For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.
If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.
This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
Jorick snorted contemptuously. “And what does Oren have to do with this? For that matter what do I? J and O? The letters could mean anything. This message wasn’t meant for me.”
“Yes it was,” Beldren declared flatly. “It was sent, via messenger, to be delivered to you. Luckily, we intercepted him.”
“Whether it was meant for me or not is irrelevant. I have no idea what it means.” Jorick looked from one to the other. “I do find it interesting that you’re searching for him, though.”
Beldren gave Jorick a tolerant smirk. “Ah yes, I shouldn’t forget about your amazing perception.”
Jorick’s return smile was cold. “Nor I your ability. However, I don’t believe it’s needed here.”
Beldren handed the paper back to the ever silent Zuri. “We’ll find him, you know. Malick has a special interest in his plans.”
Jorick’s face twitched at the mention of that name, but his tone stayed unruffled. “Then I wish you luck. Malick won’t accept your failure easily.”
“He won’t have to, because we won’t fail.”
The two men stared at one another; a silent contest of wills. Finally, Beldren broke away with a soft laugh. “All right, Jorick, we’ll be leaving. But, should you hear anything, or suddenly remember ‘where the roses grow’, you know how to find us.”
“Yes,” Jorick agreed. “But I won’t need to.”
“I’m sure you won’t.” He turned to Zuri. “Come on, we’ll find him on our own. It isn’t like we actually expected Jorick to cooperate. He’s too busy presiding over his infant coven to be any trouble.”
Zuri made no reply and, as quickly as they’d come, the two were gone.
Katelina stood frozen in place, her breath caught in her throat. The seconds ticked by and she slowly came to the realization that they’d really left. The horrible Executioners had left, without killing or torturing any of them. Thank God.
Her body sagged, and she sighed with relief. The sound reminded everyone where they were, and the two vampires snapped to life.
Loren relaxed his protective posture but his eyes stayed on the door. “What was all that?”
“Executioners,” Jorick explained bitterly. “Apparently they’re searching for Oren. I imagine word of his little plan has gotten around and they intend to nip it in the bud.”
Katelina shifted uncertainly from one foot to the other. “Exactly what is his plan?”
When Jorick didn’t answer, Loren explained, “He’s going to attack The Guild.”
Katelina nodded. “Yeah, I know, but beyond that? I mean he’s not planning to do it with just Torina and himself, is he?”
“He’s collecting a coven-”
“It’s unimportant,” Jorick snapped. “He has no chance against them.”
Loren cleared his throat loudly. “Maybe if we helped them?”
Jorick waved the suggestion away. “No. It’s not my fight.”
Loren looked at Katelina for support, but he found none. For once she wholeheartedly agreed with Jorick. This wasn’t their problem.
She gave a soft shake of her head and Loren’s face hardened. He crossed his arms defiantly. “Then maybe I’ll go alone.”
Jorick crooked a heavy eyebrow and snorted. “And what help do you think you’ll be?”
Loren blinked in surprise at the insult, his mouth half open. As if unaware of his reaction, Jorick snapped, “We’re not going!” Then, he turned his back on the conversation and strode towards the dining room.
“You can’t tell me what to do! I don’t owe you anything!”
Katelina flinched unconsciously at the venom in the young vampire’s voice. His cheeks were flushed and his eyes glittered dangerously. Jorick’s remark had wounded him deeper than she thought.
Jorick stopped in the doorway, his shoulders tense. “Why do you want to go so badly?”
“Why not? I’m not as weak as you think. I know how to fight.” He dropped suddenly into a defensive stance, his knees bent and his arms tensed. “I can take care of myself!”
Jorick shook his head and turned away again. “You’re an idiot, Loren.”