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       Soul Of A Man (The Dark Souls), p.1

           Jamie Begley
 
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Soul Of A Man (The Dark Souls)


  Soul Of A Man

  (The Dark Souls, #1)

  by

  Jamie Begley

  Copyright © 2013 by Jamie Begley

  Published by Young Ink Press, LLC

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  This work of fiction is intended for mature audiences only. All sexually active characters portrayed in this ebook are eighteen years of age or older. Please do not buy if strong sexual situations and explicit language offends you.

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  Prologue

  Fate stood in the corner, invisible to the three adults entering the room filled with children of varying ages. A couple seeking to adopt a child and the social worker eager to find a good home for one of her charges. Fate’s lip curled into a sneer, some loving home. The woman seeking to adopt would be no loving mother, but a monster in hiding. Her weak husband knew the evil she hid, yet he sought to appease the monster and turn her viciousness toward a new victim.

  “How old is this one?” Susan Greer stood over a small, delicate blond girl.

  The social worker looked at her notes. “She is seven-years-old.”

  Fate waved her hand. Susan Greer frowned. “Too old.” She moved toward a boy with brown hair quietly playing with blocks on a small table.

  “This one?” she questioned.

  “Ten.” The social worker began to tell her about the boy, “Sam is a quiet child. He loves attention and is quite affectionate.” Fate again waved her hand.

  “Again, too old. Don’t you have any that are younger?” Noticing the frown beginning to form on the social worker’s face, Susan Greer—a master manipulator—forced an insincere smile to her lips. “I just believe the adjustment will be much easier for a younger child.”

  “I see.” Looking at her notes, she walked to a dark haired boy who was trying desperately to hide behind a toy box.

  “This young man is Jericho; he is four-years-old. His father is deceased and his mother recently signed over parental rights. She has a drug addiction and could no longer take care of him. Children services had been called in for neglect.”

  “How sad.” Susan reached down to touch the boy, but he shrank back further against the wall. ”Would you like to come home with us?”

  A mutinous pair of dark eyes stared back at the woman. “No! I don’t wanna go.” He turned toward the social worker pleadingly. “Please, I don’t wanna go with the mean lady.”

  “Now, Jericho, this nice lady and her husband want to adopt you and make a nice home for you. Wouldn’t you like a bedroom to yourself?”

  “No!”

  “He’s the one. I can tell he desperately needs us. Don’t you agree, Frank?”

  “Whatever you want, dear.” Susan Greer turned her beady eyes towards her husband, who began to visibly shake with her attention turned to him.

  “Fine, let’s go to the office. Your paperwork has already been approved by the State. We’ll set up a visitation schedule and a home visit when Jericho knows you better.” The social worker was excited by the prospect of a potential adoption. There were so many children to place and too few people willing to adopt. Any doubts she personally had about the Greer’s she suppressed. After all, the State had approved their application after a thorough background check. With over a hundred children to supervise, she was too busy to second guess the State’s decision.

  “That sounds wonderful. I can’t wait until we’re one, big, happy family.” She stared down at the little boy who stared back at her with eyes that seemed to see the evil inside her. She couldn’t wait until his training would begin. She bent down to the small boy.

  “I’ll be seeing you soon, my dear.” As they left the room, Jericho knew the scary woman would be back for him.

  Fate watched the boy as he bravely fought his frightened tears, his trembling lips firmed, and she barely heard his whispered words, “She don’t scare me.” She stiffened when she realized he had spoken directly to her.

  Fate was invisible to human eyes, yet the child could see her.

  “Sometimes my job just sucks!” Fate muttered before she disappeared.

  Chapter One

  The crowd was huge. Fate frowned; her sister should have arrived at the meeting before her. She supposed she could brave Mother Nature and Father Time alone, however she preferred to wait until she had reinforcements. Mother was going to be angry with her for not bringing her daughters, and it was never a good thing to piss off Mother.

  Taking a drink from a passing cherub, Fate could only guess whose bright idea that had been to have them as servers; probably using them to soothe over any discord arising from within the room. Not that they would be much help, without their powers they were useless. Then again, so was everyone else in the room of immortals.

  To gain entrance to the high council meeting all immortals’ powers were removed, courtesy of Merlin’s spell, only to be returned upon leaving. This had come about due to the high number of deaths at the first few meetings. You couldn’t expect to fill a room with Gods, Saints and Magick, and not expect a little bloodshed. It was only when a vampire had dared to bite Venus that Merlin had come up with a spell, figuratively checking their powers at the door.

  It had taken several meetings before the immortals returned to council, wary of trusting Merlin, but there were disputes and wars to settle; personal goals could be accomplished with the council’s help. Wars could be shortened and often prevented with the council’s guidance and none of the immortals wanted to make the council members irritated at their absence. The council was the best of the best. No one wanted to make them angry. It often had nasty consequences.

  Mother Nature and Father Time were co-chairmen, Jupiter represented the Gods, Merlin represented Magick, Christopher represented the Saints and Vlad represented the Earth Spirits. Each could bring prosperity or an extremely painful death.

  Fate sighed, these meetings could be quite boring and she had only attended to please Mother Nature. Friends from the beginning of time, they saw little of each of other as their duties required constant vigilance. Mother was looking forward to seeing Zerina, Broni and Cara, but Fate had been unable to bring herself to allow them to leave home. She consoled her own guilty conscience that they were busy and it would have been too dangerous to leave mortals unattended during the meetings, though Fate knew it was a weak argument and wouldn’t cut it with Mother. Friends they may be, yet Fate was expected to obey her demands.

  “Why the frown?” Fate turned toward her sister’s voice.

  “You’re late.” Destiny shrugged.

  “I had a last minute assignment. You don’t seem too pleased, what’s wrong?”

  “Just bored, I guess.” Fate tried to shrug off the feeling of impending doom; it was never a good thing for her to feel this way.

  “Perhaps we should leave?” Destiny turned and headed for the door.

  “No, I’ve yet to speak to Mother Nature and Father Time. I have to stay until the vote on Rocque comes from the council
.”

  “He doesn’t look too worried,” Destiny muttered.

  Fate shrugged. “He has repeatedly warned others to stay out of his forest. His wolves were attacked and slaughtered by the rogue vampires. He dealt with them far kinder than Vlad would have.”

  Destiny stared at her sister in disbelief. “He burnt them at a huge bonfire during daylight. That’s overkill don’t you think?”

  “Vlad would have tortured them first. You’re just mad because he doesn’t fear you.”

  “That only proves his stupidity.” Destiny looked at the arrogant Lord. His day was coming.

  Her thoughts were captured by her sister’s laughter.

  “Relax. This is supposed to be our time of freedom from our responsibilities.”

  “One day he will go too far,” Destiny muttered.

  “Don’t worry; I think I can guarantee a front row seat.” Fate laughed, finally allowing herself to relax for the first time since her arrival.

  “Promise me?” Destiny laughed, looking forward to her sister’s interference, mischief plain on her striking face.

  “I promise,” Fate answered. “Look, the council is returning with a verdict.” They listened quietly as Mother read off Rocque’s punishment.

  Destiny turned away in disappointment. “I can’t believe it.”

  “I can. He’s one of Mother’s favorites. Come on; let’s go see our dear friend so I can get out of here.”

  As the two women made their way forward, many turned to watch their progress. Everyone in the room feared them to some extent. They were the Moirae, feared by all. Conversations lowered and ceased, not wanting themselves heard. Many stared as the women passed with their white gowns hugging their bodies, their creamy skin and dark hair striking. Some even scampered out of their way, not wanting to be noticed.

  “I see Aphrodite is with Valentine.”

  “Slut,” Destiny retorted.

  “Venus is flirting with Vlad.”

  “Bitch.”

  “Morgana La Faye and Merlin are arguing over in the corner.”

  “Psycho.”

  They were still laughing as they reached Mother Nature’s dais where she was talking with Rocque who moved aside at their approach, but didn’t leave as both had hoped. Bowing, they waited for their nod of permission before rising.

  “Daughters.” Mother’s eyes searched the crowd.

  “Mother, you are looking beautiful as usual.”

  “Where are your daughters?” Mother Nature turned her icy glare toward her disobedient subject. “It was my wish that they come.”

  “They have their duties—” Fate began before being rudely cut off.

  “Cut the crap, Fate. We all have important duties. You refused to bring them because you want them kept at home under your thumb.” Fate stiffened at her friend’s censure.

  “That’s not true. They leave the safety of our home frequently, but—”

  “Be quiet! We both know that you did not bring them because you try to hide them away from the other immortals. Their beauty is well known. You try to hide them for no reason. You of all should know this.”

  “They are still young, needing guidance—” Fate again was interrupted.

  Mother’s eyes narrowed. “Your daughters are centuries old. Beware Fate, the arrogance which you and your sister are so quick to judge others of could be your downfall.”

  “Are you warning me, Mother?” Fate became rigid at Mother’s harsh words.

  Mother Nature sighed. “Fate, you and Destiny are headed for a rude awakening if you do not change your ways. I have spoiled you both, so I must also take responsibility for the way you behave. But I am giving you fair warning, I won’t tolerate your disobedience much longer.” Mother Nature now included both women in her glare.

  “What have I done? I have no children to bring.” Destiny smirked at her sister, for once glad she hadn’t brought their friend’s displeasure down upon their heads.

  “And that is another bone of contention with me, Destiny. Your failure to provide me with additional children. You know the world desperately needs your daughters, yet you have failed to do so. May I ask just what you are waiting for?”

  “I am not ready to become a wife or a mother.” Destiny shrugged.

  “Do you know who the father will be?” Mother Nature questioned.

  “I do not,” Destiny replied. “You know we can not see our own future.”

  “Yes, but I am beginning to believe you have a suspicion of who he is.”

  Destiny shrugged again, not quite meeting Mother’s eyes. “He is immortal, I am an immortal. There is plenty of time.”

  Mother Nature grew rigid in fury. “You dare to be glib with me?” Destiny knew when she had gone too far.

  “I apologize, Mother. I didn’t mean to sound glib.”

  “Daughter, do not apologize to me unless you mean it. Be very careful, Destiny, there is one who wants you bad enough to not fear you or your sister’s powers.”

  Fear glinted briefly in Destiny’s eyes before she quickly hid it behind her usual sarcasm.

  “I can’t believe anyone is that stupid.”

  “Neither can I,” a snide voice said.

  Destiny turned toward Rocque. “This is a private conversation; move along, Spot.”

  Ice dripped from Rocque’s voice. “What did you call me?”

  “I’m sorry; did I misunderstand your punishment? Aren’t you sentenced to being a dog for the next decade?” This was in itself no punishment for an immortal like Rocque. The council could have forced him to become any living object; instead they allowed him to keep the form of a wolf, which he usually ran around in anyway.

  “Wolf; not a dog, a wolf.” Rocque became angrier at Destiny’s sarcastic smile.

  “Ah, my mistake, a wolf.” She turned around, giving him her back, not seeing the reaction her final retort produced. “Perhaps the bitches you enjoy rutting on will keep you from messing in matters that are not your concern.”

  “All matters of the Forest are my concern.” Rocque’s hands clenched into fists.

  Destiny turned back to face the angry Lord. “I thought that was the council’s job, not yours.”

  “I merely intervened.”

  “You interfered,” Destiny corrected him.

  Rocque shrugged his broad shoulders. “It won’t be the last time.”

  “Want to bet?” Destiny raised her hands, determined to zap the hell out of him. Rocque’s laughter stopped their motion.

  “You’re powerless here, remember?” Destiny fumed at his sarcastic words.

  “Be careful, Rocque, that you don’t make me angry. I could always have you mate with one of your bitches at an opportune time to ensure fertility. I think a father of sextuplets would cramp your style quite a bit, don’t you?” Her laughter rang out when Rocque’s face paled at her threat. “Better yet, perhaps I’ll introduce you to Morgana La Faye. I think you would make a delightful couple.”

  Destiny was speechless when Rocque merely gave her a devilish smile. “If you’re giving out introductions, why not introduce me to your three nieces? I could be persuaded to take one to wife.” Seeing Destiny beginning to shake in fury, Rocque’s satisfaction at riling her became evident. “We’ll be one, big, happy family. That would make you my aunt.”

  Destiny’s temper exploded. She leapt at him, determined to knock the arrogant smirk off his face, however, before she could make contact, Odin caught her in mid-air. “Calm yourself, Destiny.”

  Destiny pointed her finger at Rocque. “You will never have one of my nieces. That, I can guarantee.”

  Rocque was cut short when he began to make another reply. “Be quiet, Rocque!” Odin bellowed over Destiny’s shrieks of anger.

  “Let her go.”

  Odin turned with Destiny still in his arms at Fate’s order. “Control your sister.” Odin released Destiny from his hold.

  Fate snapped at the God. “Destiny will stop when Lord Doggie quits aggravating her,
and she is quite right, he will never have one of my daughters.” Seeing Rocque tense at Fate’s words, and about to start an argument with her, Odin coldly took control.

  “Fate, you and your sister cannot continue trying to intimidate others with your powers.”

  “I don’t know why not.” Fate gave a delicate shrug. “Destiny gives them a fair chance. She gives them a choice. I merely step in when it’s made.”

  “And you of course have never made a mistake?” Odin questioned.

  “Oh, I have made several.” Her eyes slid toward Valentine then returned to Odin’s. “Some worse than others.” Her disgust of him plain on her face.

  Odin’s muscled frame stiffened as anger filled his rugged features. “You dare talk to me with such disrespect?”

  “Yes, I dare! I have every right to be furious with you. You tricked me into believing you were Valentine!” Fate yelled at the God, not caring that everyone in the room was listening.

  “Fate, you knew within minutes it was me. You simply chose to pretend it was him.”

  “I did not, though I should have. He is much better in bed.”

  At her snide remark, Odin took a step toward her, determined to throttle her.

  “I’ll show you who’s better—”

  Fate took a step forward, not afraid of the pissed off God. “You will never touch me again. Dare and I will pay Merlin to turn your dick into a dried up fig, you old…”

  All the eyes in the room spun toward Merlin, who turned pale at Odin’s glare. “I would never.” He squeaked at the thought of Odin’s fury turned toward him. Terror was obvious on the old magician’s lined face.

  “Enough!” screamed Mother Nature, her crown slipping sideways on her head at the same time her raised voice woke Chronas, who had been napping in the chair at her side, oblivious to the arguments going on around him. With a jeweled hand, she righted her golden crown while also giving the sisters a reprimanding stare.

  “I see why you two don’t have husbands. Who could put up with you hellions for an eternity?” Both women unrepentantly nodded their heads in agreement.

 
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