Read Bonded Online

Authors: April Zyon

Bonded

 

 

 

 

Evernight Publishing ®

 

www.evernightpublishing.com

 

 

 

Copyright©
2016 April Zyon

 

 

 
ISBN: 978-1-77233-662-7

 

Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

 

Editor: Jessica Ruth

 

 

 

ALL
RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or
distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal.
 
No part of this book may be used or
reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the
case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.

 

This is a work of fiction. All names, characters,
and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales,
organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

DEDICATION

 

To my Evernight family, thank you all for your
support and kindness. I couldn't ask for a better publisher or authors to be
friends with. You are all amazing.

 

BONDED

 

Warriors of Light, 1

 

April
Zyon

 

Copyright
© 2016

 

 

 

Prologue

 

On a knee before the dais, the
hooded figure whispered in a gruff voice, “We have another.”

“Already?” Shock was clear in
the words of the woman who sat in a golden shaft of pure light. “I thought we
had eradicated the menace?”

“We have failed you, m’lady.”
Resignation and sorrow were evident in his tone.

“No. No, you didn’t fail me.”
Standing, the woman stepped a golden-shod foot from the dais and into the
normal light of the golden chamber. “Rise, Guardian, you did not fail me,” she
assured him with a touch of her hand on his shoulder. “However, this means that
there must be more.”

“I know, m’lady.”

There was such heavy distress on
his face that she touched his cheek. “You won’t be alone this time.”

“I wasn’t alone last time.”

“No, you weren’t. Still, you
were outnumbered and … what is the word?” She tapped a finger to her apple-red
lips, then said with a smile, “Outgunned.” Seeing the odd look on his face, she
laughed. The term would not exist for about another hundred years.

“I do not understand that word.”

“And you won’t. Not for a very
long time.” Standing before him, she pushed the cowl to his cloak back and
whispered, “I am going to ask you a question. Weigh your answer with care,
because this will change everything that you know … everything that you
believe.”

“What more could change for me,
m’lady? I know of the monsters that haunt the night. I know of the evil that we
had thought we had beaten.” Raising his glittering green gaze to her eyes, he
added, “I saw it with my own eyes. What more is there?”

She traced the scar that went
from his hairline, across his eye, and down to his chin. “You have seen so very
much, Guardian. Yet what I have to ask you, what I wish to give you, is so much
more than you could comprehend.”

“Will it help me defeat the
monsters?”

“Yes.”

“Then ask your question. Ask the
question you already know the answer to.”

“Will you become the first? Will
you search out guardians such as yourself? Will you start an army of your own
to combat the forces that are gathering to end humanity? Will you accept my
gift and pass it to each man that you come across deserving of the title
guardian
?”

“Yes, m’lady.” He stood taller
and his chin lifted in response to the praise.

“Then you should call me by my
true name.” She whispered close to him now. “For I am about to show you the
truth of what you hunt, the truth of reality, the truth of your world. Mercury,
I am about to show you the reason you were born and the reason the army you
will raise is needed.”

It was the first time she had
called him by name. The look on his face showed his stark confusion, for he had
never given it to her. “How?”

“Oh, my dear, dear Mercury.” She
smiled. “I am, or will be known, by many names. I am the Queen of Heaven,
Mercury. Whether I be called Anat, Isis, Hera, or even Astarte.” She felt him
startle. “I am life. I am more. I am all in one. There is another, however,
because for every one thing, there has to be a balance of the complete and
opposite thing. This is what we battle.”

“But, but, you are…” The man was
clearly stymied by these claims. Peering into his thoughts, she saw the
questions he wanted to ask. He knew just who Anat was—a goddess. But she had
touched him. She lived among their people. She was a part of their culture. He
was simply wondering—how? How had this woman gone so long acting as a human and
she was actually a goddess.

So, she answered his unspoken
question. “Because I am who I am. Because I am a goddess. I am a goddess who
needs a royal army, a guard that will beat back the rising darkness. Will you
lead my army, Mercury?”

“And how do I know that you
aren’t the cause of the evil?” The question was one that she would have
expected. His confusion was reflected in his tone because he was trying to wrap
his mind around the fact that a goddess was there before him asking for his
assistance.

“Because I have saved lives, and
you have saved lives. What I am asking you to do will be more of the same, only
on a larger scale. I asked if you could handle my question … was I incorrect in
my choice?”

“No,” he whispered with honesty.
“How do I do this?”

“With this.” She held out a
small, golden medallion. “I warn you, there will be drawbacks, ones that I must
tell you about before we proceed. Ones that may change your mind.”

“Nothing will make me change my
mind.” His tone was firm and unbreakable.

She studied him for a moment.
“Your sisters felt no pain,” she said, mentioning them for the first time. “I
know that is why you fight for me, on the side of good. They felt no pain. They
felt only the acceptance of the afterlife.”

“Thank you.” He cast his gaze to
the floor, then gave a deep breath and a sudden nod. “Tell me, then, m’lady.”
He pulled his cowl up once more and went back to his guardian stance. “What are
the drawbacks?” She watched as his stare fell on the medallion, on the marking
of her brand—a star inside of a circle, with an infinity knot connecting them.

“You have to die to become one
of my warriors,” she whispered sadly. “And each man that you recruit must die,
as well.” She held up a hand and smiled. “I would never take your life and give
nothing in return. You would exist for as long as the Earth turns on her axis.
As long as the sun warms the skies. Unless…”

There was always a caveat.
“Unless your head is taken. Or the medallion is removed from your body or
shattered. Then your soul will return to the Wheel of Souls and won’t be
allowed to return to Earth for a thousand years.”

“And how will being dead allow
us to fight the monsters?”

“You will not be dead. You will
still have your souls. You will not be monsters unless you allow your souls to
turn to darkness. Only then will you turn into what you hunt.” She did not
candy-coat it for him, knowing that would be pointless and unhelpful.

“Bearing my medallion, you will
have additional talents and the ability to wield the weapons that I will create
for you to battle them. Weapons that you or one of your men will soon learn to
create, as well. As time marches on, your minds will quickly adjust. You will
learn to blend, and you will become so very, very much more than you are now.
You will become the guardians of the world, because the darkness is growing.”

“I understand,” he replied. She
had given him a great deal to think about. He hesitated but when he looked back
up to her and nodded, she saw the trust in his eyes. “How does this begin?”

A blade appeared in her hand.
“Now, I kill you, Mercury.” Her voice held true sorrow. “Then I will lay the
medallion at the wound, and when you wake, you will understand. You are the first,
Mercury. You will have access to all because of the medallion I give to you and
only you.

“The ones after you will not
hold as much power, will not hold as much knowledge, because it will be up to
you to teach them and help them learn their power.” She paused. “I will give
you a book that will hold all of the powers inside. When you create a new
guardian, have them place their hand upon a blank page, and you will learn all
that there is to know about their medallion. Call it a download—again, a word you
will understand one day,” she assured him.

“One day.”

She knew he did not fear death.
If anything, he embraced it. As she slid the blade into his heart, she watched
the life flee his body and whispered the necessary words.

When he woke next, he would be
alone and have the knowledge of the gods in his mind. Little did he know at the
time, but they weren’t truly gods. They were beings from another world. A world
far more advanced than Earth.

When he woke, his real training
would begin.

 

Chapter One

 

The years had been long and hard
for Mercury. He’d fought as the goddess had asked him to fight. He had gained
more warriors for the cause, but he had watched many a good man and woman fall.
Give in to the seductive lure of darkness. It was unacceptable to him, the way
that these men—whom he had handpicked—turned to the darkness so easily.

There had to be a way around it.
There had to be a way to save them.

“There is.” A soft voice spoke
from the shadows, answering his thought. “You have done so well, Mercury. You
have done so very well, my knight.”

Bowing his head, he whispered,
“I’ve tried, but I feel like I’m failing more than helping. I’ve recruited men,
brought them over and given them the power that is held inside of the
medallions. Yet they keep turning to the darkness and that makes even more
trouble for me.” He sighed. “Because then they take our secrets to the evil
ones. Well, when I can’t find and stop them beforehand.” He hated that part.
Killing the men he had given extra life to. Killing the men who had become like
brothers to him.

“That is why I am here now. I am
unable to take corporeal form at this time because my energies are being used
elsewhere, but what I can tell you is this—for each medallion, there is a
second half. There is a being that is perfect for the warrior. It is time for
those women to be found for the men. It is time to remind them what they fight
for.”

“And how are we supposed to do
that? It’s not like there’s a dating service for us,” he snapped.

Her laughter flowed around him.
“No, there isn’t a dating service for you. However…” She took a long sigh. For
a moment, he thought she had disappeared, but then she spoke again, softer,
weaker. “These women are all unique. They are all amazing. And they will each
bring their own set of skills to the table. They will help you in dealing with
those that have been created by the darkness.”

He could hear her smile before
she added, “And they will bring new life to the warriors who thought they would
never have what is so essential—family. Which is exactly what we are fighting
for. Why we have to ensure that the darkness is beaten back.

“Find the women with special
talents, women who hide because they know, should they be caught, that they
would be used for experiments. Use your contacts, Mercury—the men and women who
are very high in the political and military worlds—to hear the whispers of
these women.”

“As you say.” Mercury was
already thinking of what he would have to do, how he could possibly go about
trying to find these women. “Goddess,” he called softly. “Will I see you
again?”

“Yes, dearest Mercury, you will.
One day there will be a woman who walks into your life who makes you think of
me. Then you will know that my daughter has been born and has come to you. When
she does, protect her, because when she finds you, it is because the darkness
has slain me.”

“Goddess?”

“I am able to be killed, my old
friend. They will look for her next because she will inherit all that I am, all
that I was, and all that I will ever be. Protect her, because she will be
yours. That is all I can say.” In fact, it was more than she had ever told him
before.

“Until another time, Mercury.
Begin your search for the women. Find them. Protect them. And know that your
men will understand instinctively how to bond with them. Trust that these women
will mean more to them than anything, and never, ever get between a warrior and
his bride. It will not end well for anyone.” She whispered those words. Then he
felt her leaving. It was as if a vacuum had opened and sucked out the air for a
moment.

“Fuck,” he muttered. Running his
hands through his military-short hair, he turned his face up to the ceiling and
sighed. He felt a rush of information via the medallion that was embedded in
his heart. Rubbing at his chest, he nodded. “Thank you, Goddess.” Each
medallion would have a soul keeper, a woman to balance the warrior. Every piece
of information that was ever possible for him to need to know was in his mind
now. The past, present, and even future were all rolled up in a mix, something
he had to sort through. The information about the women that would be the light
for the men was one of the first items he assembled in his mind. It was in that
moment that he realized just how crucial this work was going to be. Finding
these women for the men was the only way to keep them inside of the light.

“Now, just to find them,” he
murmured and went off to the central nervous system of the base—the computer
and tech lab.

 

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