Who knew that a pipsqueak such as...
You know what? Malice had no idea who the shit rat was, but he had sure been chatting up a storm in that tavern, and when they’d all but kicked the bugger out, she had been right there waiting for him.
Dressed in her Sunday best, which included a set of nice brown leathers and a whole lot of shiny armor, she had marched the asshole all the way back to the Null, and let him cower at the base of the throne.
Red carpets trimmed in black, bookcases and loungers to fill a stadium, and in the center of it all, a mass of stone steps that led up to that throne. Malice’s most favorite piece in the whole prison.
Upon it, sat the big guy himself, howling as he listened to her tale of how the wretched little male before him had spun his woe filled lies, and sang of the enemy so sweet. Lord Eroch had to take a moment, before the bellowing laughter emerged from his gut once more.
The male before him, a whole five foot nothing, and weighing in at, let’s say, half a drowned rat, had just asked that he restrain his pet; and he was wondering whether he should say something, or just step out of the way.
“What was that?” His voice boomed.
“I said, muzzle your hound!” He shouted at the Lord Darkness.
He was well over six feet tall and weighed a good three hundred pounds of well worked muscle. Throw in the waist length, prison striped hair and the wicked, amethyst colored eyes; the male was said to deliver nightmares wherever he went.
“She” Lord Eroch pointed at her, “is not, my pet! A pet is something who brings nothing but joy to your life. A pet is loyal and obedient. It is not something that you spend your days worrying about whether or not she is going to break a window, or perhaps blow up a planet, all because she broke a bloody nail!”
He was glaring at the Valkyrie, who in fact, was sharpening said nails as he shook his head.
“No, my short ass friend, Malice, is no pet, but you are welcome to play with her, nonetheless! Maybe, take her for a walk? I hear pets like that sort of thing!” He chuckled again, and turned towards the door, letting the Valkyrie take his place on the throne.
“Try not to break anything!” He glared up at her, and then looked back at the short, and rather nauseating male.
“I’d say have fun, but that one bites! So, good luck on that walk!” He grinned.
“My Lord, your compliments know no bounds.” Malice smiled back at him, and Lord Eroch shook his head as he left his throne room.
“So, I hear you want to play?” She grinned down at the male, who stood shaking in his boots.
“I know a game, it’s called hide and seek. You hide, and I will hunt you down!”
“Please, my lady? I meant no disrespect.” The male shuddered before her.
“You better start hiding!” She let out with a glimmer in her eye.
“The Null is such a big place, that even I have not explored all of its secrets; but I would stay away from the lower levels if I were you.”
The male shuddered again as she held up her hand, and pointed for him to run. He looked left, and then right, and then bolted towards the far staircase, taking the steps two at a time.
“Whoa now!” Malice heard the Demon’s voice, and then watched him appear at the base of the stairs.
Long black hair, a reddish tinge to that immaculately sculpted body, and the size of him; even Malice shuddered. It wasn’t every day that a male could get under her skin such as Nyx did, and he wasn’t even hers; but Mia had no problem sharing, and neither did Reh. Oh, how she missed him.
“What’s got him all wound up?” The Demon inquired, dragging her back to reality as he made his way towards the throne.
“Wait, would you get out of that damn chair? Who do you think you are, the Queen of Darkness? Get down here.” He shook his head at her, and held out an old sheet of parchment.
“Oh, for crying out loud! Don’t ruin my moment, just because you don’t have the balls to sit your ass up here, doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy the view.” She snickered at him, and then waved her hand.
“Now, bow before your Queen.”
"The only thing royal about you, is the pain in my ass you leave behind. Like a foul taste in my mouth; I just can’t seem to get rid of it.” He growled back at her. “Now come on, we have work to do!”
"Uh, nope! Sorry there, my friend. But today, is my day off!” She laughed, stretching herself out in Lord Eroch’s throne. She loved to tease him, loved to taunt him.
“We don’t get days off!” The Demon grumbled. “Now stop screwing around, and take a look at this.” He shook his head, and offered her the small scroll.
“But I don’t want to!” She let out with a whine, tossing her head back as the Angel entered the room.
Now wasn’t he a ball of good lookin! Tall, muscular, long white hair and diamond colored eyes, and wings. Not as nice as the ones that Malice had, but they were pretty snazzy not that she’d ever tell him that.
The Angel, came with a big ass helping of sarcasm, the last thing you wanted to do, was tweak his Ego Switch. Even a notch, and shit got crazy, real fast. “
It’s from Kember!” Nyx grinned at her, and watched as the Valkyrie shot down from the throne and appeared right in front of him.
“I knew it!” He added as she snatched it out of his hand.
“Knew what?” Nissa inquired, replacing a book on one of the shelves.
“Malice has a thing for Kember!” Nyx howled, as he received a shot to the chest.
“Yup, totally has a thing! Guess that night in the bath house, wasn’t a rumor at all!” Nissa just shook his head.
“What’s the scroll say?” Malice laughed, and then looked up at him.
“Nissa, would you be a dear, and keep our guest, busy for a few minutes? I need to deliver a message!”
“Our guest?” The Angel looked confused. “What guest?”
“He should be on the third floor about now, probably hiding in a closet somewhere! Just keep him busy.” She paused, tucking the parchment into her pocket.
“I’ll be gone for a while!” She grinned, and disappeared before either of them could say anything.
“What guest?” Nissa asked again.
“I’ll get him!” Nyx’s grin was so wide, and the markings on his neck and chest were glowing that eerie amber color.
“She said keep him busy now, not kill him!” The Angel chuckled, and then disappeared himself.
Nyx was alone in the throne room, and by the time that fact had registered in his mind, he realized he was staring at the throne. He had balls, the Valkyrie knew nothing; and he started up the steps.
One at a time, up he went, each step bringing him closer, each foot upon the threshold, tightening the noose he felt around his neck. The giant backrest, hand carved with the most intricate ancient lettering, the seat cushion in that deep, blood red color; the stone arm rests almost within reach.
“Nyx?” His voice bellowed throughout the room, and the Demon found himself at the base of the steps in a heartbeat.
“Yes, my lord?” He let out, his head bowed and his heart racing as the laughter exploded from the shadows.
“Oh Gods! That was fucking priceless!” She howled, and emerged before him.
“Oh, by all that is sacred, if I should die tomorrow, I would die so happy and free!” Even Lord Eroch was laughing, and Nissa too, as they came to stand before him.
She had set him up, and they were all in on it.
“The look on your face, was so worth it, my brother!” Nissa added, slapping him on the back as he appeared beside him.
“Fuck, you!” Nyx replied, glaring at the Valkyrie, and she could see the wheels in his mind turning as he plotted his revenge.
“So, you like to play games?” He inquired, as cool and calm as he could with that sinful grin upon his face; and for a moment, Malice felt her heart flutter.
It was no lie, that despite the fact that they were both mated to others, they had felt a connection of sorts; and surprisingly enough, the Demon’s mate, Euphamia, had felt it too.
A sudden jolt, a hidden sizzle between the trio? Whatever it was, it kept them all on their toes, and constantly testing one another.
“What, did you have in mind?” Malice replied with a question of her own, intrigued by what the Demon had to offer.
“Shit! I’m out!” Lord Eroch sighed and shook his head, and disappeared back down the stairs as if he knew what was about to happen.
“Your little shit rat?” Nyx went on, his lips curling up at the side as he came towards her.
“Yeah?” Malice cocked a brow at him.
“New rules. Whoever finds him first will get to sit in that throne...” He chuckled, “...and the loser, better brush up on the word ‘slave’” He added with a grin, and then disappeared from sight.
Son of a...” Malice let out, and looked up at Nissa.
“You’d better get going! You may not know all The Null’s hiding spots, but he does!” The Angel laughed.
Malice growled as she thought of the commons room, and moment later she was there, still chuckling at the joke that she had pulled on Nyx. She loved to pester him, but he occasionally had to have his swelled head, deflated.
Now that she had, for the moment, bested him, she had no doubt that he would try to avenge himself; most likely by trying to find the pipsqueak before she did.
She had to find that little cretin, or she’d end up on her hands and knees, never hearing the end of it.
It was bright and sunny on the balcony where they stayed, waiting for news on Navina. She and Lync had taken into the small village somewhere in the valley, searching for food and drink.
They had been told that the markets were ripe with traders, and with the needs piling up, they had bundled up in their cloaks and took to the back roads so as not to be seen.
It wasn’t that bad here, as Kember looked out over the tiny homes with their little gardens and ponds. The little brown fences and garden gates, the benches and paths that seemed to lead off into nowhere; and the little road that wound in between it all.
It was there she spotted the soldiers, tall and bulky with their green tinged skin and long matted hair. Insidian Warriors, marching two by two, banging on doors and overturning carts. They were looking for something, or someone, but Kember couldn’t be sure which it was.
They knocked on every door, stopped every person they found on the road, shouting at them and bellowing orders. Kember shuddered to think of them getting into their suite if the shop owner down stairs had caught a glance at them.
Oh Gods, Navina and Lync? Where were they? The nasty, vile looking Insid were getting closer, and closer still. They were loud and obnoxious, and from what she could tell, drunk as hell as they harassed everyone in sight.
“Over here!” One shouted out, waving his sword about for the others to see, and Kember felt the need to hide. She flew in through the balcony door, listening to the shouts and hollers below; as she made her way to the closet. The book was in there, all tucked away in the knapsack she had lifted on Pentar.
The thing was like a good luck charm, keeping everything safe inside it; even when floating down that stream on Samo’san, as they’d dodged the foot patrols a few days past. Grabbing hold of the strap, she heard the footsteps in the hall and the sound of the door opening in the other room.
Sliding the bag to the floor and using her foot to kick it into a corner, she picked up the closest thing she could find and stood ready to swing behind the bedroom door. She heard the intruders rummaging around, and the footsteps?
There was more than one of them, and they were searching the place. A moment later, she heard the movement on the other side of the bedroom door, and raised the lamp high above her head... No sooner had the door opened, Kember let the lamp fly from her hands, and grabbing the knapsack, she took off towards the window.
“For the love of... Dammit, Kember!” She heard his voice, and turned to see Lync standing before her, just pulling his hand from the back of his head, the blood, dripping down past his ear.
“What the fuck?”
“Oh Gods!” She let out with a gasp. “I am so, sorry!” She added, rushing forward to help him.
“I thought you were... Oh Gods, I’m sorry!”
“Son of a....” He grumbled, again, rubbing at his head. “That fucking hurt!”
“I thought you were one of them!” She sighed, watching as the oversized male with spiky black hair, grabbed a cloth from the bathroom and pressed it against his wound.
“They’re everywhere! We came back to grab you and get the hell off this rock!” He told her, nodding towards the bedroom door.
“Vina’s grabbing a few things, and we’re heading for the portal. Hopefully we can make it through before more of them arrive!”
“We could really use Malice, right about now!” Kember grumbled and shook her head, but they had all agreed that they would cover more ground, if they searched in groups; and this particular outing, did not include the Valkyrie.
Had they known they were walking into a battlefield.
“I have to agree with you, this time!” He chuckled back at her, as an explosion sounded far off in the distance.
“Shit, if we don’t hurry, we may not make it to the portal before those assholes blow the thing up!”
“I’ve got what I need!” She smiled back at him, patting the knapsack she held tight.
“Grab Navina, and let’s go!”
Insufferable louts, both of them. Malice thought as she looked for her latest problem.
The pint sized male she was hunting, had been kicked out of the tavern for being drunk and disorderly, and the local Watch had eyes on him. He had been spouting nonsense, something about getting gifts, from his Masters.
The mere mention of the Order, or the Eno’tai, put the Watch in a panic, and after what they had heard him say; they practically threw the drunken fool at her.
Now here she was, hunting the young fool, and Malice couldn’t detect any of the soul killing taint that the other Hosts had had.
“The male should be grateful.” Malice grinned, as she tracked her prey. All of her new acquaintances had had bad experiences with the soul stealing abominations; not to mention the foul taste that had been left in Malice’s mouth, when those monsters had taken her.
No, there was no doubt in her mind, if she had felt the taint in the male he wouldn’t have made it this far; for she would have vaporized him on the spot.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are!” Malice whispered as the armor took form over her shoulders, and closing her eyes, she summoned three of her spheres.
There was a pulse of light as they appeared, and she gave thanks to those slain on the battlefield, for their essence was what gave her the abilities she used just now.
All living creatures had a life force, and Humans left traces of their life force, everywhere. This male, in his frightened state, even more so as she followed the trail down a set of stairs out back.
She was hoping the male was not stupid, that he had not been the fool and taken to the prison below; but when she looked down the first row in the cell block, and saw the prints of her prey, glowing golden in the dark.
“Idiot!” She let out with a sigh. Malice could feel his presence, smelling the sweet scent of fear as she started on once more.
“I feel you little mouse. You called me a 'pet', I mean to teach you the meaning of that word.” She called out in a chilling voice as she was moving through the stone passageways.
Reaching out, she scraped her deadly claws on the rock walls, making a sound that echoed so eerily as the metal of her talons rang out.
She moved silently past each of the cells, using the spheres as an extra set of eyes, like the mortals would use video cameras. As Mal approached where she thought the mortal was hiding, and she slowed to a stop as a thought occurred to her.
If she changed form, took on the appearance of the male, as her own Nyx wouldn’t know who was who! She could lead him away, and he wouldn’t know who to catch.
Just another gift, she had received from the battlefield. One touch was all it took, and Nyx wouldn’t know the difference. Once the beings cell pattern was captured she could change into an exact duplicate, right down to their retinal patterns and fingerprints; indistinguishable from the original.
Oh, this was going to be fun. But before she could implement her plan, she had to find that midget of a male; and what do you know, the trail stopped right outside a darkened alcove.
“Ah, there you are.” The Valkyrie grinned as she watched him cringing away in the darkness. Sure enough, as she summoned a light, there he was.
“By the infinite, I can’t be that scary.” She told him as he suddenly snapped, rushing her with a two by four.
“Die, Monster!” The male shouted out, his voice cracking as he tried to wave the wooden stick around.
“Oh for the love of...” Was all she gotta say, before she found herself evading repeated attempts to hit her.
She ducked his wild swings, grabbing the end of the ‘toothpick’ and ripping it from his hand before using her own momentum and following through with the spin. Malice gave him a resounding smack across the ass with the flat end of the board sending him crashing into the desk across the hall.
“Son of a bitch!” Malice let out, dropping the stick as her hands vibrated.
“I ought to have shoved this board up your ass so far, it would have come out your nose.” She hissed at him, and the male hit the floor.
“What, are you?” The young male asked as she helped him off the floor, a short while later.
“I am Valkyrie.” Malice replied, watching as he started to tremble again, barely able to lift his head; and the he was out again. Dammit! She had broken him, and she had had such high hopes for the little bugger, too!
So, gently picking him up off the ground, she carried him into one of the unoccupied cells nearby, and lay him on the cot. Getting him settled, she knelt down next to him, and lay her hands down to heal the damage she had done.
About half way through the process, the male opened his eyes, and looking up at her he started to speak, but Malice silenced him with a look.
“Always, think before you speak otherwise, your mouth is going to be writing checks, your ass can’t cash.” She cautioned him before rising to her feet, but that confused look he gave her, wasn’t very encouraging.
On closer inspection, he was younger than she had first thought. Perhaps fifteen, or sixteen mortal years old.
“What’s your name, child?” She asked. The young male, hidden behind all that dirt, had the most stubborn look on his face.
It never failed though males no matter their ages, clammed up in the face of a female authority figure. Mind you said figure had damn near beaten him senseless.
“You know, I could always read your mind? I can’t guarantee your brains won’t run out of your ears, but I should be able to stop myself before that happens.” She cautioned him, as she felt his lie coming on.
“Lying to me, is definitely not a good idea, for much the same reason. Now, what’s your name?” She insisted, drawing closer to the cot, her steel blue eyes boring down on his.
“Alaine, Milady.” He blurted out, his eyes nearly rolling to the back of his head for fear.
The Valkyrie smiled gently, and finding a rag and getting it wet, she started washing the blood off of his face. Her healing had taken care of the wounds, but he looked as if the Watch had roughed him up, but good. Not surprising given the circumstances.
On Kelmar and Kelvek, they would have executed him on the spot; or given him to a lynch mob, whichever had come first.
The common folk were frightened, almost senseless, by the mere mention of anything having to do with the Eno’tai. It was what held them all together, and yet, drove the madness between them.
One accusation was all it would take, and the hordes would gather to dispel such evil; reminded Malice of the old Witch hunts that occurred on Earth, way back when.
Bloody fools, no wonder the planet was falling apart having rid itself of its own protectors.
“Alaine?” Malice started, letting out a long sigh.
“Why did you tell all, that your Masters had given you powers? Do you wish them to think you, the fool? “ She inquired, “You do not carry the stain of their kind, and in these parts of the Verse, those are very dangerous words for one who can’t back themselves up. You could very well call the enemy down upon you!”
“I get it, you wanted to die; and I ruined it for you!” Malice glared at him. “So you are stupid!”
“No!” He shot back, and then looked away.
“Well you were either being stupid, or just being stupid!” Malice shook her head.
“I wanted one of them to come, so I could kill it, myself.” The fool let out.
“They slaughtered everyone in my family!” The child growled, and at those words, the Valkyrie nodded her head, and rose from the bed.
“See? Stupid, with a dash of moron!” Malice chuckled. “Joining them, is down right dumb, calling them out, now that broaches on idiot status; you know, they like mind fuck, right?”
The young male still wouldn’t speak, and she knew fine well that it was his thirst for vengeance, that had controlled him had attracted her attention.
Like so many others, his hatred had caused him to lash out, unprepared for what they might do to him but she told herself Alain was a child. A very stupid child, but most of them were.
She thought of her own children, and the dumb choices they would make; but they had Rehoboam, and he was the best Father that Malice could have ever hoped for.
He loved them, and he loved her but Alaine had no one.
Shit! Now the guilt was rising in her belly and that stupid need to play Mom, was pinching at her heart strings.
“I’m sorry, Alaine.” Mal sighed as his tears started to fall, and she too shed one with him for yet another, motherless child. He was one of thousands these days, being what they were.
The Eno’tai and their followers had left nothing but devastation in their wake. Countless families torn apart, millions of orphans left to the winds or forced into various camps to serve their new Masters.
“I’ll tell you what, Alaine, I’m going to lock you in here tonight, but in the morning, I’ll see what I can do to help you with your vengeance. I want you to remember everything you can about the attack, and we’ll discuss the plans for your revenge.” Malice said as she lay the child back down and sent him off to sleep with a wave of her hand.
“We’ll figure this out, I promise!” She dismissed her light as she rose from the bed and stepped back, locking the latch, before leaning her forehead against the door with a sigh.
When she looked up again at the sound of footsteps, she found Nyx standing a few feet away with a smile on his face as he held out his arms.
Malice raised a brow in his direction, when he rolled his eyes and opened his arms wider, she ran to him and placed the biggest kiss upon his cheek, before letting herself slide down his chest, sobbing into his warmth.
It wasn’t normal, for the Demon to be acting like he was; but he ran his hands through her bright blonde hair nonetheless, marveling at the softness as she cried herself out.
“What’s all this?” Nyx growled, as he picked her up and sat her in a nearby chair.
“And you told me not to hurt him?” He laughed, making his way towards the cell.
“By the looks of things, he’s hurt you!” His laughter turned back to a growl, and Malice was taken back by his concern.
In only a few months, the Demon had taken to her. The bond they shared, like that of the one he shared with his mate but Malice, wasn’t, his mate.
That alone, had caused some issues in The Void; no one minded their own business. Euphamia was the only one Malice had to worry about, and couldn’t care less.
She knew where his heart belonged, she knew he loved her and coveted her that didn’t mean he couldn’t play.
‘After the first hundred years, you tend to add a few things to your sex life; a few, people even!’ Mia had told her once. ‘So long as he comes to me free of their scent, and he didn’t use my bath to do it, I’m golden!’
Damn right, Euphamia was golden and loyal as hell. So was her Demon but he was also incredibly over protective, she could smell his aggressive scent pooling all around her.
“No, no, Nyx, he didn’t hurt me, and he’s just a child! Barely hitting his ‘teenage’ years among his kind. There is no need to concern yourself with a motherless child, especially one, whose family was murdered by the Eno’tai.” She shook her head.
“And?” The Demon sighed, and the scent started to diminish. “And, what?” “There is always, an and, Malice!” He grumbled.
“Okay, AND, I’ll make them pay dearly for what they have done to him?” She let out, hoping to appease the brute.
Nyx, for the most part, enjoyed the time that the two of them had together. He had fallen hard for the blonde Valkyrie, feeling a connection between them, just as strong as the one he shared with his Euphamia.
Fuck, his female could crumble mountains and drain the seas, and she could kick his ass in a heartbeat; but Nyx was damn well convinced, that Malice would have been his mate, had he not taken that vow.
Had he not promised his brother, and bonded with Mia, Malice would have been his. Or so the drunken fool had spouted one night, and Mia, to this day, has not let him live it down.
Malice, was not his wife. Not his mate, his wife; though Malice refused to do the male’s laundry. Malice already had a husband, and she didn’t do his laundry either.
Rehoboam was self sufficient, unlike some Demons she knew, the male could take care of himself.
“Are you going to play? Or look at that note from Kember again, considering you’re supposed to be a Master at this shit, and I’ve beaten you twice already!” Nyx grumbled in her ear as they grabbed another round of drinks and made their way back to the pool house.
The place was deserted, but for he and Malice, and he was still trying to piece together what she had planned for him. Malice cocked her head to one side as she regarded her companion.
She’d read the parchment again and again and she’d grin. There was Kember, and there was Nyx. You could throw Mia in that mix as well.
Though her duties kept her far from the Null most nights, she and Malice had gotten close; and Nyx had seen the way they looked at one another.
Lost in the daze she had left him in, he stood there with his mouth open and drinks in hand.
It wasn’t long before he heard his name, and looked over just in time to see Malice disappear from sight. Only to appear a moment later in thin air, hovering just above the water.
“Cannonball!” Malice bellowed as she plunged into the waters, and Nyx swore she had purposely picked the spot next to him to splashdown into; and Nissa appeared in the doorway, just in time to catch the wave.
“Guess I, should have brought a towel?” He chuckled, ruffling his feathers to shake the water off.
“Nissa, my brother? You should join us, since you’re already wet!” Nyx howled, sending a mouthful of water in Malice’s direction.
“I’d love to, but we have a little problem on our hands!” The Angel shook his head.
“No can do, Boss! I’m on vacation!” Malice grinned, and sunk down beneath the water, swimming about like a fish out at sea. Nyx howled some more, until he got a look at Nissa’s face, and the Demon knew that something was wrong.
“Spill it!” He urged the Angel on, as Malice resurfaced.
“It’s Kember!” Nissa let out, and the splashing ceased. “What about Kember?” The Valkyrie inquired, making her way to the edge of the pool.
“Where are they?”
“No one has heard from them in twelve hours.” The Angel started again.
“Where, are they?”
“Kil'Lough, just outside of the Samo’san Territories, and there are reports that the portal is offline!”
“Fuck!” Malice let out, appearing before him, soaking wet and in the nude.
“Dammit, Mal!” The Angel let out with a hiss, and she chuckled when she caught him stealing a second glance.
“I’ll find Mia!” Nyx grinned, knowing fine well that they were headed for battle, and with that, they all disappeared.