Carrick appeared outside of Arwen’s hut. He was irritated and frustrated because he had failed on his mission to take out a few of Kymaris’ original Fallen who would be used in the ritual.
When he arrived, it had taken him no more than a second to realize something was wrong. He’d smelled a tinge of magic in the air, and knew it was Light Fae.
“Finley,” he called as he advanced on the hut, only to halt in his tracks when Zaid came out alone. He had the satchel carrying the Blood Stone across his body and the backpack holding essentials for him and Finley in one hand. He dropped the backpack to the ground.
It was ominous enough that he exited alone, but it was Zaid’s expression that had Carrick’s immortal heart about ready to burst open from fear.
“Where’s Finley?” Carrick asked in a low growl.
“Pyke has her,” Zaid replied dully. “He took her not ten minutes ago.”
“Took her?” Carrick demanded. “You mean he took her to the castle?”
Zaid shook his head, then turned back to the hut. “You need to see something.”
Carrick was frozen in place, his mind racing with implications. The word “took” was strong, and his urge was to flash away to the castle to tear it down in search of Finley. But ultimately, he followed Zaid inside the tent, trusting his friend had something important he needed to see.
At the low table in the center of the room, Zaid lifted a crystal from the table, along with the lock of hair Finley had left behind for Arwen after their first meeting. He handed it to Carrick. “This memory crystal was keyed to Finley, and we were able to watch it. Can you access it?”
There wasn’t much a demi-god couldn’t do, their magic and strength trumping all things fae. He took the cylinder, which was cool to the touch, and willed the information it held to come forth.
The crystal lit up, glowing reddish-orange, and the holographic memory shot out from the end to hover in the air. Carrick’s jaw locked and his heart stuttered as he watched the last moments of Arwen’s life play out.
The sickening realization that his friend, Pyke, had killed his own cousin because he wanted information on Finley settled in. After a moment of gut-wrenching nausea, it started to flame into fury.
Carrick dropped the crystal to the floor where it extinguished, his gaze turning to Zaid. “Where did he take her?”
Zaid winced when Carrick did not try to hide the condemnation in his voice over the fact Zaid was there while Finley wasn’t.
“Pyke showed up outside the hut right after we’d watched the memory,” Zaid said, recounting the events. “When he called for Finley, she made a split-second decision for me to take the Blood Stone and hide. Pyke didn’t know I was in here.”
“Fuck,” Carrick muttered, scrubbing a hand through his hair, his eyes darting around the hut as if Finley might be hiding in a corner. “What happened?”
“Finley went out to meet him. I stayed inside and listened. He was here for the Blood Stone. He’d put a tracking spell on both Finley and the stone, so he knew when they arrived here at the hut. She managed to convince him that the Blood Stone was no longer here. That you brought her here for safety, then left to hide it.”
“And he bought it?”
“In the end, I believe so,” Zaid affirmed.
“And was she hurt?” Carrick asked, his voice trembling with pent-up violence.
“She pulled her whip on him. Managed to draw blood from what I could hear.”
Carrick felt a pulse of pride in his woman for being so brave as she faced off with one of the most powerful Light Fae in existence. “He wanted to come into the hut to look around, so I bent distance with the Blood Stone, went to the woods, and hoped it was far enough away that he couldn’t feel it. I stayed close enough to the edge so I could watch. They weren’t in there long, probably just enough time for Pyke to realize the Blood Stone wasn’t there. They came back out—it looked like Finley tried to make a break for it, but he caught her. Then he bent distance and took her.”
“Goddamn motherfucker,” Carrick yelled, his voice booming across the open field. His gaze came back to pin Zaid. “Was she hurt in any way?”
With a shake of his head, Zaid replied, “He had her hands tied behind her back, but that was it. She was fine.”
“As fine as can be for being kidnapped,” Carrick snarled.
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