Keepers & the Soul Key-Chapter 6

Warrick escaped with his injuries and returned to the dark realm. With Charity back and the exposition left Warrick no other place to go. He hid in his private quarters where he attempted to nurse his wounds, to be ready for the war that no doubt was on the brink. Barely able to move from the pain the nymphs caused him, he remained in his chair, staring at the wall, only contemplating the possibilities.

A knock interrupted his thoughts; he turned his head and frowned with anger. "Who is it?"

No answer returned, a momentary silence followed by an appearance of Warrick's least favorite of the court. "Lahash, I didn't say you could enter. What do you want?"

Lahash stood in the corner of Warrick's quarters with a half-cocked grin, slowly clasping his hands together in front of himself, giddy at his inner monologue. He strolled over to the one vacant chair left and leaned on it. He crossed his arms, looking Warrick over. "So, it looks like the nymphs had a round with you. They can get one over, can't they?"

"What are you gushing about? Look at you, when the dark one finds that you allowed the council members free along with the other prisoners, you won't be too smug anymore. They were not to be released." Warrick sneered.

"Warrick, please. Valefor told you when he visited you in your chambers that we could not keep them in the dark realm. We scheduled them for release. I already had the dark one's permission. I killed two birds with one stone, I got my nymph, and I released the prisoners as they said would be. I can't help that their release didn't coordinate with your little meeting in Etheria." Lahash perched himself on the chair, awaiting Warrick's wrath.

"How dare you! Why did you not warn me? We had a deal. Now that Charity has returned, I can never return to Etheria. Everything is ruined now. Good luck having any fallen cast out!" Warrick shouted.

"Warrick, remember the stroll we took when you showed me the lock on the hall of souls? I asked you if you ever fathomed anything going in a different direction." Lahash's face turned serious.

"What do you mean?" Warrick sat upright in his chair. "What do you speak of? I have to go back, and it will require your help now. Charity will be killed, and so will Meridian." Warrick demanded.

"Oh, such demands. I won't have to do anything. You will have your chance, here in the dark realm and I would advise you to take them out, it may be your last chance." Lahash said.

Warrick stared at the demon with suspicion. "Why would they come here?"

"Astaroth has Aiden, and a great lure, isn't he? Now with Meridian out in her true form, she and the others will return, and let's not forget they will want Echo too." Lahash smiled and walked over to Warrick, who slumped in his chair. He whispered, "I would suggest you see they are taken out, for your own good." Before Warrick could reply further, the demon disappeared.

Warrick had not quite put together the real agenda from the dark one and that his time was drawing near, and he would have it coming from both directions. He stayed in his quarters to heal, but his mind was constant with fear.

Not too far away, Astaroth maintained her hold over Aiden, who remained unaware of where he was. In one of the rare times she left Aiden's side, she went to find Moloch in a meeting with Valefor discussing their plans of invading Etheria and taking down the Hall of Souls.

"I need to speak to you both," Astaroth said.

"What do you need? Why are you not with Aiden? A demoness has no room in these meetings." Moloch lectured.

Astorath gave no response to Moloch as she walked into the room and seated herself. "Have you all heard? The prisoners escaped, and the dark one didn't care; he couldn't hold them here any longer. Lahash got what he wanted, but he also did the unthinkable and allowed Talon and the guides to know I had Aiden. What was the point of that?"

Valefor looked upon Astaroth in surprise. He stopped what he was doing with Moloch and approached her while she remained seated. "Astaroth, you should know how Lahash is. You two have a history. Lahash does quite strange things and for his own reasons. I have not had too much worry with him and his peculiar behavior as so long as what he does results in the desired outcomes. What do you care what he did? You should know they will come looking for Aiden with or without Lahash's help. He has Echo now as his slave at the moment. I am not fond of Lahash either, but he is very instrumental in his own ways. You appreciate that."

Astaroth tightened her lips and gritted her teeth. She turned her head away to hide her anger, and she darted her eyes away. "I want him. I want him to stay here."

Moloch stopped working at the table in shock of what he heard. "Astaroth, you can't keep Aiden. He was on his way to choose. I was lucky that I was able to steal his soul, but in no way can you keep him. He is a diversion. A lure and nothing more. When his soul goes free, let the fairies worry with it. He will either remain tainted from his stay here and remain lost, or he will find his way to where he will be. You cannot stop this."

Astaroth did not speak another word; instead, she left her chair and stomped away, and the only sound coming from her was the swishing noise her long gown made as she walked away before slamming the door. Moloch and Valefor looked at each other with concern.

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