Yet to Come (Red Velvet Christmas)
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Copyright ©2013 Zenobia Renquist
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Rae wanted to slam her claws into her prey's chest and rip out his still-beating heart. Her vision bled red as the urge intensified. It wouldn't take much. She was fast and strong. She could do it and show the heart to her victim before he realized he was dead.
"Silence," Spir barked.
His harsh tone snapped Rae out of her bloodlust and made the two men who stood beside her back up a step.
Spir threw the folder he held onto his desk. "Rae is the best for this job, which is why she has it."
"Her continued failure with this human --"
"Continued? Two instances do not make a trend, Hauke. She has accomplished every assignment I've given her except this one. And I suspect" -- Spir turned his gaze to her --"there is more to this one than I know."
Rae held Spir's gaze... barely. She hoped he didn't see the way her cheeks heated. Did he suspect? Had she given herself away?
He broke eye contact first, looking down at the folder he'd discarded. "Rae, this is the last time. If you cannot convince him this year, I won't send you again."
"I understand, my lord." Her voice shook with unshed tears. Of course Spir wouldn't accept failure from her, not like the others. One misstep and she was cast out. That's the way it should be.
Hauke said, "A wise decision, my lord. This human is pivotal, a strong power point for House Kringle and the Winter Clan. But he could be the same for House Hel and the Hades Clan. We don't know where Rae's loyalties lie. She could be failing with this human on purpose to --"
"Would you shut the hell up?" Spir yelled.
Beside him, Hauke and Tysie both gasped loud with shock and laid their ears back.
Rae couldn't help her smile. Those of House Kringle weren't used to coarse language. They were the house of purity and light. Such language was taboo to them. That hadn't stopped Spir from using it. He used to wander the halls of the Winter Palace cursing up a blue cloud. The elves had run from him, screaming in dismay.
His dark nature was what had led him to allow a fey formerly of House Hel into his home and his employ. He'd welcomed Rae when all others had shunned her. She loved Christmas and had alienated herself from her family because of that love -- too good for hell and too evil for heaven described her situation best.
To Hauke and the others, she was nothing but a dark elf sent to corrupt them. They avoided her and petitioned to Kris, head of House Kringle, to have her banished. Thankfully the lord of the house trusted his twin and wouldn't act against Rae without Spir's permission. Spir had refused to give it...until now.
But that was Rae's fault. She had failed him and the trust he'd placed in her.
Spir said, "I'm not banishing Rae. This is the last time I'm sending her to this human. If he can endure her and still be unchanged, then he is destined for House Hel and there is nothing we can do about it. I won't continue wasting her powers on him."
Warmth spread through Rae's chest. She wasn't leaving. She could stay at House Kringle. The urge to hug Spir and thank him for his continued support rushed over her. She took a step forward.
"Spir?" Danette, Spir's human wife, poked her head into the office. "Am I interrupting?"
Spir jumped to his feet and was halfway across the room before he said, "Never, my love. Did you need me?"
"Always." The smile she gave him was coy and full of passionate promise. "But that aside, I wanted your input on your suit for the New Year's festival." She turned her gaze to Rae and the others. "But I can wait."
"You won't have to wait long. I'm almost finished. I'll meet you in the bedroom."
Danette bounced a finger off his nose. "No, you'll meet me in the sewing room surrounded by elves who want very much to finish your suit."
Spir made a thinking noise as he rubbed his chin. "I didn't take you for the exhibitionist type, but if that's what you want..." He trailed off and laughed as Danette swatted at him.
"That's not what I meant. Finish your meeting and then come to the sewing room." She turned to leave the room but Spir pulled her back for a kiss so hot Rae thought she saw tiny sparks crackling around them.
Rae envied Danette's position as Spir's wife. Before her arrival, Rae had hoped -- an impossible hope no one would have allowed -- to be the one at Spir's side. He understood her best and didn't fear her the way the others did.
She and Danette were of the same complexion. For a human, that simply meant her ancestors had come from a hot climate. For the fey, that meant one thing -- darkness, a fey of the Hades Clan. Humans had named her kind dark elves and allied them with evil. Except they weren't. Her former clan mates simply dealt with death and afterlife. They held the keys to heaven as well as hell, but hell was the only place people remembered when thinking of them.
Spir broke apart from his wife and sent her from the room with a promise of more later. Hauke and Tysie cleared their throats and faced his desk, pretending they hadn't been watching the couple with open fascination.
Rae asked, "Shall we go now, my lord?"