Sirian staggered through the forest, agony tearing through him as he tripped and landed hard. The demons swam within him, fighting for control of his body. They made him punch himself and smash his head against a tree. He was bloodied and bruised from their battle inside him. He sobbed as he'd never done before.

They drove him to his feet, and he ran, his body torn apart from within. He didn't see his path or notice the brambles snagging his clothing. As dawn broke across the sky, the elder demon who possessed Memon spoke to him.

I will make you great, Sirian.

"Y…yes," Sirian whispered, dropping to his knees again.

I will give you everything.


A different kind of fire arose within him. The agony was gone, replaced by sudden strength and energy. He stood and marveled at himself, thrilled by the power running through him. The stronger demon stretched within him to test its bonds while the other demon cowered.

"Vengeance," he said.

In time. But now, the she-demon needs a host.

Sirian straightened his clothing and looked around, towards the mountains in the north and Dierdirien's stronghold. Rage flooded him as he realized those who betrayed him - and Memon - had come as much from the north as from Tiyan. He knew well Tiyan would sway Memon's allies now that the King of Landis was dead. Taran would not be easy to defeat in battle, and Vara would help him protect Tiyan. No, he couldn't attack Tiyan. The kingdom would be expecting him.

Dierdirien wouldn't.

The she-demon will be my mate. Find her a host!

The command drove him to his knees, and he grappled with the idea of sharing power with a demon. He'd waited for years to seize control of Tiyan.

For all his sacrifice and devotion to one foolish Tiyan Warlord after another, he had nothing. But the demon would give him everything he'd ever wanted.

"Mate first," he promised. "Then Dierdirien."