Kian Hunter." Kian answered smugly, even trapped and under interrogation he was handsome. Rhiannon didn't want to think about him like that, he was hiding something and she was going to find out what.
"Are you sure my wished worked?" Rhiannon asked, glancing up at Devlin.
Devlin nodded. "You have to be more careful in your phrasing. The truth can be a twisted thing, especially, in the hands of an experienced liar."
"What is your true name?"
"Dominate Cacciatoro. Is that what you wanted? Are you happy?" He barked was a rumble that accompanied the words, like they were ancient and powerful. It was beautiful and brutal in the same instant.
"Tell me, which of your friends took Viviane?"
"She is not my friend." Kian growled.
"Dominate, answer me."
"Her name is Morrighan. She's an assassin, the Queen of Shadows. And she is not my friend." Kian spat out. Blood trickled down from the corner of his mouth. Rhiannon almost jumped, as the scarlet liquid ran down his chin. She immediately looked to Devlin.
"Why is he bleeding?"
"You used his true name, forced him to answer a question. It was painful to him." Devlin shrugged, in a 'that's-how-it-is' gesture. Rhiannon glared at him, glancing worriedly at Kian.
"Why didn't you tell me it would hurt him?" She hissed.
"You didn't ask."
There was obviously something between Devlin and Kian, but she would cross that bridge when she needed to. She didn't know how she felt about him at the moment, but she didn't want Kian to be in pain. She turned back to Kian, her eyes softer.
"Why did she take my grandma? What does she want from you, Kian?"
"Take my restraints off Rhiannon. This is a long story and I'd prefer to be comfortable." Kian asked, his eyes begging her to trust him. She couldn't believe she was falling for it.
"He'll escape –" Devlin spluttered.
"Just do it."
Kian relaxed into the seat, breathing deeply. He moved his hands experimentally, surveying his surroundings.
"Thank you." Kian whispered.
"Tell me, everything."
"There has been a war waging between Underworlders and the Hunters. The Hunters are a group of zealous humans, trained in the art of murder. They want to find the Underworld, to find Fey." Kian began, his eyes misting over as he settled into the story.
"What is a fey? As in faeries?" Rhiannon asked in wonder.
"Fey is our home, our power source and where we get our true names. It is a city in the Underworld. And before you ask Underworlders come in many shapes and sizes, werewolves, mermaids, elves, anything really but our nobility are faeries." Devlin answered before Kian could. Kian snorted in derision, he didn't place much faith in faeries.
"Why would they want to take over Fey? If it's just a city?"
"Control. You get our names, you have complete control over us. If they cannot control us, they seek to drive every single one of us into extinction because they fear us and they fear what we could do. They believe all Underworlder's to be devil spawn. Morrighan is queen of the darker citizens of Fey, she gives us a bad name but the fear inspires offers some protection. The leader of the Hunters is the Tuer de la Ombre, the Slayer." A shiver whispered down Rhiannon's spine at the name. It was as if calling his name gave him power.
"How?" Rhiannon asked, knowing Kian would understand full well what she meant. How had they known how to kill Underworlders? How had they discovered they existed?
"Some of us have been imprisoned and used in order to fight our brethren. Some of us were stolen at birth and have taken to killing our own a little too... well. These captured and lost Underworlders have taught them how to kill us, to destroy us but –"
"The Slayer wants to use us, as his own personal army." Devlin finished his face grim.
"The Slayer is insane. He wants to control something beyond him, something unbelievably powerful. He wants to get something that will win this war, against Morrighan. I think, the Fair One can tell you about that." Kian smirked at Devlin. Rhiannon had stop their childish banter between them, because it was grating against her nerves.
"Let me guess, they all want you." Rhiannon stated, looking at Devlin.
He nodded stoically.
"The Slayer doesn't just want the Fair One. He wants to be the Fair One. Devlin isn't loyal to only you, whoever has that locket has his loyalty. He can switch teams anytime he wants, he is a major game piece and his true loyalties have never been established." Kian's icy stare concentrated on Devlin, as if he could squash Devlin with the pure power of his will. Rhiannon had to admit, this didn't sound good.
"Morrighan is powerful?" Rhiannon wondered aloud.
"Why hasn't she just stolen the locket or swapped my grandma for it?"
"Morrighan is creature of chaos, a demon. She enjoys war and drama. If she simply won the war, it'd be too easy. Besides, she'd have to gain your trust and then kill you to get the locket. And... I think she likes you." Kian finished on a strange note.
"She likes me?" She didn't exactly know what to think. A trained assassin liked her?
"She does. Morrighan has always loved to love the most inappropriate things and –"
"Always? How do you know Morrighan and you still haven't explained your part in all of this?" Rhiannon cut in. She couldn't help noticing the hint of familiarity in the way Kian talked about her. Nor could she stop the surging jealousy, she really wasn't stable. Her grandmother was missing and she was letting her emotions get the better of her.
"I don't see how that is –"
"Tell me, please Kian?"
Kian sighed deeply. "I'm half-demon. I'm a messenger. No, I lie. I'm the Messenger. The Slayer uses me to find information, to seek out individuals who may be chosen by the Fair One to be his master."
"I believe, my lady asked for you to tell her everything, Dominate." Devlin said in a low voice, it was scarier than if he'd raised his voice. He sounded dangerous as if on the verge of the darkness. Rhiannon wanted to reach out to him, to make sure he was okay. Devlin was usually so laid back, but when the darkness took over. Nothing could stop him.
"I'm to seek them out, earn their trust and kill them."
Rhiannon felt her heart stop in her chest. She couldn't picture Kian as a cold- blooded killer. He was sweet, funny and she couldn't fit the idea of him and murder. She wanted to yell at Devlin and maybe at herself, if she could like someone like him.
"Tell her the rest."
"No." Kian hissed, getting to his feet.
"Tell her, you filthy demon."
"Can't you see she's in shock? Don't you care that she's been recuperating? That she's not coping? You can't just give her all this information and expect her to just swallow it. She's human, biondo gente, albeit a special one but she can't take all of this at once." Kian was shorter than Devlin but Rhiannon saw that they stood as equals. They were not intimidated. The hatred burning between them was overwhelming.
"What? Like you were sent to kill me?" Rhiannon croaked. She hated herself for it, but she had liked Kian. Why had she trusted him?
"I was only sent to investigate whether the locket had appeared in Newford. Every single time we'd tried to steal or kill the owner of the locket, it had managed to elude us. It disappeared right off their corpses but I didn't know that he'd choose you. " The way Kian spoke of killing without an ounce of remorse, made Rhiannon sick to the core.
Kian laughed humourlessly. "You mean he never told you? It would seem I'm not the only one keeping secrets, Fair One."
"I don't keep secrets from my masters –"
"They just 'don't ask'." Rhiannon didn't know who to trust, everyone had their own webs of deceit and she was stuck somewhere in the middle.
"I chose you, my lady. I chose you because I thought you could release me, free me from my prison. But it would seem the demon is right, it's been a long day. Perhaps you should rest upstairs, while your associate and I discuss things." Devlin waved his hand in dismissal. Rhiannon knew that Devlin was stressed out. She had to help him, but if he didn't let her there was no chance of that.
"No, I will not be kept in the dark anymore. Whatever you can say to Kian, you can say to me. I want to know how we're getting my grandma back. I want to help and I have a more personal interest in saving her than both of you. I could bring new eyes to the situation, new passion. And you will let me help whether you want me to or not." Rhiannon stood her ground. She was going to help. Rhiannon didn't give a damn, she'd been dragged into this but she was not some fragile girl, who was going to sit back and let the men fight her battles.
She'd fight alongside them.
"She's got a point. She's intelligent, strong and beautiful. What are going to lose letting her help out?"
"What do you suggest, demon?" Devlin didn't look pleased.
"I think it's time we paid a visit to the Queen of Shadows." Kian answered grimly.