Juliette Cross is sharing her first 500 of Sealed in Sin. Would these 500 words have you reading further, I know I would.
Kat literally appeared out of thin air with a sharp electric snap, slamming down today’s copy of the New York Times on the breakfast table. My hand jerked. I dropped my spoon into the Froot Loops with a clink, milk splattering my chin.
“Damn it! Don’t scare me like that.” I scowled, wiping milk from my pajama top.
Ignoring the fact that she nearly gave me a heart attack sifting into my kitchen without warning, she straightened to her full six-foot height, hands on hips, blonde braid swishing over one shoulder. Dressed in typical Kat attire—black jeans, tight knit top and close-fitting leather jacket—she pointed at the cover story.
“Look, Gen. Don’t you see what this means? A high demon has stolen the prophecy. Well, half the prophecy, anyway.”
Kat had once shown me her picture of the torn relic, the first half of the prophecy, which up until now had been protected in the vaults of the Vatican for centuries, guarded by wards to keep it from ever leaving the premises. What we still hadn’t found and needed desperately was the lost half of the prophecy.
I picked up the paper and read, “‘Officials reported a breach into the Vatican Library Secret Archives recently. Authorities report the discovery of tampering with ancient documents on Thursday evening’.” I skimmed through a quote by local authorities, saying not much of anything, then continued reading. “‘No documents were reported missing; however, ancient manuscripts had been shuffled aside and left in disarray.’ Kat, this doesn’t mean it was about the prophecy. This could be anybody—some secret society or religious fanatic. A cult. Who knows?”
She narrowed her eyes and leaned over the table. “Listen to me. I know without a shadow of a doubt this is about the prophecy. I don’t know how I know, I just do.”
“Wait, the Vatican is sacred ground. A demon can’t break in there.”
“No, but a human in service to a high demon can. A sentinel. Or…a Vessel.”
I flinched. A demon could possess a captive Vessel and use her as a shell to go anywhere and do whatever he wanted.
Kat snatched the paper back and folded it on the table. “Now, we have to assume one of the demon princes has the prophecy, or at least the half that we have.”
“Why a high demon? Why not an angel or some other Flamma?” Flamma were supernatural beings created by heaven and hell to battle for the Light or the Darkness. I’d recently discovered that I happened to be one of these beings.
“Because an angel or Flamma of Light could sift in without detection. It was definitely a human serving a high demon.”
High demons, essentially the aristocracy of the underworld, had the power to bargain with and compel humans to do their will, typically with some immoral payoff for the human. Could be nice if there wasn’t that whole burning-in-hell-for-eternity thing.
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