I'm avoiding working on a proposal, so I was touring all kinds of things I had set aside, and decided to take a page from other author's books and post a lost scene from Immortal Protector. This is early in the story. It's main character is Ramon, the consumate master of the game of Gods, and takes place just after Gideon is dispatched to take care of the Eternity Covenant's most pressing problem: Dr. Meg Carter. Ramon gets a visit from a Goddess, and decides he needs to set things a little more in motion and turmoil than they already were. I cut the scene because it wasn't needed in the end, there were better ways to get the story across: but it was fun to write, because Ramon is fun to write. And he has a history that you'd never expect. What makes a man this much of a player? That's for another book. Meanwhile: enjoy. (PS it's not edited at all. As unplugged as the muse gets...)
Ramon Salazar poured himself a snifter of golden hued brandy, then sat in his favorite velvet chair before a small fire in his cherished library. The scent of the brandy was a familiar friend, a lover's touch to his senses that heralded a pleasurable burn to come. He knew it was important for a man like him to enjoy such moments as these: stolen pleasures, seconds and minutes taken from the chaos of the game, much needed breaks that recharged the body and mind of a being who could, if he played wisely, live forever.
Gideon was not playing wisely, in his opinion. But Gideon played by his own rules, and still managed to get results. Ramon swirled the brandy and drank down a savored swallow. A shadow appeared before him, blocking the fire. Slowly it took form, until it was a woman, lithe and honey-skinned, with dark, cat like eyes and a knowing look that only a Goddess could pull off.
“So I was right.” Bast purred the words more than spoke them. “The mystics missed part of the vision.”
“Perhaps.” Salazar’s natural caution kicked in. He didn’t trust any of the Gods. They all had their own motives, and they all believed them to be of pure intent. Much blood had been spilled in what passed for pure intent over the centuries. He’d spilled enough himself through many of them. “It’s still early. We can’t know for sure if the mystics missed something in the vision, if it was deliberately obscured, or, if it was insignificant to the time and divergent point and therefore not even on the radar.”
Bast laughed, a feline sound that made his toes curl. “I’ve observed Horus, and Seth. Neither has made a move to make me think they are involved. I want to believe this bears the mark of Seth.”
Salazar raised a brow, and drank again his silken brandy. It warmed his belly, though his soul remained as chilled and untouched as ever. “We think he stands to gain. We’re early yet. Let the game unfold.”
She began to pace, a measured yet restless movement. “I took a calculated risk getting Gideon assigned to this operation.”
“We both took a risk when we decided to assign a tribunal champion instead of a paladin. Free thinkers are unpredictable. All we can do now is wait and see what we gain. Or, what we lose.” He finished the brandy, and set the glass aside upon the polished marble surface of the occasional table. “Gideon knows the woman is the key, just as he knows he may need to put the protocol into play at any time. Lets hope we have our answers before the wrong decision is made.”
She stopped dead in her tracks and fixed him with a piercing, dark eyed gaze. “I prefer to rely on more tangible things than hope.”
“That’s why you have Gideon, isn’t it?”
“Yes. Gideon. My favorite. Through all the centuries, who’d have guessed a misplaced Britton would come to be my right hand?” Her lips curved in the faintest hint of smile, and her body appeared to shift and loose solid form. “Keep your eyes open, Ramon. I think it will get dangerous from here. For both of us."
He nodded and watched her vanish into the shadows of nothingness. Then he thought. Gods played the game all the time, but those on the Tribunal tended to stick to the rules. That Bast was bending them worried him, more than Gideon’s radical departure from orders.
He stood and stretched out the fatigue of too many hours spent awake and in deep thought, poured himself a last helping of his magnificent brandy, and sat down at his computer. As always, no one could be trusted, as always, he was alone in making sure the game played out to everyone’s best advantage. He sincerely hoped Bast was on his side, but he was no fool either. Ramon opened his encryption program and sent several secure emails to cell operatives local to the east coast of the United States, fishing for something he doubted he’d find. Gideon’s op had run up against one hell of a mage. From here on out it was anyone’s guess what would happen next. And Ramon Salazar, more than anyone else walking this earth, hated surprises.