Excerpt: Twin Flames

I was Tristan Javeh Ksathra Janick, Warrior of the Goddess Anat, and council enforcer. Who would’ve thought I would be in the Hall of Shamash, with my heart aching, kneeling before the Council of Elders, waiting for the life I had known to end.

The hall was large and cavernous, with tall pillars and cold, stone floors. The gallery overlooking the main level was packed with those who’d been asked to witness today’s events. Carved on the impressive and enormous mahogany doors was the emblem of the God Enki, the creator of our ancestor Enkidu, the father of all Lycans. The insignia of a double helix of snakes wrapped around a staff of lapis lazuli, called the Caduceus, covered the door from top to bottom, reminding us of our humble origins when we entered the sacred place of judgment.

Behind the seats of the Council of Five stood a nine-foot marble statue of Shamash, the God of Justice. The figure was outlined by the golden circle of the sun over outstretched wings of crimson feathers. On the wall above the statue of our founding God was the crystal case that held the Horned Crown of Divinity of our lost line of kings.

All five elders had donned their sacred capes of scales for this momentous meeting. They were sitting behind their desks as they patiently waited for the final participant of the inquisition.

As a Warrior of Anat, I was identified at birth, like all warriors, by toes numbering eight, but everything else about me was average. I wasn’t much to look at when compared to my Lycan brothers.

Average height.

Average build.

Average brown hair.

Average brown eyes.

That didn’t mean I was as average as a human. The difference was only apparent when I was compared with other Lycans and Warriors of Anat, who were gorgeous, tall, well-defined, and broad. They were powerhouses who were noticed and fawned over.

Being unremarkable never really mattered to me, because I’d known somewhere in the world was my Bashert, my destined Twin Flame. There was someone who’d love me no matter what. I’d always known that when I found him, he wouldn’t care if I was ugly, plain, or beautiful, because the Gods promised he would be my perfect match. He’d love me just as I was.

When I met my Twin Flame four years ago, I was overjoyed. He was beautiful, powerful, and he was mine. I was more than lucky; I was blessed. In the beginning, his touch was like fire across my skin and his kiss stole away my breath. His very being breathed such life into me, making everything brighter, clearer.

Unlike humans, we Lycans are reborn after death, ever searching for our Bashert, the one person who is our eternal companion. Binding to our Twin Flame is more than a simple marriage or the magical life bond of the Magi. The Bashert is our destiny. A marriage can end. A life bond completes your soul until the next death and rebirth. The Bashert is an extension of self, if you find them, because rebirth is never promised to be in sync with time or place. I had hoped to be one of the fortunate few to find my Bashert in this life.

But that was then, at the beginning, when I had believed…

The heavy, engraved doors split open, allowing entrance to the alpha and his four betas. Together, they approached the seats of the Council of Five.

“Alpha Theodore Sullivan,” Elder Luis greeted, his tone showing his exasperation. “So good of you to actually heed the summons, even if you’re”—he consulted his watch—”twenty minutes late.”

I didn’t glance up from the stone floor where I knelt. Even then, I couldn’t look at Theo and not see him wrapped between the two she-wolves, writhing and moaning. He was fucking them, kissing them. He had whispered to them that no one had ever made him feel that good. He’d told them he could never have another and not think of them. Then he’d promised the women he’d claim them in front of the tribe as his alpha mates.

Mates were not our Twin Flames. They were pale substitutes for those Lycans who didn’t believe they’d find their destined partner. Lycans could never claim or bond with a mate like they could their Twin Flame. Our Flames were our other self, our balance, the twin half who complemented our soul. That was the promise made to the first of us by the God Shamash over four thousand years ago. Mates were a watery imitation when compared to our true Flames. If a Lycan found their Flame, any mating would be considered null and void. When we claimed our Twin Flame, there was no one else, or so I’d thought.

Two days ago, my belief in the sanctity of that sacred bond crumbled and turned to ash when I spied Theo’s deceit. I don’t know how long I stood there in shock, watching him as he took his pleasure with the females. Just hours earlier, I’d been lying in that very same bed with him. He’d whispered he was blessed to have me, that I balanced him… that he loved me.

For some time, I have been unwell and getting progressively sicker with each passing day. When I’d witnessed his deception, my claiming mark had burned as if my flesh was on fire. My shoulder continued to feel scorched as I listened to the elders formally greet and address my alpha—my Twin Flame.

“I apologize, tribal business held me up,” Theo replied. I shivered with need at the deep rumble of his voice. I felt his gaze on me when he asked, “Why have I been summoned here? Has someone from my tribe given offense?”

Elder Luis sighed heavily. “It’s funny you should ask, Alpha Sullivan, because someone has affronted Tribe Enkidu and the Council of Shamash.”

“Who? Who has given insult?” Theo sounded angry. “Give me the name and I will guarantee due compensation for the slight.”

“It’s you who has given the insult,” Elder Luis replied.

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