Continuing with the sneak peeks from “Rahasya” Book 3 of the Tome Series, here’s a scene featuring everyone’s favorite bandit, Scorpio, for WTF Friday! Enjoy!

 

A pillar of fire erupted from the crack in the earth below the warehouse sending black smoke curling over the white plaster-coated tiles. Bringing an arm up to shield his eyes, Scorpio stumbled back, gasping for breath, eyes watering. Through the scalding plumes he caught a glimpse of a figure, the silhouette of a tall, slender man standing at the far end of the roof. In one hand he gripped the haft of a kama, in the other he held the length of chain that ran from the end of it. A weapon he recognized as a kusarigama. Unaffected by the dangerously shifting slats, he barely moved to keep his balance.

“What the?”

Overhead demons and evil spirits rained down on the people of ShenIb, tearing them apart, devouring them body and soul, sending showers of blood spraying into the air and pouring down the dusty streets in rivers of gore. A blast of energy and black light shot out from where the figure stood, blasting across the tiles in a violent cyclone that rose up around him.

Shoved back by the sheer force, his boots sliding over the loosened tiles, Scorpio struggled to keep his footing as the velocity increased. Streaks of red and purple shot through the black light like thunderless lightning that cast haunting images of ghosts against the smoky, fire-lit sky. Raising the kama, he brought it down in a sharp slash. The slack of the chain behind him rode the rising current of wind and followed the pull of his other hand to lash out to an impossible length across the city. For a brief instant the black light radiating along the kusarigama flared out in the shape of an immense elegant scythe. Then it was gone and the light with its dashing lines of red and purple brightened intensely.

“You!” Drawing his sword and dagger, Scorpio pointed the blades at him. “You’re the one doing this!”
“On the contrary” the man replied in an even tone. “It is your own kindred of the Natural Order that are the cause of present events.”

Lowering his kusarigama, he calmly turned to face him. The wind and light had died down but enough of the black illumination lingered for Scorpio to be able to see him clearly through the smoke. Clean shaven and what he supposed a woman might consider handsome, he had short neat black hair and azurite green eyes that glowed in the unnatural half-light. Despite the ash and dust choking the air, his fine, disturbingly neat, black clothes were without blemish.

“In the Worlds and Beyond, calamities such as this are the direct result of Mortals and Immortals dabbling in things they would be wise to leave alone.”

“So you slaughter every living thing in a five-mile radius?”

“I maintain the Natural Order of cause and effect. Things are what they are because of events set in motion. Do not blame me.”

Black lightning crackled out from the air around him. Scorpio brought his sword and dagger up crossed at the hilt in an instinctive block that the energy passed through unhindered. Cold slammed into him full force, knocking him to his knees and stealing his breath. Not the cold of winter, of snow and ice, or of a breeze from the north or the sea, but the cold that existed in the absence of warmth. It was the cold left behind when Life fled the body. The cold of Death and of the grave.

“I can sense her in your soul’s shadow.” A perplexed expression flitted across his otherwise passive countenance, his gaze briefly drifting before snapping back to Scorpio. “Tell me where she is.”

The man’s words were disturbingly reminiscent of what Aki had told him about Karitoriki or, as Scorpio knew them, Grim Reapers. His eyes widened as he came to appreciate exactly what, or more accurately who, he was dealing with. Apparently Riya had fled from him. Why else would he be looking for her?

Awareness lent him knowledge, knowledge lent him anger, and anger lent him strength. Fighting to drag air into his lungs, he tightened his grip on his weapons and forced himself to his feet.

“You’re him aren’t you?”

“Him, who?”

“Don’t fucking play games with me!”

Scorpio charged with expert skill, his sword catching and blocking the Reaper’s lightning-quick strikes as he closed in. He held to the chain, using it to either retrieve or cut short his attacks and change direction with the kama it was attached to. Coming up underneath one such strike, Scorpio spun around to drive his dagger between his ribs but he sidestepped the blow with unbelievable speed and not much effort, coming back in to slash him across the face with the length of chain.

The impact threw Scorpio across the roof, skidding to a halt on his hands and knees just shy of going over the side. The ground was shaking even more violently now and part of the roof had tilted, forcing him to lean forward in order to stand.

“You are not yet set to die, Mortal. At least not by me. Don’t make me have to account for you as an early and unnecessary Harvest.” Hardly adjusting his stance against the shifting slats, the Reaper stared at him. Through the black glow, skulls could be seen floating amid lines of red and purple light. “That would tarnish my perfect record with my Honorable Mother and I prefer that not happen.”

 

~ Excerpt from “Rahasya” Book 3 of the Tome Series due out 10/31/16, copyright 2016
~Image courtesy of pinterest.com Artist Unknown

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