Friday, February 17, 2017


Weakness is a Tyme story by Terri Pray.
Artwork by Samuel Pray, created using Daz 3D, Photoshop and Filter Forge.

It was out there, she could feel it, feel the tug that worked its way into her chest and wrapped around her heart. Jada pressed one hand over her heart and closed her eyes for a moment. All she had to do was take a step and she’d feel the pull that told her which direction she would have to move, where her feet would need to place themselves in order to begin her journey.

Then stay, don’t go, don’t leave. They need me.

They would always need her but she was doing this for them, for all of them. Not just her own family but everyone else. Yet she had been the one it had reached out to. Her. A no one. Not even a warrior. Useless according to those sworn to the way of the warrior.


Yes, she’d been called that more times than she wanted to think about. Weak and helpless, yet she was alive, she had children and she’d survived the invasion, even if she had done so without her mate standing by her side.

She swallowed and tried to clear the lump from her throat. The pressure, the summons remained, something she couldn’t and wouldn’t ignore. It called to her and she had to answer, to see what was on the other end of that call before it was too late. She wiped her hands down against her leggings before she turned to look at the door. No, it wasn’t time yet. She could still enjoy the company of her sleeping children.

The thought drew her attention and she looked down at the two cradles but kept her distance from both, at least for now. By the gods, she wanted to touch and hold her children. They were hers, her lifeline in this place, on this world. The proof of her right to exist even if she would never be accepted by the majority of her people. 

Without worth. Wasn’t that how they viewed her? Nothing but a breeder and one that even her mate had chosen to abandon in search of someone more suitable, at least that is what she had been told.

The damned man hadn’t even had the guts to speak to her before he’d vanished into the night, something she would never have thought him capable of doing until the morning she’d woken to find herself alone in their shared bed.


What had changed between them that he had found it so needful to leave or had something else happened? If so, who held the answers?

My sister?

She shuddered at the thought and closed her eyes. Could it be that her sister was behind the loss of Jada’s mate? That her jealousy or her lack of understanding as to why a warrior male would choose her, had led to her mate’s disappearance? If that were the case then she would never know the truth, unless her mate was alive and returned to her.

Dead, he must be dead. That would be the only reason he would not return to see the birth of his children. Our children.

He’d vanished when she’d discovered she was pregnant and the loss of his presence in her life had been… painful. It would always hurt, she was woman enough to admit that. Yet it didn’t change the pain when she looked at her children and understood they would never know their father. Now she would leave them to follow a dream, an idea and what would that do to her babies?

Was this a foolish idea? Was she doing the right thing in leaving her children tonight in search of — of what? A dream? A legend? Something that might not even exist? What if she never returned?

She took a step toward the first cradle and leaned in. It didn’t matter if she failed to return, she had to try. Even if she failed, she would have at least proved that she wasn’t a coward, that she would never step down when she was called, when she was needed. Her children would be safe, she had the paperwork in place that would prevent her sister from claiming them and they would have the right to choose her own path, even leave Mars if they so wished, without interference from family members.

They would be free.

“Sleep little one. Sleep and know that I love you.” Jada smoothed a soft black curl back from the sleeping child’s eyes and let her fingers play over the lock for a moment before she tucked the quilt back in under his chin. She turned to the second bed in the room, her steps silent as she moved to the side and tucked her daughter in with the same care she had taken with her son. Neither child made a sound as she moved through the room instead their sleep remained undisturbed.

What was it like to sleep in such peace? To know, without doubt, that you were safe?

Had she ever enjoyed such rest when she had been a child? Had there been someone who had stood watch over her?

If there had, she had never been told of such things, nor was there one she could reach out to now in order to find out. The only one with any answer would be her sister and that was a woman who would never provide the information. Not unless it was something that would benefit the older woman. That was the nature of their relationship and had been for as long as Jada could remember.

She shook off the thought and slipped out of the room and pulled the door closed behind her in silence. She paused to listen, making sure that neither child had awoken with her exit and only then did she step away. They would sleep through the night, if the gods were kind, and they had done so for several months now.

A soft noise in the main room drew her attention and she forced a smile into place before turning to see the source. Tall, broad shouldered, with a slight scar on her left cheek, the woman stood there, leaning against the door frame. “They’re going to be soft, if you keep treating them like that. It’s not good for them, for any children to be raised like that. Too much love will weaken them. You know it’s not our way. Not the way of a warrior people. How can they be active members of the community if you continue to coddle them? No, you’re raising them to be nothing more than breeders, just like their mother.”

Jada folded her hands in front of her, refusing to let the tension she felt show in her stance. Love, a weakness? It wasn’t something she agreed with but the other woman was set in her ways. It wasn’t worth the fight. Jada took a deep breath and met the woman’s gaze, her voice calm but gentle and submissive. Anything else would start a fight, something she had no interest in, especially tonight. “So you’ve said, sister.”

The older woman snorted, nostrils flaring in disgust. “No fight in you, just like our mother. How you ever persuaded that man of yours to breed with you, is beyond me. Good warrior like that needed a stronger bed mate, one able to provide him with children to train in the arts. No, he picked you. Nothing more than a weakling, worthless to the rest of us.”

Jada kept silent.

“Not even the spirit to fight with words.” Megan spat and shook her head. “I’m ashamed to call you sister.”

“Would there be a point to it, Megan? Arguments would change nothing between us and I don’t recall the last time you named me as your sister to someone outside of this house.” Jada cursed herself for speaking but it was too late, once spoken the words could not be taken back. She clasped her hands before her and half bowed her head. Submissive, meek, those were the things she had to remember around her sister, at least if she wanted to leave and follow the signal that even now tugged on her heart and pulled her toward the mountains. “Forgive me, but I am needed at the temple tonight. I have given my word and I would not wish to let anyone down.”

“And you expect me to listen out for your brats, is that it?” Megan took a step toward her, one hand resting on her weapons belt, a breath away from the butt of her blaster.

“No, of course not. I would not ask you to lower yourself to the duties of child care.” Jada dropped her gaze once more. The very idea of letting Megan watch the children sickened her. Who knows what her sister would do to them in the name of toughing them up? “Lynda is here.” At least she had been only a few moments ago. Had the girl left when Megan had arrived?

“Watching brats is all that blasted girl is good for. I don’t know why we ever abandoned the old traditions. That one should have been left out on the slopes instead being allowed to live and weaken the bloodlines even further.” Megan turned, stalking her way through the house toward the kitchen. Her voice carried back, snatches of sentences, but it was plain that she didn’t expect a reply. “We lost much when we turned our back on the old ways.”

Jada sighed, peering after her sister. Only when she was certain that the older woman planned on grabbing a bite to eat, no doubt from the food Jada had prepared earlier in the day, and then vanishing for the night, did Jada then slip back into her own bedroom. There, perched on the narrow bed, a blond haired teenager waited, eyes wide as she looked from Jada to the door and back again.

“She won’t come in here and once she’s eaten, she’ll be gone for the night.” Jada explained, her voice pitched low. “She doesn’t want to be here, not relegated to the task of childcare.” Jada softened her words with a warm smile.

Lynda nodded, but said nothing, tears shining within her pale blue eyes. Her fingers tangled on her lap and she lowered her head as a soft tremble rn through her body. Every inch of Jada cried out with the need to hold Lynda and tell her she would be safe.

“You’ll be safe. Her words… they’re just that, words. She won’t strike you, not in my house.” Words. They were still a weapon, but one that Megan used with brute force rather than a delicate touch. Everything about Megan was like that. She stalked, stomped, lashed out, snapped, never stopping to apologize. At least, not to anyone of lower rank and as far as her sister was concerned, anyone unfit to be a warrior would always be of a lower rank. “Stay here, if you want. She never comes into my room. There’s nothing here that interests her and you will be able to access the children’s room from here.” Megan wouldn’t remain that long, no it wasn’t in her nature, yet Jada could understand Lynda’s concerns.

The teen offered a thin smile but nodded, lifting her right hand to scuff away a stray tear, the left arm, which ended just above the elbow, remained pressed against her side. “I know, I know you would never leave me where she could hurt me but…” she lifted the damaged arm, “she thinks I’m a waste of resources. She goes out of her way to say so about me or any others like me. We’re weak, worthless, a drain on the people and planet.”

“By the gods, you’re not any of those things.” Yet she’d heard the words herself. “She doesn’t see the beauty you create or the way children listen to you.”

“No, she sees this and believes that I will help raise children who will accept deformities without question.”

“And is that a bad thing?” Jada arched an eyebrow.

“Not to me, but those like Megan, they disagree.” Lynda lowered her gaze once more.

Gods alone knew she wanted to stay and reassure Lynda but the tug grew with each passing moment. She glanced at the door and then back at Lynda. Jada squeezed her shoulder. “If I could stay, I would but…”

“I know, I’ll be fine, really I will. You’re right, she won’t come in here and she’ll leave soon enough. She always has before.”

Courage, one of the things the warriors prized yet how many of them had looked at Lynda and dismissed her? Jada closed her eyes for a moment and settled her thoughts. If she returned then perhaps things would change? Perhaps there would be a better life for those like herself and Lynda? There was only one way to find out and in doing so she would prove to herself, if no one else, that she was far from weak. “I’ll be back as quick as I can. There’s food in the kitchen, three days of meals just in case, but I should be back before dawn.” At least, that was the plan, how well it would all work out was another matter entirely…

To Be continued next week. 

Friday, February 10, 2017


Gemma is an Erien Tale story by Terri Pray
Artwork by Samuel Pray, created using Daz 3D, Photoshop and Filter Forge.

“Is it done, daughter?”

She turned toward the voice even as her body resettled into its physical form. “Yes mother, it is done.” Gemma Tordan smoothed down her skirts, letting the full silken material slide into place around her thighs before she lifted her gaze and sought out her mother. “Kaleb knows what we are, or at least a part of what we are. His interest in rune magic has been reopened and he will begin his search for it soon enough.”

“Good, then the time spent apart was worth it, dearest one.” Helena Tordan opened her arms in welcome, a soft smile touching her ageless features. “Come, it has been far too long since I held you, and what you have been through—”

“Was for the good of us all,” Gemma moved into her mothers arms and sighed. For the first time in years she relaxed. Here at least she was safe, protected from the likes of Kaleb and those who served him. “He believed it, believed all of it right until the very end, mother. Just as you said he would.” Home. This was what the hug meant to Gemma. Here, among her family, in the arms of her mother, she was safe. Kaleb couldn’t follow her, couldn’t touch her and the shield of power, the presentation that she didn’t fear him, could all be forgotten.

Could she forget what she had endured at his touch though? Was that an option for her or would the time she had shared with him continue to haunt her?

Helena ran a hand over Gemma’s hair, her voice soft and warm. “You are safe with me. With us. What you did was for the good of us all but I would have spared you if there had been a real choice.”

Had there been another option? Someone else who could have attracted Kaleb’s attention? Her shoulders tensed as she faced those thoughts for the first time since she had allowed Kaleb to take her into his not so tender care. No, among her people there was no one else who could have controlled Kaleb and kept his attention focused away from her people or the magic they laid claim to until the time was right.

“I will heal, mother. I knew what would be expected of me when we first discussed this idea.” Gemma pulled free of her mother’s embrace.

Helena frowned, her brilliant eyes narrowed. “Will you discuss what happened in his… care?”

Gemma shook her head and stepped away from her mother, putting a good ten paces between them. “No, not yet at least. There are other things that require our attention.” By the gods, why would she feel that it was time to talk when there was so much to do? Things her father had wanted, planned for but where was he? “My father?”

Sorrow flickered across Helena’s features as the older woman turned away, her shoulders slumped. “He - he was taken from us six years ago.”

Gemma’s heart sank, a cold sweat forming down the length of her spine. She ran the tip of her tongue over her lips, stealing a moment to settle her voice before she dared to give words life. “What happened?”

Helena didn’t turn to look back at her daughter, her head hung low, hands clenched over her heart. “I wish there was an easy way to explain this but he went to speak with the dragons except he never reached the valley of spires, never managed to find a way to talk with them. He was attacked by those who also seek access to the rune magic, though we only know this from how his body was found.”

No, this wasn’t possible. Her father couldn’t be dead. He was strong, he couldn’t have been felled in such in manner. “Who was responsible?”

“We don’t know, not entirely. The area showed signs of human footprints but there were others mingled in with them. Six toes, large footprints, heavy ones, indicating-”

“Veklim.” Gemma growled the word out. “We haven’t dealt with their kind in centuries.”

“I know, daughter mine. We all know. Yet there is no other that would leave such marks behind.” Helena turned back to face her daughter.

Veklim. Dangerous humanoid lifeforms with a third eye and the jaw strength of a small dragon. Stone skin was another name they were known by, at least among the people of Erien, but her people and the dragons knew their real name. “Why did they come after my father? And have they attacked anyone else?”

“The rune magic is my guess, they always wanted access to it, though they lack the ability to use magic themselves. Which means they must have something planned, a race or even a small group of people that they can force into service. Half bred fae would be my guess when it comes to such, as those rare breeds are able to use that magic as well as the natural magic of the fae as a whole.”

Half breed fae. Gemma stepped away as she moved toward the only window in the chamber. How often had she stood at that window and taken a sneak peak out so she could watch the men and women who called this land their home? She had observed children at play, courting couples and families as a whole. Now there was nothing but the occasional movement of a bird across the sky. No sign of man nor woman, children or even pets. Those human settlements that had been a huge part of her life showed no sign of having ever existed.

“What happened to them all?”

“The villages? They moved away, slowly at first but they’re long gone now and have been for at least twenty years.” Helena explained, her voice soft and touched with sadness. “I wish they had stayed but times changed whilst you were in his hands. “There was a woman who came into the life of the lord of the castle and became his wife. But this one wasn’t happy with the path ahead of her and her darkness spread out and the people here felt her touch the hardest, especially when the lord’s gaze fell upon a fae woman. One with silver hair that shone like the moon.”

“He betrayed his wife?”

“No, nothing of the sort. He kept his desires controlled and was faithful unto his wife, despite the darkness he was wed to. No, not even when the woman brought a daughter into this life, not even when his dark wife turned from him to focus on the new child, did he betray her. Yet he knew and loved the fae with the silver hair from afar. He made no attempt to bring her close, nor did he openly lust after her, yet his wife knew that another woman had caught his attention.”

A shiver claimed Gemma as she listened, a cold hand wrapped around her heart. “The wife struck back?”

“Using a dark heart and colder magic, yes. Men and women died due to her actions and her husband attempted to bring her back away from her terrible path, but it didn’t work. The harder he worked with her, the blacker her heart became.”

“But she loved him, why couldn’t she curb her anger and work with him?”

“Hatred is a powerful thing and as much as she loved him, she also hated him.”

Love and hate in the same breast, toward the same man, would that have torn the woman apart? Gemma closed her eyes, lifting her hands to her temples long enough to massage her aching head. This wasn’t something she had planned for, but then again how could any of them have foreseen such a thing, nor the rise of the Veklim or the death of her father. “How did that impact the villages in the area?” She needed more information, as many pieces as possible before she made a final choice on what she needed to do next.

“Some died beneath her blade in the pursuit of what the humans call the black arts.”

Black arts. Sometimes they used that term in the wrong way, but in this case

“She targeted this village because of the silver haired fae, claiming they were behind the change in her lord’s heart, but we all know that isn’t true. They had nothing to do with it nor did the fae female, yet the dark hearted woman was set upon the destruction of the woman and the village. It was enough to turn the lord from his wife and he banished her, despite the fact she had given him a daughter.”

A daughter. One who would seek vengeance in time, perhaps with the aid of her mother or perhaps she would seek elsewhere. Gemma frowned, mulling over the information before she spoke again. “This is the family who will open the doorway for Kaleb?”

“We believe so.”

The pieces fell into place. Vengeance would call to the Lord of Vengeance and in turn he would use the women to find an answer, a means of tracking down any hint of the very magic Kaleb craved. “We will be there to stop him.”

“Yes, but only after he has drawn close enough to the source to be of use to us.” Her mother confirmed.

Was it worth it? The loss of her father, the time she had spent in Kaleb’s not so tender care? Was it all worth it just to return the true power of rune magic to the world of Erien? Did they need the return of this magic?

Yes, we do. Erien does. It has to be this way or we all die. Not even the Tree-Faced will be able to continue on, nor the Master of the Hunt, without the return of rune magic.

“We do this for the good of all, daughter mine. I know that doesn’t make things any easier for you, or for the rest of our people, but it is the task we were assigned at the dawn of our race. The protection of Erien and those who call this their home.” Helena lifted her chin, her jaw set as she looked around the room. “But we have time, albeit limited, which will allow you a chance to recover before we face the next challenge. The dark heart has not, as yet, returned to the castle nor has she reclaimed her daughter or her lord, and he married the silver haired fae, and she gave him a daughter in return.”

“She is at risk, this silver haired one?” Gemma pushed a loose strand of hair back from her eyes.

“Not anymore, she died only a few months ago.”

Died. Despite the fact that Gemma hadn’t even known of the fae’s existence until a few moments ago, the knowledge of the woman’s death sat heavily around her heart. “How?”

“A curse unleashed by the dark heart.”

Names would have helped, but names held power and using them might be enough to draw the dark one’s attention if she had tapped the full extent of the magic of such things. Not a risk that could be taken. “Powerful.”

“Yes, but not powerful enough to destroy the half fae child, her mother and the magic of the child prevented the curse touching the daughter. And we will work to keep her from such a curse again.” Helena sighed, her shoulders slumped. “It will not be easy but that has to be the focus of our task, to keep the fae born child free from the touch of dark magic until such time as she is able to defend herself.” She is a key, not the only one, but an important key nevertheless. Her power, her connections, her strength and spirit will all be needed in the years to come, but only if she lives long enough to be of use to us and to Erien as a whole.”

“And the Three-faced, what of her people, those daughters of the Isle who have been chosen to stand against the darkness?”

Helena paused, her brow furrowed in thought. “I cannot see beyond an upset that will happen in the years ahead. There is a daughter born to the line but there is a darkness, something that blocks her and the power she will lay claim to. I do not know if she will ever be in a position to defend Erien. Yet… there is something else there. Something I cannot see clearly. One who will come to her, fight at her side but he may also be her greatest threat.” She shook her head. “I know, it makes no sense. There will always be things we cannot see clearly but we know what we must do with the fae born child. She is who we must focus on no matter the cost to our own people.”

How many of her people would die in the process?

Would her mother be among that number?

Would she?

It didn’t matter.

The fae born daughter would be kept safe

Friday, February 3, 2017


Kaleb is an Erien Tale story by Terri Pray, set before The Dragon Prince - which will be re-released this month. 

Artwork by Samuel Pray, created using Daz3D, Photoshop and Filter Forge.

“Rune magic,” he growled, his gaze narrowing before he turned and stalked away to the other side of the large chamber. It always came back to the forbidden rune magic, a hint here, a clue there, yet try as he might he could never find more than a few crumbs of information.

“My Lord?” A soft voice, female, tempting and so very familiar, drifted in from the doorway. “Is there something I can do to help you, sire?”

Kaleb tensed, pausing in his pacing to turn and look at the woman. “No, begone woman. I have no need for you here.”

With anyone else it would have sent them scurrying away to seek a moment of safety from his wrath but not this one. No, this female had been with him far too long. Not human, not fae, but something else, something older and yet she had never revealed those secrets to him. Was that the only reason he hadn’t rid himself of her? That she still held onto something he found of interest?

How long had she been in his service?

Fifty years? Sixty?

Mortals and their time keeping, a foolish thing and yet it had somehow wormed its way into his life.

“You spoke of rune magic, my lord.”

“I told you to leave.” He snarled and turned his back on her. Why did she stay? She had to know he would become angry or frustrated and then she would become a target for his wrath.


When had he last done that? Last enjoyed the sound of her tears, her pleading or

Damn the woman, did she have some unholy hold over him?

What else could it be when he had failed to break her or dispose of her after so many years?

“I know of rune magic, sire. Many of my people did, at least they did when I lived among them.” Her soft voice pushed at him, urging him to turn toward her. “It’s one of the reasons you killed most of them.” She took a step into the room, the long whisper soft lengths of her garb fluttered around her legs with the movement. “It’s why you took me for your own.”

It had been one of the reasons. Her natural magic and interest in the darkness had been others and then there was her spirit. Oh, how it had called to him when he had first laid eyes upon her nearly naked form as she’d danced along the cliff face, her bare feet finding a safe step with each twist of hip or energetic leap. How long had he watched her before he had wiped out the rest of her people and dragged her back to his home?

Not that it mattered.

“Yet you kept that information from me.”

One delicate shoulder lifted in a shrug. “You offered me nothing but pain or death in return for that information, my lord.”

“What makes you think that I will give you anything else now?” He growled and took a step toward her. “Perhaps that is why you speak of it now. Have you grown weary of life, of your time with me and now seek the oblivion of death as a means of escaping me?”

She laughed, the sound rich and mocking. “Oh, my lord. You know you won’t kill me. No, if that had been your plan I would have been dead years ago. No, you want something else from me, more than the knowledge of that magic.”

Did he? Was there something else she could offer him or was this yet another one of her games? Ah, her games, the small tricks and manipulations she delighted in. Had she been of fae blood he might have been able to offer her something more than her life in the darkness. Yet she was something else, an older race that few knew anything about, even among his kind. No, that wasn’t entirely true. They knew, but they forgot, the information was hidden in shadows, fog, darkness, things that…

The rune magic.

“Your people…”

“What about them?” She rested one hand on her hip, cocking it out just enough to draw attention to the lines of her body, the soft curves and swells that would draw the attention of a mortal man, and perhaps many a mortal woman as well.

“What are they?”

“What were they, you mean.” She smiled and ran the tip of her tongue over her full bottom lip.

Was she the last of her kind? He frowned, reaching back through his thoughts, through the knowledge that was a part of him and found… nothing.

“What have you done to me, woman?”

“Me, done to you?” Fire flashed in her eyes. Not the emotion that could portray such things, but true fire. “You took me from my people, Kaleb. Destroyed my home, my family and now you want me to offer up information to you?”

Fire. How was that possible. This was his home. She shouldn’t be able to draw on magic here, not unless he willed it and yet there it was. Small flames, real flames, danced where her eyes should be. Power rippled across her skin, sparking from the tips of her fingers before she laughed and shook her head, moving through the room toward him and then away to the far side of the room.

This was why he hadn’t killed her. She hadn’t permitted it. She wasn’t human, wasn’t fae, wasn’t any race he knew or understood.

“Old one. By all that’s… you’re an old one.”

She smiled, flashing teeth that showed more than a hint of points. “Am I, my lord?”

How else could she have survived her time with him? Yet that didn’t explain how it had been so easy to destroy the rest of her people. The old ones, a race that had claimed Erien as their home long before the birth of the first dwarves or elves, had died out generations ago. Only the dragons had been around long enough to remember the old ones in depth yet it didn’t add up.


“They aren’t dead. Your family I mean.”

“Of course they are. You killed them. Every single one of them. Walked through the dead and laughed about it.”

Rune magic. They had used rune magic in order to portray their deaths and hide themselves from his presence. No, not just from his but the rest of his kind. How was that possible? He was a god. His family were gods. Their powers were stronger than anything else on the face of Erien, yet there she stood, fire and power rippling through her body, her very being.

“What is my name, my lord?” She took a step toward him, then spun on the tips of her toes, the gossamer of her skirt lifting with the movement. Lithe, strong legs bared in that moment, hips rolling as she danced. The same dance she had performed along the cliffs before he had claimed her.

His body responded, hunger and need roaring into life. His hands clenched. Oh, it would be easy to take her, to press her to the floor and part her thighs as he had done so many times before, yet that was what she wanted. What she craved but why.

“My name, my lord, do you even remember it?”

“Of course I remember it.” Gamia. Was that it? Yes, that was the name she had used. “Sweet, tempting Gamia.”

She tipped back her head, a merry stream of laughter spilling from her ruby lips. “That’s one of the names I am known by but it’s not the name I was given by my family.”

Had she kept even that from him? “What is it then?”

“Oh no, my lord. That’s something I will never share with you. No matter how loud you scream.”

He reached out for her, seeking to tangle his fingers in her hair or dress, yet she darted away, laughing once more. A merry sound that struck deep, biting into his flesh and soul alike. “It will be you who will scream, pet.”

“Will I?” She tipped her head and continued to keep out of his reach as she danced around the chamber.

How many times had she played this game with him? He shook his head, trying to reach past the fog that he now knew was there within his mind. She had done this to him. Built a wall between himself and his memories, his power. Had she fed from him? Taken strength and energy from him? He scowled. Had she used him? “Where are they, the others of your kind?”

“Where you will never find them unless they wish to be found. Just as I wished to be found by you that day on the cliffs.”

Why? It made no sense. He had been searching for something, following a trail that had led to the village. A small place, perhaps fifty people in total yet there had been no children. Odd, why hadn’t he thought about that before. All the bodies had been adult men and women, older than his pet and…


“You begin to see it, don’t you, which means my time here with you is drawing to an close.” She paused, touching a small pendant she wore about her throat. Silver and gold, hanging from a slender silver chain.

When had he given her that?

“You will not leave unless I choose it.”

Her image flickered, vanishing from her sight only to reappear in the doorway. “I come and go as I please, my lord, as I always have.”

No, that wasn’t possible. His magic, his power, he was one of the gods themselves. So he had buried himself here, in his home, his dimension since… since he had taken Gamia as his new toy.

“What have you done to me?” He snarled and prowled his way toward her. “How is this possible.”

“Oh, you know the answer, my lord. You’ve always known, you just didn’t want to admit it.” Gamia or whatever her real name was, vanished again only to reappear behind him as he turned toward the soft sound. “You’re afraid of the answer, dark one but then again you never did like to admit when you have made a mistake. Strange that such an intelligent being can act in so foolish a manner.”

She was provoking him, that much was obvious, but the why remained hidden.

“Come here.” He gestured to a spot at his feet. “Now.”

“Oh, I don’t think so. I believe the time and place for that little arrangement has long since passed us by. Don’t you?”

Bravery or stupidity? It didn’t matter. He was Kaleb, Lord of Vengeance. No mere mortal could be allowed to defy him and live.

Power surged through his body as he moved, his magic, energy, whatever another might call it, answered his summons as he launched himself at the woman.

She flickered and vanished out of sight even as he struck where she had been but a heartbeat before. Kaleb struck the floor, the breath knocked from his body in that moment before he rolled back up to his feet and turned. Gamia. Where was she?

Shadows flickered across the floor, up the walls and toward the only door in or out of the room, yet the woman was no where to be seen.

“Goodbye, sire.” Her voice drifted across the room from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. “I will not try to persuade you not to hunt for me, as you will continue to do so until something else distracts you, but it won’t matter. You will not be able to find me.”

“Gamia!” He howled.

Silence was the only response.

Kaleb’s hands clenched into fists as he walked toward the door.

She was gone, his pet, his prize, she’d walked out - no, she had vanished without his permission. Something that shouldn’t have been possible yet it had happened in front of him leaving nothing behind but…

His eyes narrowed on something on the floor. A small, glittering thing that beckoned his attention. He frowned and walked across the room to the open doorway to scoop it up.

Her pendant.

It dangled on a silver chain now tangled around his fingers and for the first time he felt it, something she had hidden from him during her years in his home.