“The truth is that I’d rather march into hell with you than bask in heaven without you.”
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Fate has a way of getting what she wants, no matter how we try to avoid it.
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“She took me to a mall yesterday.” Lachlain sounded as if he’d just stifled a shudder. “And she pointed to a boy and said, ‘I think I want one.’ So naturally, I start thinking, Where can I get a wee mortal? But she meant… she meant a bairn—our bairn.”
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“I’ll lunch on their balls!” That was Regin’s new threat: to lunch on enemies’ balls. “Reege, when you threaten males with that, I don’t think it has the result you intend. They think less Lunchables, more tea bag.”
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The Scot mouthed, “Dr. MacRieve?” with a wolfy grin. For the first time his eyes warmed.
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“Well, maybe we need to Cesar Millan their asses and show them who’s boss. Tsst, tsst!”
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Three tenets comprised the Skathian code: honesty, chastity, and humility. She managed honesty— mostly—and chastity totally. But she couldn’t grasp the reasoning behind humility.
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Crom Cruach—the Broken Bloody One, a monster with the face of an angel.
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Some in the Lore considered them noble vampires— as much an oxymoron for Garreth as cuddly snakes.
The Accession: "And a time shall pass that all immortal beings in the Lore, from the strongest Valkyrie, vampire, and Lykae factions, to the phantoms, shifters, fairies, sirens … must fight and destroy each other." * A kind of mystical checks-and-balances system for an ever-growing population of immortals. * Occurs every five hundred years. Or right now …
The Talisman's Hie: "A treacherous and grueling scavenger’s hunt for magickal talismans, amulets, and other mystical riches over the entire world." * Held every two hundred fifty years. * Hosted by Riora, the goddess of impossibility. * Won the last five times by the Valkyrie Kaderin the Cold Hearted.
The Turning: "Only through death can one become an ‘other.’" * Some beings, like the Lykae, vampires, and ghouls, can turn a human or even other Lore creatures into their kind through differing means, but the catalyst for change is always death, and success is not guaranteed.
The Lore: "… and those sentient creatures that are not human shall be united in one stratum, coexisting with, yet secret from, man’s."
The Valkyrie: "When a maiden warrior screams for courage as she dies in battle, Wóden and Freya heed her call. The two gods give up lightning to strike her, rescuing her to their hall, and preserving her courage forever in the form of the maiden’s immortal Valkyrie daughter." * Take sustenance from the electrical energy of the earth, sharing it in one collective power, and give it back with their emotions in the form of lightning. * Possess preternatural strength and speed. * Without training, they can be mesmerized by shining objects and jewels.
The Lykae Clan: "A proud, strapping warrior of the Keltoi People (or Hidden People, later known as Celts) was taken in his prime by a maddened wolf. The warrior rose from the dead, now an immortal, with the spirit of the beast latent within him. He displayed the wolf’s traits: the need for touch, an intense loyalty to its kind, an animal craving for the delights of the flesh. Sometimes the beast rises …" * Also called werewolves, war-wolds. * Enemies of the Horde.
The Vampires: * Two warring factions, the Vampire Horde and the Forbearer Army. * Each vampire seeks his Bride, his eternal wife, and walks as the living dead until he finds her. * A Bride will render his body fully alive, giving him breath and making his heart beat, a process known as blooding. * Tracing is teleporting, the vampire’s means of travel. A vampire can only trace to destinations he’s previously been. * The Fallen are vampires who have killed by drinking a victim to death. Distinguished by their red eyes
The Horde: In the first chaos of the Lore, a brotherhood of vampires dominated, by relying on their cold nature, worship of logic, and absence of mercy. They sprang from the harsh steppes of Dacia and migrated to Russia, though some say a secret enclave, the Daci, live in Dacia still." * Their ranks are comprised of the Fallen. * Enemies of most factions in the Lore.
The Forbearers: " … his crown stolen, Kristoff, the rightful Horde king, stalked the battlefields of antiquity seeking the strongest, most valiant human warriors as they died, earning him the name of Gravewalker. He offered eternal life in exchange for eternal fealty to him and his growing army." * An army of vampires consisting of turned humans, who do not drink blood directly from the flesh. * Kristoff was raised as a human and then lived among them. He and his army know little of the Lore. * Enemies of the Horde.
The Demonarchies: "The demons are as varied as the bands of man …" * A collection of demon dynasties. * Most demon breeds can trace like vampires. Some breeds are bound to obey summons. * Those that can emit poison from their fangs, horns, or claws are more vulnerable to others’ poison. * Many demon breeds must have intercourse with a potential mate to ascertain if she’s truly his—a process known as attempting.
The House of Witches: "… immortal possessors of magickal talents, practitioners of good and evil." * Mystical mercenaries who sell their spells. * Strictly forbidden to create personal wealth or grant immortality. * Separated into five castes: warrior, healer, enchantress, conjurer, and seeress. * The only witch known to possess the powers of all five castes is Mariketa the Awaited.
The Sept of Sorceri: "The Sept forever seek and covet others’ powers, challenging and dueling to seize more—or more darkly, stealing another’s sorcery…" * A breed-line broken from the enchantment caste of the House of Witches. * Born with one innate power, their root power. If they lose it, they become slaves to their own kind called Inferi. They can trade and steal secondary powers. * One of the physically weaker species in the Lore, they used elaborate armors to protect their bodies. Eventually they held metals—and especially gold—sacred.
The Furiae: "If you do evil, beg for punishment—before they come… " * Ruthless she-warriors bent on delivering justice to evil men when they escape it elsewhere. * Led by Alecta the Unyielding One.
The Berserkers: "A berserker's lonely life is filled with naught but battle rage and bloodlust… " * A cadre of human warriors, known for their merciless brutality, who swear allegiance to Wóden. * Stronger and faster than mere mortals, they carry within them the spirit of the bear and can channel its ferocity into a berserkrage, temporarily becoming as powerful as an immortal. * When a berserker wins his two hundredth battle in Wóden's name, the god will grant him ohalla—immortality with untold strength.
The Sirenae: "Near the sea’s edge, beware the siren’s song…" * A female species of immortals, they can permanently mesmerize and enslave males who hear their singing. * Derive power from the sea and can’t be away from it for more than one cycle of the moon.
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