‘We are born with the memories of our ancestors, a gift, we bestowed upon Pathen and the Order.’
‘Then that is how Navina here, could remember shit still, right? I mean, they wiped her memories.’
‘One cannot delete genetics!’ The Beast named Emmagen laughed, his shaggy fur coat, still dusted with snow and that furrowed, Human looking brow.
‘I may not have seen the birth of this world, but I remember it as if I had been here, standing on the rocks of the moon above; But Pathen, he used our gift, and paired it with the sinister gifts of a race so vile.’
‘The Eno’tai!’ Malice grumbled.
‘Yes! And because of them, the world has suffered and we have been forced into hiding; along with so many others.’
‘Like the Dragons?’ Navina blurted out, and the Beast looked at her. ‘I saw dragons, one white, and one black!’ The female added, pushing her long black hair, out of her face.
‘A curse laid upon a couple so fair, their clans at war, and an evil male to blame for it!’
‘Truth! She was the kin of Rammal, and he, an innocent Prince; and the vicious cycle of hate and anger has continued on, ever since, in the lives of the next reincarnations! Ever since the temple was lost.’
‘Tell us of the Temple!’ Malice ordered, almost jumping up from her seat.
‘Tell us where it is!’ ‘In a Verse, much like this one and guarded by the pair of Dragons?’
The Beast sighed, ‘
'Though that is all I know, there are others of my kind who could tell you more.’
‘The dragons? They are the same, as in my vision?’ Navina asked, before taking a sip of the sweet juices in her mug.
‘Perhaps! But they are not all that guard the sacred temple of old...’ He smiled at Malice,
‘It is said that they too, wander its massive halls, banished to the glory of each other’s arms.’
‘Rammal and Janice? They are there? And alive?’
‘I cannot tell you if they still draw breath, but the others...’ His voice was fading.
‘And where do we find these, others?’ Nyx inquired, so close to slumbering you could barely see the slits in his eyes. ‘
I will draw a map for you!’ The Beast replied.
She remembered well, what the Beast had told her. How his kind had given Pathen the power of time. How the Mornin had shown them how to drift, but it was his mate, Saghe, who she had come to see.
We do not see everything, like our Mate does! Emaggen has never shown us how; but our ears work well enough, and the people in the towns talk a lot!’ The female named Sahge, sighed. ‘
"They say that your friend left. That she, had dreams of the massive beasts, and that she heard their calls when they arrived...’ Another of the Beast’s mates, let out. ‘
Some even say that she was a Dragon herself. That she was in fact, the reincarnation of Princess Nevelyn.’ A third female added. ‘
They say, that when the Dragons left, she and a few others left with them. No one has seen them since, not even the Mangese could locate them; and they have outposts on thousands of worlds.’
‘So, where do you think they went?’ Malice urged them to continue. ‘Emaggen had a few too many drinks one night, boasting about his memories.
His past lives, and the parties he had shared in.’ Her voice drifted off, as if she were trying to imagine it.
‘Among them, was the tale of the Warriors. Vicious, nasty looking males, and how they had invaded countless blood moon celebrations, stealing off with the women and...’
Really, Sahge! No one wants to hear of their beastly ways’ The second female scolded her.
Anyhow, it is said that if you dwell beneath the blood moon long enough, you will see the Dragons, and they will lead you to the sword that was lost!’ Sahge went on.
‘And how was it lost?’ Mia asked.
‘No one knows for sure, and Emmagen won’t admit it...’ The female sighed, looking at her mate as he slumbered.
‘But even he believes that the Celestial Temple lies beyond the Gates of Hell themselves, and those Dragons, are they key to finding the sword."
‘The sword will point the way!’ ‘One sword to guide them, one sword to greet them, and a pair of Guardians to protect the path!’ ‘I always loved that part!’ The third female giggled.
But please, don’t tell him that we told you? He has searched for so long and the hardships have been immense. Since the day he heard that hope had been lost beyond the stars.’
He swears that Pathen had something to do with it, banishing the females as he did, and then oops; the temple just happens to disappear?’ Sahge threw her hands in the air.
‘I can feel his guilt, and you can all sleep well knowing that we will never spill a word of it!’
The Valkyrie smiled. ‘Now tell us all you know of the Temple, and these Dragons!’ Well, from there, Saghe had gone on to tell them all she knew; or had assumed.
As Malice looked at it, her assumptions were based on facts, so she couldn’t have been that far from the truth, right? And it had worked, some.
Malice had gone to the old tavern where Nan was said to have told her last tale of the Dragons; and she’d heard a few renditions of the tale, though spoken by others.
Out of three whole nights, Malice had compiled a list of notes to hand over to Lord Eroch, which included, but were not limited to, the fact that the people in that tavern, were all about, three screws loose of a complete set.
So if you took into consideration, there were over twenty people there was sixty screws! No wonder the stories were so.
Malice knew that the Dragons were white and black; not green, or gray, or purple for that matter.
Yes, because Dragon’s choose the color of their scales by the color that suited their fancy? See, screws lost!
Then, there was the talk of the Masters, and how there was one living within the Mangese city just over yonder. That, and the incident after she had left the tavern, with the whole, Human, Fish looking creature.
Like, what was that all about? Talk about genetic mutations; but then, Raemon, Torsha’s mate, was said to have had fur.
Ugh, such a backwards little planet. She had added that to her little list as well; and watched Lord Eroch gaze up at her with his ‘what the fuck’ face shining bright.
There was one point of interest on her list, in all those jumbled stories, only one, that had caught her attention, and it was the barkeep who had said it.
‘Find the fortress, with walls of crumbled stone, and the tower that leads to the sky. From there you will see where their fire scorched the earth.
So, there was a pair of Dragons, a Lost Temple, Rammal and Janice, and a sword that would point the way. Did it perhaps, sit, on top of the tower in the sky? But wait, it didn’t stop there, oh no!
Lord Eroch had ordered her and the Demon to search for the fortress, and what did she find? A whole lot of craziness in the form of a Ghost that called herself Orella.
Now, she was supposed to be the sister of who, again? Navina, and Marena? She knew who Janice was, and Rammal and claimed to be the daughter of Foran, a Kor’Mhia.
Malice was so confused, though after her little moment with Kember..She was grinning like mad,but still confused, nonetheless.
Which is why she had come back to see Saghe, Emmagen had spoken of others, and she was desperate to unscramble her mind; even if she might have forgotten to tell Lord Eroch where she was going.
“So, you return!” His voice sent shivers down her spine, as his voice crept out from the shadows.
“You and I, we have some unfinished business!” Malice called out into the woods that surrounded her.
“Do we now?”
“You spoke of others...” Malice reminded the male.
“And I provided you with a map!” Emmagen replied, his voice echoing through the trees. “
You gave us a scribble in ancient writing.” Malice shot back, and rolled her eyes as she shook her head.
“And your Ellaria cannot figure it out?” He chuckled as he appeared right beside her.
We have been to the tavern, we’ve heard the stories,and we even went in search of the damn fortress and scorch marks.”
“The what?” He cocked a furry brow at her.
“The fortress with the crumbling walls and the tower to the sky? The scorch marks on the ground from their fire? Or how about the female who appeared out of nowhere, and claims to be kin to one of my own?”
She glared at him, waiting for him to answer, but he was no longer listening to her. His nose was up in the wind and his ears were cocked to the sides.
“Silence!” He whispered, closing his eyes for a moment, and then he looked at her with fear in his face.
“The Host is near! You must leave!”
I will send Saghe to you; but you must go, now!” He ordered her, and took off into the night.
Just great! Here she was, out for a stroll in the middle of the woods, alone and on a planet that still had it’s shield up! Oh, let’s not forget the fact that there was a Host, and who knew how many of his followers with him; and they were all trapped inside the shield, together.
This wasn’t this going to be fun, as she started back towards the town. She felt the tingle rising up her neck, heard the footsteps as they marched over fallen leaves and branches.
It was here to fight a Host, alone, surrounded by trees and more trees, or make her way back to the portal so she could slip out when the enemy left.
What were they doing here anyway? Why would a Host come all the way out into the middle of nowhere? It didn’t matter right now. None of it mattered, as the first sight of a red cloak came through the branches.
They were here, and she was ready for a fight; so when Malice saw that flash of color she blinked and up she went, thirty feet into the canopy above.
These were giant trees, the size of a Sequoiadendron Giganteum. Bloody Hell, she loved how that rang off her tongue, like she was speaking the words of the ancients once more.
They had many names, on many different worlds; but on Earth, the Human’s called them Redwoods, so plain and... plain. As fledglings, she and her sister, Mist, had lived in the forest of Almaren; spending a hundred years at least, running the branches after their prey.
It had been hard at first, slipping and crashing to the ground a million times, but with practice, she had become so light on her feet, not even the leaves dared rustle as she passed. These trees though, had branches the size of sidewalks, there was no falling unless she started tripping over her own feet.
“Somebody’s left me vines to climb.” She grinned, pulling herself up to the highest perch; but it soon died from her face, as she realized that she couldn’t see the portal.
Where the hell was it? Had they hidden it somehow? After the last fight with that asshole and his magic, she was pretty sure the enemy could make a whole city disappear if they wanted to; even Kember was surprised.
Kember! The bracelet! It would guide her right to the female, if Kember had done as she was told, and stayed hidden near the portal.
’Kember!′ She called out with her mind, but only silence answered her call. ‘
Kember! Where are you? We have a big problem.’ Yet again, there was nothing.
“Get that beast, under control!” Lord Eroch shouted, and it was all Kember could do, to stay alive as the massive black monster stomped about; and so very close to the portal.
had lashed out at her as she’d been thrown out of said portal, but Nyx had intervened; not that she had wanted to get tossed out of the damn thing in the first place, or, run into Mr. Nasty here.
That blast had sent her running for cover, and no sooner had she been able to stand on her own two feet, she had found herself in The Null.
How she’d gotten there, she had no fucking clue; but she was thanking everything with a heart beat, that she had survive.
“Where the fuck, is Malice?” Nyx bellowed, trying to keep the thing’s eyes on him.
“Beast charming, is her fucking specialty! ” He growled at it, but the beast was bigger, and his growl carried a stench that almost dropped the Demon where he stood.
What was that?” Kember shot him a look. “I said...” Nyx gagged, hanging his head for but a second.
“Where the fuck, is Malice? She knows how to deal with the beasts!” The Demon glared at her and his markings started to glow like embers. So, he was pissed! Not necessarily a good thing, but she wasn’t about to divulge any.... Fuck!
She could already feel that eerie glare, eyeing her up and down.
“Where did she go, Kember?” It was Lord Eroch who spoke now, and Kember hung her head. That one and only voice that she couldn’t ignore. The male was like a Father to her; a real Father!
“Fuck!” She let out, “She went to see Sahge, okay!” Kember shook her head.
“She what?” Mia let out,
“You’re joking right? Cause Moranis is under siege, Kember!”
“Yes, because being thrown through the portal wasn’t enough of a hint! Gods, Mia, she wanted answers! You know how she gets; and you think I could have stopped her?” Kember let out in her defense.
“You could have tried!” Nyx growled, throwing his hands in the air. “Or you know, tell someone!”
“She swore it would be alright!” Kember replied, dodging the tail of the monster.
Yeah, yeah... Not so safe now, is she?” He shot back at her. “She said she’d be fine, but then the portal was stormed and I was knocked into it.”
“And you ended up here?” Mia cocked a brow.
“I don’t know, maybe it’s this stupid bracelet!” Kember shook her head.
“She said it would protect me, guide me,”Her words were all mixed up as she hurried towards them. “ now I’m really worried cause it’s blinking, and I think she’s in trouble.” She grumbled, just as the beast let out a roar. “
You think!” Nyx rolled his eyes at her. “She was grounded for a reason, and not the ‘you’re grounded to your room’ type of grounding.
‘you’re injured and can’t fight’ grounded. As in, her feet, should have stayed, on the fucking ground, on this side of the portal!” He growled, trying to tie the rope he had, into a noose.
“She was what?” Kember let out and her eyes grew wider. “She said nothing to me about being grounded; only that she was in search of answers.”
“Dammit, Euphamia! She’s gonna get herself killed, and then what do we tell Rehoboam?” Lord Eroch growled as he shook his head.
What the hell are you getting pissed at me for? She’s a Valkyrie. Do I have to remind you all that she is a first gen?” Mia shook her head.
“Not my deal!” “Don’t let Nissa here you say that!” Nyx chuckled, as he tied another knot in the rope.
“Yeah, yeah!” Mia shook her head, “But it’s still the truth. The first gen, where faster, stronger and.”
“Meaner?” Nyx added, getting ready to toss the loop over the beast’s neck while it wasn’t looking.
“Just saying!” He grinned at them, and then took off for the win. Not, as easy as he thought it was going to be, as the beast started to stomp about some more.
, smelly, matted looking bugger, with claws and teeth that could rip a person to shreds, and those itty bitty black eyes... Things could have been a Shoohk, if you crossed it with a.
“Fuck, me!” Mia let out. “It’s a hybrid!” “A what?” Nyx grumbled, as he pulled himself up off the ground.
One of theirs!” She replied, as she palmed her daggers and aimed for the throat.
“That’s why Kember ended up here, it wasn’t the bracelet... it was the beast that brought her here!” One nailed its target, the other veered off course and dug into the beast’s shoulder.
“They opened the portal to send it through, and Kember got knocked in by the blast!”
“I don’t care what it is or how it happened! It’s wrecking my mood!” Her Father hissed, and then looked at Kember.
“Go!” He commanded, “And take Euphamia with you, find the Valkyrie and drag her ass back here is you have to!”
“But if they opened the portal to the Null...” Mia started again, and her Father shook his head.
“I’ll deal with that! You go!”
“What about us?” Nyx cut in, nearly losing control of the wounded animal. “
We, get the beast!” He glared back at The Demon.“Hybrid or not, this thing’s gotta go; and everything dies; somehow!”
“Shit! I knew you were gonna say that!” Nyx grumbled, as the rope was yanked from his hands.
Fucking bastard!” He bellowed, and that was the last Kember saw, before she and Mia vanished through the portal.Malice’s heart raced as she watched the lantern come closer, the being who held it looking so revolting beneath its cloak.
Her jaw dropped as she took in the sights before her, watching carefully as more of them appeared, until a squad of about twelve had gathered, and right in the middle of them all was Sahge and the other mates of Emmagen.
Bloody hell! The one in the Red cloak, the one she assumed to be the Host, made his way towards Sahge and the others, and Malice let her mind scan his. She shuddered at what she found; a big, ugly brute of a.
What, was he? Malice felt a deep chill as the chorus of the insane, played out in her thoughts. Like a tale of old, thousands of voices digging deep into her soul.
All she wanted to do was leap down and slay them all, but there were innocent lives at stake. She had to think of a way to save the Mornin and his mates .
“Where, are the Dragons; and the Valkyrie?” The Host let out in a cold gravelly voice and Sahge looked at the Insid beside him, and then at the Host, like she was just an absent minded elder.
“Dragons? There are no Dragons around here, my Lord. There hasn’t been one in quite some time.” She replied, and shook her head.
The Host looked around him, and then up into the trees before grabbing hold of one of the younger females by the throat. The redhead struggled to get away from him but his grip was too tight; and then... SNAP!
“We know you are here, Valkyrie, and you have two minutes, before we kill another!” He chuckled.
“We will kill each, and every one of these pathetic animals, and then we will hunt down their traitorous mate and wear his skins as a winter cloak.”
Malice’s gray eyes narrowed, as he watched the horrid Insid hurdle the rest of them, lining them up as if to execute them all. She had seen this before, so very long ago in the war camps that were scattered across the planet Earth.
She had seen the death squads, she knew of their tactics and procedures. Bloody Hell, she had been one of them, though sinister and vile the time had been, she knew that what she saw before her, was an execution line.
bastard Host, wasn’t screwing around. So, what did he want more? The Dragons? Emmagen? Or Her?
“We mean what we say, female! Tell us what we wish to know, and we may spare you, Malice!”
Cool, they knew her name. Also very creepy. The Insid where too close to hit them with an area of effect spell, she’d catch everyone in the blast zone, and she’d been hit by enough magic to last her a long while. Not to mention having to carry six females to the portal; which may or may not be heavily guarded.
Nope, it would be stealth that wins the day! Sneaking from branch to branch with her invisible noose and slipping it down around their necks. She could pull them away into the night, one by one.
Twelve, eleven, ten, nine, and eight, all gone, all, silenced; and she felt the pride rise within her.
“Talented you are, but you have broken the rules...” And the shrill scream sounded in the darkness, followed by the thud of a body hitting the ground.
A blonde now laid beside the red headed female at the Red Cloak’s feet and Malice felt her blood turn cold. She felt the rage growing within her, and the agony as she searched both sets of lifeless eyes, and it was then she found the burst she needed to take out seven through two.
The Host was all alone now, and in a state of shock; which was not surprising.
“I’m sorry, did they forget to mention the fact that I am ten times faster than any mortal, and stronger than you could ever imagine?” She inquired, letting her wings unfold before the eyes that haunted her so.
“Pity, it seems they only tell you what they want you to know! ” She laughed at the Host.
“We know all that we need to!” The voices laughed back in unison, as Malice let the ball of light grow in her hand. “Do you now?” She grinned so wide.
For now! They replied, and she let the light go, right through his chest and she watched as the thing fell to its knees; but it was not the soulless stare she had witnessed before.
Honey colored eyes of a male so lost and confused, stood before her, his mouth open as if to scream, but nothing came out; he was... terrified. It was true, her emotions controlled her, pushing her forward. Like fear, they gave her the will to fight harder; and she had, but at what cost? She had just gone into overdrive, on a male who it seemed, was no longer a Host.
“Oh Gods!” She let out as the male fell to the ground, his arms outstretched and calling for her.
Shit!” She hissed, and found herself on the ground next to him, her fingers grazing the edge of his wound. He was done for. None could withstand a blast as such, not at close range like that; but he had been the enemy. So why, did she feel so fucking guilty?
“Because you took the life of an innocent!” The words filled her with sadness, and Malice turned to see the glow in the woods behind her. Nothing more than an aura of peace, floating past the leaves.
There were gasps,as the light grew brighter still, and Malice felt the last bit of life leave the male. He was gone, and it was true that she had taken it from him; but innocent?
I do not understand!” Malice replied, looking back at the glow.
How can he be innocent?”
“You can feel that it is true, Malice! Your heart is beating the guilt throughout your body as we speak.”
Bloody hell! She was right! She was, always, right!
“Then, aren’t all Hosts, are willing?” Malice inquired and waited for the ominous reply.
“Unfortunately, not all of them are given the choice! If the enemy’s presence is strong, then so long as you carry the gene, you can be taken.”
The glowing light subsided, and the figure in a white cloak emerged.
“It started with the Vampires, something about their makeup makes them vulnerable, and once they started in with their Hybrids.” Her words trailed off.
“They can inhabit, anyone?” “Any of their creations, yes!” But Malice had turned her attention to the chattering that had grown louder, and then the cries rang out into the night.
The females were mourning their fallen mates, lifting them into their arms and carrying them off towards the woods as they chanted.
“Wait a moment!” The cloaked female called after them, and as one, they all turned back around, and the one named Sahge came forward. She made it a few steps before falling to her knees and bowing her head, and the cloaked figure shook her head.
“You have done us all a great favor, there is no need to bend your knee to me!” “
Oh, but there is, my Lady!” The female replied, not once raising her head.
“Very well!” The female smiled at Sahge, and placed her hand upon her shoulder,
“Tell me, where do you take them?” She referred to the fallen. “
Their shells will burn, as is our custom!” Sahge sighed. “You would burn the living?” The female inquired, as if she were surprised, or was it, disgusted? But the sudden gasps and the chattering picked up... “
"I don’t understand?” One of the others called out. “They were...”
“A Host can play tricks with one’s mind!” The female laughed,
“And with it destroyed, its illusions will fade as time passes!”
“Thank you!” Sahge rose to her feet, and looked up at the hood the female wore, but she could see nothing but the vibrant white cloak with it’s golden trim.
“Whatever for?” The female replied in a soft voice, one that pulled at Malice’s heart strings; and she watched as there was a moment of tension between them, before Sahge finally replied.
“For stopping us! Had we proceeded, we may have burned her alive!” She offered with a smile, but there was a glint in her eye as she turned away and rushed towards her mates.
“You must take them someplace safe!” The female called out, and Sahge looked back.
“We will find Emmagen, my Lady! We will all be safe!” She smiled again, and resumed her place in line with the others; helping to support her red headed mate.
It was a short while, before the silence around them was broken, and the female let down her cloak with a sigh.
“There has been far too much innocent blood spilled tonight!” She shook her head, looking down at the male who lay at her feet.
Malice had heard her, but she was lost in the emerald green eyes, and the hair of ivory with blood stained tips.
“I’m sorry, my Lady...” “Malice, you have never called me that. You have our right to refuse to do so when we were alone, for centuries.”
The female spoke to her, opening her arms for the Valkyrie to rush in.
I didn’t know he was innocent!” Malice let out with a sniffle, burying her face in her chest.
“Things will happen in times of war, Malice, but we need to hold on to who and what we are, if we are ever to overcome our enemy! Our fears are our weaknesses, and our guilt is but a stairway for them to follow!”
“I’ve always hated your riddles!” Malice grubled, and for the first time in a long time, she felt like a child being comforted by a...
“You are far more than a child, Malice! You will forever be the Warrior you were made to be! And for that, I thank you, for we could not have done this without you!” Malice pulled away for a moment, looking up into the female’s eyes.
“You’ve had the power to save them all, this whole time, haven’t you?” She was searching for the female’s thoughts.
“There is a difference between having a thing, and having the knowledge to control it! That knowledge is what sets us apart from the enemy, Malice, for we KNOW what will come of the power if it is used as a weapon.”
“But as a tool of healing?” Malice urged her to reconsider. “If I were to heal every soul that perished in this war, then the war itself would never end.”
Not every soul, just the ones that matter!” Malice replied.
“And who is to judge who matters, and who does not? We are NOT Gods, Malice, contrary to popular belief. There are things at work here that we cannot even begin to comprehend.
Too many players on one field causing confusion, to many of those who bellow orders, turns confusion to chaos. The rules exist for a reason...”
“And you just broke those rules, when you gave that female back her life. How is she to face the Courts now?”
“She would never face the Courts, Malice. None, mated to a Mornin, truly die! And when you next see Emmagen, please tell him that the debt has been paid!
” The female smiled at her, and turned away.
“You should use your powers for good! Heal the wounded and strengthen our armies!”
To do so, would open the gates for them to do the same! My hands are tied in this matter, but yours, are not, Malice! Remember that! It is why you were created.”
“To do, what you could not!” “Exactly!” Came the words as she started to disappear.
“Wait! The portal...” Malice called after her.
“Ellaria?” She shouted, but the female was gone. Bloody Hell!
Where the fuck, was Kember? And how the hell was she supposed to explain all this to Lord Eroch?