Warning: Violence (Implicit)
Griffin Everard knows this feeling all too well. The sickening sensation of helplessness gnaws at him with a reckless sort of urgency, and he itches to do something, anything, to relieve it.
Georgia entered the duke’s manor over half an hour ago to treat him for a supposed cough, and although he desperately wanted to go with her Griffin knew better than to walk straight into the lion’s den. A risk-taker by nature, he hates sitting idly by when every instinct in his body screams for him to act, but he simply cannot justify chancing an encounter with the duke.
Revenge is not a good color on you, Griffin.
The young man starts and glances around.
“I should have guessed,” Griffin replies dryly, turning toward the cat. “Ari Sidra, you never fail to surprise me. I take it your mistress is not far behind?”
I do not keep tabs on My Lady’s whereabouts. She comes and goes as She pleases, same as me. Although I do know She has been quite interested in your movements lately. What do you want with the girl, Griffin?
“What do you two want with Georgia?” Griffin spits, anger seeping into his words. “I may owe Delia my life, but I feel no obligation to help either of you with whatever plot you are cooking up now, especially if it involves George.”
No plot. Seven years have passed, and the old sage finally spoke to us again. She deemed Georgia would fulfill the Gods’ promise to the duke, to bear him the great warrior she foretold to us during her last oracle. I am here simply to ensure that her words become a reality. I will not allow you to interfere.
“Your ‘sage’ should be hung,” he snaps. “If there’s one thing my father taught me, we each hold the keys to our own destiny, and no being, mortal or immortal, God or human, can change that.”
Believe what you will, Ari purrs and rubs himself up against Griffin’s legs.
Griffin chuckles and bends down to pet the feisty cat. “I shall. Thankfully that’s one freedom the Gods have yet to steal from mankind.”
“Have you such a low opinion of my brothers and sisters?” a woman laughs coyly from the shadows. “I admit that we have not always treated you well, but your father carries the blame for that.”
Griffin glances over at the glimmering silver figure and shrugs. “They murdered my brother and sister in cold blood, and they attempted to kill me as well. If not for your interference, they surely would have succeeded. I cannot respect a race that believes in the slaughter of innocent children.”
“Yes,” the Goddess grimaces. “Indeed.”
“What do you want?” Griffin demands irritably as he rises to speak with her.
“Georgia belongs here,” she tells him in a gentle tone. “I know you want revenge for the deaths of your siblings, but the duke is merely a pawn acting on the orders of his deities. He does not deserve your scorn.”
“I have no intention of touching the duke,” he hisses. “Let the bastard stew in his own guilt. Karma will turn the tables on him one day, but Georgia deserves better than to get tangled up in the affairs of some meddlesome Gods. I cannot stand by and watch her suffer for a promise you all had no right to make.”
“You love her.”
Griffin nods. “I do. I never meant to fall for her if that’s what you think, but I cannot deny my feelings now. I came to Everly Isles searching for my father, and I stayed in the hope that he would find me here. But Georgia changed all that. I still wish to see him again, to continue our training together, but now I remain on the islands for Georgia and Georgia alone.”
“Your father struggles with reality, Griffin,” Delia replies vaguely. “He does not feel the passing of time anymore, and it causes him to lose track of the days. He would never purposely abandon you.”
“I know that,” Griffin sighs uneasily. “But my powers continue to strengthen, and I have no one to turn to for advice, nowhere to go for help. I fear one day I will no longer be able to control them.”
She frowns, her pale eyes unreadable in the faint glow of the full moon. “I must leave, but mind yourself Griffin. My brothers and sisters do not realize you live, and my magic can only shield your true identity for so long. Your father can find you anywhere once he returns to our time, but the Gods watch the girl closely. You do not want them to discover you.”
“I will not leave her.”
“Then you risk their wrath,” she snaps. “Ari will stay with you for now, but Georgia will have the duke’s son whether you remain with her or not. The sage’s prophecies never lie.”
On the other side of the property, Georgia quietly slips inside the duke’s training quarters, suddenly nervous about seeing him again. A chambermaid led her to his private wing, but the woman deserted her at the door.
“I’m sorry to intrude,” she stammers, “but you sent for me?”
The duke stops abruptly and turns to face her.
“You came,” he smiles, wiping his sweaty face on a nearby cloth.
“They said you needed me…” she trails off as the realization suddenly hits her. He is not sick at all.
“I do need you,” the duke murmurs. “I can’t stop thinking about you, Georgia. The scent of your hair, the sound of your voice, the touch of your skin. I need to hold you, darling. I need to touch you, to kiss you, to make love to you. Tell me you need me too.”
Georgia does not feel herself move toward him, but as he speaks the distance between them vanishes.
“Your Grace-” she begins hesitantly.
“Call me Alasdair,” he commands as he wraps his arm around her waist and pulls her to him.
Georgia swallows hard. “Alasdair,” she murmurs, letting the sound play on her tongue. “You don’t know how many evenings I’ve laid awake longing to hear you whisper those words.”
“Then stay with me tonight,” he breathes.
Closing her eyes, Georgia momentarily allows herself to succumb to his tender caresses and the feel of his lips on her neck, but as his hands move lower down her body she tersely pushes him away.
“Stop!” she exclaims. “This is wrong. I do not love you, Alasdair. I barely even know you.”
“What did you say?” His voice carries an icy edge.
“I do not love you,” she repeats more boldly. “And I will not sleep with you. Not like this.”
“How dare you refuse me?” he snarls, his eyes frozen with rage. “I will not tolerate it. I can have any woman I desire, and you will show me the respect I deserve!”
“Let me go!” Georgia cries as he grabs her arm. “Please, Alasdair! Stop!”
Georgia fights him with all her strength, but the duke easily overpowers her. “STOP!” she shouts as he rips at her clothing. “Leave me alone!”
“You ungrateful wench!” he roars, slapping her hard across the face. “I will have you!”
Tears stream down Georgia’s cheeks as she finally submits to the inevitable. “But I don’t love you,” she sobs over and over again. “I don’t love you.”
“Georgia?” Griffin calls out her name as she sprints past him. “Georgia, wait!”
When he finally catches up to her, he finds her clinging to a tree dry heaving violently, and he instantly realizes what has happened.
“I’ll kill him,” he growls as runs over to her. A blazing fury surges through his veins, slashing through his chest like angry daggers of fire, and for the first time in his life he feels the red hot venom of pure hatred embroil him in rage.
As he sits there, clinging to Georgia with all his might, he makes her a solemn promise.
“I will never let that man touch you again,” he whispers with rigid determination. “As long as I live, Georgia, he will never hurt you again. I promise.”
I struggled writing this chapter due to the nature of the content, so I decided to cut it off here. I did intend to have some happy stuff occur too, but I’ll get to that next time hopefully. =)
Did that first scene with Griffin make sense? After reading a comment on my last chapter about all the secrets in this legacy *hugs Becky*, I realized that I really needed to reveal more information about my plot and backstory. I hope this list is unnecessary and you guys gathered all (or most) of it from the story itself, but to summarize:
1) Griffin had two siblings. For anyone who doesn’t remember my last legacy (which is most of you, I’m sure!), Griffin was the middle child of a set of triplets. Alasdair, the duke, murdered them at the urging of the Gods, but unbeknownst to pretty much everyone Delia (the Goddess who appears in this chapter) saved Griffin’s life.
2) I should clarify that while I frequently reference the duke as their killer, he most likely did not carry out the crimes himself. He either A) ordered their execution on some phony, hyped up charges and/or B) sent some underling spy types to do his dirty work. Not that it makes the deed any less terrible, but I think it offers some interesting insight into his personality.
3) The duke agrees to assist the Gods in their plan to kill the triplets because, basically, they bribe him. The Gods promise him this great warrior heir if he does their bidding, which honestly they have no (or very little) control over, but they learned of the sage’s prophecy and used it to their advantage.
4) The Gods and Goddesses in my universe are not omnipotent. Their powers are limited, although how and to what extent varies based on the individual deity. But more on that later. =D
5) I can see how this might get confusing, but the old sage that Ari the cat and Delia the Goddess spoke of is not a human seer, like Isolde and Amara are, but rather a demi-god sort of character. I don’t know if anyone has any knowledge of or interest in ancient Greece, but they had two types of fortunetellers in their society, the oracles (priestesses) who worked at various temples throughout the islands and the everyday seers. The oracles were supposedly infallible, as they spoke directly to the gods, but they only gave their predictions on the seventh day of each month during the nine warmest months of the year, at least at the most important oracle in Delphi. Of course, common people rarely had the means to travel to one of these select few destinations, nor could they afford the necessary animal sacrifices, so they used seers when they needed answers. Seers interpreted signs from the gods rather than having any sort of direct contact with them, and you could only ask them yes or no questions. It’s not exactly like my tale, but that’s where I got my inspiration from. But long story short, neither Isolde nor Amara is the sage.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask, and thanks for reading! =)