“The humans are coming farther into the forest. Their fires are destroying much of the land.”
“Aatto, take in the animals that can reach us. We can offer sanctuary to those who can. I’ll go out and make more sanctuaries in different countries. At least those who make it to sanctuary will survive.”
The attractive man that Rocque addressed nodded. “Vlad has asked for a meeting. He wants sanctuary for his vampires.”
“Tell him I’ll meet him in the morning. So far, Vlad has been able to keep his vampires in control, but as the fires are increasing, it’s not leaving many places for them to hide. If the humans can’t gain control of themselves, they’re going to have more to worry about than roving gangs. They’re going to find themselves dinner to a pissed off vampire.”
“Are you going to help Vlad?” Destiny couldn’t contain her curiosity.
Rocque’s hard face turned to her. “No, I won’t endanger my wolves. You can’t contain two beasts together and not expect them to attack each other.”
“You don’t have to give them sanctuary to help them. You could help the humans.”
“I don’t interfere with human’s lives; that’s Mother’s domain.”
“At this point, I’m sure Mother wouldn’t care. She needs all the help she can get.”
“She won’t interfere for the same reason I won’t. The humans have free will. Their destruction may have been started by Morgana, Zeus, and Dionysus, but the humans are killing anything within their sight, using it as an excuse to rob and loot. That’s all on them now. If I became involved every time the humans were on the brink of their own destruction, there wouldn’t be a living plant or seed left. I don’t have the power to save them. Only Mother does.”
“She can’t do it alone. You and Vlad could work together,” Destiny argued.
“Vlad won’t sacrifice his vampires any more than I will my forests.”
“So, you’re just going to sit back and watch?”
He raised a brow. “When have the gods done anything else?” The lord was determined to protect his forest and his pack.
As much as she wanted to continue arguing with him, she could understand where he was coming from. She would protect her family at whatever costs. The animals and forests he protected had suffered at human’s hands for centuries. Forests had been destroyed to make room for buildings and structures that were often left empty and alone after the humans made more to attract their waning attention. It was a vicious cycle.
Destiny didn’t say anything else, simply listening. Their affection was easily visible. They were always touching or brushing against each other.
When Rocque left the table, he ran his hand down the bitch’s hair. Then, when he took a seat on a large couch, the bitch sat down beside him, Aatto sat down on his other side, and the rest took seats around the couch, some sitting on the floor, leaning up against those who sat on the couch.
They talked about the areas where Rocque should open sanctuaries as he and the others reached out, stroking the one next to them. The touching thing was beginning to wear on her nerves.
“It’s time to go to bed. Vlad will want to meet before the sun rises.” Rocque rose, stretching.
“Where am I going to sleep?” Destiny asked.
“My bedroom. It’s where we all sleep.”
“That’s not going to happen.”
“Yes, Destiny, it is. You’ll get used to it.”
“I’ll sleep on the couch.”
“You’ll sleep with me.” Taking her hand, he tugged her along with him into a massive bedroom that was much longer than the main room. There was one massive, round bed and smaller ones of various sizes placed around room.
Aatto and a small blond woman went to lay on one round bed. The other men took the others.
Tandy placed her knee on the large one where Rocque had lain down when he had released her hand, and Destiny’s hand snaked out, burying it in the bitch’s long hair.
“Find another bed.”
Tandy jerked her hair away. “I sleep with Rocque.” Her eyes glowed with feral light.
“Not anymore. If I must sleep with him, that means you need to find another bed. Of course, if Rocque says I can sleep in the other room, you can have him all to yourself.”
The two women turned to Rocque, waiting for his decision.
“Tandy, sleep with Dai.”
“Rocque, I’ve always slept with you.”
“Let’s give Destiny time to get used to us.”
“The world will end before that happens.” Destiny lay down on the bed, making sure she stayed well away from Rocque, as Tandy shot the empty space next to him a wistful glance.
Callously, Destiny didn’t feel any sympathy for the whining bitch. If her and Rocque were an item, the woman should have helped her get away from him. She had no desire to stay with Rocque and his friends.
Curling into a tight ball, she managed to fall asleep when the lights turned off.
When she woke in the morning, it was still dark and the bedroom was empty. Destiny explored the cabin until they came back.
Their dour expressions had her biting back questions as Tandy and Brea made breakfast, while the men gathered at the table with maps.
“What are you searching for?” She looked over their shoulders, thinking they were discussing the forests that Rocque would make sanctuaries, but Rocque was pointing at small towns that Destiny knew had nothing left in them.
“A town where Vlad and his vampires can be safe until the humans retain order. If we don’t find a place, Vlad won’t be able to keep his vampires from killing. Once the vampires go on a rampage and the humans realize what’s been in their midst, the vampires will see no need to remain hidden and will go on a rampage, taking over what is left of earth.”
Destiny peered at the top of the map. Scanning between Rocque and Dai, she reached forward and pulled another map out from underneath the top one.
Studying the map that showed small towns, she pointed at one. “It’s mountainous, so the gangs won’t roam there. The town became completely deserted when trucks couldn’t get through with food. It’s cold there until the summer months. If they can make it there, they should be safe. It’s also heavily wooded. If you offered your protections, the trees could cut off anyone from entering and you could keep the animals away so they’ll be safe also.”
Rocque critically studied the map. “What should they do for food? If it’s completely shut off, how are they supposed to feed?”
Destiny was disgusted by what she was about to suggest. “There is one gang that has been terrorizing Broni. Vlad could take them as prisoners and keep them as a food source until it’s safe for them to return home.”
“You’re suggesting Vlad take human captives?” Rocque wasn’t disgusted by her idea.
“From the crimes they’ve been committing, their humanity is skin deep. Even an animal wouldn’t kill unless it’s hungry or threatened. Vlad is responsible for a dying race. What is left is a few hundred and twenty-four of their children. If feeding that group of marauders to the vampires keeps them alive, I won’t be sleeping any less over it. And I can’t imagine Mother would, either.”
“Aatto, contact Vlad and tell him Destiny’s suggestion.”
“I’ll contact him now. It’ll take a few days for them to reach the group that she’s talking about and find a way to transport their captives. Then they’ll need to find a way to travel in the darkness with them to the Colorado mountains.”
Destiny folded the maps together to make a place for Tandy to set the food down. The woman gave a thankful glance.
“I know a way, but you’ll have to release me to see if it’s feasible. If we have a few days before the vampires attack the marauders, that should give us enough time to talk to Broni and Rhys.”
“Good try, but I’m not letting you go.”
Frustrated, she threw the maps at the arrogant lord. “They won’t give up those RVs that are surrounding the clubhouse
they’re living in without me asking. It’s their only escape from the city.”
“Then Vlad can make his way to Colorado without our help.”
“Can you say, with absolute certainty, that if Vlad and his vampires see them, they won’t take them without permission? Rhys and his men are immortal. We’ll just be making matters worse. If you let me go, I can talk Broni and Rhys into giving them a few to make the trip without jeopardizing their safety.”
Rocque crumpled the maps in his hands. “This is why I don’t interfere.”
“I give my word I’ll come back as soon as Rhys gives them the RVs and the vampires leave.”
“We’ll both go, but I expect you to keep your word, Destiny. If you think to ask Rhys for help, I guarantee there will be a bloodbath, and it won’t come from the vampires’ fangs.”
“I keep my word.”
“Then we won’t have a problem, will we?” Rocque pulled out one of the chairs, gesturing for her to take a seat.
Sitting, they ate the simple food that Tandy and Brea had fixed.
“They leave tomorrow night,” Aatto said as he returned from talking to Vlad, taking a seat.
“We’ll leave in the morning.” Rocque placed a large slice of venison on Destiny’s plate, then a huge spoonful of potatoes and a slice of bread, before filling his own plate.
Destiny stared down at the meat in dismay, bile churning in her stomach. “I don’t eat meat.”