Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Assassin's Retirement Chapter Twenty-Nine, Part Four #Gentleman #ION #amwriting #blogstory

Welcome back to Assassin's Retirement. Tezcatlipoca reveals Zane's lineage and Zane must decide if he accepts what the old god has to offer. This is the final part of Chapter Twenty-Nine. I just kept adding to it when I started writing Chapter Thirty. Enjoy!

Copyright Lexi Ander

The jaguar pushed his nose into Zane's chest, almost toppling him from his perch on Alonzo's leg. "Your thoughts are so dower." Zane almost balked at Tezcatlipoca reading his mind, but the next statement had his full attention. "I see her in your memories and… You don't even know you spent time with her. She helped you choose your name."

"What?" Zane gasped. Alonzo's arm tightened around him, giving comfort.

He'd been compiling a list of names long before he retired as the Gentleman. No one had helped him… but that wasn't quite true. There was a hole in the wall restaurant that he had visited. He used to have long conversations with one of the waitresses who had been friendly with him. Mary was her name. Even after not seeing her for more than a year, he could clearly picture her.

At the time, he had been Paul's dog. In order to get some time to himself, once or twice a month he would ditch the tail Paul—and Zane was more than ecstatic that bastard wasn't related to him by blood—had put on him. Then he would go to the diner and relax for an hour or so, leaving the persona of the Gentleman at the door. The waitstaff believed he was a writer compiling character names. Mary often sat with him after her shift was complete and… Zane had a hard time believing she was a deity… as well as his mother? He hadn't settled on what he wanted to be called until more than a year after his retirement, but he would admit that it was his conversations with her that swayed him toward certain names.

"Who is she?" Zane asked, unsure if he really wanted to know. Why had she given him to Mikael?

"I am unfamiliar with the goddesses across the great ocean," Tezcatlipoca confessed. "But I can tell you what I smell."

Zane looked into those large golden eyes. There was no mocking humor in that intense gaze, no censure, just curiosity and… anticipation.

"Yes, please."

The jaguar moved closer and he tried not to think how the cat's fangs were as big around as his arms.

"I smell…" Warm breath brushed over his skin and he shivered, an odd warmth growing in his belly, making him acutely aware that he was naked. "Maiden, mother, and crone. Night–mare. Harvester. She who brings destruction. Mistress of the House. Giver of Customs. Legislator. She of the Grain. Law-bringer. I smell the night, and the moon. Magic, ghosts, and…" Tezcatlipoca made a noise, almost like a purr. "Necromancy. Crossroads. The Far-Darter. She who operates from afar. The light in the dark. Queen of all nature. Huntress. Protector of youth." Those amber eyes fluttered closed as if he was intoxicated by Zane's scent.

Alonzo's body began to shrink, and Zane stepped off his thigh, putting himself that much closer to Tezcatlipoca. He sank his fingers into the luxurious fur to keep his balance. His head swam, and he pressed his face into the thick pelt, closing his eyes.

"Please don't kill Alonzo," Zane whispered close to Tezcatlipoca's ear. "He does not need to die for me."

"What Alonzo has forgotten," the jaguar replied just as softly, "all patróns belong to me. You might not be Maricoxi, but you accepted my Most Trusted, called yourself his patrón before witnesses, stood between him and the female North blood—this makes you mine. When the age ends, my jaguar people will come for you and your tribe. None will be left behind."

Zane closed his eyes and relief. The thought of Alonzo dying was too much to bear. "Thank you."

"Do not thank me so quickly. You must swear to me, submit to me." Tezcatlipoca seemed to surround Zane, the whole of his body stroked as if touched by a lover. The growing heat in his belly unfurled into a burning lust. "Will you be my sacrifice?"

To save Alonzo and anyone else in this tribe Tezcatlipoca mentioned? "Yes."

When he opened his eyes, he wasn't leaning into a jaguar but surrounded, held aloft by billowing smoke. His skin tingled with his rising arousal, aching with need. Unbidden, a moan escaped his lips. "Alonzo?"

"I am here, my patrón." Alonzo was immediately before him, filling Zane's vision.

He shivered in anticipation. "I need you."

"Not yet, my new son," Tezcatlipoca purred. "Look who would like to join us."

Held aloft by the smoky form of Tezcatlipoca, Zane glanced toward the building. There was a door where there hadn't been one before, and the Grendel turned sideways and ducked through the exit, barely squeezing through the opening. Cord's scales glimmered like a million rubies in the torch light, his blue eyes startling in their intensity as he stared longingly at Zane, his arousal proudly jutting outward.

Behind the Cord came the massive, horse-sized ghost wolf, shimmering as if made of moonlight. Like Tezcatlipoca, Xander's form looked just as insubstantial and transparent, but Zane bet that if he touched the wolf, his hand would be met with silky fur. Prince arrogantly strode out already in his human form, just as nude as Zane and covered in gray-black ash. The giant wolf pressed into Prince as if giving comfort.

The fish-man exited, snarling with his hands spread, dangerous claws on display as he glanced warily around as if expecting to be attacked at any moment. The Grendel grabbed him by the neck and pulled him close, whispering in his ear. The fish-man changed before Zane's eyes. The green-gray skin coloring melting away, the spines and claws receding until Raine stood naked, cuddling against Cord's ruby scales, though his gaze remained wary and watchful.

Anson momentarily filled the doorframe, his body impressive. Every dip and crevice of his dark skin accentuated by the gray ash. His eyes though, were completely black, reflecting the torchlight like a mirror. His body might look human — his eyes were anything but, making Zane shiver with unexpected desire.

Midnight still looked as if he was part stone, though it was hard to tell since he too was covered in ash. He pulled Skyld along behind him. Zane's brother still wore the armor, but as he watched, the metal liquefied and was sucked back into the wristbands Skyld never removed. Zane was grateful that Skyld wore a pair of briefs. There were some things he did not need to see.

Tezcatlipoca moved with Zane toward the large stone altar, still stroking every part of Zane's skin, keeping him on a needy edge. "When I examined them earlier, it was easy to see they were tenuously connected to you, therefore I claimed them as mine. My Most Trusted needs a tribe. Will you accept them, be there patrón and give Alonzo what he desperately requires?"

Tendrils of black smoke reached out and touched each man as they approached the enormous altar. Cord, Xander, and Midnight changed into their human forms. Then all of them, including Skyld, knelt before him and Tezcatlipoca. Alonzo moved to join them, and Zane made a noise of protest, not wanting subservience from Alonzo or any of them. He was nobody and definitely not one who should be held aloft, placed on a pedestal.

"This is how they need to start out," Tezcatlipoca explained. Zane figured the god was reading his thoughts again. "They give themselves to me knowing you are the leader I have chosen, their guide and rock, there patrón and protection. This will be the beginning of your tribe. In the future, you will have to carefully and wisely choose who you except among you, else you put the whole in danger."

Zane nodded, eyelids falling closed as dark fingers pressed against his lips. He opened, trying not to squirm as Tezcatlipoca relentlessly stroked him everywhere the smoky form touched. He was so aroused he was having trouble concentrating. He wanted to lay back and indulge in the sensations. A small part of him warned he needed to pay attention, that he might not quite understand what this ancient god wanted from him. But as soon as he thought it, the niggle floated away on the warm wind. Cool stone pressed against the too hot skin of his back.

"Are you ready to be sacrificed?" Tezcatlipoca asked. Suddenly the night sounds ceased, and the wind stopped as if everything held its breath, listening for Zane's answer.

"Yes," he breathed out in a sigh. When he opened his eyes, Tezcatlipoca's amber ones were inches away, blazing like twin suns, blinding him, hypnotizing him.

Willingly, he dove in.

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