Damian's Immortal (Chapter One, page 1 of 9)

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Jule lifted his head to the night sky and closed his eyes. Fat raindrops soaked his clothing and left him chilled. He'd hitchhiked between towns and walked cross-country, admiring the Irish landscape as he went and cursing the cold, incessant rain of late autumn. Finally, he'd reached the top of a hill overlooking a small, familiar village that glowed with warmth.

The walk calmed his irritation at being powerless for the first time since the Schism. It had been two days since he felt the ripple of power that marked the making of a new Black God. He'd last felt that surge a few hundred thousand years ago, when Czerno had slain his predecessor and claimed the Black God's mantle. While he recalled little else of his time before the Schism, Jule couldn't help the nagging feeling he was missing something important about the transition between an old and new god.

He looked over his shoulder again at the dark landscape behind him. The hair on the back of his neck had been standing for the past mile he'd walked, only he wasn't entirely certain why. The wave of magic had short-circuited his Guardian powers and dropped him on the other side of Ireland. His phone was fried, and his only recourse was to reach the local Guardians. Instead of helping his brother the White God navigate the transition, he walked the hills of Ireland alone, unable to remember why he'd decided to put only one station of Guardians in Ireland.

"Probably because you never thought you'd have to cross Ireland on foot." The voice he'd dreaded hearing finally spoke. Jule drew a deep breath and faced the small, grandfatherly man with eyes the color of an Irish meadow. The rain didn't touch the Watcher, and Jule crossed his arms.

"Didn't think you were talking to me," he said.

"Not by my choice."

"You mind if I get out of the rain before we do this?"

"Rain doesn't bother a real immortal," the Watcher said with a trace of triumph in his voice.

The oldest beings in the universe, the Watchers were supposed to observe and were forbidden from interfering in human affairs. At least, they had been until about a year ago, when the White God found the first Oracle since the Schism. Jule understood the importance of her appearance, just as he knew all bets were off once she was revealed. What he remembered of the Watchers came from the Schism, when they'd openly hunted and killed Naturals-humans with extraordinary gifts-that they felt were threats to them.

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