Wings of Fire Online - Caris Roane

CHAPTER 1

In the last three months, since the abduction of his woman, Antony Medichi, out of Italy in the late Roman era, had become a killing machine. He had steel for bones and molten iron for blood. He rarely slept. He battled death vampires at night, sending to perdition any who crossed his sword. But during the day, when most of the pretty-boys were asleep, Antony bled his wrists on his altar and hunted rogue vampires on Mortal Earth, searching for the woman he’d lost.

Those hunts also ended in death. Not his.

He stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon, Mortal Earth, looking down, tracking a death vampire flying in the shadows. Even though he was far from the touristy areas, he still cloaked his presence with a heavy concentration of mist, a preternatural creation designed to confuse the average human mind. Most mortals simply couldn’t see him, and right now he didn’t want to be seen.

Antony stared into the abyss. The profound silence across the canyon formed a strange juxtaposition to the visual feast. The Grand Canyon was all for the eyes, not for the ears. But he hadn’t come to admire the view or embrace the quiet.

His predatory gaze followed the death vampire flying below, legs straight back, glossy black wings glinting in the early-morning sunshine. He’d been hunting this particular bastard for weeks now. All clues had led here. This pretty-boy had known both Eldon Crace and Rith Do’onwa, two sons of bitches who had harmed women belonging to the Warriors of the Blood. Both vampires deserved death. Crace had already gotten what he deserved, and within the depths of Medichi’s mind Rith Do’onwa, the fiend who had kidnapped his woman, was a death waiting to happen, nothing more.

Three months ago, Medichi had served as Parisa Lovejoy’s Guardian of Ascension. She’d entered his world as an anomaly, a mortal-with-wings, a woman of extraordinary preternatural power in need of protection from the enemy. No one, except the first ascender, had mounted wings on Mortal Earth. But Parisa had. She’d also arrived with the ability to voyeur, a power that allowed her to focus on an individual or a place and see what was happening in real time, even in an entirely separate location, or a different dimension.

So much power, and beauty, and a strong analytical mind.

But all these immense gifts and abilities paled in comparison with the call of the breh-hedden, the myth of vampire mate-bonding, that had proved as real as the air he breathed. She was his breh, his mate, the one destiny had selected for him, the one he craved.

He hadn’t asked for a mate. He hadn’t wanted one and he sure as hell didn’t deserve one, but she’d come, he’d served as her guardian, and she’d been abducted on his watch.

So here he was, a wrecked shell of a warrior, struggling to find his way back to her.

When Rith had abducted Parisa, he’d not only blocked his trace—which indicated an enormous amount of power—but also deceived Medichi with a hologram of Parisa that lasted for at least half a minute. Medichi didn’t know anyone, not even any of his warrior brothers, the powerful Warriors of the Blood, who could create a hologram. So, yeah, Rith had power, which made him a clever, dangerous opponent.

But the death vampire working the airstreams of the Grand Canyon had known Rith. He had answers, and Medichi meant to have them. Right now. This morning.

His heart pumped hard in his chest.

The death vampire flew close to the canyon walls as though trying to hide in the shadows. Medichi smiled the hard smile that tended to work his jaw at the same time. Did the death vamp actually think to hide in a place this size?

Medichi bound his hair not in the ritual cadroen as he was supposed to, but with a narrow leather strap over his forehead, tied at the back of his head so that his long warrior hair flowed free. He was uncivilized now, a wild beast hunting for what was his by right, for what had been taken from him.

He had his wings at close-mount, tight to his body; any breeze would send him off the canyon’s edge otherwise. But now it was time to take care of business. With the practice of thirteen centuries, he spread his wings to full-mount, adjusting with infinitesimal shifts to balance the air currents, then launched into the empty airspace over the canyon.

A rush of pure adrenaline shot through his heart