Warrior (Relentless #4)(14)

by Karen Lynch

“Well, it doesn’t tell me anything, so why don’t you fill me in? You said you would answer my question if I answered yours.”

“I will.” I started forward, waving at some overturned wooden crates. “Let’s sit. This is a good place to talk.”

We sat, and I turned to look at her. The move brought me close to her, and my eyes were drawn to her mouth. My body grew warm, and my Mori shifted excitedly at her nearness.

Khristu, get a grip.

I raised my gaze to hers. “You didn’t know who the Mohiri were before the other night. How much do you know about us now?” I figured the werewolves had told her what they knew, which wasn’t a lot.

“I know you guys are vampire hunters, and you and the werewolves don’t like each other. That’s pretty much it.” She shrugged, but the interest in her eyes told me she was more curious than she let on.

“I imagine your friends don’t talk about us any more than we do about them. Would you like to know more about the Mohiri?”

“Yes,” she replied without hesitation.

Her answer pleased me more than I wanted to admit. “You seem very familiar with the real world, but how much do you know about demons?”

“Nothing, except to stay as far away from them as possible.”

“What if I told you there are thousands of types of demons, and that vampires are one of them?”

She frowned, and there was a note of fear in her voice when she spoke. “I’d ask you if you are deliberately trying to scare the hell out of me.”

I rested my elbows on my legs. “I am not here to frighten you.” I didn’t want to upset her either, but she had to hear this if she was to understand the rest of what I had to tell her. I could already tell from her reaction to my question about demons that this wasn’t going to go well.

She looked down, and I followed her gaze to the hands clenched in her lap.

“Do you still want to hear about the Mohiri?”

Green eyes met mine again. “Go ahead.”

“You sure?”

She smiled, and it was like the sun breaking through the clouds. I had to look away so she couldn’t see what I was feeling. Hell, I didn’t know what I was feeling.

I began to recite the story I had learned from my sire when I was young. “It all started two millennia ago when demons learned how to leave their dimension and walk the Earth in corporeal form. Most of them were lesser demons, and they were dangerous, but not a major threat to humanity. But then a middle demon called a Vamhir appeared. It took a human host and gave the human immortality…and the thirst for human blood.”

“The first vampire,” she said in a hushed voice.

I nodded. “The demon soon learned how to make more like him, and before long there were thousands of vampires. The Earth’s population was small back then, and ancient civilizations were virtually defenseless against the vampires’ strength and bloodlust. If left unchecked, the vampires would have eventually overrun the earth and wiped out humanity.

“So the archangel Michael came to Earth to create a race of warriors to destroy the vampires. He took a middle demon called a Mori and put it inside a human male, and had the male impregnate fifty human women. Their offspring were half human/half demon and they had the speed, strength, and agility to hunt and kill vampires. They were the first Mohiri.”

I watched the play of emotions across her face: revulsion, amazement, disbelief.

“The Mohiri are demons?” she asked hesitantly.

“Half demon. Each of us is born with a Mori demon in us.”

“You mean you live with a demon inside you like…like a parasite?” Her face paled, and she pulled back several inches. If I had any question about whether or not she knew what she was, her reaction answered it for me.

“Exactly like that. We give the Mori life, and in return, it gives us the ability to do what we were created to do. It is a symbiotic relationship that benefits us both.”

She stood abruptly, and I thought she was going to run. Instead, she walked to the edge of the wharf and stared at the water.

“You’re not planning on jumping, are you?” I asked lightly, trying to allay the fear I sensed in her.

She looked at me, and my gut twisted at the confusion and anxiety I saw in her eyes. “Why are you telling me all this?” she asked in a small voice.

Her distress drew me like a magnet, and I moved to stand in front of her.

“Because you need to hear it.”

Her eyes widened. “Why? What does this have to do with me? Or my parents?”

“I’ll get to them in a minute. First, tell me, haven’t you wondered why you’re different from everyone else you know?”

Before I told her what she was, I needed to know what she felt around me. Bonds were not one-sided. I could sense her Mori, and all mine wanted to do was touch her. How could she stand this close to me and look so unaffected? Even if she had no idea what she was, she should feel something.

“D-different? I don’t know what you mean.”

“I think you do.”

She shook her head. “Listen I –”

My eyes locked with hers. I felt for the new bond stretching between us and pushed against it gently. Immediately, her demon responded and reached out to me. My Mori fluttered happily, and I felt a deep sense of satisfaction. She might not recognize our connection, but her Mori did.

Suddenly, it was like a wall slammed down between us, pushing me away from her. I barely had time to react before she spun away from me, her eyes dark and frightened.

“Sara?” I reached a hand toward her.

“I have to go.” She moved past me without looking in my direction.

I sighed. “Running away won’t change anything, Sara.”

She ignored me so I tried another approach. “I didn’t take you for a coward.”

She stopped walking but didn’t look at me. “You don’t know anything about me.”

“I think we both know that’s not true,” I said to her back.

Her eyes were ablaze when she turned to confront me again. “What about my parents? Did you know them?”

“Not your father. But I knew Madeline Croix for many years.”

Disbelief crossed her face. “You’re only a few years older than me.”

“I’m older than I look.”