By the time Kira had opened her eyes, the Hunrati were already living up to their reputation, torturing, massacring, burning cities to the ground like all indestructible killing machines do when they see themselves as gods; any resistance to their actions were therefore deemed futile within days of their first appearance. Kira wanted to stop them, but she had become their prisoner when she attacked their Queen out of rage for what they had done, and as such, she was rendered incapable of using any of her abilities.
Trapped, alone, and not knowing what had happened to those she cared about, her only way out was to earn their trust. That meant getting close to the volatile and extremely attractive Pheres, and doing everything he instructed, regardless of how depraved it was. But how close was she willing to allow such a dangerous creature when he wasn’t the man she loved? Better yet…how far was she willing to go before she lost her humanity completely?
Emmerich’s face was a mask of agony as he dropped to his knees and looked down at his hands covering the now-gaping hole in his chest. They were drenched in blood. He watched with an overpowering sense of finality as just beyond his reach, his heart beat its last beats in the grass. The feeling was magnified the moment patches of black appeared on its surface as it began to disintegrate. The same went for his body. The pain he felt when his heart was ripped from his chest didn’t compare to the pain which was now consuming him as the inevitability of his final death rose to greet him.
This was a far cry from how he saw himself dying, and he was of two minds about his fate. A part of him was glad. He wanted to be at peace, not having to live every day knowing he had failed in honoring his promise to keep Kira, the woman he loved, alive.
He was more than glad, he was thrilled he was dying, because it would’ve been torture living each day without her, never being able to see her face, caress her cheek, kiss her lips, or feel her body against his. If fate didn’t draw him the death card, all of that would have haunted him for the rest of his days. It therefore wouldn’t have been long before he sought out the final death anyway.
Yet there was still a small part of him which wanted to live. That part wanted him to carry out the promise he had made to Kira just before she had sent him away from the tunnel beneath the city of Kartarus by using a relocating incantation. He promised her he would stop Darius from carrying out his plan to enslave all humans and mythlends, even if it killed him. It seemed though that the latter part was the only thing which he would actually accomplish.
Darius was a nostvore who had been exiled from the Vanatre clan long ago, after he displayed an obsession in wanting to reveal the existence of the mythlend population to the world. An action which was against their laws due to the overwhelming belief that because of their fewer numbers, humans would slaughter their kind if it came to war.
Regardless of knowing this, Darius has pursued this endeavor relentlessly throughout the years, believing he had a way to defy the odds and stop any such resistance. No one had ever known what he meant by his statement, until recently.
Darius’s plan was to a’keieckly awaken and control the Hunrati, a species with a penchant for torture and killing, and infamously known to be indestructible. The key to his plan, which he’d hidden from everyone for years—even his clan—involved a human female named Shar, who had the DNA of a nostvore and lycrould.
The Vanatre, once aware of this, went on a mission to make sure this didn’t happen. Unsure of how the human played into it, they brought a human just like Darius’s with them, but one with a lot more attitude and skill, named Kira. As it turned out, it was a good thing they did, because it was only a human with that particular DNA who could find the entrance to Kartarus, an ancient lost city where the Hunrati slept.
The other reason why having one of them was important to Darius’s plan, it was only their blood, which could awaken the Hunrati.
The problem was they had still failed their mission, even after knowing this information. When Kira had been fatally wounded by Shar while trying to stop her, Kira had made sure she was the one to step into a chamber, instead of her. As a result, the blood from her wound broke the incantation which had originally put the Hunrati to sleep. Kira did so knowing that either way the Hunrati would arise, whether it was her or Shar that did it. It was just a matter of taking away her nemesis’s glory.
Unable to stop what had already started, Emmerich’s only choice then was to kill Darius before he had a chance to take control of the beasts. However, in the end it hadn’t mattered, for reasons surprising to them all.
As Emmerich’s body continued to disintegrate, what had transpired only minutes earlier—when the Hunrati made everyone aware of their presence—played through his mind. His thoughts centered on whether there was anything he could have done differently to change how everything had panned out…
“What was that?” asked Raidan—the nostvore leader of the Vanatre—his fist tightening on the helm of his sword.
Raidan spoke of the loud, unnatural growls they had never heard before, coming from an unknown and invisible threat. Whatever it was, it was big, and those growls were followed by the terrified screams of people dying within the city of Kartarus. They couldn’t see anything due to the dust cloud surrounding the city after the ground had fallen away, creating a gorge which was impossible to jump, not only due to their inability to see the other side, but also how wide it had become.
Despite this large distance, the sounds of bones breaking, limbs tearing and the noise of people suffocating on their own blood, was clear to the point it could have been happening right in front of them. It wasn’t long before everything went silent, and the scent of the dead floated through the air.
What was troubling was it also indicated the severity of the situation. Whatever had killed all those people, and most of them had a good idea what that something was, had done so in a matter of minutes. There must have been hundreds of people in the city. Now there was none, as far as the nostvores and lycroulds could tell.
The sound of a maniacal laugh drew their attention away from the dust cloud.
The source of the chuckle came from Darius, who was still surrounded. “That, my dear former leader,” he said, “is your death.”
All heads turned back toward the dusty haze. Though they couldn’t see through the cloud clearly, the dark, large forms which suddenly appeared within it, couldn’t be missed. Glowing green eyes peered out at them in conjunction with the sound of deep, grating snarls. Those sounds became louder as the forms drew closer.
Everyone trained their weapons on the figures, all bodies tense with uncertainty as to what was coming out of the dark and what their greeting would entail.
There were twelve shadows; all large, all moving silently. It was a sign that whatever these creatures were, they would be a formidable opponent with an ability to stalk without being heard, unless they wanted to be.
Emmerich moved closer to his people. He was still positioned a small distance away from everyone, as he had been coming from the direction of the tunnel entrance near the city before it had completely collapsed and the gorge had formed. He had been on his way to carrying out his one objective, killing Darius. His attention had been diverted, however, with the announcement of this new foe’s arrival.
As he slowly made his way toward Raidan’s side, he kept an eye on the approaching figures. It wasn’t until he was next to his leader that he noticed a thirteenth shadow, but this one was different; it was smaller and more in the shape of a human. A female, if he had to guess and it walked ahead of the other shadows.
“Where’s Kira?” said a voice from beside him.
Shit! The voice belonged to Kuron, the mooran Kira had brought with her for protection on the mission. Kuron was probably the only other person who loved her as much as Emmerich did. He had also warned Emmerich that if he didn’t bring her back safely from the tunnel, he would kill him. Emmerich knew the moment he told the mooran that Kira was dead, he would do exactly that. It would be easy for the mooran to kill him too. Moorans were essence eaters; one touch from them and a being’s life force would be consumed. Therefore, his hesitation in telling this formidable creature that the woman he loved was no longer alive, seemed warranted.
“This is not the time, mooran,” he replied, not taking his eyes off the looming figures.
“What does that mean, ‘this is not the time’? Where is she, fanger?”
He could hear the rising alarm in the mooran’s voice. “I don’t know,” Emmerich lied.
“You’re lying! Tell me where she is.” He took a step closer.
“I’m not lying!”
“Then why have you been crying?” Kuron accused.
Emmerich was taken aback at the question. He had forgotten he had blood tears smeared across his face. The moment he realized Kira was dead, he had lost it, howling her name into the night as tears of blood rolled down his cheeks. It was something he had never done in his life, but the loss of her broke something inside him.
“You’re mistaken,” Emmerich said, brushing off the question. “The blood is from the battle.”
“Do you take me for a fool, fanger?” Kuron growled. “I know something has happened to her, otherwise she would be here. Where is she?”
Emmerich was about to dismiss his question again because he wasn’t ready to say aloud what had happened to her. He couldn’t say it. If he did, those tears he had denied ever happening would threaten to fall all over again. Now was not the time to be emotional.
Luckily, he didn’t have to deny anything as the mooran’s attention was taken away from him and directed toward the dust cloud when loud murmurs throughout the group abounded. The reason, the form finally became visible. The whispers, which had resulted at its appearance, were surprisingly not ones of fear but of approval.
The figure was a female, as Emmerich had predicted, or it was currently taking on the form of a female. Either way, it was undeniably striking in appearance. As she walked, her hips swayed in a manner which was seductive, but also as if she was stalking prey. Her flawless, bronze-colored body was the perfect hourglass, accentuated by the clothing she wore, which was not of this time. What one would deem as a long skirt, was in essence two flowing floor-length panels of a golden lamé material connected by thin straps, which around her hips, further emphasized her movements. One panel covered the area around her crotch, the other covering the middle of her ass. Her midsection was bare, showing a flat, toned stomach. A top made of the same material as her skirt hung around her neck, barely covering her breasts before being tied behind her back. They found it hard not to be distracted by her nipples straining against the material, yet her face was even more engaging.
She gazed intently at the forms that were in her direct path—which happened to be Emmerich, Raidan, Kuron and a number of others—with hypnotic, golden-amber eyes that seemed to glow unnaturally. Not like a mythlend’s would glow. These eyes were different somehow and made them look upon her with awe. Her feathery lashes shaded those unusual eyes, the same color as the raven hair flowing down her back; hair that was fastened with a jeweled clasp, similar in design to the other jewelry she donned around her neck and arms. Including the crown she wore across her forehead.
She was the Hunrati Queen.
Queen or not, any male would want her mouth wrapped around their cock. Better yet, one would feel privileged if she rode their cock with, what they could only imagine was, her perfectly tight pussy.
Erotic thoughts must have been going through the heads of the many males around them, even the females, because the blatant scent of arousal assaulted their senses.
As much as she also appealed to Emmerich, his one thought was, she isn’t Kira.
Fuck! Just one thought of Kira had him gritting his teeth hard. He had to stop thinking about her. He needed to focus on the danger in front of them. The Queen may be beautiful beyond comparison, but he knew a threat when he saw one. She emanated a power and presence which signified evil, a feeling he felt was strangely familiar. Either way, it meant she couldn’t be trusted. He needed to be on full alert to any actions from her, or whatever was coming out of the cloud behind her, which indicated trouble. The time to grieve would have to come later.
The Queen stopped a small distance from the plume of dust and seemed to study each and every one of their forms. As she did this, the large shadows following her finally made their own appearance.
The scroll had not exaggerated on the description of the Hunrati. Large, black, feline heads with faces in a perpetual snarl preceded massive, dark, muscled bodies, exuding a raw power that intimidated even the lycroulds. Javan’s clan suddenly shifted nervously in their canine forms. Long, black tails whipped aggressively, disturbing the dust around them. Claws capable of tearing through bone, dug holes into the dirt as they extended then retracted, over and over, and their foot-long sized fangs were bared sinisterly. They were a formidable sight, and Emmerich took in each one warily as a feeling of dread approached.
As all three clans stared at them, Emmerich nearly didn’t notice the voice behind him, chanting. He turned and saw Darius holding a stone out in front of him, glowing brighter the more he chanted.
The incantation also grabbed the attention of the Queen, her eyes now fixed on Darius’s form.
“Stop him,” yelled Emmerich.
Darius looked at him and grinned. “Too late.” He stared straight at the woman. “Kill them,” he ordered her, indicating the nostvores who stood guard around him.
She made a signal with her sharp-nailed hand and four of the creatures disappeared into thin air.
There was no time to be shocked or ready themselves for the attack, as the beasts reappeared behind each and every nostvore who currently circled Darius. As if on some cue, their jaws came down simultaneously on the unsuspecting nostvores and they vanished again, materializing where they had originally stood, their jaws still fastened onto the nostvores’ shoulders. With one move, they ripped the nostvores apart with their teeth and claws.
Cries of disbelief, anger, and fear rang out from all mythlends.
But no one ran.
That was not their way, for both nostvores and lycroulds. They were warriors and never backed down from a fight. In response, they armed themselves, ready for the signal to strike, fangs and canines bared, eyes glowing.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” said Darius as he strode through the crowd, stopping between them and the female. “You may aggravate them,” he continued, still grinning.
“Darius! You must stop this madness before it goes any further.” Raidan’s anger for his deceased soldiers was evident in his voice, his eyes never leaving the creatures.
“I don’t have to stop anything. I don’t have to take orders from anyone anymore, especially from you.”
“You cannot let them loose upon the world—”
“I can do whatever I like,” Darius snapped, interrupting him. “You’re not in charge anymore, and the sooner you realize that, the better it will be for you and your clan.”
A large form moved beside Darius.
“I wouldn’t say that to him, Darius,” said Javan, who had transformed into his human form and now stood naked beside him, his arms crossed. “He’ll be under the impression he’ll be getting out of here alive.”
Raidan’s eyes moved from the Hunrati and sent daggers at the lycrould king.
“What makes you think he won’t?” Darius directed at Javan.
The lycrould king frowned. “You know exactly why. It was part of our terms for joining you on this endeavor.”
Javan turned directly to him. “You know it was,” he snarled.
Darius chuckled. “Oh, Javan. Did you really think I was going to let you kill my kind? If anyone is going to kill Raidan, it will be me, not some scroungy mongrel of a dog.”
“You fuckin’ blood sucking parasite,” Javan growled angrily. “I should’ve known a fanger could never keep his word.” He moved into an aggressive stance, ready to attack; his canines elongating and his eyes glowing with rage. “You’ll regret your betrayal, fanger!”
“I suggest you calm yourself, Javan, or face the consequences,” Darius said calmly, not the least bit worried about the lycrould’s volatile behavior.
“Don’t you fuckin’ tell me to calm, leech!”
“Then consequences it is. Kill his people,” he ordered the Queen.
Mention of the woman startled Javan out of his anger and he looked upon the Hunrati Queen with uncertainty.
Her eyes were fixed upon his, but she made no move to signal her horde to carry out the order. Instead, she blatantly took in his naked form with keen interest, her eyes resting on his flaccid, yet still impressive, cock.
“I said, kill his people,” Darius yelled when he saw her not complying.
The Queen’s eyes moved to Darius and she slowly advanced forward.
Surprised, Darius became nervous as she made her way to him and then stopped. She tilted her head as she looked him up and down.
“What are you doing? I gave you an order,” said Darius.
Everyone remained still, including Javan, waiting to see what the Queen would do.
With a speed not even they could comprehend, her hand wrapped around Darius’s throat and squeezed.
Instantly, Darius tried to pry her hand from his neck, but she exuded a strength far surpassing his. Her nails dug into the flesh of his neck, and blood streamed from each puncture. With little effort on her part, the Hunrati Queen brought him to his knees as she continued to stare at him, not saying a word.
“Let me go,” he choked out.
When at last the Queen did speak, the sound of her voice surprised them all. Her accent was unlike any they had heard before; her words emphasized with a purring sound. “Why would I want to do that?”
The fact she spoke English shocked them.
Darius pulled the stone from his pocket, pointing it at her. “Because I command you to.”
She grabbed his hand that held the stone, looked at it questioningly, then squeezed it. He groaned as he felt the bones in his hand begin to crack and released the stone when the pain became too much.
“No one commands the Hunrati, especially their Queen.” She threw him through the air as if he weighed nothing.
As she was momentarily distracted, Raidan signaled Emmerich.
Emmerich charged at the Queen as fast as he was capable of moving, his sword ready to slice the creature in two. As the blade swung through the air, Emmerich was surprised when it came in contact with nothing. The Queen had disappeared. He swung around; his eyes darted in every direction looking for her, his anxiety increasing at the rising level of danger. Everyone else was just as surprised by her disappearance, heads twisting and turning, trying to locate her position.
A loud growl from one of the Hunrati had Emmerich looking in their direction. They all stared at him menacingly but none ventured toward him. As Emmerich turned his head again, looking for her, the Queen materialized in front of him. Before he had time to react, she drove her hand straight into his chest.
Emmerich’s eyes widened in surprise as he grunted, then pain assaulted him as he felt her hand wrap around his heart within his chest. She tilted her head, looking at him, her expression fascinated as she watched his face contort with agony. She smirked as she squeezed slightly harder, enjoying the pain she inflicted upon him before, with one big pull, she wrenched his heart out of his chest.
The cries of horror were loud and numerous.
Emmerich’s body went into shock as he slowly fell to his knees.
Watching the reactions to her execution of Emmerich with delight, the Queen threw his heart over her shoulder then gazed upon her blood-soaked hand. With one sweep of her tongue, she lapped at the red liquid as it ran down her arm. She closed her eyes, a look of sheer pleasure upon her face. When she lowered her arm and opened her eyes, her lips were stained with blood, and she grinned devilishly at them.
The scene completely horrified all who were present, as every one of them knew how superior a killer Emmerich was. To see him fall so easily created a mass panic, yet they still held their ground.
Raidan was in a state of disbelief, and the urge to shout with rage became overpowering. She had just killed his closest friend—someone who had fought by his side for thousands of years, someone he trusted like no other—in the blink of an eye. There was only one response to the unceremonious slaying of a nostvore like Emmerich. Kill the bitch, or die trying.
He was a second away from ordering the attack, when a thunderous boom startled everyone into silence, including the Hunrati. Turning around, they watched with awe as lightning struck the earth in quick succession, scorching the ground were it hit. It wouldn’t have been odd if not for the fact it was a clear, cloudless night.
Raidan quickly looked away from the scene and back toward his dying friend. He was shocked to find Emmerich’s body gone.
“He is but ash floating in the wind now.” The eyes of the Hunrati Queen stared straight at him, taking delight in the fact Raidan was alarmed his friend’s body was nowhere in sight. “Which is where you will all join him,” she finished. With those last threatening words, she began to change into one of her own. “Kill them all,” she ordered just before the transformation was complete.
“Take them down,” Raidan growled in response.
At the command, bullets and an assortment of weapons went flying at the feline creatures, but not one hit their targe—as the Hunrati had vanished into thin air.
“Where are they?” Raidan growled, his eyes darting everywhere.
He was answered with sounds of alarm as the creatures materialized, their jaws clamping onto a nearby victim. In an instant, their prey was pulled apart and blood splattered. Chaos ensued as bullets and knives flew in all directions. The Hunrati didn’t bother teleporting, opting instead for a more direct approach with their attacks.
When Javan heard one of his lycroulds yelp with pain as a Hunrati gouged his sides with razor-sharp claws, he moved to help him, already transforming into his canine form. The Hunrati Queen materialized in front of him in her human form, blocking his path. Still unsure of how to combat this foe, he stopped his transformation at her appearance.
“You, I think, I will keep,” she purred, grabbing him faster than he was able to react and teleporting them both into thin air.
Every time Raidan went to save one of his people, by the time he reached them, it was too late. All that would be left were disintegrating body parts. They were being slaughtered, and Raidan didn’t know what to do. The Hunrati were too fast and too powerful. If they were to survive, he knew they had to run, but he feared even running would do them no good. The Hunrati could teleport and catch up to them, no matter how fast they were. He needed to find a way to slow them down.
Raidan felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Torstad, his eyes blazing bright even though he was covered from head to toe in blood and dirt.
“Darius is on the run.”
The news infuriated Raidan even more. “Where is he headed?” he growled.
“Toward the path through the mountains.”
The screams around them became louder as their people, including Darius’s and Javan’s, were annihilated at an alarming rate.
“We need to get out of here,” said Torstad. “We cannot defeat them. We should follow Darius. If anyone knows how to get out of here alive, I would bet he does.”
“How would he know?”
“He was able to move an entire army across the world within a short space of time. He will try to escape the same way.”
If Torstad was right, then it was imperative they caught up with him before he got away. “I know what I’m about to ask of you is something you have forbidden yourself from ever doing again,” Raidan began, “but if we are to survive, we need your help.”
Torstad knew exactly what Raidan was talking about. “M’Lord, I have done many things this trip which I had forbidden myself from doing again, so if I must do this to give my people a chance to survive, I will.”
Raidan nodded in acknowledgement, though he felt guilty. Torstad had lived a life of seclusion within Raidan’s mansion, not venturing outside for many years because he didn’t want to be tempted to engage in such affairs of the flesh, too scared of what he might do.
Raidan also worried about Torstad’s control. It was the reason why he never had Torstad come along on any missions, until now. When Torstad was in a battle-orientated mindset, he could easily go over the edge and turn into a lethal, savage animal that couldn’t be controlled. He would even go after his own people, not knowing friend from foe in his animal state, his primary need being to feed. Raidan had taken a risk bringing him on this journey, but he needed Torstad in case they required someone with his expertise. Raidan wouldn’t be lying if he said he was surprised Torstad had stayed in control thus far, but he feared the task Torstad was about to undertake would finally tip him over the edge.
“Are you sure about this?”
“Yes,” said Torstad.
Raidan wasn’t so sure. He felt like he was sending him on a suicide mission. “Do what you can, then get yourself to the portal. That’s an order.”
“Yes, M’Lord. Now get them out of here.”
Raidan looked at his friend one last time before putting aside the guilt plaguing him and focusing back on the massacre unfolding before him. “Everyone, retreat,” he yelled, as he headed off in the direction Darius had gone.
Many heard Raidan’s order, and they all went to follow. Enemies or not, they knew working together gave them a better chance of survival than sticking with their own people. The Hunrati, however, weren’t going to make it easy for any of them to escape. Hearing the order as well, they teleported in front of them, blocking their path.
As Torstad watched his leader go, he clenched his fist, knowing the time had come. He then did something he hadn’t allowed himself to do yet, even though he had been in many battles on this mission: he let his rage consume him. With his rage came an overwhelming need to kill and feed. He started moving, his sword ready by his side, his eyes glowing bright and his fangs elongated and straining against his gums.
As he ran toward the Hunrati, he began the incantation. When it was finished, the world around him slowed to the point it was like watching a movie frame by frame. Torstad only had a few moments for it to remain like that before everything would return to normal. And in the allotted time, he had to injure as many Hunrati as he could. He knew he couldn’t kill them, no matter what he did, but he could at least try to slow them down.
Heading toward the closest target, at a speed that wouldn’t be registered by the Hunrati trapped in this slow state, he brought his sword down across its neck, beheading the beast and stopping its jaws from clamping around an unsuspecting nostvore.
Continuing to the next closest one, who had its claws deep within a lycrould’s flesh, he cut off its front paws and drove his sword right through its head. He wouldn’t have normally saved a lycrould from its demise, but in this instance, he needed to slow down the Hunrati from going after one of his own once it was finished with the lycrould.
He carried on with his endeavor, cutting them down to the point that the Hunrati were rendered useless from pursuing them for a short period of time. With each stroke of his sword, he felt his control slipping. His eyes glazed over and he used his hands and fangs, rather than his sword, as he attacked the beasts.
At one point, he jumped on top of one of the Hunrati and dug his hands into its throat while sinking his fangs into its flesh. When he brought his head back up as he pulled the beast’s throat out, he released a moan of pleasure as the blood, which tasted like pure ecstasy, flowed down his throat. His savage nature became even more prominent in that instant; he felt great satisfaction knowing he would continue to taste their blood as he went for another one. He now craved the blood, and he would take as much as he could before his time ran out. But, his time was running out, and it became abundantly clear he wasn’t going to get to them all before everything returned to normal speed. The thought made him growl with a rage he had not displayed in a long time. He could only hope that what he had done so far was enough to save his people.
Darius broke through the mountain gorge and veered off to his right, into the forest rather than following the path they had originally taken. After running another mile, he stopped.
Sounds to his left had him pulling out his gun, ready to fire.
“Who’s there?” he yelled.
From out of the trees came the redhead who had come to him after the human-like Shar had killed a faction of his nostvores.
“It’s me, M’Lord…Hedona.”
“What are you doing here?” he asked, unimpressed with her arrival.
“Eagan sent me this way when the battle began with the Vanatre. I heard you as you went past and thought I should follow.”
So, his second-in-command had brought a plaything along with him for the trip, Darius mused. It was a daring move on Eagan’s part, knowing quite well how dangerous this mission would be and how there was a good chance many wouldn’t survive.
However, the action had a small part of Darius feeling jealous of Eagan having someone to find comfort in with all this. He wished he had a similar outlet, for this entire time he had been wishing it was the sorceress who he could use. The woman who had helped and convinced him that this plan to control the Hunrati would succeed, that he would rule the world if he so chose. All he had been able to do since meeting her so long ago, was think about how much he wanted to plunge his cock into what he could only imagine was a hot, wet paradise. He had daydreamed about such an act constantly, had even driven his clan harder to get to their destination so his plan would be accomplished quicker. The sooner it was done, the sooner he would get the chance to fuck her senseless, with the proviso she would let him, of course. Why wouldn’t she want to? He was destined to be the leader of everyone in both the human and mythlend worlds. Any sane woman would want his attention, he had confidently thought.
But his thoughts of her shifted from carnal-based to suspicion over why she wanted him to succeed with the mission. The plan had worked in waking the Hunrati. Yet she had told him he would be able to control them with the stone, but it wasn’t exactly how things had played out. It had Darius wondering if she had known the outcome and wanted the Hunrati awoken for some other sinister reason. If so, it would mean she had used him all this time, which left him feeling infuriated.
Suddenly, Darius felt the symbol on his palm burning. His eyes glowed brightly, and he felt his anger toward the sorceress start to dissipate. When it was all but gone, he shook his head in bewilderment. How could he have such thoughts about her? She was the one who helped him every step of the way in accomplishing his goal. Maybe he was the one at fault. Maybe he said the incantation wrong or there was something they both missed for it to work. Either way, he would ask her when he had the chance to contact her. Now was not the time as he needed to get out of there before the Hunrati caught up and killed him.
Now that the girl was there with him, he saw no reason she couldn’t come. He was surprised Hedona had survived in the first place. She must have some hidden talents in survival he hadn’t seen yet. He also bet those weren’t the only talents he hadn’t seen yet, he thought, as he gazed hungrily at her tantalizing body.
“M’Lord, did your plan work? Did you awaken the Hunrati?” she asked him when he didn’t say anything.
“The Hunrati are awake, my child, but things haven’t turned out as I’d hoped.”
“Oh? Well, where are the others? Where’s Eagan?”
“Cease with your questions,” he ordered her, not wanting to tell her he had abandoned them, including his second-in-command. “I need silence so I can concentrate on providing us a way out of here.”
She closed her mouth, backing off.
Pulling out the stone he had picked up while everyone had been distracted with the battle, he started an incantation. The stone began to glow and he felt the air ripple around him. As he watched, he saw the semblance of a portal forming in front of him. Distracted, he wasn’t aware of another presence until it was too late and he felt the cool edge of a blade pressing hard against his throat.
“Funny how I’m able to put a weapon right to your throat and nothing happens, isn’t it, Darius?” said Raidan.
“Not as much as you might think,” he replied, aware Raidan had worked out the catch in the incantation Darius had originally produced. The purpose of the incantation had been to make people burst into flames if they wanted to cause him harm, but it only worked once.
Raidan pressed the blade harder against his skin. “Going somewhere, Darius?”
“We won’t be going anywhere if you don’t take the blade away from my throat.”
“Are you saying you planned to bring us along?”
“I…” He didn’t finish, going silent instead.
“Just as I thought. By the gods, you’re a coward,” Raidan hissed into his ear. “You’re even willing to sacrifice your own people to save your own neck. Maybe I should take it from you so you don’t have a neck to worry about.”
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. If you don’t let me finish the spell, then none of us will be going anywhere, and we’ll all die.”
Raidan removed the blade from his neck and pushed him.
Darius staggered a few steps forward.
“Then do it,” Raidan ordered.
Darius turned around and looked at Raidan. At the same time, he noticed the growing numbers of others around them. Some were his own people, and judging by the looks of disgust on their faces— including Eagan’s— he had the feeling they had heard the entire conversation about him willing to sacrifice them. Hedona now stood at Eagan’s side with an expression of puzzlement on her face.
There was no time to worry about such mundane things as their opinions. They needed to get out of there quickly as the screams of pain from those being slain became louder, indicating the Hunrati were coming their way, and fast.
Swinging back around, Darius continued the incantation. The portal became more and more stable, until finally the doorway to somewhere else was solidified. “It’s done,” he finally said.
“Everyone, make your way through,” Raidan ordered.
As fast as they could move, one by one, each member made their way through the portal. Darius and Raidan stood on either side of the doorway, eyeing each other.
The snarls of the Hunrati and the screams of their victims drew closer to their location at an alarming rate, making Darius nervous. “We can’t keep this open much longer,” he said.
“It will remain open until I say so,” Raidan replied with an identifiable edge to his tone, which said, don’t fuck with me.
“We don’t want the Hunrati getting through,” Darius argued.
“I said, we will keep it open. I’m not leaving anyone behind who can be saved. I’m not you, Darius. I don’t sacrifice needlessly.”
Darius glared at him.
A nostvore came running through the trees and up to Raidan’s side. It was hard to tell who he was with him being covered from head to toe in blood.
“They’re coming,” said Torstad.
“They will be upon us within the minute.”
Raidan looked grimly into the trees, listening to the oncoming danger. Nostvores and lycroulds were still appearing from the foliage, heading straight toward the portal as directed. He looked back at his friend.
“Are you all right?” Raidan asked, taking in Torstad’s appearance with concern, and searching for signs which indicated he might need to be restrained.
“I’m fine,” he answered.
“We need to go, Raidan,” Darius insisted again.
“Raidan,” a voice yelled, coming straight at them. It was Claritis. “They’re right behind us.”
Sebastion ran in front of him, both heading toward the portal.
“Hurry,” shouted Raidan.
Claws appeared out of thin air and dug into Claritis’s flesh, halting his escape. Sebastion stopped at the opening of the portal and turned around, his face filled with horror. “No,” Sebastion yelled, as he started back for his leader. But a hand grabbed hold of the back of his clothes and sent him flying through the portal.
“Everyone, go through,” Raidan ordered.
Darius wasted no time in going through the threshold, disappearing in a flash.
“Torstad! Let’s go,” Raidan said again.
Torstad remained in place, watching the Hunrati pull the Nefriti leader apart—limb by limb—and listening to the nostvore’s screams of agony. Torstad’s eyes glazed over and started to glow, his fangs elongated past his bottom lip and his nostrils flared.
Raidan immediately recognized what was happening to Torstad and did to him what he had done to Sebastion. Before he could run head first for the Hunrati, Raidan grabbed Torstad and threw him through the portal. When he was through, Raidan turned and took one last look at the beast that was still tearing Claritis apart. The screaming had stopped now and he saw the deterioration of the body take effect. Not wanting to watch anymore, he stepped through the portal.
The Hunrati feasting on the being’s carcass stopped when the taste of ash reached his mouth. He then noticed another of the strange creatures stepping through an a’keiec portal, and no sooner had he stepped through, the doorway disappeared. The fact some had gotten away didn’t bother him. They would find them again, and when they did, they would celebrate as they feasted on their flesh.
“Close the portal,” Raidan yelled as soon as he stepped over the threshold.
Darius immediately said a few words and the doorway closed.
Indicating toward Darius, Raidan didn’t waste any time. “Seize him,” he ordered his nostvore warriors. A number of them standing close by immediately complied with his order, training their guns on Darius while one restrained his hands behind his back. A few of his other warriors trained their weapons on Darius’s people, making sure none of them attempted to stop them.
None of them moved.
While this was happening, Raidan took in his surroundings. The moment he walked through the portal he knew where he was, Darius’s mansion. Just as he had suspected, the nostvore’s arrogance was reflected in the way he furnished his home.
He looked to all who had come through the portal. There were less than a hundred who had made it, including those from all nostvore clans and Javan’s lycroulds; every one of them covered in dirt, blood and gore. Some were severely injured, groaning loudly in agony and needing immediate attention. The injured needed fresh blood to regenerate.
Sebastion was on the floor, probably as a result of Raidan throwing him through the portal. He didn’t look like he was getting up any time soon, with his eyes glazed and a look of turmoil on his face. Watching the death of his leader was affecting him deeply and Raidan couldn’t blame him. He himself was ready to give in to such feelings of grief for all who had perished. But now was not the time.
A commotion to Raidan’s right suddenly had his attention.
Torstad’s growls were loud with rage as he leapt toward the closest person to him, his fangs bared and ready for the kill. When he tackled the nostvore to the ground, he started ripping the guy apart. Many rushed to the nostvore’s aid, trying to pull Torstad from him.
“Restrain him,” Raidan yelled to his men as he rushed over to him. “Do not fire,” he said to Darius’s horde who pointed weapons in Torstad’s direction, “or you will meet your final death here and now.”
Darius’s nostvores hesitated at first, and then lowered their weapons.
When Raidan reached the group, he saw they were having trouble pulling Torstad away from the nostvore, as he easily pushed one so hard he went flying across the room.
More of Raidan’s nostvores ran to help them, all straining to pull Torstad from the now bloodied nostvore beneath him. It took five of them before they were able to lift Torstad away and hold him in place, his snarls vicious and blood dripping from his mouth. A couple of them moved the severely injured nostvore out of the way.
“You!” Raidan said to a nearby Mavator nostvore. “Do you have cells here where we can hold him?”
The nostvore nodded.
“Take him there. The same goes for Darius. We’ll keep them both there till we move back to our own mansion.”
Everyone watched as Darius was escorted out of the hall, and then Torstad, his howls of rage chilling to those who had never seen him in such a state.
When they were gone, everyone looked at Raidan expectantly, knowing full well he was now the one in charge.
“Do you have blood available?” Raidan said to another Mavator nostvore.
“We have a supply of blood bags in a storage room,” said Eagan, stepping forward.
Raidan looked at him. “You’re Darius’s second, am I correct?”
“Yes,” he replied, looking Raidan straight in the eye.
“You will stay here.” He then glanced back at the nostvore he had originally been talking to. “Do you know where this supply is?”
The nostvore nodded nervously.
“Good. You’ll take my men to it and bring back as much as you can so we can tend the wounded.”
The nostvore glanced at Eagan, unsure of the command.
“Do it,” said Eagan.
Still unsure, the nostvore nodded in response and hurried out of the hall with three of Raidan’s men following close behind.
Raidan turned his attention back onto Eagan. “Where’s Viktor?”
“He’s at one of our safe houses supervising a few of the factions we left behind.”
“Send for him,” Raidan ordered.
“He won’t come if he knows you’re here.”
“Then explain to him that his leader is now my prisoner. Darius’s plan has failed and the Hunrati are running loose. If he doesn’t come and help us find a way to deal with this immediately, I will hunt him down and he will feel the consequences of my wrath. He’s already aware of exactly what that entails. You may also want to ask him what the consequences are, because the same goes for you if you don’t carry out my orders. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” Eagan replied, though he made it painfully obvious he wasn’t happy about being ordered around by his enemy.
“Yes, what?” Raidan asked, his eyes narrowing.
Eagan hesitated. “Yes, M’Lord.”
“Go,” he growled.
Eagan hastily exited the hall.
Moments later, the nostvore and Raidan’s men who had been sent to retrieve the blood, returned with their arms filled with blood packs. Immediately they started handing them out.
As those who were injured consumed the blood given to them, Raidan looked around the room. “I’m going to give those of you who aren’t a part of the Vanatre a choice,” he voiced loud enough for everyone in the hall to hear, “and after I finish what I have to say, you will all make your decision here and now as to what you choose to do.” He paused. “As you all witnessed, we were nearly slaughtered by the Hunrati, something which would never have occurred if it wasn’t for the stupidity and ignorance of one nostvore. Don’t think because we got away, that was the last time we will see them. They will come for us, and they will leave a path of destruction in their wake.”
Raidan’s words brought about murmurs from everyone.
“That won’t be our only problem. The Hunrati won’t be discreet about their existence, especially when they start terrorizing cities and slaughtering every human and mythlend inhabiting those cities, therefore it won’t be long before all humans know of our existence. The result will have humans hunting us down, and not long after we will be at war with them. If we’re to survive attacks by both the Hunrati and the humans, we’ll have to fight together as a group.”
“But how can we fight the Hunrati if they don’t have a weakness?” asked someone in the crowd. A number of them responded in agreement with the question, fear evident in their voices.
“They don’t have a weakness which we know of, yet…but that doesn’t mean we can’t find one. They have been defeated before; therefore it’s possible to do it again, but only if we work together as those in the past did. Those of you who wish to do this may come back with us to the mansion without the threat of being harmed. This includes those of Javan’s clan,” Raidan said, looking in the direction of some lycroulds. He knew Javan hadn’t made it through the portal, and what had become of their leader would remain unanswered for now, but it left the lycroulds without someone in charge.
“I think we have had our fill of working with fangers,” a deep voice said from the back of the group.
Many stepped aside as a naked figure, covered in blood and dirt like the rest of them, walked toward the front of the crowd. Raidan knew him as one of Javan’s top fighters, Tsar. The lycrould, it would seem, had already positioned himself as the leader of the clan in Javan’s absence.
“We already made a deal with a nostvore and look where it got us,” he spat, his hands indicating to everyone around them. “We were betrayed as soon as that fanger got what he wanted out of us. As a result we were nearly all sent to our deaths.”
“I understand your feelings on the subject and I don’t blame you. But also remember, I’m not Darius, and I could’ve left you all to die back there with the Hunrati. I didn’t because it was the right thing to do at the time. If you want to leave, go. I won’t stop you. You know where to find us, if you change your mind.” Raidan knew he had told the group they had to make a choice now, but that was more in regards to the nostvores. The lycroulds were a different matter altogether. It would take them time to realize they would need the Vanatre’s help if they were to survive.
“We won’t be changing our minds,” Tsar replied with conviction. “Let’s go,” he ordered the remaining lycroulds. The quickly followed their new leader; the ones still injured were helped by their fellow lycroulds.
“I would advise before you leave, you all find yourselves something to wear at least. We’re about to be thrust into a war with the humans. We don’t need them seeing you in your current state and causing problems before the war has begun.”
Tsar snorted in response then continued walking away.
Raidan took the snort as a yes. “Sebastion,” he said. “Would I be right in presuming the Nefriti will be joining us?”
Sebastion still looked dazed from all that had occurred, but he had finally risen from the floor to help his clan with distributing the blood bags. “They will, M’Lord,” he answered without hesitation.
“As for the rest of you, those who choose to come with us, gather your belongings and anything you think we will need. We will be leaving within the hour. The rest of you can do as you please. Just know this place is now under my rule.” Raidan’s tone suggested if they weren’t going to pledge to his leadership, they needed to leave.
Following his warning, Raidan turned and walked toward the exit of the hall, his nostvores and the Nefriti clan following close behind.
He suddenly stopped in his tracks and whipped his head to the side. “Did you think I wouldn’t smell you?” he said. He moved with unimaginable speed through the crowd standing behind him and pulled a figure out from behind one of the marble columns in the room. His other hand wrapped around the slender neck and started to squeeze. “You reek of your mortality, human!”
Hands immediately grappled to pry his hand loose, his grip making it nearly impossible for the figure to breathe.
Raidan examined her, as he hadn’t met the female before. He could see the similarities between her and Kira, but he could tell she didn’t possess the strength Kira exuded in both body and mind.
“So, Darius’s little human bitch made it through the portal. If I had known, I would’ve escorted you across the threshold myself, though I don’t know whether you would’ve made it to the other side in one piece.”
Shar stared back at Raidan, wincing as his grip tightened.
“Now, the question is, will I kill you for what you’ve helped unleash onto this world and as a result, killed many of our kin, or is there still some use for you?”
Shar struggled to say something, but his grip on her throat made it impossible to get her words out. He loosened his hold by a fraction.
“If I were you, I would kill me.”
He raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Should I, now?”
“Yes, leech! You should. Because if you let me live, I will escape and I won’t stop until your head and neck are no longer attached to each other,” she spat. “There’s no way in this world I’ll let Vanatre scum take over Darius’s clan.”
“Still the loyal soldier, I see,” he said, his face now inches from hers. “Though it’s completely misguided in my opinion.”
“You’re acting as if I give a fuck what you think,” Shar retorted.
“No, my dear, I would never be so foolish as to believe you would be smart enough to listen to my words, and to know they stand between you living and me decimating that sweet, delicate, little life of yours,” Raidan replied.
She glared at him.
“It has me puzzled, though, why a human would be so committed to such a failure of a nostvore. I mean, he hates your kind and looks upon them as nothing more than food. My guess is even with your abilities he still thought it about you, even if you tried to fit in by killing your own people.”
“He doesn’t hate me,” Shar snarled. “He needs me.”
“He needed you all right, to get what he wanted. Then he would’ve killed you when he was done with you.”
She was about to tell him to go fuck himself after telling him how wrong he was, when he tightened his hold on her again, stopping any retort from escaping her mouth.
“I bet, deep down, you already knew that but were denying to yourself how such a thing could be true.”
Shar let out a growl of frustration as she tried to paw at Raidan’s hand that was around her neck, desperately trying to speak the words she wanted to say.
“Why do you fight me, still? His own clan have realized he has led them astray and know I’m their only hope, should they choose to follow me. Following Darius will only result in all your deaths,” he said, looking at her curiously. “Is it the promises he made to you for helping him with his plan which has you so devoted to him?” The question gave her pause, and Raidan searched her face, looking for answers. “No, it’s more than that. I believe this is a matter of the heart. You love him, don’t you?”
Her eyes widened.
Raidan smirked. “Yes, that’s why you act the way you do and why you have done such a foolish thing that could destroy us all, including yourself. But don’t worry, I won’t be killing you, yet. Instead, I’m going to place you in a cell next to your love, and you can watch as he slowly becomes defeated and lost within himself. During this time, you will see who he truly is, and your dear leader will soon fall off the pedestal you have created for him. It will be a great moment, indeed.”
His comments had her struggling against his grip, and wishing she could rip the fucker’s face off.
“Take her away and lock her up until we leave,” Raidan ordered the nostvores who stood near them. “Put something on her mouth, too, so she cannot speak. If she’s like the other human, I won’t have her using a’kei to escape.”
Two of his soldiers quickly took hold of the girl while another gagged her before she could say a word. However, her look of hate toward Raidan was unmistakable.
As they took her away, Raidan addressed the rest of the group in the hall. “Now, let’s see what our old friend has been hiding all these years, shall we?”
Emmerich! Kira bolted upright, gasping for breath. Instantly, flashes of Shar plunging a sword through her stomach assaulted her. As a reflex, her hands went to her stomach, searching for the fatal wound. When she looked down, two things became apparent. The first being there was no sign of a wound; it had completely healed. The second thing she noticed was she was naked in a bed she didn’t recognize.
A sense of déjà vu overcame her. This wasn’t the first time in recent days she had woken up in a bed other than her own, not knowing how she arrived there. The question was where was she now? And how the hell was she alive?
Pain suddenly hit her. It wasn’t from any physical wound; it was because her sense of déjà vu brought up memories of him. Emmerich. The man, or should she say ‘nostvore’, whom she loved.
Her pain was caused by her last memory; the look of desperation on Emmerich’s face as he tried to save her, but couldn’t. It hurt so much to watch him like that, and even more when she sent him away against his will with a’kei. She’d wished at that moment that they could have had more time, as they had just found each other.
Now that was possible. Her pain dissolved with the realization that she had survived; she didn’t know how, but it meant she could see him once again. All she had to do was find out where the hell she was and then do everything she could to find him.
Looking around, Kira definitely knew she wasn’t in the Vanatre mansion. This place was much older than that. She pulled back the covers and set her feet on the floor. Whoa! As she tried to stand, a wave of dizziness overwhelmed her and she fell back.
That wasn’t good, but she wasn’t surprised. She had nearly died in that chamber and had lost a lot of blood. It was going to take more than a moment to be completely right again.
Waiting for her head to cease its swimming, she noticed odd-looking clothes on the bed, with hers nowhere in sight. Kira picked up the flimsy pieces of material with a look of disgust. Did whoever took her clothes, expect her to wear these?
The questions of ‘who had her?’ and ‘how did she get out of that chamber?’ started to play on her mind.
If the Vanatre had brought her here, she knew Emmerich or even Kuron would have been next to her when she awoke. Plus, there was no way they could’ve gotten into that chamber. The a’kei wouldn’t have let them. But if the Vanatre didn’t have her, and they didn’t save her, then who did? One thing was for sure, she wasn’t going to be naked when she found out.
Once again, Kira tried to stand. It was a mission at first, but finally she was able to rise without the feeling of falling over. Picking up the pieces of material, which were someone’s idea of clothing, she went to work dressing herself, a huge frown on her face. One piece turned out to be some type of long side skirt which tied at the top of her hip, exposing one leg completely. All it would take was one good gust of wind and everyone would be able to see what she had to offer underneath, as there was no underwear to be seen anywhere, or a bra.
Her lips thinned.
The top was no better. It was a halter-neck style piece with the material barely covering her breasts; it wasn’t held down to anything. Once again, if any wind should happen by, her nipples would be completely exposed. This was definitely not her idea of trying to cover up, but it was better than nothing. She would be asking for her own clothes back once she had answers to her burning questions.
Heading toward the window, she looked outside to see whether or not she could gauge where she was.
She was still in Kartarus. Except now, she was inside the castle.
How was that even possible? She would’ve thought that the entire city would have crumbled with how everything was coming down upon her in the chamber.
It seemed, though, it hadn’t.
As Kira looked out the window, the city was unmoving in the darkness of night. Not a soul could be seen or heard. The moon provided enough light for her to be able to see what damage the quake had done. For the most part, the city appeared intact, except for the outer rim which had disappeared completely into the enormous gorge which had formed while she had been unconscious.
She decided to let her senses roam to see if she could find anyone within the vicinity. Suddenly, however, the strangest feeling came over her. She felt as if something was moving inside her body, shifting and stretching every part of her. She looked at her arm and gasped. Something rippled underneath her skin.
What the fuck?
She looked at her other arm, and the same ripple of movement was happening on that one, too.
“It’s the change,” said a voice behind her, one she didn’t recognize with an accent she had never heard before.
Kira swung around.
Standing in the doorway stood a man. A gloriously attractive man. His body was visually similar to Emmerich’s; built like a warrior and definitely one which would be good for licking all over, among other pleasurable things. Not that she was interested. Yet that didn’t stop her from noticing the way he wore his slacks, which were the only clothing he had on. Low on the hips and without underwear, his pants didn’t hide a thing, his groin area clearly visible under the material. Kira couldn’t help but stare at it with curiosity.
Did they all wear such revealing clothing, whoever they were? It wouldn’t offend her if they did, that was for sure. She may only want one man, but it didn’t mean she couldn’t appreciate a good view.
Her eyes finally moved elsewhere, taking in his golden-bronze skin which glowed, enhancing the color of his eyes. By the gods, those eyes. With one look into those golden depths, highlighted by a few strands of dark golden hair draped in front of them, her heart nearly skipped a beat.
“Who are you?” she growled, moving away from this gorgeous stranger. He may be heaven to look at, but it didn’t mean she wasn’t going to be wary of the guy.
“I’m the one who saved your life,” he said, not moving from the doorway.
She looked at him with confusion. “From the chamber?”
His answer confused her even further. “How could you have saved me? I was in a room no one could get into. No a’kei could’ve broken that barrier.”
“You’re right. No one could’ve broken the barrier, unless they were already there.”
Instantly she understood what he was inferring. “You’re a Hunrati,” she accused, backing away further while trying surreptitiously to locate anything in the room she could use as a weapon. There was nothing.
Why hadn’t she thought of it sooner, that the Hunrati were responsible for bringing her here? She could only think the blood loss she’d suffered had rendered her incapable of putting two and two together. What she didn’t know was whether Emmerich had stopped Darius from taking control of them. Either way, she knew she was screwed.
Then the visions came, and the feelings. Wave after wave of pain and horror assaulted her as she felt this creature’s glee as he maimed, tortured and ripped people and mythlends apart. She was overwhelmed with his sadistic and sexual urges to a point she had never felt before. She couldn’t block even the slightest of its effect on her, leaving her gasping for breath. Then they were gone, the battering on her mind and body dissipated.
He raised an eyebrow, unsure of what was wrong with her, but when she seemed normal once again he smiled. “Yes,” he answered in regards to what she accused him of being.
Fuck! She was standing in front of an indestructible killing machine and she had no clue as to how she was going to get away, especially in the state she was in. “What do you want? Why am I here?”
“You’re here because I brought you here. As to what I want, you will find out in time,” he said in a more suggestive tone.
Eyes wide, Kira watched this predator take in her appearance.
“You look exactly how I thought you would in theralay.”
“Excuse me?” she asked, unsure what he was talking about.
“The garments you wear, they’re called theralay. Only the privileged can wear such finery.”
“You’re fuckin’ kidding me, right? The only reason I have these things on is because I didn’t want to be walking around completely naked. As soon as someone brings me back my own clothes, this whore suit is coming right off.” Insulting a Hunrati about the clothes he had given her probably wasn’t the best idea she’d ever had, especially when she didn’t know how he would react. However, she couldn’t help herself. She wasn’t going anywhere in these clothes.
His face darkened. He was about to reprimand her for such an insult, but stopped when he saw her swaying on her feet. He didn’t go to her aid.
Kira reached out to the nearest piece of furniture to steady herself and grimaced at the unnatural feeling of something moving inside her. What was going on with her?
When she could focus enough to stand properly again, she grabbed hold of one of her arms and watched as something rippled under her skin like before.
“The change is nearly complete,” he said, the need to punish her for her insult forgotten.
She looked at him. “What do you mean, change? Change into what?”
“Into one of us,” he informed her, surprised at her lack of understanding.
Kira gaped at him in horror, then down at the arm she was holding with whatever was underneath the skin. “No,” she stammered as she shook her head in denial. “You’re lying!”
“I have no need to lie.”
He was right. What reason would he have to say such a thing to someone he had just met. It didn’t mean she liked it. “How do you stop it?”
“Then kill me,” she growled. It hurt to say those words, because it meant not finding Emmerich again. But becoming one of them outweighed her own needs.
“You would insult this gift I have bestowed upon you? No one in thousands of years has ever been granted such an honor.”
“I don’t care,” she yelled. “I never wanted this.”
A sudden anger came over him. “Without my gift, you would be dead,” he snarled as he strode toward her.
She tried to get out of his way, but she was cornered. Her heart beat rapidly in her chest, unsure as to what he would do.
The Hunrati came in close, but he didn’t touch her.
“Well, you should have let me die,” she replied.
Her answer surprised him. “You don’t value your life?”
“Of course I do. What kind of question is that?”
“Then why do you act this way?” he asked.
“Because I wanted to die a human and you took that away from me,” she yelled.
“You did die as a human. You were brought back as something else.”
“That’s not what I’m talking about. I didn’t want to come back as something else.”
The Hunrati’s eyes narrowed. “Even if I wanted to, I cannot kill you. Only the Queen has such a power.”
“Then tell the Queen to do it.”
“He doesn’t have to,” said another voice.
A woman who was beyond striking in appearance walked into the room. Actually, it was more like she stalked into the room, her predatory eyes not hard to miss.
“My Queen,” the male turned toward her and bowed his head.
“Is our savior causing you trouble, Pheres?” she said, her accent similar to his.
“She’s not acting as one would expect with such a gift given to her,” he said as he stared at Kira. “Bow to your Queen,” he ordered her.
“She’s not my Queen,” Kira spat.
Pheres went to grab her by the throat, but the Queen made a noise.
“It’s all right, Pheres, she doesn’t know her place yet, but she will soon enough.”
“I will never see you as my Queen,” said Kira adamantly.
The Queen moved faster than Kira expected and had her by the throat in less than a second, lifting her off the ground. Kira’s hand went up to the Queen’s hands, trying to ease the pressure on her throat.
“Are you looking for me to place my wrath upon you? Because I will happily oblige.”
“If that involves killing me, then do it,” she spluttered.
The Queen laughed. “Oh, my dear, I won’t kill you. You have awoken me and my horde and for that, you will be honored. But, if you keep up with this attitude, I’ll have to teach you a lesson in humility.”
As the Queen stared at her, the visions once again assailed Kira’s mind. If she thought Pheres’s mind was intense, the Queen’s was tenfold. She felt the pain of thousands upon thousands of those she had annihilated. Her need for killing, it was like nothing Kira had ever seen. She knew many mythlends felt guilt and remorse over some of their actions. But this woman, this creature, was something else. There was no sympathy within her heart. She was as rotten and soulless as if she was born to be everyone’s worse nightmare. Anyone’s pain was her pleasure, and that’s exactly what she was feeling as she had Kira by the throat.
Then another memory of the Queen’s came to her, and Kira started to shake. It was a recent memory, one which would forever be imprinted in her mind. The vision was of Emmerich and the Queen pulling his heart from his chest before throwing it away.
“No,” Kira softly said as the vision continued. She watched the surprised look in Emmerich’s eyes as he realized he was dying, and then the look of pain as he started to disintegrate. But when the Queen turned away, she couldn’t see him anymore, which made Kira frantic for the Queen to turn back around so she could see his face again. When the Queen looked back, all that was left were ashes floating in air.
“No,” Kira said even louder, and started to struggle more against the Queen. She could feel her eyes start to glow, but the visions hadn’t ended. During the battle, the Queen’s eyes saw something else which had Kira’s blood boiling. One of the Queen’s people, in their true Hunrati form, had gotten hold of Kuron and ripped him apart, his limbs and blood flying everywhere.
“No,” she screamed this time, tears falling down her face. Kira’s sight returned to her reality and she quickly chanted the words.
The pulse came out of her at such a level it sent both Hunrati crashing through the walls and into another room. Breathing hard, Kira felt the beast within her ripple through her body with a new level of strength that she had never experienced before. She clicked her neck, and with supernatural speed, made her way over to the hole the Queen had gone through. She peered into the other room searching for her body, her anger flowing at full charge. “You bitch,” she yelled. “You killed them, now I’m going to kill you.”
Long talons formed out of Kira’s hands and dug into the wall on either side of her, crumbling solid stone beneath them. She searched the room, her predator eyes taking in every inch of the place, but the Queen was nowhere in sight. Moving into the room, she gazed around, searching for where she could’ve gone.
Suddenly, something wrapped around her neck and she heard a click. Kira turned to come face to face with the Queen, and the smirk on the bitch’s face had her reeling. Her hands went to her neck and found some kind of collar.
“My, aren’t we the powerful one,” she said, seeming unfazed by what Kira had done.
Kira went to lunge at her, but was stopped in her tracks when the Queen put up her hand. Kira suddenly couldn’t move a muscle and her anger combined with confusion.
“The collar I have placed on you allows me to control you however I see fit. Any more attempts to attack me will be useless. It will also stop you from transforming into your new self, which you’ll soon find out will cause you an intense amount of discomfort.”
Kira could hear the gratification the Queen gained by informing Kira of her new fate.
“And I wouldn’t bother trying to use your a’kei. It will be impossible while the collar is around your neck. As for how long it will stay on you, that depends on how long it takes you to realize who is in charge here. And believe me, the answer isn’t you.”
Kira’s stare was deadly as she stood, incapable of moving or speaking.
“Yes, my dear, as of this moment…you’re mine,” the Queen smirked.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.
The story picks up immediately where the first book in the Battles in the Dark series ends with Kira falling through the magical barrier and waking the Hunrati from their millennia long sleep. When she wakes, she discovers she’s been turned into one of the indestructible creatures. Over the course of weeks, the Hunrati destroy city after city leaving the remaining Nostvores and other Mythlends struggling to find a way to defeat the Hunrati. When things seem bleak, a hope comes in the form of visions, but can they discover how to kill the unkillable before it’s too late? Like the first book, I thought this was well written and added a great deal of depth with the new characters that made it a seamless transition between the books.
Throughout Kira’s ordeal, we’re placed into the complex desires versus what she needs to do as she attempts to resist her captor’s plans. We feel her torment to the point we really want her to cut loose and slaughter all of the Hunrati. Along with Kira, the characters from the first book are further developed as we’re introduced to their peculiar and varied nature when it comes to the bedroom. There are times I wondered if there was too much sex, but each scene was beneficial to showing the underlying character’s strength, personality, and feelings for their partners. In many ways, it was like reading a “How To” book when it came to personalities. The one complaint I have is the ending left me wanting more. It was so unexpected I had to read it a couple of times and even let out a curse or two for not seeing a couple of signs here and there, but I’m not going to tell. Once again, Kimberly Clark has put me in a position of having to patiently wait for her next book. To be honest, it can’t come quick enough for me.
OKAY, so. YOU MUST READ BOOK ONE BEFORE READING THIS!
now thats out the way………..flipping awesome book! Let me try and say that a little more eloquently.
Following on from The Species WithIn, we join Kira, Emmerich, Kuron and everyone else as they try to make sense of the utter mess that Darius has made. Thinking each other dead, Emmerich and Kira deal with their respective situations as best they can, which isn’t ever so well. The Hunati are vicious in their attack on the world, both Human and Mythlend and are proving impossible to kill. After Emmerich’s little *hiccup* the Nostvores think they have found a way. But all is not as it seems, and BOY do we get some surprises!!
This book is darker, deadlier, bloodier, and so much more sexier than book one, but its the Hunati that make this book. After thousands of years *asleep* they wake and just…pick up where they left off, hell bent on destroying everything and everyone who gets in their way. Failing that, they enslave them. For food. For sport. You get the picture.
What I am particularly enjoying about these books is, I can’t see the bigger picture! Sometimes, you can, sometimes you can’t. I can’t here, and while its driving me nuts that I can’t see where its all going to go, and who will come out on top, or at least ALIVE, its also keeping me hooked good and proper. And thats been a while coming for me, let me tell ya. A series that kept me hooked, line and sinker!
So, Ms Clark, get writing part three, because I need to know just whats going to happen to whom, and who gets the girl/hunati/angel person 😛
5 deadly, bloody, sexy stars, thank you very muchly!
oh, I should say, I was given my copy by Ms Clark, for no other reason than she asked me did I want book two and of course I darn well did!
As a loyal and huge fan of Kimberley Clark, I was given the Exclusive chance to review The Ultimate Killer before it hit Amazon’s shelves, in fact I managed to get a copy the day after it came back from the Editors with the final stamp of approval! Giddy as anything, I could not wait to delve back into Kira’s story to see what had become of her, because no amount of prodding or poking Kimberly would give me any answers since the first novel – she really can keep a secret and is super tight lipped about what happens next for Kira!!!! So before I go ahead with this review I want to make something very clear – This IS an EXCLUSIVE REVIEW, it DOES contain SPOILERS, although I will try and keep them to a minimum! buckle up Guys and Gals because in The Ultimate Killer you are in for some sever thrills and spills!!!
******SPOILER ALERT*******EXCLUSIVE*******SPOILER ALERT******
OK, are you ready? So we begin right where the last novel ended, the Hundrati have been awoken and it is up to the surviving Mythlends to fight to try and save the World (no exaggeration here). The entire World is now in jeopardy, not just for the Mythlends but for Humans as well. Humans have survived for thousands of years in the dark about what type of creatures go “bump in the night” unless you happen to end up being the wrong place at the wrong time and become dinner, but hey you wont be telling anyone else about your encounter! But with the new and more powerful, well unstoppable ancient creatures awoken, there is no pretending any more and humans become aware of Mythlends causing a World wide panic, unrest and pure chaos! Just how the Hundrati like it. They feed from death, destruction and fear……….
So what did happen to Kira in that chamber? Now that is the sixy thousand dollar question isn’t it?………….Well I’m not going to say how or why but when she wakes up (Yay! She isn’t dead!) She discovers she has become her worst nightmare, she is now a Mythlend and no ordinary one at that, she is now a Hundrati with an inner beast that needs sating…..All of this is new to her and if she wasn’t indestructible she would just go off and kill herself, she has become what she has always hunted, loathed and to a tiny degree feared yet respected. The raw pain in the memory of her lost love plagues her dreams every night proving she still has that unique mix of blood within her that made her so special… but just what does that mean? The Hundrati Queen takes a great interest in her not only because of this but also because of her fighting spirit that shines through forcing even her to bend a little in its wake. Fitted with a collar to make her “be a good girl” is her punishment for not embracing her new life, a gift no other has received in thousands of years. the collar makes her do exactly what the queen wants her to do without question, making her nothing more than a drone within a hive of beasts all ready to dominate the world for their Queen.
Seeing potential within Kira and interested in just what she can achieve she puts together a tournament of sorts so that Kira is able to fight collar free, killing other Mythlends. she puts her up against bigger and harder opponents, of whom she decimates creating a form of blood lust, she is finally behaving more like an Hundrati everyday that passes. In the same time that passes Kira has formed a plan in order to get the queen to trust her, to get her gate keeper Pheres to help her but in order for this to happen she must behave, do as they say, behave as they do, feed as they do and act as they do. when sex, blood and violence all mix into one, something that tastes so sweet and tempting to Kira can she resist? Not knowing what happened to her friends and learning of the desolation the Hundrati have left in their wake all over the world already… what can a small lick, a tiny sip and taste harm right?………….
Just as her plan becomes to show some fruition and Kira begins to earn trust she comes face to face with an enemy she didn’t expect in the arena and it has he fighting for her life! Because in the arena you either fight to win or you fight and die………..What will Kira decide? What choice can she make???
Meanwhile behind the scenes so much more is going on, something I am NOT going to cover because it is TOO much to give away but lets just say that there is another plan going on to defeat the Hundrati as no one is aware Kira is still alive, and with a race against the clock to complete their mission in order to “save the day” so much more is going on than meets the eye. There are some amazing twists in The Ultimate Killer, some that will have you sitting there totally stunned, you are going to laugh, cry in parts, fume in others and be, well, all over the place emotionally. Most of all if you are a fan of the first novel in this series, I guarantee you are going to love this one equally if not more! Can Kira Save the Day? Can She Change Back? Can her Friends Save Her, Can She Save them? All of these questions and more will be answered with a few more created by the end ready for book #3!! If I could give more than 5 ***** Stars I would – Excellent, Entertaining, Fast Paced, thrill a minuet with a huge amount of twists and turns!!
*I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review*
This was such a long (and wonderful) book that I’m not quite sure where to start, so I’ll just dive right in. WOW! A lot happens and lucky for us it begins right where book one left off. Not so lucky for us…the ending. As I neared the 100% mark on my Kindle I literally hesitated before turning each page because I didn’t want it to end. And OMG I definitely did not want it to end there! Book three, please hurry!
Kira didn’t die, although at times she sure wishes she did. She is now one of the Hunrati and their ways go against everything she is. But the choice to submit to the queen and fully become one of them isn’t her choice and with the unwanted help of Pheres she’ll eventually get rid of the collar that binds her…only she’ll never be free.
“Liar, fuckin’ pants on fire, she thought to herself.”
Pheres doesn’t understand Kira and he doesn’t understand why he feels protective of her and jealous over her. Hunrati aren’t meant to become attached to a single person, it isn’t their way, but he’ll do anything he can to get her to want him the way she does the man she cries out for in her sleep. Only at the end of the day…he’ll always belong to the queen, as they all do.
“But this occasion, with this woman, he wanted to savor. He wanted to take his time, which he had never really done before, to see how it could be different.”
Kuron didn’t think Kira was alive, but without physical evidence part of him holds onto the hope, but he honestly never expected to see her again and when he does it’s definitely not how he imagined it.
“I don’t know why she chose you, but I respected her wishes,” he said, vehemently. “Maybe I gave up too easily. I should’ve done more to make her realize you would betray her and I was the one who cared for her.”
Emmerich’s fate is a little more of a mystery. He’s not dead and when he comes back it’s with a purpose that he doesn’t fully understand, but he has to help his people survive the Hunrati as it’s what Kira would have wanted. When he and other mythlends are forced into the arena it’s with great trepidation he does what he must, but in order to bring the end he must survive. Problem with that is the end isn’t exactly what he thought it would be. And Kira…he just got her back…will he lose her just as quickly?
“Then who do I have to challenge and claim you as mine?”
Kira is still the fighter she always was. She’s learning to adapt to her new surrounding while managing to keep a somewhat hold on the person she truly is. Pheres is a Hunrati, so what can you expect, but truth is I was really beginning to like him. Kuron is still going above and beyond because of his love for Kira and the thought that he could one day be by her side again. Emmerich, regardless of how he came back, is still the man in love who doesn’t want to live without the woman who stole his heart, but following through with what she would have wanted is as close as he’ll get so he’ll do it. There’s also the rest of the characters we either loved or hated from book one all winding their ways though this story.
One thing I did learn is never expect anything as it’ll definitely not happen the way you think. People die (yes, even the ones we like), people come back, people lie and betray and play each other, and don’t let me forget the sex…there’s definitely a lot of that too.
Sad part is usually there’s one guy who stands above all the rest that I’m cheering to win the girl, but in this case it’s so hard to lean one way or the other. I was really beginning to like Pheres. I’ve always like Kuron and he continues to do things that keep me liking him. And some part of me has always liked Emmerich. But honestly with the way The Ultimate Killer ends, I’m not sure if any of these three will ever get the Kira they each care for.
My Favorite Laughable Moment: This may be wrong on so many levels, but I laughed so hard when Pheres was in the room with the queen and Javan.
“Good Beast! Take it all in…you’re only halfway there.”
Halfway! There was no way he could take another inch of it.
My Favorite Moment: It was brief, but I longed throughout this entire book for the moment Kira would see Emmerich and Kuron again. That their entire interaction pissed off Decima was just the icing on the cake.