Gold: Heart of a Warrior

Before anything existed, there was a dark nothingness called Chaos. Gradually the shape of Mother Earth emerged from the emptiness and formed the world...Mother Earth gave birth to the Golden Race who lived in an age without trouble or wars. Sadly, they had no children so the race died, though their spirits lingered on Earth to protect and help people...

—From Usborne Illustrated Guide to Greek Myths and Legends


GOLD: HEART OF A WARRIOR
By Eden Robins


Before Philoctetes could finish speaking, the tremor erupted and he lost his footing. He also lost his hold on the woman as he righted himself then had to dodge to the left to avoid a rock falling from above. Small and then larger stones began to fall from the collapsing roof of the cave.

“Damn it!” he cursed, looking wildly around him. “I don’t have time to kill you. Stay here and die from your own kind’s wrongdoings.”

With little thought, Phil closed his eyes and focused on where he wanted to be. Outside of the cavern, out of the darkness and into the light. Rich, hot, ancient power filled him, warming him with little pinpoints of heat rolling over his body as he transformed into mist. It wasn’t until he drifted out of the cave into the open air that he realized that the female was still with him. She must have got hold of him as he shifted and escaped, and now as he returned to his solid form, so did she. Crumpling to the ground in a heap at his feet, she was obviously spent from this initiation into corporeal transference.

Snarling, he stood over where she lay, glaring down at her. Furious to be awoken, especially by one of her kind, he hadn’t noticed exactly what the female looked like until now. Her eyes were closed, yet he could see they were fringed with lushly thick golden lashes that almost exactly matched the color of the long, reddish blond hair that fanned out in curly waves over the ground around her head. Her pink, flushed cheeks stood out against her creamy pale skin, and a small nose sprinkled lightly with freckles and slightly tilted up at the end sat above the fullest, berry red lips he had ever seen.

Something about her flushed skin nagged at his mind.

What was it?

He remembered how she had felt pressed against him back in the cave as well as his immediate response. Despite his hatred for her and all her kind, his body had grown hard with need as he felt her nipples tighten against his chest. And through her fear and difficulty breathing he had also smelled a tiny flare of arousal. The scent of it had wafted through the air like ambrosia to his senses, awakening the hunger that had been asleep inside him for so long.

His gaze returned to her eyes just as they fluttered open. Her stare was unfocused and confusion furrowed her delicately arched eyebrows.

“W—what just happened? How did I get outside?”

He barely heard her words as he lost himself in the fathomless sea of her green eyes, the same richly lush green as moss thriving in the deep, verdant forest. Something about her eyes pulled at him, urged him to remember something. She was familiar yet she wasn’t. What was it?

He shook off his concern. It was probably just the fact that he hadn’t been this close to a woman in quite a while. And for him, quite a while was over one hundred years. That was the time of his last awakening, and that’s a long time to be without a female, especially one whose beauty was as breathtaking as hers.

She had a face that would have competed against even that bitch, Aphrodite. His gaze moved lower, slowly taking in her form, including her round, voluptuous curves. He liked a woman built like a woman, soft and round in all the right places. Yet she hid her body beneath loose fitting clothing. This confused him. Most of the females he had known would have been proud to show off such a fine, womanly figure. Why would she hide it?

Her gasp yanked his gaze back to hers.

Eyes wide with shock, her expression told him all he needed to know.

She had finally noticed his scars.

His many, many scars.

His heart hardened and his ardor cooled as he recalled the reason for the multitude of scars covering his body. Yet, if she could see into his soul, she’d understand where the real scars were. Not visible, yet painfully, brutally marking him forever. It was useless to think about. She would never understand. It was time to get back to the matter at hand.

Her death.

At his hands.

Still Philoctetes hesitated.

Though he needed to kill her, something about her made him hesitate. Why did she seem familiar to him? And what was that nagging voice at the back of his mind, holding him back? Those questions clawed at his thoughts until he had to discover more about her.

“What’s your name, female of the Silver race?” He barked the question, demanding more than asking for an answer.

“S-silver race?” she asked, frowning. The urge to smooth her frown made him curl his fingers tightly into fists.

“Yes, Silver race. The evil ones. Those who contributed to my people’s demise.”

Her furrowed brow deepened and her eyes narrowed warily.

“I d-don’t know anything about a S-silver race, b-but I can tell you for sure that I’m not evil nor the c-cause of anyone’s d-demise,” she responded in a breathless voice as she sucked in deep gasps of air. “And as far as what I’m called, my name is Dora.”

The female struggled to get to her feet.

Philoctetes didn’t try to stop her because it made no difference to him. Standing or sitting, she would still die. Yet as she tried to sit up, he had to fight the overwhelming urge to help her. Eventually she stood and met his gaze unflinching.

“Dora?” he asked. “That’s a strange name.”

“It’s short for P-pandora,” she replied, her breathing still uneven but less so than before. “M-my mom always loved Greek mythology, and she especially l-liked the story of Pandora’s b-box.”

“It is quite a story,” he agreed, before muttering, “As was the woman who opened the box.”

The last part he spoke too low for her to hear. He knew all about Pandora. She had been the first woman created. Known for her beauty and God given gifts, she was also known for so much more.

Like being the destroyer of the lives of men and spirits alike.

“What did you just say?” Dora asked.

“Never mind. It’s of no consequence, Pandora.”

“Dora.”

“What?”

“It’s just Dora. No one calls me Pandora but my mother, and she only did that when I was in trouble for something,” she explained in a steady voice.

Since she had stopped gasping for breath, he guessed the female’s breathing had finally returned to normal. That soothed him somewhat. Why, he didn’t know, yet it did.

“I’ll call you Pandora. I prefer it.”

Pandora’s eyes opened wide, as if his statement had surprised her and Philoctetes suddenly remembered he wouldn’t be calling her anything much longer since he was about to kill her. Out of nowhere, the urge to tell her his name struck him, and he decided to do so. It mattered little, as she would be dead soon anyway.

“My name is Philoctetes. And I’m of the Golden race,” he explained, carefully watching her reaction to his words.

Instead of the recognition and fear he had expected, her expression became even more confused.

“Golden race?”

“The gold race—the first race of mortals set on earth? Your enemy? Those who eventually became pure spirits, the Golden spirits, Daimones Khyrseoi?”

Pandora’s eyes widened, then her gaze darted from left to right.

“Um, okay,” she muttered, taking a few steps back. “Sure, er, the Golden race.”

Dora wasn’t sure what was going on, but she did know one thing. Well, okay, maybe two. The first was that her breathing had calmed down. Maybe because she was outside in the fresh air, or maybe because she was no longer held down by a hulk of a guy. Either way, she could now actually suck oxygen into her lungs. Always a good thing if one wanted to live.

The second was that this guy, Philo dough-or whatever he called himself, was naked as the day he was born. Naked! The weirdest part of it all was that he didn’t seem to care, or maybe he hadn’t noticed. But she most definitely had. The guy was built. Ripped, sculpted and hard in all the right places, Dora had a tough time focusing on the very real possibility that he could be insane and in that case, most definitely dangerous. He oozed testosterone and menace. Even without her empathic skills, which for some reason didn’t seem to be working with him, anyone looking at the guy could tell he was trouble and they should steer clear.

The scars marking his body only enhanced that impression. It was as if someone had taken a knife and had a party cutting him up. One large one ran over the right side of his body, from his collar bone to his bellybutton, while the remaining nicks and puckered marks were randomly scattered all over his arms, legs, chest and stomach.

This guy had been in many fights and obviously come out the winner, or at least he had managed to get away alive. Dora thought about trying to run. But as her gaze skimmed up his long, muscular legs, past his narrow hips, over his bulging chest and wide athletic shoulders, she highly doubted the success of that plan.

Okay, so the guy was naked. Didn’t he realize it?

Dora wanted to mention it, she really did, but the urge to take a peek was too much for her. She knew she shouldn’t. She knew he had just said he was going to kill her. And he could do it in a minute if he chose to. But strangely enough he didn’t seem in a real big hurry to get on with it. He just stood there, legs squarely apart, arms folded at his chest, studying her as if he wasn’t sure what to make of her.

The feeling was mutual.

Unable to resist, she let her gaze once again skim over him and immediately realized that although his body was covered in scars, his face wasn’t. The marks stopped at his neck. That stunning contrast made it difficult to take her focus from his face. Of course there was also the fact that his whole body, every part of him was in perfect proportion to his very large size. One part in particular stood out as a prime example. And like his face, that particular part seemed miraculously unharmed or scarred in any way.

Dragging her stare away from his impressive manhood, she noticed a small odd shaped tattoo on his pelvis. Dora wasn’t sure what it was, but it sat to the right of his enticing downward trail of dark hair, below his rock hard abs and above the incredibly well endowed part of him that kept drawing her attention. Her face grew warm as a blush spread across her cheeks. Feeling tingles in places she had absolutely no business feeling them, she tore her gaze away from that striking point of his anatomy and concentrated on his face.

While his body was scarred and painful to look at, his face was almost model perfect and hard to look away from. His long, chestnut brown hair was tied back, but she could tell it would fall around his wide, muscular shoulders in rich mocha waves when it was loose. It shined with gold highlights in the sun and looked so soft and silky Dora felt an almost irresistible urge to run her fingers through it. Highly arched brows sat atop eyes the color of a melted milk chocolate and were surrounded by dark, sooty eyelashes so curly and lush any woman would have loved to have them. His strong, straight nose sat above lips that were firm, yet full and she wondered what his mouth would look like when he smiled. Hard planes and angles defined the shape of his features and a firm square jaw provided an unmistakable boundary between his scarred body and unblemished face.

His expression remained neutral, showing absolutely no feeling or reaction to her perusal. It was weird. The guy didn’t seem the least bit concerned by either his nakedness or her attention. Once again, she wondered if it was because he didn’t care or because he hadn’t noticed. Did insanity do that to a person? Make them oblivious to obvious conventions like wearing clothes?

That last thought brought her back to her senses.

She needed to figure a way out of this.

Fast.

Sure, she had taken self-defense classes. She knew what she was supposed to do if she were ever attacked. Run, scream, kick, yell, scratch and make a humongous fuss until someone noticed, you got away or the attacker retreated. Yet for the life of her all she could manage in that moment was to slowly back away from him. Besides who would notice her screams? She was in the middle of the desert with no other human in sight. No, her only bet, as slim as it seemed, was retreat and run. The man’s face darkened with anger as he followed her movements and he stepped forward, matching each of her steps with his own.

“Don’t-do-this, Pandora,” the man said through gritted teeth, keeping pace with her.

Her heart sped up to a staccato rhythm and she once more found herself struggling to get enough oxygen into her lungs. The man’s pursuit was obvious, as was the furious, deadly intent in his eyes. Panicking, she looked over her shoulder and quickly scanned the area. She had hoped she would see something familiar, something that would guide her back to the park entrance, but she couldn’t identify a thing. All of the bushes and rocky mounds looked identical. She had absolutely no idea where she was, or how to get back to the main cavern offices.

No matter. She tensed her body, ready to spring back. It was time to run for her life...

© Copyright 2013 Eden Robins

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