On the roof of Sarah’s house, Roman stood, eyes shut, wings out and undulating, their tiny hairs standing erect, searching for the child and her hunters. While his echolocation hunted, Roman was lost in the vision that had engulfed him as soon as he’d landed.
He saw Sarah lower Avalyn down from the roof, their pursuers closing in. He saw Sarah’s death. He saw the doorway that had materialized beneath Avalyn. He didn’t need a memory to know what their hunters were. Armored, winged beings, equipped with swords emblazoned with scripted lettering, the same type of writing he’d seen on the demonic glyphs and the blue sigil he’d turned them into. On their helms, he saw a similar sigil. Though it was the same cerulean blue as the one he’d created back at the coven, whose letters were also silver, the sigil itself was different, plainer, less intricate. He saw their wings, great feathered-appendages, like a bird’s, whose spans were as vast as his own, though as luminescent as his were not.
For if he was a demon, what else could they be? Why were they chasing the child? Why were they hunting her? And who had opened the doorway that had appeared out of nowhere? Did Avalyn do that? He had more questions now than he had when he first rescued her.
He opened his eyes. Father Purgeon was standing before him. Roman told him everything he’d seen in the vision. He felt the priest’s energy. Powerful surges of sorrow, laced with guilt, with rage.
“I am sorry, Father.”
Father Purgeon didn’t say anything. He was too shocked to speak. He’d escaped one hell to enter another and he was afraid to go anywhere else or do anything else. Every sanctuary was now tainted by death, by blood. First the rectory, now Sarah’s house.
“I would understand if you decided not to help me, Father. I would understand it if you never wanted to see me again. But I must find the girl. She is hunted. I mean to find out why. I mean to protect her. Hunt those who hunt her.”
Father Purgeon couldn’t return to the life he had known. He was a fugitive, wanted by both the living and the undead. And angels. Besides, his conscious wouldn’t let him abandon Avalyn. Nor would it allow him to dishonor Sarah’s sacrifice.
“She wanted me to help you. Avalyn said you needed me. That I’d have to be there for you,” Father Purgeon said. “Sarah died protecting her. I’m sure she would’ve wanted me to help her. I’m going with you.”
“Those who killed Sarah hunt Avalyn, Father. We must reach her before they do.”
Roman didn’t know how they were going to do that. He’d tried locating the girl with his echolocation. Had searched for her song, the soul’s signature, but it was as if her song had been silenced, as if it had been snuffed out of existence. Though the absence of a mortal’s song usually was indicative of death, he knew she was alive, having seen her fall into the door. Where it led, he didn’t know, but he was going to find out.
“Come, Father. We have little time to waste. The night is dying. No more than a couple of hours remain. I mean to begin the hunt before seeking shelter from the day.”
Roman spread his wings as the priest walked toward him.