Son of Blood and Bone Ch. 02byfreedomofnoise©
So sorry for the long absurd wait!
Huge thanks to Khasy for editing this for me!
I'd like to mention that this story is a work of fiction and any similarity between the characters and any live person is coincidental. If it is illegal in your jurisdiction to read material containing m/m romance between consenting adults then LEAVE NOW AND NEVA' COME BACK.
Copyright Disclaimer- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized use of this material is prohibited. No part of this story may be reproduced without express written permission from the author.
I was alone for all of five minutes before my office door exploded open and bashed against the wall to reveal the Magician. I sat forward in my chair and my eyesight shifted instinctively as my runes chilled and came to life across my skin.
I prepared for a fight.
Even as he stood there, straight and cold, he was still monstrously beautiful in all his malicious splendor. The aura of his life force flared brilliantly inside him, around him. Had I the time to study it, I would have been fascinated by its' white-bright purity with ends tinged in dark red rage. Tendrils of his aura reached out and brushed against the walls and floors, slithered over my desk and writhed around my feet.
I tensed as he moved slightly, ready to destroy this beautiful creature if need be, and allowed for Captain Dempsey to entire my office. He glanced between us before heaving an exasperated sigh and turning to glare at me. I kept my gaze focused solely on the Magician's glittering eyes.
"When you're done staring, Mars, let me know. And if you would be so kind as to reign yourself in so we can get on with business, that would be fantastic," Dempsey barked irritably.
I shot the Magician one last challenging glance before stilling my slithering runes and focusing on my boss. Immediately my eyes slid down to his feet. "Is there something you needed, Captain? The Rael case was the only on my desk for the day and I was just getting ready to leave," I said as calmly as I could manage.
"Tough shit. I'd like you to meet yours and Cassiel's new partner for the Bone Eater case, Max. Max, this is our friendly neighborhood monster, Mars Ellian. You two will be working together until you find the abhorred that killed the fairy girl, or until Mars dies. Whichever comes first. Get acquainted."
Dempsey turned sharply on his heel and strutted from my office, slamming the door behind him, leaving me closed in a room with the very powerful, very volatile, presence of Max. He arched a dark eyebrow and regarded me coolly before parting his lips and speaking in a voice as intoxicating and befuddling as liquor," What the fuck kind of stupid name is 'Mars'?"
Nearly melting in my chair, I managed to stutter out a reply.
"It's...it's my name?"
"Are you asking me?"
"Whatever. Listen, Mars," he spat snidely with a roll of his eyes, "I'm no more eager to work with you than you are to work with me. If it weren't for your particular talents, I would've wrecked your evil ass by now. Problem is, even Dempsey says you're the best when it comes to finding bodies in this world and spirits in that other. So this is how it'll work: you sniff out the dead and I handle the rest. Got it?"
I sat with my mouth gaping open incredibly confused and inappropriately aroused by Max's tirade. Yes, his voice had my cock hardening in my jeans but he was less than eloquent when it came to words. I let his monologue sink in for a split second before I launched myself out of my chair.
"I'm not evil," I said as I began shoving papers into my bag trying not to look at him, the object of both my desire and consternation. "And I'm not only good for finding bodies. I can talk to them, too. Learn from them."
I yanked the bag up and marched angrily around my desk, desperately holding back tears, to stand directly in front of him. Briefly, I marveled to find that we were almost the same height; my fascination with him had made him seem taller. Even through my tears I was captivated by the intensity of his eyes and I lost a little of my steam. "I'm...I'm useful," I finished weakly.
Max kept his eyes locked on mine until the last of my new found courage abandoned me and I ducked my head. Clearing my throat, I scurried around him and opened the door.
"Abhorred," Max called sweetly and I froze, "You aren't forgetting anything, are you?"
I turned and saw him twirling Laeyah's knuckle bone between his fingers. I wanted to scream that he should dare touch her, one who so rightfully belonged to me in this state.
I swallowed the lump of apprehension that had risen in my throat.
"Give that back."
He grinned and stopped twirling the bone and held it out to me. "What? This? Here, take it. Go on."
I reached out and felt the very tip of my fingers brushed his skin before I snatched the knuckle and briskly walked away. I looked back once to see his grin had disappeared and his eyes piercing through me. I shivered and sped up, knowing, without a doubt, that for the briefest moment he had looked into my very soul and uncovered all of my secrets.
My nerves had calmed by the time I reached my home in Ville Aeren. It was a small community seated between the sparsely populated Swamp Lands and the ritzy Zenith Parish district. It functioned as a living and playing ground for both humans and supernatural alike. Though populated with less than friendly people, I loved the renovated condos and cozy cafes that lined the streets. I'd never known a place so quaint.
"Valdburg, I'm home," I called into my quiet house as I stepped through the door. I waited a beat before I heard the near silent clicking of nails scurrying against the wooden floors. Valdburg appeared at my feet, leaning up against my legs as I bent down to pat his mummified head. The small Fennec Fox had been dead longer than anyone knew. I did not know who'd brought him back, why he was brought back or how he came to New Parais but he'd been my constant companion for many years.
"Valdburg I hope you've been a good boy. There's a new police in town," I said as he trotted pass me and I followed him into my study. The large oaken desk sat at the center of the room framed from the back by a large bay window that looked out on the swamps. Wall to ceiling book shelves of deep mahogany lined the entire face of the left wall while pencil drawings and knickknacks covered the far right.
Valburg seated himself on the thick rug in front of the desk as I took several steps into the room before stomping down. A satisfying click greeted my efforts and a panel of the wooden floor about two meters long rose slightly. Bending down I removed the covering to reveal one of my deeper secrets: a long box colored a dark red. I opened the box and let my eyes slowly wander the contents reverently.
A slim ulna and radius of a young wood nymph, gone too soon before his turn; a hollow humerus of a puck, hated by all but missed dearly by time; the heavy, solid femur of a water giant, beautiful, strong and forgotten by those who walked the lands. A pelvis, a fibula and tibia, carpals and a sacrum...so many lovely bones from creatures both wonderful and grotesque.
I was a son of bone, born from their crumbling, powdery remains, and they would forever call to me with their simplistic beauty. I took out Laeyah's knuckle, slender and feminine, and placed it in the box with my most prized possessions, replacing the lid and carefully lowering it back into its' hiding space before moving the panel back in place. It settled with a sinister snap, embracing my secrets with no shame as securely as a mother would her child.
I was incredibly tired but I would put off sleep for as long as I could. The dream world was not as kind to me as Wait; there were those there who would not let me pass so freely in their world. I took a deep breath and stretched, noting dimly that Valburg had moved to perch silently on a book shelf. As I turned to leave the room I felt his inky black eyes, starlit with time measured in eons, settle on me mysteriously. I squared my shoulders and continued on towards the bathroom, unbothered by his knowing gaze. In all his years, I am sure he'd seen worse.
Hell was dark when I'd returned to it, black, ominous clouds churned slowly, obscuring a purple sky. The coal-black ground puffed underneath my steps, glittering with jagged metal bits in some places and slick with blood in others. The air was thick with the screams and suffering of the damned and the laughter of monsters. They pranced on top of them, those unfortunate ones, grinning and screeching in pleasure.
Everywhere I turned the horrors of hell danced around me.
My steps faltered at the base of a wide, obsidian stairway littered with the bodies of those once pure. At the top of the staircase was a giant throne made of black-marble and decorated with the grimly smiling skulls of kings, emperors, and gods. I sat upon that throne, straight as a knife's blade, with all the glory of my true nature unveiled. A shock of dark red runes snaked across skin made all the more pale by the rich color and white hair curled around my ears and neck. My mouth was twisted into a snarl that lifted one corner slightly to reveal a pointed tooth as sharp as the black fingernails I impatiently tapped against the throne's arm. My eyes, as black as the demons' and vultures' that swooped low above me, seemingly stared at nothing and everything.
And there, with the weeping of tortured souls filling the air, manic cackling of demons, and broken, faithless forms of fallen angels lying at my feet, I smiled.
I gasped and slumped to the ground as terror and sadness threaded a string made of self-loathing into my being. There, upon that throne, I was a monster. I was a godless monster, notwithstanding that ill, picturesque scene of purity having its' feathers plucked from its' wings in front of me. My ruins itched and strained underneath my clothing, strained towards the monster atop the stairs.
Suddenly a hand as hot as fire from heaven itself came to rest on my shoulder and squeeze reassuringly. I looked up to a figure shrouded in blinding, white light and into a pair of bright green eyes. Heat from the being wrapped around my arm in a strong grip and pulled me to my feet.
"Come from this place now, Mars. It is not your time yet," a voice both powerful and soothing whispered through my head. White wings as dazzling as the light the being was covered in and spotted with flecks of brown and gold unfolded from its' back and wrapped around us, brushing against my face softly. I caught one last fleeting glimpse of myself smirking on the throne.
"It's time to leave this place, now. The world needs you," it said and so we returned to it.
Several weeks later
I dreaded returning to work. It had been three, tireless weeks of conducting useless interviews and wandering through Wait to find more of Xesil's victims. The Bone Eater was incredibly elusive and we were no nearer to catching him than we'd been when we first discovered Laeyeh's beautiful, rotting corpse. Every dead-end shortened the fuse on my partners' tempers and in the last few days we'd been at each other's throats constantly.
Though I'd spent most of my existence quietly taking the blows dealt to me by others, I'd found a strange courage since my nightmare. The memory of the shrouded being emboldened me, and I'd done less biting my tongue in the face of Max's abuse and Cassiel's aloofness. The Magician gradually, and grudgingly, began to treat me with more respect once he saw that I was a valuable and contributing member of our team. His change towards me made dangerous fantasies of love and life dance in my head until I had to remind myself that I was kin to the one that had killed his mentor. He would never return my affections.
The sun hung low in the morning sky but already the temperature was on the rise as I made my way to work. It was going to be a grueling day and it was made all more apparent when I was immediately turned around and marched out of the police station by Cassiel.
"There's been another murder," he stated gruffly as we walked towards a gleaming silver sports car, "You look like hell." I ignored him and instead I stared at the car, confused, until the driver's side window rolled down and Max's wavy chestnut head popped out.
"We don't have all day, Ellian. Get in the damned car," he called out impatiently, his irritated green gaze obscured by dark sunglasses. Though I wasn't very large, I grimaced as I folded myself into the small backseat. Cassiel climbed in front of me and gave an annoyed huff as he tried to fit his long legs inside.
"Is this vehicle necessary," he asked Max, aggravation clear in his tone, "standard detective vehicles-"
"This is a standard detective vehicle. They gave me it to me in Bertram Valley. Besides we could hardly roll into Wenton's territory looking like cops. We'd be shut down before the doors unlocked," Max explained patiently as he pulled the car out of the lot and sped down the road. Cassiel snorted and turned to look out the window.
My ears perked up. "Wenton? We're going to Zenith Parish?" I'd never been to the swanky, upper-class area of New Parais. Its' sprawling estates were inhabited by the richest and most powerful beings in the city. Few supernaturals lived there, but the ones that did played large roles in the politics between us and humans.
Max glanced at me over the top of his sunglasses in the rear view mirror. Eyes eerily similar to those of my nightmare savior peered back at me; I'd never made the connection between it and Max before and I refused to now. I dared not get my hopes up.
"The werewolf alpha's daughter was killed sometime last night. Drained of blood and dumped in a dry canal in Summit Parish. Wenton is furious. He's ready to burn every abhorredson in the city, registered or not."
I blinked. That I loved death, I did not love dying or mourning. Pale, drawn faces and dark figures standing over a vulgar, gaping wound in the earth, a tomb filled with the remnants of things like me and the sound of weeping and rain mixing with the falling of dirt onto a casket. No, I had no love for that. I did not understand the alpha's strong feelings for his child; I felt no such thing for my own father. But Wenton was the strongest alpha in the region and he had a particular talent of speaking things into existence.
If he wanted me to burn, I would.
Max must have sensed my apprehension because he added shortly after, "Don't worry; I won't let him harm you. Not yet, anyway." It was the kindest his voice had been to me since our meeting and it made my stomach flutter.
We arrived at the large mansion of the alpha faster than what the legal speed limited should have allowed. We walked to the door, the Magician leading the way, which swung open immediately. The wolf gave Max and Cassiel a once over before its' eyes landed on me and it growled and took a menacing step forward.
"You," she snarled, her face halfway transforming into her wolf form. Cassiel's wings burst forward and spread wide, shielding me unconsciously, while Max stood casually leaning against the door jamb, seemingly bored. I felt my heart speed up and my palms start sweating. The runes on my faces began to chill and my eyes shifted and I got a glimpse of her intense orange aura that pulsed with a growing rage. One touch and I would have her sent from this world forever but if she transformed I would have a harder time getting my hands on her.
Suddenly a large, brown skinned male appeared. He assessed the situation quickly with calm, almost bored, eyes the color of coffee. "Stand down, Tamar." Immediately the female settled, her partially transformed face returning to human form while Cassiel's wings disappeared from view. She continued to eye me distrustfully as the alpha led us through his house and into a sitting room.
He was an imposing male, heavily muscled and tall. His closely cropped hair had traces of silver in it and his hard, cruel mouth was turned down. Wenton Agwang was profoundly handsome...and sad. He sighed as he stood before us carefully looking us each in our eyes, even Max, who'd removed his glasses, until he was satisfied that we understood our places. This was his home, his domain.
"She has dead smell, necromancer smell, all over her," he said, jumping right in, with a deep voice that reverberated through the large sitting room, "I can barely smell her, my girl, my Tina, anymore." He turned and his fixed his intense eyes on me. "She smells like you, but different. Darker. Longer dead. Old and wrong."
"Alpha Agwang," Max started, "We're sorry for your loss. Would you mind if we saw her body? We'd like to collect whatever evidence we can so we can find your daughter's killer."
The alpha nodded curtly and led us down a hallway and up a massive winding staircase into the child's room. It was painted pink and a soft nightlight glowed softly on a low nightstand near the bed. A small, canine tooth sat next to the light and Wenton looked at it and sighed tiredly. She lay there, peaceful and still. Like Laeyah, her remains were dry and frail, a husk of her former self. It made my stomach heavy to think that one so young would be wondering the Wait, alone and afraid. I'd encountered children before, all of which had been met with violent and terrible ends. They'd always made me uncomfortable.
I swallowed roughly. I would not enjoy this.
"She was left in the canals in Summit Parish. My mate had followed her scent but just barely," Wenton spoke quietly, a slight rasp of grief in his voice. Cassiel responded with a hushed, "Saint Nathanael keep her," and Max nodded his head at me. I moved to sit near her on the bed hesitating before grabbing her small, dry hand. I closed my eyes and breathed, calling her name in the void between the world of the living and the dead. I vaguely registered Cassiel and Wenton leaving the room, the former asking questions about more missing pack members.
I focused back on the girl as I felt her reach back for me.
She appeared sitting on a small rock watching me curiously as I approached her through the mist. I knelt in the ash gray grass at her feet and smiled at her encouragingly. She had the same dark skin and intelligent brown eyes as her father.
"They will be coming to meet me here, but never you," she asked in an innocent voice.
"I want to know who hurt you, where they took you."
"You know," she answered simply.
"You know," she said again cutting me off. Her eyes searched my face and she nodded slightly when she'd found whatever she'd be looking for. She reached down and to pick up a bright red jumping bug. I shivered in unease and discomfort as the mist began to frost against my skin. She laid the bug against the dark blue of a slowly churning rune on my forearm and smiled.
"These followed me here. I like them. They're pretty. What are you?"
" My name is Mars and I'm a necromancer. I came to find you because your father misses you very much. Tina, we need to know-"
"Mars," she tested my name and wrinkled her nose. "You're a necromancer? No, you're not. You're alive. You're different from...him."
"Xesil," I said quietly, "He bled you, Tina. He drained your blood so that he could bring ones like those here, like you now, back as slaves and make them do very bad things. You have to tell me where he is so he can't hurt your friends and family," I urged gently. She was a quiet for a long time, staring down at her feet before responding.
"It hurt so bad. I was so cold." She gulped and gazed into the misty distance, her eyes going flat as she recalled the horror of her final moments. The barrage of final memories assaulted the souls here every so often, though in total reassurance I alone could convey their meaning; these people were dead.