Grace edited the summary of Hunger Untamed Friday, November 11, 2011.
A thousand years ago, Ariana, Queen of the Ilinas, Kougar’s mate of just two years, died along with all of her maidens in a cataclysmic event that wiped out the entire Ilina race. At least that’s what Kougar and the rest of the world believed until twenty years ago when Kougar learned the truth—that his ‘beloved’ faked her own death, severing their mating bond, leaving him living a half-life, grieving for her for a thousand years.
He’s had no desire to seek her out, no desire to ever see her again. But fate has other plans. Hawke and Tighe are caught in a spirit trap from which there is no escape, except…possibly…one. Only one person has ever been able to breech the spirit trap and return alive. The Queen of the Ilinas. Kougar will do whatever he must to save his friends, even track down his traitorous mate. And he can do it now, thanks to the reconnecting of his mating bond. During a desperate battle in Rapture Untamed, two of Ariana’s lieutenants came to him demanding the reconnection in return for saving the lives of him and his men.
For a thousand years, Ariana has been stuck in corporeal form, unable to turn to mist, unable to live in the Crystal Realm for any length of time. A thousand years ago, when Kougar and Ariana mated, Melisande sought out a sorcerer for a spell that would keep the bond from fully taking, believing their mating was a mistake and would never last. But the sorcerer was a Mage who sought to keep the Ilinas from joining forces with his enemies, the Ferals. He placed a connector spell within the magic, a way to pour poison into it. And while that poison didn’t harm Ariana, it flowed through her into her maidens. Almost too late, Ariana realized her race was dying. The only way to save them was to take their poison into herself and never release it again, which meant never turning to mist. And the only way to save Kougar was to sever the mating bond through which the poison would reach him, too. But Kougar never knew any of this.
Through the mating bond, Kougar is able to follow Ariana and he catches her, demanding she save his men from the spirit trap. She refuses. Kougar believes Ariana has been turned soulless and she tries to convince him that’s true, tries to make him leave her alone. Not only can’t she help him without turning to mist and killing off her race, but she fears that if he knows the truth, his heart may soften, opening that mating bond, killing him from the poison. But Kougar glimpses the bracelet of red moonstones she wears and remembers that moonstones keep an Ilina from turning to mist. He rips the bracelet off her, and while she doesn’t turn, the bracelet also served to block Hookeye from sensing her existence. She sees Hookeye’s eyes rise in her mind and knows he’s seen her. She fears they’ll become his target again.
Meanwhile, in Feral House, Wulfe watches over the three humans whose memories couldn’t be taken during the final battle of Rapture Untamed. The Ferals brought them back to Feral House, imprisoning them until Olivia’s energy wears off and they can be safely released. One of them, a lovely blond, wakes. Natalie. And as he watches her fight her fear and her grief, he finds himself admiring her strength. Intrigued.
Kougar doesn’t understand why Ariana is so frantic to return to her maidens and doesn’t care. She’s going to save his friends and that’s all there is to it. He takes her back to Feral where the Shaman identifies the spell in the mating bond and declares that Kougar may have only a week to live before the poison kills him. He finally understands why Ariana severed the bond all those years ago, understands that she’s not soulless after all. But the fact that she left him grieving for a thousand years is almost worse. His, Tighe, and Hawke’s only chance of survival lies in disabling the poison. And to do that they have to find Hookeye. But he could be anywhere.
Wulfe tries again to take Natalie’s memories and fails. But he can’t take his eyes off the jagged Daemon scar on her cheek and he presses his palm to her cheek and takes it, transferring the scar to his own cheek. Natalie is at once horrified and incredibly moved by his selfless act.
As they sleep together in Kougar’s room, Ariana joins him in his dream only to realize he’s not dreaming but visiting her own memories from long ago. They travel together from memory to memory, landing in a scene Ariana doesn’t remember. She watches herself performing some kind of ritual in a temple she doesn’t recognize. And it becomes clear she’s lost memories she shouldn’t have, for an Ilina never forgets.
Delaney reveals to Kara and Olivia that she’s pregnant and they mourn the fact that Tighe may never see his son.
Ariana and Melisande go to the Temple of the Queens for Ariana to try to reclaim her lost memories through a second Awakening, but Melisande is caught in a Mage trap and her feet sink into the floor. Brielle hears their cry for help and fetches Kougar who takes Jag with him. Together, they shift into their animals and race into the temple past the Mage guards. They find the hidden stair to the ritual rooms below. While Jag holds back the Mage, Kougar fights his way to the lowest level where Ariana cries out in pain. The temple is punishing her for requesting the knowledge of the ancient Ilinas a second time. Kougar leaps into the pool, shielding her, taking the pain himself.
Ariana and Kougar wonder if they might be able to find the sorcerer, Hookeye, if Ariana walks in his dreams. They wait until she senses the sorcerer is asleep and find him. But while talking to him in his dream, a mini-jaguar races by and they realize he saw them enter the temple. He’s in the Temple of the Queens, floors above where they are right now. Kougar wants to go after him, but the temple is full of Mage and the Ilinas can’t bring more Ferals, not with the temple now a trap for the misting Ilinas.
Ariana begins to remember some of the things she’s forgotten, one of which is that she needs the Crystal of <Reyas?> to reach the spirit trap, once she can turn to mist, and the crystal is hidden within the Crystal Realm. Together, they go there and find it. Kougar is impatient to attack the Mage and Hookeye, but Ariana is remembering much now and wants to know more in case something she’s forgotten is critically important. He gives her <12 hours>. As they wait, Kougar finally tells her the story of his deep past, during the time of the Sacrifice, something he’s never shared with her or anyone. And she begins to see why trusting her and sharing himself completely is so hard for him.
Ariana finally retrieves the memory she needs, one that tells her the way to free herself from the poison. But when she tries it, she realizes too late that the memory was a lie planted by Hookeye. Instead of destroying the poison, she loses control and turns to mist. Now the poison has infected her maidens and Hookeye controls them all. The only one Ariana is able to save is Melisande. The rest of her maidens mist to the Temple of the Queens to stand as the first line of defense against the Ferals. Hookeye knows they’re coming for him and he’ll make them cut down the enthralled Ilinas to reach him. Ariana and Melisande transport the Ferals beyond the magical warding of the temple, then battle their way inside to help Ariana reach the portal to the spirit trap. But inside the temple, a bubble springs up around most of the Ferals and they realize Hookeye intends to throw them all into the spirit trap.
Kougar alone is free and he and Ariana battle against a tide of Mage sentinels, finally cutting down Hookeye just as he was about to open the spirit trap. Kougar and Ariana race to the portal and Ariana dives into the mystical wormhole that will lead to the spirit trap…and immediately falls unconscious. Kougar realizes what’s going to happen. If she doesn’t turn to mist before she reaches the trap, she’ll die. He dives in after her, pours his love into her, and finally brings her around seconds before they reach that dark trap. Ariana turns to mist, enters the trap, and retrieves both Hawke and Tighe, delivering them safely to the others.
Kougar begs her to be his mate again for all time. Ariana stands between the group of Ilinas and the group of Ferals and realizes her mistake a thousand years ago was thinking she couldn’t be both Queen of the Ilinas and mate of a Feral Warrior. But she can be. She’s going to be. Because she loves her Feral above all.