War: Chapter 42

Adele glanced down at the timer on her phone.  She’d seen Jormun go off into the woods, but he hadn’t —  All clear, my love.  Cancel protocol.  Her knees turned to liquid, and she sagged into the robot that stood next to her.  Christophe caught her arm, and then sat her on the couch.  “Jormun says we are clear.”

“Yeah…”  Stephan shook his head.  “No disrespect to Jormun, but I’m a going to wait on the glowing folks for the all clear.”

She turned her head to see the four figures by the lake.  “No, no I absolutely under…”  She turned to look up at where Father Williams was staring at the water.  “Father, any chance —”

“My nephew…”  Father Williams exhaled.  “Has a lot of explaining to do.”



War: Chapter 41

Laura’s eyes went wide when she saw Khait’s eyes shine with golden light.  She grinned.  “Okay, may…”

“Uh…”  Stephan touched her shoulder, and she turned to see him pointing.

“Bozhe moi.”  Stasya stared at where Ash was heading toward Merlin and Khait, his eyes also glowing.  There was a firey sword in his hand, and she saw a glimmer of fire start to rotate in a circle on his other arm, forming what looked to be a shield.  Ash leaped into the air and there was a brief flash of shimmering wings behind him just before he landed in a flanking position on the porch behind Merlin.

The glimmer of light in Merlin’s eyes was also far brighter, and yet the dragon looked dumbstruck by what had just happened.  “Guys…”

“I am not certain…”  Father Williams started shaking his head.  “That this is a good thing.”

“Maybe we should get inside.”  Stephan raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah.”  Laura mentally called for Erilon and heard nothing in response.  “Yeah, let’s see if Adele knows what’s going on.”


War: Chapter 40

His first feeling was relief that Gabriel was alive.  His second was a terror that drove all pain of the knife away.  The wings spreading out from Gabriel’s back weren’t the soft white feathers they’d been before.  Ted stared as the silver wings unfurled.  The edges of the feathers looked razor sharp.  Horror filled him when he realized it wasn’t a sword in Gabriel’s hand.

It was a scythe.

Around them, time had gone completely still.  He could see a bird paused in flight, a leaf half fallen.  In the building, the crackling sound of fire had gone silent.  The only things moving were the men in front of him.  Michaels, Jormun, Daniel…  and Pachua.  The dragon tilted his head, staring at Gabriel.  “No.  You can’t be here.”  Pachua started shaking his head.  “You haven’t been summoned.  You can’t be here.”

He saw Jormun try to struggle to his feet, yanking Daniel out of the way.  Daniel took the hint and got a shoulder under Jormun to get them both out of there.  Michaels stayed where he was, his face uncertain as he glanced at Ted and then back over his shoulder.  Gabriel started forward, toward Pachua.

The dragon lowered his head and let out a snarl.  It was hard to feel any pity for the thing that had torn out Monica’s throat and…  God, please don’t let Matthias be dead.  Gabriel’s forward motion paused, and he turned back to look at Ted.  His eyes looked like molten gold as he tilted his head.  Then he turned back toward Pachua.  Pachua snarled again.  “After I destroy you, I’m going to kill them slowly.”


War: Chapter 39

There was a time in her life when facing vampires would have had her wetting herself in terror.  Abigail tilted her head to the side, then smiled.  The three vampires coming toward them had all stopped short when Khait had unfurled his wings.  As soon as the sword had ignited in his hand, two of them had turned to run.

It hadn’t done them much good.  He smiled as he walked back to her, his wings vanishing along with the flames of the blade.  She raised a hand to touch his cheek, and he turned his head slightly to kiss her palm.  “It worked.”  She glanced at the sword.  “Just like it did for Ash.”

“We…”  They both turned at the sound of a crashing noise, followed by a loud splash.  A pale green dragon was locked in combat with a copper dragon, and both beasts vanished into the depths of the lake.  Khait blinked.  “Uh…”

“Which dragon are we rooting for?”  Abigail looked up at him.

“Well, Merlin is the green one, so…”  Khait shrugged.


War: Chapter 38

Bridget stood a few feet away from the preacher.  Lykos had assured her the ammunition she had would take down a werewolf, which just served to remind her there was a decent chance they’d be facing werewolves.  Part of her wished the priest still had his collar on.  He, at least, looked calm.  “You know, it seems like it wasn’t all that long ago…”  She looked up at the sky.  “The most I had to worry about was remembering when my assignments were due.”

“To all things there is a season.”  Father Williams smiled at her.  “And a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

“I used to love that song.”  She smiled.  “My mother played it…”  She trailed off when she caught sight of movement.  She swallowed.  “Here they come.”

“Well now…”  A man seemed to emerge from the very shadows.  He smiled, showing fangs.  “You look like a tasty morsel.”

Okay.  Her ammo was for werewolves.  She fired a shot anyway.  The vampire glanced down at where she’d shot him in the chest, then back up at her.  She could see two others starting to come in behind him.  “Really?”

“Uh…”  She shrugged.  Across the house she heard other shots being fired.  Ted was going to be so pissed if they wrecked his house.  “Yeah, might want to break out the holy water, Father.”

“I have…”  Father William’s eyes suddenly glazed over, as though they were covered with frost, leaving them a solid white.  “A better idea.”  The vampire started to move, and Father Williams merely stepped aside as it charged.  It hit the side of the house.  And shattered into a thousand frozen pieces.  He spread his hands as the other two started forward.  “In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.”


War: Chapter 37

“Hey Viktor —” Adele started to smile at the phone.

“Adele, shut up and listen.”  Viktor’s voice sounded sick.  “Mbala was just here.  She was talking to someone on the phone and it was pretty clear she wanted us to hear the conversation.  She asked whoever she was talking to if it was true Quetzal is traveling north.”

“Oh no…”  Adele felt her blood turn to ice.  “I’m calling him now.”  She hung up the phone and immediately dialed Jormun’s line.  He didn’t even get a syllable of greeting out before she started talking.  “Pachua is here.”

“Are you —”

“Information comes from Mbaba.”


War: Chapter 36

He headed in to start making coffee, walking past the room that was serving as a library.  Then he stopped, walked backward a few paces, and then paused at the door.  Adam smiled.  Stephan and Stasya had apparently decided to have a couple drinks and watch television, but both had fallen asleep.  Stasya lay with her head on Stephan’s shoulder, and Stephan had an arm draped casually around her.  It was, quite possibly, the most adorable thing he’d seen in months.

Stasya must have sensed she was being observed, because she started to stir.  Stephan shifted a little in response, opening his eyes a moment after Stasya opened hers.  Stasya moved away from him awkwardly, then jumped a little when she noticed him in the doorway.  “Baby Bear.”

“Hey, Mama Bear.”  Adam grinned.  “Sleep well?”

“I, uh…”  Stephan rubbed at his eyes.  “We were just…”

“Wipe smug off face.”  Stasya glared at Adam.  “And go make coffee.”

Adam doffed an imaginary hat and bowed.  “Yes, ma’am.”


War: Chapter 35

“You can’t…”  Father Williams ran a hand down his face.  “Seriously talking about declaring war on the Vatican?”

I really don’t see that ending well.”  Laura’s eyes were glowing faintly.

“I’m not.”  Jormun sighed before giving a shake of his head.  “There is absolutely no way that would avoid the notice of humanity at large and I’d rather not set off another go of inquisitions.”

“Or find out if missile fire could take you down?”  Christophe glanced at him.

“That too.”  Jormun exhaled.  “We are going to need a better plan.”


War: Chapter 34

“You’re Giovanni?”  Adam looked the priest over.  Despite the man’s white hair, he didn’t look that old.  If the stories were accurate, he had to be at least seventy-five.  The idea that this priest could be the same man in those stories, however, seemed absurd.  A thought wormed its way into his head.  The men sent after Daniel had all been hospitalized with hypothermia.

“I take it you’ve heard of me?”  Father Williams raised an eyebrow.  Then he sighed.  “I was.”  He gave a small shake of his head.  “Once.”  His eyes went to where the nun was examining the wings of a bemused Khait.  “And you are Adam.”

“I…”  Adam swallowed.  “Yeah, I guess I’m the last person with a right to question you.”


War: Chapter 33

She ran a hand over the black feathers, then smiled.  A moment later her eyes widened.  “Does this mean you are going to start molting?”  Khait glared at her.  Bridget shrugged.  “Hey, I don’t know how this stuff works.”  She grinned.  “But if you do, dibs on the feathers.”

“Abigail already called dibs.”  Khait shook his head.

“Of course she did.”  Bridget sighed.  Then she withdrew her hand, and his wings folded back and vanished.  “Are you alright, Khait?”

“I…”  Khait slowly nodded.  “I think I am.”

“Good.”  She exhaled.  “It’s kind of nice not having the ring on, anymore.  Guess you don’t need me to —”  She gasped when he grabbed her and pulled her into a tight hug.  “Khait?”

“Thank you, Bridget.”  He spoke into her ear.  “For…”  He laughed a little.  “Being you and putting up with me.”  He kissed her ear.  “You’re my best friend, and I still need you.  I still need you to boss me around, tell me when I’m being an idiot, remind me of the scale of bad, and to…”  He chuckled.  “Be you.”

“Well…”  She laughed as she returned the hug.  “If you put it that…”  She took a deep breath as she gave a small shake of her head, then glared up at him.  “Khait, get your hands off my ass.”

“Sorry.”  His smile was anything but apologetic.


War: Chapter 32

“It took almost two days…”  Coraline let herself fall back onto the couch and put her feet up on an ottoman.  “But I have ridden one of every type of animal that can support human weight.”

Lykos tilted his head.  “Just land based, or include water ones?”

“I…”  Coraline frowned.  Then she stood back up.  “Excuse me, I need to go find my brother.”  She vanished back out the door.

Magda rolled her eyes, then glanced at Stephan.  “No ill effects or anything from wearing the ring?”


War: Chapter 31

“Well?”  Abigail looked across the bed Khait was laying in.  “Can you…?”

“This magic…”  Lykos was examining the sword hilt.  “Not sure want to try.”

“Lykos.”  Abigail reached down to put her hand on Khait’s.

“He can touch without it hurting.”  Lykos set the hilt back down on Khait’s chest.  “Is talisman but not talisman.  Not like other one.”  He lowered his head, staring at the hilt.  “Wait for him wake up.  See what Khait say.”

She nodded, then took Khait’s hand again.  The strange woman, Anra, had treated is wounds before saying to let him rest.  Some of his life force had dissipated before Daniel had gotten to him, and he would need time to recover.  Abigail had asked if another orgy was needed, and Anra had assured her time would be sufficient.  Somewhat to the dismay of Daniel and Coraline, Anra had then departed for whereabouts unknown.  Abigail bent, and kissed Khait’s forehead.  “You better be alright.”


War: Chapter 30

Adele frowned when she saw an ambulance pull up, followed by another vehicle.  Then her eyes widened when she saw Magda get out of the driver’s seat of the ambulance.  She looked over her shoulder.  “Are they back?”  The professor stood up from where he’d been sitting with Lidia.

“I think…”  She looked back at the vehicles, then swallowed when she saw Jim leaning on a young man she didn’t recognize.  “Yes.”  She saved a hand.  “Keep Lidia here.”  She started forward.

“Fuck that noise.”  Lidia nearly pushed past her on the way to the door.


War: Chapter 29

Lykos groaned, then felt whoever he was laying on shift and groan as well.  He rolled off Khait, and started to stand, only to note with some irritation that his left fibula appeared to be sticking out of his leg.  He growled as he shoved it back into place.  Walking was not going to be fun for the next couple hours.  The backlash from the orb’s destruction had taken out a good section of a wall, and he was concerned part of the building was going to follow it down.  “Christophe?”  Lykos looked around.

“Here.”  Christophe shoved the remains of a painting off himself.  He was bleeding from a cut on his forehead, but his injuries didn’t look bad.  Khait looked in much worse shape.  His wings were little more than char, but he was getting back to his feet.  He offered Lykos a hand up.

He started to look for the others, then made a frustrated sound.  “Naughty girl had defenses.”  Over on the other side of the small crater he’d made, Wren was getting back to her feet.


War: Chapter 27

Lykos snarled as he took a man’s arm off at the shoulder.  They kept shooting him with silver bullets.  The amount of waste was starting to become annoying.  He used the arm to strike the last one across the face, sending the man flying back over the balcony.

“Wow.”  He looked over to see Laura.  The girl was grinning.  “Snow White was seriously under-utilizing her manpower.”

He rolled his eyes.  “I say same, but Christophe insist not appropriate for children movie.”  He shook his head.  “Kids today soft.”

She turned, and her eyes glowed red as her hand touched the metal of the staircase.  The men coming up the stairs started jerking and twitching as though struck by tazers, falling back down in a heap.  She smirked at him.  “You were saying?”

“Most kids today soft.”  Lykos shrugged.