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Vendetta Dark | Chapter 1

Cover of Vendetta Dark by Josh Pederson

Cover of Vendetta Dark by Josh Pederson

Josh Pederson, Author

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Chapter One

The secret is patience.

This has always been the truth. Time is a key that can open many doors. And after years of waiting, the time had finally come.

The thirty-six year old initiate stared at the human skull in his hands. The top had been removed and the inside modified to act as a bowl. It was filled with a red liquid that sloshed around as he moved. Soon he would drink it and choose a name for himself. This was how the initiation worked. Though it had been some time since they’d welcomed a new member, Daedalus remembered the ritual well. In his mind it felt like just yesterday he’d been standing in front of that same altar, surrounded by strangers in black, hooded robes.

A bitter dark filled the room, its ancient presence smoldering like a candle at the end of its wick. Time had moved on, and with it the people that had carried the darkness across the ages. Once they were many. Now they were five.

Soon to be six.

Twenty-five years had passed since the ritual was last performed. Once upon a time, membership was desired by all with wealth and power. To join their secret society was considered a rare privilege, a gift passed from one generation to the next. In recent years, however, things had changed. A legacy that had filled the pages of history with famine, plague, and blood had faded to nothing more than myth and legend. They’d been confined to the shadows, keeping their existence a secret from the rest of the world. Despite that fact, they still held a great deal of power, injecting themselves into the veins of society like a drug absorbed into the blood stream. Their influence ranged from politics to stock markets to the import/export business and the unions that ran them. Every move they made was carefully calculated into a greater plan. It was all building toward something—an act that would change the world forever.

“Will you drink to your oath and the power that it grants?” the Grandmaster asked, holding his hands out toward the initiate.

The initiate held the skull up high. “May this wine poison me should I ever break my oath.”

He drank it down like a man dying of thirst.

Five individuals circled around him, Daedalus included. Four of them wore black cloaks and one wore red: the Grand Master, Alexander. The old ways had died centuries ago. They no longer used diseases or ancient grudges to bring about the end of empires or the desecration of historical recordings to discredit claims of truth. Money could still buy power, but politics had proved to be nothing more than a squabbling of crows. None of that would matter soon. What hadn’t changed was the ceremonial manner in which they conducted their affairs. The room was made up to look like a dungeon in some ancient castle. Torchlight illuminated a cold floor made of stones imported from fallen castles in Romania; the altar was once used to make sacrifices to Norse gods, and the liquid was nothing more than red wine mixed with food coloring to darken its appearance. It was all an illusion, theatrics meant to suit the eccentricities of old men. In the shadows beyond these things were red tapestries with a barren tree, the symbol of the Genesis Society. In order for new life to thrive, death must first be achieved.

The master removed a sheet of dark silk from an object on the altar. A golden chalice waited beneath, filled with a black, grainy substance. Daedalus approached the initiate, holding a silver blade with a handle carved from a human femur. The initiate accepted it without hesitation. The ruthlessness in his cold brown eyes set Daedalus on edge, as if they were hiding some form of insanity that had yet to surface. He stepped back.

“What do you offer for this gift?” the Grand Master asked.

The initiate held out his left hand. With the knife, he cut vertically down the length of his palm, drawing a thick stream of blood that flowed into the cup, like water from a running faucet. “I offer my blood. I offer my soul. I offer my body. May these things bind me to my oath and serve you well.”

Vendetta Dark by Josh Pederson in its entirety is available for purchase at:

Barnes and Noble Online Website:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/vendetta-dark-josh-pederson/1122079924?ean=9781512190816

Amazon  It is available in both Kindle and Paperback versions and is available to download for free with a Kindle Unlimited Subscription

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1512190810?keywords=Vendetta%20Dark&qid=1447655101&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Cover of Vendetta Dark by Josh Pederson

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Josh Pederson, Staff Writer

Josh is a contributor to the Herald and a student at National University in the Undergraduate Journalism program. He is already a published author and...

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Vendetta Dark | Chapter 1