Artemis (The Cedric Series 4)

By Valerie Willis All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Romance

Blurb

The quest to return the eye is still unfolding. Cedric, Angeline, Romasanta, and Nyctimus have crossed over into the Otherworld where spirits, faeries, and other strange creatures live under the rule of the Halls of Gaea and many other forgotten titans. Again, Cedric finds himself separated from Angeline, but the words from a familiar face make him realize it may be for the best. Here in the Otherworld, you become your innerself. True to this concept, Romasanta and Nyctimus are nothing more than men while Cedric has taken on a demonic form massive and wild. They now must travel through the levels of the Otherworld in order to reach the Hall of Freya, Gaea's domain.

Chapter 1: Egos

Leaving the security of the cave behind, bright warm light welcomed Cedric, Romasanta and Nyctimus. Wylleam was leading them down a path through the thick woods they found themselves in while Fenrir kept close behind Cedric in the back of the assembly. The singing of birds filled the air like an orchestra. Flowers and fruit filled every tree they walked pass, the air engulfed in their sweet and bitter scents. They had passed through into the realm of Gaea, but were shocked to see not much had changed beside the oddness of the trees and the overwhelming enthusiasm of the birds. There was still a sun in the sky, dirt at their feet, and even the need to breathe.

The path started to wind through the thick forest, zigging first one way, then the other. Cedric’s shoulders and wings would brush against the trunk of the trees, making him groan in annoyance. Fenrir would chuckle, watching as Cedric tried unsuccessfully to get used to this new, larger version of himself. Wylleam took a hard turn to the right. Anxious to keep pace, Cedric turned too soon and a horn slammed into a nearby tree, gouging a deep groove into the bark. Birds scattered in alarm. Flowers floated on the wind and fruit plopped to the ground all around him, one bouncing off his shoulder. Everyone stopped to stare at him. Gritting his teeth, it was all he could do not to lose his temper. His mind was too focused on Angeline and wondering where Artemis had taken her.

At least this time she’s with someone who will protect her.

“Are you all right?” Wylleam’s voice expressed his concern, recognizing the signs of Cedric’s frustration. “It’s not much further. There’s an opening in the trees where I live.”

Sighing, Cedric nodded. “I look forward to no more trees.”

Fenrir, Romasanta, and Nyctimus giggled until an angry green glare hit them. As promised, they walked about five hundred yards further in the dense underbrush before a meadow housing a small cabin blossomed before them. Fenrir circled in a thick grassy spot before flopping down on his belly, watching Wylleam lead Romasanta and Nyctimus through the door. Cedric moved to follow, but Wylleam held up a hand, signaling he was to wait. The door clicked close and Cedric began pacing. After a few rounds, he could no longer ignore the heat of the stare from the golden eyes of the massive white wolf in the field.

Halting in his steps, Cedric stood tall, crossing his arms. “What is it?”

“You seem to be in a rush, even though you’ve yet to stop and take in this new environment.” Snorted Fenrir. “You’re quite the fool.”

Narrowing his eyes, Cedric retorted. “What is there to know. There’s ground and trees, a sky and sun. Everything smells the same.”

“True.” Fenrir wagged his tail a few times. “But, you still haven’t adjusted.”

“I don’t have the luxury of taking a vacation to play with myself.” Scoffed Cedric, returning to his pacing.

“I too once found myself in your state over a female.” Rising to his feet, Fenrir shook his fur free of grass. “But, if you don’t learn to trust in her strength and abilities, she’ll never discover them at all.”

He stopped, his back to the wolf.

“Struck a nerve with you, didn’t I, pup?” Fenrir’s voice fell deeper with the next words. “Don’t make the mistake I once made in thinking she’s incapable of protecting herself, incapable of being by your side, let alone, be on her own.”

“What would you know about Angeline?” Cedric hissed over his shoulder.

“That isn’t for me to know.” Fenrir huffed, his lip curling in disgust. “These are things you should be aware of and if you don’t, then I feel bad for your mate to be stuck with such a naïve creature.”

Cedric turned to face the wolf who had paced ever closer, the heat of his anger rising in his voice. “Are you suggesting I know nothing about her? About the girl I chose, the girl I protected and spent centuries to reclaim from Merlin with my own claws and fangs?”

Fenrir flicked an ear, his muzzle contorting to a toothy grin. “Considering you see her as simply a girl, should be a sign as to how blind you are to who she was, is and will become.”

Cedric’s arms fell to his side, his hands balling ever tighter into fists until his claws dug into his palms. Fenrir’s glare stung, his nose twitching. Blood dripped off Cedric’s knuckles, the green grass mottled with red streaks. Fenrir took another step closer, the two of them nose to nose. A silent challenge of strength and resolve building between them. Fenrir was large and more ancient than Cedric, but in this state, this form, perhaps he could indeed face one of the most feared creatures of destruction known to man and demon. Fur ruffled, razor-backed as if the thoughts and comparisons racing in Cedric’s mind were spoken out loud.

“Are you challenging me, pup?” There was a sparkle in Fenrir’s eyes, his tail wagging. “Because no one here has ever been so brave to bow up to me since I left Romasanta in the land of the living.”

Cedric’s jaw twitched, his muscles tensing as he dared to confess, “You did say I need to become more familiar with this form, didn’t you, Fenrir?”

Massive jaws lashed out. The heat of Fenrir’s breath pushing Cedric back with the power and speed in which they snapped close. Cedric saw the muscles under the fur twitch in time to evade the answer Fenrir gave him. Wings flaring, Cedric crouched and launched himself up. A giant paw fell across Cedric’s chest. Fenrir had assumed his next action and shoved him down. Teeth ripped into the left wing. Cedric paled. There was no sensation of pain, but something far more haunting. With each pop and crackle, euphoria made his blood boil and he wanted nothing more than to let the wolf continue the destruction upon his flesh. Fenrir tightened his bite, and with a savage move, he shook his head back and forth. Not one blade of grass remained green as Cedric’s eyes rolled back. The only sound from his lips was a pleasurable moan.

Satisfied he had made his point, Fenrir leapt off, leaving Cedric struggling with the unnatural ecstasy overpowering him. His muzzle and chest glistened with crimson as he pranced back and forth. Rolling a shoulder into the meadow, bugs leapt to the air and off to safer patches as Fenrir freed his fur of the sticky liquid. Clear of the blood, Fenrir jerked back onto his feet and frolicked in circles, triumphant of the quick defeat. Finished with his victory laps, he sat, flicking an ear at the door. No one from within the cabin had made any signs of hearing the commotion.

Breathless, voluptuous sensations waving over him just to move, Cedric managed to roll to his knees. More and more sweat poured over him, and with each pulse of ectasy, his body healed. Staring wide-eyed, he looked to the grass between his clawed hands, shocked. This wasn’t something he thought would ever become an issue for him again in this lifetime.

Dammit! How can I defeat anyone if I can’t fight against this overwhelming want for them to… Everything to… Swallowing down his fears, he tried to refocus his thoughts. Fenrir is right. I need to become familiar with his form, but to want my body destroyed. Never have I realized the depth of what Lillith felt when she wanted me to run her through as I do now. How long will it take me to keep my sanity?

“You understand the severity of your state, I see.” Fenrir had turned back to Cedric. “Are you understanding the situation you’re in?”

Grimacing, Cedric could still feel Angeline in this new world far from his reach. With each deep inhale, he could even smell her, taste her in the air and focused on those sensations. Digging his claws into the dirt, he dared to stretch his injured wing out. It was sore, but the overwhelming desire and incubine lusting had served its purpose in speeding up the healing process. Swallowing, he stood and faced Fenrir who responded with another wag of his tail. Stretching his wings wide, Cedric’s muscles flexed. Taking in a deep breath, he charged at the wolf. Fenrir took a defensive stance, snarling.

Horns knocked head on with Fenrir’s forehead, the wolf holding his ground like a rival bull. Like two rams, they pushed with all their strength to make the other take a step back. Tiring of the struggle, Cedric wrapped his arms around Fenrir’s snout, locking his jaw closed. Rearing up, Fenrir shook his head. When Cedric didn’t dislodge, Fenrir smashed him against the ground, pinning him between his skull and the earth. Folding his wings tight, Cedric’s claws dug deep under Fenrir’s bottom jaw. Paws scratched across his wings and back. Each crushing and ripping sensation against Cedric’s body added to the arousing thrill taking hold of his soul. Growling vibrated through him, foaming saliva dripping into large clumps across the once beautiful meadow.

Fenrir’s paws pulled away and Cedric took reprieve in breaking from the enjoyment of being shredded. The bouncing and jolting of where Cedric clung to Fenrir’s face was alarming; the wolf has broken into a run! Looking over his shoulder, Cedric’s muscles tensed and he held on tighter. Branches slapped across his back, cracking and falling to the ground in their wake behind Fenrir’s long powerful strides. Bark scraping across Cedric’s skin came to him like the caress of a lover’s touch. Fenrir turned back, angry he hadn’t come lose, running ever faster through the trees. Cedric gripped harder. Fenrir hot flesh between his clawed fingers.

THUD! CR-CR-CRACK-CK! KA-BOOM!

The wind had been smashed from Cedric’s lungs, but his grip stayed. Fenrir was running full steam through the trees– no! At the trees! Cedric’s back and wings were being pulverized against the branches before being ran through the trunks. The wood splintering, the shards stabbing in both of them from all directions.

THUD! CR-CRACK! BA-BOOM!

Clenching his teeth, Cedric fought the urge to vocally express the intensity of the orgasmic sensations taking hold. His shoulder blades were like gelatin and the strength in his back muscles were starting to fail at holding his wings close to his body. Muscles were shredding, his arms weakening, but the excitement struggled to heal fast enough between impacts.

TH-THUD! SNAP! POP! BOOM!

Cedric’s fingers were losing their grip, his spine exposed under a mantle of mangled flesh and wooden spikes. Wings limp, flailing down the sides of Fenrir face, were beyond broken. The sounds of the wolf’s paws against the ground were as daunting as distant war drums. Fenrir continued charging into yet another trunk. Cedric couldn’t contain his shout of elation.

KA-THUD! CR-CR-CRRR-CRAAAAACK! POP! P-POP!

Cedric’s muscles grew numb, his arms unable to respond to the command to hold tight. Fenrir was bolting into the meadow, skidding to a stop. The force sent Cedric’s bloodied, broken form bouncing off his snout and rolling towards the cabin. In Cedric’s eyes, the world spun before falling dark. Shaking the debris and blood from his fur, Fenrir snorted pacing to where Cedric laid. Jaws scooped down, gripping the limp wings tight. A heavy paw pushed down on the gruesome remains of Cedric’s backside. With skilled motion, Fenrir ripped the wings free from their owner. As the wolf pranced away, the orgasmic peak of pain brought Cedric awake. Jumping to his feet, Cedric was filled with the adrenaline burning through his veins.

In the field, Fenrir paused, a sparkle in his eyes. Tightening his toothy hold on the dilapidated limbs, Fenrir wagged his tail, claiming them for his prize. Anger filled Cedric at the sight. The smell of his own blood engulfing Cedric’s nose with its iron bitterness biting on the back of his tongue. A primal scream rolled out of Cedric’s chest, ripping free from his lips. Blind with rage, Cedric ran at Fenrir who turned to face him. Leaping in the air, his hand clenched together high above his head, he came down on Fenrir with breathtaking power. His fists locked with Fenrir’s skull, just above his eyes.

The jolt of the impact made Fenrir’s jaw go slack, the wings plopping on the ground where Cedric landed. Standing, staggered and slumped over, Cedric glared at Fenrir through one squinted eye. He was fighting the sensations tearing through him, clinging to his anger above all the desires clawing at his soul.

I can’t let the pleasures of pain override my will to fight back. It’s going to get me killed before I can reach her again.

The wolf shook his head once, then twice. Fenrir took a wobbly step back. Blood began to pool and dribble down between his golden eyes which fought the need to cross themselves. Huffing, Fenrir shook his head again and laid down in the dirt where the grass meadow had been earlier. Satisfied the fight had ended, Cedric collapsed to his knees. Leaning forward, he tried to catch his breath, staring down at the wings.

Furrowing his brow, he looked back up to Fenrir. “Was that necessary?”

“It was my trophy.” Pawing at his head, he snorted. “I’m not sure if it was worth the headache you left me with, pup.”

“How am I going to fly?” He fell to his side, exhaustion weighing down his eyelids. “I have no idea if I can grow those back.”

Laying his head on his paws, Fenrir closed his eyes, also feeling the need to rest. “They always grow back. You incubus are like cockroaches… unkillable.”

“How much longer will Wylleam be?” Cedric’s chest rose and fell, slowing as sleep pulled at him.

“Who knows…” Groaned Fenrir, before they both gave way to sleep.

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