“This,” he squeezed my throat harder, “this is why I want it all, Keiran. If you do not give me everything you have, you will never be able to win, and if you cannot win, you are dead.” I felt his hand caress my throat as it slowly left my skin.
I growled. I was sick and tired of him manhandling me, as if he owned me. Zane moved slightly, but it was enough for me to ram my knee into his jewels. Zane groaned, grabbed his precious items and hunched over himself. I bolted away, careful to keep my weight on the balls of my feet.
Zane glared up at me from the floor, I grinned. “Do you want me to give you another demonstration? I’m sure many women will love to know how their precious celebrity came to be impotent.” Zane’s rage made his eyes glow an almost eerie grey, not completely black but not completely white either.
He got to his feet, his eyes watching every breath I took with a wolf-like quality. Zane circled around me, I could feel his eyes slowly going down the length of my body. I suppressed a shiver and stood straight. Zane reappeared in my line of vision, his eyes now darker, closer to black. He had the presence of a incubus at that moment, it made me wonder exactly what type of demon he really was. I wondered what made him say what he did next. Since it did not seem like something that would normally come from him.
“Kei, if I took you now, if I put my hands on you, would I find you wanting?” I shuddered at the thought. My body almost on fire from the visions that condensed inside my head. The thought of him, sliding his hands on me, slowly kissing his way down my stomach… I snapped back to reality when Zane drawled on.
“Or would I find you as you pretend you are? Cold and distant, unresponsive and lacking. A dead fish out of water.” I stiffened at his innuendo, no one had any right to talk to me like I was a whore. Even if, at the moment, I had the thoughts of one.
I looked up into his eyes, lifted one hand and touched his cheek. He closed his eyes for a split second, covering the desire, before gaining composure and staring into my eyes.
“Zane.” I whispered seductively. At least I hoped it was, I had only ever heard my mother use it before. “You will never find out how I feel beneath you. I am no man’s whore and never will be.” My fingers crawled across his cheek, slowly, tantalizing, moving downward. “I am not a one night stand, I am a forever kind of guy and you would never offer anyone forever.” Zane flinched beneath my hand, I smiled and leaned in close, my lips brushing his cheek. “More than anything, Zane,” I paused, my breath fanning over his face, his eyes were watching every move I made, never leaving me. I breathed in and leaned in closer. “I am not yours.”
“Zane?” Cabe’s voice rang out in the dojo, he sounded almost angry. I released Zane and looked into his lust stricken eyes.
“You won’t have me.” I whispered, turning my back on him and walking towards Cabe, who had a vicious snarl in place, his fangs half transformed and barred. His white hair was shorter than it was earlier but it still blended into brown at the ends. His golden eyes were like firelight with a predatory gleam in them.
I smiled at him and patted his head. “It’s okay, Cabe.” I told the pissed off half demon, half shifter. “The big mean man didn’t hurt me.” I smirked, looking back at Zane who was limping slightly. “More likely, I hurt him.”
Cabe’s expression softened and he reached up to touch a finger to my cheek. I had no reaction to the touch like I would have had had it been Zane. “Your father is wondering if your spar is concluded. He wishes to take you shopping.” I grinned, the thought of taking my father around Tartarus to just look at life here sounded better than messing with Zane.
“Alright, Cabe, tell the dumbass limping towards us that I will be at practice tomorrow. And I will kick his ass again.”
As I turned away, I could hear Zane’s whispered response, “You wish.” A pause and a hitched breath in. “You wish.”
For some reason, I actually liked messing with Zane. It was fun and usually made me smile. I loved watching his reactions and anticipating his responses.
Shopping with my father was actually rather fun. The only bad part was the looks I received because of the men trailing ahead and behind me. Brand, Mikal and Data surrounded me with their presence. I sighed and asked for the fourth time, “Why did you guys have to come?”
“Orders.” Brand grumbled under his breath, looking as if he wanted to punch someone in the face. His lonely, amber eyes sparkled strangely in the light. His golden curly, ombre hair was tied loose as it fell across his shoulder. Even now his form reminded me of a lion. He was the only one of the group today that was not carrying a weapon.
“You don’t like shopping do you?” I asked him in a sincere tone.
Data burst out laughing. He made me think of a sneaky serpent on the other hand. His droopy green eyes held hints of mischief and laughter as if anything and everything could amuse him. Today his luxurious, straight, red hair was worn in a small ponytail that glittered as if it was made from dragon’s scales. His wardrobe was classy, even though it was mostly black, there were hints of deep purple within it’s folds. RIght now he carried a sword that had a notched blade of a blue color, with snowflakes and moons engraved on it. Its grip was formed like a tree.
“He would rather be lost in a desert than go shopping, Kei.” Data chuckled at me, whipping back to grin at me.
I looked back at Data with my eyebrows raised. “He would, would he? Is that why he looks as if someone told him something mean about his mother? Or Zane for that matter?”
Mikal turned his head over his shoulder, grinning back at me. “He always has a surly look on his face no matter what he is doing. Shopping just makes it worse.”
Mikal was like a wary cheetah, angular and very fast on his feet. His straight, apricot-colored hair was waving in the wind with each one of his steps. His slanted summer leaves eyes sparkled as he grinned at me. The sword at his hip had a blade with stars and crests engraved on it. The guard was a pair of angel wings, inlaid with an orange-colored material.
“Hmm.” Was my noncommittal answer. Brand just scowled at me from my side and glared at his brother-in-arms.
“You two idiots don’t help with my mood at all.” Brand said, crossing his arms over his chest. My father just looked at the three of them and shook his head, his white hair shaking with the movement. There was little mirth in his grey eyes.
“We best hurry up for the night is soon to approach.” I raised my eyebrows.
“What’s wrong with the night?” I asked.
My father looked down at his shoes and mumbled something in French before he glanced up at the moon with a gleam of red in his iris. “Night is the time when those who cannot contain the beast wander.”
“Beasts?” I thought back to everything I had been told or ever heard of since I could learn. I could not remember anything about beasts. “What do you mean by that, Dad?” He raised his hand and the rest of us froze. Immediately Brand was beside my father and talking rapidly in Greek. Brand looked at Data and Mikal, suddenly the three of them were gone. I stared at where they had once stood.
“Where’d they go?” It seemed I was asking the stupidest questions lately.
“Help who?” He ignored my question but continued to stay still, listening to the sound of the night. I could feel the moon, the air and the gaze of those who passed. The night seemed to energize me, it empowered me. When my power rose up beneath my skin I knew what my father meant by beasts.
Night was for those who could not control themselves, those who could not control their powers. Night was for those who wanted half beings to no longer exist. Night was for the Hunters. I shivered, the night no longer feeling as safe as it had a few seconds ago. I looked at my father, he was looking in the distance as if he could foretell the future just by looking into the clouds that floated by.
Feeling my own powers rolling beneath my skin, I grimaced in pain at the sensation. My father noticed and reached out a hand to lightly touch my shoulder. Warmth flowed through me, and I realized he was using the same type of healing powers I had. However, he was controlling this healing to push down my powers. I had never known they could be used in such a fashion. With my powers now under control, for the moment, my father began to explain to me exactly what was in Tartarus.
There are five different rivers in Tartarus.
Acheron, the river of pain, it is sometimes described as a place of healing, not a place of punishment, cleansing and purging the sins of humans.
Kokytos, the river of wailing, Kokytos is often referred to as a frozen lake rather than a river, although it originates from the same source as the other infernal rivers. Depending on the form of their treachery, victims are buried in ice to a varying degree, anywhere from neck-high to completely submerged in ice.
Lethe, the river of forgetfulness, all those who drink from it experience complete forgetfulness. Myths often say those who drink from it die only to be reborn. It is also called the “True Love River” because until you find your true love you are able to be reborn by yourself and then when you do find your love you drink together and you are reborn together.
Styx, the river of hate, which is the boundary that separates the Underworld from Earth, is underneath the train that leads those to Tartarus.
Phlegethon, the river of flames, is parallel to Styx. It is said that the goddess Styx, whom the river is named after, was in love with Phlegethon, but she was consumed by his flames and sent to Tartarus. Eventually, Styx’s river was allowed to flow through Tartarus, Styx and Phlegethon reunited in the form of their rivers.
There are two different meadows in Tartarus.
Asphodel Meadows is where common demons live, those without extraordinary power. Although occasionally a powerful demon will be born there. The Asphodel Meadows is described as a place that closely resembles Earth. Many people who live in these plains go about their daily lives like humans.
Elysian Meadows is where the king’s ‘palace’ lays. Elysian is where those with lots of power reside, usually those with red or black eyes. It is also where Tartarus Station was placed. It is described as a place of utter beauty where nothing else can compare. In these meadows, everything is similar to earth.
My father and I walked around the dark streets within the Elysian Meadows and we talked about so many things. I asked him why he had never found me before now, if I had any relatives, and what demon blood was running through my veins.
Apparently, when I was a child, my mother put some sort of spell on me that made it so that my father could never find me. Then, one day, around four years ago, somehow that spell was broken. My father was able to sense me and sent out his people to where he thought I was. When he was able to get back to reports, his people told him that I was doing well but that my powers were fluctuating between stable and unstable. He told me that he decided to wait to see if I could control my powers. This was before they knew I had mage blood in me as well.
It seemed as though I did have some other relatives, an uncle who was a lone wolf and loved to travel the world without worries. A grandmother who, it sounded like, would be visiting soon to come and see her only grandchild. My grandmother was the ruler before my father and she still held some sway over the people. My father told me that I needed to be accepted by her before I could ever publicly say that I was Raidon D’Arrow’s son. That meant that if she did not accept me, I would not be the next ruler of Tartarus, and that my father would be forced into a pairing to make another child.
My powers were a different matter, because of my mage blood, my father was unsure of how the other demon parts of me would mix with it. Since my grandmother is a full blooded succubus, that meant that I was at least 1/4th incubus, human, and mage. When my father began to tell me about my grandfather, however, he seemed to hesitate.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him, watching his facial expressions change more than I thought was possible. He lifted a hand to his face and stroked his chin before looking over at me, his eyes flashing black.
“I think I will let my mother tell you about my father. It is not my place to tell you that…even though I am your father. It will depend on her if you know the truth or not.
I felt a chill run down my spine. If my own father could not tell me what my grandfather was…wasn’t that…well, kind of a bad sign?