But this time the gate had a guardian.
I felt her before I saw her, that same surge of power I’d felt from Jürgen, but more elemental, more penetrating. Both Matteo and I stopped abruptly. His grip on me tightened.
She took form from the shadows that clung to the structure where the light couldn’t penetrate the fog. The delicate lines of her face took shape first, upward sloping eyes, cheeks, and jaw. Her skin had the same pale hue as the clouds around her and her eyes were a ghostly blue, narrowed coyly. She stepped forward and Matteo went completely still beneath my hands. Her long, long silvery hair danced around her face and her glittering gown flowed in the same mysterious storm. My whole body screamed a warning at a mind that had long since gone numb.
Then she laughed, a light airy sound, completely at odds with the seductive threat I felt coming off her.
“Ah, Matteo, are you going to hide her from Hadria? Keep her for yourself?”
Matteo jerked into motion.
“Get lost, Cirena.”
Again the tinkling laugh. She tossed her head back, her hands clasped in merriment. Matteo’s arm turned to steel as he held me against him and pushed his way around her. She floated easily aside, her glee never faltering as she watched us.
“Oh, little Matteo, but what if I want her for myself?”