Tieran stilled as a discordant vibe washed over his entire body. He had seconds before Cassandra’s scream echoed through his mind.
He gripped his head with both hands and for a moment went completely blind. He stumbled and Jandin caught him before he crashed into the wall. “What is it?” he asked.
“Cassandra,” Tieran answered, pushing off his brother and running at a full tilt to her bedroom with Jandin and Koris close behind.
He burst through the door, shattering the jamb into pieces to find Cassandra crumpled in a ball, her arms cradling her belly as if to protect her babies.
“Oh Goddess, no.” He scooped her from the floor and laid her gently on the bed. When he released her body, he realized she was leaking blood.
“Woman’s blood,” Jandin said, worried as he looked to Koris. “Get the vampire. He knows the most about Breeding Females. Where is Iona?” Koris immediately split the room, fast as his beastly strength could take him.
“Gone until tonight. Damn the old woman for her stubborn ways. She wouldn’t tell me where she was going or why,” Tieran nearly shouted in his fear. He leaned in smoothed her forehead with his palm. “Cassandra, talk to me. Open your eyes. Tell me what is wrong. What should I do?”
Jandin leaned in, his nostril flaring. “There is something here…something that shouldn’t be.” He followed the scent to the nightstand and inhaled sharply. “Something was here…in this spot. Wolfsbane. Brother…” he looked at Tieran, shock in his expression. “Someone has poisoned your True Mate and the Prophesied One. Goddess help us…who would do such a thing?”
Tieran heard Jandin’s horrified question and realized with a sinking heart he knew the answer. “Serra,” he said, closing his eyes. “It was Serra.”
“No,” Jandin breathed, unable to believe it. “Serra is a good woman, a strong and loyal member of Clan Barrachius. It had to be someone else.”
“It was Serra,” Tieran said sharply. “I told her that Cassandra is my True Mate and she didn’t believe me. I had to send her away for her own good, so she could heal and move on. I did her a kindness and she repaid me with pain.” Tieran rose, his fists clenching. “I will kill her if Cassandra dies.”
“Brother, your justice must wait. Cassandra needs you right now. We will find Serra. She will answer for her crime but for now…we must find a way to help Cassandra.”
Tieran’s blood raged for vengeance but he realized the wisdom in Jandin’s advice and choked down his need to tear Serra limb from limb for her treachery.
Cristophe entered the room and went straight to Cassandra. Tieran suffered the vampire’s presence and the knowledge that Cassandra had been intimate with the blood sucker only because Cristophe seemed bound to aid by the Gods’ hand to guide the prophecy.
Otherwise, Tieran never would’ve allowed Cristophe to remain in the compound. That, and Cassandra seemed to enjoy the vampire’s dry wit even if Tieran found him tedious and irritating.
“Wolfsbane,” Cristophe spat the word as if he’d tasted the poison himself. “Someone has poisoned her.”
“We’ve figured that out ourselves, vampire,” Tieran said, glowering. “What can we do for her?”
“Nothing.” Cristophe tested her pulse and grimaced at her sluggish beat. “Wolfsbane almost always takes its victim. And if it doesn’t kill Cassandra, it will most certainly cause her to abort the twins.”
“No,” Tieran uttered the word as his heart cracked in two, not only for Cassandra but for the babies he had yet to meet. “Do something.”
“I can do nothing. Wolfsbane was the poison we used on the breeding females when the need arose. I’m sorry. We’d need a miracle.” Cristophe’s stricken expression mirrored that of Tieran and Jandin. “Maybe the Gods will favor us.”
“And maybe they have forsaken us,” Tieran countered bitterly.
Cristophe said nothing; his expression said it all.