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Authors: Jean Murray

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BOOK: Soul Awakened
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Kendra’s swollen red eyes drifted his direction. “I’m okay.” Her hand pressed against the left side of her chest, which only confirmed Inpu’s suspicions to the extent of her involvement in Bakari’s release.

“May I steal Lilly for a few minutes?”

Kendra nodded and then closed her eyes. So small and vulnerable in that moment, he would have never guessed she was such a strong priestess as to break a complex spell. One that Inpu, an ordained priest of several thousand years, could not undo.

Lilly kissed her sister on the forehead and rose to walk to the door.

Bomani nodded. “I will stay with her.”

Asar reached for his wife’s hand and guided her to Inpu’s office. With the door closed she turned to him. “It’s bad news, isn’t it?”

Asar glanced at Inpu and then into her sharp green eyes. “Lilly, the questions I am going to ask are very important. Where there any bites or puncture wounds on Kendra? On her arms, legs, or neck?”

“No, why?” Her gaze shot from him to Inpu. “What happened?”

Inpu stepped up. “We have some theories. I found Kendra’s blood in the cell. Particularly, on and around the sarcophagus. Did she have any wounds?”

“Her knees were badly scrapped up, probably from the struggle. And what looked to be like a defensive wound on her palm.”

Asar gently rotated her hand, palm side up. “Show me the location. How deep?”

She traced a line on her palm that went from her second digit to the pad of her wrist. “It was a few millimeters deep. Surprisingly, it took a bit of energy to heal.”

“A wound like that could provide a sufficient amount of blood,” Inpu stated.

Her face burned bright red. “What does this all mean? We are talking about my sister here.”

Asar grasped her hand and pulled her over to the chair. “Please sit.”

Disgust distorted her beautiful face. “I don’t want to sit. Tell me what the hell is going on and why you have that look on your eyes.”

Inpu stepped up and placed his hand over Lilly’s. “Take a few deep breaths. It is best to be calm to discuss this.”

Asar could feel his own anxiety being drawn away by the connection. He would have to thank Inpu later for his convenient talent. When the stress lines on her face dissipated, Asar guided her into the chair and sat next to her.

“We think or I should say we know that Kendra used her blood to awaken Bakari.”

“Okay, that would explain the cut on her hand, but you didn’t drag me out of her room to tell me that.”

“No, you are right. It is a little more complex than that.” Asar looked at Inpu, beseeching him to continue.

“Your sister unknowingly bound herself to Bakari. A blood-bond. Now normally that only works between gods, but she is part god,” Inpu said.

“The bond is similar to ours when we shared our blood, but much more powerful.”

“But Kendra’s powers haven’t been released yet. She hasn’t transitioned, so that’s a good thing, right?” Lilly pleaded.

“Unfortunately, it does not matter. She has the genes, thus it can still be established.”

“So break the bond. There has to be some spell that can do that.”

Asar clenched his jaw. There was no easy way to say this and he hated every minute of it. “Kepi altered the internment spell. She used her blood to confine Bakari. When it came time for her to use my son to kill, she wanted a bargaining chip to keep herself alive. If I ever threatened to destroy her, I would do it with the knowledge I would kill my son in the process. In death she would take my son with her.”

“And now that same bond exists between Kendra and Bakari?”

 “Yes. It is irreversible. Kendra bound his soul to hers. It is probably the only fact that kept her alive in that cell,” Inpu said.

Lilly pressed her palm to her forehead. “Kendra can’t be told this. Not now, she is not ready after all that has happened. Jesus.”

Asar pressed two fingers against the throb in his temple. He had not told her the rest, not that the news could get any worse. Well, yes it could.

Her knowing stare made his heart lurch a few extra beats. “That’s not all, is it?”

“Lilly, I need your cooperation in this. I know what you are going to say, but we feel it is in the best interest of both Kendra and Bakari.”

She took several steps away from the gods. “Absolutely, not. She is not going to the dungeon again. Are you crazy? Did you see what that last encounter did to her, and I’m not talking the minor scrapes and lacerations.”

Asar intercepted her mid-stride. “Kendra’s fate was determined the day she was born, just as yours was for me. Her health and welfare is tied to Bakari’s. If he is to survive, he needs her. She needs him.”

“Does Bakari know this?”

Asar pulled her into his chest to hide his anguish. His son knew alright and had made that abundantly clear. Kendra was his and no one else’s. “Yes, he knows.”

She leaned her forehead against his chest and bunched his tunic in her clenched hands. “I wanted her to have a choice. She deserves as much.”

He pulled her chin up to look her in the eyes. “The choice is still hers.”

That is if anyone was brave enough to go up against the God of Death. Unlikely. Very unlikely.

Chapter Thirteen
 

Did they think she was stupid?

Kendra knew the minute Lilly stepped outside there was news they didn’t want her to hear. It hadn’t been the first time. Her father had been dead for several days before they told her, and then another week until she found out he succumbed to the curse. Did they think she was that fragile?

Apparently.

She sighed. Maybe she was. Her track record of accidents was stacked up against her. Despite it all, she had found the courage to sooth Bakari, when everyone else was afraid to approach him. Her courage held out for the most part until she freaked out.

When Bakari grabbed her wrists, the panic hit her. Looking back his grasp was firm but gentle. He had let her go, when he could have easily restrained her. Despite his menacing presence, Kendra didn’t believe Bakari would hurt her, not on purpose. How she knew, she didn’t know. She just knew it in her heart.

Bomani’s intense stare drew her attention. He leaned up against the wall. His attempt to look casual failed miserably. The muscles in his neck and jaw bulged under the stress of his clenched teeth. He probably wouldn’t have reacted as strongly, if she had held herself together, but he arrived during the middle of her hysterics.

She shifted her legs over the bed. He moved to her side. “I can handle myself,” she bit out sharply. Her harshness surprised him and he stepped back. She closed her eyes. “Sorry.”

Kneeling, his soft golden eyes came level to her. “You have nothing to be sorry for.”

His sympathy only made her feel worse. She traced the healed silver scar on her palm.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“About what?” She asked numbly.

His large callused hand came to rest on hers. When she looked up, he had one eyebrow raised. “Anything and everything.”

“I’m fine.” She dropped her eyes to where their hands were joined.

“You are a terrible liar.”

She hated being scrutinized, when all she wanted to do was hide. Jerking her head back, she glowered at him. “I said I was fine.”

“Really? What is the word your sister, Kit, says all the time?” He raised both thick brows waiting for her to reply. “Bullshit.”

Her anger spiked at his audacity to contradict her. She pulled her hands out from beneath his and stood up. Even kneeling, he was at eye level with her, which pissed her off even more. “I don’t need your help or anyone else. I’m sick and tired of people coddling me. I don’t need to talk about any of this. What do you want me to say? I was scared? Weak? Unable to defend myself? I hate getting looked upon like some little child that needs protection? I am twenty-two years old. I understand a lot more than people think. Give me a little credit that I know what I’m doing.”

Stepping forward with her finger pointed, she gritted her teeth. “And you. You didn’t listen to me. I told you not to enter the cell, but you did, and look what happened. Bakari felt threatened and confused. Instead of backing off, like I told you, you came in wielding a cattle prod. Thank you for making his first recollections of freedom so memorable.” The pent up anger surged through her body, and she slapped his face.

She gasped. Never in her entire life had she hit someone. Although Bomani didn’t flinch, a welt the size of her handprint rose on his ebony skin. Kendra covered her mouth with her hands. “Oh, my God.”

Much to her shock, Bomani smiled. “It is not good to hold things in, trust me on that.”

Touching her fingertips to his swollen cheek, she frowned. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t stop myself. I shouldn’t have said what I did. I know you were trying to protect me.”

“I will not let anyone hurt you. I do not care who they are.”

Taking a deep breath, Kendra felt the weight lift off her body. Her headache lessened slightly. “It’s not nice to bait me.”

He tried to suppress his smile by looking to the ground. “Yeah, well. It is good to let things out once in a while.” His face took on a very serious expression. “If you need anything or want to talk, I will be there for you.”

Kendra leaned forward and kissed the cheek she assaulted. “I will. Thank you.”

Bomani’s jaw twitched and his brows furrowed slightly. Clearing his throat, he rose up to his full height. “Anytime.” He returned to his position along the wall.

She looked at her nightgown, which looked like the latest victim of a slasher movie. Blood and black dirt were smeared from shoulder to hem.

She slipped off the bed and headed toward the bathroom. Twenty-four hours seemed like days. She stripped off her cotton gown and dropped it to the floor.

The image staring back at her from the gold mirror didn’t look like her at all. She stepped closer until she was mere inches from the reflective surface. She understood why her sister looked so alarmed. The dark circles under her eyes stood out against her unnaturally pale skin. Amongst the large curls that framed her face, white locks of hair intertwined with auburn. “Holy cow.”

Something definitely happened in that cell when she blacked out. It went beyond him absorbing energy to feed his soul. Her fingertips trembled, as she brushed over the hieroglyphic embedded into her skin above her heart.

The mark of a scorpion. His mark.   

Chapter Fourteen
 

His captors left Bakari to stew behind hell’s bars. He paced the length of the black stone. Kendra waited for him to rescue her. Yes, rescue her. They had taken her against her will. She cried out to him. Didn’t she? He clasped his temple in a failed attempt to control the torrid flood of thoughts and memories.

Who was he kidding? He saw the fear in her eyes and heard the panic in her voice. He was the monster. But, why would she touch him if he was so hideous? Gods, he wanted to feel her caress again. So soft and soothing.

No. Pain.

He leaned against the wall and slid into a crouch in the dark corner again. He cared not that the stone cut lacerations into his back. Fisting his hair by the roots, he rocked. The anguish too much to bear, he moaned. Kendra was his only respite. He had to find her. After five years of torture, he was willing to do anything to get to her.

Mastering the ability to induce a trance to escape his misery, he slipped into the darkness of his mind. The ability to walk in the dreamscape was a genetic gift from his mother. A mother who was simply a surrogate and vessel for Asar’s offspring. He never minded not knowing her. His father had more than made up for it. In return Bakari betrayed him in the most despicable way.  

BOOK: Soul Awakened
9.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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