Deidre's Death (Chapter Five, page 1 of 11)

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Thousands of miles away, Gabriel was with one of his death dealers surveying the gruesome discovery. His dealers were beating the demons to the souls. Gabriel was working them - and himself - overtime to try to catch up. Their list of outstanding collections was growing smaller.

So was his list of dealers able to collect them. Landon reported one more going missing and another killed in a fight with five demons when he went to claim a soul.

Gabriel rose from his position crouching over the body of someone he knew. This Ancient Immortal hadn't given up his soul without a struggle. Erik, one of Rhyn's half-brothers, was bloody and bruised from what looked like a prolonged battle with several demons. Four demons lay dead in the living room of his house, while the Immortal had dragged himself into the garage.

Not that it mattered. The fifth demon had finished him off by crushing his skull and taking his soul. Gabriel studied the scene before deciding finally he had to tell Rhyn.

He summoned the half-demon and waited.

Each of the Council members had a unique gift. At the moment, he wasn't able to remember what Erik's was. The quietest and most distant of the brothers, Erik was charged with protecting northern Europe from demons. Gabriel doubted Darkyn was after the Immortal because he was fighting demons. Rhyn reported Erik missing months ago. It appeared as if he'd been living quietly here, until discovered by demons.

"Yo," Rhyn said, stepping through a portal.

Gabriel moved aside. Rhyn froze, staring at the body of his half-brother. Gabriel knew from his history with Rhyn that there was no love lost between Rhyn and any of his half-brothers, none of who wanted him alive, aside from Andre.

At the same time, Rhyn's undying loyalty to his family was what made him do everything he could to keep the Council together. It didn't matter that he'd been sentenced to Hell by the very people he was now charged with protecting. Gabriel assessed the half-demon was conflicted.

"What message is he sending me?" Rhyn growled.

"You think it's a message?" Gabriel asked. "Could there be anything Darkyn wanted from Erik?"

"Damned if I know. He went missing and refused to come when any of us summoned him. I went looking for him at one point," Rhyn said. "I almost assumed he was dead-dead but thought you'd tell me if so."

"I would," Gabriel agreed. "Darkyn is already slaughtering kids. I don't know if this is a message or something else."

Rhyn was quiet. He knelt beside his brother.

"His soul is gone," Gabriel said quietly.

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