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Tristan looked at the couple sitting on the couch. He could see the mate bond connecting them. It was a glowing bronze and he knew as their bond deepened it would change through silver to a chain of brilliant gold. He pushed down a thread of jealousy, he had searched for his mate for centuries and he was still looking. He didn’t care what his mate was; shifter, mage, vampire, male, female, inter-sex, tall, short…He just wanted to be loved the way he could see Kitryn and Simon loved each other. To know there was someone who would put him first in everything and would love him for him and not his family name, his money, or his position with the High Council.
More people entered and Elder Patrick motioned him over to meet them. He pasted on his politician smile and—who was that?
Patrick’s voice broke through his shock. “Elder Tristan, this is Elder Carl of the Jade Coven. Now if everyone can please take a seat we can get down to business.”
Tristan sat next to Elder Carl and tried to keep his attention on Patrick as he laid out the problems they were having. In addition to what they called ‘The Cheryl Problem’, they also had a being possibly trying to sway their newest seer’s power. These people really were magnets for trouble.
When they’d finished telling him the story Tristan sat back with a sigh—and tried to ignore the sparks that went through his arm when it brushed Elder Carl.
“I can do what Meg is asking and boost Fran’s power to be able to see more and for longer. However, I believe we should deal with the issue of her uninvited visitor first. Has anyone spoken to her and asked her at least who this visitor appears as? And has anyone disturbed her room since the last visitation? I may be able to get a residual energy signature that may tell us at least what visited.”
Kitryn seemed relieved. “No one has been near the room since Meg saw what she thought was Fran’s mother.” Tristan nodded, so the visitor was taking a form the child would be most likely to trust. Kitryn continued, “No one has spoken to her about the visit because we didn’t want to scare or upset her. She has long lost her mother. To then be told the being visiting her may not be her mother could cause her to grieve all over again.”
Tristan saw his point but— “You do realize that with her power Fran would probably sense if something a threat to her. The visitor may not be her mother, but from the sounds of it, it isn’t malevolent. However, everyone can be wrong, and I will, of course, make sure your little seer is as safe as I can make her.
“Now, has anyone thought of putting wards around the den to ensure the protection of everyone inside? I don’t mind doing it, my companions who accompanied me can help with the power I’d need.”
Patrick gave him an innocent smile—that Tristan didn’t believe for one second and his senses went on alert.
“Vampires can help mages with power as well. Or so I’ve heard. What do you think Carl?” Patrick and most of the group turned to Carl. Tristan was too busy glaring at Patrick. He knew the shifter was up to something. But what?
“Yes, vampires can help with power. But only as a conduit. We make it easier for a mage to draw power from non-mage beings by acting as a bridge.” Carl’s voice was smooth as fine whiskey and Tristan fought the urge to get the man to say more so could keep listening.
Another voice broke into his quickly spiraling thoughts.
“A bridge? How does that work?” The question came from Simon. Tristan thought he must be missing some of the story. How did even a new vampire not know the basics of their kind? If Carl was his sire, as Tristan assumed he was, then the elder was neglecting his duties.
Carl was answering the young male. “I just have to be touching the mage and the being they want to draw power from. I can also break the connection at any time if I think the source person is being drained too far to be safe.”
Simon nodded and Kitryn whispered in his mate’s ear. Simon nodded again and leaned back, snuggling into Kitryn’s side.
Tristan shook himself and decided his questions could wait for now.
“No time like the present. Why don’t I see Fran’s room and at least I can put your minds at rest about her visitor having good or bad intent.”
Everyone started moving to a chorus of agreements.
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