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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 3)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(3) by Samantha Young
  • 2 - Even as I Drink My Lips are Dry with Thirst

    The bitter chill in the air pinched at Dalí’s skin, little goosebumps rising up all over his arms in the aftermath. He shivered a little in his plain t-shirt, leaning over the balcony in the guest room his father gave him whenever he was lucky enough to be invited to Mount Qaf. He was lucky if that invite came once a year. The balcony hung out over mountains that winked back at him in the winter sun, the dazzling green of inset emeralds making his blood rush with need. It didn’t take much anyway for the thirst to attack, that thirst for power, that ever-growing need to be more than what he was, but Mount Qaf emeralds were an entirely different story. The need they inspired… He sighed, scratching his arm unconsciously as he thought about his father’s power, his domain over this part of the mountains. Beautiful homes were scattered among the mountains, precarious walkways leading back and forth between homes, the marketplace and the large gated curtains to the entrance of his father’s sprawling house that had been carved into the very rock of Mount Qaf, just like all the other royal homes.

    His eyes caught on a burst of moving color and for a moment Dalí’s frustrations were forgotten. Moving up towards the billowing silk curtains that draped over his father’s enormous gates — ‘for a more welcoming impression’ as his father always said — was a small entourage. Men and women dressed in bright colors and light, loose clothing that Dalí would have been freezing in, were walking at the front and back of a magic carpet. Straight out of the Arabian Nights. Dalí smiled softly at the unexpected sight of a beautiful female Jinn kneeling upon the floating Moroccan Berber rug, her eyes wide as her family led her to the mansion. He’d never seen a magic carpet before. Well, he’d seen them rolled up in his father’s house but he’d never seen one in use. They were very rare. The fact that this family used one now was a sign of celebration. The luscious beauty was a gift for his father. Dalí’s smile slowly melted into a frown and he felt that familiar rush of love/hate he had for his father mix into a bittersweet mouthful like chocolate and salt on the tongue. It was difficult to live in the human world and have to deal with people who had no idea how extraordinary he truly was. He’d gathered a few followers these last years, made some money, some contacts — but he still only saw his father once a year, was only allowed a glimpse into the world of Mount Qaf before it was torn from him again and he was back in the real world, hungering for what his father had. The knowledge that he would never have the power his father had ate at him, ate at his love for his father, despite the fact he was always so affectionate and giving whenever he saw him. His father always asked after his mother and gave him gifts to take back to her, gifts that had made their lives extremely comfortable. Perhaps if his mother had been broken-hearted by his father leaving them in the human world he could have hated him more, but she wasn’t. She was always grateful for what he had given them, grateful that he had given her Dalí, grateful that someone as extraordinary as he had deigned to want her. Dalí felt his jaw clench, watching the curtains part with magical hands and the gates swing open behind them. Clearly not feeling the vicious bite of the winter chill, the entourage danced their way up the side of the mountain to his father’s home, the girl on the magic carpet beaming nervously from her seat. God she was beautiful, Dalí sighed, feeling a stirring of lust — not really for her but for what she represented. A Jinn — an actual Jinn, powerful in her own right, being offered as a gift to his mighty father. What Dalí wouldn’t give for that kind of supremacy.

    A knock at the door sounded and Dalí ducked back inside his airy room. It was part of the building that wasn’t built into the rocks of the mountains, so his walls were bright and emerald free. The four poster bed in the room was made of solid, dark mahogany and comfortable armchairs and sturdy furniture decorated the space. The bed was covered in cushions he’d have to bury through to get to the actual mattress. His duffle bag lay slung at the bottom of it. He wouldn’t unpack. His father usually only required his company for a few nights. Anyway, he had his growing criminal organization to get back to. Without him they’d forget they even were an organization. “Yes?”

    The door swung open and a Shaitan with blood red eyes walked into the room. Dalí felt a frisson of fear slither down his neck at the sight of the Shaitan that was so much more powerful than he’d ever be. Not powerful enough to walk away from serving his father, he reminded himself, straightening the cowardly curl in his spine. “Master will see you now.”

    Dalí could have sworn the Shaitan was sneering at him as if he knew how much he’d frightened him. Reminding himself that he was a grown man, and not just any man, but a hybrid, a sorcerer, Dalí touched the emerald talisman around his neck and drew out its power letting it pulse into the room. The Shaitan just smiled at him condescendingly, his eyes saying, ‘yeah, yeah, you’re Master’s son. I’m trembling in my boots.’ Trying not to flush at the unspoken condescension, Dalí felt a growl purr out from the back of his throat. “Lead the way,” he snapped and the Shaitan laughed, his red eyes glowing brighter before he turned. Dalí followed the short demon out of the room, noting how his bare feet never made a sound on the cold flagstones. They passed through bright, cream-colored hallways with bronze sconces and bronze-framed portraits and landscapes. Moving through a light, vast hallway, a number of Shaitans stood on guard, their eyes staring straight ahead, ignoring Dalí. They continued up into darker corridors as the home became part of the rock. More sconces lit the dark, emerald glittering halls and Dalí couldn’t help himself from reaching out and touching one of the gems, feeling a shot of energy shoot into him and sizzle in his blood waiting to be used in magic. Like a junkie needing another hit, he touched another emerald.

    “Stop that,” the Shaitan snarled without turning around. Dalí snatched his hand back from another stone, although his throat burned hot it felt so dry with want.

    Eventually, after what felt like hours of walking, the Shaitan knocked on a door before opening it and stepping aside to let Dalí pass.

    “Son,” a deep, smiling voice called to him from the other end of the room. It was a small throne room where a dozen Shaitans stood in formation along the walls and dancing girls giggled at his father’s feet, offering him wine and food. His father sat on his tall white-gold throne and smiled at him, standing to his feet as he made his way through the perfumed air towards his father’s position on the dais.

    “Father.” He smiled back up at The Gleaming King despite himself, love for this man warring with his envy at first sight of him. The Gleaming King had the hardest, blackest eyes Dalí had ever seen and yet when they looked upon his son, they always glittered with warmth and humor. His hairless head gleamed even under the moody candlelight, the gold in his ears and on his fingers giving credence to his name.

    “It is good to see you.” His father stood up from his throne, his massive figure causing the shadows to reform in the low candlelight. He walked slowly down the dais and came to a stop before his son who stood only a few inches shorter than him. “You have been doing well. Channeling your heritage into something… productive.”

    If you called pulling off the perfect bank jobs anyone had ever seen, with a little help from his talismans and magic, then yeah, he was channeling his heritage into something productive. “Thank you, father.”

    “I have news.” The Gleaming King put an arm around him and began to lead him away from the dancing girls.

    “If it’s anything to do with the delightful Jinn female that’s been bestowed upon you I already saw her. Very nice.”

    The Gleaming King laughed; there was a hard-edge to the sound that caused the hair on the back of Dalí’s neck to rise. “No. That is not my news, although I am very happy with my latest acquisition. No. I thought you might like to know that the war between my brother and father has escalated.”

    “The White King?” Dalí frowned. His father had told him about The War of the Flames, how Azazil had caused the Seven Kings’ world, whose job was to manipulate and form the destinies of Importants, to crumble into chaos. He knew The White King was trying to change things back to the way they had been, that he was trying to usurp the Sultan Jinn. That sounded crazy to Dalí but he kept his mouth shut considering his father was on The White King’s side.

    My brother has found a way that may gain him some headway, The Gleaming King spoke to him telepathically so the others in the room would not hear.

    How?

    He kept a secret from me. An important secret. About the Seal.

    Dalí’s eyes widened. The Seal of Solomon, the ring that hung around a strap of leather around Asmodeus’ neck, was famous. It was said to gift the wearer with the ability to command all Jinn, good and evil. What about the Seal?

    His father grinned at him. There is a girl…

    And from there he began to tell Dalí a story that sounded preposterous but if true, so very, very intriguing.

    3 - The Truth and its Last Chance

    Her heart was pumping her blood around her body so fast Ari felt nauseous — like she had been running for miles instead of chasing her father through town until he skidded to a stop in a random spot at the edge of Vickers’ Woods. Clearly knowing she was tailing him, Derek had dashed out of his car and into the woods, shouting over his shoulder as Ari pulled up behind him that he just needed some time alone.

    Well he’d had time alone. Days of it!

    Stomach unsettled at the notion of finally facing up to her dad for the first time since he’d learned the truth about her, Ari had to force herself to chase after him into the thicket of woods. To her surprise, he had stumbled to a stop in the exact same spot she’d told Charlie the truth about her heritage. Twisted coincidence, she thought wryly, exhaling as she circled him.

    Derek glanced up at her warily, a frown wrinkling the skin between his eyebrows. “I told you I needed some time alone.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire