Accidental Surrogate

Chapter Chapter 320: The Cult


About three hours later I am…over books. As a genre, in their entirety.

My hands are dusty, and I’m sick of the smell of musty old pages, and they’re just so boring –

Page after page of history regarding shifter worship practices – who genuflected to this god, and how,
and where, and for how long, and the minute changes in the practices…

I groan, pushing my twentieth book away from me and looking dourly at the stack of about fifty still left
in my pile.

“Come on, Cora,” Roger says, sitting comfortably across from me, smirking at me over the edge of a
neat little green text. “You’re supposed to be the smart one in the family. I thought you’d have more
staying power than this.”

“Ella’s smart,” I reply, immediately defensive. He nods, conceding the point. “But you gave me all the
dusty books,” I sigh, frowning and pulling the next one off the top of the pile and towards me. I cough
when it raises a puff of dust into the air on its way.

“I gave you all the ones with more pictures,” Roger murmurs, closing his book and reaching for his next
as well. “Wanted to make it easy on you.”

My mouth drops open in a little outrage at his implication there but then I see the upturned corner of his
lip. “Liar,” I say, smiling down at my book as I open the cover. The title page reads A Complete History
of the Cults of the Dark God, 1862. “You just didn’t want to get your hands and clothes dusty touching
all these old ones.” Passively, I gesture to my clothes – which are indeed covered in a light layer of
grey library dust.

“You’ve got a little on your ass,” Roger murmurs indifferently. “Come here, I’ll help you brush it off.”

I smirk, shaking my head, but ignore him and continue to page through the book. This one, to Roger’s
point, is indeed heavily illustrated, with many pictures of occult ceremonies and practices that I find
fascinating, if not a little disturbing. I’m letting my eyes drift over the description of a summoning
ceremony when I turn the page and –

I stop, frozen.

Because it’s him, right in front of me.

Well, not him – not precisely, the face is not the same – but of course it’s not, then he’d be over one
hundred years old –

“Roger,” I breathe, and his attention is instantly on me. “I think…I think I found something.”

Roger is at my side in a moment, faster than I thought he could be, leaning over–the book next to me. I
point at the image, which takes up three quarters of a page and shows a monk with a partially shaved
head striding through a forest in a dark robe, tied at the waist with a rope from which charms dangle. In
his hand is a stick – or a staff, I don’t know – which he carries with reverence.

“Yes,” I whisper, swallowing hard. “Um – it has details… details I’m not sure I remembered in the
moment. I’m sorry about that – but the charms, and the rod and and something about the hair

“It’s all right, Cora,” Roger says comfortingly, the tips of his fingers suddenly light on my lower back, not
brushing against me by accident but staying there, steady. “No one expects you to remember every
detail all at once.”

I nod, and then we both lean forward, reading,

The Monastic Cult of the God of Darkness is a minor but powerful cult developed in the eighteenth.
century. They were formulated in direct opposition to the Cult of the Goddess, which professed at

mission of peace between all living things. What is known of their stated mission – passed from brother
to brother, never written down – emphasizes hierarchy, war, and discord between peoples. in order to
honor their lord, the God of Darkness, who they understand as best worshiped by sowing disharmony
as well as blood sacrifice, From the eighteenth to the nineteenth centuries. the Cult developed
significant magical prowess and their abilities to manipulate the elements should not be
underestimated. While the most devoted members of the Cult exclusively wear the trademark black
robes, many others move through the world in disguise. Devotees tend to flock to high–powered jobs
amongst their enemies, particularly in the fields of law, politics, and medicine.

I turn the page, seeking more, but am shocked and disappointed to find that that’s the end. “That’s it?” I

“It’s enough,” Roger says, his hand flattening against my back. I turn to him, not knowing what to do.
“Are you sure, Cora?” he asks me, turning the page back and pointing to the picture. “Are you sure that
this is precisely what you saw in your hypnosis and when you were a child?”

“Yes,” I say, nodding steadily. “When I saw it – it was like déjà vu. Just an immediate return to those
memories. If I had seen that image, even without the hypnosis, it would have…brought me right back.”

“Good,” he says, nodding seriously to me. “You did beautifully, Cora,” he says, pulling me against him
for a moment in a quick hug and then releasing me. “Look through the rest of the book if anything else
rings a bell. I’m going to go call Sinclair, get his team working on finding out anything else they can
about this cult.”

I nod, turning back to the book and quickly looking through the pages, my mind whirling. What the hell
was this cult? And what on earth can they want with Ella’s little baby? Why did they work so hard for
him to be born if they…

If they worship the god who works in opposition his grandmother’s mission…

My eyes light again on the phrase “blood sacrifice” and my heart drops to my stomach, my breathing
ratcheting up.

“Miss?” the librarian says at my shoulder and I jump, spinning towards her. “I’m so sorry!” she says, her
hands out.

“It’s okay,” I murmur, laughing a little. “Just a lot of work on a little sleep.”

Tunesta, Sie Says, K, as to make a copy of ally payes at um sigmcant. I thank her, indicating the page
with the image and the description of the Monastic Cult, and she swiftly.carries the book away to a
scanner so that she can print copies. I lean against the table, anxiously watching the door for Roger’s

He comes back a few minutes later and moves swiftly to my side, sliding his phone into his back
pocket. As he reaches me, the librarian comes over with about twenty warm copies of the page.

“Thank you,” Roger says, giving her a warm smile, and I feel something growl in me as I look between
the two of them. She puts on a shy, demure little expression, twirling a strand of her hair, and asks us if
there’s anything else we need, but Roger quickly and politely says no, that we’ll be leaving now. I can’t
help but give her a little glare that she doesn’t deserve as we head towards the door.

Roger, to his credit, doesn’t look back as we leave the library and head to the car, pressing the copies
of the pages to his chest protectively against the rain that’s pouring down over us now. We both dash to
the car, eager to get inside, and as we pull our doors open and throw ourselves into our seats the car
with the guards, parked next to us, likewise starts up.

“Sinclair wants us home now,” Roger murmurs, filling me in. “We’ll be safer there, and more productive,
I think.”

“Okay,” I say, a little guilty. Part of me knows I need to return to the clinic, to my work there. But
honestly, the only place I want to be..

I think of Ella, and the baby, and solidify my determination. Roger’s watching me quietly as I turn to
him. “To Ella’s,” I say, nodding. “Let me know if you need me to drive,” I offer. “Like, if you get tired.”

“Thanks,” he says, smiling at me, but then he looks up through the windshield at the angry sky.” But I
think we might need shifter reflexes to get through this storm.”

“This storm,” I murmur, buckling my seatbelt. “Where did it even come from? The weather was
supposed to be sunny for days…”

Update Chapter 320: The Cult of Accidental Surrogate

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Chapter 320: The Cult