For You: HADES & a Special Short Story!
"Larissa Ione's Newsletter" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: For You: HADES & a Special Short Story!
Date: May 26th 2015
For You: HADES & a Special Short Story!
Hello, my lovely readers!
I have lots of fun stuff for you in this newsletter, so let's get started!
First up...HADES is here!!!!
Okay, I might be a little excited. But darn it, I’ve been wanting to tell that blue-haired fallen-angel’s story for a long time now, and it’s finally happened!
Right now you can get HADES in print or Kindle format at Amazon, and in 90 days it’ll be available everywhere. I’ll be sure to send out a newsletter when that happens. For now, though, here is the Amazon exclusive link and a blurb:
A fallen angel with a mean streak and a mohawk, Hades has spent thousands of years serving as Jailor of the Underworld. The souls he guards are as evil as they come, but few dare to cross him. All of that changes when a sexy fallen angel infiltrates his prison and unintentionally starts a riot. It’s easy enough to quell an uprising, but for the first time, Hades is torn between delivering justice — or bestowing mercy — on the beautiful female who could be his salvation…or his undoing.
Thanks to her unwitting participation in another angel’s plot to start Armageddon, Cataclysm was kicked out of Heaven and is now a fallen angel in service of Hades’s boss, Azagoth. All she wants is to redeem herself and get back where she belongs. But when she gets trapped in Hades’s prison domain with only the cocky but irresistible Hades to help her, Cat finds that where she belongs might be in the place she least expected…
"You will fall in love with the characters, the writing, and the details she puts into every chapter. Larissa Ione is my go-to PNR author!" – Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads
* * *
In other news, to celebrate Hades's release and thank you all for your support over the years, I’ve written you a special short story involving Reaver and Revenant, so keep reading! The story is below.
Also, I’m excited to announce that AZAGOTH is now available as part of a bundle for the fabulous low price of only $5.99. You’ll get four stories by me, Lexi Blake, Lisa Renee Jones, and Cherice Sinclair. If you haven’t read these authors, this is the perfect opportunity to check them out!
~Click here to purchase the 1001 Dark Nights Bundle Two: amzn.to/1LDIBmJ
~Click here for Hades: http://amzn.to/1LGfAY4
And now, please enjoy Into Eternity!
* * *
Revenant had finally found them.
His mother. His father.
It had taken months of searching Sheoul to locate their souls, but he’d finally done it. Satan, that bastard, had hidden them well. Usually, when angels or humans died in Sheoul, their souls hung out near the place where they died, making them easy to locate. But Satan had tethered Rev’s mother and father inside a secret chamber beneath his evil stronghold only he had known about.
It was a chamber of horrors designed to make souls that were normally non-corporeal in Sheoul solid and touchable. Easier to torture.
Reaver stood next to him at the entrance to the chamber, his hands clenching and unclenching as he stared at the heavy iron door. “Now I know what Reseph felt like when you released his sister’s soul from Sheoul. I’m not sure what to do.”
“Me, either.” It was hard to admit to being clueless. Or nervous. In fact, Revenant wouldn’t have admitted it to anyone other than Reaver or Blaspheme. As the King of Hell, Revenant couldn’t show weakness to anyone. Ever. “What if our mother hates me? I killed her and left her soul to suffer—“
“Don’t,” Reaver said, his voice firm but soft. “She knew there was no other option, and she knew what would happen to her. According to Metatron, Mariel knew her sacrifice was for the greater good. She was clairvoyant, remember?”
Yeah, maybe, but none of that made Rev feel any better about his mother dying in his own arms. By his own hand.
“You’ll take them to Heaven, right? You’ll take them where they’re supposed to go?” Revenant could release them from Sheoul with a mere thought, but doing so meant they’d cross over to Heaven on their own. While that was a normal process, he wanted Reaver to personally escort them to the Hall of Heroes, the special paradise that awaited angels who perished in the human and demon realms.
“You have my word, brother,” Reaver said solemnly.
Brother. Revenant had known about his twin for almost a year now, and hearing himself called brother still sounded foreign to his ears. Foreign but…right.
“Then let’s do this.” He placed his palm on the door, and instantly, the metal vibrated under his hand. A hot, red glow spread outward from where his skin met the door, until heat rolled off it in great, pulsing waves. Only the fact that Reaver and Revenant were what they were – two of the most powerful angels to ever have existed – allowed them to stand there without being vaporized.
“Terrok es saeron, es kell un astush!” The words, spoken in ancient Sheoulic, hung in the air as faint echoes, bouncing off the narrow hall’s dripping walls. They grew louder and faster, until Reaver covered his ears in agony.
Revenant felt none of his pain, which, unsurprisingly, meant the chant for unlocking the door was meant for evil ears only. This was, perhaps, the only time Rev would ever be grateful to have Satan’s blood running through his veins.
Finally, just as Reaver fell to his knees, blood streaming between his fingers as they pressed against his ears, silence fell and the door swung open. Foul, dank air rushed out, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been a few hours ago, when Rev had found the place full of rotting corpses and tortured souls.
Rev went down on his heels in front of his brother. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” Reaver rasped, lifting his pained gaze to Rev’s. “But damn, that sucked.” He shoved to his feet, and Revenant came with him. “Sorry, man, but I kinda hate your realm.”
“What’s that saying?” Revenant said with a shrug. “Better to own all of Hell than rent a sliver of Heaven?”
Reaver stared. “There’s no such saying.”
“Ah, right.” Revenant gave Reaver a playful punch in the shoulder. “I made it up. Maybe it’ll catch on.”
Reaver just shook his blond head and followed Revenant inside the room. “So you’ve been in here already?” he asked as he looked around at all the empty cells, unused shackles, and lonely torture devices designed to extract the maximum amount of pain from the souls – human, angel, and demon – Satan had kept here for his amusement.
Revenant ducked to avoid one of the many meat-covered bones hanging from the ceiling. “I released all the souls this morning when I found them. All except our parents.”
“You said you couldn’t open the door to their cell without me.”
“Yeah.” A spiny hellrat scurried across their path and disappeared into a hole in the wall. “Satan, that sneaky bastard, installed a lock that requires the blood of a living angel to open.”
Reaver cast him a sideways glance as they stopped in front of the door Rev believed led to his parents’ cell. “How do you know?”
Revenant wished he could say that he had used his super-sleuthing skills to discover Satan’s hidden instructions, or that he’d expertly deciphered some cryptic puzzle, but the truth was that one of the souls Satan had kept chained in this chamber revealed the secret to opening the lock when every other trick Rev tried had failed.
“I’m brilliant,” he said simply, and Reaver let out a dubious snort. “Now, give me your hand.”
Reaver offered his palm, and with a quick slice of Rev’s favorite dagger, blood welled. The cut healed instantly, but the blood remained behind, allowing Revenant to gather a drop on the tip of his blade.
Reaver nodded, and Rev pressed his hand against the door the way he had a moment ago, but this time, as he uttered the Sheoulic chant, he let his brother’s blood drip into the tiny collection cup protruding from the iron door handle.
Unlike earlier, the chant didn’t blow Reaver’s ear drums. In fact, the soft click of the door as it unlocked was downright anti-climactic.
“Huh.” Revenant shoved open the door, his pulse kicking at the haunting creak of the rusty hinges.
Blackness and bone-chilling cold greeted them. Revenant whispered an illumination command, and ball of silver light flickered into existence in the middle of a room that was no larger than ten square feet. Inscriptions on the floor were meant to keep angels out, but Reaver didn’t seem affected at all as he rushed toward the two beings impaled on the far wall.
“No. Ah…damn, no.”
Revenant wasn’t sure who moaned those words, himself or Reaver, but as they carefully pulled the limp forms of their mother and father free of the dozens of spikes that had been driven through their bodies, all Revenant could do was think that they’d let Satan off easy when he and Reaver imprisoned the sonofabitch for the next thousand years.
Rev carefully cradled his mother in his arms, his heart squeezing painfully. Something was very wrong. Souls were practically indestructible, and to render one into complete unresponsiveness was…bad. Very, very bad.
“We have to get help.” Reaver said, his voice as broken as Rev had ever heard it.
“They won’t be solid anywhere else,” Revenant said, knowing Reaver should just take them now to Heaven. But dammit, once that happened, he’d never see them again. He wanted to talk to them. Just for a minute. He needed his father to know him, and he needed his mother to forgive him.
“Sheoul-gra,” Reaver breathed. “They’ll be solid there. And Azagoth can help.”
Instantly, they flashed themselves to the Grim Reaper’s realm, materializing outside his massive Greek-style mansion. A slender redheaded female darted toward them, but Reaver waved her off.
“Cat! Get Azagoth. Quickly!”
She nodded and ran inside as Rev and Reaver lowered their parents to the ground.
“Why are they like this?” Rev murmured as he gently brushed his mother’s matted hair away from her face and glanced over at the their father. Revenant had never seen him, but he was the spitting image of Reaver and no doubt their sire.
“Because someone has snuffed their spark.” The deep voice drifted to them from the mansion’s stone steps. Revenant looked up a the dark-haired male walking toward them, his emerald eyes glowing, his massive black wings stretched high above him. "Someone very powerful."
“Can you help?” Reaver shoved to his feet, still standing protectively next to their father.
Azagoth stopped a few feet away and inclined his head. “I can.”
“Will you help?” Revenant ground out.
Azagoth’s cold smile put a chill in the air. “That,” he said, “depends on what you can offer me.”
Revenant hated this guy. Not that he’d had many direct dealings with him, but Azagoth never did anything out of the kindness of his heart. There was always a price.
“I’ll give you whatever you want,” Reaver said.
Azagoth turned to Revenant. “And you?”
“How about I don’t blast you with holy lightning?” Revenant offered, eager to show off the fact that he could wield both Sheoulic and Heavenly weapons.
Azagoth appeared to consider that. “Excellent. But I also want what I want.”
Rev gnashed his teeth. “And what would that be, you cryptic bastard?”
A slow, sinister smile spread across Azagoth’s face. If Rev wasn’t a billion times more powerful than this asshole, he’d be shitting himself right now.
“I want you both to owe me. And when I call, you come. You will give me whatever I need.”
“Or?” Reaver asked, much more pleasantly than Revenant would have.
“Or you can take your parents to Heaven, where they’ll remain like this,” Azagoth said, his tone casual. Bored. The fates of two random angels meant nothing to him. “While they were in Sheoul, they were nearly drained of the spark that keeps the soul in existence. I preside over Sheoul in all matters of the soul, which means that only I can restore your parents’ health. Not even God Himself would interfere with the order of things.” He glanced down at Rev’s motionless parents. “We have a contract.”
“Fine,” Reaver said. “Well played. Put me down for an I.O.U.”
Revenant swore. “Yeah,” he growled. “Me too.”
Triumph glowed in Azagoth’s emerald eyes, and as he kneeled next to Revenant’s parents, Rev wondered what the consequences of smoking Azagoth would be. Then he wondered if he even could. Oh, he was powerful enough to destroy almost anyone in any of the realms, but Azagoth probably had some high-level Heavenly protection in place. Those in power would not let Azagoth be destroyed. He was a critical player in the battle between good and evil, and everyone wanted him on their side.
Even if he was a ginormous douchebag.
Azagoth passed his hand over Sandalphon’s limp body. Frowning, he glanced first at Reaver, and then at Rev. “I’m sorry. Your father’s soul is evil. I can only restore him in the Inner Sanctum.”
Revenant’s gut took a rapid dive to his feet as Reaver shook his head. “That’s impossible.” He looked over at Revenant, his eyes wild with desperation. “Tell him.”
Revenant swallowed dryly and his palms grew clammy as a conversation he’d had with a slimy Orphmage named Gormesh played in his mind.
“Revenant,” Reaver snapped. “He’s wrong. Tell him he’s wrong.”
“I wish I could,” Rev croaked, his voice all beat to hell with defeat. “But he’s right. Our father…” He inhaled a ragged breath. “He was force-fed Satan’s blood. We were told he died in battle, but it’s not true. He was killed in a failed experiment to remove Satan’s taint from his blood.”
Azagoth spoke softly, almost as if he was genuinely sorry for what had happened to Sandalphon. “He died as a dark angel. His soul belongs to me.”
“You can’t have him.” Reaver stepped closer to Azagoth, teeth bared, fists clenched, but Rev surprised himself by gripping his brother’s shoulder and holding him back.
“Listen to me,” he said, surprising himself again by being the voice of reason. “He was fed Satan’s blood, just as I was. He can’t go to Heaven. You know that. Not until Satan dies and his blood no longer has influence over our souls.”
Reaver still looked like he was going to blow.
“We will take care of him,” Azagoth promised. “You can visit him in the Inner Sanctum later. For a price, of course.” Of course. He snapped his fingers, and half a dozen griminions scurried toward them from out of nowhere and snatched up Sandalphon’s body before disappearing into the ground. “I’ll see him again in a few minutes. As far as your mother…” He touched her forehead and straightened, his wings still sitting high above his shoulders. “Done. But she can’t stay here long. She’s weak, and she’ll only get worse as long as she’s in Sheoul. She needs Heaven to fully heal. So hurry. Always nice to do business with you two.”
Reaver and Revenant both wheeled around to the source of the voice. Rev hadn’t even seen Mariel disappear from where she’d been lying on the ground in front of him. But now there she was, standing in the lush green grass and wearing only in a simple white gown. She was pale, too-thin, her hair straggly…just the way he’d last seen her.
“Mother,” he gasped, gathering her to him. She felt so good in his arms, her presence warming him from the inside. His eyes stung and his throat constricted, but this was what he’d dreamed of for so many centuries. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I’m so sorry. I should have found you sooner. I should have found a way to save you—“
“Shh.” She pulled back so she could gaze directly into his eyes, her expression determined, her lips curved in a gentle smile. “Everything is exactly how it should be.”
He hugged her again, tighter this time, so tight he had to make an effort to loosen his grip so he wouldn’t crush her. He wasn’t sure how long he held her like that when he finally realized how selfish he was being.
Reaver had never even seen her until now.
Reluctantly he stepped back and watched, trembling, as Reaver and his mother stared at each other, their eyes liquid, their hands shaking. And then, like two pieces of a puzzle coming together, they embraced as if they’d never been separated.
Later, Revenant couldn’t remember everything that happened next, but he knew it was a storm of catching up, apologies, tears, and more catching up. But too soon, Azagoth’s warning caught up with Mariel, and she began to sway.
“I’ll take her to the Hall of Heroes,” Reaver said, slinging his arm around her shoulders to hold her steady. He looked ragged and exhausted, but as happy as Rev had ever seen him. “I’ll see you later.”
Revenant hugged her once more, clinging tight, knowing he wouldn’t see her again. Not until Satan was dead and he could step food in Heaven and be allowed entry into the little slice of Heaven within Heaven where dead angels went to live in bliss.
“I love you, Abaddon,” she whispered into his ear, using his given name, the name she smuggled out of Sheoul written inside Reaver's blanket, for the first time. It sounded beautiful coming from her lips. “I’m so proud of you both. You became more than I ever hoped for. I can’t wait to see you again. And don’t worry about your father. You got your resourcefulness and determination from him. He’ll come back to us someday. You’ll see.” She pulled back and placed one hand on Rev’s cheek, and the other on Reaver’s. “As long as you two have each other, everything will be okay. That, I swear on my soul.”
She smiled, and in that moment, Revenant understood she was sharing the future with him. She knew. She always had.
As if a great weight had been lifted, his heart soared, and as he watched Reaver flash their mother to Heaven, he realized that as happy as he was with his life and his love, Blaspheme, there had always been this one thing hanging over him. This guilt he’d carried over the role he’d played in his mother’s constant misery.
“Thank you, mother,” he murmured. She’d given him so many gifts…she’d given him life, protection, love. And now she’d given him the freedom to live unburdened by regret.
What an extraordinary life this was. He couldn’t wait to experience more of it, and with Blaspheme at his side, it could only get better.
* * *
Best wishes to you all,
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