Author's Note: This book has not yet been edited.
Thanatos stared at the gold envelope, the furrow in his brow growing deeper by the second.
Maybe I read it wrong
He silently hoped to himself as he pulled the invitation from inside. Scanning the deeply etched words, he rolled his eyes. No such luck, he had read it right, he scoffed loudly. Why the hell did his brother's coronation have to be today? There was so much that still needed to be done, his workload ever-increasing. Taking a day off to be paraded around like a trophy was not his idea of being productive. He sighed, could he get out of this?
"Don't even think about it." Nyx's voice pulled at him, forcing him to turn around.
She raised her hand, silencing him. "Do not disrespect my intuition Thanatos, I know both of my sons like the back of my hand."
A smirk found its way on his lips, "That you do mother," he said meekly. His mother was the only person who could make him forget that he was literally the deliver of souls, and instead, made him feel like that little boy who once had such big dreams.
"Your brother would be so disappointed if you didn't attend."
Thanatos scrunched up his nose, "I thought you knew your sons."
Tapping his shoulder lightly, she gave him a knowing smile before walking towards the large office door, “Please make sure you're on time," she called over her shoulder before exiting.
Thanatos leaned back in his chair and looked at the large pile of papers on the desk. He felt a migraine seeping in. He really didn't have time for this. A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts.
Right on time
"Enter," he said, turning around to face the door.
Folding one leg over the other, he watched as his 6:00 appointment walked inside the office. Thanatos studied the small-framed man. His blotchy skin and unhygienic disposition made his skin crawl. "Do you know why you're here, Erwin?" He asked the man, to which he only nodded his head in return. "Well go on now…let's hear it."
Erwin shifted his weight from one foot to the other and trained his eyes to a hole in his shoe, "…because of what I did to that boy."
"That boy has a name." Thanatos felt his blood slowly began to boil. His pale eyes turned slightly black before he managed to calm his temper.
Erwin refusing to look up, wicked away the sweat beginning to form on his brow, "…because of what I did to Toby," he said in a mumbled voice.
Thanatos stood. His 6'7 frame towering over Erwin causing Erwin to inhale deeply in fear. He dropped to the ground, tugging at the reaper's pant leg before kissing the front of his leather boot.
"Please...I have a sickness. I-"
He never finished his sentence. His words were cut short by the slice of Thanatos’ claws across the back of his exposed neck. Blood pooled from the fatal wound causing Erwin to retch forward. His eyes glassed over, his breath shallow, he looked up in horror at the twisted smile of the reaper's face.
"There's a box of Kleenex on my desk. Every drop of blood you spill better be cleaned off my fucking floor before you die." Erwin felt his lungs begin to collapse. He struggled to breathe against the blood filling them. Thanatos laughed a deep chuckle before throwing the tissue box across the room, "Correction, there's a box of Kleenex over there. Clean this shit up or spend eternity trying to accomplish the task."
Pleasure filled Thanatos to his core as Erwin pulled his body across the floor in a useless attempt to retrieve the box. His soul would burn, Thanatos would make sure of it, yet watching him attempting to save it made having to attend the coronation a little more bearable.
Upbeat music played with a constant tempo as Thanatos made his way to the ballroom taking in the extravagance of his brother's mansion. The white walls and golden trim matched perfectly with its celestial atmosphere making the entire place look almost surreal. Guests sprawled about the mansion, sipping red wine, and partaking in the merriment of the occasion. The entire sight annoyed him. All he wanted was to go back home. He looked around the crowd absentmindedly, the faces of the visitors soon blurring into one distorted picture.
He probably doesn't know half these people
He jests internally. Romulus was always one for the extravagance and he spared no expense. That was why they were so different. Where his brother obsessed over the adoration of others, Thanatos revealed in the fact that most feared him. Even as he looked around he noticed their obvious attempts to avoid eye contact with him. He smiled.
Thanatos grabbed a glass of wine from the table and put it upwards towards his lips. His eyes continue to scan the grounds before locking onto someone. He felt his breath hitch, and the wine trickle down the side of his mouth onto his chin as he looked at her.
"Shit!" He murmured, quickly cleaning the mess.
The woman smiled, causing her entire face to brighten. Her caramel skin and full lips seemed to intoxicate him, and he found himself unable to look away. A small smirk played on her lips, and her green eyes bore back into his almost as if she were challenging him to break contact first.
He's even more handsome up close
Evie raised her brow and tilted her head, letting her lips fall open slightly. She saw him groan, but his eyes never left hers. She found herself biting her lip imagining what it would be like to hear that groan during other activities.
I thought he would have been in a black cape or something
At least that's what she'd been told. Yet the person she was looking at was nothing like the stories. Tall, angry faced maybe, but that did nothing to hide his appeal.
She's not afraid of me?
Thanatos found himself confused. He couldn't decide if it was the challenge in her eyes, or brazenness that attracted him the most. How did she manage to make such a menial expression look so sexy?
"Your father is looking for you."
He heard his mother say beside him. Thanatos looked down at her, "Of course he is."
He already knew the speech that he would soon be subjected to. He inhaled deeply, his eyes traveling back to where he saw the beautiful stranger, but she was nowhere to be found.
"So which speech is it today Cybrus?" Thanatos teased his father as he entered his brother's chambers.
Romulus smiles widely at him, "Big brother, you came!"
"As if I had a choice," he mumbled under his breath causing his mother to glare at him.
"Well nonetheless, I'm really happy to see you."
"I just hope we can keep this a joyous occasion for your brother's sake," his father snickered while adjusting Romulus's royal robes.
"Wow father…took you a whole minute to insult me this time, we seem to be making progress."
Cybrus sighed but didn't respond which was just fine with him. This was their routine. For as long as he could remember, his father's snide comments and blatant disapproval of him forced them to lash out at one another.
"Dad…Thanatos doesn't need to do anything other than be who he is."
Thanatos rolled his eyes. He hated his brother's angelic act. It was literally one of the main sources of contention.
"I'm only suggesting that he put the death stuff to the side for much happier things tonight."
"I LITERALLY AM FUCKING DEATH HOW CAN I PUT THAT TO THE SIDE?!" Thanatos screamed towards his father, causing a hush over the room. "I can't help what I am." He hated that after all this time, his father's words still had such an effect on him.
"Maybe this isn't the time to discuss this," his mother interjected.
Thanatos sighed walking towards the door, "When will it ever be?"
Walking out, he ignored his brother's pleas for him to stay.
"An amazing coronation Prince Romulus," the older vampire spoke excitedly.
"All thanks to you being such an amazing advisor Nicolas."
The elder vampire seemed to blush. Thanatos stifled a laugh somewhat impressed at his brother's ability to charm any and everybody. Nicolas smoothed a patch of his gray hair, "You have one more person to meet, and then we can retire."
Thanatos hated this part. He'd remembered during his coronation feeling overwhelmed at being forced to greet and hear the expectations of everyone around him. His brother, on the other hand, seemed super excited. Yet another difference between them.
"Well send him over," Romulus said excitedly.
Nicolas's eyes twitched. "Her," he said looking down to the ground. "There's something you all must know your majesties."
Nyx looked towards both her sons and then her husband. "Well spit it out!" She said anxiously.
"She's…she's a necromancer."
"Impossible," Cybrus responded dismissively.
That caught Thanatos' attention.
"It's true…I can smell it."
Nyx's eyes shot towards her husband, "How is this even possible…I thought they were all destroyed."
Cybrus didn't respond. He had no idea how this could be. He'd been told they all had fallen during the war.
"Bring her to us immediately," Romulus said finally.
If she was here maybe she needed help, and he was determined to do that in any way he could. Nicolas turned and faced the crowd appearing to search for someone. He nodded his head toward another vampire, and the crowd slowly began to disburse. Thanatos watched as the beautiful woman from earlier appeared and walked towards them. He leaned back into his chair in utter disbelief.
She's the necromancer
He thought in utter disbelief. As she grew closer, he could smell her scent. A touch of vanilla and the unmistakable scent of something else...death. It was like an aphrodisiac to him, and he felt himself become temporarily lightheaded.
"Excuse my intrusion on this special day your highness," she said, turning to smile softly at his brother.
He noticed the cascade of freckles that lined the bridge of her nose.
God this woman is beautiful
He grumbled at his thoughts.
"No apologies are necessary…I am delighted to meet you…although..." Romulus's voice tapered off.
"Although you're wondering how a necromancer may be still alive?" Romulus looked at her sheepishly, and she let out a small giggle, "Perhaps this will better explain." Reaching into her pocket, she retrieved a locket, "May I give this to you, your majesty?" She turned to a confused Nyx and handed over the piece of jewelry. Within seconds, her family saw her face ashen.
"Where did you get this?" Nyx asked her lip quivering.
The woman's eyes saddened slightly before she straightened her posture, "My name is Evie. I am the daughter of your once dearest friend Angelica. She was the one who saved me and sent me to you."