Saturday, January 29, 2011
Look What I Found - More Of Curran's POV
A scene at the end of Magic Bleeds
Part One - posted January 19th 2011 by Gordon
I floated for eternity in a sea of agony. Sometimes if I concentrated and blocked out the pain I could hear her voice, from far away. I focused on the sound, willing myself slowly toward it. Finally, after how long I didn’t know, I came around and could even make out a bit of what she was saying, …”seems like a decent guy. Now they are stuck.” He had someone, she had someone, nobody was talking and Kate did not know what to do. She looked tired and battered. Still I had never in my life seen someone more beautiful. Nor had I ever been happier to be near them. For some reason the answer to her dilemma came to me far easier than all the things I really wanted to say.
“Have you tried the Second Chance Law?” I asked softly. Her eyes still did not open, maybe we were sharing a dream. I explained as best I could and hugged her as hard as I was able.
Finally she looked at me.
“You stayed with me,” I whispered. She said something I could not quite catch, but it didn’t matter as much as her being there to say it. I smiled and fell back to sleep. Real sleep this time, no red haze, just darkness. I knew she would be there when I came back to the world. No matter what. Eventually I woke again, something was in my arm and I wanted it out. As I located the source of my irritation, she came into the rooming carrying what smelled like soup. “What is this shit?” I demanded as I pulled the needle out of my arm.
“It kept you alive for eleven days,” she informed me.
Almost two weeks! I had laid like that for nearly two God damned weeks; and she had stayed with me. It was not the IV that had kept me alive. The truth of it stunned me.
She handed me the soup, I set it aside and pulled her close. We held each other for a time. Soon however, Derek’s familiar knock broke our reverie and short lived reunion.
“Kate,” he inquired quietly, clearly asking permission to cross the threshold. With an authority in her voice that I had never heard, she instructed him to enter.
The once handsome young man did so and informed her of another wolf who demanded an audience citing some “emergency.”
“…probably another challenge…”
Challenge? For me? Every muscle in my body tensed. Really, were they fucking crazy? I almost died and they are queuing up to get a piece of what was left of me. I glanced at Kate and her face said it all. She wore a look of weary resignation and the fractured pieces fell into place. Not me, they were challenging her. Hell no, this shit was going to stop right now. Sensing the sudden danger, Derek glanced at me and abruptly fell silent. Before he could recover, I ordered him to see the challenger in but not to inform them that I had awakened. The young wolf closed his mouth, turned and departed quickly to carry out my command. He had always been a smart kid.
Kate helped me to stand, I would be damned if they would see me laying in bed like a weakling. As I sipped the soup she had brought in earlier, it, Jaime Alicia strode into the room as if he owned it. So eager to harm my mate and take what was mine. One of Clan Wolf’s best fighters, a boxer in his youth he was tall and well built. I had seen him fight, I knew he was strong and fast. I was also sure that Kate could cut him into little pieces before the soup got cold. I would never admit it, but she was damn good with that sword of hers. Not that she would have to, he would be dead before he touched her.
None of them would ever harm her again. I would see them all dead first.
Jaime stared at me, his jaws slack.
I finished my soup and spoke. “Yes?”
The wolf dropped into a crouch and stared at the floor. Had he hesitated for a second I would have pulled his lungs out through his chest. Claw, reach in, yank out. It would be easy and I would have enjoyed it immensely. I could smell his fear. I wanted to roar at him.
“Do you have anything to say?”
With his eyes still firmly affixed to the floor he shook his head no. Now we knew again who was who and what was what. The order needed to be restored and the rest of them needed to be reminded why I was the Beast Lord.
“The Council is due for a meeting in three minutes. Go down there and tell them to wait for me, and I might forget you were ever here.” For his sake I hoped he never forgot how close he was to a savage and painful death, because I would not give him a second chance.
After he left I lost my balance and Kate attempted to steady my but her leg gave way and we crashed together onto the couch. We were a long way from top form, but it would have to do. Together, even in our current state, were more than a match for any of my subjects. Well, as far as they knew.
Almost as if she knew what I was thinking, Kate asked, “Are you sure you’re ready for a Council meeting?”
I turned to her, willing my face into a mask of determination and menace. “They better be ready for me.”
We had to make a show of strength, we could not continue to be seen as anything less than the Beast Lord and his Mate, undisputed masters of the Pack.
It is the nature of our kind that we value power and violence above all else, ruthlessly exploiting any weakness. Authority must be exercised at all times or lost. They did not have to love or even like me but by God they would obey me. If they had forgotten why I was feared I would remind them. If I had to kill a few as an example, then so be it.
I made my way to the bathroom, falling at least once, but my strength began to return and couple of minutes later I was ready to make it down to the Council room on my own. On our way, Barrabas, one of the Pack lawyers and one of B’s favorite troublemakers, fell in behind us and kept pace.
I stopped. “Barrabas, have you come to challenge me too?” I knew even as I said it, that the challenge from him was unlikely. Barrabas was slightly crazy and could be insubordinate at times but he was not stupid.
His usual look of amusement evaporated, replaced by one of complete shock and disbelief. “No my Lord, I am bound to the Consort.”
Apparently the entire place had gone to hell while I was asleep. I turned to Kate and waited for some sort of explanation.
She shrugged. “I made a deal with B, and she gave him to me as a sort of adviser. I will tell you all about it later.”
I wasn’t sure I wanted to know; B never did anything out of altruism alone. She wanted something. I dimly recalled Kate telling me about it, but the details escaped me. Had she assisted Kate in some way? A thought struck me. “Barrabas, how many members of the Pack have challenged my mate while I slept?”
He paused, clearly attempting to recall, finally he turned to Kate and asked, “Twenty two?”
She nodded silently.
“How many alphas?”
“Only the Jackals, my Lord. The others were rank and file, not even betas.”
Of course, you didn’t get to be an alpha by being dumb. After the Jackals had been killed the others had been content to let their subordinates wear her down. Mahon could have stopped it but did not. He had never made a secret of his disapproval of Kate but to stand by and allow her to be injured in my absence..he and I would speak of this later. Perhaps it was time for my adoptive father to retire.
The rest I would deal with in Council shortly. As we approached the door, I could hear them mumbling and whispering inside. Were they bored? Irritated? I could fix all of that. I took a deep breath, opened the door and roared at my subjects as if I had every intent of ending their lives in the next several seconds. The sudden silence was deafening. Oh yes Daddy is home and he ain’t happy. Playtime was over.
Part Two - posted January 28th 2011 by Gordon
As my alphas sat in stunned silence, I pulled out a chair for my mate and then seated myself at the head of the table. No one spoke. I scanned the table seeking a challenge. Not one of them had the courage to meet my stare. They all knew that an example would have to be made and none were eager to be the first.
I leaned forward and in as calm a tone as I could manage, demanded “Explain yourselves.”
“I am waiting for one of you to tell me why you stood by and did nothing while my mate was assaulted on a daily basis.”
Finally, Jim spoke, “I knew she would be OK. Curran, she had to prove that she belonged.”
“Yes,” Mahon rumbled. “Nobody expected that she would be allowed to sit at your side without spilling some blood, my liege.”
Yeah, actually I kinda did. Last time I had checked I was in charge around here. It was time to gently remind them of that.
I leaned forward and repeated, “Allowed?”
I let it sink in.
The realization of it hit them. They just told me what I was allowed to do. I heard the alpha of the Jackals take a deep breath and hold it.
I stared at them. “I will say this only once. I am the one who allows. I allow all of you to live and I allow you to rule your own clans as you see fit. Whether or not I continue to do so depends solely upon what you say and do in the next few moments. Be very careful.”
It was Aunt B who spoke next. ”Clan Bouda provided the Consort with both council and protection from unlawful challenges. No one who answers to me harmed her.” She glanced over at Daniel and his mate. “The same cannot be said of the dogs, however.”
Of course. She wouldn’t have lifted a finger to stop the wolves from digging their own grave. The hatred between the boudas and the wolves went a long way back. Wolves had greater numbers, but boudas played the game better.
“We broke no laws,” Daniel protested. ”Everyone knows the alpha of the Bouda Clan cut a deal with Beast Lord’s mate.”
Jennifer, his mate, nodded. “Yes, because she wanted special status for her degenerates.”
A slow smile crept over B’s lips. “We all know how much the alpha of the Wolf Clan loves his mate and defers to her. Out of curiosity, how many of his wolves was he willing to sacrifice to indulge her?”
“The human had to prove herself like we all did,” Daniel said. “It is the law. It is fair.”
“Fair, really?” I asked. “Who among you has faced twenty-two challenges in two weeks?”
None had of course. Not even Mahon, our Executioner, had killed so many so quickly.
Speaking of law. I addressed Jennifer directly. “If I recall correctly, Daniel, despite being chosen upon the retirement of his predecessors, had successfully faced a number of challenges before choosing you as his mate. However, you have never been challenged. Do you know why that is? Because according to the law the two of you are so fond of quoting, whoever challenges you will also have to fight Daniel. The alphas fight as one. If one of the alphas is injured, it has been an unspoken courtesy among the Pack to wait until both are on their feet before a challenge is issued. It is the matter of honor. If you take another’s place, you must win it fairly. You did not afford my mate the same courtesy.”
“She killed my sister,” Jennifer screamed.
Good, let’s get it all out there. Settle things once and for all. “True, your sister went loup and attacked her. Kate didn’t cause it and killed the one who did. Your anger is misplaced. As a matter of fact, she did you a favor. If you were any kind of alpha, you would know that putting your sister down was your responsibility. It was your burden to carry. Your are the next of kin.”
Jennifer clenched her teeth. I measured every word carefully. I couldn’t challenge her, because the challenge had to come from the ground up. But if I said enough, she would challenge me.
“My mate assumed your burden and instead of gratitude, you hate her for it. She is the constant reminder of your weakness. You want to fight her, but you can’t. Instead you goad others into doing what you can’t bring yourself to do. It is your greatest failing. However, because I am merciful and just, I will offer you a chance to atone.”
“I will not apologize or bow to her. I’ll die first.” Jennifer snapped at the air like a mad dog.
Good, let’s just see about that then. “Again, you misunderstand. What I offer is a chance at the revenge you seek, but properly this time. Challenge us. Couple to couple, as it was meant to be.”
I gave the rest a warning glance. “No one will interfere. Just the two of you against the two of us.”
Kate tensed next to me. Under the table I gave Kate’s hand a gentle squeeze to reassure her that I was just bluffing and that it would be alright. Well, not really, but I was confident that even as we were, we could take them, and all the rest if need be. As long as they believed we could do it, we wouldn’t have to.
As Jennifer began to rise – she really was either stupid or crazy – Daniel grabbed her arm, almost too quickly to see, and yanked her back. She landed in the chair, hard.
She opened her mouth. He gave her a flat stare. She shut her mouth and dropped her gaze. Her face turned red.
So he was unwilling to let her throw away her life or his own.
Daniel bowed his head in a slight nod. “Clan Wolf begs the Consort for her forgiveness. We are sincerely sorry for any offense we may have caused. We wish to express our continued loyalty and obedience to the Beast Lord and his Mate.”
Well said, perhaps there was hope for him after all.
“What about the rest of you?” My gaze lingered for a moment on the alphas of Clan Rat. Thomas and Robert Lonesco shook their heads in unison.
Thomas, the older and larger of the pair, spoke. “We have no dog in this fight.” He smiled a little, showing very even white teeth. “We did not vote for her because we did not know enough about her.”
Kate leaned in and whispered to me, “After I killed the Jackals, they sent me chocolate.” Good, in truth I actually liked them both and would have regretted killing them.
I looked at the aforementioned Jackals replacements.
The female, Tracy, spoke. “We have no problem with the Consort. We are indebted to her for our current position.”
I had expected as much. All that was left was Clan Nimble and Mahon’s heavies. The old bear I would deal with privately. Clan Nimble was a sort of anomaly within shapeshifter society. Its alphas, an older Asian couple, ruled not because they were the strongest but because their age and wisdom was highly respected by their subjects. It did not hurt, of course, that their devoted betas were a vicious pair that was feared by the rest of the clan and many in the Pack. They kept their elders from harm and it was understood that they themselves would take their place as alphas, when the time came.
The alpha of clan Nimble stood, drew himself to his full height, and then bowed deeply without his gaze ever leaving me. He held the bow then straightened and in a very formal tone proclaimed, ”Clan Nimble remembers the understanding his Majesty has shown to us, and would never dishonor itself by repaying that kindness with treason or betrayal. The consort has fought admirably and earned a place of respect at our lord’s side.”
Ok, a simple ‘we got your back’ would have sufficed but if he felt more comfortable with formality then so be it.
“We respect Clan Nimble and hold its friendship in high esteem.” Ahh, that got him, he almost smiled, bowed once more, and sat again.
“So, it’s all settled then. Unless there is anything else, you may depart in peace. Mahon, you stay,” I commanded. The rest filed out as quickly as they could while maintaining a semblance of dignity.
Kate turned to me. Her eyes asked me, “Do you want me to stay?”
Silently I shook my head. “No, you don’t want to be here for the next part.”
You can find these POVs and ALOT more fun insights to the series at Ilona Andrew official website. To visit, click HERE