And we’re back for another Tuesday Tale, this time for the prompt of “Discovery.” It’s from a work in progress that’s still untitled. As with the last two Six Sentence Sundays, I’m attempting to use these posts as inspiration to finish the story.
Also, for more fantastic stories by some fabulous authors, check out the Tuesday Tales Blog!
“You know very little about my past,” she said. No, he realized, he did not know much about her, and from the look on her face, whatever she had to tell him was not going to be pretty. His selfish desire had to wait.
“Tell me,” he said. She sighed.
“I had a mate,” she whispered. Irrational jealousy tore through Markus’ head but he said nothing. A sad smile appeared on her lips and she patted his chest. She’d felt that. Damn. “This was long before you were born.”
“Does not matter,” he retorted.
“Incorrigible,” she chuckled. “I was two hundred years his senior. He was a tiger.” Her thoughts turned wistful, then lost all humor completely. “It was because of me that he died.”
“It is true, Markus. I was on the Council, and so was he. Cieran and I helped Thanatos organize this Council and this country.” She shifted again, and slipped out of his arms to pace the floor. Her hands moved from her hair to her neck, then crossing over each other and back into her hair as she walked. “Do you remember the histories?”
“Which part?” he asked, but the knot of dread unfurling in his stomach told him that he already knew which one. “The Exsanguination…” She nodded. “What of it?”
“Hunters used to think that by drinking our blood, humans could absorb our powers.”
“Cieran was captured by poachers. I found him in much the same position I found you, and I saved him.”
“And created the bond.”
“Yes.” Another sigh escaped her lips. “At the time we did not know what a blood bond could do, and it led us to be lovers. Thanatos tried to warn us against it, but I was young and stupid, and Cieran was quite formidable.” She smiled softly and her gaze smoothed over Markus’ face. “You are a lot like him.” Seeming to realize that she had fallen back into a memory, Sadie shook herself and cleared her throat. “Neither of us listened to Thanatos – and I should have, because he had never steered me wrong before.”
“Is this the reason the law was put in place?” Markus asked. Sadie nodded. It explained so much. He understood her hesitation now, her distance. He also knew the story would end very badly.
“The physical relationship only strengthened our bond. Soon we could hear each other’s thoughts – sense each other over miles no matter the form.”
“But…” he prompted when she hesitated.
“But we learned that a hunter could use our blood to track us. They found him again.” She paused, and her breath hitched. For a moment Markus thought she would break down in tears. Her bottom lip trembled against the onslaught of fear and grief, and he felt every bit of it. “I felt it when he died. I felt his soul shatter. Every broken bone. Every cry of agony. When his heart stopped, so did mine. I died, Markus… only for a moment, but I… I was broken.”
Everything she felt, Markus felt too. He scarcely registered when he reached out and pulled her to him. She was experiencing that little death over again, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. Markus held her close while she sobbed into his chest, stroking her hair and rocking her back and forth.
“It is the past,” he reassured her. “I am here. You are safe.” He kissed the top of her head and tightened his arms around her. “It is over, Sadie.”
She took a moment to collect herself. Slowly, the grief-stricken sobs turned to sniffles, then filtered down to little more than shivers.
“I know it’s over,” she whispered against his shoulder, “but I am to blame.”
“He took the attack to protect me.” She started to shake again, and paused to take several deep breaths. Knowing her memories caused such physical pain made Markus angry. It frustrated him to no end that he could do nothing to help her. “He lured the hunters away from our home and…” she paused, and her eyes cleared as she took in the sight of his face. “Oh, Gods!” she wailed as some unknown realization took hold.
“Markus… it’s you…”
The meaning of the statement blew past him, and in his mind he had to backtrack through her story. It seemed so improbable that a story about her past would lead her to any conclusion about him, but…
“Shit.” He’d been planted. The hunters had used him as their own personal tracking device to locate the Council. And Sadie. Markus wondered if those who hunted them had known her story, known her weakness for helpless shifters. “I didn’t…” she shushed him, reaching up to lay her fingers against his lips.
“I know you didn’t mean to,” she said, taking his face between her hands. Her touching him only intensified the feelings of confusion and frustration. Every thought in his head was muddled, torn. “Nobody ever expects to become a pawn in someone else’s game.”