Cadoc hugged his mother goodbye and kissed her on the cheek before walking out of their home and out. There was another game set up for today and he felt lucky. He knew this was going to be the day he won big again and he could repay all his debts and have more to gamble with. Not to mention his sisters birthday was coming and he wanted to put something together for her if he could get out of the red. “Bye baby” baby, it was still odd hearing her call them that. She had just started a few days ago. Her normal endearment was Bye sweet one or simply bye Cadoc but he didn’t think too much of it. He didn’t think too much of anything lately besides gambling. It’s all he wanted to do day and night and he would probably be home a lot less if his father didn’t insist he check in.
If mom didn’t mind he don’t know why his father cared so much. He didn’t understand why Panya didn’t care how over bearing he could be. Any time he went to her house and complained to her she’d always say he’s like that because he loves you and he did the same with me.He sighed, pushing that out of his mind. He needed a clear head, today was his lucky day and he knew it and he wouldn’t let his frustrations with his dad keep him from winning big today. He was almost to where he had been meeting them when something hard hit his head and caused him to collapse from the pain. He could feel his hair start to dampen with blood “Damn it” he cursed and just as he finished the words something the felt like he’d imagine a taser would surged through him and the world went black.
He felt sick to his stomach as his eyes began to open. Things were blurry at first but realizing he could hear his mother sobbing got him alert fast. He quickly stood though he hurled the second he was straight. Laughing now filled his ears, laughter he recognized. Cadoc rubbed his eyes in frustration, willing with all his might for his vision to be more clear. “Cadoc, you’re finally awake” He could see clearly now and realization dawned, how he knew this demon became clear. This was Faron, the demon he owed the largest debt too. The first person he ever gambled with and had won big from only to find himself drowning in debt later.
Cadocs felt fear grip his heart when he saw his mother naked, bruises and what seemed to be whip marks healing all over her. “WHAT’RE YOU DOING WITH MY MOTHER!?” he asked angrily and he received laughter again before Faron answered “She’s paying your debt boy. You pathetic little shit. Nobody, absolutely nobody gets away with oweing me money. You haven’t given me a dime in months and I hear you making wagers with others all the time. I decided if you wouldn’t pay I’d make you.”
“Then make me, don’t hurt her. Please, please, you can do anything to me. Let my mother go”
“No, it doesn’t work like that Cadoc. You need to be punished for not paying and hurting you wont quite hurt like watching your mother hurt.” he laughed again before continuing “I’ve had her for near four days now. See, I was waiting for you or your father to notice but you two aren’t as perceptive as I thought. I mean, my allusion magic is the best at least I’ve ever seen but she’s your mother, his mate, how you two don’t know you’ve been living with a different woman is beyond my understanding. I actually almost went for your sister because you spend a good amount of time with her but then I realized she was mates with a wolf and I knew I couldn’t decieve him with my magic. You see his nose, there’s no tricking a wolfs nose no matter how good you are. His sense of smell would have given it away in less than a half hour if even that. So here your mother is, with me, because you and your father are pathetic. I’ve heard so many stories about Nigel but I guess this little woman has softened him, made him less alert.” he grabbed a handful of Vinas hair and pulled her closer to him “how does it feel Vina? I told you they had no inkling one of my servants was living in the house with them. You are so easy to replace they”
“DON’T SAY SHIT LIKE THAT TO HER. MY MOM ISN’T REPLACEABLE” Cadoc interrupted. “Ni..Nigels been busy he” he threw her across the room and she slammed into a wall, instantly falling unconscious. “STOP IT” Cadoc commanded as he started to cry. What had he done? He had never thought his family could be hurt by what he was doing.
Nigel watched her as she moved through the house cleaning. He had noticed the day before that there was something off about her, something different. It had started as small things, her speech patterns changing, the way she moved changing, how she looked at him. He had been distancing himself a little, wanting to study her, to know what was happening and he still couldn’t understand it. He knew if Chthon were here, he would know already. “Vina love?” He said and it seemed as if she didn’t hear him. “Vina.” He said a little louder and she froze, then turned, looking surprised.
“We should go visit Panya today.”
“Why? We could just stay in.”
“Come now love, she’s our daughter. Let’s visit her, I’m sure she misses us.”
She knew going to see Panya was a bad idea. Her boss had told her to stay away from her and her mate Luca but she knew Nigel was getting suspicious and she also knew what a loving mom Vina was. She could see in Nigels eyes she had to do this but at least she knew her boss wouldn’t be angry. As far as she knew he hadn’t gone as far as kidnapping Cadoc yet and part of his fun was wanting them to figure out for themselves that they had been deceived by him. Her boss hated if it took them so long he had to get impatient and take his real target, the person he wanted to panic and wonder where their loved one was. Plus they could be lucky, maybe Panya’s mate would be out and the fun would continue. She thoroughly enjoyed, just as much as her boss seeing the looks on these peoples faces and in cases like this one, the pain on the loved ones face it had taken them so long to notice.
Days, that poor woman she thought to herself but when she first arrived it didn’t seem like Nigel was a very attentive mate so maybe it wouldn’t surprise Vina. Her mate and son had paid her so little mind the woman may aswell live by herself. “alright” Nigel still eyed her questioningly for a bit before he scooped her up and ran with her to Panya’s home. The servant felt like she and her master might be in luck at first when only Panya came to the door “welcome! Oh my gosh it’s been like a week! Normally mom comes over even if you get caught up in something and don’t join”
“sorry baby” Panya paused a moment at her mothers words then obviously brushed it off and let them inside. They weren’t long inside at all before Luca came rushing into the room and stood uncomfortably close, looking upset “what are you?”
“Luca! Back up” Panya tried to get between them but Luca moved Panya away “she isn’t your mother. Her scents wrong. I heard you welcome your mother and I see her now but her scent, it told me whoever came with Nigel isn’t Vina” His voice was a protective growl. Panya didn’t know what to think but her mate had no reason to lie and her mother did greet her weird and on top of that it had been weird not to see her mother for a week. She backed up a little more “where’s my mother?” Her voice already emotional.
She started laughing, her lips turning into a cruel grin as she dropped the illusion. “So you finally found me out.” Nigel was horrified and his stomach dropped as he found himself staring at a complete stranger. Horror turned to rage and he found his fingers wrapping around this woman’s throat, ready to squeeze the life out of her.
“Where is my mate?”
“Oh now you’re concerned? How sweet and pathetic.”
“Where?” He growled.
“Hmm, why should I tell you. It’s been four days. Who knows what my master has done to her. You can blame your son, such a weak little shit. You should pay better attention to those you claim to love Nigel. I’m only sad I didn’t get to sleep with you.”
He tightened his grip on her throat, completely cutting off her air. “You can give me a name and a location or you can die a slow death you sick bitch.” He was terrified for Vina and he hated himself for not noticing sooner. How could he not know his own mate?
“Dad, stop.” Panya grabbed him. “If you kill her, we’ll never find mom. Please daddy.”
He couldn’t pull back that rage but she kept pleading “dad, come on, we need her to help us get her back” He let her go just in time. She had been moments from death but Panyas pleas had finally helped him dial down his demons rage. She gasped and they let her breath a moment before Nigel had her pinned down again, growling into her ear “You obviously don’t fucking know who I am. You will show me where Vina is. I can so easily go back to who I was before Chthon saved me. I’ll go back to that place and show you what true hell is like if I don’t see my Vina soon. I have so many stories of the sick shit I used to do. Just hearing them would make you want to beg me to stop. This is the last time I tell you, show me where my mate is” even Panya grabbed Lucas arm and he held her.
“fff fine, I’ll show you” his aura was changing. She could tell he wasn’t bluffing and her master probably wouldn’t like her bringing all these people but she was more afraid of Nigel right now than him. He got off of her but took her by the hair “walk” he growled. Vina could barely muster fight at this point. He hadn’t fed her once since she was taken and she had maybe gotten to drink something once. She had fought with everything she had the first two days but the leader was impossibly strong and he had many servants to help him the few times she did get the upper hand. Now was even worse, her son was there and she couldn’t help herself, let alone him. She didn’t care if he was why this man was hurting her. He hadn’t intentionally put her in this position, she knew that.
The only part of the mental torture that was hard for Vina as the days passed was the fact the leader was right, Nigel hadn’t realized he was living with a stranger. He was busy, sure, but she hadn’t realized until seeing her son and seeing they didn’t know how little attention he was paying. This wasn’t his fault either but it still hurt far worse than anything this man could do to her. She wouldn’t admit to him though that any of that was getting to her, she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.
“I’m so sorry mom.” Cadoc said after Faron left. “So, so fucking sorry.”
Vina wished she could go to him, but her body refused to respond. “It’s…okay.” She managed in a weak voice.
“I’m a bad son, I should have noticed. Why didn’t I notice? H…how can you ever forgive me?” He desperately wanted to rescue his mother, but no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t escape. He sat there helpless and crying, hating himself.
Nigel didn’t want to think of the things being done to Vina, but the thoughts came unbidden. He wondered if she would ever be able to look at him the same. He was supposed to protect her, to make sure she knew how loved and needed she was and he had failed. He asked himself over and over how he had missed her disappearing, how he had missed someone taking her place. He hated himself more and more with each thought and feared Vina would never forgive him. He knew there was nothing he could do to truly make it up to her, but once he had her in his arms, he would try and hope that she still loved him.
When Faron returned he had an overly large plate of food. It smelled and looked delicious and he set it down on the floor before speaking “Vina” his voice was taunting. She didn’t move and he said “I thought of something else fun while I was gone. If you’ll hurt your son you can have this. I mean, he is why you’re here so I’m sure you want to” she shook her head and he laughed “come now Vina, I know how starving you are.”
“I..would never hurt my baby”
“Baby? He’s a man”
“He’ll…he’ll always be my baby”
“You’re going to miss your chance to finally eat Vina. You’ll starve to death before long”
“I..I don’t care”
“I suppose that makes sense doesn’t it Cadoc? I mean, nobody obviously loves her”
“what is wrong with you?” he said, sobbing again. He spoke to his mother now “it’s okay mom, please, if it means you get to eat I want you to come over here and hurt me. I’ll even come to you if he’ll let me”
“I suppose” he called a servant who freed Cadoc and walked him over to Vina. “Cadoc…I wont”
“Mom, it’s better than you dieing” she sat up and stared at him “Cadoc no, I’m your mother and I wont and on top of that he’s a liar. Even if I did give him what he wants” Her eyes closed for a second and she wobbled a bit like she might pass out but she began talking again , almost as if she hadn’t stopped. She looked more serious than she ever had “theres no guarantee he’ll actually feed me. I was a handful to him to manage which I’m sure is why I havent been fed. He’s made it impossible for me to do much to defend myself and I doubt he wants me getting any strength back. He doesn’t care if I die because he wants to hurt you as much as possible. I don’t mean a thing to him, I’m just a means to an end. You I’d believe he’d feed but me…no”
Faron clapped “you’re smarter than I thought bunny. I am so impressed I will actually admit that I was never going to feed you regardless of what you did”
“You son of a bitch, just let her eat. You can hurt me for it, take whatever you want as payment, just give her something.”
The back of Faron’s hand met his cheek and he was knocked back against the wall, his vision swimming. “Watch your mouth boy or I’ll cut out your mother’s tongue.”
Cadoc shook his head then shot a glare at him. “You’re only mad because you were too cowardly to come for me, instead you took a woman.” He was baiting him. He knew Faron had pride and he was happy when it worked. Faron walked over and lifted him up by his throat then threw him across the room. He wanted Faron to punish him instead of his mother, he was the one who deserved it, not her. Faron picked up one of his whips hit him across the cheek, cutting it open. He knew if he could keep Faron’s attention on him, everything would be alright.
As Nigel forced the woman forward Luca asked “what did you mean when you said we should blame Cadoc?” Scared of Nigel she answered “He’s got quite the gambling problem. My boss isn’t the only man he owes. Faron is fine as long as he’s getting something from those that owe him but Cadoc hasn’t paid him anything in months. He’s been too busy betting any money he earns and loseing it to someone else. Even if you get Vina back you should watch out for him dragging you all into more trouble. Faron would be seen as kind compared to some of Farons friends and they are all into gambling.”
“Oh he’s done, be sure of that” Nigel responded angrily. “we’ll pay off his debts and make him stop” Panya added. “Gambling can sink you fast. Who knows how much money we’re looking at but I can talk to my parents perhaps if he’s in it deep with too many other unsavory people. They’d understand me wanting to make sure my mate is safe”
The woman spoke again “it only isn’t you Panya because you and the wolf are mates. My master considered you first but we knew he’d smell through the spell”
“demons have sensitive noses too”
“yes but there are ways to trick them unlike wolves. The magic called upon your memories of Vinas scents but for whatever reason it doesn’t work with wolves.”
“It would be like trying to fool a bloodhound.” Luca said. “Our noses are so sensitive they pick up on the subtlest of scents.”
“It doesn’t matter, I still should have seen.” He gripped her hair tighter. “How close are we?”
“Another hour.” He growled and she flinched. “I…I swear.”
“If you’re lying to me…”
Cadoc’s arms shook as she pushed himself onto his hands and knees. He spit out the blood filling his mouth and let out a groan as pain radiated through him. Faron kicked him in the stomach and when he didn’t drop back down he pulled him to his feet by his hair and punched him. “I never thought you had this much determination, you should just give up.”
“Fuck you.” He replied then spit blood in Faron’s face.
Cadoc was glad Faron kept his concentration on him. He was so caught up in his pride he didn’t get he was being baited. Induring this just made him feel worse for his mother. He had been dealing with this misery for mere hours while she, because of he and his father’s lack of attention, had been suffering for days.
“He…here, we’re here.” Nigel eyed the woman suspiciously. “I swear.”
He growled and shoved her toward Luca. “You hold her, if she tries anything, kill her and if you can’t kill her then make sure she can’t move.”
“Daddy.” Panya said, trying to calm him.
“I’m sorry Panya, please forgive me, but I can’t be nice now, I am out of forgiveness at this moment.” He gently patted her head. “Stay here and do not enter that house unless I call for you.”
“Just be careful, I can’t lose either of you, please.”
“I will baby girl.”
As Nigel walked in he was glad to no longer be in the presence of his daughter Panya. He couldn’t control himself and he wouldn’t be able to. He was completely stressed out and scared near to the level of panicking. He needed Vina to be okay but most of all Nigel didn’t know what he was going to do with himself or even if he could live if Vina wouldn’t have him now. He felt he deserved her even less now and it was destroying him. He truly did love her with all his soul and he was livid with himself for taking her for granted for even short periods of time. There should never be a time he was so wrapped up in things that weren’t his mate that a stranger could fool him into taking her place.
If he wasn’t so angry at the man that took her he probably would have been crying. His heart was filled with such tremendous pain. Loseing Vina was one thing, loseing her in itself would be heart wrenching enough but loseing Vina and knowing it was absolutely his fault would be soul destroying. Cadoc had just lost Farons attention when he paused “Your father has come. I guess he noticed his son go missing” Vina was unconscious, seeming to be deeply so. If he wasn’t able to hear her faint heartbeat he’d question if she were still alive.
Nigel was met by more demons, all of them had Vina’s scent on them. It was subtle, from short contact he was sure, but the fact they had even been close enough to touch her had him seeing red. They were dead before they could speak, their blood coating the interior of the house as well as soaking into his clothes. He inhaled and found another familiar scent. It was Cadoc, he was sure of it. He growled. The demon had not only taken his wife, but his son as well. He followed their scents, finding a trap door in the dining area that lead down into a basement. The smell of blood and fear mingling with the scents of his wife and son hit his nose and he stepped down into the dim light, ready to fight, to kill for his family.
When Faron came into Nigels view he was holding Vina, a hand wrapped around her neck. “I’d be careful how I behave here demon. I could so easily crush her dainty, scrumptious neck” Nigels growled, his body shaking with rage. Vina was naked and god help every living being in this house she better have not been raped. Sex didn’t hang in the air here so maybe he just liked the taunt, the suggestion of her being raped but Nigel was livid regardless. “It is you who better what what he does” Cadoc could barely believe it was his father standing before him. His whole demeanor was far different from the man he was used to, the man he was with his mom. His fathers voice was even different, it didn’t sound like the Nigel he knew at all.
Faron tightened his grip on Vina’s neck. “Do you think to test me. Besides, blame your brat, it’s his fault she’s like this.” He grinned. “I tell you what, I’ll let you have her, if you kill your son. Your mate for your boy.”
“Not going to happen.” Nigel growled back.
“Suit yourself.” He started to crush Vina’s windpipe and Nigel was across the room, his fist connecting with Faron’s nose and knocking him back even as he pulled Vina from his arms.
“Dad?” Cadoc said, his voice shaking.
“Can you stand son?” Nigel asked as he watched Faron picking himself up.
“Take your mother and go outside, your sister and Luca are there. Do not come back in here, do you understand?”
“Yes.” Cadoc pushed himself up and took his mother in his arms, leaving the basement as quickly as possible.
Faron was angry but kept his composure “You will pay the boys debt regardless. He owes me”
“Maybe if you had approached me things would be different but I will not pay one cent to someone who has hurt my mate. How dare you take her. How dare you fucking touch her” Faron chuckled “I’m sorry I’ve wounded your ego, you seem like a formidable demon but lets not act like this is more than a pride issue.” Nigel lost color in his hand he was gripping his whip so tightly “This is far more than pride. She is my love, she’s my life. I get caught up in things sometimes, she…she knows that. I love her, my world would collapse around me without her. Maybe I do get neglectful and I’m going to change that but she is my mate and I love her and you will pay for doing this to my family. NOBODY touches Vina”
Nigel went for him again, his speed proving once more superior to Faron. He killed him in his blind rage then went through his home killing anybody else who had touched her for even a moment. He knew Vina wouldn’t approve of him slaughtering this entire house but this was one of those times he just couldn’t control his rage. He was so angry and it didn’t help some of that anger was directed at himself. Vina was truly his life, his everything and he had been taking the precious gift that was her for granted.
He had her in his arms as soon as he got to her, cradled her close and breathed in her scent. He hated the marks covering her and could feel that she had lost weight. “Tell me what he did.” He said to his son.
“He beat and tortured her, starved her and barely gave her anything to drink.”
“That I know of.”
“Panya, I want you and Luca to take Cadoc to your place and see to it that he’s healed. I’ll be over to talk to him once your mother is awake and feeling better and make sure that woman is handed over to the watch.”
Cadoc was terrified and ashamed. He wondered if his father hated him. “Dad, I…”
“Now is not the time, Cadoc, please heal and rest. Your mother and I love you, but right now we all need time.”
“Yes sir.” He took off with Vina and Luca helped Cadoc to his feet while Vina took care of the woman who had been impersonating their mother.”Do you think he hates me?” He had to ask.
“No, but he’s pretty pissed, you had to know he would be, but it’s not just at your gambling, it’s at himself too.” Panya replied honestly.
“I swear I never thought any of you would get hurt”
“I know Cadoc, mom and dad know too.” When Nigel arrived home with his mate he took her to their room where he moved the covers to lay her under them. He gently kissed her head and whispered, his voice coming out choked “I’m so sorry Vina” he left her and went to make her a light soup. He didn’t want to upset her stomach when it had food in it again. As he chopped and readied the ingredients he listened to her heartbeat, willing it to speed up so he could at least give her some water. To his dismay she was still passed out even as he finished it and removed the soup from the burner.
He rubbed her arm “Vina, come on baby” she didn’t stir and it tore him up inside. Nigel sat there, caressing and watching over her. He would occasionally tell her how loved he was, hoping any of it was sinking into her. He needed her to wake up so he could talk to her, so he could take care of her and make her feel better.
When she finally woke, all she could do was open her eyes and let out a little groan. It snapped him to attention and he gently brushed his fingers over her forehead, moving so she could see him. “Vina? Can you hear me?” She managed a little nod. “Thank goodness.”
“Okay baby, I made you something, let me warm it up okay.”
He left her and quickly warmed up her food then took a bowl and a glass of water back to the room. He sat them down on the bed side table and gently lifted her, moving behind her so she was resting against him. He then picked up the bowl and tested it warmth before giving her a bite. “Eat slow okay, you don’t want to get sick.” She didn’t respond, just ate what he gave her until she was full. He then helped her drink, making sure she didn’t gulp it down so she wouldn’t choke. “Better?”
“Yeah.” She said softly and he wrapped his arms tightly around her.
“I am so so sorry Vina, so sorry. I…I’m a terrible mate, I don’t deserve you and you sure as hell don’t deserve my neglect.”
“I’ll understand if you never forgive me and if you want to…leave.” He choked on the last word, tears sliding down his cheeks.
“Four days Vina, four days I didn’t see, how could I not see, how can I call myself your mate, how can I forgive myself?”
“It was obviously strong magic baby. You can’t see through everything even though I know what an amazing demon you are”
“Vina, if I had been an atentive mate and not let myself get caught up in those stupid new books I have I would have seen through it. I didn’t even know he had Cadoc. I was suspecting her because I finally got over it and wanted you but…you’re my mate…not somthing I can just enjoy when I feel like it…I should never be so distant that magic like that can work on me. I am so very deeply sorry Vina. If you’ll still have me I’ll never be that neglectful again…”
“I’m not going anywhere, Nigel, you should know that by now. I love you, so please calm down. She really wanted to hug him, but she was just so exhausted. “Just hold me okay?”
“Anything you want, Vina.” He had almost lost her again and it was going to be awhile before he could leave her alone. Over the next couple of days Vina started to feel much better and finally getting some nutrients helped aid her body in healing. Nigel was happy to see her feeling better and continuously fussed over her. “I need to talk to Cadoc, love.” He said. “I want you to come with me, I can’t leave you alone.”
Vina could hear the hint of distress in his voice. “Okay baby, I’ll visit with Panya and Luca. Just don’t be too hard on, Cadoc, he’s been through a lot.”
“He needs to understand that his gambling stops immediately.”
“I know, just try not to lose your temper.”
He carried her to Panya and Luca’s, his little girl out the door before they even got to the porch. “Hey sweetheart, how are you doing?” Vina asked.
“Me? How are you?”
“I’m fine, your father has been taking very good care of me.”
“Is your brother here?” Nigel asked.
“Out back, he’s been pretty scared thinking of what you want to say to him.”
“Watch over your mother for me.” He gave Vina a kiss then headed around the house. He found Cadoc sitting on the back porch and his son stood as soon as he saw him. “Let’s go for a walk.” He said and Cadoc nodded as he followed him away from the house.
“Dad, I…I understand if you hate me. I know I deserve it. It’s my fault mom got hurt.”
Nigel sighed and slapped him in the back of the head. “First of all don’t ever say something like that. Hating you is not an option, it never will be and second, how are you feeling?”
“Good.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “We’re both at fault, son.”
“If I had been a better father I would have put an end to your gambling the minute I noticed it becoming a problem and if I were a better mate, your mother wouldn’t have been gone for four days, she wouldn’t have been taken period. If you had not been gambling and in debt, then that asshole wouldn’t have taken your mother. From now on, no gambling, not even betting in card games, do you understand?”
“I do, I’ll never do it again, I swear.”
He patted his son’s back. “I think the slap will suffice for now, but you and I are going to have to work extra hard to make it up to your mother.”
“we do…it was so hard to listen to her sob and see her like that..Did he…she was naked?” the question was hard to ask and Nigel said “No, Vina told me he didn’t”
“good…thinking of that…”
“nobody will ever harm her again. I’ve learned my lesson as well son. I am lucky to have such a good woman and while I’ve never forgotten that I won’t let myself take it for granted again” Thy talked it out awhile longer then hungout with Panya and her mate. Nigel decided what this family needed was much more time together so they all sat there that night and planned a week long vacation. Nigel didn’t care where they went as long as they all went together.
~ The End