Closing the Circle is book six, the final chapter of the Guardians of the Pattern series. This one features Cameron and Draven, who first met in the free short story, Facing the Mirror.
The explosions weren’t nearly as loud as he’d hoped, which was a little disappointing, but the resulting fire was all the hell he could have wished for. From the shelter of the trees on a hill overlooking the place he’d worked so hard to return to, Draven watched golden tongues of flame stroke the dark velvet sky.
There would be screaming, oh, God, let there be screaming…
Too bad he was too far away to hear it.
Didn’t matter. Those whose screams he’d most appreciate were no longer capable of screaming. DeMira wasn’t. Neither was Vorzana. They’d both drunk too deeply of the drugged wine at dinner.
The flames warped and blurred. Draven blinked as hot tears slipped down his cheeks. The games here hadn’t been all bad. There’d been a few good ones. Only a few, though, not enough to balance. The pain on this side weighed so much more than the sense of home on the other.
He wouldn’t name it revenge, because it wasn’t.
It was balance.
This single act flattened out all the spiky, jagged pieces that had been irritating him for the past few weeks. Everything was smooth and calm now, no ripples, no waves, no shards of glass floating just below the surface, waiting to slice his flesh if he moved the wrong way or thought the wrong way.
He could rest now. Maybe even sleep.
The song of fear and pain that had been threading through his awareness for the last hour finally became loud enough to intrude, causing little ripples to shiver across the smooth surface of his mind. The smooth surface he’d only just managed to create.
Draven reached into his pocket to pull free a needlepak of riptide. He slapped it against his arm and closed his eyes, waiting for the rush, waiting for silence, waiting for peace.
He should probably be worried about the fact that it took twice as many needlepaks a day to quiet the voices as it had when he’d first returned to Alpha. He wasn’t.
Turning his back on the blaze, he walked deeper into the forest until the drug turned his legs to rubber and his mind to liquid. He staggered to a stop and leaned against a tree trunk, helpless to stop himself from sliding down to the ground as his legs gave way.
The last conscious thought he had was a voice whispering, Aurora. Institute for Psionic Research. You can find me there if you ever need help. Or a place to hide.
In drug-laced dreams, Draven reached for that voice as if it were a lifeline.