Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Assassin's Retirement Chapter Twenty-Two, Part Three #gentleman #blogstory #amwriting

Welcome back to Assassin's Retirement and the conclusion to Chapter Twenty and it's revelations that will rock Zane's world!

"Wait, how is that possible?" Zane was confused. "Oracles… I don't know much about them but aren't they seers, clairvoyants, or prophetesses of some kind?"

Skyld tipped his head. "There are several different types, some oracle house specializing in more specific abilities."

"That still doesn't answer my question. How does a scion become a slave to an oracle? She might have seer abilities, but she is still human, right? She doesn't have any extra abilities like super strength or something that would force a scion to her will, does she?

Skyld gave Zane an annoyed look. "You're sounding a bit misogynistic there."

Zane frown. "I…"

He was having a problem wrapping his head around scions, someone like Skyld being made to do something against his will. Skyld would take no prisoners, wouldn't he? Zane would slaughter any who tried to chain him, force him into something he didn't want. So Skyld calmly telling him that people were enslaved to a group of oracles was something he had a hard time wrapping his mind around.

"This isn't a case of might and manipulation," Skyld scrubbed his hand through his blond hair and Zane's gaze caught on the leather bands around his wrists. He'd never seen Skyld without them. The demonstration outside revealed the cuffs were something much more than what they appeared.

"Are you enslaved?" Zane blurted the question, sudden overwhelming rage making it hard for him to breath. "Fucking tell me who ad I will end them before the day is over." Ella had known who Skyld was. Zane pushed back his chair. Fuck this. She would die.

Skyld grabbed his forearm in an unforgiving grip. "No, little Wulf. I am not ensnared."

"Then how?" Zane glanced at the armbands.

"If I let you go, will you promise you won't kill Ella?"

Zane clenched his teeth at Skyld's request. Why did he care if Ella lived or died?

"Today," he ground out. "I will not kill her today."

He refused to promise more. Just thinking about Ella set off a tingle between his shoulder. His intuition always made him itch like that when something brutal and bloody was coming his way. Ella was either the cause or the reason. Taking out the instigator wouldn't always change things, and Zane still ended up spilling way too much blood. He hated burying bodies. Especially in winter.

"I'll take it." Skyld grabbed the coffee carafe on the table and shook it gently, before deeming there was enough left and pouring himself another cup.

"So this Odin's oracle house was somehow enslaving scions who wanted to claim their mantles," Zane prodded.

Skyld grimaced. "Yes, they magically tied the scions to the oracles of the house."

Zane made a rude noise. There was fucking magic, too? When Skyld glanced at him, he motioned for his friend to continue, stuffing him mouth with pancake and peanut butter.

"Grandfather refused to allow us to be ensnared, and he looked elsewhere for help. My brother and I took jobs where we could utilize our skills. We were good enough to work human cases, and we did that for many years. Then I met a woman." Skyld's cheeks turned rosy but his eyes held a bleakness that Zane had seen off and on through the years. "I fell in love with her, later discovering he was a priestess belonging to House Odin's Runes. She'd be sent to…" Skyld's eyes turned liquid and he coughed into his fist. Zane wanted to wrap his arm around Skyld's shoulder, easily guessing at the ending of this story. "Instead,--" Skyld's voice sounded as if he'd gargled gravel, "--she gave me the mantle right before she was murdered."

There was more to the story, but Zane wouldn't make Skyld walk down that dark memory lane. "Explain to me why I shouldn't blow her head off right now?"  he asked instead.

Skyld's expression turned hard-edged and unforgiving. "Because the whole house needs to be taken down and she will be the key."

Zane sipped his bitter, luke-warm joe making a list of things he would need to do before he left the ranch. House of Odin's Runes would have Scandinavian roots and possibly a home base in the region. It was a huge area but if he utilized his contacts on the dark web, he could find the assholes.

"Scions like you and me do not always have to turn to slaughter to bring down the opposition."

Zane's gaze snapped up to his friend. Was Skyld reading his mind? "In this case, I disagree."

"After Peony's death, the house played hard ball. Our dad was always promiscuous and had a slew of children who eventually made their way to Grandfather when they showed a talent for violence. The oracles hired someone to track them down, intent on bringing them to the House of Odin's Runes to breed their own scions. My brother and I took it upon ourselves to find our kin first, after we dragged dad back to grandfather's"

Zane sat back heavily. "That sounds like the beginning of a war. What about I.O.N.? What did they have to say about all of this?"

Skyld shrugged. "This started in the 1640s. I.O.N. was a fledgling organization with limited reach. The world was a different place back then."

Zane's thoughts scattered. "Wait. How old are you?"

Skyld scowled. "Is that all you got out of this conversation?"

"You know better than that asshole," Zane snapped. "Excuse me if my mind is blown because you're older than dirt."

Skyld barked out a hard laugh and wrapped an arm around Zane's neck, jerking him close, causing Zane's chair to scrape harshly against the hardwood floor. Zane grumbled but still leaned into Skyld's side, seeking comfort. Shooting things was so much easier. The anticipation over where this conversation was going, especially since Skyld felt he had to give an in-depth explanation into his family, worried Zane. The skeptical part of him whispered that the more Skyld spoke, the worse the punch line would be. Zane ignored the voice and chose to reserve judgement until Skyld finished.

"You're an idiot if you think any of this has changed my opinion of you," Zane grumbled.

He felt Skyld tremble. When he went to pull away to look at him, Skyld tightened his arm, keeping Zane in place. "Well, you're the idiot if you haven't realized you're one of my brothers."

Table of Contents

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

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

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