“Are you planning to shadow me for the rest of the morning?” Freya asked in a cool, calm tone that belied the tension in her taut body.
“Do you mind?” I asked and shrugged.
“So long as you do not bleed in my presence.”
“I can’t promise that,” I muttered.
“Very well, then prepare for the consequence that is to follow.”
“No need,” I said as I followed her down the streets of Red Bank, New Jersey. “What are we doing here?” I asked.
“You do not know?”
I scowled as we made our way through someone’s yard. “Evelyn just told me to keep an eye on you.”
“I see,” she said, amusement in her voice. Rounding the side of a house, we came to a stop fifty feet from the front door. “Tell me something,” she said and turned to face me.
“What?” I asked suspiciously, my hand going to my blade. Freya’s eyes narrowed dangerously, and I pointed a finger at her. “Stay right where you are,” I warned.
“And if I do not? What will you do then?” she asked quietly. My hand instinctively clenched around the hilt of my blade as I unsheathed it. We both let out a startled gasp as Tristan suddenly appeared behind her. Swallowing, I quickly unsheathed another blade as he put a hand on Freya’s shoulder.
“Play nice, sweetheart,” he said, so low I barely caught it. I looked him up and down, and seeing no blood or any wounds on him, I relaxed, if only a little. Freya turned to him and stared intently into his eyes. “Are you well?” she asked, and I could hear the worry in her voice.
“Yes,” he said, dropping his hand from her and taking a step back. “I am quite well. Sarisa would have not permitted me to leave otherwise.”
“Hmm,” I said thoughtfully. “Since when do you listen to anyone?”
“What are you trying to say, Raina?”
“Oh… nothing, nothing whatsoever.”
“Is that so?” he asked slowly as the temperature—already at freezing—began to drop degree by degree.
“So,” Freya said quickly before I could reply. “Where was I before I was so rudely, rudely interrupted?” Tristan growled as she sidestepped and turned, until she could see us both. “Ah yes. Tell me, why is it people do not keep a lookout, especially here?”
I shrugged. “Who is here?” I asked, picking up the fact that a necromancer was inside.
I blinked. “The fucker we’ve been tracking for a while now?”
“Yes,” she said and scowled as Tristan disappeared into thin air.
“Who found him?”
“Jesric.” I nodded, peering around at the white landscape, at the icicles sticking from tree branches and hanging along the rooftop of houses. “Shall we?” I again nodded and followed her to the door as I sheathed my two blades I was still holding.
On the slippery doorstep, I reached out and jabbed the doorbell. A moment later, the door was yanked open by a scowling Teeros. “I was about to call the protectors on you,” he snapped. “What the hell do you want?”
“Is that how you greet every visitor that comes to your door?” Freya asked conversationally. “It is a wonder that you do not have any friends.”
Teeros growled and flashed his fangs. “Either you explain what you’re doing on my doorstep, or I’m calling the hunters.”
“It is the hunters rather than the protectors now? Surely, you are unable to make up your mind. Very well, I shall endeavor to explain the point of our visit.” Freya shoved her hands into her pockets and peered at the necromancer thoughtfully. “You see, Teeros, you have been a naughty, naughty necromancer.” Teeros eyes widened, but he didn’t make a move to slam the door in our faces or run for the nearest exit. “Therefore,” she said softly. “You must be punished for your… misdeeds.”
“You don’t have proof,” he hissed.
“Oh, I assure you, we have more than enough to get on with.” Teeros and I took a step back as Freya dropped the cloaking that hid her true aura. “Save us both the trouble and do not run. It will only make me angry. Trust me. You do not want me angry.” Teeros gulped and nodded slowly as Freya and I backed away from the door. “Now, step outside, and do not try anything stupid. I am not in the mood to deal with childish behavior today.” Teeros hesitated before slowly stepping out and closing the door behind him. “Now, turn around slowly and place your hands behind your back.” Growling, the necromancer slowly turned, placing his hands behind his back as Freya pulled out a pair of handcuffs in the color of dark, dark red from her pocket. In a move too fast to track, she had the cuffs snapped around his wrists. Teeros let out a gasp and stumbled into her arms. “There there,” she said soothingly.
“What did you do?” he asked breathlessly. “What did you do? My magic is gone.”
“Be at ease,” she whispered in his ear and tightened her hold around him as he began to struggle. “It is only a mere… precaution. You understand, do you not?”
“What am I being charged with?”
“Quiet now. You will find out soon enough.” And not a second sooner, everything went dark.
Down on one of the lowest levels of Council HQ, cellblocks were lined up on either side of me, looking bleak and for the moment, emptied of prisoners. The loud squeaking, clanging, banging sounds of a cell door being opened grated painfully against my eardrums, and I turned to find Tristan standing silently off to the side. “In you go,” I said, taking the necromancer from Freya and shoving him into the cell where he sprawled ungracefully onto the floor, cursing.
“Not to worry,” Freya said as she stepped into the cell after him. “Your friends will be joining you very, very soon,” she finished as her magic filled the already charged air. Reaching down, she pulled him up and spun him around to face the wall before quickly un-cuffing him. Before she could step back out, a tendril of shadow shot from Teeros, striking her in the gut and flinging her into the closed cell across from him. The cell door briefly flickered blue, a split second before two hundred and fifty thousand voltage of electricity slammed into her from behind. Gasping, Freya clamped her mouth shut as she convulsed. Tristan was a blur as he moved to take her into his arms, holding her tightly against him as the current continued to course through her body. Grunting in pain, he held her until she went limp, staring blankly at nothing. My eyes on Teeros the entire time, I didn’t miss the fact that he disappeared into thin air, only to reappear back in his cell a second later.
“What the fuck?” he snarled as the cell door slammed shut with a deafening bang. Freya blinked and straightened in Tristan’s arms. “I don’t fucking get it,” he hissed. Tristan teleported into the cell, taking Freya with him. I stepped up to the bars and smirked.
“You know,” I said conversationally as Tristan appeared beside me. “You shouldn’t have done that. You really, really shouldn’t have done that.” The necromancer’s breathing grew ragged as he broke out in sweat.
“What the hell is going on?” he asked and groaned in pain as he staggered away from Freya who looked more annoyed than pissed off.
“You must think me for a fool,” Freya said, almost in a whisper. “Truly, I do not understand the depths people go to when incarcerated.” Teeros’s groans slowly turned into a scream as he pressed himself into the wall. “Logic has no place in their minds as stupidity takes over.” The necromancer continued to scream as he fell, his skin reddening as blood trickled from his eyes. “You could have made this easier on yourself just by remaining silent and doing nothing. Yet, you seem to have other… ideas in mind, but I digress. What shall your punishment be, I wonder?” Tristan’s hand landed on my shoulder, and he led me away from Teeros’s cell. Stopping at the closed heavy steel doors, he dropped his hand from me as I turned, in time to see Freya sinking her fangs into the necromancer’s throat. He let out a bloodcurdling scream, and after a moment, Freya released him as he writhed in agony. Unlocking the cell door and opening it, she stepped out and slammed it shut. Putting her hand on one of the bars, she smiled. “It hurt, does it not?” I looked to Tristan and frowned at the piece of paper in his hand. He glanced down at it in thought before shrugging and walking over to Freya. She turned, nodding as she took the paper from him. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out a pen and after quickly reading it through; she signed the paper and handed it back to him with a nod. Teeros’s screams continued to scrape painfully against my eardrums as Tristan made his way back to me.
“Death warrant?” I asked as he stopped beside me and leaned against the door. He nodded, his eyes going distant and unfocused.
“Now where was I?” Freya asked and scowled. Glaring at no one in particular, she turned back to Teeros and growled. Gripping the bar with both hands, she narrowed her eyes on him. My skin tingled as the magic around us grew stronger. I blinked, hissing as blood exploded from Teeros’s body, splashing the walls, ceiling, floor, and Freya. My ears rang in the sudden silence that followed, and I shuddered. Teeros’s body was yanked by some unseen force and slammed up against the cell door. Freya reached out, stroking his bloody cheek with a pale finger as she smiled with amusement. “You still have half of a pint left in your body,” she said softly. “Does it burn like the hellfire of hell itself?” she whispered. “Tell me, what would you give just for a single cup of blood right now?” She blinked, as if remembering something important. “Oh,” she breathed. “That is right. You cannot speak, let alone think. You poor, poor child.” She paused, and then shrugged. “Just one more thing before I leave you to your… peace.” She smirked. “This will only hurt for a minute.” With that, she dived into his mind, and I winced as brain matter began to slowly leak from his ears. When she was done, she dropped the lifeless form of Teeros and shuddered. Stepping back from the cell, she walked over to us, stopping just out of grabbing range. Pointing at me, she nodded.
“What are you…?” I began to ask, only to quickly dodge out of the way, except I wasn’t fast enough as Tristan grabbed onto my wrist. “Freya,” I growled. “Why? Just why?”
“I am sorry, Raina.”
I grunted. “No, you’re not,” I hissed as I tried to pull away from Tristan. Cursing, I glared at Freya as he yanked me to him. His arms came around me as everything went dark.JAILYN
“There are more of them than I originally thought.” Jesric, a pen and notebook in hand, stood beside me as we surveyed the demons through the veil that separated abyss from hell.
“Make sure you have them all listed,” I said as I struggled to keep my souls contained. “Then we must return to deal with some misfits that do not belong amongst us.”
“You can leave if you like. I’ll remain until I’m done here.”
I hesitated, frowning. “Are you sure?” He nodded, poking one of the souls that strayed too far from me. I sighed as I yanked them back. “If you have any problems, you will be sure to call on me?”
I nodded. “And before you return, find Teeros and escort him to the pit for me.”
Jesric smirked. “I see that he is no longer one of the living.”
“I am afraid not. Freya did a nice job in dispatching him.”
“Damn,” he muttered. “I missed her killing him.”
I chuckled. “Yes, and you also missed the part where he tried to escape his cell.”
“God damn it!” he exclaimed and stalked away, growling under his breath. Amused, I glanced around the empty, cold landscape of the abyss one last time and jumped into the void.
“Everything went well I take it?” Violet asked as I quickly steadied myself and looked around the room I appeared in.
“Yes,” I said slowly. “How is everything here?” She shrugged, shoving her iPhone into her pocket and straightened from the wall she was leaning against. “Has Ari awakened?”
She shook her head and scowled. “When I last went in to check, she was still sleeping.”
“How long ago was that?”
“That was like half an hour ago. I believe Alexander is with her now.”
“She is keeping her blood down, correct?” She nodded. “That’s good to hear.” I let out a heavy sigh and walked to the door. Putting a hand on the doorknob, I turned to look over my shoulder at Violet. “One more question, has Alyssa been reading the materials I’ve given her?” She hesitated, and then shrugged. “Don’t lie to me,” I warned. “I will not be pleased.”
“She has and hasn’t,” she said slowly.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“She only read when someone tells her to, and when they leave, she reads a couple more pages before putting it down.”
“I see,” I said slowly as my head began to pound with an oncoming headache that was surely going to hurt like a bitch. Opening the door, I stepped from her room and walked down the hall to the front door. Stepping outside into the cold, I walked over to Jordana who was humming a song and put my hands on her shoulders from behind. “Does Kira know that you have her dog?” I asked as she patted the trembling animal on the head. Oblivious to her surroundings, Jordana continued to hum as I turned her around and walked her back inside. “Stay put,” I said as I dropped my hands from her. “Don’t bite the dog. Kira won’t be happy if you do. Understand?” She nodded, still humming as she walked into the kitchen. Shaking my head, I teleported.
Alyssa let out a startled gasp as I appeared in the living room of her apartment. Seeing the narrow-eyed look I was giving her, she dropped her phone on the table and got up from the couch. “Okay,” she muttered under her breath. “What did I do wrong now?”
“Who are you talking to?” Brianna asked as she walked in from the hall. “Oh,” she said in surprise. “Jailyn.”
“Brianna,” I said in greeting. “I need to borrow your sister for a minute.”
“Where are you taking me?” Alyssa asked nervously as I closed in on her.
“It seems to me that you do not understand just how important it is that you study what I have given you.” Before she could sputter out a response, I grabbed her by the throat and jumped into the abyss. Spinning her around until she was facing away from me, I held her against my chest as she gasped for air. “Look around you,” I snapped. “Tell me what you see.”
“Nothing,” she stammered, her heart pounding loud in my ears. “I see nothing but purple.”
“Do you know where we are?” I growled, resisting the urge to throttle her.
“No,” she said hesitantly.
“We’re in the abyss. Do you know what that is?”
Releasing her, I turned her to look at me. “Dear girl, did you even read a word about necromancy?”
“I read some of it.”
“Some?” I asked softly, and a wave of fear rolled off her as she blinked against the pull of my voice. “From what I am hearing, you have not read enough.” She gulped. “The abyss is a plane between hell and earth, and this is the place where the dead linger before they are taken to wherever they are supposed to go, whether that be the deepest parts of hell, remaining here in limbo, or crossing over.” Silently growling, I opened a veil to hell and pointed behind her. “Turn around, and tell me what you see.” Alyssa slowly turned, and she gasped as she saw the demons, going about their business under a reddish-yellow sky.
“Demons,” she whispered.
“What did I just do?” I asked as I let the veil dissipate into nothingness.
“I… I don’t know,” she mumbled.
“Of course,” I said and grabbed her as I jumped into the void, appearing in her room a second later. I shoved her onto her bed and leaned over her, growling. “Do you think you’re the only one that has to go through this?” I hissed. “Do you think you’re the only one that has to sit at a desk for hours on end flipping back and forth pages in a book to memorize spells, runes, incantations, chants? Do you think you’re the only one that has to know all the different types of demons and their classifications? Do you think you’re the only one that have to learn how to manipulate shadows, gain and control souls, how to summon demons? Necromancy is not an art you want to trifle with, girl! This is not the same as white magic, or healing magic, or rune magic, or blood magic, or any other god damn motherfucking types of magic! This is death!” I snarled. “Do you understand? Death magic! For the love of all that is unholy, get that through your thick skull, because you’re not the first I’ve taken as my apprentice and you sure as hell,” I growled. “Will not be the last!” Eyes widened in terror, Alyssa stared up at me, speechless as she tried not to tremble before me. Death magic swirled about the room as I straightened and walked to her desk that was piled high with books. Picking up the one on top, I walked back to the bed and glared down at her. “Introduction to necromancy,” I growled and dropped the book into her lap. “It’s in your best interest to read it. If you don’t…” She sucked in a sharp breath, gasping as I slowly poured information and images into her mind, stopping when blood began to trickle from her eyes and ears. “You want to become a necromancer, girl? You will have to do the work that I require of all my students. Do you understand what I am saying?” She nodded, clutching her head as she groaned in pain. “Say it,” I hissed.
“I understand,” Alyssa whimpered. Turning away from her and fuming, I teleported out of there before I could show the damn fledgling just exactly how unhappy I was. Oh, I was angry alright, angry enough to fucking kill.