"We could. If given the chance, could you personally take Omortout?"
Sabine's eyes went cold. "In a heartbeat." She smoothed her finest metal fishnet hose up to her thighs, securing them in place with tight leather garters. Then she covered much of the hose with wicked steel-toed boots that climbed up past her knees.
"You still won't consider uniting with the rage demons?"
Sabine shook her head. "Omort would kill us before we even had a chance. How quickly we forget his power." Over her short skirt, she draped a belt hung with a dozen blue-gold tassels. "Besides, if we united with them, we'd have to turn around and kill them." When Lanthe raised her brows, Sabine said, "Or we'd be out a castle. And I'm not keen on sharing."
"Not even with your husband?"
There was that word again. She hesitated, then said, "Think of what Rydstrom would demand from us- obedience, lawfulness. Yes, it would be better than with Omort. But it couldn't be better than if we ruled."
"That's true." Lanthe rose to head back to her room. "Try to get some information tonight. Maybe they have a plan of their own."
"I'll see what I can find out." After Lanthe left, Sabine finished at the dresser, drawing her face paint in blurred streaks of black and gray that covered her eyes and fanned out toward her temples.
She checked her reflection. Was she alluring enough to tempt him from his certain ire? The mirror said yes.
But then she had the most startling thought. More of an impulse, really. And one she readily checked. She gave a nervous laugh, glancing around the room.
For a second there, she'd thought about telling him she was ... sorry.
Though he burned with rage toward her, Rydstrom wanted her with him.
Being separated from her like this wasn't natural-it went contrary to his demon instinct.
He hungered to have his mark on her, his scent on her skin. He needed to run his horns all over her.
His fists clenched. Damn it, when will she return to me?
A male materialized in his cell. Lothaire. Kill.
"Don't look at me like you'll rip my throat out," the vampire said in accented English. "I can aid your
escape." He held up a key in one hand and a pack in the other. "Your freedom. And supplies. I can trace you to Grave Realm, but not off-plane."
"Why aid me?" Rydstrom demanded, wondering what his game was.
"I want something from you. You'd have to make a vow to me."
"A vow to do what?"
Lothaire said, "When I ask you for something in the future, no matter what it is, you must give it to me."
"Think about it. Your options are limited at present."
They were. And in his current state, Rydstrom couldn't think of anything that Lothaire could ask for that would be worse than what he'd forfeit if he remained prisoner here-his female, his child, his kingdom, and eventually his life. "Why help me now?"
"Because at this moment, Sabine's sister Hettiah is limping her way here to drug you with an aphrodisiac. And that won't do."
"Not by Sabine's leave?"
"I would seriously doubt that."
"What you ask for is too steep, vampire. I'll resist the sister and her potions-"
"Not if you're unconscious."
"She could do that?" At Lothaire's nod, Rydstrom grated, "Even if I escape, I'll be found before I can get us off-plane." "Us?" "Sabine. I'm not leaving without her."
The vampire shook his head sharply. "Come back for her-we'll be discovered, and Omort will never let her go."
"Wherever I go, Sabine goes. It will be this way from now until I'm dead."
Lothaire gave him an appraising look, then nodded. "You have a few days before the sorcerer can manage to get all the illegal portals sealed. Especially since I'm in charge of that security measure. Now Hettiah nears."
The idea of that woman drugging and using him while he was unconscious made Rydstrom shudder with disgust.
"Make the vow, demon. I know much about this kingdom. And I know much about your intended new prisoner. How to render her completely powerless"
This time Rydstrom didn't hesitate. "I vow it. Now tell me."
Lothaire nearly smiled, a mean expression on him.
"She can't purposely cast her illusions with both hands bound behind her back." He began unlocking Ryd'
Strom's chains. "Her tower is the west one."
Heart thundering, Rydstrom said, "I know."
Lothaire clasped his wrist and traced them into her room.
Sabine was admiring herself in the mirror, the most beautiful creature Rydstrom had ever seen. Mine.
Sabine's breath left her when she spied Rydstrom in her mirror's reflection, with his eyes wild. And Lothaire, too? The vampire was working with him? That traitor!
She raised her hands to cloak herself, but Rydstrom lunged across the room and captured her wrists behind her back. Did he know that would prevent her from casting illusions? She shrieked once before he covered her mouth with his other hand.
Would it be enough for the Inferi outside to call for the guards?
While Rydstrom tied her wrists with a length of cord, Lothaire traced over to help him. She fought the two as. the vampire secured a gag around her head.
With muffled curses, she berated the traitor. He shrugged.
Shouts sounded as the castle raised the alarm. Seconds later, guards burst into the room with swords raised, a mix of revenants, Sorceri and fallen vampires. The latter nodded at Lothaire and traced away.
Rydstrom tossed her behind him, sending her tumbling to the ground, then faced off against at least ten guards. His horns flared ominously, the color of his skin deepening in his rage. His muscles expanded and flexed before her very eyes.
She watched in awe as the demon launched himself at the guards, slashing with fangs and claws. That dragon tattoo seemed to come alive, snaking its movements over sweat-slicked flesh.
Lothaire casually stood beside her place on her floor, drawing a knee up and resting his boot on the wall. "We could simply trace," he said, "but then, you'll likely want him to work some of this out of his system. And I'm hungry."
She cursed him again behind the gag, but his attention was fixed on the melee.
Rydstrom was tearing the soldiers apart with such a ferocity, that even she was stunned. And that's my husband.
Lothaire himself quirked a brow, glancing from Rydstrom to Sabine and back again, linking the demon's savage reaction to her. He muttered, "Noted."