The Night Everything Fell Apart (The Nephilim Book 1)(11)

“Bully for you,” Maweth muttered.

“I now possess the magic of three clans. Five elements of magic respond to my call. The next recruit awaits his Ordeal.” He rubbed his hands. “Soon all nine elements of Nephil magic will be mine to command.”

He replaced the mirror on the desk. “When they are, I will unite the magic fractured by Raphael so long ago. Have you located my next candidate yet?”

Next victim, more like. Maweth had actually been looking forward to that question. “As to that,” he said, “I regret to inform you that while you were gone, you missed not one, but two prospects.”

Dusek frowned. “How can that be? I’ve not been gone long enough for anyone to complete a transition.”

“Yes, well, it seems one clan has figured out how to shorten the transition. Instead of taking months, the Ordeal arrives just a few days after the NDE.”

Dusek muttered a curse. “Which clan is that?”

For most of his existence, Maweth had paid scant attention to the Nephilim. He’d always known when a Nephil died, of course, since the creatures were half-human. He also knew when one almost died. Which was why he was in his current predicament.

Young, dormant Nephilim were indistinguishable from their human counterparts, until they passed puberty and survived a near-death experience, or NDE. After those milestones, they entered a period of transition leading to their Ordeal. It was Maweth’s job to help Dusek locate these vulnerable, transitioning dormants.

“The new adepts belong to the Druid clan,” he said. “American branch, currently residing in Texas. Involved in illegal sex and drug trades.”

“I am aware of Mab’s operations. Proceed to the point.”

“I’m getting to it. The point is that while you were occupied with your new thrall, two Druid dormants ingested a crapload of cocaine. When they didn’t die, their Ordeals came on within days. They’re both adepts now.”

“And enthralled to their alpha,” Dusek muttered. “Making the bitch that much more powerful.”

“Well,” Maweth said. “As to that. Not exactly.”

“What do you mean?”

“Mab’s enthralled one of the new adepts, true enough. But the other went rogue. He faced his Ordeal alone.”

“And survived?” Dusek said. “He must be mad now.”

“No. He’s not. At least, not any more insane than his ancestor was.” Maweth paused for dramatic effect. “The new adept, you see, is a direct descendent of Merlin the Sorcerer.”


Ah, but it was sweet, witnessing Dusek’s shock. Maweth grinned.

“Not possible,” Dusek said. “Merlin has no living heirs. The last of his direct line died seven years ago. I should know. I was there.”

“Mab was there, too,” Maweth said smugly. “Looks like she came away with the prize, in the form of one twelve-year-old dormant.”

“Arthur Camulus was dead. Utterly and completely dead. I saw his body.”

“Did you?” Maweth grinned. Oh, but he was enjoying this. “Think again, because the boy’s a man now and he certainly looks alive to me. He’s fairly glowing with power.” He paused. “Druid Nephilim are masters—and mistresses—of illusion, are they not? Mab, especially?”

Maweth watched understanding dawn in Dusek’s eyes. Enraged, the Nephil slammed his fist on his desk. Maweth hopped nimbly to one side.

“That damned cunt tricked me,” he spat.

Maweth nearly clapped his hands. His master was so incensed by his rival’s seven-year-old deception Maweth half-expected to see steam hissing out his ears.

He hadn’t had this much fun in months.

“Where is he?” Dusek’s tone was as quiet as it was dangerous. “Where is Arthur?”

“Not sure,” Maweth hedged. “He met his Ordeal in the States, but soon after emerging he took off over the Atlantic. Toward Great Britain, I think.”

Dusek snapped his fingers. “T?’r Cythraul.”

“House of the Demon? Where’s that?”

“It’s where I sent Arthur’s parents to Oblivion.” Dusek made a sound of disgust. “Tristan Camulus was a pitiful alpha. Couldn’t control his lover, much less his clan. He entertained odd notions of democracy. Made him weak. He was almost too easy to destroy.” His expression darkened. “I’d cultivated Arthur’s bitch of a mother for months. She’d agreed to run away with me and bring her son. Arthur was to be mine when he came of age. My thrall, my bridge to Druid magic.”

“Sympathies,” Maweth said, rather insincerely. Really, this Arthur kid had had a lucky break. Maweth wouldn’t wish Dusek on his worst enemy.

Dusek jerked his thumb. “You. Back in the mirror.”

“So soon? But—”

“In,” he ordered. “Now.”

A vortex caught Maweth’s body, tossed it aloft, and turned it into something akin to an oily black liquid. The inky tornado whirled across the desk to the mirror, which quickly sucked it inside.

Maweth’s body exploded from the whirlwind, smashed into a wall, and then bounced onto the floor. He lay on his back for a moment, trying to catch his breath.

Outside the mirror, Dusek’s distorted form turned and stalked out of the room. The Nephil must be very unsettled—he’d left his office door open. That almost never happened.

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