BOOK OF IMMORTALS

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Evil Found Us

Grier Country

DERAGAN

Only later did Deragan lay next to his precious wife in their grand four-poster bed. Sated and comfortable.

“I missed you unbearably.” He murmured. Caressing her exposed shoulder over her chemise.

The words don’t seem quite enough. I yearned for he beyond what they could describe.

She smiled warmly at him. Molten eyes meeting his blue ones. Just as he’d envisioned earlier.

Ethereal.

A bang at the door made Deragan groan. “They’re like children.”

Children I’d strangle, some days.

“What is it?” She called.

Go away. Never come back. He thought.

“I was going to head home.” Rhyers called through the door. “Unless you wish me to stay and keep watch for cimmerii outside?”

“No.” Deragan called. “Return home, Brother. Mardichi is out there. As long as they don’t feed him too much ale, he’ll do fine.”

He better not have a drink.

He’ll pay.

“Farewell Captain! My Lady.” Rhyers called before they heard his footsteps down the hallway.

Deragan caught a stray curl of silver-blonde hair. Tucking the wayward wisp behind her ear before trailing the back of his knuckles down her cheek. So beautiful.

Her lavender eyes swam with emotion. Afraid to blink in-case he’d vanish.

“Are you content, My Wife?”

“Always when I’m with you.” She smiled in a way that melted his chilled heart.

“I want to take you to the stronghold tomorrow. There I can keep you safe…Hidden from Radix’s reach.

We’ll leave as soon as possible.

“We’ve talked about this.” She reminded softly.

Not nearly enough. His stomach clenched. Fearing what she’d say.

“I know how much you worry, but I won’t be locked away somewhere.” She shook her head. Face tight.

You can’t know. Around his lips whitened briefly before pain filled his expression. I watch you suffer. I watch you pass. I lose you over and over.

Radix steals our happiness. And his familiar hatred for the demon began to poison the pleasure he was feeling.

“Don’t be like that.” She coaxed, wrapping her fingers into the thick black curls at his nape.

I don’t want to spend another lifetime without you. Closing his eyes, he savored the touch of her soft hand. Dodging the pain and fear her words invoked.

“Think on it.” He pleaded, eyes easing open.

Blowing a deep breath, she nodded.

Catching her close he squeezed her tightly to him until realizing he was gripping her to hard. I’m hurting her.

But she uttered no complaint. Snuggling her face into his chest. “Deragan.”

As he blew out a calming breath time seemed to still as he relaxed. Slumping back against the pillow and pulling her with him so she rested on his chest. Staring up at him.

Peace. Finally. After four years of torture. He’d finally won his prize. Four years of seducing her. Waiting for her to recognize me.

To remember…

It’s intolerably painful having to start from the beginning. Over and over…and over…

But here and now. She’s mine. His arms tightened around her, and she moaned contentedly. He fell asleep thus. Lost in her fathomless gaze until he could no longer keep his eyes open.

Utterly unaware of the black energy encroaching on them.


RADIX MALORUM

Radix had haunted the edge of Deragan and Annastacia’s grand wedding. Trailing after them during the banquet and ball. Staying in the peripheral of the festivities. Seething with the incessant loss of such a precious weapon. It took great concentration to conceal the smell of him from a hundred fine-tuned noses.

Damn the wench.

And damn him. The wretched Captain. Always interfering.

Radix had tried to sway her to his embrace, but she’d have none of him. No matter how close he drew she always seemed to reject him at the end. Choosing the human instead.

Unable to sway her he’d moved after them with the same intent as always. A shadow along the walls. Dancing in the candlelight of so many lanterns.

Once she sealed her soul to the human in wedlock she was lost to Radix. After refusing to join his forces, she certainly could not be permitted to ally with the Forever Knights!

There’s no changing her mind once she’s under his spell. His pointed teeth grated at the thought of the Captain.

Radix had learned that much well over the last few years. Despite his abhorrence of defeat. That one always seems to win these little…skirmishes.

So…Destroy her again it is. A skill I’m perfecting. A malicious smile twisted his lips.

Radix glimpsed the huge red-haired barbarian circling the house. That one’s blue eyes flicked alertly along the shadows.

He’s had no drink tonight. Radix cursed him.

Knowing that one usually drank to excess, he still hoped to convert him one day. I will let him live for now.

He caught the flash of green and his dark greedy eyes lit on the glowing orb of the staff in the hand of the other man near the trees.

Lust filled Radix. He had long hungered to possess that staff. Crafted of the most precious wood to ever exist, it was incredibly powerful.

A distraction…

Closing his eyes, he called in a few Targue. Expendable. They lunged from the shrubbery and Radix was careful to sever his telepathic link with them to assure he was not harmed when they were killed. A suitable diversion.

He looked up at the chamber above, where a single candle still burned in the window in the tradition of wedlock in Ardae. The flame now barely danced. A wicked smile turned his cruel features as he crept toward the house while the men were distracted.

The tinkling sounds of wine glasses and laughter from in the house he recognized the ongoing wedding festivities.

Perfect. It’d mean many of them were already here…A long thin tongue flicked out, far too long and pointed to be human as he licked his lips hungrily. Lunging up he climbed the side of the Mansion on pointed black limbs which contorted inhumanely around his shoulders and head as he unfolded and plunged them into the wall again like a twisted four-legged spider.

Seeping into the house he came in the form of dark billowing smoke. Sliding in around every corner of the windows before congealing into a solid mass. Red eyes illuminated brightly before dimming and hardening to dark little rubies. Pulling his bleak aura tight around him like a thin blanket he kept it from brushing the Captain’s.

My little game is only fun if he doesn’t know I’m here.

Using magic, he persuaded the girl to roll from her husband’s sheltering arms. Easier thought than done.

Every part of her subconscious will fought allowing any space between herself and her lover. Finally, after a long struggle she sighed and relented to the superior strength. Rolling to face Radix.

The unwanted separation drove her unexpectedly from her sleep.

Eyes snapping open she widened her mouth on a scream.

A twitch of Radix’s lips crippled her voice. And subdued her. Freezing her where she was.

Reaching out with hook-like talons he gripped her throat. Impeding her from letting the man asleep next to her know she was in peril. Staring at her he disconnected his jaw excruciatingly slowly. Pleased at the terror shining in her bright eyes. Once his mouth had become a gaping abyss he leaned over the bed and let his lower jaw flap as it drug over the folds of her blanket to wrap her face.

Breaths deepening, she struggled instinctively for air. Even as the small fragment of her being drug from her body toward the gaping mouth. Tugging itself free from the bonds that held it, making her whole.

Pain filled her eyes and the demon savored it as he drained her. Tearing her spirit from her body. He drew back and let the gentle light of his feast play over the walls and sleeping back of the captain.

Like light from rippling waves reflecting against a cave wall.

Fortunately for Radix, Forever Knights rarely slept. So, when they do…It’s the sleep of the dead. Radix smirked.

This is better than killing the Captain. Radix would’ve laughed had he not been so intent on retrieving his meal.

I’ll kill his flock soon enough.

Just when he normally would have swallowed the soul, lights seared the room. Piercing every corner. Twining white images too bright to discern. Catching the little fragment in their luminescing hands they joined and lifted high, escaping Radix’s clawing reach with the precious little thing he’d yearned to consume.

Growling in frustration he watched the light fade until the room was once more, dark as pitch.

Watchers! You pitiful wretches. He jerked his pointed jaws in rage. You can’t protect her forever. His eyes fell to the frightened, hollow, body on the bed.

She quaked in fear and pain. Stilled to a weak sway by his paralyzing magic. Her pain consoled the wizened old demon.

Leaving the window open he left. Same as he’d come. A bleak serpent sliding over the sill and out. Blending in the night shadows and vanishing before the first dull gray rays of early morning marked the moist lawn.

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