Tethers

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Book: Tethers by Claire Farrell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Claire Farrell
Tags: Fantasy
research that the longer you spend as one of the Eleven, the stronger the protection becomes, almost as if it slowly becomes a part of you. And then when you get old or injured, it dies a little with you. It’s fascinating really, almost as though the protection is a sentient being. I know we’ve been aware of some of the details, but most of it’s been forgotten, most likely,” he admitted. “I wasn’t around for Baba Yaga’s early days. Not even close. She lived a very long time. She had probably forgotten what it was like to become the Matriarch by the time she passed the job on to you. And she didn’t have to deal with her own fear very often. She was a hag, a particularly infamous one. The world feared her.”
    “I really need to get scarier,” I said, flipping through a book on his desk. “If the Senate turns on me, things will get bad quickly. I wish Phoenix or even Elathan would come back and just… fix everything.”
    “You think they would side with you?”
    I shrugged. “Elathan has a soft spot for Esther. He would at least speak for her, and he’s pretty scary himself when he feels so inclined. I definitely think he could help her. And Phoenix is…” I thought about it. Phoenix had been kind of a friend until he’d distanced himself. I knew that if Lorcan wanted to help me, Phoenix would back him up, but if the paragon gave Phoenix an ultimatum—maybe by saying he had to choose me or the werewolves—I was pretty sure I would instantly earn myself a new enemy. “I don’t know,” I admitted. “But I’m feeling a definite lack of friends on the Senate right now. The regular government is just happy to not have to deal with the crap the Senate covers.”
    “What about Shay?” he asked. “He’s a useful ally.”
    “Shay quit the Senate for a reason.” I wasn’t exactly sure what that reason was, but I could guess he wanted to get away from the intrigue, not be dragged back into it. “He’s my last-resort ally for now. I don’t want to put him between me and the Senate if it comes to that.”
    “Does it have to come to that?” Breslin asked, adjusting his glasses. “Does it always have to be you versus whoever?”
    “It just works out that way sometimes,” I said. “Willow asked me to be an advocate for those without a voice, to speak for those the Senate won’t listen to. That just goes really well with being the Matriarch. Maybe that’s how I meet my next lost soul.”
    “Still waiting?”
    I frowned. “Maybe I’m not doing it right. Should I go looking? Do I track them down?”
    “They tend to come to you,” he said. “When it’s time, it’ll happen. And perhaps I can serve as a hand to you when you’re dealing with this advocacy idea. The notion appeals to me, I must admit.”
    “I’d be happy for the help. You know, that supernatural register still exists, and people have been turned away from the country for being too dangerous. If that register had existed when I first came into the light, I wouldn’t have passed muster.”
    “And you want to make sure everyone has a fair shot.”
    I pressed my lips together. People like Esther and Val would never have had a chance, either. And Jess had told me about the way people secretly helped and protected each other on the streets of Dublin. How many other people were still in hiding, terrified of the register and terrified of being exiled? Willow and Vega were both on the right track. The vampires and shifters didn’t need our help. Those without a pack were the ones who really needed help.
    Breslin helped me dig through his dusty old books for answers. We didn’t find much we didn’t know already. The paragons had been set up for almost two thousand years, and they had an army behind them, stationed all over the world. I wondered if any were in Ireland, just waiting for a call to arms.
    The untethered were another story. We found stories of feral shifters with nobody to tether them, nobody to keep them sane. Most

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