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Call of Night
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True love never dies.
Not even when those around me are trying to kill it. With vampire bounty hunters still out for me, having the Grand Coven accuse me of treason against witches is the last thing I need. No one should tell me who I can and cannot love.
Determined not to let anyone or anything get in our way, Lucas and I decide to lay low for a while and let everything blow over with my coven while Lucas hunts for the vampires who tried to kidnap me. But things, of course, don’t go according to plan, and when I stumble upon an ancient evil force hiding out in the underground of Chicago, we realize our forbidden romance is the least of our worries.
As we search for a way to defeat unbeatable odds, I start to discover that things aren’t what they seem…including my very existence.
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My heart hammers in my chest. It’s racing, beating so fast it should hurt, but everything moves in slow motion. Blood sloshes through my veins and every single nerve in my body prickles with anxiety.
How do you plead?
I blink, swallow the lump of vomit that’s rising in my throat and look at the witches standing before me. Ruth from the Grand Coven is at the podium at our altar, and the council members behind her don’t look too sure of themselves. Even Ruby Darrows, who’s hated me since the day she met me, is looking at Ruth in question.
Ruth crosses her arms as she waits for me to answer her question, only it’s not a question. It’s a confession. One I’m actually completely guilty of.
I did show Lucas where the door to the Covenstead was.
I do let him drink my blood.
The first crime is punishable by death, but the second isn’t. Though I suppose if you combine the two… My eyes slam shut, and I part my lips, but my mouth is suddenly too dry to form words. Somewhere in the back of my mind, the rational part of my brain is screaming at me. This isn’t right. This isn’t how things are done.
No one is brought in and immediately questioned like this. I have a right to a fair trial, and it’s not like Lucas has threatened any witches. The Grand Coven is taking this threat more seriously than they did the hunter—which turned out to be a demon. And in that case, many witches did die.
Speaking of the Grand Coven… I look behind Ruth. She’s the only one here. How did she get here so fast? Tabatha only called on the Grand Coven a few hours ago. There’s no way she was able to get here that quickly, unless she was already here.
My mouth falls open again and I suck in air. Witch law is similar to human law, and I don’t have to say anything without first consulting my own defensive council. There was no warning, no serving of paperwork.
“Well, Ms. Martin?” Ruth leans over the podium.
I clamp my mouth shut again and try to think straight. So many thoughts race through my head with the most prevalent one being I’m so fucked. I’m too rattled to protest, to state my rights and remind the others in the council that partaking in a trial like this is against our laws as well. Our numbers are dwindling, and sentencing another witch to death is not something to just throw about like this. It’s debated amongst the entire Grand Coven as well as a panel of non-biased coven leaders from across the country.
Ruby’s brows pinch together, and she shifts her weight in her chair. She’s always hated me, but would she actually go so far as encourage my death? I have a feeling I’m going to find out before dawn.
Suddenly, the double doors at the back of the gathering hall fly open.
“What is the meaning of this?” Tabatha storms in, brown eyes flashing with anger.
“High Priestess,” Ruth says, a small smile pulling up the corners of her lips. “Very timely of you to make it. I summoned you nearly an hour ago. Are you aware one of your witches has exposed the door to the Covenstead to a vampire, putting us all at risk? The same witch has allowed vampires to drink her blood. Willingly.”
“You have no proof of the crimes you accuse her of. And even if so, this is not the way things are done.” Tabatha stops next to me and puts her hand on my shoulder. “Those are heavy crimes with fatal sentencing. You know the proper channels necessary to go through to accuse a witch of treason on that level.”
“As a member of the Grand Coven, I feel it is of utmost importance to have these crimes investigated as soon as possible. Is your Academy’s history department lacking or have you simply forgotten about the War of Light and Dark? Vampires are our enemies. If one got in…” She clicks her tongue and shakes her head.
“He’d be burned alive before he made it through the warding,” Tabatha says, voice strong. “And you know it. Our Covenstead is protected.”
“From one vampire, yes, but let’s not be foolish. A mass attack would break through, and there’s no telling what they’d do to us. Protecting the coven is always my first priority, as it should be yours.” Ruth sweeps her hand out at the council members behind her. Their eyes flit from Ruth to Tabatha, and I know they are all struggling with where to put their loyalty. Tabatha is our High Priestess. She knows us on a personal level. She’s helped each and every one of us at some point or another.
Ruth is more or less a stranger. She doesn’t know our names or what type of familiar the kids hope to get when they come of age. But she’s a member of the Grand Coven and has more authority than anyone else in this room.