PRESENT DAY . . . Over the years, alcohol had sustained Idril against many disappointments in her life. Yet, she could only remember only three or four occasions in which she had engaged in a drunken binge. One of those binges had occurred after learning about Raynor's death over two-and-a-half years ago. But the very first time she had truly went on a bender happened after Belthazor had spurned her for that witch, Christine Bloome.
Although the demoness had began her pursuit of Belthazor for merely convenience, she discovered within a month that she had fallen for the handsome and elegant half-daemon. His rejection of her had been a serious blow to her psyche and her pride. By the time she finished drinking nearly every bottle of liquor in that hotel suite, Idril came to the decision to get rid of both Belthazor and his English tramp. The bitch had ruined her plans regarding the half-daemon; and Idril wanted to get even with him for drugging her, in order to spend the night with Christine.
Taking a swig of absinthe, Idril recalled her decision . . . and thirty-four years later, regretted it. Love, she concluded, made beings do stupid things. No wonder both the Source and Raynor had frowned upon it. Going after Belthazor and Christine not proved to be stupid, but led to one of the most humiliating moments of her life. And it all began with her tracking down Tarkin in Paris.
JULY 22, 1969; PARIS, FRANCE . . . A steady downpour of rain fell upon the Parisian streets, when Idril teleported in the middle of an alley off the Rue du Cloître-Notre-Dame. Fortunately for her, she had an umbrella to prevent her from getting wet. The demoness then took a deep breath and merged into the crowds that flowed along the sidewalk.
Right across the street stood the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral. But Idril was not interested in French culture or tourism at the moment. A fellow Thorn Brotherhood daemon had informed her that Vornac assigned Tarkin to close an important business deal, here in Paris. The same daemon also added that the 75 year-old daemon usually patronized a place on this very street called Le Vieux Bistro for his meals. The demoness finally came upon the bistro. She glanced through one of the window's light curtains and spotted Tarkin inside, enjoying a meal. After closing her umbrella, she entered the bistro and stood before the other daemon's table.
Slowly, Tarkin glanced up at the new visitor. His dark eyes widened in surprise at the sight of Idril standing before him. "Idril?" he exclaimed. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to see you," Idril replied. She was in no mood for idle chitchat. "Mind if I sit down?"
Tarkin nodded. "Sure." He cut a piece from what looked like a pork cutlet and popped it into his mouth.
Idril sat down in the chair opposite the other daemon. A waiter approached the table, carrying a menu. She asked for a glass of red wine, instead. Then she returned her attention to Tarkin. "So . . . where's Christine? Isn't she usually by your side?" Idril struggled to suppress any smugness from her voice.
"Tina was pleasure," Tarkin barked. "I'm here in Paris on business."
"If you say so," Idril replied with seemingly innocence. The waiter returned with her wine. She took a sip and added, "And I thought you were alone because of Christine's new 'friendship' with Belthazor." She took a second sip of wine.
The other daemon's fork froze in mid-air. Then he slowly placed it on his plate and stared at Idril. "Tina is with . . . Belthazor?" Idril nodded. "You've seen them together?"
Idril paused before she answered, "Not exactly. Belthazor . . . he told that he had seen Christine . . . the night she broke up with you. And he had been gone . . ."
A sneer marred Takin's countenance. "Oh, I see. He dumped you, didn't he? And now you tell me that he's with Tina." A sigh left his mouth and he shrugged. "Oh well. Easy come, easy go." He returned his attention to his meal.
In an effort to regain control of the conversation, Idril protested, "I never said that Belthazor had dumped me!"
Tarkin chuckled. "But he must have. Why else would you seek me out to tell me about him and Tina? He must have dumped you for her . . . and now you want revenge. And you want me to do what? Kill them for you?" He snorted with derision. "Sorry, I can't help you."
Idril decided to give up any pretense. "And why not?" she demanded. "Aren't you pissed?"
After swallowing another piece of pork, Tarkin replied, "No, not really. Tina had dumped me in the first place, because she caught me screwing some young thing at the Triple Six. Besides, I'm not going to kill a fellow daemon over some woman. What do you take me for?"
"Someone with pride!" Idril shot back.
Tarkin rolled his eyes. "Come off it, Idril! I would catch hell from Vornac or Raynor for getting jealous over some mortal. Even if she is a witch. Tina and I were growing apart, anyway. And I'm not surprised about her and Belthazor. I suspect they've been eying each other for quite some time." He gave Idril an appraising stare. "You know, I'm rather surprised that you got involved with Belthazor in the first place. Then again, maybe I shouldn't be - especially now that Raynor is married again."
"How did you . . .?" Idril bit back her words and took a sip of wine.
Tarkin smiled rather nastily. "Tina told me about seeing you with some man in Nice, last winter. A man that perfectly fits Raynor's description. I didn't realize that you were that desperate for a rebound." He paused, as his eyes narrowed. "Or was there another reason you went after Belthazor? He told me about Raynor advising him to consider marriage. Did you and Raynor planned to use Belthazor as some kind of patsy to hide your affair?'"
"Forget it," Idril retorted bitterly. "And Christine has a big mouth, by the way."
A sly smile curved Tarkin's lips. "Don't I know it."
In one last attempt to change the other daemon's mind, Idril added, "You really don't want to get even, do you?"
"No, I don't. It's like I said - I have no intention of killing a fellow daemon over some witch." Tarkin snorted derisively. "I'd be laughed out of the Brotherhood. And so would you." He paused and regarded the demoness with thoughtful eyes. "However, if you're that set on getting even . . . may I recommend someone else to do the job?"
Idril frowned. "Like who?"
"There's this group of demonic assassins that are from the Haldane Order." Tarkin paused. "And I know where Tina will be this weekend. At the Chilworth Manor Hotel. In Southampton. She'll probably be there for the Cowes Week Regatta."
Tarkin sighed. "Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight? That's where they have sailing races for high society or anyone who can afford a sailboat. Anything else?"
"No thanks," Idril curtly replied. She drank the last of her wine and stood up. "Thanks for the drink," she said in a cool voice. "And for the information. I guess you're not that pleased about Belthazor and Christine, after all."
Before she could turn away, Tarkin added, "Mind if I give you a piece of advice? You should really give up this idea of going after Belthazor and Tina. Witch or not, Tina's a very powerful magic practitioner. Her grandfather is none other than Tauron of the Valar Dimension. He's just as powerful as the Source and Tina happens to be a favorite grandchild. As for Belthazor - not only is he one of the best assassins in our order, he's also considered one of the best by the Source. I wouldn't go ahead with this, if I were you."
But Idril refused to listen. She had been badly humiliated. Someone - whether it be Belthazor or that bitch, Christine - had to pay. She bid Tarkin a cool good-bye and marched out of the bistro and back into the rain.
JULY 26, 1969; SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND . . . Rain fell upon the gabled roofs of the Chilworth Manor Hotel. It happened to be a former Edwardian manor that had been converted into one of Southampton's most elegant hotels sometime during the early or mid 20th century. Rain also drummed against the window panes of one of the hotel's suites. Inside this particular suite, Cole felt oblivious of his surroundings or the rain outside. His mind and senses were focused upon one thing - the soft, pliant body that moved underneath his.
Cole and Christine had arrived in Southampton to attend the annual Cowes Week Regatta - a series of sailboat races held on nearby Isle of Wight, in the small town of Cowes. Since Christine was unable to book a room at one of the hotels and private cottages in Cowes, she ended up booking a suite in nearby Southampton, at the Chilworth Manor Hotel. The following Saturday unfolded in a series of events. Cole and Christine met with one of the witch's friends aboard the latter's yacht to watch the sailboat races. Later that evening, the couple attended a party at one of the private villas on the island. It was nearly one in the morning and raining, when they finally returned to the hotel.
Cole plopped down on the sofa and sighed. "I don't know if I can take another two or three days of this. I've forgotten how exhausting it can be, attending one of these regattas."
Christine arched a blonde eyebrow. "You've forgotten?"
"Well, this isn't exactly my first time I've been here for the Cowes Week races," Cole remarked. "It's just been a while."
The witch sat down on an empty spot, next to Cole. "It must have been a lot longer than six years, because that's how long I've been coming down here." Her eyes coolly swept over Cole's reclining figure. "Hmmm, you do look a bit knackered. Bloody shame that is. I reckon I would have to call it a night, after all." She stood up.
With energy he did not know that he possessed, Cole quickly sprang to his feet. He then lifted Christine into his arms, causing her to squeal with delight. The pair shimmered out of the suite's living room and into the bedroom. Cole placed the witch on the bed and grinned. "Looks like I'm not that tired after all."
"We'll see," the witch replied with a smirk. She crawled off the bed and deliberately began to remove her clothes. Wearing only panties and stockings, Christine walked over to Cole and gently pushed him onto the bed. She then leaned over him and unfastened his belt and trousers. Next, she removed his shoes before finally tugging off his trousers and briefs.
Breathing heavily, Cole stared at the blond witch. "What are you doing?" he asked.
"Finishing what I had started that night we first me," Christine replied huskily. "Before Whatshername had interrupted me." She slipped one hand between his legs, causing the half-daemon to gasp. At first, she played with him. Slender fingers alternated between gentle caresses and squeezes that nearly left Cole breathless. But when she took him into her mouth, he cried out loud and sprang into a sitting position. He tried so hard not to come. He wanted to save himself for more horizontal activities. But Christine's soft lips and tongue made it difficult. And in the end, he could not hold back.
The witch lifted her head from between his legs. A wasted Cole removed his handkerchief from his jacket and handed it to her. "Well, that's it," he commented, while Christine wiped her mouth. "Now, I'm too tired to do anything."
Christine slid forward to join him. "Are you sure?" She began to unfastened his shirt's buttons.
Cole took a deep breath. "Perhaps not. Perhaps I just need a few minutes of rest."
"In that case," Christine removed his jacket, "you might as well get a bit more comfy." She tossed the jacket on the floor. "And let's get rid of the shirt, shall we?" Cole sat up and removed his shirt. It joined the jacket on the floor. "There now. It's a shame you're a bit tuckered. I wouldn't have . . . oh!" A squeal escaped from her mouth, as Cole rolled her flat on her back. "I thought you were tired?"
The half-daemon smiled down at the witch. "I can think of something that won't require much energy on my part," he murmured. Once more, he took Christine by surprise. A gasp left her mouth, as he ripped away her stockings and panties. He then spooned her body from behind, eliciting a giggle from the witch.
"Is this all you can do?" Christine demanded in a challenging voice.
Cole murmured, "Of course not." Then he inserted two fingers into the warm folds of flesh between the witch's legs. She arched her body and gasped for the second time. His fingers slid deep inside her. It was not long before Cole could feel her muscles involuntarily clutch his fingers, as she experienced an orgasm.
"Oh God," Christine murmured between pants. "I need you inside me. Now. Please?"
A groan left Cole's mouth. He felt so hard that he realized his need to enter her completely was just as strong as her. "Yeah. Yeah, of course. I . . ." The half-daemon rolled Christine on her back, spread her legs and with a grunt, entered her. The couple's bodies began to move - slowly, at first. Christine tightened her legs around Cole's waist, allowing him to sink his entire length deep into her. Locked together, the half-daemon and the witch moved in unison. Harder. Faster. The moment came when Christine's wet flesh tightened around Cole's. She cried out his name, as he stabbed into her a few more times. A massive orgasm finally overwhelmed him, allowing his seed to spill into her body.
Christine unwrapped her legs from around Cole's waist. Feeling boneless, he sagged against her body for several seconds and rolled off her. A satiated sigh escaped from his mouth. "I don't think I'll be able to recover after that," he murmured.
"I reckon I don't want to," Christine added. Her slender fingers began to stroke Cole's chest. "Then again, if recovering means another tumble like that, maybe . . ."
The witch's voice faded into the background, as the back of Cole's neck tingled. Daemons. Which meant . . . danger. He quickly shot into a sitting position. Two dark-clad figures materialized into the bedroom. "Christine!" the half-daemon cried. "Move!" He shoved her off the bed, as a fireball from one of the demons struck the very spot she had just abandoned.
Cole, who had scrambled off the bed, flung an energy ball at Christine's attacker. The latter exploded immediately. The other daemon lifted Cole off the floor, using telekinesis, and flung him against the far side of the wall. Before the half-daemon could do anything, Christine grabbed a dagger from one of the night stand, next to the bed. She hurled the weapon at the second assailant's center forehead. The daemon screamed in pain and disintegrated into a ball of light.
"Bloody hell!" the witch exclaimed. "Haldane assassins? Why would they attack us?"
Five more dark-clad figures, along with a very familiar one, appeared in the bedroom. "Take a wild guess," Idril greeted with a smirk.
Cole stared at the demoness. "Idril? What the hell . . .?"
"You should know, Belthazor. I don't like being humiliated. Or rejected." Idril turned to her companions. "It's five of you against the two of them. Kill them!"
It was Christine who made the first move. She stared down at one assassin. His body turned red, as he screamed in pain. Then it began to smoke before disintegrating into a pile of ash. At that moment, Cole realized that she was a thermokinetic, as well as a telekinetic. He killed another daemon with an energy ball. Then he shimmered out of the room, reappeared behind two assassins and snapped their necks in quick succession. One daemon sent a bolt of lightning toward the witch - much to Cole's horror. He did not have to worry. Christine quickly held up on hand and deflected the demon's attack. The lightning bolt zinged back toward the demonic assassin and struck him in the center of his chest . . . killing him instantly.
Fear gleamed in the eyes of the last Haldane assassin. He glanced around and quickly teleported out of the room. Cole smiled coldly at the dark-haired demoness. "Looks like its now two to one."
"You son-of-a-bitch!" Idril spat angrily. Her brown eyes suddenly glowed red. As a red beam shot from her eyes, Cole used his telekinesis to deflect her attack and send her out of the room. Idril's screams of pain filled his ears, as her body flew out of the open window.
Cole walked over to the open window and glanced out at the hotel grounds, below. Despite the surrounding darkness, he spotted Idril's writhing body on the lawn. Seconds later, she disappeared.
Christine joined the half-daemon by the window and pressed her body against his. "Is she dead?"
"Unfortunately no," Cole murmured. "But I think she's badly hurt." He sighed. "It'll be a long time before she tries to hurt us, again. If ever." Christine began to rub his arm. "Hopefully."
Then the couple turned away from the window and returned to the bed.
End of Part 6