Dance of the Gods Page 9

“So we just walk away?” Larkin demanded.

“I didn’t say that.”

“There are more openings, pockets in the wall. Were,” Hoyt corrected. “This is a powerful spell.”

“And nobody’s curious—people who come here, live here—about what happened to them.” Blair nodded. “That’s powerful, too. She wants her privacy. We’re going to have to disappoint her.”

Hands on hips, she turned around, searching. “Hey, Hoyt, can you and Glenna carve a message into that big rock over there?”

“It can be done.”

“What’s the message?” Glenna asked her.

“Gotta think of one, since Up Yours, Bitch seems a little too ordinary.”

“Tremble,” Moira murmured, and Blair gave her a nod of approval.

“Excellent. Short, to the point, and just a little cocky. Take care of that, will you? Then we’ll get started on the rest.”

“What is the rest?” Larkin wanted to know. He gave the wall a frustrated kick. “A stronger message would be to break this spell.”

“Yeah, it would, but right now I’m thinking she doesn’t know we’re out here. That could be an advantage.” She heard something like a small blast of gunpowder, and turned to see the word Tremble deeply carved into the rock. Below it was another carving, of what she assumed was Lilith. With a stake through her heart.

“Hey, nice job. I really like the artwork.”

“A little flourish.” Glenna dusted off her hands. “I paint, and I couldn’t resist the dig.”

“What do you need to try the transportation spell?”

Glenna blew out a breath. “Time, space, focus, and a hell of a lot of luck.”

“Not from here.” Hoyt shook his head. “The cliffs are mine. The caves are hers. However much time has passed, the cliffs are still mine. We’ll work the spell from above.” He turned to Glenna. “We have to see first. We can’t transport what we can’t see. It’s likely she’ll sense us, and do whatever she can to stop us.”

“Maybe not right away. We won’t be looking for her this time, but for people. She may not realize what we’re doing, and give us the time we need. Hoyt’s right, it’s better done on the cliffs,” Glenna told Blair. “If we can get anyone out, we wouldn’t want to bring them out here in any case.”

“Good point.” Maybe they wouldn’t get any solid intel out of this trip, Blair mused, but they might not walk away empty-handed. “So, what do we do with them if it works?”

“Get them to safety.” Glenna lifted her hands. “One step at a time.”

“I can try to help you. I haven’t much magic,” Moira added, “but I could try to help.”

“Every little bit helps,” Glenna said.

“Okay, the three of you go up. Larkin and I will stay here, incase…well, in case. Anything that comes out this way to give us trouble has to be human. We’ll handle it.”

“It could take a while,” Glenna warned her.

Blair studied the sky. “Plenty of daylight left.”

She waited until they’d started up before she spoke to Larkin. “We can’t go in. If this magic deal opens up the caves, we can’t go in. I mean it.” She punched his arm. “I can see what you’re thinking.”

“Oh, can you now?”

“Rush in, grab a maiden in distress or two, run out the hero.”

“You’re wrong about the hero end of it. That wouldn’t be what I’m looking for. But now a pretty maiden in distress is hard for a man to resist.”

“Resist it. You don’t know the caves, you don’t know where she’s holding the prisoners, and you don’t know their numbers or how they’re equipped. Listen, I’m not saying a part of me wouldn’t like to go charging in there if it opens up, do some damage, maybe save some lives. But we’d never make it out alive, and neither would anyone else.”

“We have the swords Hoyt and Glenna charmed. The fire swords.”

She struggled with frustration. It was so damn irritating to have to explain basic strategy. “And we’d take some vamps with us, no question. Then they’d have us and the swords.”

“I know the sense of what you’re saying, but it’s hard to stand by and do nothing.”

“If the magic team pulls this off, it won’t be nothing. You’re too good in a fight for us to lose you trying something that can’t work.”

“Oh, a compliment. Not many of those spill out of your lips.” He grinned at her while drops of sea spray glinted in his hair. “I won’t go in. I give you my word on it.” He held out a hand for hers. When she took it, he gave it an easy squeeze. “But there wouldn’t be anything stopping us from slapping some fire in the hole should this bloody rock open. It would be what you call making a statement, wouldn’t it?”

“Guess it would. Just don’t get cocky, Larkin.”

“Sure I was born that way, I’m afraid. What’s a man to do, after all?”

He turned to face the wall, and leaned back on one of the wet rocks as the spume sprayed. And looked relaxed enough, Blair noted, that he might have been sitting in the parlor by the fire.

“Well, likely we’ve got some time on our hands just now. So, tell me, how did you first know you’d be a demon hunter?”

“You want the story of my life? Now?”

He moved his shoulders. “Might as well pass the time. And I’ll admit to some curiosity about it. Before I left Geall, I wouldn’t have believed any of this, not at the heart of it. And now, well…” He stared thoughtfully at the wall of rock and sod. “What’s a man to do?” he repeated.

He had a point she decided. She moved over to join him, angling her body so that she could scan one sweep of the cliff face while he took the other. “I was four.”

“Young. Young to have any understanding of matters that dark. That they’re real, I’m saying, and not just the shadows a child imagines are monsters.”

“Things are a little different in my family. I thought it would be my brother. I was jealous. I guess that’s natural enough, the sibling rivalry.” She slid her hands into the pockets of her coat, idly toying with the plastic bottle of holy water she’d shoved in there before they’d left. “He’d have been six—six and a half. My father’d been working with him. Simple tumbling, basic martial arts and weaponry. Lots of tension in the house back then. My parents’ marriage was falling apart.”

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