Eye of the Beholder

 True Destiny - 2


Dana Marie Bell


To Mom, who actually believed me when I told her I wanted twins, and I wanted to name them Apollo and Artemis. (Of course, if I’d actually had twins this would be a whole different story...) To Dad, who sat there and tried to help me come up with names that were even worse than Apollo and Artemis just to watch Mom freak. Do you think we went too far when she started hopping up and down and screaming? Or was it when the shoes started flying?

Finally, to Dusty, my one and only. Sometimes we have to realize we will never achieve certain dreams no matter how heartbreaking it may be. So stop thinking about Jessica Alba, whipped cream and rubber sheets, okay? Because you may run faster than me, but I learned my Shoe Fu from one of the best and you WILL go down.


Long ago…

Tyr stood at the edge of the battlefield, appalled by what he saw.

The war was over. The Aesir had won.

There were but six of the Vanir left. Six. Even Zisa—lovely, pale Zisa, Tyr’s beloved wife who had refused to raise a weapon in the hopes that things could be resolved without bloodshed—had fallen beneath Aesir blades.

Now Odin, their conqueror, was asking for an audience with the ruler of the Vanir.

Why? Why had the Aesir done this? The Vanir were peaceful, concerned only with the green, growing things, the tides, the wind and the rain and...

No. Not for that.

Not for the Dokk Alfar.

The Dokk Alfar had only begun to make weapons for those who’d chosen to fight, but it had been too little, too late. Not even the mighty spear they’d crafted for him had halted the tide of the enemy soldiers.

But the potential of the Dark Ones had been there all along for any with eyes to see. It was there in the wonderful toys they wrought, the shining palaces they’d created. All of which had been destroyed by Aesir hands. The shining palaces were crumbled, the gold and silver toys destroyed. Even the land itself had broken, falling beneath the waves under the furious might of Odin and his warriors. Only Vanaheim itself still, home of the Vanir, still existed, defiled by Aesir hands.

The last of the Vanir stood on an alien shore and prepared to meet their fate.

“What shall we do?”

His eyes never left the retreating messenger, yet he answered Idunn’s question as honestly as he could. “I do not know.”

“Shall we meet with him then?”

As always, Frey’s voice was calm. He held his sister Frejya’s hand tight, calming her fears as best he could.

“We have no choice.” Njord’s deep voice rolled over Tyr filled with the chill of the deep ocean.

“No. We do not.” Heimdall’s dark hair blew across his face, his crystal eyes studying the retreating form of the messenger. “Even now, they plot something.” His right hand held his Horn, the silver nails of his left tapping against his leather pants.

Tyr nodded. “I will meet with him.” As if there was any other choice.

The Vanir might be defeated, but the remaining gods would protect what little was left of their world.

Chapter One

Present Day…

“Time to go, Lefty.” Logan Saeter, also known as the god Loki and once Travis’s greatest enemy, entered the hospital room waving Jamie’s release papers triumphantly. “Guess what, Pita? You’re finally sprung!”

“Thanks.” Travis nodded at Logan, eager to get away from the smells of sickness that had surrounded him for the last three weeks.

“About time too.” Kiran Tait, once known as Baldur and the current leader of the Aesir and Vanir, followed his lover into the hospital room, carefully watching around for any sign of trouble.

“Hey, sis, you ready to go?” Jordan Saeter-Tait, one of Travis’s top investigators, brushed by the blond Kir with a fond smile and made her way to her younger sister’s bed. The trio’s love had shocked him when he’d first heard of it, but watching them together had eased his fears for his friend and employee.

Jordan glowed when she was around Kir and Logan, and he couldn’t be happier for her.

“No sign of the cops.” Val was the latest employee of Travis’s company, Guardian Investigations, and the uncle of Jeff, Jordan and Jamie. Travis wasn’t surprised he’d shown up. The man adored his nieces and nephews, and was the one who’d risked everything to cut Jamie down from Grimm’s cross.

“Have they been by today?” Jeff, Jordan’s younger brother and twin to Travis’s beloved Jamie, brought up the rear. He immediately went to his twin’s side, their hands meeting over her blanketed body.

Jamie had been in the hospital for three weeks and today, finally, she was being discharged, much to the relief of her loved ones.

“Nope.” The cops hadn’t been by yet, which was a good thing. Their constant interviews had exhausted Jamie. The last thing she needed today was another question-and-answer session. How many times could you ask someone why their grandfather had tried to kill them? Did they expect to get a different answer? It wasn’t as if the events of last month weren’t still fresh in everyone’s mind, made more so by the woman lying so quietly in the hospital bed. Some of the bruising had faded, but Travis wasn’t certain she’d ever get over the emotional trauma she’d been through.

Travis had witnessed crucifixions, most recently in the Philippines. Men there subjected themselves every year to the horror of the crucifixion to prove their devotion to Jehovah and Jesus. But they only endured it for minutes at a time, and that voluntarily. Jamie had been on that cross, hanging and suffocating over and over again, for more than an hour before Val had been able to rescue her.

Grimm had made her suffering even more hideous by inflicting as much pain as possible beforehand.

Grimm had beaten her, both with fists and with a blunt object, breaking one of her cheekbones and her right wrist. Travis was sure he’d used something like a baseball bat for some of the blows. He’d burned her with cigarettes, leaving permanent marks on her stomach and buttocks. He’d used electrical shocks, causing permanent nerve damage in one of her legs. She’d limp from that for the rest of her life without help from Logan. Even with Logan performing a blood bond there was only a one in three chance of it healing her.

That meant she’d been tied, weak in one leg and one arm, forced to use them just to stay alive, the muscles of her diaphragm working to bring in needed air and too strained by her position to do so. She would have tried to stand, to get a breath, only to have one of the weak limbs give in. The cycle of slow suffocation would begin all over again. The only good thing about the ordeal was that Grimm had tied her to the cross rather than nailing her. At least she’d been spared one small agony, but it was scant consolation when held up against everything else he’d done to Jamie.

Вы читаете Eye of the Beholder
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату