sacrifice of love Page 67

“We aren’t asking for you to fight,” Peri explained. “We need you to think,” Ainsel’s head tilted to the side at the odd request. Peri explained to him all about the riddle and then waited silently for his response.

“And you only have two days to figure this out?” he asked her.

“The clock is ticking,” Costin said and tried to keep the growl out of his voice. He must not have succeeded because Peri turned and gave him a look that said she would cause him bodily harm if he didn’t shut up.

“I will do what I can to help, Perizada. I owe the wolves that much if not more.”

Peri clapped her hands together. “Great! Okay, so do we need to go to your archives?”

“Would we even fit?” Wadim asked from behind Peri.

Ainsel didn’t seem to be offended by the question and answered, “We don’t keep our history on paper. Some of our kind are blessed with the ability to hold great amounts of information and they bare the history of our people.”

“They remember all of it?” Wadim’s tone said he was impressed.

Ainsel nodded. “I will bring them here. Because no, you wouldn’t fit in my kingdom,” he told Wadim with a small smile.

The pixies disappeared into the forest silently leaving Peri and the two wolves.

“So I’ve been running the riddle through my head over and over and the first line I think is actually pretty simple,” Wadim said as he sat down leaning his back against a large tree trunk. “'Home to many', I would think that would mean people, since he uses the reference of home.”

Peri nodded, “I’m listening,”

“Then the second part, 'held deep in my embrace', makes me think, they are in the ground.”

“A cemetery?” Costin asked.

Peri thought about it, “A cemetery might work for the second line, but the third and fourth line don’t make sense if that’s the answer.”

“I was thinking a battlefield,” Wadim said.

Peri snapped her fingers, “'Dead bodies in the ground, many of them.' Wadim you’re brilliant!”

“You aren’t going to hug me are you?” he asked her.

Peri’s eyes narrowed, “Do I look like a hugger?”

Wadim shook his head quickly.

“So it’s a battlefield or someplace where lots of people died and their bodies stayed there until the land took them. But why would the second line say greatness, along with treachery and demise?”

“Greatness does not always equate to good,” Ainsel said as he once again came walking out of the woods. Only two other pixies were with him this time. “This is Sully and Dorri. They are the holders of the memories of our history.”

“How do we get the memories out of them?” Costin asked lookingat the two female pixies curiously.

“You don’t shake them if that’s what you’re thinking,” Peri snapped.

Costin blushed slightly, revealing that it had indeed crossed his mind.

“They must choose to give them to you, and you have to ask the right question to get the memory. They don’t just give out memories like fae bread.”

Costin frowned, “Is that supposed to be significant?”

Peri groaned, “Bloody hell man, fae bread to pixies is like beer to humans. It makes them very happy little people.”

Costin nodded as he made an ‘ah’ sound in understanding.

Peri took a seat on the ground and looked at Ainsel waiting for him to give the okay to the two girls.

“It’s important that you ask specific questions. That will make it easier on them to narrow it down,” Ainsel explained.

Peri nodded, “Got it, specific. Great, I only have thousands of years to sift through.” She closed her eyes and thought about the first two lines of the riddle and how they had decided that they felt it was a battleground of some sort.

Her eyes opened and she looked at Sully. “What battlegrounds in supernatural history bore the most death?”

“Good one,” Wadim muttered his approval.

Sully walked over to Peri, her small stature barely reaching the fae’s knee. She placed her tiny hand on the skin of Peri’s hand and looked directly into the fae’s eyes.

Peri’s breath caught as images swam in her mind, first they moved so fast she could barely make any sense of them and then gradually they began to slow down until they were moving at a pace that she was able to discern what she saw. So much blood shed, so many battles and all for what, she thought to herself as the images continued to run through her mind like a movie. Gradually they slowed again until there were two that seemed to repeat themselves over and over. Then suddenly a third image showed up but it was distorted so much that she could not make out what it was. The three images repeated over and over and she repeated in her mind, the most death, hoping it would cause one of them to finally be singled out among them. And then they stopped and the only image left in her mind was of a picture that looked as though the lens of the camera had been severely out of focus when it was taken.

“Dammit!” She blew out a breath and the pixie stepped back. “Thank you,” Peri told Sully gently.

“I take it that to the fae the word dammit also means that something severely sucks.” Costin said.

Peri looked up at him with a single brow raised. “If you mean severely sucks as in the one image that seems to hold the most deaths is so blurry that all I can tell is that there might have been something resembling a place at one time, then yes the dammit holds true.”