Nikita conceded the other Councilor had a point. "They must have discovered a way to skirt the biofeedback issue."
"I don't think it's that big a problem." Marshall's razor-blade mind. "If they had a foolproof method, we'd have lost more than two."
"I'll put some of our people on it nonetheless," Tatiana said in response. "If we break the connection keeping Sascha and Faith alive, we wipe the issue off the slate."
No one was in opposition.
"Then it's agreed, we don't move on Faith NightStar," Kaleb stated with Tk arrogance, turning against the very Councilor who'd supported his initial nomination. "Any member who moves unilaterally will face eviction from their post."
"You have no right to make that call." Shoshanna's psychic presence was icy with control.
"But we do as a unit. You and Henry appear to be the only ones who disagree; therefore you're in the minority." Marshall, the voice of experience, a Councilor who'd survived many others.
"He's correct." Tatiana. "Faith NightStar cannot be touched."
"I agree." Nikita added her vote.
"Then we have no choice. We concede to the majority." Shoshanna spoke for both Scotts and if there was something a fraction eerie in the way she and her husband moved as one to leave the Council chambers, the Councilors were not close enough to their instinctive core to understand.
"We need to increase security for Councilor Duncan," Kaleb said to the remaining minds.
"There is no need." Nikita had no desire to be seen as weak by any member of this Council. Especially not the newest recruit.
"Then this session is closed."
Several weeks and a hundred new experiences later, Faith found herself sitting in on a meeting at the aerie. As a member of the Web of Stars and Vaughn's mate, she'd gained entrance into a very tightly knit group.
"So, what's next? Nate, you had something." Lucas looked to the oldest sentinel.
"I've got a couple of contenders to take over from me when I step down."
"Which isn't going to be for a while." It was an order from the alpha.
Nate grinned. "Don't worry, I'm not in any hurry. I have a few more years left in me."
"More than a few, darling." Tamsyn blew him a kiss from the cushion beside him.
"But I wanted to put the names forward and see what you thought. The first is Jamie. He's one of the best soldiers we've got and he's proven himself." Nate paused and when no one spoke, he continued, "Then there's Desiree. Girl's got a mind like a razor blade and a tongue as sharp, but she's good and she's loyal."
Something flickered in Faith's consciousness, a quiet limb stretching awake. Curious, she followed it. And when it showed her pain and death, she didn't flinch.
"Any other possibles?" Lucas asked.
"We've got a few who've got some growing to do," Tamsyn muttered. "I swear the juveniles are giving me gray hairs."
"How's Jase?" Dorian asked, and his voice was a distorted rumble in Faith's mind.
"Healed. Until the next..." Tamsyn's voice faded.
Faith gripped her cup tighter, attempting to understand what it was that she was seeing. There was pain, things breaking, such terrible loss, but it wasn't yet set in stone, it wasn't yet done. It was a foretelling and it had nothing to do with business. "Seven children are going to die."
Vaughn went motionless as those words left his mate's mouth. He brushed back her hair so he could see her face - eyes closed, lines of concentration carving sharp grooves in creamy skin. "Faith?"
"Seven children. Not cats. Wolves. Seven wolf children." She was in his arms, but her gift had taken her somewhere, somewhen else. "A part of a tunnel is going to collapse. Tonight. Or early tomorrow morning."
Everyone was listening. Sascha had already passed Lucas his phone. Vaughn stroked Faith's back, relieved at the pulse of love that came down the mating bond. She was traveling to places he couldn't go, but she knew how to come home. "Where, baby? Which part of the tunnels?"
Her eyes scrunched as if she were squinting to make something out. "There's a painting on the stone of a wolf pup sleeping under a tree. Oh, there's another one creeping up on it through the bushes and a third on the branches."
"Jesus," Clay whispered. "It's the nursery where the littlest ones are."
Vaughn, too, remembered the nursery. When DarkRiver had first infiltrated the SnowDancer den to leave their message, "Don't hurt us and we won't hurt you," they'd made sure to place their scent near the nursery, to show that they'd been close to the wolves' most vulnerable and done no harm. There was no greater indication of friendly intent.
Vaughn watched Lucas punch in the SnowDancer alpha's code. The conversation was short, but Hawke apparently took the warning seriously. Lucas was hanging up when Faith shook her head and blinked awake.
"You okay, Red?"
"Yes. I'm fine." She pushed her hand up under his T-shirt to lie against his skin. The jaguar was delighted to be her anchor.
Leaning down, he kissed her, bringing her completely home. "No cascade?"
"No. The new shields are working." Her face grew pensive. "Why the wolves? I don't know them."
"We're bonded to the SnowDancers," Vaughn said, realizing he hadn't explained that aspect of the pack to her. "The blood pact was physically completed soon after Sascha joined us, though we were business allies long before that."
"Oh. I - "
Lucas's phone beeped.
The alpha checked the readout and flipped it open. "Hawke?" A pause. "Pups safe?"