Forsaken Fates, page 1part #2 of Forbidden Realms Series
-A Forbidden Realms Novel-
copyright © 2019 sj doran
Non-transferable. All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission, with the exception of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. The unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted works is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher’s permission.
This is a work of fiction. the names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, actual events, locale, or organizations is entirely coincidental.
ISBN: 97 81693247 583
Cover design by Pretty in Ink Creations
Created with Vellum
1. Coming undone
3. House call
5. Head games
6. Three simple words
7. Promises kept
8. Point of no return
9. Ashes to dust
12. Heal with a side of regret
14. Sanctum profānum
15. Let’s start a riot
16. Oddly enough
17. The Way We Were
18. Between vengeance and mercy
19. Do you know the Ferryman?
20. Nary a drop to drink
21. The river
22. They all went to Kur and ate dust
23. Underworld visitations
24. Bones, dust and demons
25. What little boys are made of
26. Dropping In
28. Traitors and trades
29. Peddling corruption
30. Heavy burdens
31. A queen gained, a Sarratum lost
33. A Family reunion
35. Quick Fix
36. Building Empires
38. Not so much a harem
40. A room with a view
41. Dark deals
43. Define Monster
44. Utterly mad
45. Safe word
46. Last reach
47. A rocky journey
48. Oh that’s Lich
50. Must be the regent of the Lich
51. Into the Labyrinth
52. Walls came tumbling
53. I now pronounce you
55. One ring to bind
56. Tap out
58. Done deal
60. Beneath the full moon
-Prophecy of Destiny-
(roughly translated from its original Sumerian)
By the seed of betrayal born, and in unholy union bound, their love consummated shall herald the end of times.
The four horsemen rise to the call of Justice’s blade, when corruption wears the ruby crown.
By fated love and vengeance destiny will fall.
Creation purged by fire’s destruction,
or bound by the might of the light.
-Foretelling of Fate-
Though pink ribbon are connected the sword and the rod.
Severed fates bound by ring and by cot.
To Dante for giving us his Hells
To Sir Terry Pratchett for showing us his heaven
To the Bogmummy for taking the wheel
Heard on high
Ziva stood before a podium facing seven delegates of the celestial Triads, each representing one of the celestial kingdoms, the highest echelons of the heavens, charged with the sacred duty of executing the will of the light.
Her usual bravado was silenced under their scrutiny. Two hundred years of patient waiting was about to end, she was about to receive her first orders.
This was her moment.
After years of being overlooked upon the training fields, she was finally getting her chance at claiming a place within the ranks of celestial power. Finally given the opportunity to earn her stripes as a warrior of the light, a soldier tasked to defend all that was good and pure within creation.
The sacred triad was about to acknowledge her as worthy of their trust, the greatest honor possible bestowed upon a trainee. Her graduation.
She’d waited so long for this, and should be elated at having been selected, yet rather than soaking up the moment, all she could focus on was her rising urgency to find Jez’Piel.
Be strong, brother. One way or another I will bring you home.
He was her twin, celestial siblings sharing the rarest bond amongst their kind, that of organic conception. For the last five hundred years, few angels had been ‘born’. Most of their kind were created by the light, stepping out from that holiest of primordial energies fully grown and fit for battle.
Instead, she and Jez had been children together, growing up amidst the training fields of the third kingdom, practically inseparable until he’d received his orders. She’d eagerly awaited his return, he never had.
He hadn’t been allowed to share what his orders had been, it’s a sacred duty, a private one, and for all she knew, his being in the Hells was part of his task.
She was grateful he wasn’t dead, although perhaps it would have been preferable if he had perished because her brother was suffering. Their connection was still strong enough to know this.
Be strong just a little longer Jez.
Getting her orders at this time couldn’t be a coincidence. Rumors abounded in the training fields, whispers of treason, insinuating Jez had willingly disobeyed his orders, that he’d fallen. This was nonsense of course. Her brother was a noble warrior, and a devoted servant to the light. If he had failed, then it was not by his choosing.
The triad would know this of course, they knew everything. That’s why it made perfect sense they would send her on a search and rescue mission, they would surely give her the opportunity to disprove the rumors, and should they be true, then the triad would charge her with his retrieval. They wouldn’t leave him to suffer.
She just wished they’d get on with it already rather than waste time with frivolous ceremony.
Nervously hopping from one foot to the other she stood at the center of the near-empty auditorium, her hand instinctively moving for the hilt of her sword at her side, finding it missing. Carrying weapons before any member of the triad was considered an offense, which didn’t make much sense, any one of them were capable of controlling the actions and thoughts of a lower level celestial through command.
Inorganic celestials had no free will, and even organic angels like her and Jez found it near impossible to disobey an order given by the triad. Celestial voice they called it, a necessary tool ensuring the will of the light was always obeyed. The Triad were immaculate, but those not chosen by the light remained vulnerable to corruption. Weak to the temptations brought forth by the Hells.
“Recruit Ziva’athalia, are you listening?”
She was forced to incline her head as soon as that penetrating voice boomed through her head, forcing her attention back to the Triad.
“You seem uneasy, child.”
The voice which spoke s
“These are her first orders, and we are frightening her. A sensible response considering the severity of current circumstances.”
All looked to the Seraphim who had spoken. The most powerful of the seven, seated in a place of honor within the semicircle formation, her hands folded over while looking down upon Ziva from the safety of her perch.
Her ethereal face was one of kindness, her voice calming. Yet it couldn’t erase the uneasiness caused by those luminous eyes, her stare cold and unwavering. The unnerving feature of one born from the light.
That same apathetic voice spoke again. “There will be no ceremony during the bequeathing of your first orders recruit Ziva’Athalia. No blessings, no witnesses, no honor, for your lineage has been shamed by your brother’s actions.” The Cherubim’s accusation stole her breath as effectively as a punch to the gut.
“We are gathered here to offer you the chance to repair what damage was done. As of this time The triad is unsure whether Jez’Piel’s failure to follow orders is circumstantial or an act of treason.” The Seraphim’s words were less acrid than that of the Cherubim, but no less offensive.
Are they honestly insinuating Jez to be capable of disobedience, of treason?
The Cherubim was looking at her expectantly, his disappointment that she’d remained impassive to his taunting evident in every stern line of his expression.
“Understand Ziva’Athalia, that should you fail to complete your given orders, the triad will be forced into a judgment. Organically conceived celestials are unconstrained, and often resistant when exposed to a celestial voice, this makes your kind the weakest link in our divine chain. Fail us, and we will be left with no other choice but to rule your lineage defective, and order all organic angels terminated by execution.”
She swallowed hard, shock rendering her incapable of anything else. A fact she was grateful for when sensing energy rush through her head, a sentient power poking around inside her mind, rummaging through her thoughts. It was an invasion, one she had to accept, for even the mind of a celestial wasn’t free. She belonged to the light, bound to the will of the triad.
Sunny sky, white clouds, blue water.
She focused in on those images, forcing her mind clear, hiding from her intruder the anger and betrayal within her thoughts. She was furious, and if discovered, they’d see her executed on the spot.
Instead, Ziva took a deep and cleansing breath before lowering her head down further, a showing of subservience. Performing the part expected of her, that of a perfect Celestial Power. Cool, composed, and above all obedient.
“I understand your holiness, I ask to be provided with my orders so I may see the light’s will be done.”
A long moment of silence followed her request.
“Warrior Ziva’Athalia, it is by the triads’ command that you are to bring back the head of Cassius, King of the Nine Hells, son of the fallen Seraphim Asmodeus. Kill him, and you shall have reclaimed your honor, and that of your brother.”
She blinked in confusion, this time certain she’d misheard. She wasn’t yet considered a soldier, merely a recruit, and they were charging her with the execution of the ruling King of Sin? Madness.
The powerful voice of the Seraphim rang out, “Rise warrior Ziva’Athalia.”
She obeyed without hesitation, or consciousness, her body instinctively obeying command as she stepped forward.
Sunny sky, white clouds, blue water…
The Cherubim rose, then approached.
Sunny sky, white clouds, blue water...
Without uttering a single word he pressed the palms of his hands upon her heated cheeks, and before she could try to make sense of his actions she felt the press of warm lips against her forehead. A celestial blessing from a triad, an honor many fought for, died for, and only a few had ever earned.
“You have the gifts required to defeat him, child. With my blessing upon you the demon king will fall. Your brother has failed us, but you, Ziva’Athalia will succeed. It will be you to take away Cassius’s strength, to break his shield and end his rule.”
Try as she might, she couldn’t prevent herself from squirming in his hold when unusual places on her body began to tingle and heat at his words, private places, their effect — though not entirely unpleasant, felt wrong. All of this felt wrong. But her charge was not to understand their commands, but simply obey. And she would, because it meant saving her brother. And saving the few celestials who like her and Jez, were different.
“It shall be done.”
He jumped with a scream that came out more like a groan, wide awake and drenched in sweat, for the however many millionth time that night.
Jez grumbled and pulled Cass’s head back to his chest. “Shh. She’s alive. Sleep and heal.” His voice was groggy. How many times had he repeated the same words to him since they’d taken Mara?
He’d been near death, his injuries more severe than he’d realized at the time, too injured to put up a fight when her Dominae had taken her unconscious body through the portal to Asurim. Az and Jez had hauled him here, to his bed, and he hadn’t been able to leave it since.
Hells but he wanted to, his body just wasn’t cooperating. The holy flames of the archangel’s portal had weakened him to the point he wasn’t regenerating his other injuries. His confrontation with his father had gone far from as planned, with his Celestial connections not having been factored. His battered body could still attest to what a piss-poor idea it had been, his broken ribs still sung with pain, difficult to ignore when he got a sharp reminder with each breath he took.
Jez’s breathing evened out, his wing relaxing and falling to the side, Cass’s mind remained in flux. He tried matching his breathing to Jez’s, letting the peaceful energy from the former angel flow through him.
But he was just so damned angry.
He knew Mara was safe, knew her overzealous Dominae would care for her while she healed — but that should have been his job. He wanted to be there for her. He needed her.
Instead, he got guards placed outside of his room. He was the fucking King in this realm and yet fared no better than a prisoner.
His arms were chained to the wall above his head, the cuffs binding his wrists dug into the base of his palms, shredding the skin. Rivulets of blood trickled down his arms, itching till he was nearly mad from the sensation. He’d given up trying to stay on his feet… hours ago? Days?
The guards watched him impassively, always watching, neither censure nor compassion visible in their expressions. Bas would come soon. He had to know by now that his father had locked him away in here…
Memories flooded his mind, crowding out thoughts, making it impossible to focus. Reality continued to overlap with memories that he could envision but not feel, his thoughts displaced and disjointed. None of it made any sense.
The only truth he knew was his feelings for Amara, the powerful emotions embedded so deeply they were like the building blocks of his personality as a whole. An imprint even his father’s cruelty hadn’t been able to fully erase.
Stripped of his soul, he had retained the feeling of caring for another above himself. An entirely un-demonic trait, and his salvation. She had carried his imprint all these centuries.
He needed her. Why couldn’t they understand that he just wanted to hold her? How many years had they spent with bars between them, willing to die for a single opportunity just to hold each other?
How many? He wasn’t even sure because his mind was still a confusing mass of chaos. They’d taken her away and now he had no tethers to that reality.
He was left here, reeling, trying to comprehend the enormity of it all with only his Herald to comfort him. Poor Jez was trying, left as discomfited by the emotions roiling through Cass as Cass was himself. But he was here. None
They were all complicit in treason, as far as he was concerned. He’d declared her his consort. And they’d taken her away.
He carefully slid out from Jez’s protective wing, easing off the bed so it wouldn’t shift and wake him once more. He grabbed the first t-shirt his hands fumbled across in the dark, pulling it over his head as he quietly exited his room.
A few of his guards, the elite Spark Hunters, milled about in the hall, all coming to attention at his sudden appearance, none seeming mindful that their rumpled king was wearing pajama pants and looked like he’d been wrestling with a wild animal.
Holy Flames had done shit for his complexion. There were spots on his body where the skin hadn’t knitted back together completely, most notably her sigil on his chest, the skin surrounding it hacked in his desperation.
It felt like weeks since they had parted him and Mara, since he had remembered everything, but in reality, he’d been holed up in his room for just over twenty-four hours.