The final chapter of the trilogy.
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A promise fulfilled. Kate’s family is back together. They have survived the evil that threatened to tear them apart, and the brutal betrayal that left them stunned. Kate has finished college and is settling into her new life as the Lady of Eavan, with her husband, Riley, and their beautiful daughter. Things are heading in the right direction, in spite of their continuing battle with dark forces.
A faith destroyed. Donal wants vengeance, and he means to have it at all costs. His conquest of the ruling family of Eavan and all of Sunlee will be swift, thorough and bloody – he’s counting on it. Kate and her family must fight for their way of life, and the price they pay for peace will be unimaginable.
Donal paced the chamber. He was deep in thought. It had been almost two years since he’d killed the ruling family of Padua and taken over their ancestral home. He’d brought his massive army of Cormac swirling through the land like a tidal wave of death and fear; driving the good people from the region. He’d been counting the days since then; gathering and training his demons; waiting for his moment of glory.
The warriors of the neighboring regions, along with the Cathal warriors of Eavan had done their best to see that he and his followers remained in Padua, frustrating his attempts to expand his borders and his forces; seeing to it that no Cormac were roaming free in the land of Sunlee. Lord Jonavon and Commander Ruark had been a thorn in his side for too long. They did not wage a full frontal assault, but neither did they allow Donal’s army to win any significant victories. He was unsure of Jonavon’s motives, and that kept his rage close to the surface, near his brutality.
Donal knew his day was coming. He had waited patiently, and patience was not his easiest virtue. But it had been necessary. He would not repeat the mistakes of Lorcan — he was much smarter and much more ruthless. Lorcan liked to toy with his adversary; it heightened the intoxication of power for him. Donal liked swift, cruel action. To smell the still warm blood of his enemies as it covered his hands was his private intoxication. He almost shivered with perverse pleasure at the thought of it.
A broad smile filled his face. He stopped pacing and stood to his full height, throwing his shoulders back and turning his attention to the group before him. The light streaming in the large windows fell on the tattoos covering his bare chest – dragons, three-headed beasts and skulls. Unlike his own black eyes, their eyes were red or sickly green and they seemed to watch each of the men in the room – the sunlight bringing the images eerily to life.
Seated around the circular dining table were his Cormac chiefs. They were the leaders of the demonic legions that took great delight in terrorizing the regions of Sunlee and the good people who tried to live peacefully there. He paused and made eye contact with each of them, his black eyes piercing the soulless beings. Most held his gaze, but some were forced to look away from the cold intensity they saw there.
He turned to his first officer, Meramoth. “Is everyone here?”
Meramoth nodded. “Yes, Lord. We await your word.”
Donal took a deep breath of satisfaction, filling his tremendous chest with air and letting it out slowly. His smile was cold and unfriendly. “The time has come to move. Straight on toward Eavan. Who is with me?”
The circle of demons nodded simultaneously.
“Good.” Donal slammed his fist into his open palm. “Lorcan was a fool.”
There was strained silence in the room. He waited for it to pass, glaring at each Cormac chief in turn.
“Lorcan spent too much time playing God, and it got him killed. He toyed with the regions for centuries, torturing the people, crushing their hope; while the region of Eavan, the crown jewel of Sunlee, sat unmolested. And it was his downfall.
“He knew the prophecy. Knew the children of Joakin would be his undoing, and yet, he was too arrogant to see his own weakness. He wanted to turn them; when he should have killed them.
“No mercy. That is the key to our success. We will no longer waste time attempting to conquer the lesser regions; we drive through to the beating heart of Sunlee and take it. Once Eavan falls, the others will go in succession. When Jonavon and Kathia are dead, there will be no one to sway the regional leaders to stand for their glorious cause.”
One of his chiefs dared to speak. “And what of the Cathal?”
Donal’s grin was sinister. “I will take the life of the Supreme Commander myself. Those who do not join us will die. The warriors of the other regions will share a similar fate. Defeat will be swift, merciless and final.”
“The plan, Lord?” his chief asked.
“We’ll attack in the few hours of nightfall and kill everything in our path. There will be no witnesses to warn the other villages of our coming. Then, we’ll move in stealth throughout the daylight hours, conserving our energy for the final battle in Eavan.
“Our exile in Padua has allowed the enemy to become complacent about their safety. I don’t expect the villagers to put up much of a fight, but we’ll go in full force, nonetheless. The slaughter will be breathtaking.
“As we travel toward Eavan, we’ll fan out and come in from all borders. With patience and cunning, we’ll hit all six Cathal encampments simultaneously. The fighting will be brutal…and thoroughly enjoyable.”
He paused as he saw it in his mind’s eye.
“Brilliant plan, My Lord.”
Donal scoffed at the chief who’d spoken. “I know.” He motioned for his men to rise. “Take word to your legions. Gather them here and be ready to go at my command. It will be soon, within the month.”
The chiefs bowed before him and left silently.
Donal turned to Meramoth. “Oversee the preparations. I have a task to perform and then I will return to lead them.”
Meramoth looked curiously at his supreme general. “My Lord?”
“I’m going to pay a visit to the House of Jonavon. I want to see for myself how prepared they are. And…with some luck, I’ll get an opportunity to strike a blow for our cause.”
“But, My Lord…if you are discovered, we’ll lose the element of surprise—”
“My observations will give us an added advantage. And if I am discovered–” Donal shrugged “—I hold none of Lorcan’s delusions that Ruark is a fool. I know his instincts will tell him to prepare for war. But, if everyone who could warn him of the when, where and how is dead, we’ll be upon Eavan and spilling blood before he comprehends every one of his encampments has been compromised.”
Meramoth nodded. His smile indicated his pleasure with Donal’s idea.
“Have the Cormac prepared to go by the time I return.” Donal closed his eyes and inhaled sharply through his nose. “The moment is almost ours. I can taste the power,” Donal said quietly.
Meramoth bowed his head. “Just a question, My Lord. Are you certain about attacking the villages only at night? It will take significantly longer to achieve your goal.”
Donal grinned savagely at his first officer. “Humans are afraid of the dark, and I wish to give them reason to be. We will become the nightmare that makes the children scream.”