They started the chanting again and I closed my eyes before I bent my forehead to rest on my arms. Would it ever end? They'd been trying for six months now, or so it seemed. I had tried to keep count, but every day melted into each other. Some of the times when I would wake, I didn't know if it was the same day or a different one. There were six flies instead of two on the sandwich some vampire slid into my cell. I hadn't touched it then and still hadn't, but I guessed that an entire day had gone by. With every day, the flies multiplied in numbers. Tomorrow there would be twelve or fourteen.

"There, there, no appetite for the human-no-longer?"

Lucan squatted next to my head outside my cell. He wrapped a hand around one of the bars and bent low to peer into my eyes.

I didn't flinch or look away. "I'm still human, Lucan."

"No, you aren't. You would've been dead a long time ago."

I sighed. It was the only thing I could do. Time and time again, his witches would chant. He'd get excited, as human as he ever was, and he'd stand by for the Immortal thread. It had been his plan since I turned him into a human. He wanted the power so he was bound to get it. He really thought he could be the next thread holder, but he refused to believe there would be no more thread holders. It was only the Immortal now. I had tried to explain this to him, but since there was no lore about the Immortal, he never believed me.

And then one day, I grew tired of the torture and I said to him, "Do you miss him?"

Lucan grew still beside me. He loved to sit beside me and feel my pain. I knew every time he thought they would break me, when the thread would join him, but it never happened. He still sat beside me every day.

"You two look so much alike."

"Shut up."

I thought it would take more for his reaction. "Roane is all about duty. He's sworn to protect people who he feels is right no matter who it's against."

"Shut up," he snarled again.

"He'll come after you, you know."

Lucan shot to his feet, but he didn't go anywhere. He didn't leave. He didn't threaten. He just stood there and waited…

"He loves me. Do you think he won't come for me now?" I saw how he stood there. "Do you think he won't go against you for me?"

He jerked on his feet, but settled back.

I said further, "He loves me, Lucan. He loves me more than he does you. You've hurt me. You continually hurt me and that's only going to be worse for you. Every time you hurt me, he'll hate you more for it. Are you ready for that? Can you handle his hatred?"

"Shut up," he whispered this time. It had been a snarl before, but not now.

My eyes glinted in triumph, but I knew it was short lived. He'd do what he would do. Lucan was like Roane. Both believed in their own courses and neither would change for anyone. They both felt they were right.

It was now a matter of who would win and my heart was on my lover.

"Again!" he roared and the chanting began again.

I rested my forehead against one of the metal bars. The pain would start in a few seconds.

Roane jerked his head up when his office door slammed open. His senses should've alerted before the intruder had breached his inner sanctum, but when he saw who stood before him, he knew why they hadn't. She wasn't human. He sniffed the air and knew she wasn't a vampire either, nor a werewolf.

He stood slowly. "What are you?"

The girl cocked her head to the side. She had long black hair with blue tips. A large mark covered the side of her face and she stood in a warrior's stance in blue leather. She stood confident. A sword was slung across her back.

She sneered at him, "I am Saren. I am not from your world."

"What are you?"

"I am not from your world; it is not your business. I am here to help you rescue Davy."

"Davy? What do you know about her?"

She stepped back, a slow and methodical step. "She was taken by your brother and she's held in a fortress. He's surrounded by Mori vampires. You have no hope of getting in there and getting her out."

"But you do?"

Her chin raised a fraction of an inch. "I am only visible to your eyes because I choose it. Do not push me, Vampire."

"How do you know Davy is there?"

"Because I am more than you can understand." She cocked her head to the side in a defiant stance.

Lucas regarded her. He didn't know who she was, but she was there. And she had information about Davy. He had little choice except to accept her word. He also smelled the sense of recognition. She did know Davy. He felt it in his gut and she was as concerned as he was. All other questions would have to wait.

He jerked his head in a nod. "Tell me what you know."

"You're going to need help. You can't depend on me, but I will be there. I will hold my own. I will be the one to find Davina. You will follow behind with help."

"My help?" He moved around his desk. "My best warriors were taken with her."

"Except for your fastest one and you have already sent a request to the Christane wolves."

His nostrils flared and Roane stopped abruptly. "How do you know that?"

"I am not of your world. Do I need to repeat everything I say to you? Davy is being held—"

He waved her off. "I heard that part, but when you say "I'm not from this world" doesn't explain how you knew that I'd sent word to Christian."

"Christian Christane is your friend. He is a powerful Alpha werewolf. It would make sense for you to enquire his assistance. All members of your army are needed here." She tilted her head to the side with an absent look in her eye.

A corner of his mouth curved down. This thing wasn't something he had foreseen. "If you know Davy, why didn't she tell me about you?"

"Because I told her not to." She turned and started to leave.

Lucas jerked forward. "Wait. Where are you going? How do I get in touch with you?"

"You don't." She never looked back and left the room.

His door never opened. Lucas sat back down and remembered a time when Talia had been the ghost Davy could see. She'd talked to her, but this Saren was something different. Then he sighed and picked up his phone. It seemed that he'd need more than the Christane wolves.

Brown held her breath and rubbed shaky hands down her legs. Vampires roamed past her and stood before her as she inched down the hallway. Davy's boyfriend had called for her and a car had picked her up when they had ended the call. Now she was back in the bar she had once been excited for. Her legs wavered and she hoped she wouldn't lose her bladder this time.

She glanced around and found herself hoping for a glimpse for the Viking giant, but then, as a sea of vampires parted and Roane moved forward to greet her, she saw the strain on his face and remembered what had happened.

Gregory was gone, along with all her friends.

She struggled to keep a tear from falling and tried to steady her chin, but her lip trembled anyway.

Roane's eyes skimmed over her, his eyes were sharp as a hawk. Brown knew that he saw it all. He probably heard how her heart started to race.

"My office?" He spoke in a gravelly voice.

Thick with emotion, Brown moved ahead of him as he held out an arm, down a hallway.

As they moved away from the crowd, she noticed glances that nearly every vampire cast her way. Before they moved into his office, a few of the lingering ones in the hallway glanced also, but their eyes moved over her shoulder. They weren't watching her. They were watching Roane. She saw respect in them and all of them stood taller. They squared their shoulders back when Roane moved past them.

This was their leader. She had never considered him before during the brief moments when she had heard him converse with Davy, but she was overwhelmed with butterflies now. Her palms got a little sweaty and her eyes went wide. When he closed the door behind him, the air seemed so intimate, so private. No wonder Davy was head over heels.

This vampire was unlike any others that she had met, not that she knew many. There had been that one with orange hair—nevermind. She wasn't there to daydream. And Davy's boyfriend started to look impatient, like he was waiting for something. Then it clicked.

"Did you ask me something?"

A shadow of a smile graced his features. It transformed him. He had seemed intimidating before, but with that slight hint of amusement, his features were breathtaking. Sharp cheeks, intense eyes, a full mouth and that cleft in his chin…Brown swallowed and looked away. Davy's boyfriend. She needed to keep telling herself that.

Then, again, she realized the room was heavy in silence.

She closed her eyes in frustration. "I'm sorry. What did you say again?"

The smile faded and he clipped out, "Have you worked on your magic since the attack?"

Her stomach twisted over. The 'attack' had been months ago, long long months ago. Every day she tried to get her magic back, but nothing worked. Even the slight amount she could use before was gone. She felt human, only human. No magic. Nothing. She was useless.

"No, I haven't. I've been trying, but I think I used it all up. I don't think there's any more in me." Her lip trembled.

Roane narrowed his eyes. From what Davy had said, the girl had an unlimited supply, getting to it was another matter.

"Somehow," he murmured, "I don't think that's the case. Keep trying."

She glanced from under her eyelids and quickly looked away. "My sister is the one with magic. Only one of us gets the family blessing."

"Look," he sighed. His hand curled around the back of the chair he stood behind. "You have magic. Davy said that it's in you. I trust her. You should too."

She squeaked and her eyes widened. "I do! I trust Davy with my life or I would if she were here… When is she coming back?"

He never blinked and he never looked away.

"I mean," she hung her head. "I was wondering about—if you had found her." She looked back up. Hope shimmered over her face. "I'd like to help. Can I help?"

"If you have magic. That's why I called you here."

"Oh! Yeah, that makes sense. I was wondering, well, I wasn't wondering but I don't know. I mean…I'll keep trying. I'll always keep trying. I feel it's there. Davy said it is and I do trust her. She's my best friend. I know she has that other girl as her best friend, but she sorta betrayed her so I don't trust—"

"Stop. Talking."

She clamped her mouth shut.

"It's why I called you. Your magic is blocked and I have another witch for you to meet. He might be able to unblock your magic."


He nodded and the door opened. A man with long brown hair, frizzy and curly, floated into the room. He wore a gray tunic and long strings of beads wrapped around his neck. A jewel was placed above his lip, underneath his nose. His eyes were dark and black makeup was encased around them. He studied her, up and down.

"Mavic, this is Sarah Bright."

She thrust out a hand. "You can call me Brown."

The man ignored the offered hand and turned his head. "You insult me, Changeling. I am no more a witch than you are a blood sucking creature." The young man gave her a gentle smile. "I am a sorcerer, but Lucas refuses to acknowledge my status. He feels it is too threatening to the world."

He brushed back a wave of curls and tucked it over his shoulder. Then he offered his hand and Brown gasped when they touched. A night sky filled her vision with shooting starts that soared at her. Underneath them the ocean roared and waves crashed against each other. Her nose twitched. A whiff of a campfire mixed with incense teased her nostrils.

"You're a sorcerer?" Goodness.

He nodded, and then cast Roane a hard look. "You didn't tell me she was a Bright."

"Does it matter?" Roane held his gaze steadily.

A look passed between the two and Mavic sighed. "I guess not."

"She has magic that needs to be unlocked. You said you're the best."

"You tease me, Lucas. I should curse you for that."

Roane laughed and patted him on the back. "This will be your biggest challenge. Imagine how your reputation will soar if you've freed a Bright witch."

"There will be ramifications."

A hard look came to him. "She's friends with the thread holder. That can't be coincidental."

"Then the thread holder should free her."

"She's a thread holder. The Immortal powers are not available to her. You know how they are."

The sorcerer gave him a grim look. "You insult me again, Roane. Stories of an Immortal have been in the wind and much more as of late. Why do you ask for my help if you continue to insult my ability?"

Roane sighed. "It's not your abilities I am insulting. It's you."

Brown closed her eyes and hung her head. She dared not make a sound. The air was thick with tension; tension that she knew not to ignite. Not the slightest movement…

Mavic sighed again. "Why do I put up with your disrespect? I have many who worship my teachings. Many who would give their siblings' lives to learn from my hands."

Roane took one step closer. His eyes never moved away and he gave him the slightest smirk. "You are here because you dare not make me an enemy and we all know how you love gossip. You've been given a window to see if those slight murmurs of an Immortal are true. We both know your ego is not so grand that it will get in the way of even the possibility of meeting an Immortal. Are we?"

Brown counted her breaths. One. Two. Three. Neither men spoke. Neither men moved.

"The witch will come to my dwelling. I will train her there."

"You will train her here."

"Lucas, I cannot. All my supplies, all my books, everything is at my home."

"You packed a bag. You knew I wouldn't allow it. She will remain here and she will be under watch." Roane stepped close, so close his nose nearly touched the sorcerers'. "If you harm her or my men in any way, I will hunt you down." His eyes turned lethal. "And I am the best there is."

He stepped back and cast a sweeping gaze over both of them. "Start her training now. I want it done as soon as possible."

And with those parting words, he swept out the door. Two vampires entered behind him. They both took their guarding position, just inside the room.

Mavic lifted closed fists in the air and cursed under his tongue.

Brown frowned, it was in a language she had never heard, but she wanted to learn it. She wanted desperately to know everything this sorcerer knew, even if Roane didn't trust him. If she was going to get her magic back to help Davy, this witch was her best shot. She gave him a bright smile. "So…where do we start?"