Vasya turned to Cindy and smiled. “I think we will make our surroundings somewhat more habitable for you, bella mia,” he said. He took her hand and the small satchel of things taken from the church sacristy, and led her into the icy cold room adjoining hers. The symbol of the demon’s presence glared at them.
Vasya stepped close to the marking and dropped to his knees. He held his hands out to Cindy, palms turned upward. “Anoint me with the Holy water, bella. The sign of the cross and a blessing if you believe in such things.”
Matéo watched and made to step forward, but Aimé’s hand on his arm stilled the action. He was watching intently, and Vasya spoke into his mind, This won’t take long.
Cindy placed the bag on the floor and got to her knees, taking the vial of clear water out of the satchel with shaking hands. She pulled the cap off the vial and looked at Vasya. For several moments she was motionless, and the ancient’s deep, dark eyes drew her in, softening unexpectedly as he felt the kiss of her fear. He nodded, and she spilled a small amount of the water into one hand, then touched his palm, drawing a cross over his skin. The contact was electric and she felt the tingling shiver run through her entire body, igniting warmth in her veins that settled insistently in places she shouldn’t be thinking about right now. She peeked up at him through her lashes, and saw his smile. He knew the effect he was having on her, and was enjoying it. She drew the sign in his second palm, and gasped when the jolt of power shot up her arm and landed her on her ass.
“Mi dispiace, piccolo uno,” he whispered. He turned to the symbol on the floor and chanted a soft incantation, then rose.
Cindy bit back a yelp of surprise and fright when the glowing signature of the demon began to change colour to deep golden flame, the flames growing to blinding intensity before a flash of pure white filled the room. Seconds later, Vasya’s hands on her arms helped her to her feet, his hands warm, but no more than they’d been minutes earlier. She stared at the floor, gaping at it. There was no sign of anything, no scorch marks, no lingering traces of glowing white. She stared up at him.
“The portal is closed?” Aimé’s voice intruded on the shocked silence and shook everyone back into the moment.
“Yes, he can no longer return this way,” Vasya nodded.
Rémy’s enraged snarl filled the room an instant before he launched at Vasya, his heavier form knocking the other male to the floor. He landed one punishing blow to Vasya’s jaw before Matéo dragged him off the ancient prince.
“If he closed whatever door there was, we’ll never get her back!” Rémy shouted in Matéo’s face as he tried to wrench himself free of his brother’s hold.
“We’ll build a bridge that we control, Rémy,” Aimé said quietly, already understanding why Vasya had needed to block a return through a portal created by Azazel.
Warmth was seeping into the room quickly now that the door to Hell had been closed. Cindy went to Vasya and held out a hand. He didn’t need her help to stand up, but he smiled at the gesture and rose gracefully, motion fluid. He bent and kissed her lips very briefly. “Grazie, bella,” he murmured.
Cindy felt a soft blush stain her cheeks, but tried to ignore it when she turned to look at the des Quatre-Frères. Rémy was no longer in Matéo’s grasp, and Aimé was visible in the next room, bent over the bed, unwrapping the relic. They followed him into the room, and watched as he lifted the tarnished, archaic weapon and held it in both hands.
“It still looks like a piece of junk,” Rémy muttered to no one in particular.
“Such an insolent young whelp,” Vasya noted, voice cold.
Matéo stiffened, and Aimé’s friendliness cooled noticeably.
Vasya’s eyebrow rose and he looked at each one of the affronted brothers. His looked stopped on the Alpha and he inclined his head. “My apology for the slight to your brother,” he said, though amusement was still clear in his tone. He let it go at that and once again turned to Cindy. “The rest of the supplies we picked up, please?”
She went to collect the bag and brought it back to him. Vasya took out several items, dropped them on the foot of the bed, then went to take the sword from Aimé’s hands. He examined it closely, running his fingers over the ruins, expression thoughtful, almost troubled.
“It is the Aducător de moarte, my lord,” Aimé said quietly.
“It has been dormant for a very long time,” Vasya said, speaking more to himself than to anyone present. He tested the edge of the sword, found it dull and lifeless. His mouth tightened in a thin line of displeasure and he looked back at Rémy, who watched every move he made, suspicion rolling off him in near tangible waves.
“You are the one most proficient in weaponry?” It was as much a statement as a question, but Rémy nodded in reply. “Clean the weapon if you would, Rémy des Quatre-Frères. I have brought supplies for the task. When you hone the blade, there is Holy water for use with the whetstone. Make liberal use of it, it may save us all.”
He held the blade out and Rémy’s hand closed on the hilt, the moment they both touched the weapon, their eyes met in silent communion. A voice, faint and frightened, whispered from far away. Rémy’s blue eyes widened and Vasya nodded. “It is her,” he said. “She is trying to warn us.”
Aimé stepped forward and added his touch to the sword, as did Matéo, and the voice of the woman trapped in Azazel’s hell grew clearer.
* * * * *
Denysé concentrated harder, certain she felt some kind of connection being forged. Her heart was beating a wild timpani in her ears, but she was certain she felt her beloved Rémy’s presence. It gave her courage, and she focused on a simple mantra, begging him to stay away. Part of her, the honest part that was terrified, secretly hoped he would come anyway, and she hated herself for it. She was too scared to be noble. Tears flooded her eyes and she squeezed them back. Inside her mind, she fought down the urge to scream for Rémy.
All around her began to quake suddenly, and she jumped to her feet. Dear God! Were there earthquakes in hell?
The cell that surrounded her started to heat, blistering her skin as the temperature rose in intensity. She put her hands over her eyes and tried to breathe as brimstone and sulfur choked her. A blast of light erupted, searing her eyes even while she had them covered. She felt back, and looked up. Azazel... and he was no longer the man in black, he was the demon who commanded the legions of hell.
She screamed, a shriek of utter and total terror...
* * * * *
Rémy felt the backlash hit him hard when the mental bridge went up in flames. An instant too late to block her voice rising in fear, the scream echoing over and over in his head. He felt a hand on his shoulder and snapped his eyes open to meet the darkness of Vasya’s onyx gaze.
“We know she is still alive,” he murmured quietly. “Have courage, young warrior.” For the first time, Vasya’s voice held kindness when he spoke to Rémy. “We will bring her back.”
Rémy broke the hypnotic gaze and looked quickly at his brothers. “I have work to do if I’m expected to make this piece of junk into a sword again,” he said. From the corner of his eye, he saw Vasya’s smile and relaxed minutely.
“I would like to confer with your scribe, if you have no objections,” Vasya said, addressing Matéo.
The Alpha glanced at Cindy. “Écrivaine?”
Startled, Cindy looked at them all and shook off the momentary daze she’d slipped into watching them with the sword.
“Sure,” she smiled as she replied, then glanced at Vasya. “In here?” She asked, indicating the room that no longer felt like the inside of a freezer.
He nodded. “I’ll be with you in a moment, bella. Order some wine.” When she slipped into the room, and Rémy settled on the couch, tools laid out on table in front of him, Vasya faced Matéo and Aimé. “Azazel plans to sacrifice her, a blood ritual that will once again allow him access to this plane of existence.” He paused, knowing full well that Rémy could hear every word being spoken. “He will take her heart, and use it to dress himself in human form.”
Rémy’s curse made him look back, and they saw the blood that soaked the blade of the sword where it had cut into his hand. The runes blazed to life and he looked up at Vasya Petrova, confusion written on his handsome features.
“The Aducător de moarte has chosen you as her champion, Rémy des Quatre-Frères.”
Matéo sighed, and Aimé looked closer at Vasya, clearly wanting to speak. He chose not to, there’d be time to question before they built the portal from their side to make the trip into Hell...
Part Seven tomorrow at: http://cindyjacks.blogspot.ca