The Immortal Series - Book cover

The Immortal Series

Jennie Bradley-Smith

Chapter 2


I think it’s always the case that the truth needs straightening out when it comes to historical figures, but mine more so than others.

When the original histories were written, I was a healer. I was helpful. Then, as the centuries went on and literature expanded, I suddenly became the bad guy—well, girl.

It’s true that King Arthur Pendragon was my half-brother, and yeah, maybe sometimes we bickered, but that’s what siblings do.

I certainly had no part in his death. The myth about the sheath of Excalibur is total fiction. I wouldn’t do that to him. All in all, I was pretty fond of the smug bastard.

Now his wife… there was a bitch and a half. It’s an extremely well-kept secret that Gwynevere was a witch, and I know the precise spot where she died.

I visit quite often, mainly to make fun of her. If she hadn’t been screwing around on my brother, I might not have felt the need to rip out her heart. But she did, so I did.

What can I say? I’m kinda vengeful like that. Darling Gwyn deserved what she got. She married my brother and then stole my boyfriend.

Arthur had actually begun to believe me that she was scum and ordered her to be tried for infidelity. But I got to her first and brought my brother her slut heart as a gift.

He just sighed and rubbed his temples. That’s what he did whenever I made rash decisions. But I was just being helpful.

As for Galahad, the man I loved, the knight Gwyn was screwing… he straight up fled rather than face me.

I wasn’t going to murder him for dumping me. That’s what everyone thought, you know. But it’s not like that. I’m a big girl. I can take rejection. Probably.

No, I was going to murder him for betraying my brother. So he suddenly had the idea to go on a grail quest and disappeared like a big baby. Caught up with him eventually, though. That was a fun day.

Wow. I must have drunk more than I thought. I haven’t thought about Gal in ages.

Now. Where am I?

Seriously. Where am I? It’s definitely a city. I can almost taste the smoke and sweat that layers over these places.

This new era of technology and communication might mean it’s easy to get ahold of someone three thousand miles away, but the smog is almost unbearable.

My head is absolutely pounding, and I make the informed decision not to open my eyes. That way madness lies. Or sunlight. Madness and sunlight both sound bad right now.

So I listen. There’s a window open somewhere in the room, which is probably how I got in.

There are voices outside. I could use magic to amplify them, but that’d probably make me throw up. It’s definitely not English, but I understand it.

But that doesn’t really narrow it down. I speak twenty-five languages, and the others I can use magic to translate automatically.

Okay. Listening. Language. I’m pretty sure it’s European. Last night I was in Paimpont forest, so it would make sense that I was still in France.

Pacified, I focus more on my immediate surroundings. I’m on a bed. I seem to be fully clothed, but I’m not wearing my boots. Damn. I hope I haven’t lost them. I love those boots.

A door opens. One that’s really close to me. In complete opposition to everything my body is crying out for, I jerk up to sitting, and my eyes fly open.

Son of a bitch, it is bright in here. My eyes burn, and my head protests, and it all just bloody hurts. I throw my forearm over my fried retinas and reach blindly for the edge of the bed.

Before I make it upright, a deep chuckle rattles my bones, and somebody speaks from behind me.

“Perfection as always, Gana.”

I’d recognize that voice anywhere. I slump back into the mountainous heap of pillows and sigh, “Paris. I’m in Paris.”

I flail an arm in the vague direction the light was streaming in from.

“Close the curtains, James. I’m dying.”

He chuckles again, and I hear him cross the room. A few seconds later, the blinding light dims, and I venture another peek into the room.

James is standing by the—now thankfully closed—curtains with his arms folded, calmly regarding me. I’m in his flat, in his bed, at what appears to be roughly nine in the morning.

My head is still spinning from moving too fast.

“Can I have some water?”

“Get it yourself.”

His deep voice is sharper than usual, and I narrow my eyes at him. He doesn’t appear to be kidding. There are exceptionally few people who don’t do what I want.

James is one of them. He’s not a particularly tall guy. He’s just about the same height as me, even without my heels. I’m five-nine, but that doesn’t matter.

He’s got gorgeously dark skin and a voice that’s only a few notches above subterranean. He looks like he’s in his early thirties, but he’s not.

I can see the glint from one ring in his lip and the other at the tip of his right ear. He’s usually got a crooked grin and sparkly eyes, but today he just looks kinda pissed.

I slowly prop myself up on my elbows to glower at him.

Luckily, I’m definitely fully clothed. My jeans are faded and artfully ripped, but I’ve got a long-sleeved blue and black striped top that’s perfectly decent.

I frown back at James. “What?” I say eventually.

He never gives much away, even when he’s angry. It’s not like I haven’t crashed here before unannounced. He’s never cared.

He just shakes his head wearily and continues to stare at me. I flick my eyes up to his ears. They’re barely pointed, which means humans don’t notice, but James is a child of the gods.

Not many people in this day and age understand all of the various races of magical creatures that wander about, but James is still one of the rarer varieties.

Katonda comes from east Africa, one of their original deities. Father of the world or something. What interests me about it is that he can control the spirits of the dead.

Children of the creators can’t actually create things; that would be too much power. But the dead must obey them because of the life that runs through their blood. And James has that Katondan blood.

As supreme magical beings are occasionally wont to do, Katonda had a dalliance with a mortal or two and ended with some kids.

This has happened with many gods, over and over again, among the generations. It’s because of this that we end up with people like James, with demigods.

Not that the title means much; it’s more for the status. But he can talk to the dead when he wants to.

He can also keep them away. Which is great when you’ve got the Rainbow curse. The descendants of Katonda are highly prized by my kind and paid well to hang around when something big goes down.

Me? I just like the quiet that comes with being around James. He doesn’t go in for the mercenary-ghost-repellent gig.

He’s much more of a cliché. Moved from London to Paris to study art. Ugh, what a sap.

He’s still said nothing, and my head is still spinning, so I just groan at him. “Seriously, James. What? What did I do?”

He slowly raises an eyebrow. “You’re in my bed.”


He rolls his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose. This isn’t mad anymore. This is more… embarrassed. “I brought my girlfriend home.”

I let out a peal of laughter, which makes my headache slam in with full force. I grimace and swing my legs off the bed so I can put my head between my knees, but I keep laughing.

“So you brought some poor French girl back to your artist pad, and I’m passed out in your bed.” I laugh harder as he nods. “Oh, poor James.” I look up at him.

Before I can move, he twitches the curtain aside, and a blast of morning sunshine hits me in the eyes. Not caring about the consequences, I call darkness to the room.

Everything goes black, and my brain kicks back with bourbon-based pain. I lie back, both smug and grimacing.

I hear James let out a sigh. “Loving the maturity, Gana.”

“Don’t call me Gana,” I grumble back. “And bring me some water.”

“If I bring you water, will you put the lights back on?”


He sighs again. “If I didn’t know how old you really were, I’d swear you were about sixteen.”

I restrain myself from repeating him in a mocking voice, because that probably wouldn’t make my point overly well.

James is the closest thing I have to a friend. It’s hard to be friends with people when you live forever.

Just to watch them die over and over, having your heart ripped into tiny little pieces every time the mortal condition catches up with them.

Judging that I might not throw up anymore, I focus my energy, letting a trickle of magic free into my system to clear out the worst of the hangover.

Getting up, I release the darkness and blink as I adjust to the actual light.

My boots are next to the bed. Good. They’re quite muddy and scratched up, but that’s nothing a quick magical spurt won’t cure. But I don’t do it yet.

The open window is letting in a refreshing breeze, so I leave it behind the curtains and stumble to a mirror.

Hmm. I don’t actually look that bad, considering the night I had. I’ve always been tall and thin with dark hair that tumbles in lazy waves to just past my shoulders.

Right now, I haven’t got a brush, so I scrape it back and fix a loose bun on the back of my head.

I spend a few seconds pulling some tendrils down to frame my face. I examine my reflection from a few angles to make sure I look okay.

I’ve got deep brown eyes with a few flicks of gold within them. Between those, my high-angled cheekbones, and my pouty lips, I look good. Yes, I’m vain. What of it?

I wander out into the open space of James’s flat, ready to bitch at him for not bringing me water yet.

It’s actually quite a decent space, but it’s so full of canvases, easels, and the occasional open jar of paint that you walk around like it’s booby-trapped.

James seems amused by my careful progress toward him. There aren’t many people I’m careful for.

He’s leaning against the counter and inclines his head at the machine next to him, and I see fresh coffee being made. Despite myself, I let out a small moan and go hunting for a mug.

James gives me one of his rumbling chuckles. “Knew that’d make you happy.”

I hold out the mug I’ve scavenged, and he fills it with dark, liquidy goodness. No sugar, no milk, just straight-up coffee. The only way to start a morning.

“So”—he fills his own mug and eyes me—“do I get to wish you a happy birthday, or will that end up like last year?”

I roll my eyes. “Oh, will you stop whining about that, you baby. It wasn’t that bad.”

“You turned all my water into blood. For a week.”

“You can’t prove it was blood, James.”

“Was it blood?”

“Yes.” I shrug at him and sip my coffee. There’s a possibility I’m a little touchy about birthdays.

He lets out a contemplative noise and opens his mouth to say something, but a knock on the door interrupts him. James’s eyes flick to the door, then to me.

I lean back against the sink and raise one shoulder. “What? You know I’m not gonna promise to behave. Let them in.”

He shoots me another look, sighs, and goes to the door.

As soon as he pulls it open, I know what’s outside. There’s a rush of air that smells like lavender, and I grimace. James groans. He knows how much I hate these guys.

A herald steps through the door. Messengers of the high-ups, all-round goody-goodies, and absolute pains in the ass.

This one’s wearing a flawless white suit with a lavender cravat. He’s tall, and his blond hair is perfectly slicked back, which makes his baby blues pop.

He hasn’t noticed me yet. I mask my magical signature and sip my coffee. The herald smiles and extends his arms, clearly delighted to see James.

“Son of Katonda, I offer you my greetings.”

James sucks his lip ring into his mouth, which is whatever he does when he’s worried.

“Seriously, Anthony, just call me James.”

He pats the herald on the shoulder. Anthony’s smile dims a little bit as he realizes he’s not getting the hug he wants.

James walks back to his coffee mug, which draws Anthony’s gaze to me. His smile immediately returns with more force.

“Son of Katonda, will there not be introductions given between myself and your lovely companion?”

I sneer at him. James runs a hand over his face, trying to avoid the inevitable. It’s then that I notice what he’s wearing.

Besides the splendor of Anthony’s white suit—which just looks impractical, by the way—James looks like he slept on the floor.

He’s wearing sweatpants and a burgundy t-shirt with slightly fewer holes in them than my jeans, but not by a lot.

His hair is clipped short like usual, but he’s got a few days’ worth of black stubble on his jaw.

“What do you want, Anthony?”

Anthony doesn’t seem put off by this at all, and he walks to me. I try not to recoil at the now overpowering scent of lavender. Anthony extends a hand to me and turns his head to James.

“Your manners are lacking, friend. Clearly, this delightful woman has spent the night in your domicile, and yet you refrain from letting me make her acquaintance.

“Most rude, son of Katonda. Most rude indeed.”

A few thoughts run through my mind. The first being, He talks way too loudly. Most of the others revolve around ~Punch him in the head, now~.

James groans and looks at the ceiling. He and I have been through this before. I’m bored of sneering now, and this guy looks like he needs to be taught a lesson.

I put down my coffee cup and turn a full-watted smile upon the moron before me. “Forgive the rudeness of my companion. I would most dearly like to make your acquaintance.”

My total overhaul in attitude gives the herald pause, and he regards me. One eye twitches slightly, and we all know what’s about to happen.

“Anthony,” James’s voice rumbles out a warning. “Don’t.”

But Anthony isn’t listening. He’s a herald. They never listen. I feel the brush of his mind over mine. Heralds are selective telepaths, and this one is getting nosy.

I slam my shields down, and he recoils, physically as well as mentally.

I let my magic signature flare at him as he gapes at me.

I give him a slow smile. “Now who’s being rude, Anthony? You don’t even know my name, and you’re trying to see inside me. That’s not nice.”

Anthony is staring at me like I’m the devil herself. “Good Lady!” he exclaims.

I snort at that, which makes James chuckle.

“That was uncalled for.”

“Really?” My eyebrows raise. “You visit the home of a demigod, and you’re surprised to find a magical kindred hanging around?

“You can’t just probe people and not expect a response. Are you new or something?”

He twitches again, and I clasp my hands with joy.

“Oh, you are? How sweet! James, James, look at the little newbie. He’s so cute.”

James isn’t joining in the game, so I shoot him a look. He’s watching the door. Anthony looks crestfallen.

“You’re not nice.”

I stretch up to my full height and place my hands on my hips.

“Are you pouting? Are you fucking kidding me? You come in here all glory and rainbows, try and invade my mind, and now you’re pouting because I’m mean?”

I feel the rush within me as my magic stirs.

“Probably shouldn’t.”

James still isn’t looking at me, but I get his meaning. He’s seen me like this too many times not to know what’s coming next. I’m about to whale on this guy.

He’s snotty, he’s invasive, and he’s a coward. I could give him a magical smackdown that would give him more respect for strangers.

There’s a good reason I don’t get heralded often. Sending them crying back to their managers gives you a certain reputation.

Well, it would if they ever knew who I was when they came to me. My identity is usually kept under wraps. Like I care.

But never mind that. Right now, I’m ready to throw down. Well, I was until James quietly stepped in.

He didn’t outright tell me to stop. He didn’t express any concern about his flat, his belongings, his personal safety, or the personal safety of the herald.

“Why?” I’ve got my gaze locked on Anthony, who looks like he’s about to cry.

James sighs into his coffee, and I see him gesture toward the door.

“Samuel,” is his response.

“Who in all the hells…”

I tail off as Samuel appears. He’s a complete carbon copy of Anthony, right down to the lavender cravat.

“Oh, wonderful…,” I groan dramatically. I look back at Anthony, who’s backing away from me. “…You’re a bloody ident.”

Next chapter

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