FOREVER KNIGHTS: #1 Emergence

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DERAGAN - Murdered Girl

DERAGAN

From indoors, Deragan’s pendant lit light blue shining through his overcoat and heating his chest. He heard Chavias’ call ringing in his mind. Looking up he saw every knight in the room separating from their dance partners as their pendants began to luminesce.

Rushing out, Deragan followed the scent of Mardichi and Chavias and took in the sight. There was a woman’s terrified scream coming from the old demon that’d already killed her.

The limpness of her body made it obvious. She’s already dead. Her head flopped as the rope swayed. He likely broke her neck.

Mardichi surged from Chavias’ grip toward Radix. Whose eyes turned molten orange with interest as he watched the enormous barbarian lurching toward him.

Chavias and Deragan jumped to hold him back. Grip biting into Mardichi’s biceps as they fought to hold his mammoth strength.

“Mardichi! Stop!” Deragan commanded.

If you make me use my strength, I’ll crush your arm. Deragan knew.

Mardichi obeyed. Subsiding, but his gaze was still set on the demon.

Set on killing him. Deragan knew that look.

The rest of the knights spilled from the house.

Close behind was the rest of the crowd. Glimpsing the three men wrestling in the clearing next to the cobbled street and the young girl dangling from the tree. The rope Radix had held, now resting limply on the road.

There was only the two men holding back the roaring giant.

“He killed her!” A man cried.

“My Susie!” The Lady of the house shrieked running past them to tug her daughter’s leg. Desperately clawing at it as she tried to lift then pull her down, unable to budge the bindings.

“Sebastian!” Deragan barked.

“I’m here.”

“Help her.” He tossed his head toward the desperate mother.

“Let me help.” Sebastian pushed through the crowd to get to the sobbing woman’s side. Smoothly hopping into the tree and reaching the rope leveraged around the branch.

“Rhyers!” Deragan roared over the din of people shouting.

The slim, black-haired man turned light green eyes to the Captain, striding from the group.

“Radix.”

Track him.

Rhyers nodded, backing until he faded into the dark, aiming for the trees. Hat flying off. And ripping off his shoes as he began to move faster. Breaking into a run.

Tracking the demon.


“Lucien!”

Help Sebastian.

“I’m already that way.” Lucien called over his shoulder as he reached the hysterical mother. Stretching above her to catch her daughter as Sebastian loosened the rope. Lucien guided her into her mother’s arms and helped both women to the ground. Touching the girl’s face a moment, Lucien verified she no longer breathed. He glanced up at Chavias and Deragan still gripping Mardichi. His long look saying enough.

Mardichi went still, head falling as his eyes roved the ground.

Dammit.

Radix set us up to be blamed for this.

“Get him out of here.” Deragan ordered Chavias. Stepping away from them to face the crowd.

“Old Friend, come with me.” Chavias urged Mardichi in a dangerous tone. “Or I’ll sling you over my shoulder despite how damn big you are!”

Mardichi shook his head in disbelief but let Chavias lead him away.

The crowd shouted in objection.

They’re rallying. Deragan realized.

“Don’t let him get away!” The Lord of the house turned from the sight of his wife and daughter to shout.

Several of the men stepped forward.

No, you don’t.

Deragan cut them off. “It wasn’t him.” His voice cut the night air. Visceral enough to silence everyone but the girl’s father.

“Get out of the way!” The Lord shouted.

Try and make me. Deragan’s blue eyes zeroed in on the man with predatory precision.

“Stop!” Deragan commanded. Making several go still as his voice cracked like a whip. Eyes turning glowing blue, nearly white, in the darkness.

“What are you?” One man said.

You have no idea.

“They’re sorcerer’s!” Another yelled. “They need burned!”

Deragan’s head whipped to that man. Black scales seeping from under his pores to coat his arms.

Five of the men aimed for Deragan, suitably distracted from Chavias and Mardichi headed across the vast lawns.

They began punching Deragan. He blocked several of the hits with his arms.

“Ouch!” One of the men shouted. “It’s like his arms are iron! Is that armor?”

“It’s sharp!” Another held a gouge across his knuckles.

“We need help!” They yelled.

More men took tentative steps forward.

Deragan fought off the crowd, while fists hammered on him.

“Captain!” Sebastian shouted.

Go.

“Get back.” Deragan yelled from in the mass of men.

“Forgive me.” Sebastian jumped into the crowd. “We won’t leave our Captain behind.” He ripped men back and tossed them to the ground.

He’s defying me. Slight annoyance made Deragan more violent with the men attacking him then he’d initially intended. He caught one by the neck and tossed him backward so hard he hit the ground with a dull thud. Instantly unconscious.

I’m going to start hurting them. There’s too many of them not to. Deragan realized.

“Get the others out of here!” He commanded.

“I did! I came back for you. And if I don’t get you out soon, they’ll all return!”

Probably true.

Sebastian dug his way to the Captain, amidst shouting, flailing men.

Deragan tried not to seriously injury any as he threw them off. Blocking hits to throw his own. And tossing men back. But they scrambled to return. I can’t stop them without killing someone.

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