Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Assassin's Retirement Chapter 19, Part One #amwriting #Gentleman #blogstory

I have something new to go along with the Assassin's Retirement blog story. *points up* I had a final cover made along with a banner. When the story is complete and I have the rewrites and edits that it needs, it will be published. In the meantime, I'm using the banner for Tuesdays. I've been dying to show it off. The cover artist is Kirby Crow and she did an exceptional job. :)

For today's addition to Zane's story things are still going down at the ranch. Cord steps up to try and keep things from spiraling further out of control. 

Chapter Nineteen – Reckoning

Cord never wanted to be on the business end of that particular look from Zane. There wasn't anything particularly terrifying about his expression… but, the person heading toward the kitchen's back door wasn't the Zane he'd come to know. Not that he knew Zane all that well, but—

"Do as he says!" Skyld barked, snapping Cord out of his thoughts.

He had only seconds to wonder if the scion had found him before Zane threw open the door. "Ella, what a surprise." But Zane didn't sound surprised. Despite his bland expression, Zane's tone let Cord know he was pissed. And then all hell broke loose as Zane opened fire.

Cord dropped to the floor. Prince and then Midnight were swift to cover him. From the hallway came startled yells. Xander, Raine, and Anson rushing into the kitchen.

"Get down you fools," Prince snapped. "Raine, do you have any weapons on you?" I left mine in the car."

Cord tuned everyone out, listening for the return fire from the scion. Zane had many windows in this side of the house but there was no sound of breaking glass. Instead he heard angry female voices, not clear enough to understand what was being said, but enough to understand the scion wasn't out there. But if the assassin hadn't come for him, then who was outside?

"Look around," Prince commanded. "Zane has to have more stashes around here."

Everyone scattered except Midnight who didn't need a weapon. Cord got to his hands and knees. He needed to see what was going on. If Zane was hurt because of him… of course, he had been told Zane was an assassin, so he had faced countless of deadly situations. And yes, he'd come to Zane, needing help but suddenly Cord was reticent to drag Zane into the craziness his life had become. If Zane was injured, Cord would be the one responsible.

"What are you doing?" Midnight hissed when there was a lull in the gunfire. If he wasn't Other he wouldn't be able to hear clearly after this.

Cord didn't try to explain when more gunfire erupted. He had a feeling he couldn't shake that he had to do something. Quickly, he crawled to the open door, Midnight following close behind. When he peeked around the corner he thought he would be sick. Valkyrie.

Tall, flaxen-haired women wearing antiquated, if enchanted, tooled leather armor were outside. Fur-lined, silver-domed helmets covered their heads. A couple of the hats bore ram's horns or a set of polished wings. The Valkyrie didn't care how much they stood out in the modern world since no humans could see them, unless they willed it… which was virtually never. Cord couldn't fathom why they were on Zane's ranch. More distressing, he recognized the armor of one Valkyrie that caused his heart to stall before it sped like a racing horse in his chest.

Scrambling to his feet, he shrugged off Midnight's staying hand. "Oh, shit! Mom?"

Mere feet away, Alonzo was a giant over ten feet tall, shaggy hair flying about him as he tossed wood missiles at the Valkyrie flying overhead, her metallic wings glinting in the cold morning sun. Skyld said something Cord couldn't make out as he pointed up. Before Cord could yell for them to stop, Alonzo grabbed Skyld around the waist and tossed him into the air. Stunned, he stared, unable to look away from Skyld's certain death. The Valkyrie's eyes were bright, promising vengeance. She swung her sword at Skyld as he flew towards her. Astonishingly, Skyld caught the blade on his metal bracers, batting it away. Cord gaped at the weapon where it landed. How? No Valkyrie lost their weapon and yet Skyld had divested her of the deadly blade before he slammed into her and they both spiraled, crashing into the ground.

Alonzo roared a thunderous battle cry that caused Cord's blood to run cold and charged the three Valkyrie, one his mother, protecting their charge.

"Wait!" Cord screamed but Alonzo didn't falter, passing Zane and straight into the energy barrier the linked Valkyrie had erected.

Instead of bouncing off the shielding as any other being would have, the air was rent with a booming crack as Alonzo broke through. The Valkyrie cried out, breaking apart and flying outward with the force of the energy wave. They landed with a spray of snow, not moving. Alonzo didn't make a noise of pain, but he went from ten-foot hairy giant to normal in the blink of an eye. He fell to the ground, mere feet from the woman huddled into a ball. The snow on her right side was painted red, the blood dripping from the bullet wound to her arm, otherwise she seemed unharmed.

"Alonzo!" Zane called, a wretchedness in his tone that made Cord's heart twist in sympathy as he crouched over his mother. Relieved that she was only stunned with no obvious physical injuries, Cord left her and quickly followed Zane.

Zane grabbed the woman by her long, dark hair and jerking her to her knees. Her white designer coat matched her business suit, neither made for the cold or the snow.  Zane shoved the muzzle of his snub-nose revolver under her chin. One look at the woman's face and Cord knew he had to act quickly before things ended badly. Well, more badly than they already were. No one injured or manhandled an Oracle. Cord had only met Ella once. All the other correspondence with her had been by phone but that one face to face was the only reason he recognized the high-ranking member of I.O.N. Ella had sent him to Zane for help. Judging by Zane's rash actions, there was more to this incident than Cord was aware of. Zane not only seemed to know her but willing to kill her on sight.

Cord skidded to a stop next to Zane, his hands held out, allowing Zane to see he wasn't a threat. "Zane, wait. Please."

All of Zane's attention was on Alonzo, his expression was blank but there was something wild in his gaze that only reinforced Cord's feeling that he had to be careful.

"What did you do to him?" Zane snarled down at Ella, mercilessly digging the gun into her skin.

The three Valkyrie who had been protecting the Oracle groaned and attempted to move. Valkyrie were resilient but Cord imagined the breaking of the shielding was more detrimental than any physical wound. Ella stared up at Zane dazed. What little patience Zane had was slipping away. Midnight approached holding out a blanket that had been draped over the back of one of Zane's couches. When he approached Alonzo, Zane didn't say anything, only watched as Midnight knelt on the ground, cradling Alonzo to him as he wrapped the quilted blanket around Alonzo's inert form.

"When Valkyrie form a circle," Cord said, easing around so Zane could see both him and Alonzo. He sensed that if Zane only focused on Alonzo, then Ella wouldn't leave the ranch alive. Perhaps he was deluding himself since it seemed Ella had signed her own death warrant by stepping foot on Zane's land without permission. But he still had to try to save her life. "They create a barrier that is usually nigh impenetrable." He didn't dare glance at his mother and his heart pounded hard at the thought that she and the others could have suffered internal injuries from the energy blast. One thing at a time. "Somehow Alonzo broke it and the blowback from the energy wave has stunned them. Alonzo isn't dead." When Zane turned hard eyes on him, Cord barely refrained from flinching. He hoped he hadn't just lied to Zane.

Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Six, Part 2 -
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers
Chapter Seven, Part 2 -
Chapter Eight, Part 1 - No such thing as heroes
Chapter Eight, Part 2 -
Chapter Nine, Part 1 - Dead is supposed to be... dead
Chapter Nine, Part 2 -
Chapter Ten, Part 1 - Gathering Allies
Chapter Ten, Part 2
Chapter Eleven - Combustible
Chapter Twelve - Standing His Ground
Chapter Thirteen - Choices
Chapter Fourteen, Part 1
Chapter Fourteen, Part 2
Chapter Fifteen, Part 1 - To kill, or not to kill
Chapter Fifteen, Part 2
Chapter Sixteen - Maricoxi Guardians
Chapter Seventeen - Coincidence?
Chapter Eighteen, Part One - Guns Ablazin'
Chapter Eighteen, Part Two
Chapter Nineteen, Part One - Reckoning

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

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