Authors: Connie Suttle
No more than you have made it for me in the past,
Perhaps we should discuss this at a later time. Connegar informs me that Kiarra's vehicle approaches.
As you wish it, Father
* * *
Without his knowledge, I was connected to Ferrigar and saw what he did. Kiarra's vehicle pulled into the long, U-shaped driveway leading up to the school. Nothing seemed amiss, although my senses screamed otherwise. Breanne had better prescience, but we all had it in some measure. Mine had increased since I'd bitten her, but hers was still sharper.
Kiarra's vehicle parked halfway down the U, as she waited for Justin and the werewolf child, Martin Walters Jr., to walk out of the school. It was nearly three o'clock in the afternoon and the school bell would ring in seconds.
Ferrigar stood at the top of the U, disguised as a child waiting for someone to pick him up. He and I both noticed the car driving the wrong way up the U and picking up speed.
* * *
Calhoun didn't like that they'd allowed Janine to drive instead of one of the five other humans V'ili brought with him. A second human sheep—a middle-aged male, sat in the passenger seat while Calhoun and Acrimus were seated in the back. Acrimus, at the last moment, had decided to accompany Calhoun and the humans, just as a precaution. Neither had dealt with the Saa Thalarr before, and Kiarra was designated as First among them.
V'ili's argument—that a female and a male could better represent a child's parents when driving toward the school made sense—after a bit of consideration. Neither Calhoun nor Acrimus had ever dealt with or given thought to human education before.
"Saa Thalarr reflexes are just as quick as a vampire's. Drive faster," Acrimus snapped at Janine. Janine complied by pushing the accelerator to the floor.
* * *
I wanted to scream as prescience kicked in, but my mouth could only gape at the horror that enveloped me. Everything fractured around me and I saw stars falling. I wasn't even aware when I was pulled to the scene, and had no idea whether it happened in and of itself or whether I was transported by another.
* * *
We were pulled as if by a very strong magnet. There wasn't anything we could do to prevent it or escape. Inevitability had come and there was no denying it this time.
We arrived just in time to see that the other two teams had been tossed toward the scene as well, dumping us on the grassy yard surrounding a grade school in Fresno. The speeding car—the pale-haired woman running—the tremendous push by a Larentii in disguise; all of it seemingly happened at once.
The car crumpled as if it had hit a rock wall before it reached the disguised Larentii, and both humans inside died quickly. Had any of us counted on the fury—or the willfulness—of an angry, rogue god?
Acrimus and an underling appeared outside the vehicle, unharmed, while the humans inside it bled and died.
Without thinking or investigating, Acrimus raised a hand and leveled a blast at the disguised Larentii. That's when space and time fractured—and hope died.
All of us watched, helpless to prevent it. I saw Ashe across the U-shaped street—he stood between Sali and Charles. My body was gripped, as if in a tight fist, and drawn forward. Ashe was pulled toward me, just as I was pulled toward him. I blinked when I saw Charles; his face changed, followed by his body. He became taller. Darker-haired. Gray-eyed. If I could have gasped, I would have.
Wisdom was drawn toward me—and toward Ashe. Somewhere, deep inside me, I knew it was because a Larentii died. That Acrimus, evil fool that he was, had done this with the power he possessed.
The Larentii are my children
, filtered into my mind.
It is forbidden to kill them. It will bring the wrath of the One
Our bodies were no longer our own as light and stars fell about us, and we rushed toward one another with no power to stop the momentum.
* * *
Report for the Archives
Submitted by Kalenegar of the Larentii, now duly elected Head of the Larentii Council and Vhirilaszh of the People.
Prophecies are strange and malleable entities, and often grow or twist out of shape in their telling and retelling. The Prophecy concerning the Three in the Larentii Archives all say the One created the Three. It never said anywhere that the One created the Three by splitting itself.
I can only report on what I witnessed that day, and give an accounting from my perspective. I saw the Three; Wisdom revealed himself at last as Charles of the vampires, as they were pulled together and fused into something so bright none could look upon it.
, a voice boomed in a language none had heard before. I watched as the rogue god Acrimus dropped before the newly reformed One. Ferrigar, Head of the Larentii Council, as well as my father, had died at Acrimus' hand.
It is only known to the Larentii—and the gods—that it is forbidden for any god to take a Larentii life. The One had created the race, through the Three. Many cares were placed in Larentii hands, and only the One and the Larentii know these things.
I watched my father die on a hot day in the city of Fresno, California, on old Earth as many refer to it now. I watched the One reborn, who took my heart—and my love—with it. Acrimus was destroyed by a flick of the One's mind. The other rogue god escaped—he had not participated in my father's death.
This was not how it should have ended. There are still rogue gods creating havoc under the General's command, and we no longer have Strength, Wisdom or Love to combat them.
The Larentii race will survive. I feel none will tempt fate a second time by killing another of my race. I fear all others will die, however, and there is little any of us might do to prevent it. The God Wars have been waged—and lost.
* * *
"There are still rogue gods, and we might be able to capture and contain them, but the General remains and he may protect them," Belen sighed as he sat in one of my guest chairs.
"That doesn't include the Sirenali and anyone they might obsess," I pointed out as I watched Belen carefully. I'd never seen his radiance so subdued or his manner so defeated. Inside, I wept. Yes, my sister might still live, but never again as my sister. She was the Heart of the One, now, and I could do nothing about it.
"Will we watch everything die?" I brushed a tear away.
"I fear that may be," Belen shook his head. "The shield still stands around the gishi groves on Avendor and we are welcome there—I received mindspeech from Trajan, telling me to consider it a haven if it is needed. It will only sustain and protect a few, however."
"Yeah. Belen, I'm going hunting," I stood and pulled in a deep breath. "I may not be able to destroy rogue gods, but I can destroy Sirenali and their minions. They have no hold on me."
"Then perhaps all of us still adhering to the Light should do the same. Call if you need assistance. I need time and space to think." Belen disappeared.
* * *
Of the two highest-ranking Koh'Ahmari, I am the one remaining. When I was handed the assignment—and the rule of the Dark Realm from the Ear—I was given permission to do what was necessary to bring it in line. I was about to test that permission to the limit.
King Jayd was about to receive a visit from the new Lord of the Dark Realm and his servant, Kifirin. No High Demon would refuse the service I would now demand of him or her. I had rogues to hunt—Sirenali, vampires, shapeshifters and gods alike. The General, however, had never been made by the One, the Three or any god. He remained a problem.
"I will hunt him anyway, avilepha," I promised. Breanne wouldn't return to me, but I held her memory in my heart so it would never fade.
The God Wars will continue in Blood Finale, scheduled to appear in December, 2013
* * * * *
About the Author:
Connie Suttle lives in Oklahoma with her patient, long-suffering husband and three cats. For information on forthcoming titles, please visit Connie's website at www.subtledemon.com, her blog at subtledemon.blogspot.com or find her on Facebook—Connie Suttle Author. She is also on twitter: @subtledemon.