Daphne assured Mia she would watch over Adeline. She already called Adeline’s lover and let him know she was bringing her home. Mia wasn’t sure how much the man knew about their family, if he knew anything at all. Mia had never met the man but Daphne assured her he was good man. He loved Adeline and treated her well. He wasn’t like them though, he wasn’t a blood magic user. From what Daphne told her, he was Guild, he was an A-Level healer. Marco knew him and vouched for him.
Mia hoped he was everything they said he was because her sister would need a good man right now. Mia watched as her sister’s climbed in to Ronan’s car with Sarah and Ada. Marco had left with his sister and their guests. Alistair had remained behind to speak with Nathaniel and then he would be leaving too. Nick was taking him home on his way to work. A case had been called in just as their meeting was ending. Ronan would be heading over as well once he dropped the girls.
Mia stood in the kitchen, washing the dishes as her mind tried to digest everything she had learned that night. It was too much for her brain at the moment so she mostly just stood there staring out the window over the sink.
She saw a shadow move in the doorway behind her and watched as a figure approached her in the reflection of the glass. She said nothing but just watched their approach.
“Are you okay?” Nick asked gently as he stopped at her side. She looked away from the window and up at the man she loved. She really didn’t know how to answer that question so she just gave him a small nod.
He gathered her in his arms, holding her tight against him, “I wish I could stay but I really have to go. Five bodies were found left in the park, all young, all women, all drained of blood. This is just too similar to their earlier cases. If I can find some clue, maybe we can track that psycho down once and for all.”
“I know,” She said, resting her head on his chest.
“I just hate the idea of leaving you here, but this is the safest place for you right now. Nathaniel is here to watch over you and the wards around the house will keep you safe. I don’t want you alone right now and the apartment wouldn’t offer enough protection,” He told her.
“I don’t mind,” She said truthfully. She really didn’t want to be alone tonight, even if Nick wasn’t with her, at least his grandfather would be there in case she needed someone.
“I have to go. Alistair’s waiting,” Nick said with a groan as he lifted Mia’s chin up so they she was looking at him, “I’ll be back as soon as I can. Until then, get some rest.”
Mia nodded. Nick leaned down and pressed a quick gentle kiss against her lips. Pulling back enough, he rested his forehead against her own. “I really wish I didn’t have to leave.”
“But you do,” She reminded him.
“I do,” He agreed, “But I will be back as soon as possible.”
She just nodded again before he brushed one last kiss against her lips and forced himself to let go of her. He took one long last glance at her before her turned away and stormed out of the room. She wasn’t hurt but his departure, she knew he needed to go. She just worried about him.
Mia could hear Nick saying goodbye to his grandfather before the front door slammed shut. Mia finished washing the mugs and plates before setting them in the dish rack to dry. She could have left them for Betsy to do in the morning, but she had needed to do something to keep her mind and body occupied, something besides thinking of all the things her sister had done, all the pain she had inflicted.
Mia was just setting the last dish in the dish rack when Nathaniel wandered in to the room. He was quite and pensive as he leaned against the bar separating the cooking and dining area.
“How are you doing?” He asked with a smile as he sat on the stool behind the bar. Mia couldn’t help but notice that the smile did not reach his eyes. In fact, his eyes looked a lot duller than normal and his normal golden bronze skin looked a tat pale.
“About as well as you,” Mia said back, offering him the best smile she could, which was about the same as his own. He chuckled at that.
“Come sit with me,” He said as he patted the stool besides him. Mia wiped her hands dry with a dish cloth and walked over to the bar. She climbed up on the stool beside Nathaniel turned her gaze back to the window behind the sink. Snow had begun to fall lightly, she could see the flakes gently floating down passed the window before disappearing.
“I spoke to Alistair before he left. I had him looking in to a few things for me on side. He finally got back to me with the information,” Nathaniel informed her. Mia looked over at him curiously. She hadn’t know he had been looking for something. She hadn’t seen much of him the past couple weeks, but this sounded like it’s as something he had been looking in to for a while, something he must not have wanted to mention to Nick, yet something he wanted to talk to her about.
“What were you looking for?”
“When I was interviewing the blood magic clans after I was first turned, I was searching for anything I could about how Theodora had made me immortal. Of course the smaller clans knew nothing about the spell or how it was worked, but it seems that I was not the first immortal they had heard of. It was sort of a legend among the smaller clans, not something well known by the larger clans for some reason. But it seems that everyone I talk to spoke about someone or something they called the White Witch.”
Mia tried to remember if she had heard any similar stories, but that mentioned a White Witch, but nothing she remembered from this life or her past life sounded even close to that.
“I’m never heard of it,” Mia told him.
“I didn’t think you would. I asked Marco and Delilah once about any myth or legend they knew about the White Witch but they didn’t remember anything either.”
“So what was this legend about?” Mia asked curiously.
“Supposedly, there are ruins high in a Rocky Mountains, supposedly somewhere between Colorado and Wyoming. The ruins are nothing more that crumbling rocks. A place a normal human would not notice. It is highly doubtful that even a normal magic user would notice the spot. But even the weakest blood magic user would be able to scent out the place. They say it’s because the place is drenched in the blood of the innocent. That so much blood was spilled that it soaked in to the very ground beneath the ruins and marked the place forever.”
Mia felt a chill run down her spine as she listened to Nathaniel’s story.
“Supposedly, if you went up to the ruins on a moonless night, at offered a gift a blood, a woman cowled in a white robe will appear. From what they would tell me, the woman had hair the color of moon beams and eyes like silver coins. They believed she was a god. It was said she could preform miracles. One man even swore she could bring the dead back to life for the right price.”
“How?” Mia asked, her voice shaky, “How did she bring them back to life?”
Nathaniel watched her for along moment before he answered, “With a single drop of her blood.”
Mia shuddered, her hands clasping her head as a sharp pain exploded behind her eyes. Blood, blood, it was everywhere. She could feel it covered her hands, the coppery scent filled her nose, no matter where she looked, everything was covered in blood.
And then, in a flash it was gone. But gone was the kitchen, and Nathaniel. Instead she knelt on a bed of wet pine needles. She could feel the droplets of water soaking through her skirts. Large piles of gray rock surrounded her. She remembered a time when they were more than just rocks, when they were a home.
She could hear the sound of a woman crying, but it sounded so distant. Everything was muffled, almost as if she was cut off from the world around her. She could see and hear but it was like her senses were clogged.
She looked down at the swaddled bundle laid before her. She stared down at the small white face and the still little body.
“Please! Please! Save him,” the mother’s begged. She reached forward, brushing a finger against the soft cheek, the baby’s body was already cold, and had been for a while now.
“Please, I will give you anything, anything!” The woman’s voice was soft and muffled but she heard her all the same.
“What are you willing to give for this child’s life?” The words left her lips without any conscious thought. It was her duty, her job. It was the reason for her existence.
“Anything, anything is yours if you can save me child,” the woman pleaded.
She looked up then, in to the face of the crying woman. Fierce hazel eyes stared back at her from face that looked old beyond its years. She noticed the plain clothes and the dirt smeared body. But that was not what interested her. It was the woman’s eyes. There was determination in them, there was anguish, and just a little bit of fear. But she knew this woman would not back down, not for her child.
She picked up the still infant in her arms. She weighed and judged it, this would not be an easy job. The tether that connected the infant’s soul to this body was nearly frayed. In another day or two, the child would have been completely lost to her. But as of right now, there was still a chance.
She looked back at the woman, and then to the to the man and older boy behind her. The price would be too high. She would need to choose a life in return for this one, a life for a life. That had always been the price. She could do nothing for it.
She lay the bundle back on the dew covered pine needles, “A life for a life, that is what you must pay.”
The man shook his head angrily and he tried to pull his wife back. But she held firm, meeting her eyes.
“You cannot do this,” The man argued, but the woman shook him off.
“Is that the price?” The woman demanded, “Then take it, take my life in exchange for my son’s.”
“No, mama!” The older boy cried as her fell to his knees, next to his mother, clutching her arm tightly in his. “You cannot.”
“This is my choice!” The woman said as she pulled her arm free from her son.
“This is not worth the price,” Her husband argued as he tried once more to pull his wife to her feet. She fought him fiercely.
“It is to me,” She screamed as she dived forward and picked up the silent bundle in her arms, holding it tightly to her chest and cried.
“It is not your life that must be paid,” She interrupted the woman, as she moved back and stood so that the white robe fell around her once more. “You do not get to choose the price, the price is determined by your request.”
“If not my life, then whose?” The woman demanded to know.
“You should know, a life for a life, a son for a son.”
The woman turned around and looked at the thin child behind her with horror in her eyes. She clutched the bundle tighter to her chest as she gazed back and forth from child to child.
“You cannot ask that of us,” The husband proclaimed.
“I do not ask anything. I am merely the instrument by which your wish is granted,” She said simply as she waited for the woman’s decision.
“I cannot,” the woman said shaking her head, “I cannot do this.”
“Then no deal can be struck,” She said simply as she moved to turn away. The woman grabbed for her, tried to grasp on to her robes, but her hand went right through them. The woman froze as she looked down at horror at her hand and then back up at her.
“What are you?” She asked, her voice shaking.
“You asked for a wish, and I am here to hear your plea. If you are no longer in need of my services, then I shall leave you.” She said simply as she turned once more to leave.
“You can’t! Please, there must be another way,” The woman wailed, “Please, you must save my child!”
“Your child is already dead. He is beyond saving or you would not have come to me,” She said simply. “I have given you the price for your desire, there is no other.”
“Please!” The woman screamed as she tried once more to grab ahold of her, and yet again her fingers went right through her.
The woman’s pain did not touch her. Nothing did. There was nothing that could touch her any longer. She too had made a deal and this was the price she paid. Trapped between life and death, bound to a place forever tainted with the blood of the innocent. This was her fate. This was her price for asking for more than should could have. A life for a life, a soul for a soul. This was the price she must pay for the crime she had committed. This is the price she paid to bind her soul to another’s.
“Mia? Mia?! Mia!”
“Nick,” Mia groaned. Her head hurt, it hurt so bad. Mia tried to move, tried to turn but the moment she shifted a fiery pain exploded in her chest. Her mouth opened in a silent scream as her eyes shot open.
The pain, it was like some one had stuck a fiery brand straight in to her heart. She wanted to scream but the pain took her breath away. She lay back staring up at utter darkness. This wasn’t the kind of darkness you got when you closed your eyes at night. This was the kind of darkness created by the complete lack of light. It didn’t matter how she tried to squint her eyes, or how hard she strained her eyes, there was nothing there but darkness.
“Nick,” his name left her lips as a mere breath, but it was enough. Something stirred in the darkness. Someone else might have missed the sound. It was so soft, that she had almost missed it with her enhanced hearing. But then she heard it again, the merest whisper of a sound.
Mia stilled, her heart beating in her chest rapidly as she suddenly realized just where she was.
Mia’s hands clenched in to fists and her breath left her. No, she wanted to scream, no. This couldn’t be happening. This couldn’t. Mia wanted to move, to get up, to run, but she couldn’t. Even the slightest movement lit the fire in her chest to a burning inferno.
Tears began to gather in her eyes, the pain was too much. She couldn’t escape.
Nick. Nick. Mia chanted in her head. Nick, please.
“Mia?” Nick voice whispered through her mind, she could feel the brush of his mind against her own, so soft and warm.
My Mia. Her father’s mental voice crashed through her mind.
Nick, please, get me out of here.
“Mia, where are you?”
My child, my mirror, have you finally come to join me? Where Nick’s touch hand been like the warmth of sun, her father’s voice was like a vice, crushing her mind with its intensity.
“Father,” Mia choked on the words. Her father’s grip on her mind tightened, Mia gasped as pain shot down her spine. “Father, please.”
“Mia,” Nick mind brushed against her own, his light filled her mind, shattering the dark hold her father had over her.
What is this? Her father’s words roared in her mind, his darkness trying to break through Nick’s light, but Mia held on, clutching desperately to Nick’s presence.
“Come on, Mia, I have you baby. Come back,” Nick said, she could feel his warm enveloping her, his arms holding her, protecting her.
You are mines. My child, My mirror. I will let no one else have you. You will remain with me forever, her father mind crashed in to her. She felt Nick’s pain as she tried to protect her, but his mind was nothing compared to her fathers. He had no chance.
Mia tried to free herself from Nick’s warmth. Tried to set him free before her father broke him. But Nick held tight, his hold strong, his light fierce.
“Mines!” Nick’s voice roared through her mind as straight in to her fathers. It was enough to surprise her father that for a moment his grasp on Mia was loosened. That was all Nick needed. He wrapped her completely in his light and pulled.
There was a burning sensation as Mia’s consciousness slipped from one body and was gently placed in another. She felt arms tight around her, she could hear his heart beat where her cheek rested against his chest.
“Nick,” She moaned softly, too tired to move, even to open her eyes.
“I’ve got you baby, I’ve got you,” He said, his lips brushed against her temple.
“He almost had me,” she whispered her voice hoarse. “He would have consumed me.”
“Shhh. You safe now. I have you.” The arms around her tightened. “I won’t ever let you go again.”
“My body…He has it and he knows it now. He won’t give it up.”
“It doesn’t matter. I won’t lose you. We’ll do what we have to do. I won’t let you disappear.”
“You don’t understand.” Mia said finally forcing her eyes open as she gazed up in to his golden eyes, “He’s not up yet. He is still stirring. But if my soul is returned to my body again. He will sense it and he will awaken. The power he has now will be nothing compared to what he will have when he wakes up. If I am returned to my body, the war will begin.”
“It’s too late for that my love. The moment he tried to take you from me, he started this battle. I will not give up on you. I will not allow you to fade. We are in this together. We always have been. If we have to take on the world, we will, because I’m never going to give you up.”
Mia clutched his shirt tightly in her fist. Her heart stuttering as she watched in horror as his bright golden eyes bleed to black. She felt it then. Something she had always sensed on one level, but something she had never wanted to believe. Something she probably had always known deep down.
“Omega,” the words left her lips as she looked upon the creature her sister had created.
Next: Chapter Eight