Coming Darkness

Archangel Lucifer lives a comfortable life of self-imposed exile with his vampire lover, Kai. When the other Archangels come to him with a problem — Heaven is gone and their Father is missing — he refuses to get involved because not only is it not his problem, but it's probably some elaborate ruse they've cooked up to lure him back into the fold. When he's personally attacked, he finds that he's wrong on both counts. There are other powerful gods at work, gods who believe the current creation is flawed and must be destroyed.
Kai is thrown off balance when Lucifer disappears, and his life begins to spiral out of control. In the past, he never cared that he was looked down upon and called Lucifer's pet. But with Lucifer absent, he's left to navigate a world that doesn’t respect him. Since the only true currency is respect, he must gain it the only way his enemies will understand, through blood.
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Remember me.
A choked sob was all he could manage as his world gradually disappeared before him. He crumbled to his knees as the echo of the request played over in his mind. Remember me.
An unsettled Kai walked the back halls of The City, heading toward Te’s office. He took the longer, roundabout route to avoid contact with as much of the Other-kin population as he could. Currently, the only ones he came in contact with were the gentle Eineu servants who scurried out of his way when they saw him, and that was just fine with Kai in his current state of mind.
He didn’t often dream of his master, but when he did, it always left him uneasy. It didn’t help any to wake up in an empty bed. Lucifer was usually there when he woke, impatient to get his hands on him. Instead when he opened his eyes, he was greeted with the baleful stare and low growls of the newest cat Luc had acquired. Luc liked to call them ‘earthly angels,’ and with Kai’s grudging acceptance, they were always in residence. Apparently, this particular ‘angel’ didn’t know the rules of the house yet, as it followed him from room to room, arching and hissing. Kai knew he was protected, but it still rankled that he felt chased from his own home by a cat. His list of annoyances kept growing by the minute.
He was on edge. Sex or feeding, or both, would have gone a long way to release the tension in his body and the clouds in his mind. The brothels were always open to him, but he knew he should only satisfy one of those desires, and it held little appeal.
For all of Lucifer’s boast and bluster, he was surprisingly possessive. Kai was mildly shocked when he found out, and at first was uncomfortable with the arrangement. The idea that Lucifer wanted exclusive rights to his body seemed stifling. Granted, he’d been with his master for over two hundred years before meeting Lucifer, but they both had other sexual partners—sex led to feeding or vice versa. It was a natural progression.
As their association grew however, he was surprised to find that while the dictate seemed restrictive, it actually wasn’t. Having Lucifer in his life was all encompassing; there was simply no room for anyone else. Kai was more than satisfied. Except now. Now he wanted his lover and was annoyed that he hadn’t found him already.
He entered the small antechamber to Te’s office and was taken by two surprises. The first was that the usually-absent Stephan was sitting at his desk, and the second was to find the door to the inner office closed. Being extremely jovial and welcoming, Te’s door was mostly there to finish the room and was rarely closed. He shot a warning glance to Stephan to keep his mouth shut and cautiously knocked on the door.
Kai was about to turn and leave when Te opened the door. Today’s suit was canary yellow, the festive color clashing with his somber expression.
“Come in.” He gestured toward one of the wing chairs that stood opposite the desk. Kai took the offered chair and waited for the troubled demon to speak.
“One sec,” Te said, before making a gesture. Kai felt the magic tingle over him and looked at Te, bemused. “Stephan has been particularly nosy today.”
Kai snorted in amusement at the thwarting of Stephan’s plans to eavesdrop. He settled back in the chair, eager to hear what was on Te’s mind.
“We have a problem,” Te said as he walked around to his desk and sat down.
“Who do I have to kill?” Kai responded, trying to lighten the mood.
“That’s exactly the problem.” Te’s silver eyes focused on his desk for a moment before looking up and fixing on him. “That youngling you killed last night—”
“Let me guess,” Kai interrupted. “The Kazat won’t willingly dismiss it. The little shit insulted me. I was perfectly within my rights to kill it.”
Te nodded his head. “I know, and technically you didn’t break Other-kin law. But—”
“They still want vengeance,” Kai interrupted again.
Te leaned back in his chair, eyeing him. “You know how they feel about their young.”
“I’m sure it doesn’t help matters that the youngling’s killer just happened to be Lucifer’s pet.” Te made a noncommittal gesture, but before he could speak Kai waved a dismissive hand, “Fine. We’ll settle this at Court.”
“I had thought that once you’d calmed down, you’d change your mind. You’re serious? You really mean to go through with this?”
“I do.” Kai got up, walked toward the wall of glass, and stood in front of it looking out. “They don’t respect me, Te.” He turned to face him. “Worse, they don’t fear me. Even younglings feel they can insult me.” Strength must be shown; he was a rightful master, and holding Court was the most direct way of reminding everyone of that fact. He knew Te understood, so why was he fighting this?
Te looked at Kai, concern plain on his face. When he spoke, it was obvious he’d chosen his words carefully. “Are you at all concerned that your long disdain for politics has placed you at a disadvantage?”
“Well, I am. Plus, you’ve spent the last seven hundred years traipsing about with Lucifer. You’re out of touch.”
“You’re saying I’m weak.”
“No, I’m saying you’re inexperienced and possibly too much of a beta for your own good.”
Kai recoiled, taking a step back as if hit. Te rose and swiftly crossed the room. When he was close enough, he placed a hand on Kai’s shoulder, a gesture meant to soothe, even if the result was Kai tensing to the point of pain.
When he spoke, his voice was gentle. “I mean no insult. I worry; that’s all.”
Kai had forced himself to maintain eye contact throughout. “I am beta to you and Luc. Not to Lugan or the rest of my clan and certainly not to the Kazat.”
“My apologies.” Te squeezed his shoulder, and Kai relaxed. Te then crossed his arms and studied him. “Remember, you are the rightful leader of the clan. If you decide to hold Court, Lugan will think you’re making a play for power, and technically he’ll be right. Are you prepared for the consequences?”

Author Bio –
They say it’s never too late to find and pursue your passion. Turns out they’re right. Although Susan loved to read, she didn’t start writing until she was in her late 40’s. A stint in grad school helped her hone her craft, and now she happily spends her days making up stories and figuring out how best to emotionally (and sometimes physically) torture her characters.

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