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       Slumber, p.14

         Part #1 of The Fade series by Samantha Young
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  But Kir wasn’t hateful to Wolfe like I was. In fact, if my instincts were right (and who knew these days) I suspected Kir was protective of Wolfe. Why? Again, what was I missing?

  Had Haydyn been right al along? Was I wrong to condemn Wolfe for the actions of his father?

  My guilt was compounded by Wolfe’s tossing and turning. My whole body trembled with tension as I listened to his soft groans as he sought some kind of comfort in sleep. The need to offer comfort took me by surprise and I had to curl my fingers into fists to stop myself reaching out to him. When at last his breathing evened out, my body did too, relaxing into the lumpy mattress beneath me. With his fal into slumber, I finaly found my own.

  Too quickly, I was awoken, someone shaking my shoulder. Having been dreaming of Haydyn as I had been most nights, I automaticaly assumed in my semi-conscious state that she had come into my bedroom again and had some delicious secret to tel me. Last time she’d awoken me this early it was to tel me she’d falen in love with Matai and had given her virtue to him the night before.

  “What now?” I mumbled, swatting at her with my eyes closed. “You with child?”

  “What? Rogan, wake up,” an irritated voice snapped at me.


  I shot up on the bed and cracked my head off of his. “Ow.” I winced, my eyes watering as I puled back. Wolfe’s face hovered inches before mine, his pale blue eyes narrowed in pain. He rubbed at his forehead, already swolen in the upper corner from the cut he took to it yesterday.

  “It’s like waking the dead,” he grouched and puled back.

  I rubbed my cheek sleepily and then cried out at the tender pain that shot up my face. “Wow, that hurts,” I whimpered and watched warily as Wolfe’s face turned black as a thundercloud.

  “If I see him again, I’m going to kil him.”

  No need to ask who he was talking about. “Is it realy that bad looking?” I was afraid of the answer.

  Wolfe walked over to me slowly and hunkered down to his knees so we were at eye level. The air whooshed out of my body as he reached up tentatively to touch my bruised cheek, his features etched with concern and some other emotion I couldn’t quite decipher. I had the sudden urge to buss into his touch like Haydyn’s cat, Z, when one of Cook’s cakes was in the vicinity. A hot shivery rush of tingles exploded across the top of my skin as our eyes connected. My stomach lurched. I couldn’t breathe. I needed him away from me.

  Clearing my throat, I knocked his hand away and stood up, brushing past him, almost knocking him on his ass. There was a mirror above the fireplace, dirty and broken, but it had enough of a reflection to show the red and purple sweling on my right cheek. Beautiful.

  I sighed and caught Wolfe’s eyes in the reflection. “Is it almost time?”

  He nodded, frowning, and then he broke our gaze. A strange tension sprung up between us. If I were honest with myself it had been there since we’d been taken by the Iavi. For someone who had spent the last eight years arguing with and bitching at Wolfe I had never once felt this horrible, il-at-ease way around him. I didn’t like it. Not one bit. I was so afraid of what it meant, so afraid of disappointing my family’s memory.


  I don’t know what I was going to say but it didn’t matter because the key turned in the lock in the door and suddenly Kir was there, smiling at me and befuddling me even more.

  “You ready?” He asked, shutting the door and striding in, every inch the confident rookery gang leader.

  I didn’t look at Wolfe. “Yes.”

  “Great-” Kir cursed under his breath as he reached me, his hand cupping my chin. “That looks sore this morning.” Feeling Wolfe’s burning gaze, I gently tugged out of his hold. “I’ve had worse.”

  Kir grew serious. “I remember.”

  Not realy strong enough to take a trip down nightmare lane with him, I put my hands on my hips, trying to exude the strength I wasn’t feeling. “Alright, so now what?”

  “Now you make your escape. Remember,” his gaze switched between Wolfe and I, “To get out, you take a left, a right, and the back door is at the top of the hal. I left it unlocked.” Now he just stared at Wolfe. “When you attack me you have to make it look real.” Wolfe’s face tightened.

  Kir sighed heavily, his lip curling up almost condescendingly. “I mean it, Wolfe.”

  I wasn’t surprised when Wolfe made no response. Clearly, he didn’t want Kir to get hurt.

  Coming to the same conclusion I had drawn, Kir puled back his shoulders, his own expression determined. There was a dark, mischievousness in his eyes, I didn’t trust. “Fine.” He shook his head, throwing Wolfe a warning look. “Then I guess I’l just have to make you want to.” When his long arm came out and caught me around the waist I squawked in undignified surprise and instinctively pushed against his hard chest as he crushed me to him, his other hand winding into my hair to bring my lips against his in a hard, punishing kiss. The hand on my waist slid down my back and squeezed my bottom. I yeled into his mouth, trying to get away. Quite abruptly that muffled exclamation was given free reign as his body was wrenched from mine, soaring across the room and straight through the door. That’s right. Straight through the door. Not the doorway. The door. I gaped in befuddlement at Kir colapsed around the wooden splinters of the door in the hal, groaning as he drew himself up into a sitting position.

  “Come on.” I blinked down at the large familiar hand wrapped around my wrist and then up at its owner. Wolfe. A realy angry Wolfe.

  I was dragged out through the fragments of the doorway and into the hal, only to be pushed behind Wolfe at the sound of yeling to the right of us. Jesper came hurrying down the halway with Nalia at his back. Wolfe stared them down in concentration. I felt the heat of his energy as the two thugs were thrown back up the corridor from whence they came, their bodies crashing sickeningly against the back wal before crumpling in an unconscious heap.

  Another groan caught my attention and I gasped as Kir wiped at a large gash on his arm. “Are you alright?” I made to rush towards him but Wolfe had turned back, grabbing my arm again to wrench me in the opposite direction. “Hey!” I growled at him, whipping back around to check on Kir.

  “I’m fine, Rogan,” he assured me, wincing as he pushed a large chunk of door off of him. “Go. Just go.” We shared a long look as Wolfe continued to haul me up the narrow corridor, and just as we turned left, I mouthed ‘thank you’, unexpected tears threatening to brim over. He gave me a knowing nod just as I disappeared.

  “You have telekinesis too?” I hissed at Wolfe as we hurried along this next hal.

  “Shut up, Rogan.”

  I raised my eyebrow at his tone. I could either argue with him or get out of here. Mind made up, I yanked my arm free from him and picked up my skirts. As I ran, Wolfe ran with me, and we burst out through the back door…

  …Only to be confronted with two of Kir’s thugs, smoking tobacco and staring in confusion at the two horses tethered to a drain pipe on the next building.

  Their rol ups dropped to the sodden wet ground as their mouths fel open at the shock of seeing us. Wolfe didn’t even say anything, he just flicked his hand and the two of them went soaring past us. At the sounds of flesh hitting brick (I thought I might have heard some bones cracking too) I decided now was not the time to question Wolfe about his abilities. Instead we moved in tandem, hurrying to untie the two horses Kir had managed to procure for us. With me at Wolfe’s back we hurried off into the streets of the rookery, the horse’s hooves echoing against the buildings in frightening volume. Amazingly, the horses worked against the slickness of the cobbles with more proficiency than I could have expected, and we were heading out of the rookery, past the glass works, and into the green of the Vasterya I remembered, at harried speed.

  As we galoped down the muddy trade road, past farm country, Wolfe slowed a little until my horse was abreast his.

  “Rogan.” He sighed, licking rain from his upper lip, seeming afraid to meet my eye.
We need to get somewhere safe. I know you don’t want me to ever use your magic, but…”

  Understanding that he wanted permission to use my magic to find a safe place to stop, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to get some answers. “If I let you…

  wil you tel me everything?”

  He was scowling at me now, his eyes so blue against the stark dulness of the day. “What do you mean?”

  “You!” I gestured to him, anger flaring out from my chest to batter against him in the rain. “Tel me why you hid whatever magic you have? I want to know about you and Kir. I want to know about the horseshoe.”

  “That’s none of your business, Rogan!” Wolfe shouted back to be heard over the weather and the horses. I could have sworn he looked frightened.

  He was right. It was none of my business. But not knowing was driving me crazy and I needed to stay focused on Haydyn. This distraction had to be dealt with. “I’m making it my business.”

  “If we don’t find a safe place to stay that’s on you!”

  “No.” I shook my head. “That’s on you. What’s so important you can’t trade this?!”

  “It’s private, Rogan. You know private, as in none of your business, as in you don’t need to know!”

  “Yes, I do!”


  For a moment I couldn’t meet his eyes, my stomach lurching again, my brother’s laughter taunting my guilt. I clenched my teeth, hoping somehow it would hold me together. Finaly I met Wolfe’s curious, frustrated gaze. “I don’t know why.”

  I don’t know what Wolfe saw in my eyes, but he searched long enough to find it and finaly nodded. “Fine.”

  “You’l trade?” I asked in surprise.

  “I’l trade.”

  “Then ask away.”

  “Rogan, I need you to find us someplace safe to stay and get us there by a safe route.” My magic washed over me in a warm wave and I was almost sorry when it was over and my skin turned cold again in the downpour. I felt the pul of the little farm over the border into Daeronia. I grinned wearily, glad at the thought of the danger free journey I felt ahead of us. “Folow me.” Chapter Seventeen

  Being a mage came in handy. It took us a few days but we crossed the border into Daeronia with little problem (except hunger and exhaustion) and soon our olfactory senses were bombarded by the sweet yeasty smel of the large brewery to the west of us as we headed towards Caera. It would take another half day or so to ride onto Caera, so I took us off the main trade road and into the fields towards a tiny farm owned by an elderly widow my magic told me would help us.

  She was surprisingly wily, peppering us with questions. Since my magic told us it was safe, Wolfe thought it was alright to tel her he was one of the Guard and we had gotten into some trouble at the rookery in Vasterya.

  “Oh, I heard about al that trouble at the border.” She nodded, leading us past her little sitting room and into a larger farm kitchen. The smel of home-cooked stew caused my stomach to rumble and I clutched it in embarrassment. The widow threw me a sympathetic smile and gestured to the table for us to take seats. “Sounds like the two of you were lucky to get away.”

  “Yes, ma’am, we were,” Wolfe agreed. “We realy appreciate you helping us.”

  “No thanks needed.” She bustled about, ladling huge amounts of stew into a bowl. I felt the saliva building up under my tongue. “I ain’t got much room in the house I’m afraid but I’ve got a barn outside with a nice warm hayloft. I got some blankets you can take up there; that should keep you cosy for the night.” Even though I didn’t fancy a night in a barn it was just so nice to be treated with some hospitality again… you know, rather than being kidnapped and thrown around. “That sounds perfect.” I smiled gratefuly as she put a bowl of stew and a cup of ale before me. I shared a happy look with Wolfe and we broke bread, scooping the stew up as if we hadn’t had a decent meal in ages. And to be honest we hadn’t. The old widow was almost as good a cook as Cook.

  “This is delicious,” I managed between mouthfuls and she smiled cheerily, watching us scoff it down, seeming happy to have someone to feed again.

  After our belies were ful we sat with her for a while, engaging her in conversation that we somehow kept centred around her life. Finaly, seeing her eyelids droop, I suggested we get some sleep. Handing over some blankets and an oil lamp, the widow sleepily wished us a good night and turned to ascend the stairs to her own bed.

  The barn wasn’t huge and when we climbed up into the hayloft we glanced at one another. It was certainly cosy. I flushed at the thought of being in such close quarters with Wolfe. Not saying a word to one another, we spread the blankets out and then carefuly sat down next to one another. I could feel the heat from his skin inches from mine, the scent of him tickling my senses. I shivered a little, my stomach doing that strange flipping thing again.

  Finaly I couldn’t take the silence. “So, you’re quite a powerful Glava?”

  Wolfe tensed beside me and I bit my lip, wondering if he was going to go back on his word and not tel me al I wanted to know.


  He exhaled so heavily I almost felt badly for pressing him about it.

  Not badly enough to stop. “Wolfe?” I placed a tentative hand on his arm and he jolted in surprise, looking down at it there. Those eyes of his lifted up slowly until they were stuck on mine and I flushed, breaking the connection, puling my hand away from his arm.

  “I hid it,” he said quietly, snapping my attention back to his face. “I hid it.”

  “But why?”

  He shrugged, staring off into the dark rafters ahead of us, his jaw taut with suppressed emotion. “Because… because I was afraid the magic meant I was like my father.”

  That vulnerable sentence reached out to me to take me by the shoulders and shake me awake. My heartbeat picked up its pace and I began to get this sick feeling in my stomach.

  How could I have been so wrong?

  “Kir… Kir said you were as much a victim as him and I. What did he mean?”

  Wolfe’s eyes slanted towards me, a wel of dark pain and anger fencing in his gaze. I knew he didn’t want to tel me, that I was using his sense of honour, in keeping his promise, against him. If I were any kind of good person I would have reached out and told him it was alright, he didn’t need to tel me anything. However, my own selfish need to discover the real Wolfe dominated. I stared back at him, waiting.

  “My father…” his voice cracked but he refused to look away. “He didn’t treat me and my mother very wel. As you know… he was a cruel man.” Ice crawled across my skin. “What did he do to you?”

  “Mostly manipulative mind games to make us feel inferior, subordinate. But when Haydyn’s father was dying - when he died - as you know things got worse. For us as wel.”

  Thick silence took over, robbing me of my voice. In truth, I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what Syracen had done to Wolfe. It was one thing for a man to abuse strangers, but to hurt your own flesh and blood…?

  “He uh… he horsewhipped my mother a few times.”

  Bile rose in my throat as I remembered the agony Kir had gone through. To do that to your own wife... “And that scar… the horseshoe?” I didn’t realy want to know, did I?

  A bitter, twisted little chuckle escaped Wolfe and he shook his head. “I made the mistake of attacking my father when he took the whip to my mother. Kir helped me because my mother was kind to him. My father beat Kir… but me… he took a hot horseshoe to and branded me. He told me I was his son not hers; like horseflesh I belonged solely to him and as such he expected me to obey him as my master.”

  I couldn’t comprehend what he was confiding. My chest flared with sharp, needling pain. Hot tears prickled in my eyes, and I couldn’t speak, my throat had closed up with hurt and anger for him. With guilt. Al these years I had been horrible to him, painting him with the same brush, so sure he would want to hurt me for what I did to Syracen.

  “I got my revenge though. I helped Kir escap

  So that explained their camaraderie.

  Kir knew Wolfe better than I had. Why did that hurt so much? I clutched my stomach tightly. Wolfe must loathe me for the way I had treated him. The pain sharpened in my chest and I was afraid I couldn’t breathe. Suddenly, I was truly afraid Wolfe hated me.

  “I’m so sorry,” I whispered, a stupid tear leaking out and roling down my cheek. I brushed it away impatiently and was surprised when Wolfe caught my hand.

  He stared, seeming amazed, watching as I lost my fight with another tear and it escaped. His thumb caught it, rubbing it softly into my cheek. I was so aware of him… so close to me, my whole body tense to the point of trembling, my heart racing madly. “Are you crying for me, Rogan?” I nodded and then shook my head stupidly. “I’m sorry.”

  “Why are you sorry?”

  “Because he hurt you. Because I’ve treated you terribly because of him.” I shuddered trying to calm myself. “I thought you detested me, that you were planning to take some kind of vengeance for my part in getting Syracen kiled.”

  When his touch left me, I was confused. I wanted him to touch me again but I was also thankful he didn’t. I could breathe easier when he wasn’t so close.

  Right now his brow was deeply furrowed with thought. “That’s why you’re snotty with me?” Snotty? How dare he-I shook it off, amazed by how easy it was to become irritated with him. I threw him a look for his word choice but sniffed in acknowledgement. The corner of his mouth quirked up and I could tel he was dying to laugh at me. He smothered it with his hand, rubbing it across his mouth in concentration. And then he nodded. “I think I understand. But you should know I felt nothing but relief when he was kiled. My mother and I were free. Our lives completely changed that day, for the better.” I wanted to reach out and offer some kind of comfort, some kind of apology that would make up for the last eight years of disdainful attacks against him. Haydyn would be pleased to know she had been right al along about him, I thought wryly.

  When Wolfe tensed beside me I grew uneasy. I understood when he asked, “What exactly did my father do to your family, Rogan?” The rage burst open across my chest like a tidal wave after a land-shake and I drew in deep shuddering breaths to calm my memories. Finaly I asked softly, “Are you sure you want to hear about that?”

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