The Centurion Cycle Book Five: Of Shadow and Fire

Chapter Fifteen: The Plot Begins

"Eat..." Armageddon ordered in a low voice to the skinny half starve Legatio in the corner of his bedroom.

"Is it poisoned?" The Legatio whispered in a hoarse voice.

"No, now eat," Armageddon said in a more insistent tone causing the frightened young man to pick up his bowl and start feeding himself with his dirty bare hands.

"Why have you brought me here Lord Armageddon," the man asked his eyes watching as the blue-skinned giant began to undress.

"Would you rather be back in the Legatio Quarter?"

"No," the young man said shaking his head violently going back to eating.

"I didn't think so. I would not have let you go anyway considering the trouble I went to find you Felix son of Gorr. Seeing you now I find it hard to believe you were once the son of a Field Marshal and raised by the great Senator Perils."

"Please, I didn't know Perils plan to assassinate my father."

"You didn't know Perils bought and sold the sacred skulls of our Centurion dead?" Seeing the look of fear grow even greater on Felix's face, Armageddon let out a deep chuckle. "So you did know. I'm sure you reminded yourself often of that fact as you and your cronies patrolled the halls of the Academy."

"Please... please don't hurt me," Felix cried curling up into a tight ball.

"Why would I hurt you, Felix, when I loved you? I was even willing to kill for you once."

"I... I don't understand," Felix whimpered.

"You should have stayed at the Academy Felix. If you had you would have escaped with the rest of the students to Qul Tos. Then again I can't picture you ever willing to bow down to Jason. Am I wrong?"

"Jason," Felix spat, his fear quickly replaced with anger. "This is his entire fault."

"Maybe but he's now King of Qul Tos, a mighty king I hear while you are nothing but a bit of cattle unless I say otherwise."

"I will do anything you wish of me, Lord Armageddon."

"Good, then you shall start by calling me by my old name. It's not as grand as Armageddon but I'm sure you will find it just as terrifying."

"What name is that my lord?" Felix whispered clenching his eyes shut.

"Alex," Armageddon replied, now standing above Felix completely naked.

"No... that can't be," Felix insisted shaking his head.

"But it is Felix... I am Alex, the young man you once scorned and tricked into fighting your former lover Gideon. You said he raped you. Me being the fool, believe you."

"Please, don't kill me," Felix wept.

"I won't kill you, Felix. Not if you do exactly what I say."

"Name it and it's yours."

"Stand up Felix... such an important oath should be said on your own two feet not cowering on the floor." Alex said lifting Felix up. "Now say your oath," he demanded.

"Name it and it's yours," Felix said his eyes aimed downward.

"Look at me, Felix. How can I be expected to believe you if you can't even look up at my face?"

"Forcing his head up Felix looked at the man's purple glowing eyes, saturated with anima of both Legatio and Centurions.

"Name it and it's yours," Felix said for the third time.

"Good, I knew you could do it. Now go to my bed and lay down."

"But..." Felix protested.

"Remember your oath," Alex replied as he walked away. By the time he went to the bed, Felix was curled up on it. "Now face me," Alex demanded after he lay next to the Legatio.

Slowly rolling over Felix saw Alex holding up a pair of vials of blue anima. "Drink Felix and become stronger," Alex said offering one of the vials to him.

Eagerly taking one of the vials he drained its sweet contents down his throat and watched as it mixed with his own red anima, causing his body to glow with a purple aura. As the anima took effect he found his gasping for air as his body grew and thickened out until he didn't look so half starved as before.

"Good," Alex chuckled. "You're looking better already. Tomorrow I will give you more anima and see how much further we can go." He then rolled over and closed his eyes to sleep.

Almost thanking Alex for not raping him Felix quickly fell asleep himself, the effects of the anima having worn him out. That night he dreamed he carried a sword in his hand, slaying his tormentors while Alex stood behind encouraging him.

 ______________________________________________________

"Trouble," Caleb said on bursting into Jason's cabin.

"What is it?" Jason asked leaving his desk.

"You should see for yourself," Caleb replied.

Heading for the main deck Jason saw almost a dozen winged Saint flying above him, their leader, Lieutenant Dovin in a heated argument with Geoff. "Dovin what are you doing here?" Jason demanded.

"I should be asking his majesty the same thing," Dovin replied sternly. "What are you thinking of trying to sneak into Domus?"

"Because I have to," Jason replied.

"Lord Philip disagrees."

"Which is why he's not here with me," Jason said crossing his arms over his chest in an act of defiance.

"I have orders to take you back to Qul Tos your majesty, orders I plan to follow to the letter."

"What did you call me?"

"Your majesty."

"Good, so you do recognize me as your king."

"You are the king but this is different, Philip..."

"Philip is not king nor are you, Captain of the Winged Guard," Jason said eyeing Geoff.

"Captain, will you talk some sense into his majesty?" Dovin pleaded.

"His Majesty knows what he is doing lieutenant. You are to stand down and obey his orders." Geoff replied, Jason, letting out a sigh of relief.

"This is madness your majesty," Dovin insisted.

"I understand why you might feel that way but it doesn't change what I must do. You can either help me or fly back to Qul Tos."

"If I can't persuade you otherwise I have no choice but to aid you in whatever way I may," Dovin said his shoulders dropping in defeat.

"Then order your men to come aboard," Jason replied.

"As you wish your majesty," Dovin bowed.

"You handled that very well," Geoff chuckled.

"To be honest I thought they would have come a lot sooner. Varrus' spies must be inattentive. I will have to have a talk with him when we return."

"If we return. I still am not convinced your plan will work."

"You do agree it is the only plan that stands a chance of working?" Jason replied.

"I do. That doesn't mean I don't wish that we had a few more options. This is a dangerous game you're playing at."

"I know but it must be done. The Centurions were willing to risk their own lives to save me. I owe it to them to take the same risk in return for their sake."

"I still don't like you going into this much danger."

"I know but there is no real danger to me."

"So you say," Geoff said unconvinced.

"The Grau and Dominus will not let me die when they're so close to their goal."

"They might think you're too reckless to remain here anymore."

"No, it's too soon. They will want to see my full potential first."

"What is it you're hiding Jason. There is something you're not telling me. Do you know what Dovin told me before you arrived? Qul Hoth is gone, completely obliterated. It seems to have happened the same night Gideon vanished. If there is something that dangerous out there I have the right to know."

"It was the Dominus, Geoff. They took Gideon and destroyed his city."

"And how long were you going to hide that from me?" Geoff demanded angrily.

"I didn't. Yes, I didn't tell you what happened to Gideon. To be honest I was too upset to. As for Qul Hoth, I didn't know it was destroyed until you just told me but I do not doubt it was the Dominus' doing?"

"Jason if they can destroy the second largest city in Qul Tos in a single night what chance do we have against them?"

"None at all," Jason said sternly stressing each word. "Yet I still have hope, Geoff. There is still a chance that I can save almost everyone if you will just help me."

"I, I wasn't suggesting I wouldn't. I just wish you would trust me enough to tell me the truth. All of it."

"I can't. It is something that I don't fully believe or understand myself. When I do I promise I will tell you."

"Something tells me that won't happen until the very last minute," Geoff grumbled even as his face softened

"Is that not the way of things?" Jason chuckled.

"Now you're talking like Julian," Geoff said as Jason stated heading back inside the ship. "Where are you off to now?"

"To make my apologies to Amanda again."

"Has she run out of stuff to throw at you yet?"

"No... if I didn't know better I would think she's started handcrafting them just for my head." Jason laughed. Going to Amanda's cabin he knocked on the door. "Hello?"

"Jason, don't you dare come in here."

"I've just come to say I'm sorry."

"Do you know how humiliated I am?" Amanda demanded.

"I know but as I said I didn't know better."

"How can you not know better... sheep know better?"

"Not all sheep." Jason insisted.

"Just go away," Amanda replied not able to hold back a laugh.

"Please let me in Amanda... you can throw whatever you want at me."

"I don't know why you are asking. There's no lock to my door."

"But it's impolite to barge in on a lady."

"But it's not impolite to fuck her up the ass."

"Now Amanda, I said I was sorry. Anyway, I won't have my future queen talking in such a manner."

"If you want my forgiveness you have to do something for me."

"Name it," Jason said leaning his head against the door a smile growing on his face. At least they were now negotiating, that was some progress."

"I want you to go fuck my brother."

"Amanda, language."

"I want you to go sleep with my brother and I want to watch."

"What?" Jason said taken aback.

"Louis won't leave me alone about it and I want to see the look on his face when he gets to see what it really feels like," Amanda insisted.

"And your brother would agree to this?" Jason frowned.

"He will agree to anything if you will just talk to him again."

"Your brother is desperate, you know that?" Jason replied.

"He's been desperate most of his life. The first woman he slept with was a prostitute Samuel paid for. That's why he agreed to send Louis to you. He hoped you could fix him."

"Louis is more than capable of fixing himself."

"Do you agree to my terms or no?" Amanda said.

"On one condition," Jason replied.

"What?"

"For you to be in the bed with us."

"To be in the same bed you're having sex with my brother in?"

"Actually I was thinking of having sex with both of you."

"You have the morals of a Centurion, you know that?"

"When it came to matters of love they were my best teachers," Jason chuckled.

"Not at the same time but afterward. While you're having sex with my brother I will give you a few pointers on how to make proper love to a woman."

"Agreed," Jason laughed. "Since I have the larger bed shall we meet in my cabin at the next ring of the bell?"

"Agreed," Amanda shouted back.


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