(Link to part 43)
Creston's eyes glittered with joy and anger. Darman, I told myself. Uncle. He wanted to kill me because I had killed his son.
Except it wasn't that easy of an answer now.
"I'm sorry I killed your son," I began, trying to feel my way through this new problem.
"Son!" He gave a hooting laugh. "That creature was no blood of mine. I don't mate with human animals."
My hands curled into fists. No use saying anything to this person. The rifle was still steady. He was going to kill me. After all I'd been through to get here, my enemy walked in right behind me and would finish the job.
"No, Darman. You are not going to do this."
Lord Cayman stepped forward. Lord Snow crouched on his haunches, his lips curled in a snarl that made him look so much like an animal in the wild, that I took a step away from him.
"You're too late to stop me, brother," Darman said. His voice almost purred. "I've set matters in motion, and this bastard halfling is not going to be any help."
"What have you done?" Cayman said, his voice gone soft.
I could feel power moving through the area, a wave of warmth that grew to heat with the emotions of all the others in the area getting out of control. Lord Cayman looked at the gallery to the right and gave a wave of his hand. I still hadn't seen what might be there, but in a moment the emotions eased back and I felt as though I could breathe again.
Darman smiled. I had never seen so evil a look before. Knowing now that he wasn't even human made it all the worse. How had I not seen it before? But then I hadn't seen it in myself, either.
I had no idea what to do. The rifle remained aimed at me, even when he looked away. I suspected he was trying to lure me into doing something unwise. I wasn't going to be that easy to trick.
"I was a long time over the other side," he said suddenly. I could hear the contempt in his voice. "I had seen, you know. I have the gift too. I knew you had sired some half-breed on a willing mare --"
My hands formed into fists once more, but I was suddenly aware that he was not aiming this at me. Lord Cayman -- my father -- took a step up beside me, and I saw in his face the same hatred that I felt. Odd to feel so akin to him suddenly.
"What have you done?" Lord Cayman asked again, and this time I felt a wave of worry from him, strong enough to almost be a power. This wasn't good.
"Little Tommy Creston was not my only project, you know. I knew there was a child of your blood over there somewhere. I started by making something I thought would draw him out. Then I realized I could do more. I could build an army of weres and bring them back across when I was ready to take over Elsewhere."
I thought about Tommy and what he had done, killing those others. Had he left those creatures loose in my world? In my human world -- I still felt a connection to that place, even though I'd been here for days now. I couldn't go back and be what I had been -- but I couldn't leave them defenseless against those creatures.
Protector. It was my purpose.
And the rifle never turned away from me, the muzzle pointed unerringly at my heart. Magic, I supposed, perhaps fueled by nothing more than his hatred of me.
"You cannot win," Cayman said. He had taken a step forward, his fingers brushing against my arm in a warning to stay back. "Killing my son will not win you my position. I'll make certain of that, Darman."
"Killing the boy is only secondary now," he said with a laugh. "You haven't been listening. I went across to kill your whelp, but I learned I could do far better than simply make certain you had no heir. No, I'm going to kill him simply for the joy of watching you, brother. And then I'm going to return to the other side and kill his bitch mother and all her other children, just for the joy of it --"
He had failed to take two things into account. First was that the rifle stayed aimed at me, his hand on the trigger -- and not at my father. He had taunted us both with those words, but Lord Cayman moved first, shouting words of power and sending a bolt of pure lightning that surely would have killed Darman. Instead, he waved it away, but his finger moved on the trigger at the same time. I'd expected it. I threw myself down and to the side, thinking the water would be better if I could make it that far. I didn't have much hope of moving faster than a bullet though.
And this is where Darman learned the second thing he had not taken into account.
I had allies.
Three things happened at once.
Maggie stopped the bullet, just as she had that first day.
Lord Snow roared and rushed forward leaping past me.
Davis shoved me down to the ground. I was aware that the bullet went past a heartbeat later, still too damned close. The lightning my father had fired was deflected away and shot up into the ceiling. Bits of stone fell along with a scattering of lights that burnt when one touched my arm. Magic filled the area from everywhere. I could barely see anything.
Edmond leapt past me and launched himself at Darman, just as Lord Snow had. I scrambled to my feet, a hand on Davis and a nod of thanks. I could barely see now --
And then we heard the ceiling crack.
Everyone stopped and looked upward.
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