“Not yet.” Kellis hesitated. “They caught the demon. Mak kept him alive. They are going to be questioning him soon. Theo asked to be included in the interrogation specifically. You aren’t the first to be attacked by demons in the last few weeks. His female has also been targeted. Demons don’t want her daughter to be born. She will be exceptionally powerful someday.”
“But why did they target me? That is what I don’t understand. H-he said something to me: The queen must never live. I have no idea what that m-means.”
Ambrea’s face paled. She stepped closer to the bed. She wasn’t an exceptionally strong seer, but she saw enough at times. “It means the future is coming, Jume. I don’t know enough of what your part will be. Just that it is going to be our time when it does.”
“What do you mean?”
“There have been legends. Passed down through the Woald. It has something to do with the creation of our people, with the war with the Lupoiux, with the goddess and how she is to be freed. What it will set into motion. And it will involve so many of the Woald. I was hoping it was far in the future. That we would have time to prepare more fully,” Ambrea said softly. She sank to the bed beside me. “I will have to find the journals Mama kept. She was a far more gifted seer than I am. The Sebastos blood was stronger in her.”
We are Theo’s cousins through our father and his mother, but somewhere back in the line, there was another female Woald who found her male in the Sebastos line. I’m not sure of it. That was one reason I signed up for History of Families.
I want to know more about being Woald. But that is for later.
For now… “Am I going to die young?”
It was the hardest question I have ever asked my sister.
And now I waited for her answer.
“I don’t know. I can’t see your fate. Or Julea’s, or Riv’s, or Kellis’s. I can see hints of Alaun’s. None of my own. I know Alaun—she will be happy, but she will hurt first. And Alleah’s is still in flux, while she is so young,” Ambrea said quietly. “I suspect that a lot of us get hints about what is going to happen to us. Feelings. But are those premonitions or just some vague instinct, or something we’re imagining? I don’t know yet.”
“I don’t have a Rajni.” I said it. Probably because of what had happened. I just can’t keep the secret any longer.
“What did you say?” Kellis asked, slowly.
“I said: I don’t have a Rajni. Maryin Sebastos told me years ago. And she likes to rub that in whenever our paths cross. So that means…I’m fated to die before I find him.” I looked at my sisters, a rush of love flooding me. They are my world, my family. My everything. “I’m fated to die. And I just know it.”
“Then so am I,” Kellis said bluntly. “Because I don’t have a Rajni, either. And that bitch Maryin didn’t have to tell me that, either. I have known since the moment I came of age. But that doesn’t mean I’m fated to die young, Jume. Any more than it means that you are. It’s just…we have a different destiny waiting for us out there. I don’t know what it is, but it’s out there. And it terrifies me.”
“You just have to find it,” Ambrea said, tears flowing unchecked down her cheeks. “Why didn’t you ever tell me?”
“Because I was ashamed at first. I have seen how those without fated mates are treated. Maryin Sebastos—”
“Is nothing more than a dried-up, pruny bitch,” Kellis said bluntly. Those two had never liked one another one bit. “She is jealous of you. And always has been.”
“Why on earth would she be jealous of me?”
‘”We’ll talk about that later,” Kellis said. “I think we need to get back to the issue at hand. Why in the three hells was a demon after you?”
“I have no clue.” I leaned back against the pillows once more, suddenly exhausted.
Someone knocked on the door, cutting off Kellis’s next question. My sister was extremely good at interrogation, after all. I just didn’t feel up to answering her questions. Not when I don’t have the answers myself.
I looked up.
Just as the Jareth Equa and the Second Healer, Barlaam, entered the room.
Lead settled in my stomach. They would have questions for me. Questions I definitely cannot answer…
Because I don’t have those answers for myself.
I’m not certain that I ever will.