Authors: T C Southwell
Tags: #angels, #creator, #rescue, #torture, #destroyer, #trap, #god realm, #demon beasts, #hell hound, #stealth ship, #unbelievers
Published by T
C Southwell at Smashwords
2010 T C Southwell
Edition, License Notes
This e-book is
licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be
re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share
this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy
for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not
purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please
return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for
respecting the hard work of this author.
– God Realm
– Dark God
– Blind God
– Soul Eater
– Child God
thought, Mirra gazed at her husband's broad-shouldered back as he
walked ahead of her steed. It seemed they had wandered through this
harsh, trackless realm for an eternity, and she wondered if they
would ever reach their destination. Mithran, who rode the grey
stallion beside her, cast her a weary smile when she glanced at
him. Time was hard to measure where there was no day or night. The
landscape changed as they travelled through it, either into benign
expanses of barren land under glowing skies or storm-swept dark
regions. At times, they passed through weird landscapes that held
no resemblance to reality and came in a variety of colours and
textures; swirling greyness, flowing blueness, glowing redness or
they rode, which appeared to be horses, were in fact demon steeds
that her husband, the Demon Lord, had summoned. Without his
protection and that of the steeds, she, Mithran and Grem would have
perished long since in this dangerous realm. Now she understood why
he had not wished to come on this journey to save Kayos'
granddaughter, Ashynaria, and especially why he had railed against
her, his father and Grem accompanying him. She had persuaded him,
and, although she clung to her wish for him to free the enslaved
light goddess, at times she longed to be back in her domain's
peaceful forest, where they had dwelt in happy obscurity.
with weariness. Often they rode for days on end, their hunger and
fatigue the only measure of time, before finding a reasonably safe
place to rest. Nowhere was truly safe in the God Realm, and when
they could not find a dead domain or a light god's domain to
shelter in, they were forced to sleep in the benign areas they
crossed. On those occasions Kayos raised shimmering shields of
white power around them and guarded them while they slept, since
his need for sleep far less than theirs. Even so, Bane had been
forced to protect them many times.
her that he had had no rest from the dark power's influence for so
long. She glanced at Grem, who rode beside her on a black steed,
and found the same weariness on his face. Their insistence on
accompanying Bane and Kayos seemed foolish now, and she was certain
that they regretted it too, probably more than she did. So far, the
three of them had only been a burden.
an area of black, stony ground under a lowering grey sky shot with
distant, silent lightning, its dull glow casting a dim twilight.
She longed for the next rest stop. Bane glanced back, and she
forced a sedate smile in an effort to hide her fatigue. His eyes
flicked to Mithran, who was not so quick to hide his weariness.
Bane spoke to Kayos, then stopped and waited for her. When she
halted next to him, he laid a hand on Kess' shoulder and gazed up
"There is a
lighter area ahead. We will rest there."
"I am well
A slight smile
curved his sensuous lips, and his eyes, as vivid as a flame's blue
heart, glowed in the dull light as he studied her. A cold breeze
lifted the blue-sheened wings of midnight hair that fell to his
shoulders from a deep widow's peak, framing his chiselled visage.
Fine brows slanted steeply above a narrow, sculpted nose, and a
slight frown furrowed the alabaster skin between them. From the
moment she had seen him, more than three years ago, the purity of
his angelic-demonic countenance had fascinated her. The
crimson-lined ebon cloak that hung from his shoulders almost swept
the ground, and golden flame-like patterns adorned the front of his
silken shirt. Silver-studded wrist guards protected his forearms,
and a silver-embossed belt held a black-bladed dagger sheathed at
No dirt or
sweat clung to his skin or attire, for the dark power within him
burnt it away. An advantage she lacked, and she was certain her
face was smeared with dirt and filmed with dust. Certainly Grem and
Bane said, "I
am tired, even if you are not."
should stop soon, so you may rest."
shall insist upon it. I am not tireless, like Kayos." Bane nodded
at the Grey God who stood watching them.
Mirra tore her
eyes from her husband's face to gaze at the Elder God, struck, as
always, by his air of eternal grace. His silver eyes and grey hair
glinted in the dull light, which softened the classical lines of
his stern but kindly face. A shimmering grey jacket, frosted with
silver and white, clung to the muscular contours of his chest,
clasped at the waist with a silver belt. It hung to mid-thigh in
narrow tails, front and back. Under it he wore a white silk shirt
and darker grey trousers also frosted with silver along the outer
thigh. Boots of a still darker shade of grey shod his feet, soled
with silver. This was the reason his kind were called Grey Gods, or
sometimes Silver Gods. His pale skin hardly detracted from the
overall impression of greyness.
her knee and walked back to Kayos, falling into step beside him.
Mirra sighed as her steed followed them, wondering if they were
going to come across any pools where she could wash in the near
future. The area through which they travelled appeared to be
innocuous, so much so that she closed her eyes and dozed, the
gentle swaying of the steed's steps lulling her. Her stomach
growled, and she yawned.
crack jerked her head up, her eyes springing wide. Her nerves
twanged with tension, bringing her instantly wide awake. Kayos
swung around, his expression alarmed. Bane had vanished. Mirra gave
a cry of alarm and slid from her steed, running towards Kayos, who
strode back to her and gripped her arm, halting her.
he said, frowning.
"What is it?
What has happened to Bane?"
"It is a
anguish crushing her heart in a cruel grip. "Where is he?"
"I do not
"You must find
around as Mithran and Grem ran up. "I will, child, do not fret. But
you must not go over there, or the trap will take you too."
"Then I will
go where Bane is."
necessarily. It is dangerous to assume anything in the God Realm.
Stay away from it. Traps like this are extremely dangerous."
him!" Her eyes filled with tears, and she bit her lip to stop it
her arm as Mithran put his around her shoulders. Grem cast about,
searching the ground for clues, but Kayos scowled at him.
away. There is nothing here that your eyes will see."
grey-eyed warrior walked back to them, his expression grim. Kayos
glanced at the steeds. "He is not dead, the steeds are still here.
I will find him, but it will take time, and none of you can help.
Just do as I say."
nodded. "We will, Lord. Please find my son."
"He could be
hurt, dying!" Mirra cried. "Please hurry. He might be someone's
prisoner, even now."
"If he is, I
pity them," Kayos muttered. "He will not be a captive for long, I
assure you. This is a random trap, one of many out here, for no one
would be foolish enough to abduct Bane."
up through the dark mists of unconsciousness, becoming aware that
he lay on hard, stony ground. His head pounded with a fury that
reminded him of the headaches the dark power had once given him. He
had a vague memory of walking beside Kayos, then the ground had
swallowed him. He recalled falling, tumbling through the air,
disorientated by the suddenness of it. He had summoned the dark
power instants before he had struck the ground, but the impact had
robbed him of his senses. How long he had lain unconscious was
unknown, but he was no longer alone. Ten soul lights clustered
around him, two tinged with darkness, four shimmering blue-yellow,
two pulsing red, and two shining with white-gold purity.
his eyes, and a hiss of alarm evinced a rush of movement around
him. Several things struck him at once. His wrists were bound,
there was one person in the group who did not possess a soul, and
two men stood over him, pointing powerful crossbows at his chest.
His eyes focussed briefly on the pitch darkness beyond the men. A
wood fire that burnt close by and several torches planted in the
ground like fiery trees held it at bay. He met the steely gaze of
the powerfully built, copper-skinned man who straddled him, and
spread his hands in a gesture of appeasement.
"Kill him." A
soft voice spoke beside him, and he turned his head to find a
ragged girl seated there, watching him with wide eyes.
copper-skinned man shook his head. "He might be useful."
The man, whom
Bane assumed was the leader, snorted. "I still don't understand how
you know that."
the thin, dirty girl, who glanced away with a shudder. She seemed
to have the gift of Sight. A putative seer perhaps, or one who did
not understand her gift. Her brown hair was shorn to stubble, and
dirty sweat streaked her narrow, intelligent face. Lines of
weariness and pain etched it, and a blood-stained cloth was wrapped
around her upper arm. The other members of the group also bore
signs of weariness and suffering, some of them injured as well. The
two men who menaced him wore dark grey leather trousers and jackets
over cloth shirts of the same hue.
who also carried crossbows, stood a little further away, watching
him. Beyond them, two women, one aged, the other young, sat close
together, clad in the soiled white vestments of a light god's
priestesses. On the other side, a husky man comforted a girl of
about twelve, who huddled close to him. A beautiful woman stood
with the soulless man, clad in brown leather, her braided jet hair
filmed with dust. The man, whom Bane recognised as a minor air
demon, frowned at him.
who stood over him kicked him in the ribs. "Are you a killer?"
that since the seeress was a member of their group, it was more
likely they would believe her if he denied her accusation, and that
would only increase their suspicion. He also came to the conclusion
that revealing his true identity would be a really bad idea. The
young seeress had already denounced him, and the priestesses would
revile him. He wondered where Kayos was while he considered his
killed," he allowed, "but no more so than you, probably."
lowered the bow, glancing at the seeress, who stared at Bane with