Discord's Nightmare Teaser: Prologue & Chapter 1

Published on 1 June 2023 at 06:00

Disclaimer: This book is Rated M for Mature it contains vulgar language, nudity, labor (pregnancy), and the prologue is in the POV of the "Love Interest." 


~ September 1721, A.D. Jamaica ~


      Rowing into Kingston in the middle of the night without a lantern is not recommended to anyone without the heightened senses of an immortal and a good sense of direction. I had both. I can see for nearly a league, hear for nearly twice that, and smell trails that were near on three months old in lightly trafficked areas. This was a suicide run. For her, I would travel into Valkarah {Demoki for Hell (literally the innermost circle)} itself if I had to.

      As I rowed my way around the crest of the island, I caught sight of the gibbet where a few bodies still hung and wondered if one of them was Jack. I pushed that from my mind and focused on the mission.

      I stole this boat, that was no more than a dinghy, from the Royal Fortune, or the latest Royal Fortune. Black Bart had a habit of naming his command vessel the same name. I suspect it was to confuse his enemies or he just liked the name. Bart did not want me coming to her rescue, but he had sailed close enough that I could get here on my own. His parting words still rang in my ears.

      “If you want to risk it, you are on your own. I will remain here for the night. I will not delay my travels in the morning…” It was unlike him to say anything at all. He cared about her, as much as one of their kind cares for another. It mattered not to me. She saved my life not once, but twice. I owed her.

      Our last shootout in Jamaica, was at Port Royal nearly thirty years ago in June of sixteen ninety-two the day half of it fell into the sea, which was partly our fault and not the first time we’d caused a natural disaster. I pushed that aside as I rowed further on away from the ports to the open land that lay between me and Spanish town where the prison was, or at least that is where it was last time I was here.

      My plan was to run to the prison in my shifted form. They would never expect a beast, though there were several legends of roaming wild boars. I would find her, spring her, and return to the boat where we would row back to the Fortune. There was just one problem. If the rumors were true and it was more than a ruse to stay her execution, she was pregnant and due to be executed the day after she gave birth.

      It had been near on nine months since the execution of Rackham. If she was burdened, that would make this harder, but not impossible. When the water grew too shallow to row, I jumped out and dragged the boat onto the beach. I put it near where the tide would come in and tied it to a nearby tree. I removed my bandolier, brace of flint lock pistols, my cutlas, and my clothes. I left them at the bottom of the boat, rolled my shoulders, and from one step to the next I took the shape of my bestial form.

      I ran through the trees and brush of the wilds of Jamaica toward the church, cemetery, and prison. It was not even an hour for me in this form, but it would be nearly three back if she were weakened or near delivery. I came to a stop near the two-story brick wall of the prison and sniffed the air for cedar wood, amber, and the dragon’s ambrosia she loved to drink.

      It was not her scent that attracted me though. Her aura pulsed, ebbing, and flowing like the tide. I moved to the ground below her window and chuffed loudly, hoping she would hear it. I do not know why I did it, but something whispered that would be enough. There was a clatter of a bottle then a swathe of dark curls poked out from the bars.

      “Maolanaithe! By the Maker’s might, what are you doing?” she called, using my birth name, and her sweet voice stirred something low in me. I stayed in my bestial form, looking up at her knowing that she could see my face and more importantly hear my thoughts as if I spoke to her. “Do not give me that. What life debt is worth coming to rescue a woman about to be hanged for piracy? You and Rackham… Why does everyone think I need saving?”

      I started to think something back to her about how unlike her former husband I was, and that she was still here nearly nine months after being tried, but she ducked back between the bars. There was only the sound of shuffling feet for a few moments. I waited, wondering how I could get to her, and convince her to come with me without causing a quake and sending the entire south end of the island into the sea this time.

      At that thought, the shuffling stopped and there was a mighty groan of metal. I stepped back enough to see the entire window as she bowed the bars. When she stuck her legs through, I shifted back into a man and opened my arms for her.

      A shout sounded from inside the prison on her level as someone saw her, and she turned back to blow a kiss before she jumped. I caught her, and she wrapped an arm around my shoulders helping me adjust to the weight of her. It was not significantly more than I remembered, but there was enough to prove the rumors.

      “Thanks for the assist. Let’s try not to make a habit of you rescuing me. I am your Guardian Angel, remember?” She kissed my cheek before I set her down.

      “I thought it should be my turn this once,” I said before I shifted back into bestial form, and she looked at me for a moment then rolled her eyes and climbed on.

      “I hope you know I do not like doing this, and you dare not think anything about my weight,” she said sounding much more like a mortal than she ever had before. I tossed a look at her over my shoulder, but someone shouted at us in Spanish as they looked out from the window she’d escaped through. The moment they locked eyes with me they fainted, and I took off toward the beach with her hands in my dark fur.

      No one would believe the pirate queen escaped on the back of a beast. We were nearing the halfway mark when her fists clenched, and I slowed.

      “Do not stop. We do not have time,” she said, leaning toward my spine as much as the babe would allow, “Faster if you can, he will not wait much longer.”

      I obeyed, even as she whimpered, but she was right. We did not have time to stop. The moon was nearing the crest and if we did not make it to the beach soon, we would never make it to The Fortune by daybreak.

      As luck would have it, we cleared the trees onto the beach as the tide was nearly in. She slid off, at the side of the boat, but stopped, and grabbed my pelt as she cried out.

      “Damn Rackham males, and their ill timing,” she groaned, and I licked the sweat from her face, “Maolanaithe, you…” She bit her lip then to keep from crying out and my eyes glowed green against her skin, “Calm, Mairtin. We cannot have them finding us now. I will not have three in my charge die to save me.

      The last came from her mind not her lips and my gut said I was not meant to hear it. The fact that she had called me by my new name also struck me, but I was too worried to comment. When her pain eased, she moved her hand from my pelt to the side of the boat and leaned over it, breathing as if she was the one to run the whole way. I shifted back to my mortal guise and set my hand to her back.

      “What can I do?” I asked as her head shot up. Her eyes glowed violet and she looked back the way we came.

      “Fuck. They loosed the Hell hound. We have to go, now! Get in,” she said, as she started to lift herself in but stopped with one leg over the side and groaned, “For Fuck’s sake. Jack, stay in there until we are out at sea.”

      “Annie, what Hell hound? Why would a mortal prison have a Hell hound?” I asked, watching her face. She met my eyes and in them I saw the answer. They found out she was immortal, and the Hell hound was going to take her once the babe was born.

      “Why do you think I was still there? I could not outrun a Hell hound, not while burdened,” she groaned through clenched teeth and instead of stepping into it, she rolled over the side and lay in the bottom of the boat propped against the far seat, “Get in, and I’ll open my wings. We can use them to catch the wind and you can move the oars to guide it.”

      “Can you do that while laboring?” I asked, astounded by her sheer will if she could. She glared at me, and I fought not to cringe as pain stabbed my head before she looked back to the trees.

      “If you do not hurry, we shall never know,” she said, eyes flashing again as her large leathery wings burst from her back. The yellow membrane gleamed in the moonlight, and I was about to cut the rope when a massive black shape burst from the trees.

      “Maolanaithe, I heard rumor that you were away from the mighty court of Lucifer, but I did not think it true that you had become a petty pirate,” a deep voice came from the creature’s maw. Annie grabbed my arm and shook her head.

      “He is taunting you. Get in, Maolanaithe. Now!” she shouted. Instead, I pulled away from her, grabbed my cutlass the only silver thing that would hurt the bastard and ran at him, “Maolanaithe!”

      The creature charged, but it was no match for me. I got in under it as it lunged and managed to shove the blade up into his throat then slice him clean down the middle before throwing him into the sea. I turned back to find the line cut and the boat drifting away. I put the sword in my mouth and waded through the water, running to reach it.

      “That was reckless,” she called to me as I jumped for the bow. I would have made it too, had the boat not bucked on a wave and caught me halfway over. The sword bit into my cheeks and I cursed, dropping it to the bottom of the boat as I hauled myself in.

      “Maolanaithe,” she groaned and reached her hand to me. I went to her, not caring about the pain, and grabbed her hand. She squeezed and red, white, and bright blue energy buzzed around my face, “You need to pay more attention when handling your weapon. You were taught better than that.”

      I did not speak, thinking it unwise as she just might mend my entire mouth closed instead of just the edges. The healing stopped before it could finish, and she squeezed my hand.

      “Jack is coming. He has given his mother hell and he is not even out,” she groaned through the pain. She lifted her legs and set them to the other seat, “Dammit Maolanaithe, I wish this was not the first time you saw me this—”

      “I saw you naked in Pompei,” I reminded her, and she grinned up at me. We had nearly known each other that night, but we were found out, then there was the eruption.

      “You are right,” she chuckled at the memory then set her elbows on the seat behind her, letting go of my hand, “He will come on this next wave. I need you to catch him.”

      I carefully moved between her upraised legs and noticed her wings move ever so slightly guiding us on a breeze that seemed to come from nowhere. I crouched and grabbed my shirt from the boards just in time for her to groan. I reached my hands under her, and the babe emerged with a rush of blood and fluids. I pulled him to my naked chest and smiled as he loosed a mighty cry.

      “Jack is here, Annie. Whole and perfect,” I said, as she grinned up at me.

      “Now that he’s free. Where is Bart’s ship?” she asked.

      “Around the West end, in his favorite spot,” I said as her wings retracted. Her eyes flashed and we disappeared from one spot in the ocean to another with the Royal Fortune in the distance. It was calm and all the lanterns were douced, save for one in the window of Robert’s cabin. He waited up to see if I would return succeed.

      “Come here and let me finish healing your wounds,” she said, reaching for my face. I moved to her side, and she set her hands on my face as the embarrassment of it settled in now that we were all safe.

      “We will never speak of this again,” I said.

Chapter One:

~ Nearly five thousand years before ~


      “You cannot hide forever, Aeshma!” Ornias shouted after me, as I ran through the forest away from his fortress. I didn’t turn around. I couldn’t. I had to keep going, had to get away, had to escape him.

      I would not stay there bound to his fantasies and lust fueled lifestyle. Yes, we were soulmates, but I was pregnant now and I  refused to let our child grow up influenced by his father’s cruelty and corruption. The cry of a dragon broke the too quiet stillness, and I ducked behind a tree with an internal curse. How had he found me so fast?

      “Aeshma!” he screeched my name as he flew overhead. I shoved my powers down and cloaked my metaphysical signature. He flapped once, hovering above me, and I stayed deathly still, “You will not hide from me. There is no place that you can run where I will not follow. I claimed you!”

      I bit my lip to stop the argument that threatened to give me away. Yes, he claimed me, but the Maker had ordained it to keep him from corruption. His fall was gradual, but after I caught him in bed with the Temptress, I knew he was corrupted, and I would not stay with a Fomœræ. {Demoki word meaning Corrupted Angel, aka Demon}

      If we weren’t soulmates, I would have run for the highlands and never looked back, but it was complicated. I had tried for weeks to escape, to run, but every time he would catch me, and the punishment would be worse. Then the Maker blessed us with a child, enhancing and changing my power so I could fight Ornias’s pull on me.

      Now, with the baby inside me, and my sister, Asariel calling for me, I found the will to escape him. Asariel’s presence had pulled at my mind for the last two weeks begging me for help. Ornias refused to let me leave, but when my second sister, Jennielle’s call joined Asariel’s, the same day I felt the babe, I could no longer stay. I had to leave, no matter what he would do to me when he caught me.

      A thud shook the ground, and I grabbed the tree as my feet slipped on wet grass. I held my breath and waited to see if he had seen me. I would not move until he proved it. He was the only being that ever truly scared me, the only one that got under my skin, which said more about him than I would ever admit. I had battled, drank with, and fucked Norseman rougher looking and larger than him in both height and muscle, but this Fomœræ was the first to truly scare me.

      “You can mask your power, hold your breath, and try to cloak, but I still hear your heartbeat,” he growled the last word, breath hot on my right shoulder. I dropped as his arm swung around the tree. Red scales gleamed in the light as his black talons sunk into the bark above my head, “Focáil {Old Irish for Fuck}!

      I jumped up and opened my wings. Their yellow membrane glittered in the sunlight as I launched myself through a break in the trees into the sky. I flew as fast and as hard as I could away from him. Another roar tore the air, but he was at least a league behind me. We were almost free.

      The whizz of something flew passed my ear and a sharp pain pierced my right wing a moment later. I cried out and glanced at my wing with a curse on my lips. There was an arrow lodged in my left wing and a tear in the right. Only black iron would hurt this badly. Damn him! It would heal almost human slow.

      Hellfire and Brimstone, this day was going from bad to worse. The wounds forced me to land, and I yanked the second arrow from the flesh of the muscle at my shoulder.

      Who shot me? It was impossible for him to fire an arrow in his dragon form, or even his half dragon form for that matter. Brush crashed behind me, and I swung around. Grækrœ {Demoki for “Until Now,” also the name of the most trusted servant of the dragon.}, the Mort who served him stopped with a crossbow to his shoulder ready to shoot me again. My wings returned to the tattoo like marking on my back, and I stared at his cold, dead, brown eyes.

      “Please, stop. Let me leave,” I pleaded, setting a hand to my slightly distended abdomen over the babe, “Let us leave… please.”

      Something passed through his eyes, and he dropped the crossbow from his shoulder. He dipped his head, and I stared at him for a moment. I was shocked that worked, and I questioned the ease of it for a second before I darted off through the trees.

      When I was far enough away to teleport without him following, I reached out to Jennielle, but something was blocking me from her, so I teleported to Asariel. I landed on a bed strewn with empty glass bottles and a dish of ashes. As I sat up, I pushed one of the bottles off the bed and it clattered to the floor.

      I leaned over the bowl of ashes and sniffed then pulled back as the sweet smell stung my nose and my eyes watered. Salventra and Phobos. Relaxing, power dampening, and mind numbing preter herbs.

      What the…? The sound of retching pulled me from the thought before it could fully form. I slid off the bed and paused with my clawed, scaled dragon’s foot on broken glass. I lifted my foot and shifted into mortal form as I opened my Angelic sight. The room was still dim, but I could see a shattered bottle and splotches of red liquid. The bottle hadn’t been empty. Where was she?

      “Asariel?” I tentatively called and the retching paused. Fumbling footsteps approached a sliding wooden door to my left. I looked up as she clumsily pushed it open, and her green eyes stared at me, but she wasn’t seeing me. My eyes went wide as they searched her body. It was covered with cuts, dried blood, and bruises.

      “She wasn’t hurt when I found her, was she?” I thought and remembering this was a memory ejected me from the recognitive vision.

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