Break Her Spirit
“How do you move so fast?” Worthington objected. “You’re old.”
Rearing back Worthington prepared to run but Radix’s hand on his shoulder stayed him. Radix’s face changed. Eyes disappearing into dark pits and mouth becoming a thin slash across skeletal features. True face exposed as he drew a bone thin finger along Simon’s cheek to taint him with dark power.
Chavias closed his eyes at the sight. Wondering how this always worked on them. That was the worst torture Chavias endured. Being contaminated with that flow of evil.
Drawing a deep breath, Worthington fell to his knees. A wave of power coursing through him like a drug in his bloodstream. He went lightheaded, his eyes lit orange. Sounds became louder, sights brighter. His heart pushed blood through his body. Hot and vital and moving at an expediential rate.
Worthington could suddenly hear the black rodent things thoughts, knew they nipped at each other near the cave entrance. Staring at his hands he realized he was strong enough to rip their bodies apart. Overwhelming power and excitement shot through him.
“Power. My power…It could be yours…” The demon smirked.
Staring at his hand, Worthington saw dark light pouring off. Discerning each pore, he caught the slight movement of tiny winding veins beneath his skin.
“Yes!” Worthington’s joyous shout made the cave walls quiver. He stared at his body in wonder.
Radix retracted his hand and with it the power.
Worthington wailed, trying to cling to it. But it pulled from him in smoky tendrils that seeped back into the demon.
“I need it back.” Worthington breathed, still panting with exultance. “What do you want?” He demanded.
Ready to offer anything. Chavias was disgusted.
“These men. I hate them. I want their corpses piled high. I won’t finish until every last wretched one no longer breathes.” Radix murmured. “You can do help do this.”
“Who are they?” Worthington asked. Desperate for the intoxicating feeling to return.
“They’re Aeternus Tutela, Eternal Guardians.” He spit sideways.
Chavias took a step back, disappearing into shadows where he could glare at the old man, seething.
Radix missed the glance. Or chose not to acknowledge it. “They think they’re protectors. But what they protect is fated to be mine.” Intertwining his fingers, he turned to the fire.
Worthington gave a slow nod.
“They’ve forced me and my Cimmerii” He gestured to dark corners where orange-eyed things peered around rocks. “Underground. Cowering like dogs.” His lip curled.
“What are those?” Worthington interrupted earning him a scathing look.
Chavias assessed the boy from the shadows. Tall. Thin. Long blonde hair. Narrow green eyes and a sharp nose. Frail and soft. Greedy. Self-indulgent.
“Nonis. My pets. Servants.” Stroking his long beard thoughtfully his thin body shivered under threadbare clothes. Slim protection against the fall wind already howling through the caves.
“Killing every one of the Forever Knights, starting with their Captain, will bring me long-sought peace. You’re the one to do it.”
Chavias’ head whipped back to Radix in horror.
Dark thoughts curved Radix’s lips into his first smile. Adding shine to his rat eyes. Rubbing fingertips together Radix separated them and watched gray tendrils of magic dangling between.
“I’ve skirmished with them many times and though I always come out the victor, they cost me.” His voice lowered as he thought of the pain. In each fight he whittled away Forever Knight numbers. But their last great battle killed many Cimmerii. His telepathic link meant he suffered whatever agony his Cimmerii did. Unable to sever the connection quickly, the best he could do was find a dark hole to endure the waves of pain.
Rebuilding a legion was exhausting. Collecting souls and molding them into something pliable was not easy.
“Crush the Captain, sever the Forever Knights’ connection to their most powerful ally, and remove their leadership. After that…” Radix stroked his beard thoughtfully. “They’ll be weak without her connection to him.”
The Fallen. Chavias swallowed.
Distaste marred Radix’s face. “The little human thing he loves.” He choked on the word.
“What do you want me to do?”
“Find her. Make her ours.”
Worthington’s brow furrowed. “What?”
“Women favor this, do they not?” Radix gestured to Worthington’s length.
Nearly seventeen with blonde hair and green eyes Worthington was popular.
Making him an ideal pawn for Radix.
Worthington smirked. “Oh yeah.”
“Get her attention. Seduce her if you can. If you can’t…hurt her. Bad enough she runs to me for comfort. Whatever you do, you must keep her from finding her lover.”
Good luck. Chavias thought spitefully.
“You want me to bring her to you” Worthington scoffed, trying not to laugh outright at how ridiculous the conversation had become.
Turning to him fully Radix eyed him contemptuously. “Yes. Whatever it takes. She will be on our side. Seduce her. Charm her. Turn her.”
“Why can’t I just bring her here to you.”
“Because if I could do it, I wouldn’t need you. It is your task.”
“For that you’ll make me immortal.” Worthington asked cagily. “Young forever?”
“Yes.” Radix’s head lowered.
Worthington shrugged. “Okay.”
Radix smiled triumphantly before murmuring. “She lives in Meadowbrook. She has hair the shade of a dove and eyes of innocence. More beautiful than most.”
“Meadowbrook? I... think...I know her.” Worthington frowned. “But she doesn’t run amongst my social circle.”