an excerpt

Chapter One

"In the beginning he said let there be light and there was light." Legion closed the book, carefully inspecting its cover.

"New coffee table book?" Balthazar asked sauntering into the living room.

It was a beautiful day out and Legion had the large windows open, the lace curtains billowing in the gentle breeze.

"It was sitting on my table this morning. I'm guessing that it was delivered last night and Behenin left it in here for me to find." He reopened the book and flipped through the pages.

"Why would Behenin leave a book for you? You can barely read as it is," Balthazar teased, walking to the drink bar in the corner of the room. He glanced at his reflection in the mirror that hung over the bar before he grabbed a goblet and a bottle of elderberry wine.

"Fuck you." Legion flipped his best friend off.

"I know people say I'll fuck anything with a hole but I really draw the line at relatives." Balthazar dropped into a chair setting the goblet and the bottle on the end table beside his chair. He pulled the sword he always wore out of the back sheath, making sitting just a little more comfortable. He sat the sword on the coffee table in front of him. "So why is there a book on your table? Losing your magical ability and need it to help start a fire?"

"Oh, Adoni wrote an autobiography or had someone write one for him." Legion stood straighter trying to look serious. "He makes it sound like he appeared out of nowhere and created time, space, and history. Now he resides in this unknown place watching over those creatures of the celestial world, passing judgment on the races of celestial beings."

"For many of those in the celestial realm he did and does. He's King of the twenty-nine realms after all," his cousin pointed out, tossing his legs over the arm of the chair. "You and Adoni have been around longer than even the oldest of most of the beings from the outer realms can remember. To them you have always been and always will be. To the rest of us Adoni is our King and you the Prince. You create laws and we follow them. Well, okay, he creates laws and we break them, but you get my meaning."

"He's only king of twenty of those realms, I rule over nine." Legion pouted a little. "I don't understand why he insists on laying claim over my realms also. Besides, I've never heard him say ‘let there be light'. I've heard him say ‘where's the damn light', quite often as a matter of fact, but never ‘let there be light'."

"Well he does have a way with words." Balthazar glanced in his direction briefly before turning his attention to sharpening his sword.

"So if I told the story would I be quoted so regally? I would be able to say ‘let there be light' and those creatures would bow down before me like I was some all-powerful being? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm not all powerful, I'm just wondering if I had said it would I have sounded so regal?" Legion tossed the book back on the table finding it to be far more comical than thought provoking.

"Don't you expect them to do that now? And your brother is the firstborn son. He's the Celestial King, which means he's also a king over you, so therefore he is king of all twenty-nine realms." Balthazar held up his sword looking at its edge in the light.

"Well, yeah, I expect people to follow me, but I prefer fear and intimidation."

"With words like that I think your brother wants the same," he commented as he used the tip of the sword to open the book to the first page. "Kind of a plain looking cover if you ask me."

"I know." Legion sighed. "I'd have had a bit of art work. If you're going to read then you might as well have a couple of beautiful beings to look at." He looked at the very plain brown cover. His brother never was one for decorations, he lacked imagination.

Of course Adoni would say he lacked vanity. It was Legion's vanity that allowed him to dress so extravagantly, to have a home so large and beautiful, to desire decorations of any sort. He couldn't help it. He enjoyed having a house that was large and airy, rooms that were filled with colors. To him the extravagance of his domain signified wealth and power.

"Yeah." Balthazar smiled wickedly. "Perhaps a few half-dressed nymphs. There is nothing like half-dressed nymphs to get my attention, especially when they have a big pair of…well, you know."

"If it was my book then I'd have a picture of me on it. I dare you to find one being in the whole realm of celestial beings that is better looking than I." Legion turned to look at his reflection in the mirror.

Okay, yeah maybe his brother was right and he was just a little bit vain, but with his dark brown eyes and disheveled black hair he would be hard pressed to find someone better looking.

"Ah yes, vanity goes a long way with you doesn't it," Balthazar teased him. "Personally I would still prefer the half-dressed nymphs. Your ugly mug on the cover is enough to make me put the book in the garbage."

Legion turned suddenly, kicking the table causing the book to fly at his best friend. "Heck, having a book foul your bedroom with its presence is enough for you to toss it in the fire."

"Well yeah." Balthazar scooped up the book then threw it back. "Only books in my house are the ones I was forced to have. Once I got out of school all those foul things got tossed in the shredder. Which reminds me, I'm thinking about investing in a line of fully naked nymphs picture books, no reading required, just look at the pretty pictures. I do believe there will be a long line waiting for the next issue should you agree to such a venture. You know how popular the line of half-naked nymphs are."

Legion looked over at the book, raising his eyebrow as it hit the wall. "And you call yourself my second in command. Remind me never to put you in charge of the catapult."

"Fuck you." The warrior snorted and gestured meaningfully.

"Thanks but you're not really my type."

"Really? You have a type? I thought all it took was for them to fall on their back. Oh wait, that's me, you haven't had sex in the last millennium. Are you sure you know how it's done still?"

Legion continued, ignoring that remark. "You know Adoni just wants them to bow down before him, he's just much more subtle about it. Look at half the laws he established. I can't understand what he is saying in half of them with all the cryptic language and double-talk. I figure why bother with the subtleties? Give them the direct order and they will obey."

Zar snorted as he lobbed a pillow at his ruler only to have it fall about a foot short. "You never were one for subtleties either."

"Well, what good are they? They only lead to confusion." He shook his head smiling as the pillow fell at his feet. "I think you need to go back through the military training with an aim like that. Perhaps that's why you want books with just pictures, you can't figure out what all the symbols mean. It is obvious you lack the ability to judge distance. Have you thought about investing in a pair of glasses?"

"Or people fail to pick up subtle hints," Zar said as he turned his attention back to his sword, ignoring Legion's remark.

"I've noticed that no one seems to understand subtle hints. You have to cause an earthquake, a plague, or set a damn bush on fire to get anyone to pay attention." Legion threw up his hands in frustration as he began to pace the room.

"When did you set a bush on fire?" Balthazar looked up from his sword, a look of confusion on his face.

"I didn't." When he passed Balthazar's chair, he reached over, smacking his friend on the back of the head. "I was making a point about subtleties."

"I just wondered. I've heard a story about a burning bush but I wasn't sure it was you."

"No, it wasn't." Legion stooped to pick up the book. He may not exactly approve of it or find it an entertaining read but there was no reason to clutter up the room with it. "You would think fire would be my one thing, but no, my brother uses a burning bush to talk to a lesser being."

"Nothing is sacred when it comes to siblings." Balthazar nodded in agreement. "You don't know how many times I caught my own little brother using my stuff. I swear he does all his new clothes shopping in my closet."

"There is nothing like coming to dinner and seeing your brother dressed in your clothes. I know I have great taste in clothing but come on--and he calls me vain." Legion agreed with his friend. He couldn't remember how many times during his teenage years he went to grab his newest shirt only to find it gone. At first he had scoured the bedroom, asked the servants where it was only to see Adoni come out of a meeting with the council wearing the shirt.

"You have a stash of elderberry wine and who should find it but your little brother." Balthazar glowered. "That brother of mine got me grounded for two weeks when my parents found out where he got it."

"Were you going to share the secret stash with me?" Legion asked innocently, knowing full well what the wine was for.

Balthazar smiled slyly. "Well no, but there was this cute little guardian whom I was hoping would become just a little more friendly after a drink or perhaps even a bottle or two."

"If they don't come willingly then you might as well get them drunk." Legion laughed.

"Hell, I never claimed to be a good boy." He snorted, filling his goblet with wine. "I've spent too much time with you for that."

"Hey, you're older than me by a few hours, so I think you corrupted young and innocent me."

Balthazar grunted. "Good luck getting anyone to believe that."

Legion flipped him off as he walked out of the room.

"Hey, Legion, did you see the book?" a voice called as Legion stepped out of the living room and into the hallway.

Legion stopped when he heard Behenin behind him. He turned to see his dear friend and sometimes lover approaching him. "Did you read it?"

Behenin shook his head as he slid his arms around his friend's waist and leaned to rub noses, their peoples way of kissing. "I wasn't all that interested in it. I grew up with the two of you so what could it tell me that I didn't already know?"

Legion leaned over and rubbed their noses together again. "It didn't seem like a story of how he became king, it was more like another damn book of rules. Promise me this, if I ever start writing a book of rules you'll slap me upside the head."

Behenin slid his hand down Legion's shirt feeling the hard chest underneath. "I can't see you having the attention span needed to write a book."

"Hey! I've got the attention span to write a book," Legion protested.

Behenin gave him a lopsided smile. "Sure, if you say so."

"I do." He pouted just a little. "I just don't have any interest in writing a book."

"I'll give you that one." Behenin rubbed his nose against Legion's.

"You want to join auras with me?" Legion waggled his eyebrows.

Behenin shook his head. "I'm just checking to see if you got the book. I have too much work to do to join with you now."

"How about tonight? Can I find you in my bed?"

Behenin seemed to think about that for a moment, his nose wrinkling as he thought. "I don't think I will tonight."

Legion gave a soft sigh. "I need to plan an earthquake or two anyway."

Behenin gave him a hug. "Maybe some other time, all right?"

Legion nodded, a little disappointed. "Sure, some other time."

"Don't look so depressed, Legion, I still love you, I've just got a lot of work to do. You have a ton of people who would be willing to join auras with you, my sexy bad boy."

"None of them are you, my darling Behenin."

Behenin patted his arm. "You'll live. I'll talk to you later."

Legion watched the small man as he walked away. He had a ton of things that needed done; being a Prince was a tiring and thankless job. Giving a sigh he headed to his office to plan an earthquake or two.