Read Blood Finale (God Wars #5) Online
Authors: Connie Suttle
God Wars Book 5
The author's contact information may be found at the end of this book.
For Walter, Joe, Sarah H., Lee D., Dianne J. and Larry O. Thank you.
And for Chloe B. Welcome to the family.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters and incidents portrayed within its pages are a product of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons (or vampires, werewolves, High Demons, Greater Demons, Lesser Demons, Larentii, shapeshifters, Ra'Ak, wizards, warlocks, witches, Saa Thalarr or gods) living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Blood Finale, copyright © 2013 by Connie Suttle
All rights reserved
This book, whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied or reproduced by mechanical means (including photocopying or the implementation of any type of storage or retrieval system), without the express written permission of the author, except where permitted by law.
The author wishes to thank you for purchasing this e-book. Purchasing this book through legitimate channels supports the author and makes it possible for her to keep writing. If you did not purchase this book through legitimate channels, or have downloaded it from a website that pirates authors' works, the author kindly asks that you purchase a copy for yourself, as sales of her books are her only source of income.
Other books by Connie Suttle
Blood Destiny Series
Legend of the Ir'Indicti Series
High Demon Series
The God Wars Series
The Saa Thalarr Series
Hope and Vengeance*
The battlefield is a scene of constant chaos. The winner will be the one who controls that chaos—Napoleon Bonaparte
"Martin?" I stepped carefully through piles of fallen pine needles and broken twigs to get to Martin Walters. I knew he was werewolf. He had no idea what I was—a former vampire, turned Saa Thalarr.
"I didn't know you were in the area," Martin turned to me. I'd startled him, but at least I'd found him human and not werewolf.
"I came looking for you. No, Mack's fine. Justin's fine. Anna has a broken leg. There was an accident outside the school this afternoon; a child was hit by a speeding car. Three are dead; I just wanted you to know in case you heard anything. Mack's safe at the house with Justin—Joey's babysitting. Anna's staying overnight at the hospital, just as a precaution."
"Three children?" Martin Walters stared at me in alarm.
"No, two adults in the car and one child on the school grounds. I didn't want you to panic in case someone called you with the news."
"All right. Thanks for letting me know. That's horrible about the child. Do we know who?" Martin asked.
"So far, they've been unable to identify the child. No parents are missing a child and there was no identification."
"Not good," Martin shook his head. "Adam, what do you make of this?"
"What is it?" I walked forward to see what Martin meant—it looked to be a pile of rags.
"I think it's a towel, but there are strange—scales, I think—on it."
"Scales?" I squatted to examine the towel—it seemed to be an expensive one—lying on the ground. Martin was correct; the black, thumb-sized spots were indeed scales and much too large to belong to any serpent native to California. I was used to Ra'Ak scales, but those were much larger than this and copper in color.
"Strange scent, too," I glanced up at Martin. I knew he'd smelled the scent—his wolf's nose would certainly notice that.
"I didn't know whether you'd get that or not," Martin shrugged. "Think we ought to take it with us or leave it here?"
I had the head off the creature that leapt toward us from a nearby pile of brush and pine needles before Martin could blink and then stood there, grinning sheepishly as Martin stared at my vampire claws in shock.
* * *
"I've been called to a meeting, that's what," I shook a finger at Shane, who'd demanded I tell him what was going on and why I was dressed to go out.
"What kind of meeting? With whom?"
"None of your beeswax, that's with whom," I said.
"Are you taking anyone with you?"
"I asked Kee to come with me," I huffed in righteous indignation, lifting my nose in the air.
"Is Kiarra safe to go traipsing about with you?" Shane narrowed his gaze and gave me a frown only he might produce. "I thought the bad guys were after her."
"They were. Are. She'll be with me," I said. "Don't you think that's safe enough?"
"How about if I," I began.
"You didn't even let me finish," I complained. "How about if I take Dragon and Gracie with me?"
"Still nope." Arms crossed tightly over Shane's chest; that meant stubborn had moved in—with baggage—and planned to stay awhile.
"Plus Adam, Merrill, Pheligar and Devin?"
"How about all the Saa Thalarr, including healers and Spawn Hunters?"
"Seriously? You want to take the whole bunch to a meeting?" His arms uncrossed. I was softening him up, looked like.
"If I have to, Mr. Grumpy Drawers."
"I do not have grumpy drawers. They have hearts and ice-cream cones on them."
"They do not."
"Hummingbirds and flamingoes?"
"Saguaro cactus and coyotes?"
"Really? Where did you get them? I want some," I said, waggling a finger in his face.
"I bought extras. They're in your armoire," Shane grinned.
"You're kidding? I'll wear those tonight."
"You're not spending the night with Martin, are you?"
"Because it's coyotes with neckerchiefs," Shane pointed out. "Not wolves. He'll get all huffy."
"And he'll rip 'em right off," I said.
"TMI," Shane muttered and opened the refrigerator door. I can't say how many discussions and/or arguments he and I'd had in front of the fridge, but it was a lot. "Do I get to go—as a healer?" he muffled, scooting things around on the lower shelf. "Are we out of orange-pineapple again? I want a French martini."
"You can go," I sighed. "And you probably should wait until after the meeting to have a martini—or three."
"What?" Shane's head poked around the refrigerator door so he could stare at me.
"Just what I said. Be ready to go in half an hour. I have mindspeech to send." I flounced out of the kitchen, considering what was about to happen and the shock—of all involved—when we arrived at the meeting in question.
* * *
"Here's your mail." Grant placed a small stack of envelopes on my desk. Yes, in the days of comp-vids and electronic messages (and gadgets) dropping out of everybody's ass, I still got paper mail.
Six months had passed since Breanne, Ashe and Wisdom disappeared. Kalenegar had given Belen the information—Charles had been under everybody's nose for centuries and nobody guessed. He'd disappeared off everybody's radar for a while, too, and nobody noticed.
I had theories about that, and they included the fact that a lot of people (mostly vampires) had forgotten about me for a long time. It was probably a good thing Charles wasn't in front of me. God or not, we had some things to discuss.
"Not possible," I sighed and lifted the first envelope. It contained an invitation to a gathering on Karathia—Bel's birthday, actually. Of course I'd go, provided we were still alive. I was waiting for the shoe to drop—for the General to command his troops and start wiping out populations. We were all sitting ducks and he probably knew it.
I couldn't imagine that he'd be immobilized with Acrimus' destruction—I'd read Kalenegar's report, after all. He'd allowed those who had ties to the Larentii to read it, so most of us knew what happened on that terrible day. Kiarra was lucky to come out of it with only a broken leg in the past.
I set the invitation aside after sending mindspeech to Ry—to tell him I wouldn't miss Bel's birthday—and lifted the next envelope. Made of expensive cream linen, the envelope was something I hadn't seen in a long time. I recalled that Gavin had once sent a message to me using the same stationery. Where had this come from?
"Grant?" I called out, examining the envelope—it was thick and felt heavy.
"Lissa?" Grant poked his head through my study door, a puzzled expression on his face.
"Where did this come from?" I lifted the envelope to my nose and sniffed—there was no detectable scent.
"It came with the rest of the stuff and went through the detectors, just like the others. Why?"
"No reason. It just jogged a memory, that's all." I motioned with a hand, telling him it was okay to go. His head disappeared. Forming a short claw on my right index finger, I carefully slit the envelope open. The note—and something else—dropped out. I stared—the bracelet—the one Gavin had given me eons ago and I'd handed to Merrill's housekeeper because I was angry, lay on my desk. It looked new—as if it had never been worn.
I'd be lying if I said the hair on my arms and the back of my neck didn't rise, because it did. With shaking fingers, I opened the note.
What we lose, we find again
, the note read. The words were handwritten, with beautiful penmanship. There was no signature.
I need to see both of you. Now
* * *
"I forgot about that," Merrill raked long, well-shaped fingers through black hair in confusion. "I remember dropping it in a desk drawer after getting it back from Lena and offering money in exchange."
"You bought it back from her?" I stared at Merrill in disbelief.
"I worried that you might have second thoughts and merely considered holding it until you were sure about Gavin's courtship. Obviously, as I said, I forgot about it."
"Gavin, where did you get the stationery to send that note to me back then?" I turned to him. He was just as surprised as I was and held the bracelet in his hands, examining it. It was made of eighteen karat gold, I knew that, now, with tiny diamonds winking at the center of each flower.
"From Charles," Gavin sighed, handing the bracelet back to me.
"No, put it on my wrist," I handed it back to him.
He did, his hands steady as he opened the clasp and placed the strand of tiny, gold hibiscus flowers about my wrist, the cool metal settling against my skin. "I bought this because I loved you," he murmured. "I still do. More than anything."
"I'll go." Merrill disappeared swiftly. Gavin pulled me from my seat and wrapped his arms around me. I kissed him.
, I sent.
I love it
, I added.
* * *
"Thanks for calling the Grand Master." Director Bill Jennings studied the beheaded body on the ground. Martin and I had talked briefly before he pulled out his cell phone and dialed Weldon Harper, Grand Master of the Werewolves.
That call had generated other calls, until the Director of the Joint NSA and Homeland Security Department was deposited nearby by a Larentii. Before that moment, I'd seen few Larentii and blinked in astonishment that this one was transporting and assisting humans.
"What is this thing?" Martin asked, pointing to the beheaded body.
"A Sirenali," Director Jennings explained. "I have agents coming to collect the body. Have you found anything else?" Bill lifted his eyes from the creature and glanced from me to Martin.
"Nothing, Director," I shook my head.
"I'm surprised they left this one behind," Bill murmured. Martin and I heard the softly spoken words clearly.
"A Sirenali?" I said aloud while sending mindspeech to Pheligar, linking him to me so he could see and hear those around me.
, Pheligar's voice huffed in my mind.
, he added.
This is not good. I am still with Kiarra,
Do you need me?
No, just asking what a Sirenali is and why the Director of the Joint NSA and Homeland Security Department might know that when I didn't.
I will investigate and return with an answer.
Pheligar's mindspeech cut off.
"I know they're supposed to be extinct," Bill Jennings nodded toward me as the Larentii stepped up beside him. "Connegar," Bill said, "do you have anything to offer Mr. Chessman?"
"What?" He'd just used my real last name, when nobody should know that name.
"Don't worry," Jennings held out a hand. "I've gotten a real education in the past few weeks. You won't believe what I've seen and heard in that time."
* * *
I was thankful that Trajan—the one in the future—came to get me in the past. I'd been transported to SouthStar in the present, where things were still unsettled. Trajan, Kathleen, Trace and several others attempted to make me understand what had happened to Breanne and Ashe, but it defied reason. I'd asked on numerous occasions for reassurance that they were still alive. Trajan suffered just as I did with their loss, but he did his best to explain that they were together and inseparable now.
Too many questions remained and I was afraid nobody had the answers. I wanted to talk to a Larentii, too, but they were curiously absent and I was too timid to ask Trajan or Trace how to contact them.
"Kay?" Kathleen broke into my thoughts as I sat on the wide deck outside my suite. Avendor was beautiful in the early evening glow and a light, cool mist lay over gishi trees far down the valley.
"Kathleen?" I studied her—she looked so young. Far younger than her sixty-plus years. Casimir stood behind her—I often saw them together. He'd comforted her when she learned months ago that her estranged husband was dead. It was only a matter of time before Casimir declared his feelings, I think.
"Dinner," Kathleen smiled and held out a hand to me.
"I'm really not hungry," I began.
"Kay, you have to eat. You know that. What if they come back and find out we've been starving ourselves with worry? They're somewhere, at least. We know that much, don't we?"
"Yeah." I'd found Ashe and Breanne; those two meant more to me than anything, and I'd lost them again. At least I'd lost what I'd known of them—that precious contact that had become so important to me.