Prologue / Society of Blood- The Immortals (Book One of the Legends Series
All rights reserved Copyright Tammie Clarke Gibbs 2013
I hope you’ll enjoy this tease from my soon to be released Paranormal.
Already, the moon spilled its glow over the thick mountain landscape casting shadows of all shapes and sizes. Kedar lifted his eyes to the glowing crescent that punctuated the blackness, and he knew this night was different….
In the distance, there was an angry rumble then a flash of light danced across the sky. It reminded him of day’s long past and of his homeland. It had been a long time since he’d thought of his country. It was easier to embrace the present, and the life that the ancients had blessed him with.
The Cherokee called the ancients Nunneli or Immortals.
Apart from the ancients, he had become one of their legends because he was different. They spoke of him in whispers on cold winter nights and long summer days, but he was merely a vision to most.
He watched from the point atop Witch Mountain most times hidden from their view. The tribe below referred to the place where he stood as “lookout.” They could not know how befitting the name.
On most occasions he hid from them using techniques taught to him by the Ancients. The adults were easy, but sometimes it brought him pleasure when he allowed the lads to see. They would rush back to the village and tell of him in grandiose detail outlining every cut of his muscular form and strand of raven hair and then their parents would share tales from a time long ago when they too were children running wild and free among the trees lost in their imaginations.
Again, Kedar turned his attention to the village. Two small boys danced around a small fire to the beat of the tom-tom.
Kedar closed his eyes and became one with the night. He held up his hands to the heavens, took a deep breath and listened as their sounds floated up like music.
The ancients had their religion, but he knew that God had been with him the night when these unusual people found him bleeding and near death.
Kedar dropped to his knees and said a silent prayer. He knew the ancients disapproved of such displays, but his time of prayer no matter how brief brought him great comfort in this unfamiliar land.
Then he heard her, her voice like the caress of a soft feather against his cheek, and he opened his eyes. It had been a long time since he had heard a woman’s voice other than Aliana’s. She was their queen, the immortals called her mother, and to him she had been gracious.
Kedar looked up. Her complexion was like honey, her lips red like the petals of a rose and her hair as raven-black as his. She was Cherokee, but he’d never seen her before. The women weren’t allowed near the boundary of rock that stood between the ancients and the mortals.
Aliana had explained to him that the women were a temptation. He was never to seek them out, and he hadn’t, but now this one was standing so close to him that if he extended his arm he would touch her.
Kedar released the breath he’d been holding since he’d looked up and saw her. The slight rush of air that sounded against the night startled her and she took several steps back, her hands held up palms toward him as if to ward him off.
He wondered if he should speak, but didn’t know what to say. The Nunneli had taught him some of the Cherokee language, but he wasn’t sure she would be able to understand him. Instead, he bowed again. It was the only gesture he could think of that would let her know that he meant her no harm and when he looked up again she was gone.
Several weeks passed.
Kedar returned to his “look out” spot as he had many times since their encounter, but the maiden never returned.
Had he not seen her footprints that night he would be convinced she was just a figment of his imagination. Even now, he would think his eyes had played a trick on him, but he had placed rocks around the impressions and placed sticks atop them and each night he uncovered and gazed upon those tiny footprints longingly.
The treaty between the Cherokee and the Nunneli was respected by both and the only tolerance the ancients had was for the “little ones” as they called the children.
He was another story. His skin when he first encountered them was pale both by heritage and by the loss of blood from his injuries. He was not Cherokee, but Welsh, from far away yet they had taken pity on him and pulled him from death’s grasp.
They’d allowed him to stay and become a part of their family, but his immortal friends were little company, many resented him. They knew he would never truly be one of them.
Kedar knew that he should be dead, instead his body was now healthy, and the slightest injury healed remarkably fast, but he longed for the companionship that only a woman could provide and he grieved for the life he once had.
Aliana sensed this and called for him. Kedar went willingly into her townhouse. He did not fear her like many of the others. To him she had always been a loving benefactor. She made sure that he knew it was by her command and hers only that he was given a chance at a second life. He’d been told he was intended for a great purpose and that in the future he would serve his people well.
“Aliana,” he spoke reverently, bowing respectfully to the woman that stood before him.
“Kedar,” she spoke softly. “Your spirit is weary, why?”
Kedar averted his eyes from the immortal mother, “I am fine.”
She took several steps toward him and unconsciously he stepped back from her.
“Do you fear me?”
He shook his head, but deep inside he knew what she said was true. Something about her and her people frightened him. His dreams were filled each night with scenes that nearly drove him mad.
“I wish to forget,” he said finally.
Aliana touched his cheek softly with the tip of her long finger. “Your spirit won’t allow you to forget.”
“I don’t understand. I’ve seen you and the others before.” He pointed toward the village. “You cause them to forget.”
“It is necessary for them to forget certain things.”
“I want to forget the life I had before I came to live among your people.”
Aliana grabbed the front of his garment and in a swift motion ripped it open revealing his well-muscled, now tanned chest and abdomen.
Kedar flinched as she ran her fingers across his flesh and took a sharp intake of breath when she settled at a long jagged scar along his side.
“You have been given THIS life for a reason. What is here,” she put her hand to his forehead then slid it over his heart, “and here are at one with your spirit. I’ll not disrupt nature’s plan for you.”
“But…” Kedar felt her lips cover his. He closed his eyes and for the briefest of moments his heart stirred, but then a darkness filled him that he could not explain. Slowly, he pulled away from her kiss and her embrace.
“This is what you desire, yes? This is why you stare after her as you do?”
“The maiden,” Aliana’s tone changed quickly and Kedar noticed a strange look cross her face.
“You lie to me!”
“I’m sorry. I did not mean to. I did not seek her out, she was just there and then she was gone. I was sure she was only my imagination.”
His explanation seemed to satisfy her, but he knew she was skeptical and he knew their rules.
“You must not see her again. You are aware of our rules?”
Kedar nodded. “I know them.”
Aliana took his face in her hands and gazed deeply into his dark blue eyes. “The treaty forbids contact with their women.”
Aliana’s words cut deeply. Hours later he could still hear them and the effect was the same as if she were standing before him repeating them in person.
Kedar no longer felt blessed, but cursed to live a life void of the passion his heart so desired and over the following months he retreated to the “lookout” where he spent most of his days and nights staring into the trees. After their intimate encounter he avoided Aliana and she allowed him to do so.
Telawi glanced toward the spot where she’d seen the Immortal. She never thought they existed, but who else would have been there on the mountain? There was no other explanation and since that night she could think of little else. The warrior filled her dreams and occupied her waking moments. The others had begun to notice her distraction. For now, they had accepted her explanations but she feared soon they would grow weary of her excuses.
Copyright 2013 Tammie Clarke Gibbs