The Order Ch. 04bypurefire©
It was amazing the amount of work it was possible to complete when avoiding someone. Nadia sat at her table on the top floor of the library and shook her head slowly. This was Andrae's fault; had he not kissed her, she would have no reason to avoid him. Her attraction to him was strong and addicting, something that scared the breath from her. He was able to make her hot with one simple look, something no other man had ever been able to do. It was dangerous, her attraction to him, the very reason she had to stay away.
Moving to the top floor of the library seemed safe enough; there were people present and because she knew he would never think to look for her there, she didn't have to worry about being found. She'd worked for hours, learning a great deal. Interestingly enough, nothing she read had anything to do with The Order. At least not yet. Nadia's mission was to learn of The Hunter, one of the rouge demons that sometimes worked for The Order. She thought that finding information on him would better help her find other members of The Order. What she found, however, was a very complicated history.
It was said that there were five beings who called themselves the High Council. There were all gods, none like any other god on record. Where they originated from, no one knew, as they were said to be older than earth itself. They inhabited a very exclusive plane called Netiri and lived simple lives.
After man was created, one of The High Council, Roycelyn, developed an insatiable thirst for women. Human, demon, angel, or god; as long as it was female and beautiful, she was pursued. He was eventually given the name "Royce the Rake", a name that he was proud to have. Soon, the name was not enough.
With the rise of the demon clans, Royce became hungry for power. He wanted his position in the High Council uncompromised and thus devised a plan to create a supreme army, lead by ten very powerful and trustworthy commanders. Because there was no other being he found trustworthy enough to command his army, he set out to create his own commanders. He thought it best to create the men himself, with the aid of human females as creating half human commanders ensured his superior power.
Royce traveled to Earth, found the ten most beautiful women, and impregnated them. Nine of them gave birth to strong boys while one gave him twins, increasing the number of sons to eleven. Royce did not mind; more sons meant more commanders for his army.
Due to the insatiable need for women, Royce mated with more than the mothers of his sons. Interestingly enough, he had the power to prevent human women from becoming impregnated, a satisfactory ability considering his rakish ways. It was the very reason he chose Earth. However, everything would change with Cassandra.
Cassandra was a young, innocent princess Royce could not resist. Her beauty caused wars and her sweet nature ended them. The instant he saw her, Royce knew that he had to have her. And he did. Many times. He stayed with her for days, longer than he'd spent with any other woman, drinking his fill of her. When he'd been sated, he disappeared.
Royce waited until his sons were of age before he returned to Earth to train them. They were all strong, natural born leaders, exactly what he needed for his army. His plan was near completion.
It was when Royce was prepared to take his sons to Netiri that Cassandra found him. He wasn't surprised to see her.
He was surprised to see her son.
Cassandra did not know that Royce was of the High Council. Royce did not know that Cassandra was half demon, part of the clan Belial. Known for their ferocity, her breed was the most hated of all demons. It was against High Council law for any member to cavort with any demon. Not only had Royce broken the rule, but he'd created an abomination.
The abomination had no clan to call his own; the Belial knew that he was half High Council, their mortal enemy. Royce knew that the High Council would have him, as well as all of his children executed if they learned of his plan and of his abomination. He cast the half breed off, never to return to any clan.
Royce did not know that the High Council knew of his plans. Soon after the half breed was cast off, Royce was set to stand trial. The Council did him a favor by keeping his sons alive but refused to allow The Abomination to live. Royce knew a valuable asset when he saw one and volunteered himself to exile for the sake of his son's life. The Council agreed, under the conditions that The Abomination live amongst the demons, and that the other sons unite to form a new clan, The Brethren. Together, they would hunt and kill any demon that threatened the balance of good and evil. Forced to agree, the men set out to do as commanded.
It was after The Abomination learned to hone his skills years later, to separate demon from High Council, that he became a hired assassin. His services went to the highest bidder, and his services did not come cheap. He was ruthless, cunning, and efficient, exactly what paying clients needed. He became known as The Hunter, feared by all but the eleven men who shared his blood. Not completely part of The Brethren, he continued to kill for pay, occasionally working with his brothers to keep overzealous demons in line. The active members of The High Council did not retaliate when he surfaced on Earth, something The Brethren knew would be rectified with time.
"You've been avoiding me."
Nadia looked up from her reading and sighed in defeat. She knew that voice from anywhere. Slowly, she turned in her seat and looked up at Andrae's expectant and unwavering stare. "How did you find me?"
He did not move as he said, "I could smell you." It was always easy to find her. Her scent was distinct, and though sometimes faint, it was unmistakable.
Nadia frowned in confusion. "Do I smell?" She lifted her arm as she moved her head down to sniff her armpit. The weather was on the warmer side which caused a little perspiration, but she did not think that her smell offended anyone. She stood, ready to pack her things of his answer was yes.
Andraemalek moved closer as he watched her gather her books. He smelled her worry; it was a sour scent that clung to the back of his throat. He realized he phrased his statement incorrectly, something he had not intended to do. "No." He sensed her relief but at the same time, her nervousness grew. Only wanting to ease the emotion, he took a step forward and frowned when she stepped behind the table. Did she not want him near her?
"What are you doing upstairs?" Nadia fought to keep her control at the sight of him. Her heart beat furiously in her chest, forcing her to fight for breath. Why did he have to look at her so intimately? They'd only kissed, but Andraemalek had acted as if they were more. She hoped not; he was too hypnotizing a man for her to lose her head over.
"I was looking for you."
Somehow, Nadia knew that was the answer she would be given. It still didn't stop the butterflies in her stomach. "Why?"
"I don't know." Andraemalek stood in silence as he watched the emotions play over Nadia's face. She was pleased to know that he searched for her but at the same time, she was scared. He wasn't sure if she was afraid of him or not. He hoped he didn't scare her; he wanted her feeling something other than fear. "Why are you avoiding me?"
"Because you confuse me." Nadia took a breath to calm her racing heart. No one had ever had her shaken up the way he did. "You make me tingle."
"You make me hurt."
"Whenever I think of you there is this weird feeling in my stomach." The look of shock on Nadia's faced prompted Andraemalek to walk around the table. He approached slowly so that she would not back away from him. She did back away however but stopped when she became pinned by a wall. She was trapped. He stood dangerously close to her, enveloping himself in her scent. Her nerves were on high alert, producing a scent that exhilarated him. It was strong and vibrant, sending bolts of desire through his body. He moved closer to her, making it impossible for anything to break them apart. "When I'm near you..."
Nadia gulped as she looked away. Andrae's gaze was hot and penetrating, heating her body dangerously. "It goes away?"
Andraemalek shook his head slowly as he said, "It gets worse." The scent of her desire intoxicated him. His senses went into overdrive, screaming at him to fulfill the dire needs of his body. The demon within him burned, desperate to claim her. He leaned down and pressed his lips against her pounding pulse. She smelled so warm, so sweet, so utterly delectable. "But I like it." He licked her neck slowly and closed his eyes in surrender when she whimpered.
Nadia's head was swimming. She couldn't move, couldn't think. His lips roamed over her neck while his hands slowly moved up her hips to lift the hem of her shirt. "Library..." She meant to tell him that they were in a public place, that anyone would see them if they happened to walk by but stopped when his fingers caressed the skin hidden beneath the material of her shirt. "What?"
"I dream about doing things to you that should be against the law." Andraemalek groaned low in his throat when he heard Nadia sharply suck in air. Her skin was incredibly soft; he wanted that softness wrapped around him. He licked her lips slowly and said, "I wonder if the rest of your body tastes as sweet as your mouth. No, definitely sweeter." His hands moved up to hold her and he silenced her moan of surprise as his thrust his tongue into her mouth. He showed no mercy as he kissed her; he meant to show her his dominance, his power, and his possession. She melted in his arms, and would have fallen had she not had the sense to wrap her arms around him. Her sweet moans and whimpers made him crave more, forced him to take more. It was not long until her desire drugged him, made him shake with need.
Andraemalek pulled away and looked at Nadia. Her eyes were wide and misty with passion, her lips swollen. They begged to be nibbled on. "I need to leave." He stepped away and forced himself to look away from her. If he didn't, he would give into his body's urges. She was too tempting a creature to allow himself to become careless.
Turning, he walked toward the nearest exit. He had to stay away from her if he expected to complete his mission. Too much rode on his success. To become a member of The Order, he had to murder Nadia. It was a mission he had to complete.
It was a mission he wished he didn't have to.
* * * * *
"I do not trust that self serving demon."
Astaroth stood behind his seat in the summoning chamber and watched Botis closely as he pounded his fist on the tabletop. He knew that his first commander had a temper to be rivaled, but there was something about his eagerness to rid The Order of their little complication that made him wonder. "He is the best assassin there is."
"If that were true, why is the human still alive?"
"If we are to control this problem, we need to know of who else knows and if she has hidden any information anywhere."
"Nothing a simple telepath can't tell us." Botis remained silent and watched as Astaroth began to pace the length of the chamber. "It has never taken him this long to complete a mission."
"This is no ordinary search and destroy."
"She nothing but a filthy human!"
Astaroth stopped and stared at Botis. His first commander did not look desperate, simply impatient. It was common knowledge that he despised anything human. "Knowing that your fate rests in the hands of a human must kill you."
Botis said nothing, refusing to acknowledge the new vulnerability he felt. He prided himself on the power he held simply because he was part of The Order. Knowing that a filthy human woman had the power to take everything from him... "We must send another."
"You want two assassins?"
"I do not trust Andraemalek. He is half human."
"He is half High Council... Hardly a human," Astaroth smiled.
"There is still good in him. Enough good to sympathize with the woman."
Astaroth hadn't thought of that possibility. "Are you suggesting that he has involved himself with the human?" Though rare, the complication was not unheard of. Many demons in the past had thought themselves changed when in the presence of specific humans. It happened to the one they called Bernard; it was more than possible to happen again.
"The only way to know is to send another."
"And who would we send?"
Botis thought for a moment. It was difficult to decide on an assassin, especially considering they'd already sent in the best. Andraemalek needed a challenge, an adversary, a reason to complete his mission as quickly as possible. "Nyx."
Astaroth nodded in thought. Nyx was not as cold-blooded or ruthless as Andraemalek, but the demon was calculated and calm, knowing when to put the mission first. "And the reward?"
"The same we offered Andraemalek."
"Do you think Nyx can be trusted with such power?"
Botis smiled dangerously as he said, "Nyx does not posses the power Andraemalek does, my liege. We would only offer the position."
Astaroth nodded again as he considered the plan. He was no longer sure of Andraemalek's skill. Demons, he knew, could not be trusted as they were. They had the capability of switching sides with the highest bid. To add further worry, Andraemalek was half High Council, the antithesis of The Order of Zebulon or any other demon sect known. There was already a chance that he could turn. Now that a human was added... "Summon Nyx."
* * * * *
Nadia was sure she would die of a heart attack. Every time she thought about Andrae and the seductive way he looked at her, her heart rate accelerated. The memory of his hands on her skin coupled with the heat radiating off his made her body tingle. And when she remembered the power of his kiss...
It was too much. Shaking herself out of her thoughts, she forced herself to think of anything else as she walked home from the library. There was a bite in the air but she liked it; it diverted her attention from the heat coursing through her veins. It was a bit of a cloudy day and the sun played peek-a-boo as it danced through the big puffy clouds. This would have been a perfect day to sneak onto the roof of her building to gaze at the clouds but she couldn't. Being on the roof would give her the perfect height to look at any and every apartment she wanted Nadia knew that she would do nothing but try to figure out which apartment was his. It wouldn't take long to come up with a rough estimate, but the chance of being wrong would kill her. She'd reached the point where she had to know everything about him.
After the earth shattering moment they shared in her not-so-covert hiding place, Andrae dominated her thoughts. Why did he continually initiate such soul-wrenching kisses only to pull away and leave? It was obvious that he wanted her; he wouldn't have kissed her otherwise. But what was the reason for his sudden urges to leave? "No, stop thinking about him."
Easier said than done.
Nadia's skin still tingled. Her hands continued to shake. It had been hours since that kiss, but it still felt as if she were in that moment. "So not fair," she muttered as she turned the corner. She was sure that he was just fine, sitting in his apartment, chugging a beer and laughing at his victory. What an easy victory it was; she was pretty much a snowball in his special version of hell, melting the second he even looked at her differently. "The attention... It has to be all the attention." Yes, that was it; that was the only logical explanation as to why she would act like a teenager around him.
As she neared the apartment complex, she slowed down when she felt that familiar feeling wash over her again. Looking around, she stopped when she saw him standing outside of his building, smoking a cigarette. As usual, his gaze was focused on her. Her first instinct was to go to him, to ask him why he continually walked away from her after he kissed her, but she changed her mind when he narrowed his eyes a scant second before he sharply turned and walked into the building. A slap in the face would have been better than that. The look on his face... It wasn't so much of disgust as anger. Anger didn't seem an appropriate description either. There was also frustration in that look, as if there was something about her he was slowly beginning to hate.
Nadia fought the dread that threatened to take over her and walked to her building with a determined stride. If that was the game he wanted to play, fine. She liked being alone anyway.
She heard the phone ringing and quickly rushed into the apartment to answer it. "Hello?" she panted as she fought to keep the stack of magazines from toppling over.
"Nadia? It's Janine."
That was certainly a pleasant surprise. Dropping her bag on the ground, Nadia reached for the box of pound cake she hadn't yet finished. "Hey. What's up?"
"You want to take a break from studying tonight?"
"I wasn't planning on studying at all, to be honest." How could she with thoughts of him slowly turning her brain to mush?
"Perfect! A few of my friends wanted to hang out tonight and I was hoping you would tag along."
This was the first time she'd been invited out in over three months. Nadia was surprised; she and Janine were friends, but they only socialized in the library. Other than that, there was the rare phone call when Janine needed help with a question concerning science. "I don't know... I mean, you're the only person I'm going to know there..."
"That's not entirely true."
"What does that mean?"
"Well, Spencer is coming too and he asked if you'd be there."
"Spencer? You mean my lab partner, Spencer?"
"The one and only."
Interesting. "He's never mentioned wanting to hang out before." In all the time she'd known him and worked with him in class, the only thing they'd ever spoken about was her paper. How was he able to develop an interest in her based on that?
"Yeah, so the thing is he doesn't know that I know he likes you."
"And you're trying to be super friend?"
"I guess you can say that. You can totally say no. I know you've been hanging out with that other guy, who by the way, good job."
At the mention of him, Nadia shoved a handful of cake into her mouth. The sweet, moist morsel did nothing but make her stomach turn. She wanted something smoky, slightly salty in flavor. "God damn."
"Ok, if you don't think he's hot, that's fine too."
Though she didn't want to, Nadia found herself laughing at the comment. "No, it's not like that. He's just..." He was just what? They weren't friends; friends didn't engage in the scorching kisses they shared. They weren't exactly anything more, either. When she thought about it, they were nothing. "You know what, I think I'll make a cameo tonight." If he didn't want anything to do with her, she might as well go out and find someone who did. Spencer may have been a random choice, but it was a start.
"Awesome! We're meeting at the library at eight."
Glancing at the time on the microwave, Nadia realized that she only had an hour and a half to find an outfit, shower, and grab a small bite to eat before she left. "All right, I'll see you then."
Nadia waited for Janine to end the call before she hung up her phone. This was certainly an unexpected twist of fate, especially considering she never thought Spencer had feelings for her. He never hinted at anything during lab or when they studied in the library. If anything, he seemed more interested in her paper than anything else. It was possible that that was the only way he could start a conversation with her. Knowing from personal experience how difficult it could be to start a conversation with someone she was attracted to, Nadia sympathized. "It's at least worth the shot," she mumbled as she scrambled toward her bedroom. The worst that would happen was a realization that she thought it best that she and Spencer remain friends.