Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Assassin's Retirement Chapter Twenty-Five, Part One #blogstory #Gentleman #ION #amwriting

So, these next couple of chapters with Myranda Anatha, I had a little fun with. When I chose Myranda's paranormal form I had been researching Egyptian gods, looking for a snake god or a spider god to be ION's executioner. What I stumbled across was the Libyan triple goddess, Anatha. I was surprised to find that Medusa had a North African origin. The story of how patriarchal Greece separated Anatha's aspects and inserted the goddesses into their mythology actually fit well into Zane's story. Zane's new career as a song writing revolves around giving identities to women, myth or actual, whose identities were stolen and warped by patriarchy. So, Priestess Myranda Anatha was born. I mixed the lore of Anatha with something I read years ago about exclusive women societies that used the mask of Medusa to scare away men. Hopefully, Myranda is suitably scary.

I try to keep the blog entries to about 1000 words or so. This chapter it a bit longer so there will be two parts.

Copyright Lexi Ander
Chapter Twenty-Five

Having Alonzo at his side as he entered the living room steadied Zane in a way he couldn't explain. Not an hour earlier, he had been overwhelmed, with his thoughts splintering in a dozen directions. But after resting in Alonzo's arms and sharing that wonderful kiss—he was definitely claiming more later—his confusion and worry bled away, leaving him clear minded.

Someone had cleaned the table removing the food and dishes. Zane heard the dishwasher running and he made a mental note to thank the person responsible later. The band lounged in the living room. The Valkyrie, except for Saja, were standing against the walls at intervals. There were also two guarding each of the three exits.

Saja was talking to the newcomer and Skyld in the farthest corner of the room. The woman, Zane assumed was Myranda Anatha, was covered from head to toe in white, with even a veil hiding the lower half of her face. Around her waist, she carried a leather pouch as large as an average-sized purse. The only reason he notice the pouch at all was because it move as if something inside writhed. Next to the pouch was a mask lacquered in a glossy red. It had gruesome glaring eyes, bared fangs, and a protruding tongue. The mask reminded Zane of depictions of the Hindu Goddess Kali… but it was defiantly not Kali.

Zane jolted in surprise when he remembered where he had seen the mask before and wanted to thump his head against the wall for not connecting the dots. Myranda Anatha… Anatha was the North African triple goddess that the Greeks had dismantled ages ago, making them into three persons instead of the three aspects of one goddess. The mask was later used by women of the cult of Medusa to warn off men. Those places baring her mask were whispered to be sanctuaries. Most scholars assumed the areas protected women from abusive men and others wondered if they were communities of lesbians. But they all sort of skipped over the fact that if men entered these protected areas, they were never seen again.

When Zane pulled his gaze away from the mask he glanced up to notice Myranda staring at him. He almost stepped back when the power of her gaze washed over him, as if with that one look she could crack him open and measure his worth. There was no hostility in her expression, but still—he itched to draw his gun from the small of his back. She was the top predator in the room, and he realized Myranda wasn't covered to hide anything, but to protect those around her. Myranda's goddess rode her, not in a dormant state, but close to the surface where mere mortals would be scalded by Her presence.

"Alonzo," Saja snapped, jolting Zane out of his stare off with Myranda.

He did not appreciate her tone. "Saja," he snapped back. "I am his patrón —" Electricity zipped through Zane, as if something unbreakable had snapped into place. "If you have an issue with him, you will address it with me and only me." The comment was controlling and high-handed but felt right.

Saja looked from Zane to Alonzo, her questions plain to read on her face. What? How? When? But she only said, "My apologies. I didn't know."

"It wasn't information you needed to know." He almost growled until Alonzo placed his palm on the small of his back.

"I am in no danger from these people," Alonzo murmured for Zane's ears only.

"Neither one of you are," Myranda reassured as she crossed the room. She seemed to float above the floor though Zane saw her feet move.

Myranda held out her hand, her warm brown eyes crinkling as if Zane's hesitancy to touch her was amusing. "I am Myranda, high priestess of the triple goddess Anatha. It is a pleasure to meet a patrón not in hiding and a scion of the blood."

It wasn't really nice to meet her so he didn't say so. "Zane Cortese and this is Alonzo Cardoza."

"I am acquainted with Alonzo. He worked as an investigator for me for several years." Myranda looked over Zane's shoulder to Alonzo. "We were sad to see him leave but understood his reasons. That he found someone like you is extraordinary."

Zane wanted to squirm under her scrutiny, glad for Alonzo's anchoring touch. What type of pleasantries did one give in a situation like this? Hope your flight with the Valkyrie wasn't too cold. The high today is only supposed to be ten degrees. Thankfully, Myranda filled the silence.

"I don't know what Alonzo has told you about me. So before we get down to business, I would like to take a couple minutes to talk to you, in private if you don't mind."

Zane had the perfect space. "Follow us."

He took Alonzo's hand and went back down the hall, passing his office and the branch that led to the spare bedrooms, instead of opening the door to his soundproofed music room.

When Myranda entered, her gaze snapped to the opposite wall where Zane's crude drawings, snippets of poems, and music sheets were pinned to the wall. She quickly crossed, looking over every scrap of paper, her fingers lightly touching the lyrics Zane wrote down so they would quit hopping around in his head. His miserable sketch of an underwater castle held her attention the most.

"Whenever someone writes about the poem of Beowulf, they usually lament about Beowulf's folly. But you have focused on something different. Why are you writing about Grendel's Mother?"

Zane was leery of talking about his project. The last time he discussed his work and what it meant, he had been betrayed. Alonzo pushed him, urging without words for him to go and talk to her. Slowly, he crossed the room, thinking of and then discarding a dozen things before he stopped in front of his project board.

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
Chapter Sixteen - Maricoxi Guardians
Chapter Seventeen - Coincidence?
Chapter Eighteen, Part One - Guns Ablazin'
Chapter Eighteen, Part Two
Chapter Nineteen, Part One - Reckoning
Chapter Nineteen, Part Two
Chapter Twenty - Mercy
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two, Part One
Chapter Twenty-Two, Part Two
Chapter Twenty-Two, Part Three
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five, Part 1

Chapter Twenty-Five, Part 2
Thank you for stopping by and reading!!


  1. I love your ION series and this story is just as fricken awesome as the others, thanks so much I look forward to this each week!

    1. I'm so glad you are enjoying the blog story. This is my weekly fun project. It is set in ION's world (obviously) so watch for a bit of crossover in the next couple of chapters. :)