Ivy & Bone
Prue honestly hadn’t expected to channel the devil’s magic.
But when his anger had brimmed, she’d felt it swelling inside her, too. And her magic had known there was another presence lingering inside her. It felt exhilarating. And terrifying.
“What’s your name?” she asked him. The more she watched him, the more she realized he seemed younger than she’d anticipated. His silver hair had been misleading; he had no facial hair or wrinkles, and his voice, while deep, lacked the gravelly undertones of old age.
“Cyrus,” he said, then clamped his mouth shut, his eyes widening slightly. He quickly masked his expression into something apathetic, but not before Prue caught sight of the alarm in his face.
He couldn’t lie to her. He was bound to answer her questions. Good. At least that aspect of the spell was working.
“Cyrus as in…Osiris?” Prue asked.
“You’re a smart one, aren’t you?” he snarled.
Prue laughed. “And you’re a prickly one, aren’t you?”
“You don’t work with the dead for thousands of years without getting a bit prickly,” Cyrus said, his luminescent silvery eyes gleaming. “That darkness becomes a part of you.”
Prue crossed her arms, trying to ignore the rising panic inside her. How much longer did she have before one of the witches found her? Had Mona provided her distraction yet? What if the veil closed before Cyrus could bring her back?
She took a deep breath and said, “So, will you help me? Or will I have to coerce you?”
Cyrus’s expression took on a hungry glint. A challenge. She regretted her words instantly as she realized he would love nothing more than for her to try.
She summoned his black flames again, igniting her forearm with the inky rippling waves of fire. “Let’s not forget that I have magic. And you don’t.”
“Exactly why I can’t help you,” Cyrus said, spreading his arms. “How do you expect me to raise the dead when you’ve taken my powers?”
Prue smiled and retracted the flames, still amazed that her arm didn’t feel hot at all. “Give me your word you’ll do as I say, and I’ll release you from the circle.”
Cyrus clenched his teeth, and a muscle worked in his jaw. Fury blazed in his eyes. “No.” The word seemed wrenched from him by force.
Prue almost laughed again. “I knew it.”
Cyrus swore. “How are you doing this? How are you making me respond?”
“You and I are bound, Cyrus. It’s how I can use your powers.” Prue lifted the pomegranate seed hanging around her neck. “Earth magic.”
Cyrus squinted at the necklace, then glanced down at the pomegranate seeds lining the pentagram. He crouched, leaning over and sniffing deeply.
Prue wrinkled her nose. Why was he smelling the pentagram?
Then, to her surprise, a low chuckle rumbled in his throat. It intensified as he stood, his eyes crinkling as he laughed raucously.
“What?” Prue snapped, struggling to quench the alarm racing through her. What went wrong? What is it? What did I miss? Not for the first time, she wished Mona were truly here. She’d always had a perfect intuition when casting spells, knowing exactly how to meet the conditions and use magic properly. Prue often made mistakes. And this spell, of course, was no different.
“Oh yes, we are certainly bound, as you say.” Cyrus’s face was still split with a wide grin. She couldn’t shake the feeling that he was laughing at her.
Prue’s eyes narrowed. She was overwhelmed by the sense that she was missing something vital. “Yes,” she said slowly. “So, it would be in your best interest to work with me. I hold your fate in my hands.”
“That’s not the only thing you’re holding.” Cyrus choked on another laugh.
Prue let her hands fall against her thighs, her frustration mounting. “What are you talking about?”
“What’s your name?” Cyrus asked.
“Why?” Prue snapped. Names had power, and she didn’t want to give him anything to hold over her.
“I feel it would only be proper for me to know the name of my wife.”
The world seemed to stop for a full minute as Prue processed his words. She wanted to laugh. Or cry. Or scream. Instead, all she could do was stare at Cyrus, her mouth hanging open like a fool. He only watched her with mocking amusement, the glee evident on his face.
“Your…what?” Prue finally managed. A distant part of her brain registered that he couldn’t lie to her. Otherwise she would have immediately dismissed it.
“Did you not understand the full extent of the spell?” Cyrus raised his eyebrows, but his silver eyes glinted knowingly. “You can’t access my power until our marriage is solidified.”
“No.” Prue shook her head. “No, that isn’t true. Look!” She raised a hand, conjuring the black flames once more. Triumph soared in her chest, melting away the panic that had started to suffocate her.
Cyrus crossed his arms, his muscles bunching together along his biceps, making his tattoos stretch. “Go on. See how long it lasts.”
Prue’s relief flickered, but she kept the flame aloft on her arm, wiggling her fingers to watch how the fire danced. He’s wrong, she told herself. He has to be wrong. Maybe he’s convinced himself and that’s how he’s able to lie to me. If he believes it’s true, then it isn’t a lie. That must be it.
But as the fire licked her arms, the tendrils of flame reaching toward the crypt ceiling, something within her shifted. Icy coldness bit into her, clamping down with unrelenting jaws. The fire sputtered and died, but the chill remained, seeping into her bones, choking her from the inside out…
Prue gasped, the sound horrid and rattling. “Goddess above, what is that?” Her voice was raspy as if Cyrus’s magic had aged her sixty years.
Cyrus chuckled. “That would be my death magic. It hurts, doesn’t it? It’s certainly not the most pleasant feeling.”
“How do you stand it?” Prue rubbed her chest, eager for that horrible icy feeling to leave her. Even her blood felt chilled, like her insides were frozen solid.
“You of all people should understand the sacrifices we make for power.”
The darkness in his tone made her stiffen. She dropped her arm and squared her shoulders, watching him through narrowed eyes. “It’s not a sacrifice I made willingly.”
“Such a shame. If you’d sought more power, I’m sure that would’ve been something to behold.” He leveled a stare at her, that same hungry look sparking in his gaze.
Though her insides coiled from the intensity of his stare, she forced herself to meet it. He couldn’t intimidate her. And she couldn’t reveal her fears and anxieties. It was too dangerous.
“So, we are…married?” Prue practically choked on the word.
“In the eyes of your Triple Goddess, yes.”
Cyrus gestured to the pomegranate seeds. “Seeds from a newly ripened fruit. It symbolizes union and new life. I can feel the bond between them. And between yours.” His eyes lowered to her collarbone, and she resisted the urge to clutch at her necklace.
Prue lifted a hand and tried summoning Cyrus’s black flames again, but nothing happened. The strange coldness in her chest lingered and then faded away. She couldn’t deny she was relieved to feel the comforting warmth of her own magic in its place. “So why don’t I have your powers right now?”
“You have a remnant of my powers because of our bond, but it’s only temporary.”
“But if we are truly married, then…” She trailed off as an echo of that same icy feeling resonated in her chest. She wasn’t sure she wanted his power to come back. But she needed it if she hoped to reach her sister.
“I said we are married in the eyes of your Triple Goddess. But in the eyes of my kind, we are not fully joined until the marriage is consummated.” That same lethal grin spread across his face.
Prue fought the urge to retch. “No! Absolutely not.”
Cyrus shrugged, still looking amused. “Suit yourself.”
Prue’s mouth opened and closed. What game was he playing? Was he seriously suggesting this? There was no way—he had to be toying with her.
At long last, she found her voice. “Are you saying we have to make love in order for me to bring my sister back from the dead? You’re insane!”
Cyrus’s humor vanished, and something akin to anger flickered in his gaze. Was he…upset? As if she’d rejected him? “No matter whether we are fully joined or not, you will never be able to bring your sister back.”
An entirely new wave of coldness crept into Prue’s heart from the severity of his words. “Why not?”
“Several reasons. For starters, depending on what river she was sent to, I may not even have access to her soul. Besides, you cannot bring her back unless you go to the Underworld yourself.”
“I know,” Prue said at once. “I plan to.”