Cian pulled Kayana along the dark trail, his pulse racing. The surrounding woods came alive with echoed sounds of warriors dogging their every step. He had to move faster. His thoughts scattered and came in throbbing bursts that matched his pulse.
Thrown off balance by a sudden twist in the path, he gritted his teeth and ignored the throbbing pain in his side. He glanced back at Kayana. Did she know? He shielded the pain from the Bond to Kayana to protect her. What if he never saw those beautiful brown eyes again? He pushed the thought aside. No time to think. He tightened his grip on her arm.
Thump, thump, thump.
His heart couldn't beat any faster.
They broke through the dark woods into a small clearing--their harsh breathing the only sound. Cian felt blood soaking through his shirt and angled his side away from Kayana.
"What's going on? Why is Marcus doing this? And why does he think you have an Eochair?" She faced him, shoulders back.
He caught her slender arm, white in the moonlight, the silvery scar that ran down her hand drew his eye. He frowned. How many times had he traced over it with a fingertip?
"Well? Are you going to answer me?"
"There's no time."
Thump, thump, thump.
Move, now. He threw himself back into motion, flying across the field. The wetness on his shirt spread. Not much time left before his strength would waver. He slid to a stop in front of a cliff wall, sending shards of rock skidding across the ground. Dead end.
He was sure his heart was beating out of his chest by now. Each thump a drumbeat, each one seeming to drag them farther apart. He could not bear to live without her. "Here. This is the best place."
She nodded, pushing the hair out of her face, and drew a knife from her belt.
"Before I open the portal, tell me you love me."
She froze. "What? You do have an Eochair? Cian! There is a reason my father ordered them destroyed. You can't open a portal."
"There's no other way. Too many warriors and we're out of places to run. We can't let Marcus get his hands on the Eochair." Cian's voice lowered to a whisper. "I can't let them get you." He pulled a cord up from under his shirt.
Kayana's dark eyes narrowed. "I know you. You're coming with me."
A shout from across the meadow drew Cian's attention. No time for arguments. "They're getting close."
He settled the crystal of the Eochair into his palm, accessed its power, and fed his own strength into it. A thick rope of black lightning shot from the other...