A DANGEROUS BARGAIN (The Sentinel Demons)

BOOK: A DANGEROUS BARGAIN (The Sentinel Demons)
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A DANGEROUS BARGAIN
(The Sentinel Demons)
By J. S. Scott
Copyright© 2013 by J. S. Scott
All Rights Reserved
 
ISBN-10:1939962331
ISBN-13:978-1-939962-33-1

 

Table of Contents

Title Page

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Epilogue

Sample~ Ethan's Mate

Sample~ Mine For Tonight

 

 

 

 

This one is for all of my incredible friends who have supported my writing and who bring me so much joy every single day: Melissa, Clara, Judy, Cali and Rita. I’m grateful to have such strong, supportive and awesome women as friends. You girls rock!

~J.S.~

 

Prologue

“The Sentinel Demons-A History”

Author-Unknown

 

Many people believe that demons are evil spirits, possessing humans, taking over their minds and bodies until they are nothing but a shell, a vessel for the evil entity that dwells inside them. What most humans don’t know is that there are also other types of demons, physical beings created thousands of years ago, during a period of time when demons came to rule the Earth, having been set loose by careless gods who used them for chaos and revenge. The gods created them in so great a number that they finally had to confine all their creations to a demon realm, a prison that could contain them. Said gods, who are now considered nothing more than myth, and whose vanity was endless, adamantly refused to destroy the demons-to annihilate all of them would be an admission that what the deities had done was actually wrong. All-powerful, all-knowing gods and demigods did not make errors. They themselves declared it impossible. And how could they destroy their own magic, lose creatures that might be needed later? After all, the gods were usually at war, and what if they needed their evil creations for weapons? So instead, the demons stayed confined to the demon realm, a place where no god would venture-a realm of such vile evilness, such toxicity and so malodorous, that no selfish deity could tolerate visiting.

The realm was hidden, situated between Earth and Hades, a place where the demons remained, multiplied, and grew in strength while the gods ignored their existence. Unfortunately, ignoring such heinous immortals eventually created utter chaos, the demons finally gaining enough power to leave the demon realm and create havoc on an Earth that was, by that time, inhabited by a large population of humans. These demons became known as the Evils.

Devastation ruled, humans being taken in large numbers, disappearing in droves. The balance between good and evil tipped, evil ruling the planet, creating a rift that not even the gods themselves could fix. Desperate to restore sanity to an insane world, the gods tried in vain to destroy the vile beasts that upset the equilibrium, finally putting aside their vanity in favor of survival. But it was too late; the demon population was too large, too powerful, and the egotistic gods weren’t about to venture near the Evils to destroy them.

Desperate, the deities banded together and created a new breed of demon to fight the Evils; the newcomers’ souls would still be dark, but their purpose would be to protect humans from becoming extinct, bringing good and evil back into balance. These newly-created Sentinel demons blended in, appearing human…but they weren’t. They were magical beings, although they adapted and took on more facets of humanity as they evolved. Having given the guardian demons the power to recruit humans and thus replace Sentinels lost in the battle between good and evil, the gods no longer needed to be bothered with their “annoying little problem” and went to war with each other once again, losing power as the centuries passed and humans ceased to worship them. However, the Sentinels carried on, striving to protect the human population, governing themselves and growing in magical powers, even though the gods had embedded a set of rules into the Sentinels’ magic-supposed fail-safes imposed to keep the guardian demons in check. Still, the Sentinels brought balance back to the planet in spite of the stifling rules, finding ways to bend them or work around them, angry that the only rule imposed on the Evils was that human victims could not initially be taken by force, or coerced via lies. But manipulation was easy for an Evil, and once a human had agreed to an Evil’s bargain, there was no end to the torture the heinous demons could impose upon the duped individual in order to increase their own strength.

So…are all demons evil? They are all dark at their core, and have some degree of inherent wickedness…but demons were not all created equal.

Evils and Sentinels are both demons, engaging to this day in a battle of good versus evil that has been going on for thousands of years, a war that most humans are blissfully unaware even exists. However, for the small percentage of individuals who actually have encounters with demons…their lives will never be the same.

*****

Kristoff Agares, king of the Sentinel demons, placed the anonymous papers back into a manila folder with a sigh, dissolving the whole file into thin air with a single mental command. When he had first started getting reports about a human writing about his people, he had blown it off. Most of the sparse information about the Sentinels coming from human origins was mere speculation or myth, not a threat to the existence of his brethren. However, the person writing these accounts was getting too close to the truth for comfort and needed to be stopped. He had a pretty good idea who was authoring the information, and that person had enough dirt about the Sentinels to be dangerous. Fortunately, he knew exactly how to handle the situation, and, if his suspicions were correct, the outcome was bound to be entertaining.

He smiled as he teleported himself from his stately home in Seattle to another equally impressive residence on the Olympic Peninsula, located in an area where humans were few and far between. The residence was more of a palace than a home, hidden from hikers or anyone who might happen to pass by the remote area, by the magic of the gods-or rather, the magic of a goddess, the only one still powerful enough to remain on Earth, while all the others had faded away to the kingdom of the dead. Personally, Kristoff secretly believed the majority of them belonged in Tartarus, rather than Elysian Fields, for creating the Evils and bringing so much suffering to so many humans with their selfishness. As far as he knew, this particular goddess was the only one who had argued against the gods’ folly of creating, and then ignoring, the Evils, which had allowed them to eventually overrun the Earth.

What would I do without Athena?

Honestly, Kristoff didn’t want to find out. The female deity was his advisor, his confidante, and Athena gave new meaning to the expression of having a “longtime friend” since they had known each other for thousands of years. There were moments when he needed the insight and wisdom of the fragile goddess, and now was one of those times. She had summoned
him
, but he had already sensed that change was coming.

I just wish I had a little more clarity.
It really irritated the hell out of him when he didn’t have complete information.

“Athena?” he called loudly, his booming voice echoing in the opulent residence. He had materialized in her monument room, a large hall filled with statues of the Greek gods. Scowling as he passed marble statues of Apollo, Artemis, and Zeus, he shook his head, grateful that only Athena remained. The rest of them hadn’t been worth a shit, and he couldn’t bring himself to regret that they were gone, although he knew that Athena still missed some of her family. Exiting the room, he made his way down a grand spiral staircase. The steps were made of gold, the sparkle glinting from the tiles-probably diamonds and gemstones. The residence was ostentatious, and personally, Kristoff cringed at the gaudy furnishings, from the crystal chandeliers to the heavy forest green draperies, but he knew that Athena didn’t decorate this way for show. After all, who came to visit except him? No…Athena did what she thought was pretty and cheerful, money really having no meaning to her. She obviously liked the flashy décor, and was able to manifest anything she damn well pleased to try to brighten her solitary existence.

Kristoff knew Athena was lonely because he knew exactly what it was like to be isolated. Cut off, different…and always alone. But at least he had his Sentinels, even if he couldn’t always share everything with them. They were amusing and good company-when he didn’t feel like bashing their heads together for doing something stupid.

Athena was sequestered here, her existence known only to him, a prisoner of the grand residence she had created in this isolated area. If she wandered far from her residence, she became sick, confused, and unable to function; thus, she was confined to this area, unable to travel far from her home without some very adverse effects on her body and mind.

Kristoff found her in the solarium, surrounded by lush green plants that she was currently watering with a serene expression that instantly calmed him. Athena was balance and enlightenment, and although she might not always have the answers to his questions, her aura was tranquil and soothing. Not that the goddess didn’t have a temper that could be fearsome, but her core essence was peaceful.

“Kristoff!” she exclaimed as she turned, her watering pot disappearing from her hands as her face formed a brilliant smile. “Thank you for coming.”

He nearly laughed. Athena had summoned him, and he would have to be a complete idiot to ignore the summons of a goddess, but she greeted him like an unexpected guest. “You called me,” he reminded her, making himself at home as he sat down on one of the chairs perched around a small glass table.

She moved toward him gracefully, looking almost fragile. Although there were many depictions and likenesses of the Greek goddess of wisdom-Athena-none of them was totally accurate. She was slight, with her long silvery blonde hair currently in a braid down her back, her slim figure dressed in a flowing silky blue robe that was several shades darker than her ice-blue eyes. Reaching the table, she seated herself elegantly across from him. “Yes. I requested your presence, but I didn’t know when to expect you,” she answered in her soft, melodic voice. “The time for the Sentinels to increase their magic is coming soon, and it’s imperative that they do so because the Evils are growing in power. So you’re going to have to move your ass.”

Kristoff stifled a chuckle, the words that had just left Athena’s lips so out of character and incongruent with her normally serene personality that it was amusing. “Watching too much television again?” he asked, unable to mask a tiny smile.

Athena shrugged. “Not much else to do. Isn’t that what humans say when they want someone to take action soon?” She cocked her head and looked at him with an innocent expression.

“Yes,” he answered honestly, not wanting to offend her and knowing she was completely cut off from the modern world except for a few electronics. “That’s exactly what they’d say.” Kristoff didn’t add that the words just sounded odd coming from a goddess who was thousands of years old, a deity who had been born an adult with more wisdom and reason than any other creature on Earth. “What did you see?” he asked curiously, wanting to know anything and everything that she had foreseen for the Sentinels.

She sighed, a long beleaguered exhalation, before replying, “Everything and nothing. You know how frustrating it is when you know change is coming, but not everything is revealed.” She leaned regally against the back of her chair and folded her delicate hands on top of the table. “The Evils are growing stronger, more powerful. But the Sentinels will also gain advantages. Be watchful, Kristoff. We can’t afford to miss an opportunity. It’s important for the Sentinels to gain every edge they possibly can.”

Leaning back, Kristoff ran a frustrated hand through his hair, leaving some of the blond locks spiked on top of his head. “I’ve felt it, too. I just don’t know exactly
what
is happening.” Knowing something was coming, but not knowing exactly what or when it would occur, was exasperating. While his Sentinels thought he was being annoyingly mysterious and evasive, more often than not, he just didn’t have specifics until they were revealed to him. Okay…maybe he
did
hide a
few
things, but only information his Sentinels just didn’t need to know, or things that would be detrimental for them to find out.

BOOK: A DANGEROUS BARGAIN (The Sentinel Demons)
4.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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