Chapter 14

Mikhail's POV

We were all silent in the caves. The Council we're conversing silently with each other, they knew of the bond between Zacarias and Ciara. To them that would cause a problem. The problem for me however, was how they used and treated Ciara. All of us could smell the burnt flesh from her back, the stench of raw agony hung in the air. They had refused us from healing her, yet Zacarias still did, they watched with shielded eyes and we stood on guard, just waiting for a attack. They didn't. It was my duty to protect and help my people, yet Zacarias's mate was not my own, but by being his life mate I could help her somehow. This would be the likes of a political battle none of us had seen in hundreds of years between races. Because if this continued with Ciara, Zcarias would attack, his brothers would follow and a war would break out between our races.

She was laid out on the ground in the cave, the scars on her back shone brightly in the light from candles that had been lit for their healing and relaxing aroma. How could they do this to their own warrior? Someone they relied on for help? It was completely immoral and wrong. These people were barbaric, they operated by their own rules and system, but there just wasn't something right. We could see they meant well even if they stuck to such brutal ways, the majority of them had good intentions and felt that what had happened was wrong, they had good intentions. There was a black taint that hovered around them all though, something that was making the brutality be in more affect. This situation was going to take a lot of my attention.

"Will you help her?"

I turned from my position against the wall near Gregori to see the young girl, Lesil standing by me. She was unusual, pretty her features delicate and soft her hair like a gold halo and her eyes were frosted over, hazy and nearly completely white with a lighter grey in the middle. I had the feeling that she saw more than others despite her blindness.

"I'm sorry what did you say?" I asked politely, Gregori turned his attention to us.

Lesil turned her head as if she was glancing around before locking her sightless eyes on my again. "I said will you help her, cause she can help you, she will I've seen it. And maybe, then you'll help us."

I glanced at Gregori and we didn't even need to converse telepathically to share our confusion and apprehension.

"Lesil, what do you mean you need help? And you've seen it?"

Lesil she chuckled softly, too mature for her young age. "I am a Seer, a type of our people that is rare. I see glimpses of things to come, I see those who are no longer on this world, I can see you emotions, similar to what your aura is described only more…personal. However I don't see everything, but I have seen you are decent. Will you help us?"

"Help you with what?"

Mikhail, be careful, we do not know what this child is capable of. Gregori cautioned silently. I had to bite my tongue from retorting I was a Carpathian man, the Prince and not a child. I could hear my daughter and wife's amused laugh on the telepathic link we shared.

"It's alright Gregori, I am capable of many things but being a Seer I could never harm another living creature, it would go against everything I am. But you see, we need help, we are a dying race. Nearly less as existent as the Carpathians. More and more of us are becoming Fallen, and in effect those left are being killed. The ones you have seen is nearly all of us who remain."

I blinked and eyed her carefully. How had she known what Gregori had said? Was it just a random thing about her that was accepted among her people? She seemed too young to hold such knowledge. But something else had niggled at my attention.

"I'm sorry that your people are suffering, but what is it you think I can do for you? I am trying to save my own as it is."

She nodded. "I understand but you see, we can help each other, I've seen it and all it takes is for Darsha and Zacarias to do what they are planning. They aren't aware of it fully themselves but it's started to form. And I've seen the outcome. All you have to do Mikhail, please." Her eyes turned pleading as she looked from me and Gregori with such a sincere expression. "Save her, don't allow the Council members to take her."

It took me a while to realise she was speaking so quietly no one would have heard what she was saying. They were all too far away.

I turned to Gregori as she smiled and walked away gracefully over to where Zacarias was with Ciara.

Do you think that child is telling the truth? Could she have seen something and this could help us?

I don't know Mikhail, but she kept her mind open, I looked through her thoughts. She is as pure as any of our women, she was not telling us lies.

I thought for a moment as I watched her kneel opposite Zacarias with a smile. I hadn't even thought to scan her mind and see her intentions, her face was so open and honest I was taking what she said at face value. Maybe that was a trick or a illusion she was trying to use on us but….there was something about her that just made me believe. Maybe she was right, maybe she had seen something and maybe it was why Zacarias had found his life mate now, and why she had come here.

"She's waking up now in a moment. Rosa, can we remove her mask?" Lesil asked as she ran soft fingers over the intricate black lattice work mask that had been left on Ciara's face.

I looked over at Rosa and saw her eyes flicker the tiniest bit to the man who was head of one of the families who had arrived with them, his name was Cairo. Just as quickly she averted her eyes and shook her head. "No Lesil, it is part of Darsha's identity, her face needs to be masked."

I frowned, no it didn't. Zacarias had shared the knowledge with us all. The Council was keeping her identity a secret, using a false name. Treating her as a slave. And Cairo was her father, for reasons of their own they were keeping her from her family.

Something was very wrong with the Council. At that moment Ciara woke with a gasp, one hand held in Zacarias's and her other shooting up to grab Lesil's wrist where it was stroking her hair over her forehead.

"She's awake lets take her and lock her in a holding cell." Barrack said from the other side of the cave.

Cairo snarled something in a different language and his two sons took a step forward. "I think we'd all agree you've done enough here Barrack."

The tension in the room built and I was just waiting to see who would make the first move. But everything seemed to deflate at Ciara's dry chuckle. She was standing and leaning against Zacarias but she was smirking and shaking her head. "Ah hell, it seems like I've gone straight from the frying pan and into the fire. What's the verdict then?"

Ciara's POV

Was it seriously too much to ask for to just die peacefully without an audience? I mean seriously I thought I was in the lala land f the end, I blink and open my eyes to see my self with an audience of nearly everyone I know.

I do not find your thoughts amusing in the least. You will not die on me.

I rolled my eyes at Zacarias's authoritative voice. Well buddy I never asked you to listen to my thoughts, and they are my thoughts and they can be about whatever I like. So either deal with it or even better, get out of my head.

He sighed but instead of frustration I felt his amusement, even more shocking was my amusement. I was enjoying the banter that frequently surfaced between us, I was becoming attached to him in more than just physical, but emotional. I cared for him and that was very, very bad. Because what good could happen now? The Council knew we had a connection, they probably had worked out we were lifemates. And I don't think I'm strong enough to do anything but bat an eyelash as they gave me the death penalty. I felt my legs trembles as the strength drained out of me at the thought of leaving Zacarias, condemning him to a life where he was no longer the warrior he was but a shadow like the Fallen. All because of my acts.

He growled as he caught me and supported me with his arm around my waist. We shall work something out cara mia, just breathe and that is all you need to focus on for now. We aren't going anywhere.

I managed to pull myself away from the bubble that seemed to surround us and focus on the outside world. And shocker my audience had not vanished.

Lesil at my side laughed. "Darsha relax, everything will be fine. I know."

And just like that I felt myself lighten. I knew Lesil, she was one of the last pure ones among the Council, probably the only one I really trusted. And I had complete faith in her visions. Hopefully her version of everything being fine matched mine.

You have a lot of faith in this child's words. Zacarias intended it as a statement but under his thoughts I could still see he was doubtful and I felt as though she needed defending.

Just like you have faith in your Prince, I know Lesil ever since she was little what she saw and said would be has been true. She has a kind heart.

He nodded slightly and sent warmth through the link, he didn't mean to insult or incite, he was just slightly sceptical of a child so young being so strong. He had much to learn.

"Nothing is fine, Darsha you are obviously whoring yourself with a Carpathian, I thought you had more control than that." Barrack snapped as he walked forward with Quinn.

Quinn reached up and whacked eth side of his head. "Barrack, curb your tongue. We all know a Carpathian mates with only his lifemate. So I take it, you are lifemates, am I correct?"

Quinn levelled his calm gaze at us and lowering my gaze from his I nodded. "It would seem so, not even I can fight it."

This was it, they were about to either strike me down or bind me and lock me away, back in ice probably. They couldn't strike at Zacarias, he wasn't under their laws, but I was. His arm squeezed me comfortingly. I wont let them hurt you, not anymore. I'm here now.

"Well then I guess we need to start working together. It's been many centuries since the Carpathians have had a voice on the Council. I think its time you were given some leeway, Lesil is right, we cant be governed so brutally by old laws. You shall have two days to recover without any interruptions, whilst we speak with the Carpathians. Then you will be summoned to discuss the situation, is that acceptable to you both?" When Rosa finished speaking I could do nothing but blink.

It was only when I saw Lesil's laughing face that I knew she had a hand in this. She must've been putting things in motion, she knew I would end up here…with Zacarias.

"That would be ideal, we appreciate it." Zacarias said for the both of us. I was still speechless. It was too good to be true, there had to be a catch.

"Like hell she's spending time with that Carpathian! They think they can have whatever female they desire, but not ours, and not our chosen defender. I would rather see her dead in the Akasha than in the arms of a Carpathian. She is one of us!" And there was the catch, Not everyone agreed with the decision, and clearly Barrack disagreed with a passion.

I saw my father step forward and intercept Barrack in his advancement. With a single flick of his wrist Barrack was pinned to the wall by invisible restraints, my fathers eyes flickered with menace. "You've done enough for the night Barrack, you've been fighting change for many years, and we know you find it hard to tolerate other races. But enough, our race can no longer pay for prejudice, we have voted. Darsha you may leave with your mate, you have my word no one will interrupt you for the next two days unless they are visiting you for friendly reasons."

I bowed my head to my father and his jaw tensed. He was a good man, he had more sway and power than any of the Council members, it was why we were targeted in the first place. But still…he didn't know who I was and it hurt. But I couldn't tell him, the Council was allowing me to be with Zacarias, I couldn't ask for everything in one night.

You shouldn't have to ask to be allowed to be with your family. Zacarias murmured in my mind as we left the cave together, his arm draped around me and holding me close under his shoulder even as he helped me on wobbly legs.

There was a reason the old Council made me not known, I think it was to protect them, and me not being known is a way of protecting me, myself. No one has attacked my family since they've been back, and I can only think that is because I am no longer there. I think my family was targeted then, but they are no longer the target. It's confusing and I cant really explain my thoughts, they're jumbled and mixed with feelings.

I can see what you are saying, I saw your memories, the ones who attacked your family seemed interested in you when they found you still alive. And maybe they have lost interest in your family and by living with a new name and not others not knowing who you really are has made it harder for you to be found. But right now I have two days with you. I intend to enjoy those two days to the fullest.

I raised my eyebrows at him sharing in the enjoyment and knowledge that apparently we'd be spending two days of 'get to know each other.' But there was something I wanted to do first.

"Right now, I just want to check on my friends." I grinned and looked out to the sky in the direction I knew where Batu and Kesa were, Adeta would have to be there with them, because I still couldn't feel her.

"I've been thinking lately, and I think you might be antisocial, you tend to favour your animals over people."

I laughed as we turned to the clearing the cave entrance led to. "Why do you think I get along with you so well?"