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A FORBIDDEN PASSIONA Gods and Demons Novel
By J. Martin
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 J. Martin
All right reserved.
Chapter OneScreams of pain and horror vibrated and powerfully shook the stone walls surrounding Makaria. The shrill shrieks would have been deafening to anyone else, but for the beautiful and often inconspicuous spirit of Death being comfortable with screaming, screeching, and overall disturbing behavior was a requirement of her job. Makaria reveled in the role she played in bringing judgment to those who failed to pay appropriate worship to her beloved father Hades, dreaded God of the Underworld.
For centuries Makaria led souls, typically unwillingly, into the dark, fiery pit of Hell to live out their eternal reward. If a soul had lived a mortal lifestyle disrespecting the Gods and Goddesses, after death, the soul was treated like an A List celebrity in Hell. The soul would receive preferential, "red carpet" treatment, but in Hell, that meant unspeakable, unimaginable torture. And the Oscar goes to—the asshole who didn't know Hades is the true King of the Gods. Applause.
At present, Makaria was escorting one said asshole, who was putting up quite a struggle, through the Gates of Hell into Tartarus. She sighed in gratification. All around her was evidence of the misery and agony Hades and Hecate, Goddess of Witchcraft and Magic, bestowed upon their victims. Black, shadowy, evil spirits with long, black tongues spit at and taunted the male she was dragging along with her. He cowered and wailed almost clinging to Makaria for comfort as he limped along beside her.
Makaria was allegedly the more merciful of the minions whose job it was to transfer souls to Hell. In fact, prior to Thanatos' disappearance about a week ago, she had been more responsible for taking souls to the isles of the blest than to Tartarus. Recently she was transporting Demon soul after Demon soul to Tartarus. Hades was desperate to locate Thanatos and was dispatching Zeus' demon soldiers like they were going out of fashion. Of course this was just fine and dandy by Makaria's standards. Demons were such foul thugs.
Thinking about Thanatos and how he had gone unexpectedly missing made Makaria irate. Makaria pulled the steel chain wrapped around the male's neck tighter and forced him to walk faster. Thanatos was Death. He was considered merciless, heartless and, thus, was despised by all mortals. What mortal did not fear death knocking at his door? What mortal did not cower and cringe when Death reared his lethal head? Death's motto was one could run, one could hide, but he would always find his victim. Death certainly had a plethora of enemies. Any number of beings could be responsible for his vanishing.
Makaria forced herself to focus on her present task. She had minor sympathy for what would soon befall this male in Tartarus, but really his deplorable blubbering and wailing in her ear was starting to test her so-called sympathetic nature. She wanted to take her long fingernails and scratch his eyes out then force him to eat his own eyes. Her dear father Hades would love her for that particular twist and maybe even grant her some vacation time. This male had lived his pathetic life proclaiming allegiance to Zeus alone and had been a part of Zeus' elite army of Demon warriors. This male was her enemy.
"Shut up." Makaria finally screamed at the male hissing at him and penetrating him with an evil glare. Her sapphire blue eyes gleamed bright in the gloom of the passageway. "Please, please." He begged. "I don't deserve this. Help me."
Help him? He had aided the forces against Hades and he desired her help? Never. She could feel some compassion for what would happen to the male when he encountered Hades or wicked Hecate in Tartarus, but she would never help a corrupt soul escape his fate. Most especially any man who had lived to end servitude towards her father and allied with Zeus, her sorry-ass uncle.
Centuries ago, sometime after the Titanomachy, a divine war between the Titans and olympians, Zeus and Hades had an argument. It was a typical, 'i'm-a-stronger-God-than-you-are' petty kind of argument, but the result was bitter feuding between the brothers which had led to years of war, violence, bloodshed and catastrophic desecration of temples and cities. The warfare had recently begun to get more malicious. Now with the disappearance of Thanatos and Hades suspecting Zeus of being responsible, it was only expected that Hades would retaliate in some way. Not only expected, but essential to the status of Hades' army. An eye for an eye was his attitude.
Hades and Zeus, quite frankly, hated one another and that was putting it mildly. Makaria was her father's ally; therefore, she reviled Zeus and wished him nothing but pain and agony. Eternal pain and agony.
Meandering further down the dark passageways with the soul in tow and the screeching of the Hounds of Hell all around them, Makaria finally encountered the Mormo, fearsome Underworld spirits who served Hecate. Their howling enveloped the male as she tossed him into their awaiting arms.
"These folks will take care of you from here." she told the soul with little compassion in her voice.
'Noooooo!" the male screamed. He looked beseechingly at Makaria with his hollow gray eyes. As if I would help you, she thought icily.
The Mormo were vampire-like creatures and would show the male what wonderful amusements he could expect to encounter in Tartarus. As Makaria sauntered away, she heard the male's screams of terror and horror. Let the fun and games begin.
"Have a Hell of a time." Makaria shouted into the darkness, her voice and laughter echoing chillingly.
Makaria had been summoned to her father's throne room. Her heart was beating fast. She had tried unsuccessfully a billion times to convince her father that she should be helping with the war against Zeus. She wanted to be front and center on the battlefield. Being Hades' only daughter, she knew he hesitated to utilize her in the war, but she was ready and was no longer going to sit by idly and watch Zeus flex his muscles.
Makaria had the feeling that the meeting was about Thanatos. Had he been found? Was Hades finally ready to give her some responsibility? she couldn't wait any longer to be considered a true fighter, a force with no equivalent. Okay maybe that was going a bit far, but she knew she could be victorious if Hades just gave her the green light, the big thumbs up. After all, she was his daughter.
To her dismay, but not surprise, she heard loud shouting coming from inside his room. Before Makaria could knock, she heard Hades bellow her name. He had sensed her outside the door.
Makaria took a deep breath and hurried into the room. She immediately noticed Hades was not alone. Hecate was standing by his ebony throne, her fists clenched at her sides. Beside her on the ground in a fetal position lie the male whose soul Makaria had just delivered to the Mormo and it was obvious he had been tortured. Blood was spilling down his neck from deep puncture wounds and he had been stripped naked. From the looks of things, the male appeared to have been viciously castrated. They certainly had not been delayed in getting the games started with this particular male.
Hades was pacing back and forth running a frustrated hand through his thick, black hair. "He's going to pay dearly for this."
Makaria knew without having to ask that the "he" was Zeus and from her father's agitated state, she discerned that Zeus suddenly had a strong upper hand in their war with one another. Zeus must indeed have kidnapped Thanatos.
"Is Thanatos all right?" Makaria demanded.
Two pairs of eyes turned in her direction piercing her with troubled stares.
"We aren't sure. We know Zeus has him." Hades declared not wasting any time filling Makaria in with the information she had already determined.
How had Zeus managed to capture death? Thanatos was not only the Grim Reaper, but an incredible warrior and soldier. He was like a thief in the night, who moved stealthily in silence, his presence unexpected and rarely suspected until it was simply too late.
Hecate cleared her throat. "Makaria, the male you just delivered to Tartarus has given us the name of the immortal that had captured Thanatos and delivered him to Zeus. His name is Lucas Conrad. He goes by Luc. He is a demon and Commander of Zeus' Thunderbolt Army."
Makaria almost laughed herself in a dither every time she heard Thunderbolt Army. Could Zeus have been cornier? At least her father's minions, made up mostly of Vampires and Witches, but also some Fallen Angles who revered Lucifer, referred to themselves as The dark Lords. Makaria had a distinct feeling that Zeus, intelligent as he was, purposely chose such an absurd name for his army.
"A Demon that powerful to stare Death in the face and defeat him?" Makaria asked in awe and disbelief. "He must have been aided by Zeus himself." Makaria felt an unfamiliar stirring within her. She was rather intrigued by this Demon who had kidnapped Thanatos. He had to be extremely intelligent and shrewd. That couldn't be possible, though. Demons were brutes. All brawn and no brains. Makaria grew livid with herself. She couldn't be impressed with a Demon. Makaria felt unclean and shuddered forcing the admiration to vanish from her mind. Game on, she thought. Zeus would have Hell to pay. Literally.
"How can I help?" she asked excitedly. Because she would help one way or another. With or without her daddy's permission.
Thanatos was a good friend and Makaria would do anything to aid his safe return to Hades. Without Thanatos to guide corrupt souls to Hell, the souls would be left wandering solid earth, haunting mortals and their sins remaining unpunished.
"Thanatos was off-limits and my immoral brother knew it." Hades slammed his fist into the stone wall. The soul on the ground trembled violently and let out a piercing wail.
Hecate took over the discussion. "Makaria, although your father is having some doubts, I have convinced him that you would be the perfect choice to go to Athens, Texas and find this Luc Conrad with the order that he free Thanatos. So, you will return to Tartarus with Thanatos and this Demon Luc. Oh, and while you are at it, you will also bring back Zeus' Thunderbolt." Hecate added this piece casually as if bringing this mythical object to Hell would be of no great hardship or consequence.
Makaria was on fire. She had been entrusted with a great responsibility and she would prevail. She had been waiting for so long for her father to confer on her some task in this war. This was her moment to prove herself a worthy Goddess, to earn her father's respect, and to earn the right to be called Hades' daughter.
There was also a part of Makaria that couldn't wait to look into the eyes of the Demon who thought he could pull the wool over Hades' eyes. He had played with fire and was now going to get severely burned. Makaria couldn't wait to bring this Demon to his knees, watch him crawl and beg for mercy.
Hades presented a series of weapons on the table before her to aid her in her mission. Makaria took stock. There were some modern fighting weapons, like throwing stars, knives and flying claws, but also some mythical weapons like Achilles' Pelican spear. She was familiar with the weaponry. This would be easy as pie. She couldn't see a demon being much competition for a Goddess. Then again this Lucas Conrad did do the unthinkable—capture death. she marveled in that indisputable truth again, but dismissed it quickly. She would triumph and Lucas' immortal lifespan would be cut unexpectedly a few centuries short.
"Are you sure you are up for this?" Hades asked her, his voice strangely gruff.
"Yes, Father. I want to do this." Makaria hated that she sounded so desperate and whiney, but she would not be able to sleep at night knowing that the demon who had kidnapped Thanatos was out there running free, possibly planning the capture of his next victim, or worse hurting Thanatos.
She bid Hades and Hecate a good night. Before she exited, however, Hades called to her. She planned on getting an early start. There wasn't time to waste when a friend's life was at stake.
Makaria faced her father again. He wasn't one to show much emotion or affection, but there was a slight sheen in his eyes. "Don't let me down."
Hades tossed her something silver and lustrous which Makaria caught with perfect ease. Makaria's smile was evil and malevolent. Her father had just provided her with certain victory: The Helm of darkness, Hades' Cap of Invisibility.
Chapter TwoLucas Conrad only just came through the door of the condo he shared with his two younger brothers, when both Bowe and Trey were on him. He sighed. As much as he loved his brothers, they really needed to work on their patience levels. He could control and manage a lot of things, but he couldn't do much about the supermarket checkout lines.
"Finally, dude." Bowe said not even peeling his eyes away from the most recent episode, rather, train wreck, of MTV's Jersey Shore which was presently displayed on the large Hd flat screen TV.
"Calm down, bowe, I got your Monster Energy drink right here. No, Trey, I did not forget you. I got your Red Bull." He added when the youngest Conrad brother stuck his head out of his room, pierced eyebrows arched in question.
The "Conrad Condo" as it had come to be known as, was always filled with some kind of commotion. Bowe was usually engrossed in any reality show on MTV that he could find. Whether it was Jersey Shore or The Real World, he had to watch the latest episodes. Trey, on the other hand, was usually blasting his favorite songs by Metallica or some obscure punk band like Crawling Chaos. Needless to say, his taste in music was eclectic, kind of like his appearance.
Lucas was the most logical and disciplined of the three brothers. He was Commander of Zeus' demon army for a reason. He was systematic and methodical and could be trusted to perform in battle under any kind of duress. To date, he had never disappointed or failed Zeus and had no intention of doing so in the future. Luc took his job very seriously. It had always been his greatest dream and purpose in life to be Commander, just like his father, Evander Conrad, had been. His father had wanted this for Luc, and everyday Luc strived to be at his strongest to never let his father or Zeus down.
The three Conrad brothers were all attractive, tall with broad shoulders, muscular chests and slender waists. each sported wickedly charming smiles and serpent tattoos on their backs, but that was where the similarities ended.
Luc was blue-eyed, with hair that was jet black, thick and wavy. He spent most of his time in the gym, boxing and perfecting his martial arts fighting skills. Whether it was Judo or Jiu-jitsu, Luc's mantra was kill or be killed and since dying was never on the agenda, Luc made sure his body was always in the most perfect condition for combat. Recently, with the war between Zeus and Hades getting more ferocious, combat was as common as breathing. Luc practically lived in the fitness center on Mount Olympus, honing and refining his already rugged body and sharpening his unfaltering fighting ability.
Bowe was the egotistical brother with long and curly, surfer-boy blond hair and golden amber eyes. His preferred physical training routine had to do with women, women and more women. He did enjoy surfing in all its forms; surfing the waves, surfing the web and channel surfing. strangely though, Bowe was the strongest and the most daunting demon to encounter. He could rip a Vampire or Warlock apart with his teeth. It was extraordinary, but also vile to watch.
Trey was the brother who kept mostly to himself. He was quiet, but Trey was damn skilled with his hands. He handled weapons better than Hephaestus made them. His eyes were bi-colored blue and green and he pretty much changed his hair color as often as he changed his underwear. right now he was sporting a bright blue hue to match his one eye. Trey was the youngest and therefore, Luc was always most worried about him. It wasn't because Trey was any less of a fighter than his brothers, but simply because Trey had recently undergone a personal tragedy that had shattered him, changed him, on some level. Luc was having a hard time figuring out what to do for his little brother who had been prone to pranks and comedic antics prior to his emotional breakdown.
Excerpted from A FORBIDDEN PASSION by J. Martin Copyright © 2011 by J. Martin. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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