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  • Home > Samantha Young > The Tale of Lunarmorte > Blood Solstice (Page 3)     
  • Blood Solstice(The Tale of Lunarmorte #3)(3) by Samantha Young
  • “Kirios.”

    He blinked in surprise to see Agamemnon towering over his na**d form in the prison cell. “Agamemnon?” he breathed. “W-w-what are you doing here?”

    The magik’s mouth twisted. “Freeing you.”

    “Why? Galen?”

    He shook his head. “He doesn’t know I am here. I’m getting you out of here and then I’m leaving. I want no part in this mad man’s war.” At that he reached out and touched Kirios, his magik flowing over him until he was clothed. Kirios barely had time to nod his thanks before the magik grabbed hold of his hand and the world whirled past them with sickening speed. The sound of crashing water met his ears, the invigorating scent of salty ocean cleansing his dirt-filled nose and waking his numb senses. He blinked. They stood on the dark shore, the sea just a black mass before them.

    “This is where I leave you, friend.” Agamemnon handed him a clay bowl. The liquid was a little coagulated but Kirios almost wept with relief.

    Blood.

    “I don’t know how to thank you, my dear friend.”

    “Just stay alive and out of Galen’s path.”

    And then he was gone.

    Brundisium 253 A.D.

    It had been more than five hundred years and yet there was a yesteryear familiarity in being held captive by the Galen family. Galen himself was gone now, his children and his children’s children were Kirios’ captors. Stupidity, he whispered weakly under his breath, his head lying limply against the jutting cold stone of his cell, his neck aching numbly with the awkward angle. He didn’t move though. He couldn’t. He was starving and had been for… Gaia, how long had he been here? The sound of the shore off Tyras still rang clearly in his memory, as if it had only been yesterday he had fled from Galen. Back to a life of a nomad for him. And every time Kirios had heard of Galen’s movement growing closer to his location, off he would flee once more. After centuries of travel Kirios had found a certain peace in Athens for a while, mesmerizing his way back into citizenship… no one knew or remembered his family or their connection to Ephialtes’ murder. Indeed it was a legend now. A mystery.

    The familiarity of Athens, its bustling Metropolis and beautiful women, were a salve to his wearied and sorrow-filled soul. However, it was not long before rumblings of Galen’s movement grew increasingly among the supernatural elements of Athens. His first home was no longer safe. With a great sadness Kirios had left and travelled to Rome. He hid easily within the city, mesmerizing anyone who challenged him. After a while, though, even Rome was no longer safe from Galen’s madness. It had been a century since Galen had started his campaign, a century of trying to create a furor against vampyres and lykans. But the gods, Artemis in particular, were wrathful in their vengeance upon those who committed atrocities against the vampyres and lykans. Many magiks and faeries were fearful of the consequences of joining Galen. Yet Galen could not be stopped. Instead he and three of his most powerful magiks tried to invoke Athena, the goddess of war, into their cause. Kirios smirked at the thought. Athena had not been impressed by their war-mongering. Unfortunately Her half-brother, Ares, the god of War, favored Galen. They sacrificed an entire village to Ares and He bound the three magiks to Galen through, what would become known as, trace magik. Galen was inextricably connected to the men and to any children they bore. Eventually, their company grew into a coven and one of the Romans suggested they call themselves the Medium Nox Noctis – the Midnight – because they believed they were rightfully sending lesser supernaturals to the Underworld, where they would never see daylight again. Word spread. Their opposition turned to Athena. Enraged at Her brother’s idiocy she decided to even out the battleground by granting the same binding trace magik to a magik called Penelope and her second and third-in-command, lykan and vampyre. They were now a coven unto themselves: the Dies Lux Lucis – the Daylight. It was not long after those lines were drawn in the sand that the unimaginable happened. Kirios groaned in remembrance, the emotional agony as fresh as it had been then. The omnipotent protection of the gods was lost to them, their last weapon in Galen’s war. It was the beginning of the 2nd Century A.D. and it was becoming more and more apparent the gods’ power on earth was waning. A new faith had begun to spread, a belief in one almighty God. Some said his birth had killed their gods and that only those with supernatural children had survived, although trapped up on their mountain in the Otherworld and down within the Underworld. Kirios’ grief, like all his brothers and sisters of Gaia, was great… but he endured and moved forward, travelling the centuries alone in the new world. He found sanctuary for a time in Brittania, but then the Emperor Commodus’ death created such a crisis he was forced to return to the Mediterranean. He almost smiled, remembering the heat of the sun on his cold skin, the fragrant scent of the sea air, the lightness of his steps where he touched shore. How different the climate of Brittania was. He hadn’t realized how much he had missed home. He snorted. How wrong he had been. He wasn’t home. This was an entirely different landscape from the one he remembered.

    Galen was dead, having died in battle against an opposing magik. And with the entrapment of the gods, younger magiks were no longer living eternal lives, although their life span was greater than human and they were still immortally difficult to kill. Galen had been hundreds of years old and his son, who was nearly as old as Kirios had known Galen, was the only child of his left. His children and his children’s children carried on their father’s name, bound as the others within the Midnight Coven by the trace magik. How curious Kirios became as he wandered his home country, encountering members of the Daylight Coven and hiding from Midnight. He thanked the gods each day for being one of the few left within the supernatural world who was not bound by the trace magik. They were at war in truth now. And rather than the trace being a helpful weapon, Kirios believed it was the unbreakable lock keeping a tight leash on the existence of the war. Despite his bitterness, his misgivings, Kirios’ curiosity got the better of him and he found himself wanting a glimpse of the Midnight Coven and their impressive organization. They had set themselves up in Brundisium on the South Eastern coast of the boot of the Roman Empire… it was a chief port of embarkation for Greece, an excellent place to lay traps for ‘lesser’ immortals; more than that, they could enlist magiks to their cause.

    Kirios shifted slightly and winced at the scrape of stone on his head. A warm gooey feeling let him know he had cut his head open again. Damn his curiosity. It was why he was here, trapped. He was supposed to consider himself lucky. Galen’s son had remembered him and his father’s wishes and ordered him to be imprisoned and starved, but not killed. Ye gods but what was the difference between the two?!

    How many years had he been here? He was too weak to have even grown into madness. Perhaps madness would have been more entertaining than just sitting here recounting the last few hundred years over and over and over…

    And then there were the stories he heard filtering down from above this hole he was stuck in. With the gods out of reach, the war was growing more aggressive.

    A lot of bellowing and cursing alerted Kirios to people coming down into the caverns they called a prison.

    “I wasn’t trying to escape!” a voice cried in outrage. Grunting and shuffling followed, before Kirios watched, wide-eyed, as a young magik was brought towards his cell by two others.

    They frowned at one another. “Are we sure we should put him in here with that creature?”

    “There are no other cells available. Anyway, look at him. He cannot even move.”

    “Hmm, fine.”

    And with that the magik was thrown into the cell with the force of their powers and bound by the spell that kept Kirios from touching the space between his cell and the exit. Not that he could move.

    The magik grunted and watched them warily as they turned and left. He said not a word for what seemed like forever before turning to Kirios with a strange smile on his face.

    “I’m sorry it took me so long to see you, my son.”

    Kirios shook his head, not understanding. Then the magik sighed, his eyes full of sadness. “What a mess they have made of you.” He shuffled closer so that he sat by Kirios’ side.

    “Who are you?” Kirios managed to croak, proud of himself for remembering how to make his mouth form words.

    “Around here they just call me the Prophet.”

    He raised an eyebrow in question and the Prophet grinned.

    “I am a seer.”

    Kirios almost choked. This magik was a Cassandrian?!

    Cassandrians were prophets, magiks whom Athena, wisest of the gods, had favored at birth. There were few of them, and as the war had grown steadily more aggressive, they were fought over fiercely as prizes. Just as the Cassandrians were being killed and fought over, so were the Asclepians – magiks who were descendants of a witch who had once been healed by Asclepius. His powers of healing and bringing those souls lost to the Underworld back from the dead had worked its way into the magik’s blood and passed down through her bloodline all through Gaia’s will.

    So rare were Cassandrians and Asclepians, Kirios had never met either before.

    “I am a Midnight,” the Prophet told him with a bitter twist to his lips. “Unlike you, I was not lucky enough to be born without the trace. You are among a rare few yourself now. And in four hundred years’ time you will be the only supernatural who is not bound to the trace.

    Kirios shook his head, confused, unsure of what the Prophet was trying to explain.

    “I can manipulate the trace, however. The gods tell me from their Mountain that I am the only one who can. I dare not ask why they’ve blessed me with that little gift, I’m just grateful that they have.”

    “Manipulate? How?”

    “I can hide thoughts, feelings, intentions. I can hide other supernaturals intentions as well. It is the reason I’ve escaped numerous times and why I am now sharing your cell.”

    The hours with the Prophet melted by as he told Kirios of all that was happening above. Many battles had been fought, much blood shed. The race of Asclepians was all but gone and the few who were left had hidden themselves away so no one knew who they were. Soon, the Prophet whispered sadly, there would be none left.

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