Betrayed by blood, p.1
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       Betrayed By Blood, p.1

           Tiffany Shand
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Betrayed By Blood


  BETRAYED BY BLOOD

  THE AMARANTHINE CHRONICLES BOOK 1

  BY TIFFANY SHAND

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  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written consent of the author, except for brief quotes in reviews.

  This book is a work of fiction. People, places, events and situations are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or historical events, is purely coincidental.

  Cover Design by Melody Simmons ebookindiecovers.com

  Table of Contents

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Excerpt from Dark Revenge

  Also by Tiffany Shand

  Other works

  About the Author

  Chapter 1

  Kaylan Avilion sat down on the heavy tree branch, using the leaves to cover her presence. The wind whipped through the low hanging branches, blocking her view behind a leafy curtain. She gripped one of her knives and hacked through the foliage until she had clear sight again. Yellow light poured out of the window, casting eerie shadows through the well-tended garden.

  “What did that tree ever do to you?” Geth murmured in her ear.

  She glanced down, spotted her friend crouched by a hedge. “I could hack off parts of you instead,” she offered. “I’m sure Freya would thank me for it.”

  “Freya and I are taking a break. That’s all.”

  “Yeah, but I’m sure she’d love to cut off your little boy parts,” Sierra quipped.

  Kaylan bit back a smile and heard a warm chuckle that made her heart skip a beat.

  “Enough, you two. We have a job to do,” Elijah told them through the crystals attached to all their ears, thanks to a communication spell.

  Kaylan turned her attention back to the window as a figure moved into view. “He’s here,” she whispered.

  “Damn, I wish I could fly,” Geth murmured.

  She hissed at him to be quiet and watched as the man turned around. His grey hair rose in faint wisps over his balding head and he wore the grey robes of the Chief Alchemist.

  “Kaylan, can you see what he’s doing?” Elijah asked.

  She leant forward, careful not to put her full weight on the branch and squinted. Norbert Helswick had been rumoured to be selling illegal potions on the black market. She’d had an earful from Geth when he’d heard they were investigating his boss. But it was the job of the Amaranthine to go after those who corrupted their city and protect its inhabitants.

  Kaylan wished she could fly closer, but knew a cloaking spell wouldn’t be enough to stop the heavy wards surrounding the house from alerting Norbert to their presence. “He looks like he’s mixing something,” she told the others.

  “Can you see what it is?” Sierra asked.

  “You just work on getting us in there,” she replied. “I’m too far away to see clearly.”

  Sierra stood in the doorway trying to break through the magic protecting the house. She was skilled at inventing things and could break through any security made by magic or technology. “Elijah, a little help here,” Sierra muttered.

  Elijah stalked out of the shadows and Kaylan continued to watch Norbert as he poured a bottle of blue liquid into a container and shook it. Blue smoke and gold sparks shot out as he stirred the brew.

  Kaylan’s heart beat faster as she let out a low squeal. “That’s it. He’s using Stardust. Sorry, Geth, I know you liked the guy.”

  The dangerous drug gave its users unnatural strength and agility before its victims suffered a slow painful death.

  “Never mind,” remarked Geth. “But I need a sample to prove what he’s doing.”

  “Then what?” asked Elijah. “It’s not like we can hand him over to the city guard. They’re just as corrupt as the rest of the Order.”

  “We’ll give him our usual warning,” Kaylan replied, “but first we need to find and destroy his supply.” She heard Sierra mutter an oath. “The fucking door won’t open!” Sierra cursed.

  Kaylan bit her lip to stifle a laugh, keeping her gaze on Norbert. Damn it! They were running out of time.

  If they didn’t get inside the house soon they might lose any chance they had of stopping Norbert. Pulling her cloaking spell tight around herself, she sprang from the tree and landed squarely on the roof. The heels of her boots dug into the tiles and she had to use her power to keep her balance on the sloping roof line.

  “Kaylan, what are you doing?” Elijah’s concerned voice echoed in her ear.

  She didn’t respond.

  Most people only warded the walls and entrances to their homes. They rarely considered an intruder entering from above. The skylight faced north. Had Norbert thought to ward that too?

  Kaylan drew her knife, the silver blade glowing brightly as she ran it along the edge of the opening, muttering a revealing spell as she did so. No runes or signatures glowed as she examined it closer. “Guys, I think I found a way in.”

  “No, Kaylan, wait, we’re almost through,” Elijah said.

  “Speak for yourself,” Sierra retorted. “If she can open the door for us from the inside then I say go for it, Kay.”

  “I’m moving to the other side of the house,” Geth told them.

  “Kay, can’t you pull us up there one by one?” Sierra said.

  “You’re all too heavy and we don’t have time.” Kaylan pried open the window. It creaked and fell back with a loud thud.

  “Kaylan!” Elijah hissed.

  “I’ll be fine,” she insisted.

  Kaylan held her breath as she lowered herself through the narrow opening and squeezed through. Good thing I’m only wearing jeans and a t-shirt. She landed easily, feeling her ribs ache from pushing through the small space and kept her senses on alert as she moved through the attic. Chairs, boxes and other junk littered the room. Pale light came through the open hatch, causing white pools to form on the dusty oak floor.

  She conjured a maglight to find her way through the room. A floorboard creaked underfoot, and she rose a couple of inches off the ground to avoid making any more unnecessary sounds. Leaning back, she flew across the room, dodging a coat stand as she opened the door. It groaned as she peered outside. “I’m in,” she whispered to the others.

  “How’s the ward coming?” asked Geth and cursed. “Shit! There are two guards out the front.”

  “Don’t let them see you,” warned Elijah. “Sierra, hurry!”

  “I’m trying,” she muttered.

  Kaylan headed out into the top of the stairwell and looked down onto the floor below, still hovering. A quick scan revealed no one so she descended; having another glance around to make sure no one was in sight. The smell of Stardust wafted from down the hall.

  “Kaylan, we’re almost through,” Sierra told her.

  “Good, I’m going for Norbert.”

  “No, not without us.”

  “Phew! They didn’t spot me,” Geth breathed. “Red, can you open the back door?”

  She rolled her eyes at his nickname for her and hesitated. Normally they never went anywhere on a mission alone, but time was running out to catch Norbert.

  “We’re in!” Sierra hissed.

  Kaylan grinned and headed for the study. Peering through the keyhole, she eyed Norbert pouring his brew into small glass vials. “Geth, hurry up!”

  “I’m coming, I’m coming!”

  “Elijah and I are headed to the basement. Watch yourself, Kay,
Sierra told her.

  Kaylan heard Geth downstairs and saw Norbert stashing his vials. She drew magic and felt the air around her pick up as she triggered her glamour. No one would ever recognise her in this disguise. Her hair crackled with static and her eyes shone a brilliant red as she flung the door open.

  The old sorcerer looked up in alarm, eyes widening as she floated in. “Who are you?” he whispered, backing away.

  “I am the Amaranthine.” Her voice came out low and harsh as she pressed the glowing blue crystal around her neck to begin recording.

  Better they saw the Amaranthine as a ghostly bitch rather than a band of outlaws.

  “You have brought death to this city.” She pointed at him, her hand now a mass of blue spidery veins. She often wondered how she appeared in this form. Elijah said she looked terrifying but he’d marry her anyway. The thought made her grin.

  “Where is the rest of your stash?” Kaylan demanded.

  “My – what?”

  “Your drugs!” she spat, motioning to his bag. “People are dying thanks to your poison.” Her knife glittered in the lamplight as she advanced towards him and held it up to his throat.

  Kaylan had never deliberately killed anyone. The first visit to a suspected evildoer was always a warning. The second time, they resorted to more extreme measures, such as exposing the guilty to the entire city. Sierra had hooked up a crystal to her necklace, recording everything so it could then be beamed citywide.

  Geth shot into the room. His eyes and other features were distorted by the same disguising spell. He grabbed Norbert’s bag and yanked out a vial. Pouring another mixture into the brew, it glowed an ominous red. “Definitely Stardust,” he remarked.

  “Show us where the rest of the drug is or we’ll expose you for the snivelling coward you are.”

  Norbert trembled. “Basement…”

  “Move,” Kaylan told him.

  She and Geth moved out onto the landing. Grabbing the sorcerer by his collar, Kaylan lifted him into the air and pulled him down onto the floor below while Geth bounded down the stairs. They herded the old man towards the basement door.

  “Kaylan, we found his stash. This is gonna make a great story,” Sierra said.

  “Wait, something’s wrong.” The alarm in Elijah’s voice made her let go of Norbert and shove him towards Geth.

  Kaylan hovered. “What’s wrong?”

  “This was too easy. No one would leave their lab unprotected like this. Something isn’t right,” Elijah said.

  Norbert pushed Geth away. “You’re too late,” he sneered.

  “Sierra, Elijah, get out of there!”

  An alarm went off, just as Geth made a grab for the old man, who slipped out of his grasp and vanished in a swirl of gold light.

  Kaylan and Geth dropped their disguises and hurried down the cellar steps. Lights flashed from the open doorway.

  “Kaylan!” Geth grabbed hold of her. “The whole place is going to blow. We need to get out of here.”

  She shoved him away and raced through the cellar. The air filled with a heavy blue smoke. “Elijah?”

  Someone coughed. Sierra staggered towards her. “Kay.” Her friend grabbed onto her arm. “We–”

  Kaylan pushed Sierra away. Geth could get them both out with his travel dust. She had to find Elijah. She had to! That was her last thought before everything went black.

 
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