Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy 1) - Page 141

It would, Branna explained, bore him, or annoy him. And he would think they simply played while he plotted.

“At moonrise, on the longest day, we form the circle on the ground where Sorcha lived, and where she died.”

Candles flickered throughout the kitchen where Branna spoke. The scents of cooking, the simmering hum of the fire, the steady breaths of the dog who slept under the table all spoke of ordinary things while they talked of the extraordinary.

And that, Iona realized, was the point.

“It’s for Fin to seek him, to lure him. Blood to blood.”

“You still doubt me.”

Branna shook her head. “I don’t. Or only a little,” she admitted. “Not enough to stop doing what has to be done. What I understand is this can’t be done without you, and shouldn’t be. Isn’t that enough?”

“It’ll have to be, won’t it?”

Their eyes held, a long, long moment. In it Iona felt thousands of words, scores of impossible feelings passed between them. Only them.

“I’ll get him there,” Fin said, and broke that moment.

“Meara and Boyle must stay inside the circle—at all costs. Not just to protect yourselves.” Branna turned to them. “But to hold it strong. And Fin as well must stay within it.”

“Damned to that.”

“Fin, you must,” Branna insisted. “Within the circle he can’t use what runs in you against you, or against us. And what you have will hold it without chink.”

“Four of us outside it, against him, are stronger than three.”

Facing him, Branna lifted her hands, palms up. And the flames of every candle burned brighter. “We are the three. We are the blood, and we must be the way.”

“Within the circle I’ll stay,” Fin told her. “Until or unless I feel we’ve more chance ending him with me outside of it. It’s the best bargain I can give you.”

“We’ll take it.” Connor spoke up, shifted his gaze from Fin to Branna, left it coolly on her. “And done.”

Branna started to speak, sighed instead. “And done then.”

“We have to take our guides,” Iona realized.

“We do, yes.” Branna drew her amulet from under her sweater, ran a thumb over

the carved head that so resembled Kathel’s. “Horse, hound, hawk. And weapons and tools. I have a spell I’ve worked on for some time, and I think it’s an answer, but only if we draw him to the right place, the right time. And then we’ll need his blood to seal it.”

“What spell is this?” Fin demanded.

“One I’ve worked on,” Branna repeated. “I’ve used bits of Sorcha’s spells, others that have come down, something of my own.”

“And practiced it?”

Irritation flickered over her face. “It’s too risky. If he learns of it, he can and will block against it. It must be done the first time on Sorcha’s ground. You need to trust I know what I’m about.”

“You must be trusted,” Fin repeated.

“Bloody hell.” Branna started to shove back from the table, but Iona raised a hand.

“Just wait. What kind of spell? I mean, a banishing, a drawing, a vanquishing spell? What?”

“A vanquishing, a light spell, a fire spell. All of them in one, sealed with blood magick.”

“Light defeats the dark. Fire purifies. And blood is at the heart of all.”

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