Charon slowed his car as he pulled off the main road into a strategically hidden drive. He eased his charcoal gray CL65 AMG Mercedes cautiously over the dirt road until he came to the rock-lined parking area behind the pub he owned.
He put the car in park and shut off the engine. For several minutes Charon sat silently, contemplating the previous hours.
The game had changed.
Charon released a long breath as he rubbed through the hole in his shirt where he’d been injured. During the entire drive from MacLeod Castle to his little corner of Scotland, he’d thought over the encounter that took place at Wallace Mansion.
So many times he’d battled evil, but always he and the other Warriors came out on top. With every battle, however, it seemed the danger continued to escalate.
As did the chances of their deaths.
For over six hundred years, he’d lived without fear of death. He was a Warrior. With a primeval god inside him that not only gave him immortality, but power as well, there wasn’t much that could harm him.
Anyone could take a Warrior’s head and end their life. If they ever discovered who was a Warrior. And if they could best a Warrior in combat.
Charon and the others kept what they were a safely guarded secret. Still, that didn’t stop the unease that plagued him ever since discovering a new evil had taken over.
“How many more?” he murmured to himself. “Were Deirdre and Declan no’ enough to fight and vanquish?”
In his heart, Charon knew there couldn’t be good without evil, but he was tired of fighting, weary of always looking over his shoulder, wondering when the next strike would come.
It was made worse because he’d had four centuries of peace. All because Declan had brought Deirdre forward in time.
Charon, like the rest at MacLeod Castle, had worried about when Deirdre would finally show up and unleash her evil once more. The MacLeods had even sent Warriors forward into the future as well, with the help of the Druids.
Charon hadn’t been one to travel through time, and for him those four centuries had been paradise. Pure, unadulterated bliss.
It was easy to push aside the monster he’d become while locked in Deirdre’s prison deep in her mountain of Cairn Toul. He even managed to get through several days at a time without calling to mind what Deirdre forced him to do to his father.
In the end, however, Charon had to face the fact that he was still the same monster.
Better clothes, money, and owning most of the small town of Ferness hadn’t changed anything. They were a shell to cover the man he really was. A brute. A beast.
Charon pulled his key from the ignition and opened the car door. He stepped out of the Mercedes and inhaled the fresh, clean air around him.
He’d taken a chance in returning to Ferness after escaping Deirdre’s prison, but it was his home. Too many decades had passed for anyone to remember him when he came wandering up those centuries ago, but it wouldn’t have mattered if they did.
There was nowhere else he’d wanted to go. It hadn’t taken long to begin transforming Ferness into a prospering town. He lived among the mortals without them ever knowing anything.
Until a year ago when Ian Kerr walked into Ferness with his Druid, Danielle. Charon had known trouble would follow, but there was no way he could turn away a fellow Warrior.
And just as he expected, trouble had come. He hadn’t hesitated in transforming into a Warrior to protect his people and help Ian defend Dani.
He could still remember the way his men had gaped at him for a moment before diving into the battle. No one had spoken about seeing him or Ian change into their Warrior forms.
Maybe that was for the best. His men who had survived that awful night stayed by his side, which was all he could really ask for.
Charon gazed at the building before him. The inn dated back to the twelfth century, and had held up well, thanks to his constant care. The first floor had been transformed into a pub. Above that on the second floor was his office, and on the third floor, his home.
The inn wasn’t his only acquisition. He’d bought several properties around town, but his major investment was land. He owned hundreds of acres around Ferness. It kept people from settling, but its beauty brought in tourists by the busload, which equaled profits to everyone in the small Highland town.
Charon put his hand in a pocket of his jeans and drew out the small bullet he’d recovered from the battle. The slug itself was nothing special, but the red liquid in the small see-through chamber was the unique part.
The liquid was blood, but not just any blood. It was drough blood. One drop from the blood of Druids who gave their soul to Satan to practice black magic could kill a Warrior.