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CHAPTER 8

She would come. She would free him. She must.

Lucian held his thoughts in a vise and tightened, and tightened. He must. He could not lose control now. Not now! After a thousand years, he had found the one. The Chosen who would free him. She must!

It had been so easy. He'd slipped into her thoughts as smoothly, as effortlessly, as a snake sliding into its pit. It had been too easy; the shock had almost overwhelmed him. The threads of his existence, carefully woven over hundreds of years, had nearly come unraveled. The fabric of his life, constructed and mended over hundreds of years, had nearly torn.

But it hadn't.

It wouldn't be much longer now. He must maintain control. But her voice was so lovely! Like a gentle rain, like a trilling bird, like a silver bell. Had he ever heard such a voice? It had danced through his mind, stroked and inflamed: first high, then husky, sweet as honey, soft as the petal of a flower, refreshing as a breeze in summer, warm as a hearth in winter, low and insistent and sensuous as the pounding of the surf. Why had he told her she could simply close her mind to him!

The one. The Chosen. She who could hear his thoughts; she who would listen. Uncorrupted by the Church. Untouched by any other mind. A virgin brain, inviolate. So innocent she was, this Chosen. He'd simply opened the door and entered; he hadn't even had to knock. Why had he told her how to close it? Why had he given her the key?

Soon, so soon, he would hear her voice again. He must! He would run and leap and play in her mind; he would frolic in her thoughts. She would permit him this. She must!

If only he knew where she was, what she was doing. He could not bear this, the absence of her thoughts. What if she never spoke to him again?

What if she did not come?

Had he been precise in his directions, clear in his instructions? If only he had paid more attention when they had brought him here. If only he could remember the words inscribed on his tomb.

They had taken such care, such great pains, to guard the common folk. They'd made very, very sure no one could find the door: if it could not be seen, it could not be opened. Only the Chosen could see it. Only the Chosen could open it.

He knew this to be true. He'd led so many here over the centuries; all had failed. They were not Chosen. They couldn't find the door!

But she would. The one, the Chosen, who would free him.