Home > Dark Desires After Dusk (Immortals After Dark #6)

Dark Desires After Dusk (Immortals After Dark #6)
Author: Kresley Cole

Acknowledgments


My heartfelt thanks go out to the Gibson Hall Grid. You know cryptography, so I don’t have to. And much love to the usual suspects: Gena, Boo, Beth, and Rocki. All fabulous authors and amazing friends.

 

 

Glossary of Terms from The Living Book of Lore


The Lore

“…and those sentient creatures that are not human shall be united in one stratum, coexisting with, yet secret from, man’s.”

The Valkyrie

“When a maiden warrior screams for courage as she dies in battle, Wóden and Freya heed her call. The two gods give up lightning to strike her, rescuing her to their hall, and preserving her courage forever in the form of the maiden’s immortal Valkyrie daughter.”

Take sustenance from the electrical energy of the earth, sharing it in one collective power, and give it back with their emotions in the form of lightning.

Possess preternatural strength and speed.

Without training, they can be mesmerized by shining objects and jewels.

All first generation Valkyrie are half sisters.

 

The Demonarchies

“The demons are as varied as the bands of man….”

A collection of demon dynasties. Some kingdoms ally with the Horde.

Most demon breeds can trace like vampires. Some breeds are bound to obey summonses.

Those that can emit poison from their fangs, horns, or claws are more vulnerable to others’ poison.

A demon must have intercourse with a potential mate to ascertain if she’s truly his—a process known as attempting.

 

The Rage Demons

“The one who controls Tornin controls the kingdom….”

A demonarchy located in the plane of Rothkalina. Castle Tornin is their capitol. King Rydstrom III is their deposed monarch.

Rage demons were the guardians of the Well of Souls, a mystickal font of power located within Tornin.

The sorcerer Omort the Deathless seized Tornin, and thus Rydstrom’s throne.

 

The Vessel

“To be chosen is to be doomed…”

At the cusp of each Accession, a chosen female will beget a child who will become a warrior of either ultimate evil or of ultimate good—depending upon the father.

Of the last seven Vessels, six have spawned evil.

Some factions seek to assassinate the Vessel to prevent any birth. Others battle to possess her and control her offspring.

 

The Vampires

Two warring factions, the Horde and the Forbearer Army.

Tracing is teleporting, the vampires’ preferred means of travel. A vampire can only trace to destinations he’s previously been or to those he can see.

The Fallen are vampires who have killed by drinking a victim to death. Distinguished by their red eyes.

 

The House of Witches

“…immortal possessors of magickal talents, practitioners of good and evil.”

Mystickal mercenaries who sell their spells.

Strictly forbidden to create personal wealth or grant immortality.

 

Revenants

“The dead robbed of eternal rest, forced to serve a dark master…”

A corpse raised from the grave and reanimated, most often by a sorcerer or necromancer, who controls it.

Can’t be slain until the one who commands it is killed.

 

The Talisman’s Hie

“A treacherous and grueling scavenger hunt for magickal talismans, amulets, and other mystickal riches over the entire world.”

The rules forbid killing—until the final round. Any other trickery or violence is encouraged.

Held every two hundred fifty years.

 

Wendigo

“…corpse-eaters insatiable for flesh, ravenous for blood. They feed and feed, but can never be sated.”

Found in the boreal forests of cold and northern lands. Distinguishable by their long, knifelike claws, and bodies that are forever emaciated.

Will dig up graves for flesh.

 

The Accession

“And a time shall pass that all immortal beings in the Lore, from the Valkyrie, vampire, Lykae, and demon factions to the phantoms, shifters, fey, and sirens…must fight and destroy each other.”

A kind of mystickal checks-and-balances system for an ever-growing population of immortals.

Occurs every five hundred years. Or right now…

 

 

“A lot of people fear change. And traveling. And disarray. Sidewalk crack avoidance is more common than one would suspect.”

—Holly Ashwin, Tulane math instructor, PhD candidate with an emphasis on formal and computational cryptography

“The first rule of being a mercenary? Find out what the client wants, then convince him that, a) you can get it for him, and, b) you’re the only one who can get it for him. Second rule? Lie. Often. The truth rarely serves you well in this business.”

—Cadeon Woede, mercenary, second in line to the throne of the rage demons, a.k.a. Cade the Kingmaker

 

 

Prologue


Rothkalina, the Kingdom of the Rage Demons

In ages long past

Cadeon Woede came upon the headless bodies of his foster father and brothers first, the three slain in a desperate defense of their home.

Their remains littered the ground near a demolished section of the barricades around their farmstead. Cadeon recognized the merciless slaughter as the work of revenants, corpse creatures dispatched by Omort the Deathless, their kingdom’s most dreaded enemy.

He shuddered in stunned disbelief, his mind refusing to accept this…

The girls—

Like a shot, he charged up a hillock to the smoldering shell of the family’s house. His foster sisters might have escaped into the forest. Heart thundering, he searched the ruins, praying to find nothing within. Sweat rolled down his face and into his eyes, mingling with the swirling ash and soot.

In the area where the hearth used to be, he found what was left of his younger foster sisters. They’d been burned, and while they were still alive. Their muscles had contracted in the heat, their little bodies curling up on the floor.

He lurched outside, retching until his throat was raw. No one had survived.

Running his forearm over his face, he staggered to an old oak, sinking down against it. In the space of a day, everything he’d loved in the world was dead.

The threat of Omort had hovered idly over the land for decades, yet the dark sorcerer had chosen this time to attack. Cadeon feared he knew why.

Mine own fault. He buried his head in his hands. All of this is my doing.

To most who knew him, Cadeon was a simple farmer, with few cares. But he’d been born a prince and was his brother’s sole heir to the throne. He’d been ordered to return to Castle Tornin to defend the capitol.

Cadeon had disobeyed. The one who controls Tornin controls the kingdom….

Cool steel suddenly pressed against Cadeon’s neck. He glanced up without interest. A demon had hidden behind the tree, and now had drawn on him. A rage demon.

“My master said you would return,” the swordsman said. By the look of his weapon and tunic, he was an assassin dispatched by Omort. A traitor to his own kind.

“Be done with it,” Cadeon whispered as a stream of blood welled at the edge of the sword. He had no cares now. “What do you await—”

Hot Books
» Buy Me Sir
» Daddy's Pretty Baby
» The Dom's Virgin: A Dark Billionaire Romanc
» Wet
» Mastered (The Enforcers #1)
» The Greek's Forgotten Wife (The Boarding Sc
» If You Were Mine
» His Erotic Obsession (The Jamison Sisters #
» Dominated (The Enforcers #2)
» The Sheik’s Sensuous Trap
» Kept (The Enforcers #3)
» Fallen Crest High (Fallen Crest High #1)
» The Billionaire Takes All (The Sinclairs #5
» Pregnant with the Sheik's Baby (The Samara
» Dragon's Storm (Legion Of Angels #4)