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Authors: Tamara Gill

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BOOK: Banished
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“I am sorry I
have disappointed you, Father.”

Zeus looked at her
and Chloe caught the flash of pain that crossed his features. “You were my
favorite. A child destined for great power. And yet your life will be wasted on
a worthless, human druid.” His features turned to stone. “You will be punished.”

“Do what you
will to me, but leave Cian alone,” Chloe begged. “I sought him out, lured him
to me. He does not deserve your wrath.”

His eyes
narrowed at her words. “For you to have feelings for this human is not
possible.”

“I love him,” Chloe
stated, proud of the fact. She would not defy their vows of love to one another
to save herself.

The room stilled;
not a breath of wind dared to enter the royal chamber. Chloe knew her father
could be ruthless and cold. He was the god of thunder, after all. But having
been his favorite, she had hoped to escape punishment. It did not seem likely
now.

“You love this
mortal world so you shall have what your heart desires, my child. Therefore, every
new century you shall be reborn a babe, who will grow at the rate of a mortal
child. When you reach the age deemed an adult your heart will yearn for a man
you no longer know or remember. If your soul is lucky, you shall find your mate
and spend a life together. But you, Chloe, will continue to age and will
eventually die to be born and live yet again.”

“Don’t do this, Father.
Please, I beg you.”

Zeus’s mouth
twisted as he looked down. A shiver racked her body from the cold sneer. “There
is more.”

Chloe took a
calming breath and her eyes met those of her stepmother, Hera. Recognized the
hate the woman had always borne for her in her gaze and the undisguised glee at
her downfall.

“Druid
of thy mortal vice

Take
thy gift of immortal life

Forever
caught in an undying light

Through
all the ages I give you life.”

Wind rushed
about the circular throne room, the silk hangings and god’s robes billowed from
the unnatural force.

“What are you
doing?” she yelled, pushing back a lock of hair from her face.

“Ensuring your druid
lives a long and unhappy life.” He sat on his throne and set his robes about
his knees without exhibiting a flicker of regret.

“How can you be
so cruel?” she said, despair tingeing her every word.

He laughed
before halting his mirth. “I am ruler here. No one disobeys me, especially my
blood. And you forget, Daughter, you will only have your druid if you find him.
The human world grows larger every day. It is possible you will die many
lifetimes wondering who it is you seek. Why your life feels empty.”

“Are you going
to allow me to see him once more?”

“Before you’re
reborn as a human babe? No. I will not grant you such favor.”

Chloe bowed her
head and accepted his decree. To argue would be a waste of everyone’s time and
energy. All was lost. “This your final decision, Father.” Chloe lifted her head
and looked at her parent, holding his gaze. This would be the last time she
would see him. See her home, Olympus. Be one of the gods.

Zeus raised his thunderbolt.
Regret passed over his face before the cold calculated mask of ruler reclaimed
his features. His voice, a multitude of tones, wrapped around her, changing her
genetic pattern, changing her to a lesser being before uttering the words which
sealed her fate.

“So be it.”

Chapter Two

Present Day -
London

“Did you pack
the socks I had on the end of the bed?”

Chloe poked her
head around the bathroom door and spoke through the toothbrush in mouth. “Yes,
everything is packed. All you have to do is have a shower and get dressed.”

Eddy walked into
the bathroom and tapped her, his newly titled fiancée, on the bottom. “Tell me
again why we have to travel to the Scottish highlands. It must be freezing up
there. We could have spent our money on somewhere warm and sunny like Brazil or
Spain.”

“I know, but I have
this strange hankering to see them and I’m not sure why.” Chloe watched as the
man soon to be her husband, stepped into the shower. He was taller than her, a
nice height, since she stood at five foot nine. He was muscular and lean. Quite
a catch really, and she loved Eddy dearly, but for some reason, deep down in
her heart of hearts, a tiniest inkling gnawed that something was missing.

“What time does
the plane leave?”

Chloe spat out
her toothpaste and rinsed her mouth. “Once you stop soaping yourself, we’ll be
off. The plane departs in three hours.”

“Don’t want to
jump in here with me do you? Plenty of soap to go around.”

Chloe laughed
before turning on the hot tap, giving him a dose of cold water. Hearing him
swear, she laughed. “No I do not want to get in there with you. And if you
don’t get out, I’m leaving you behind.”

“God, you’re so
bossy.”

Chloe started at his words, a shiver running over her skin. She
frowned and wondered why whenever she heard the word ‘god’ her body reacted in
that way. “You have no idea,” she replied, handing Eddy a towel.

***

“Why didn’t you
hire us a car?” Eddy said, looking around the airport, annoyance tingeing his
every word. “How are we supposed to drive to the highlands without a vehicle?”

“Shut up Eddy,
the man said a car was due back today. All we have to do is wait for it. No one
likes to pay late fees so I’m sure it will be here soon.” Great start to the
holiday, she thought. Not three hours in and they were already arguing. Being
so engrossed over what they were going to see and visit, she had completely
forgotten to hire the vehicle to get them to the highlands. Eddy’s constant
nagging wasn’t helping the oversight either. Maybe she should have left him
home.

“Sorry love,
you’re right, I’m being a wanker aren’t I?”

“Yep.” She
smiled at him, before looking up at the counter as an employee dressed in a red
suit dropped off some keys. Seeing the lady behind the desk summon them, Chloe
knew their car was here.

Two and a half
hours later they arrived at the little holiday cottage they had hired for their
stay. Chloe stepped out of the car and looked out over the ocean. She turned
and gazed up at the highland peaks further in the distance. Some still covered
in winter’s snow glistened white in the afternoon sun. She sighed in awe at the
magnificent sight they made and her heart thumped hard in her chest seeing
Castle Cree overlooking it all. She stared at the medieval structure hundreds
of years older than her own country. How amazing were the grand buildings that
stood the test of time. Hearing Eddy swear she looked over to him and watched
as he tried to find a satellite signal for his phone.

“Can’t you put
it away for once? It’s not like we’ve ever holidayed here. You could at least
take some interest in this vacation.”

“Got it,” Eddy
yelled, smiling over to Chloe. “What did you say, beautiful?”

Chloe pulled her
suitcase out of the trunk. “Nothing. Nothing at all.” Entering the cabin, she
was happily surprised to see a king size bed made up with crisp clean linens.
The kitchen fridge had a welcoming pack of wine and different cheeses.
Searching through the cupboards, she discovered the necessities were there but
not much else.

“I think I’m
going to have to find the local food store. Do you want to come?” Hearing no
answer, she looked into the lounge area and sighed at her other half nicely
settled before the TV, watching a Manchester United match. “I’ll be back in a
minute,” she said, not bothering to hide the sarcastic tone.

Driving through
the village, Chloe frowned when she pulled up in front of their local grocery
store. She shook away the strange sensation of familiarity that had settled
upon her ever since she’d arrived here in Scotland a feeling of recognition. Getting
out of the car, she smiled to a couple of local lads who were staring, before
walking into the shop. She looked through magazines and books and picked up some
local maps while trying to ignore the elderly lady behind the counter who kept
watch. She walked about the shop for a few minutes before taking her purchases
to the checkout. She pasted on a smile.

“Just these
please,” she said.

The lady started
to scan the items and place them in a bag, a slight frown upon her brow. “D
o I k
n
ow you, l
ove?”

Chloe looked at
the lady wondering if she knew her from somewhere. “No I’m here on holiday. I’m
from Australia, but now I live in London. I’m Chloe.”

“I’m Mairead. It’s
a pleasure to meet you.”

Chloe tried to
interpret the woman’s words thick with a Scottish lilt. “Thanks, you too.”
I
think
.

“Just up on
holidays then?”

“Yes just
arrived today in fact. It’s so beautiful here I don’t think I’ve allowed enough
time to take it all in. You’re so lucky to live here.” Chloe paused. “Is there
a good pub around where we can get a meal?”

The Highland Pub
is your best bet. They do meals nightly.”

Handing over her
food, Chloe smiled, thanking the lady for her help. “It was lovely meeting you.”

“You too lass.” She
frowned. “Now are you sure I don’t know you, love? You look strangely familiar.
Are you a model, perhaps I’ve seen you in a magazine?”

She laughed. “No
I’m no model—sorry. Thanks again,” Chloe said, and left.

 

“Are you going
to come or not? I’ve rung the pub and booked us a table.”

“I’m too tired
to go out. You go, just bring me back some takeout.”

“Eddy we’re
supposed to be on this holiday together. Not me out and you at home watching endless
soccer games. If I thought you were just going to sit in front of the TV the
whole time, I would’ve left you home.” Chloe stood at the lounge room door and inwardly
cursed her useless fiancé. He turned up the TV and settled further into the
couch.

“Seeya love.”

Stomping her
foot, Chloe swore and stormed from the cottage. While driving into town earlier
today she had spotted a walking trail to the village. The night not being
overly cold, she decided to walk. She could have a couple of beers then and
perhaps may have calmed down by the time she found the pub. Tonight she dressed
in boots, jeans and a woolen jumper with a full length jacket over the ensemble.
It was Scotland’s summer after all.

Walking into the
pub, Chloe threw back the hood of her coat and unbuttoned her jacket. The
sudden lull in the room caused her to glance around. The bar was full of men,
all looking at her and none of them moving or making a sound. She wondered what
they were thinking, before smiling at the bartender who thankfully was a woman.
“Hi, I have a dinner reservation for Chloe Smith. I did book it for two, but it
will only be me now.”

“No problem
love.” The woman called a young barman nearby to escort Chloe to the dining
room.

“Come this way,”
he said, picking up a wine list and menu before escorting her to her chair.

Chloe followed the
lad who appeared to be in her early twenties, to a table beside a roaring fire
set in an adjacent room to the bar. Tables were set out with lovely colored
linen in a plaid design of dark blue and green. Chloe sighed with relief at seeing
other couples dining out in this part of the pub. At least the pub wasn’t
completely full of men. Thanking the lad, she picked up menu and looked over
what was available.

“Can I get you a
drink before you order?” a waitress Chloe hadn’t seen before said, once she’d taken
a moment to read the menu.

“Um, yes thank
you. I’ll have a beer please, any sort will be fine.”

“Right you are
lass,” she replied before strolling toward the kitchen.

Chloe looked
around the room and smiled at some other couples seated within the eating area.
The pub made from local stone had large wooden beams that ran the length of its
ceiling. Paintings of the majestic castle adorned the walls along with photos
of the township over the many years of its history. Twisting her engagement
ring, she studied the menu. Chicken was probably safer than haggis so, with the
decision made, she waited for her drink to arrive.

“There you are,”
a waitress said, handing her a glass. “Now, have you decided what you would
like?”

Chloe ordered, handing
the menu back to the waitress. “Can I order haggis for takeout? My fiancé has a
liking for it.”

“Of course. The
chef has made some fresh this morning. I’ll bring it out after you finish your meal.”

“Thank you.”
Chloe took a sip of beer, smiling at the image of Eddy enduring the meal, when
a man entered the pub. Chloe chocked on her drink and noted every woman seated
in the restaurant part of the pub, snapped their attention to the doorway.

The men dining
with their wives and girlfriends glared as if pissed at his presence.

BOOK: Banished
7.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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