“Hold on,” he yelled to anyone who could hear.
Liz couldn’t control her horse. She reared and tossed her to the ground. She scrambled out of the way of hooves and sprang to her feet. Men pressed forward, swords once again crashed against each other and fire flew in the air.
She ducked an arrow and found Tara huddled next to Amber.
“We need to get behind the fortress so Grainna can’t escape,” Amber told them.
“Is that her plan?”
Amber shook her head. “Aye, that and to kill us all.” Liz noticed one of their men struggling with an enemy and assisted him with a little magic. Myra scrambled toward them and pushed another man from his horse with a wave of her hand.
“What’s the plan?”
“Over there.” Liz noticed a break in the men and a clear path beyond Grainna’s hiding space.
They started toward the entrance.
Wait for me.
The voice belonged to Simon, but when she looked down, he had already taken the form of a wolf. Before she could protest, he bounded forward and led the way.
Grainna wasn’t expecting any approach from the seaside. Simon picked his way along the side of her fortress, Liz and the others followed. Once they reached what looked like an entrance they realized the door was only an illusion, most likely magical.
Liz beat her fist on the solid brick. “Dammit.”
“We can’t move to the front, she’ll see us.”
“Maybe we should retreat.”
Lora gasped and pointed above their heads.
Liz stifled a scream. Above them was a vision in white. Familiar, but not the Ancient who’d visited them before.
“It’s Tatiana,” Amber cried.
“Ghosts? Oh, Christ.” Liz shivered.
A floating cloud surrounding her sprit pointed farther beyond the cliffs and beckoned them to come.
“What should we do?” Amber asked.
Simon lunged forward and shifted from wolf to falcon in one leap.
His wings caught the air and flew beyond the ghost.
There’s a window over here, he told his mother.
How are we all going to get up there?
Duh! Fly. Hold everyone’s hands.
Liz shrugged. She’d manage to hover during the rat attack, keeping four of them elevated.
Is the path clear?
Simon flew out of sight for a few seconds before telling her yes.
“Looks like we’re going for a ride.” She placed her hands out, palms up.
“Then what?” Myra asked. “We fly up there, find Grainna? Then what?”
Liz met her frightened eyes, her jaw set. “We kick some serious ass.”
Myra started to comment again.
“No. No doubt. This is it, Myra. We’ve all felt it.
Today this is over.”
Tara nodded and said, “I can’t go my entire life looking over my shoulder, worrying for my son’s life.”
Liz sent her sister a wry smile and accepted her hand in hers.
One by one, each of them nodded before grasping hands.
“Don’t let go.”
Liz concentrated until all of them hovered above the sea cliff and found their feet planted inside Grainna’s keep.
The noise of the battle outside ran through all of them.
Liz knew from experience that neither Lora nor Tara would ask their husbands how the fight fared.
Any distraction from them could prove deadly.
Instead, their small party followed the ghost of Tatiana as she led the way through the maze of soggy passages to their ultimate enemy.
Fin pulled his sword from the warrior who’d fought him. Like the others, victory only came when it wasn’t your hide bleeding in the dirt and on the brush. These men didn’t die for the greater good of their liege or clan. They had died in vain.
Drawing up beside him, Cian followed Duncan.
The majority of men fell, some still fought, but the enemy’s strength dwindled.
Fin’s eyes shot to where they’d left the women.
Some still stood, fire shooting from their hands and others appeared to be wielding some other gift.
Peering closer, he realized that none of the women resembled Liz. He looked closer. His mother wasn’t among them either.
“Where are our women?”
Duncan pointed to small gathering of ladies.
“Look again, brother.”
Alarm filled Duncan’s face, his eyes shot toward the keep.
Fin didn’t wait for an explanation. He knew his brother spoke with his wife inside his head. Kicking his horse, Fin raced to the walls of the keep.
Following the ghost of Tatiana through the dark chambers and long halls of the forgotten fortress prickled Liz’s spine. “Where are we going? Seems we’re moving down and not up to where Grainna is.”
They had been moving down several flights of stairs. Once in a while, they’d travel up one, but the majority were below the entrance they’d taken.
Tatiana hovered over a large ornate door. She floated thought the wood, disappeared, and then shimmered in front of them again.
“In there? We need to go inside?” Amber asked.
Tatiana nodded and floated beyond the heavy barrier.
Liz grasped the handle of the chamber and pushed. Nothing happened.
She pressed her shoulder against it again.
“What’s Grainna hiding in there?”
“Must be important.”
Myra stepped forward. “Move back.”
Myra forced both of her hands over her head, springing the door off its hinge and across the room.
“Bitchin’,” Liz cried, not able to contain her lift in her heart with the display of Myra’s powers.
They entered what must have been Grainna’s lair. No other way could describe her private chambers.
Layers upon layers of fabric ran the length of the walls, a massive bed sat in the middle of the room, but the mattress held no dip. Liz wondered if the woman ever slept. A fireplace filled one wall, another held shelves with flasks and containers holding untold things.
Tatiana waved a ghostly hand over a chessboard. There her wispy trails of smoke merged with a magical fog layered over the players.
Liz stared down at the game, eyes creased. She lifted her gaze to Tatiana. “What? What is this?”
Tatiana bent to the board, brought her hands to her mouth, and tried to blow. Without breath, nothing came from her lips. She repeated the action twice and then tried to wave a hand over the pieces.
The fog still settled. Never lifting, never moving.
“Blow?” Liz asked.