Rising Tide: CATU Book 3 Ch. 12byJoeBarnosky©
On Route to Mauritius
We'll land in Port Louis shortly," Major Graves announces as he enters the cargo area.
Sam and Spencer sit alone away from the three soldiers that accompanied Major Graves earlier that morning. The other three are breaking down their weapons and cleaning them.
"I think you owe us an explanation," Spencer says changing the subject.
"You're right," Graves says with a sigh. He takes a seat across from the two agents and begins his explanation. "I am part of a secret special force group called DEP Six. Through a joint venture between the Navy and Army, it was created. You've met three of the members; the fourth is on another mission. They all have Second Sight and they are the top of their SEAL class."
"Surprisingly that's not too surprising," Spencer remarks.
"Our history of how we got started is another story. Right now, however, we have other tasks to complete. War has erupted between America and China."
"We know the source," Sam begins. "If we cut off the head, we can stop the war and everything else."
"That is why we have gotten involved. More because of Roger than anything."
"Speaking of Roger, we need to report in," Spencer says dropping a hint of demand to his voice.
Graves looks apologetic a moment later. "I'm sorry to have to tell you at a time like this, but Roger was murdered."
"When?" Spencer spits out before Sam.
"Yesterday. Doug Wiltkins is currently in a coma, but expected to pull through."
Sam tries to hold back her tears unsuccessfully. Spencer pulls her in close and holds her. Graves remains silent allowing her to mourn for her former boss and mentor while the three SEALs focus on their weapons cleaning and staying out of the conversation. It isn't their business and they want to keep it that way. Graves gives Sam some time before interrupting her mourning to move on.
"Roger left a video message designated for you two. I don't know what is on it, but I'm sure it will open up to some sort of explanation," Graves says producing a small remote. He presses a button that allows a video monitor to reveal itself behind the bulkhead. When the screen is fully revealed, he presses the play button.
Roger appears at his desk, but in a location neither Sam nor Spencer recognize. His demeanor is serene mixed with a serious tone.
If you two are watching this, I'm sorry I couldn't reveal this in person. The recent events have been a combination of the unforeseen and orchestrated.
First my final order for you is to take the aid of Major Graves and DEP Six. I'm sure he'll fill you in with the details you need to know. I have a long history with the organization and I want you to trust him as I have in the past. I'm glad to know you are safe Spencer. I trust you to protect Sam in my absence. Because of your Second Sight and skill, I paired you with her. And yes I know of your abilities. And of your lineage Sam. I worked with the Black List in the past and periodically since.
I have kept many secrets which have allowed me to acquire assets for CATU and to keep America safe. Safer than would be possible without. It has always been my goal to make CATU a separate entity and that time has finally come. But without a hand tipping the scales to do so. The attacks made by Senator Rustlin were not by his doing alone. I sent him in that direction with a simple email. He took the bait and the result is as it is. CATU has become its own entity and a secret one at that.
Because of the public scrutiny, we had to become a secret if we are to maintain our protection of the people. Unfortunately once the senator was set onto his path, he was like a boulder that as he gained momentum it would turn to be a downfall for all. Thus, he had to be eliminated. It was not my choice to do so. I only played a role in setting him on track. Colonel Pierson, the head of DEP Six, deemed his execution necessary.
In my absence, Mike Grines will take my place and like you, I have sent a recording to him. All my resources are at his disposal now. He is an adept agent and leader. I leave this world in your hands and set you on the path to keep the innocent protected from the terrors of this world.
Good luck and God bless.
The screen goes blank leaving only silence and the hum of the plane's engines. It is Sam that breaks the silence. "So, what's the mission?"
Maltaus sits on his knees chanting, waiting in anticipation for the release of the Demon Lord Avyanna. It won't be long before the arrival of Winter followed by Avyanna's. It will be a moment long awaited for.
The chamber is dark except for the faint lighting of ceremonial candles scattered throughout. Everything is as planned. The war has begun, the world is riddled with chaos and soon the arrival of one of the most feared Demon Lords will take place.
Talilith slowly enters the chamber carrying an athame. Other then the release of Avyanna, there is no need for a ceremonial dagger. But the Demon Lord's release isn't what Talilith means to treat as a ceremony. She will take pleasure in the death of an old nemesis, Maltaus.
Maltaus senses the Djinn as she makes her presence known and he ends his chanting. Talilith, I expected you'd be the first to arrive before any of the other council members.
Talilith remains silent as she approaches Maltaus. His back remains to her, showing no sign of him sensing her intentions. Promptness has always been priority for me, as you well know Maltaus. She slides the athame out slowly from her sleeve.
Yes, I know. He says knowingly.
Talilith strikes out at Maltaus' back. He spins around, grabbing hold of her hand. The tip of the athame barely pierces his chest, drawing a small bead of blood. You dare try this attack at a time like this? He said hastily. The council will show you no leniency for this attack. Be lucky I don't kill you myself.
Talilith grits her teeth fighting Maltaus' strength for strength. He is more powerful in both strength and ability, but Djinn and Succubi have abilities that no other male demon has. It is what gives them the upper hand to be elevated as a near equal.
Energy begins to surge through the chamber before gathering into a single focal point. The focal point forms into a mass of energy that begins to swirl. A flash erupts, brightening the chamber briefly before disappearing. All that remains of the swirling energy is a mass of blackness in the shape of a circle.
Maltaus realizes what it is, a summoning gate. The gate leads to Hades and allows fiends of the summoner's choice through. He releases his grip on Talilith as a howl travels through the gate preceding the Hell Hound that follows after.
The fiend lunges for Maltaus' throat, but he is able to maneuver out of the way in time. Instead, the Hell Hound catches his shoulder. Biting hard enough, black blood spurts out forcing Maltaus to yell out from the pain. He grabs the back of the fiend's neck and pulls. Its teeth are locked in good with Maltaus' shoulder and it tears flesh and muscle as it is forcibly pulled away and thrown.
The fiend lands on all fours and skids to a stop. Digging its claws into the ground, it lunges once again at its target. Maltaus is better prepared this time. He catches the fiend with both hands around its throat. The Hell Hound furiously snaps at Maltaus' face while struggling to free itself from his grip.
Is this all you got for me Talilith!?! He yells over the snarls from the beast.
Fear lights up in his eyes as the athame comes up into his back, through his black heart and out his chest. Without another word, the Hell Hound dematerializes and Maltaus falls to his knees. He sits for a few seconds before the light in his eyes disappears and he falls forward onto the ground.
She barely matches the voice to Typheryian as hands grab her arms on both sides. She is about to object when a voice rings out from atop the dais. What is the meaning of this?
My Lord, Avyanna. Talilith says upon seeing the Demon Lord.
Typheryian bows, followed by the other Winter council members. Talilith has gone against our rules and sought revenge against another demon. Not only that but a member of this very council that has overseen and prepared for your release. Clearly she seeks to conspire against you.
Shock overcomes Talilith. Yes, it is true she sought revenge, but to conspire against a Demon Lord? She finds it hard to find her voice or the words needed to defend herself. It is a conspiracy against her, the outcast of the council, the one who never agreed on their foolish tactics against mankind. Now, here she is one against six others and at a loss for words. What comes next out of the Demon Lord's mouth shocks her.
Death should come to one that plans conspiracy against me, but death is also too easy a way out. Instead you will feel what it is like to suffer. No less than five thousand years shall you be free. You shall be banished to the very depths that I was imprisoned in. You will hope in that time I have forgotten your acts against me.
With a violent pull, Talilith is ripped down and cast into the abyss that served as Avyanna's imprisonment. Avyanna turns to regard the small group. These foolish humans have held this world for long enough. It's time we take control of it once and for all.