Clarrissa Lee Moon Author

Excerpts of The Nightwolves Series- Volume One, Two and Three 

For my fans and those soon to be one! Enjoy! Please read Nightwolves 2 page for books four and five excerpts.

Excerpt Of Nightwolves Coalition

Nightwolves Coalition

by

Clarrissa Lee Moon 

 

Chapter One

 

On a Wing and a Prayer

 

On Flight 1409

 

You'd think I would be home getting some wild monkey love from my soulmates after fifteen years of celibacy, right? Wrong! After finally finding my soulmates, fifteen years of saying “no” to any man who asked me out; it was hard saying yes - even to my mates. And yes, you read that right - soulmates with a plural. Lucky me had not one, but three soulmates, who were all brothers! We finally got together on the earth plane after a nasty battle with the dark God Orochi and his odious minions. We won, but also lost our lives. We were battling on the astral plane in partial physical form. It was a dangerous, but necessary, move. The Goddess apparently wasn't done with us and our fates, bringing us back as modified vampires 2.0 with retractable fangs and all the magickal attachments that went with it, but not half of the side effects. We were now super vamps that can stand sunlight, unlike the vamps of myths, and we only needed a mouthful or two of blood every two weeks or less.

We also had heightened senses; smell, hearing and sight, along with strength and speed (all of which were much better than regular humans). She, The Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess, called it a blessing; I called it “a new pain in the ass” I had to deal with. At least the powers that be (on the astral plane) allowed my mates and me to find each other on the physical plane after removing the curse that was laid on me by one of the dark God’s minions. I was glad to finally be with them, but seeing as they were upper class, and I came from the streets, I had to not only start trying to overcome my habit of keeping anything male at arm’s length, but fit into their lifestyle as well. This is not easy for a street rat who ran away from home at the age of twelve and hung around bikers for most of her life.

 

We got together and married on the physical plane with the blessing of The Triple Goddess, but I couldn’t finish with the physical consummation part of it. Our wedding night would have been the stuff made for vaudeville if it wasn’t so sad seeing a tough biker chick shudder with the nerves of a fragile virgin. Then my mates got a frantic call from New York and they had to leave on their private jet out to deal with their corporation’s problem. Two days later they talked me into coming out to be with them since it was going to take longer to deal with the situation then they had first thought. I could see it was going to be yet another kind of battle for us, in trying to juggle corporate problems in this economy and working on a new physical relationship at the same time. I consoled myself that I was flying to New York to hopefully end my very long drought of no sex and find a middle ground with them on lifestyles of the rich and shameless, and I was flying first class no less.

 

A week before, I wouldn’t have even been able to afford to fly coach. You'd think I would be hopping up and down for joy at my luck; rich handsome men who were all mine… but this only seemed to make the walls I had built around myself seem even taller and thicker. Add to that, I was used to being a single mother of three sons from pervious relationships that had left their own special brand of emotional scars. Downscaling the shields I had built would take a lot of work and patience. If someone glanced at me, their main word (if they were female and kind) would be “biker chick”. Males would say “easy lay”. They would be wrong on the latter, but more than once, I had to get my point across with a good right hook. “Biker chick” I may be, but I am also a High Priestess and daughter of the Triple Goddess and Her Consort. “Easy” I have never been, even before I started my quest for finding my soulmate with astral magick and got more then I had bargained for. Between learning that I had three soulmates, two sisters and three brothers (who also had three mates each), I also found out I was the spiritual daughter of the Triple Goddess and Her Consort. The Goddess had placed me inside of a human pregnant woman, like my other siblings, making us half blooded Demi-Gods with physical bodies.

 

It sure explained all the ‘weird’ things I was able to do as a child, causing my physical mother to scream ‘demon child’ at me and threaten to have me exorcised. I wasn't a bad child. I just had to learn how to control my powers, especially when I got upset. Slamming cupboards and rattling knickknacks while I was standing in the middle of the living room having a tantrum seemed to really freak my physical mother out. Not that she was the best parent to begin with. June Cleaver she wasn’t. More like Mommy Dearest, if you get my meaning. Leaving home at a young age to avoid anymore abuse actually helped me to get in touch with people who showed me how to control and hide what I could do. Hiding was what I got really good at, but the more I did it, the lonelier I got. I had several relationships and even was married once for exactly one year. None of my previous relationships worked out. Some of it could have been my fault (as never being able to be just myself - even in a relationship). Most of them were just assholes. Who could feel safe enough to be themselves with an asswipe?

 

I made a deal with myself at the age of twenty-nine. I would settle for nothing but my soulmate and since dating never worked, I thought I would try using my powers to find my mate. I figured with a soulmate, I would be able to be myself. I found him (and his brothers) and did a high bond with them on the astral plane which can only be kept if we were true in spirit and body to each other. No matter what lifetime we are in, we will always be together from here on out. The last thing we needed to do, to cement the bond between us, was to physically consummate the marriage between us. That would also tie their Egyptian pantheon to my Celtic one on a magickal level.

I had frozen on my ‘wedding’ night - the night before they had to leave for New York, and they were sweet about it. Even their astral Mother and Father, Isis and Osiris, were being really understanding with me. Which, truth be told, was grating on my nerves. I am not used to people or Deities being nice and sweet, or considerate. I felt like looking for the fine print, their ulterior motive for being so patient with me. People in general just weren't that damned understanding, no matter the situation. Maybe I was more upset with myself because usually I am one ballsy bitch. I’ve never been afraid of doing anything before and sex had usually been a pleasant experience. Yet, when I had the chance in my hands, almost literally, I froze like some damn frail virgin damsel in those sappy old movies that set my teeth on edge.

 

‘What in the seven hells was wrong with me’? I snorted to myself? This drew the attention of my neighbor sitting in his own throne, I mean first class seat, and then realized how upset I was getting. This could be a very bad thing to do on an airplane thousands of feet in the air with a host of electrical things around me to blow out in a fit of uncontrolled temper. I have been known to blow out TV's and microwaves from being pissed off. Losing my cool in the airplane, with the cockpit not fifteen from me, was not a wise thing to allow myself. Electrical things and my temper have never been good friends. I gave up wearing watches years ago due to the anomaly. Besides, with the kind of bond my mates and I shared, they felt everything I felt. If they felt me get upset, they would want to know why and use telepathy to find out what the problem was if it lasted too much longer. That wouldn’t be a good idea either, so I silently started my deep breathing, thinking about a calm pool of blue water, which was my usual fall back in controlling my feelings. Then, I heard a soft voice say, "Excuse me." I snapped my eyes open and tensed, looking at the stewardess (although I think they prefer flight attendants or some such PC thing) who had a stack of magazines in her hand. "Would you like something to read Mrs. Garcia?" she asked me, with her eyebrow slightly raised. Maybe she thought I couldn’t read or something.

“It’s Ms. Garcia”, I replied. 

"Would you like some champagne, Ms. Garcia?"

I thought about it for a second and said, "Sure, why not?" She smiled slightly and took off to get my drink.

 

So this is first class, huh? Plush chairs, soft lighting and being waited on hand and foot. I didn’t even need to wear my black sunglasses to shield my eyes. Leg room to spare, too. I eyed my black carryon bag which carried all of my toiletries, my journal (for writing down dreams or nightmares), my book of shadows (BOS), two paranormal romance novels and a book on quantum physics. It usually held a few choice weapons as well, but I had to keep those in my main luggage due to the rules at the airport. Still, I liked the first class area of the plane. Lots of room, no one sitting so damn close to me invading my personal space, and no one bugging you for your entire personal history to while away their time. This was obviously going to take some getting used to. I also appreciated the soft lighting due to my sensitivity to bright lights. I’ve had that problem even before being modified. That's why my mates had me booked on a late flight, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the sunlight. I can be in the sun, but it did hurt my eyes and made me feel tired quickly. Avoiding daylight hours was just easier for us. The stewardess came back with my drink and I smiled, thanking her. She rushed off to another passenger and was looking after their comfort. I took a sip and wrinkled my nose at the bubbling cold bite it gave me and decided I definitely hated champagne. Yuck, how could people drink this stuff? All it is, is carbonated white wine, which I hated even on a good day. I liked red wine from time to time though. I sat back and watched the flight attendant and wondered how far her nose would get out of joint if I asked for a Bud instead. If she acted the way they did at the check-in station, then I say, “Forget it.” At check-in, they looked at me, then my ID, and thought it was a fake, because I’m 44 and they said that I looked like I was 24. I told them about my physical mother being carded when she was 46 (even back when checking people’s ID wasn’t done) and praising great genetics, to make them finally back off. It was a true story too. I hated lying for the most part, and tried to avoid it. The next time I flew, I was hoping my mates had ways of fixing this problem for all of us. They obviously missed this nuisance due to their private jet and not being bothered by airport security as much as the masses were. As I stated: a new pain in my ass. Don't get me wrong. I liked looking younger, being stronger and faster. I also liked the modifications The Crone made to us with only needing a mouthful or two of blood for regular maintenance (unless we took heavy damage). It could even be animal blood. If we did take from a human, The Crone was adamant that we asked for it and received the donor’s permission. Mind wiping would be against everyone's free will and one of our Laws was to respect anyone's free will (even the bad guys). I thought that blew, but I could see why, in the ‘big picture’ scheme of things.

Do what you wilt, with harm to none, be the law. But, what if they were hurting you first? I knew we had the right to defend ourselves, but did that include taking an enemies blood without permission as well? Always check the fine print when dealing with Gods, even if you were related to them; especially if you were related to them. I added this question to ask my spirit guide when I hit the ground. I was so not going to call up astral power on an airplane. Crazy I may be, but insane I wasn’t. There is a difference.

 

I felt the plane hit what seemed to be some turbulence, bouncing us around a bit and then slowly decline in altitude. I assumed it was the pilot going to a lower level to avoid anymore bouncing, which was making me nervous as well as others, from looking at the passengers around me. Everyone looked nervous except one guy in the corner, who appeared like he was sleeping thru the whole thing. Maybe he flew so much and bouncing around like that didn't faze him? The plane continued to decline until I felt a sudden leveling off and then it was steady once more. I blew an inward sigh of relief and tried to relax my tense muscles. A few minutes later the flight attendant came out of the forward section looking white as a ghost, with a phony smile on her face. My mouth drew down in concern and I sharpened my gaze and my ears in her direction.

 

She first went to the sleeping man shaking him gently saying, "Sir. Sir?" But, he didn't rouse. She pulled away with a concerned look on her face, but then went to another male passenger. I heard her ask him if he knew how to fly a plane. Right then, I knew we were in deep shit. The guy she asked was an older business gentleman who also now looked extremely concerned, and started firing questions at her.

She replied, "No sir, no problems at all. The pilot just wanted someone up with him at the cockpit to show a customer around. A small tour to help build up business for more frequent flying, by sharing with certain passengers the unique experience of being a pilot for a huge airline. I assure you, sir, there is nothing wrong. We do this all the time now as a promo." He looked at her, not thoroughly convinced, but it seemed he was willing to go along with (what I thought was) a truly bullshit storyline. She smiled with more assurance at the man and drifted off to another passenger, looking at me out of the corner of her eye. I motioned her over with a no-nonsense, ‘come here,’ flick of my fingers.

She came over, if reluctantly, asking, "Yes, may I help you?"

I said, "No, I can help you. I can fly and I would love a tour." Ok, it was small planes and Cessna’s twenty-five years ago due to a more illegal time in my life…but she was bullshitting too. I needed to know exactly what was going on in the cockpit. The only way that was going to happen was to invite myself in. I knew she was looking at my black leather jacket and jeans, black Harley tee shirt and biker boots. I knew my look inspired fear and mistrust in most ‘decent’ society type of people. That was the point, but she didn’t know that.

How could she know I lived in an area in Tucson called, ‘felony flats’, by the cops? It was a neighborhood where nine out of ten kids had probation officers by the time they were fifteen. Not my kids, I got lucky, but most of my neighbors did nothing but bitch about the trouble their kids were into and mention how jealous they were of my kids who never caused problems. I always thought a few classes in parenting and reading child development books helped me out the most, but most of the parents I knew only read their TV guides.

Home schooling helped a lot also. Public school, in my opinion are nothing but glorified free day care centers where kids could learn to be bullies, join gangs and do drugs. Not my boys, not on my watch. So home schooling it was. Now that my youngest was sixteen and my eldest turned twenty, I could take a break without worrying about their well being or their teachings as much. I knew they were safe at home, and right at that moment I was really glad they weren’t on the plane with me.

 

“Well, do I win the lottery?’ I quipped. She frowned at me slightly, but motioned for me to follow her to the cockpit. We walked down the aisle and passed a small galley area off to the right. To the left was a small sleeping area suggesting that there should be more than one or two pilots aboard. I was asking myself what could have happened to all the pilots. That question was answered as we moved into the cockpit area. Three men, two up front, and one off to the side were all slumped over their equipment with trays of food scattered nearby each of their bodies. Yup, ‘bodies’ because only the dead lay with such a disregard to comfort for their positions and I could hear no heart beats from any of them, nor see any auras glowing off their corpses when I switched my vision. The light they may have had, had definitely gone out. I breathed deeply and then instantly regretted doing that. Inhaling the air, I could smell a sweet sick smell coming off of their bodies which made me think they were all hit at the same time by the same thing. I looked at the scattered food and then again to their bodies. I was putting clues together very fast. Poison. I'd bet my Harley it was poison.

The flight attendant was watching me closely gauging my reaction to the macabre scene before us.

I raised my own eyebrow at her and said, "No problems, eh?" I sighed heavily, shaking my head, "Understatement of the century if you ask me."

"Can you really fly?" She replied, voice heavy with doubt, I thought it would be best to check this attitude at the door really quick.

"Listen and hear me. I can drive anything with wheels, I did fly small planes. What you need to do is stop treating me like white trash with no brains. I may be white trash, but I have more of an education with college as well as street smarts and skills then you will ever learn. I have four degrees on my wall, so never think I can't do better than most of those people out there, including you. I'm all you got, and I will do the best I can for all those people out there and you because it is not only your asses on the line, it’s mine too."

She took a step back, since I was definitely invading her personal space, and said to me. "Ok, I hear you."

I said, “Good. Now answer me honestly, who fed the pilots their dinner?"

She answered," I did."

"Fine. Did anything unusual happen?" I questioned further.

She shook her head, and then blurted out, "The only thing was a passenger coming into the galley to ask for a drink. He didn't wait for any of us to make our usual rounds. He seemed really impatient." She looked a bit miffed at this.

I asked, “Which one?"

She replied, "The man who is asleep out there." I thought to myself, ‘What were the odds?’

"Ok, let's go look at him, but if he is in the same condition these guys are in - don't react just follow my lead," I cautioned her.

Her expression was puzzled, but she followed me out as I had asked. We went to the corner chair and I shook the guy as I took a whiff at the same time. Yup, same smell.

 

"Sir," I said loud enough to be overheard, “You’ve had too much to drink we are going to take you into the galley and get you some coffee." I looked at the flight attendant and motioned with my head for her to take his other side. She looked doubtful, but did what I wanted. Taking most of his weight wasn't a problem for me, and we faked taking a supposedly drunk guy out of sight of the other passengers. I laid him in a corner and went to wash my hands just in case. I motioned for her to do the same.

"What's your name?" I asked her.

She glanced at me and said."Lisa, Lisa Wright." I looked at her hands as she washed them and noticed no ring, tidy black hair and pretty hazel eyes. She was slightly shorter then my 5’6.

"Miss Right?" I couldn’t resist teasing with a small smile on my face which she answered in kind.

"Don't start with the jokes please. I've heard them all." She gave a tiny smile.

Now that we were on more comfortable footing, I asked her, "Notice anything about the guy on floor?" She looked him over, taking in his short, dark curling hair. He had a lanky medium build with a dark cinnamon cast to his skin.

She answered, “He seems to be in the same shape as the pilots."

"Anything else?" wondering if she could make the connection herself. I was disappointed as she shook her head.

"He's of a Middle Eastern decent." I said. Her eyes grew wide. I noticed her breathing starting to come faster and shorter.

I put my hands on her shoulders and said in a calm voice, "Breathe. Calm down. He is not a threat anymore. He obviously got caught in his own crap." She was shaking her head up and down rapidly, breathing deeper and slowly passing the point of possibility freaking out on me. I couldn't blame her, considering what our country had gone through a few years ago, but loosing it now wasn't going to help.

"Look, we're strong, we're tough. We can handle this. What we need now is some gloves and the other first class flight attendant. What's her name?" I said, getting back to business.

"Gloria. We do runs all the time together. She's good." She was still trying to calm down.

I asked, “But she can't fly either?"

"No, none of us can. We're just the aides. It's not in our job description to fly a plane like this. I told Tower this. They told me how to make the corrections and put this plane on autopilot, but that's all I can do. I am not trained for anything more than that. And first aid. I can do first aid." She was rambling now, her voice getting more strident.

Again, I got eye contact and said, "Breathe. We're fine. Everything is going to be fine. I need you to get Gloria, find some latex gloves and you two need to move the bodies into the bunking area. I don't want them laid out with this asswipe, ok? They deserve better than that." She bobbed her head again, tears threatening to spill over.

"Make sure you and Gloria wear gloves when moving the bodies and cleaning up the food. Do NOT touch that food with bare skin." Again I got a rapid compliance from her. I had ruled out a viral exposure for the simple reason she carried the food to them and was fine. Whatever this was it hit them fast, but didn't touch her. Poison was looking more likely by the minute. And since it hit the passenger as well, it must be strong enough that touch alone could be deathly quick. I sure as hell wasn't going to rifle through his pockets, just in case, and I cautioned her against the same thing. The main thing was to keep her busy and get in touch with what she called ‘The Tower’. It was a chore I wasn't looking forward to, knowing how most men are towards strong females. I was betting a hundred bucks that I was going to get some flack when I finally got into the head gear and made myself known to them.

Excerpt of Nightwolves on the Prowl

 

Nightwolves on the Prowl

by

Clarrissa Lee Moon

 

Chapter One

 

Spell of Seduction

 

Japan was as exotic and interesting as I had always dreamed it would be. The best part of visiting this country was that I didn’t have to pay for it. Even though I was mated to three of the richest, handsomest men a girl could hope for, my time as a runaway at age twelve, then as a single parent of three boys, had made me overly aware of expenses. Throwing money out for exotic vacations would try my budgeting phobia to the end of its endurance. I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

It was a good thing this wasn’t really a vacation either, but a mission General Pierce had hired me and my mates for; to go with his Special Forces team and a squad of marines.

My mates, family and I, are a Magickal Mercenary team that work for General Pierce, who runs a black op Special Forces operation out of Truax Field, otherwise known as Navy Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas.

General Pierce had noticed a lot of strange things going on, during what were supposed to be normal, run of the mill operations. He had told his friend and head of a Special Forces team, Captain Vincent O’Hara, to keep an eye open for anything unusual. Captain O’Hara did, and found me ‘helping out’ during an attempted hijacking of an American plane. Once O’Hara had concluded that I wasn’t a terrorist and was one of the good guys (albeit, I was different from the norm), he called General Pierce and told him what he knew about me. General Pierce then came out to see me and we struck a deal to merge my team of unique ‘people’ with his Special Forces team.

Once General Pierce hired us, we clued him in on why things have gotten ‘weird’ out in the field. The closer December 21, 2012 came, the more earthquakes and other weather deviations would happen on Earth because of a drastic polarity shift. Those who knew what was going on, called this ‘The Great Shift’. What most didn’t know, was that portals from other dimensions were also opening up, mostly when an earthquake happened. Through these portals came the Greater Magickal Races that had been pushed out of our plane of existence by the Gods and Goddesses during the last “Great Shift”, so humans could then inhabit the Earth in safety; letting their ingenuity and science rule them, instead of being enslaved and used for a happy meal. The Greater Magickal Races had become too much of a threat to the continuance of man and had been deported, so to speak. That could explain why humans had such a fear of anything out of the ordinary and burned it at the stake throughout history.

Once we convinced General Pierce and Captain O’Hara of the some of the extraordinary events happening, they allowed us to do our job of trying to fulfill our reason for being born on this Earth’s plane: to try to make treaties with the Greater Magickal Races if we could, to help bring down the death toll from the natural disasters happening, and to protect mankind from the more aggressive Greater Magickal Races that didn’t want to play nice and would try to rule the world that they had been deported from so long ago.

General Pierce’s team would take on the mundane problems of terrorist and the like. These days, we were finding out that the two jobs were heavily interconnected most times.

The mission to Japan was a scouting operation of an area where an earthquake had happened a few weeks ago. With the equipment one of my mates, Antonio, and a Special Forces soldier, Wizard, had put together, we found an open portal from one dimension to our Earth plane in Japan. We had put this particular mission on the back burner, since we had five other high magnitude earthquakes happen within a six week period. Those portals that had opened caused reports of deaths that didn’t look quite right for deaths from an earthquake disaster. Each of the Greater Magickal Races we had so far encountered during those missions hadn’t been open about a treaty with the humans. We then had to get strongly physical with these races, sending their scouts back through the portal, sometimes in pieces, and close the door from their world to ours. This was a temporary solution due to the fact these portals were only opening early; once the Great Shift was completed, those portals would open again simultaneously. We were hoping when this happened, we would be able to either come to a more satisfactory conclusion or a deadly permanent one.

 

We had received no reports of unexplained deaths from Japan’s portal, nor was there any great damage to Japan, even though they had a record-sized earthquake. They had gotten lucky. My mates and I got picked for this mission, along with O’Hara’s team and a squad led by Sergeant Pearson. He was not one of my favorite Squad leaders, because he had a wild hair up his ass about us being ‘evil’, due to him having had a strong Christian religious upbringing. He didn’t think we should be making treaties with any of these races, nor should General Pierce have anything to do with ‘our kind’. If burning witches and vamps at the stake was in vogue again, he would be quite the happy camper. I happened to be both of those, due to The Goddess ‘Blessing’ me and my mates, turning us into super vamps, 2.0 style. Luckily for us, Sergeant Pearson’s attitude wasn’t the norm for most of the Alpha 53rd Recon of Marines attached to the General’s black op. Most of them liked us and thought of us as family after going through so many missions with us. Only a few bad apples were in the platoon and lucky me drew one for this trip to Japan. I wasn’t going to let him spoil this for me. Japan was beautiful with its cherry blossom trees and old world Japanese style architect. Personal space didn’t mean much to these people, but I had learned to slide my way around the masses of people in the streets of Hyuga, Japan.

 

I was watching the rickshaws and traffic go by, while Antonio held the small version of the device he and Wizard had put together to detect an open portal. I didn’t mind playing tourist while they did the hard work, but I was still conscience of watching our backs for anything unusual. We were all wearing our ‘street clothes’ not wanting to alert the local Japanese authorities of our military presence here. Though, true, my mates and I weren’t military, per se, but mercenaries after a fashion. We still had to keep a low profile if at all possible. O’Hara was walking ahead of me, scanning from left to right. I would bet money he was actually looking for suspicious things or people, while I was doing the touristy looky-loo and looking for anything out of the ordinary.

O’Hara, at 6’3 and 225 lbs of pure muscle, was otherwise known as The Rock and was used to the exotic sights. His call sign, The Rock, wasn’t because he was a mean war machine, but because of this eyebrow thing he does. He had brown hair in the traditional buzz cut and light brown eyes to pull it off. He has been the leader of this particular Special Forces squad for over five years which was considered the top Special Forces team today.

O’Hara may be used to waking up in a new country every day, but going around the world doing ‘mission impossibles’ and seeing exotic things was still new to me; so I soaked up as much of the sights as I could.

One of my mates, Antonio, was also world savvy due to having several corporations around the globe and branch offices for a variety of businesses everywhere. Japan had quite a few of Antonio’s and his brothers, Demitri and Andre’s, corporate interests. My mates ranged from 6’1 to 6’3, with dark brown hair and deep brown eyes. They each looked like the Highlander, but even better than Duncan McCloud did. Demitri loved to wear his hair long for me because of the whole highlander thing. Demitri knew he could keep me breathless by just walking into a room with his hair pulled back into a tail and flashing that sexy grin of his at me. His brothers would go back and forth with their hair. Some months, they wore it long, then, out of the blue, they’d come home with short hair, driving me nuts. I think that’s why they did it most times. I always wore my hair long for them, even if they whacked theirs off from time to time. They would all have a fit if I didn’t keep my hair long. Damn males.

I had never been out of the good ’ole USA, except for a few places in Canada, before becoming a part of this team (at least not physically speaking). Astrally speaking, I had been to places most normal people would faint over knowing they existed on astral planes. So, physically walking down a lane in a town in Japan, with all these different smells, colors and cultural habits, was thoroughly exciting to me. I noticed a few of the younger marines with us doing the same thing, so I didn’t feel as bad.

 

The signs on doorways and shops, as well as the streets signs, had me in wonder. They looked so foreign and unique; I was having fun just trying to imagine what the signs really said. I thought I really ought to start learning foreign languages if this kept up. I knew a little of a few other languages, but not enough to get by like Antonio, who knew twelve different languages fluently. This was nothing new to him, and he barely looked up from the scope to see anything around him, being totally blasé about it all.

I wanted to kick him.

He looked up sharply and turned to me. Whoops, I forgot about the bond between us; he could feel anything I felt and I hadn’t shielded from him.

He gave me a confused look that said ‘What did I do?’, and I just shook my head at him and mouthed the words ‘I’m sorry’.

He gave me his ‘We’ll talk later’ look and went right back to the scope.

Figures - give him a new gadget and it takes all of his attention. Typical of Antonio, being the science and computer nerd he was. There were days I had to drag him out by the balls, literally sometimes, because he got so caught up in some new technical thing and would forget to even eat. I would then remind him of what he was forgetting to pay attention to and he would readjust his attention to include me and the rest of the world; at least until the next new idea hit his brain or came out on the market. Then we went through the whole ritual again. I was getting used to it though and found it an endearing quality of his. At 6’3, and nicely built from spending time in the gym and with his brothers practicing martial arts, he was as mouth-watering as his brothers were. With dark brown hair, brown eyes and a smile that could melt my heart and get my body excited at the same time, it was hard to stay mad at him, no matter what he did.

 

The portal echo tracking system, I called PETS for short (much to Antonio’s dismay), was zeroing in on our target at the edge of town. We walked to a small park that had a Zen-like quality to it and in between two cherry blossom trees (Sakura trees they are called here), was the energy of a portal. No one, or no thing, I should say, was around it. There were a few people in the park, either sitting on a bench enjoying the mild clear weather or walking along the stone path that wandered through the park in long slowly curving paths. Green grass and many flower beds dotted the park. It was a place to come to relax and just be with nature, in all its carefully tended glory.

I had noticed that every portal or vortex we came across was always stationed in between two things. Like two rocks or two trees. Sometimes two pillars, but always in between two things that were roughly the same. The theory I had for it (and so far no one could refute my speculation), was that two of something represented what we called a ‘betwixt and between’ space. An edge of an ocean, the hallway of a home or a doorway can also represent a ‘betwixt and between’ space. A space where the Veil can be thin and beings of other realms can walk through into our world. Midsummer and Samhain, (pronounced Sow-win), were two of our Holy days when the Veil between our world and the other realms were the thinnest, allowing for visits of astral beings and spirits to come here to this Earth plane. With the Great Shift happening, portals were popping up in places where a natural disaster happens, and with the laws of magick and physics desperately needing a place for a portal, it was using twins of some object to appear.

I scanned the whole park within my view and only a few people were in our vicinity. They were looking at us with curiosity, due to the fact of having so many Americans in their park most likely wasn’t a normal every day event for them. With my mate, my sister, Cassie, and I, plus O’Hara’s Specials Forces team and a marine squad, we numbered fifteen as a unit. Only Cassie could pass for being half American and half Japanese; otherwise, we all definitely stood out. She stood out a bit with her being small, but lethal, in her own right. She had long black shiny hair that hung to her ass, as mine did, and dark brown eyes that threatened to engulf her small face. I was a bit of an odd duck too, even within my own group, having dressed as I always did with a black leather jacket, blue jeans and a black Harley T-shirt.  I had blue eyes and long brown hair that flashed different shades due to the unusual natural highlights I had. Antonio had dressed down to match me, with his black jeans and a plain black tee shirt. The others were looking more normal, with khaki pants and polo shirts. Cassie wore a dress that had a slightly oriental style to it. The thing that really drew attention to us, though, were the black bags we all had in our hands, filled with our military uniforms, tactical vests and an arsenal that we snuck through at the base here in Okinawa, Japan. Highly illegal if we were caught, but that’s what black ops were all about.

 

O’Hara gave me a look, after seeing that Antonio had narrowed down our search to these two trees, and waited for me to make the next move. I handed my bag to Antonio, since I was able to sneak most of my blades within my leather jacket, pants pocket and black boots. I felt relatively sure I could take on anything coming through the portal.

Cassie shadowed me on one side and Antonio got the other. I wanted more room and waved them back to give me about five feet of space. They complied with my hand signal and backed off a bit so I could scout the portal. I walked slowly and cautiously up the portal, feeling the energy coming off of it in waves.

It’s a most unusual feeling and quite different from a vortex. A vortex will suck power and energy from the environment around it, whether it would be death, strong feelings, or souls and magick. Portals are more self sustaining. Once they are opened, they only gave off a high tingly feeling that felt soothing and cool at the same time, like an energetic cool pool of water.

If I was looking at it with a normal human eye, I wouldn’t see anything except a normal vision of the surrounding area. But, once I changed that vision, using my third eye and vamp sight, the scenery between the trees changed. Within the space of the two Sakura trees was a drastic change from the Japanese environment around me. A desert scene was beyond the portal with sand dunes.

Lots and lots of dunes, but on one side there was a small Oasis where I could see lush trees and plants in one small spot, about a quarter to a half of a mile wide. The sand and dunes themselves were unusual looking, with a sparkling shine coming from them, since it was daylight on the other side as well.

I edged closer to the portal and tried to see around the edges in case some horde of demons, werewolves or some such creatures were ready to attack. There was nothing there but more glittering sand and dunes as far as the eye could see. In the next realm, the skies were clear and blue. No harpies or gargoyles filled the sky.

I looked around at the people still wandering in the park and there was no fear, no left over shock of death marring the peaceful atmosphere of this realms tranquility. Whatever was on the other side, either hasn’t made a move yet (not knowing the portal was open), or they could be gathering their forces for a major offensive.

All other portals thus far, had been very hostile and the left over psychic residue of death always marred the immediate area of the portal on our side. That wasn’t the case here.

I backed up to where Antonio and Cassie were. “I want to go through the portal to the Oasis about two clicks away from this point.”

“What for?” Antonio asked.

I looked up at him, saying, “We need to make sure there are no hostiles for one, and for two, I am feeling a ‘pull’ there.”

Cassie tilted her head, asking, “What kind of ‘pull’?” They both looked at me.

“I don’t know really, but it’s like I need to go there. It’s just an instinct really, I think.” I couldn’t clarify my feelings anymore than that for them.

O’Hara joined our discussion, “Any hostiles?”

I shook my head, “No, but I want to go through to the Oasis in there.”

O’Hara narrowed his light brown eyes, peering through the middle of the two trees. “There’s an Oasis? I don’t see anything.”

I gave him a half grin, “You wouldn’t, not yet anyways. Once you learn how to open and see through your third eye, you will.” I turned back to Antonio and Cassie. “So, how about me going in?”

“Not alone,” they both said at the same time.

I jotted my chin to the rest of our unit. “These guys will need magickal backup while I am gone, just in case.”

Antonio sighed, “Fine, I’ll stay, but Cassie goes on the other side with you and you take three of O’Hara’s men as backup.”

I smiled at him, “Good idea, Cassie can wait on the other side of the door and O’Hara and two men he picks goes with me as bodyguards,” teasing him with a slightly sarcastic voice.

“That’s not what I meant. I know you can take…” Antonio started to defend himself. I smacked him lightly on the shoulder. “Ease up, hon. I was only yanking your chain.” He clicked his tongue at me and then gave me a half grin. I had to turn back to business before Antonio’s smile got me distracted.

I looked at O’Hara, and asked, “What do you think of the plan?”

“I’d feel better if Romeo guarded on the other side with Cassie and we take Wizard with us plus four of the marines. Babyface can stay here in charge of the rest of the team and Antonio stays here for technical and magickal support. That way, we both have tech support, just in case it’s needed,” O’Hara suggested. His plan was better than mine.

I was used to working with smaller groups and thinking of plans with minimum aide. “Good idea, though I doubt they have any tech stuff on the other side. I didn’t feel any radio waves coming through, but they could have a city too far away for me to pick up from here.”

Antonio added, “Make sure you take Shamus with you, as well. With him being cloaked, it could give you a magickal edge if needed.”

Shamus was my astral familiar, the first who ever offered to serve me on the astral planes. Once I had his physical representation, a pewter figure of a wizard with a crystal ball, he also had power on the physical plane, as well.

“Even better. I agree, Shamus could be a great ace in the hole.” I reached out with my telepathy and felt along the bond connecting Shamus to me. ‘Hey Shamus, I need you, but stay invisible and cloaked. We are going through a portal and I want you to back me up.’

‘I come,’ was all he said. Soon after, I felt his essence in the air around me. O’Hara started looking around a bit nervously. “Don’t worry; he won’t materialize until I tell him to.”

O’Hara sighed a bit, “Good, I still get creeped out when your familiars do that.” O’Hara faked a shudder.

‘Tell the Captain I could always creep him out more,’ Shamus growled warningly in my head.

“He heard that,” I gave a half smile to O’Hara with a warning look.

He laughed, “He’s too easy. Let me get everyone on the same page and we’ll change into our gear once we’re through the portal. That way, we won’t scare these nice people.” He moved away to the rest of the men, giving out orders and letting them know what we had planned.

‘See, he was just teasing. I think he really likes you,’ I reassured my familiar. He can be so touchy in his old age.

All he did was, ‘Harrumphed’, in my mind; otherwise he stayed silent, listening to everyone around us.

We got everyone settled into our respective groups and my team made for the doorway in the middle of the Sakura trees. Stepping through the portal was odd; one step you’re on grass, then, the next, you’re standing in sparkling sand.

 

Romeo (Sergeant Theodore Watson, one of O’Hara’s Special Forces men) and Cassie stood on either side of the portal to mark our exit out of this dimension. Otherwise, without me or my sister, these soldiers could get stuck on this world with not being able to psychically feel for the doorway.

I had taken the bag I had handed Antonio earlier that had my more lethal weapons in them and took off my jacket. I strapped the belt and holsters onto my shoulders which held my Browning nine mil. guns, one for each side holster. It was the only type of gun that I could comfortably hold in my hand, since I had a small grip.

I put my leather jacket back on, deciding against putting on my own uniform; what we called a Gaileyah. It looked a lot like a Ninja uniform - all black with a cowl to cover the face except the eyes, but we added belts of weapons to our uniform and a tactical vest.

Our tactile vests were also different from the norm, being lined with a thin sheet of silver and lead. Not much for stopping bullets, but great for stanching most magickal low level spells and knives.

I took out my guns to protect the rest of the men while they changed into their own gear. I was sure Cassie had done the same thing as I. We looked away to give them privacy, since this place didn’t seem to have a locker room, as they did on the base back home.

How thoughtless of this world, I joked to myself. I could hear Romeo snicker. Being the hound dog he was, tall and lanky with down home good ’ole boy looks, he wouldn’t mind showing off. I smiled to myself and kept watch, scanning the horizon for any incoming hostiles.

Once everyone had geared up, O’Hara walked over to me with his SOCOM in hand. It seemed to be the weapon of choice for his Special Forces team as a side arm. They liked the P-90 for their fully automatic weapon when things tended to get hot. The rest of the Marine squad had a variety of gun types in their hands, everything from nine mils. to Mac10’s.

I cautioned everyone, but was mostly warning this marine squad, since we had never worked together before. “So far, we haven’t had any hostile action on either side of that portal. If we do run into anything, and I mean anything, or anyone out of the ordinary, do not shoot first and ask questions later. We are here to try to get someone from here at a peace table without gun fire. I know some things can look very scary and very threatening, but do not shoot unless Rock or I give the order. Is that clear?” I switched to O’Hara’s call sign, Rock, as was the habit on a mission. Now it felt like a mission, and not a sightseeing tour, but the men didn’t look any steadier. Some of the men looked totally freaked out, seeing nothing but twinkling sand dunes around them. I could see they were off balance from going to one world into another. It could make them trigger happy. I didn’t want to start anything here if it could be avoided. Our luck, so far, in getting a peaceful response from any of the Greater Magical races we’ve come across on other missions hadn’t been too successful.

I didn’t get the resounding ‘yuuup’ I was waiting for. “Is that clear?” Rock barked out, reinforcing my order. I wished he hadn’t done that. It was hard enough gaining the men’s respect, being a mercenary and a female one at that, without having to have to have a Special Forces counterpart commander to back me up; making it look like I couldn’t hold my own leadership.

Rock had just realized the mistake he had never made before on any other mission and gave me an apologetic look. I shrugged it off. Maybe he, too, was unsettled about being in another dimension, as well. Cassie and I were veterans at this sort of thing astrally, so we were just rolling along with it. However, the excitement of physically stepping onto another world was really cool.

I turned to Cassie and Romeo. “Cassie contacts me here,” tapping my temple, “if anything happens we need to know about.”

Rock had already tested the Comms in their helmets, as well as their walkie talkies, to no avail. Telepathy would be our only way of communicating.

“Romeo, if Cassie can’t do it, for whatever reason, fire one shot in the air and we’ll come running.” They both gave me a yup and a salute, even if Romeo’s had a touch of cockiness to his. I still appreciated the support.

I walked a few feet away and with the toe of my boot, I drew a sixteen inch circle into the sand looking at the glittering pebbles within it. Like bits of glass, but not just glass. It was really pretty though, as I empowered the circle I had just made. When I said, ‘we’ll come running’, I meant the rest of the team would come running. I would translocate here instantly to back them up; but I needed a clear focus to visualize my way from one place to another.

With all this sand, one dune looked very much like the other. In doing a translocation around here without something to make this place stand out, I could wind up on any of number of dunes in the area. Even worse, I could wind up in a dune itself and die.

“Don’t touch this circle, I may need it.” I ordered more to Romeo than to Cassie, as she would know exactly why I did it. Romeo was used to me doing odd things that didn’t make sense to him at first, until he saw me use it.

Both of them nodded their understanding and I turned back to the rest of the team. Rock gave me a quizzical look, but didn’t say anything at the moment.

“Ready?” I asked him. He nodded and moved to take point. I stopped him, saying, “If we run into someone or something that has magick, it would be better if I was in front.”

“Why don’t we both take point? I can shoot while you zap,” he offered.

I stood beside him and it did look a tad symbolic, both leaders standing side by side, facing the unknown together with our men at our backs. I smiled in agreement and walked in step with him in the direction of the Oasis.

About a mile out, as we were walking, he asked, “Why the circle back there?”

Motioning to the dunes all around us, I said, “The scenery looks too much alike all around here. I needed that place to be a tad different to translocate to if they need me back there quickly.”

He got it and nodded. “Can you take more than yourself instantly?”

I knew why he asked that question, but looking at his 6’3 frame and 225 lbs of weight, I shook my head. “Too much weight. Guns, yes. A baby, mostly likely. Something more than fifty pounds - no. I would be hurt, as well as whoever is traveling with me.”

His eyebrow rose, “Hurt how?”

I gave him a gimlet stare. “Pieces missing, or at best, one big pulsing slab of meat,” I told him graphically.

His face grimaced at the mental visual I painted for him. “Not good.”

Agreeing with him, “Nope, not good. If there were more of us, my siblings, mates and such, we could combine our power and make it happen. But me alone, no way could I pull it off.”

“More than three needed?” He shaded his eyes for a moment, staring intently at the horizon. I was happy I had extra energy from Antonio, between the sex and blood we had had last night; otherwise I would be dead tired in all this sunlight. The dark sunglasses helped too, in keeping the sun’s rays out of my sensitive eyes. I got curious as to what he was looking at.

I answered him in a distracted voice while looking, “Yes, we would need more than three.” Then, I saw what he had glimpsed at. A dark clad rider with a purple head wrap on, coming towards us fast, on a white horse.

“Hey, Lucy, I’m home,” I said in a bad imitation of Ricky Ricardo.

“I Love Lucy,” Rock responded. “How do you want to work this?”

“Give me about 10 feet and watch my back. Keep the nervous ones back there from shooting too soon. I’ll go look nice and harmless and try to get a dialog going that doesn’t involve violence.” I was excited and cautious. Always cautious.

His mouth went tight, but he went along with the plan and motioned for me to keep going. To the men behind us, he gave strict orders on what to do, and most importantly, what not to do, in trying to establish friendly relations for further peaceful negotiations.

I felt for them, really. ‘Peaceful negotiations’ were not a job Special Forces or Marine Recons were geared to do. They were made for kicking ass, taking names and calling it a day with a beer when they killed everything in sight. They did their job very well with the other five portals. But, I was personally glad the shooting and biting hadn’t started…yet.

I walked ahead of them all, with my hands away from my sides and palms out in as nonthreatening pose as I could make, and waited for the rider to keep coming. Feeling a bit like a sitting duck, I took the precaution of adding to my metaphysical shields, though they wouldn’t stop a physical bullet or sword slash. If this guy had magick, it would most likely bounce off and let me know we had a hostile situation. Hopefully, I would have time to draw my weapons and have at it or return fire with my own magick.

 

I watched rider and horse galloping directly to us and the sight caught my breath. His horse moved like the wind and almost as smooth. The closer they got, the more I could see the horse’s chest muscles flex with every trot it took. I loved horses, and watching this one run was watching poetry in motion. His rider rode with the horse as one and together they were a breathtaking symphony of movement.

I shook my head to get it back where it needed to be and not on the horse and his rider. As they neared my position, they slowed down, easing into a slow trot. Even with my sunglasses, I could see the shimmer of iridescent colors no horse on our Earth would ever have.

Saying this horse was white was an understatement. The sun reflected off the hide in a pearly cascade of iridescent colors. Even its’ mane was sparkling in the sun. No way could this horse ever be confused with an Earth horse. Its coloring alone was unique, besides the seventeen hands of pure muscle that ran from one end of the horse to its hindquarters.

Looking into the horses eyes, I saw that they were purple. Again, no color an Earth side horse would have. The dark lavender shade showed that the horse had intelligence far above the norm for a regular horse. I was in awe of this beautiful animal and wondered what kind of rider the man had to be to have a partner like this horse.

I finally noticed my mouth was open, gaping at them both and quickly shut it before I embarrassed myself further. Horse and rider stopped a few feet from me. Close enough to speak, but not close enough for those wicked looking black hooves to be a threat to me. I appreciated the slight gesture.

The rider bowed his head. “Kon’nichiwa, sore wa meiyo ga watashi-tachi no nakama o mitaso tame ni.”

I didn’t understand a single word, but it sounded like the same cadence and speech patterns of the Japanese people in our world.

“Hello, despite all the weapons, we are trying to come in peace,” I answered him in a light tone of voice. He tilted his head at me like he was trying to understand me. The next thing I knew, I heard him in my head. He was telepathic!

‘You don’t speak the language my cousins and I have listened to through the portal,’ his mind-voice making it sound more like a statement than a question.

I answered him anyway. ‘No, I am not a native of that country beyond the portal.’

My eyes kept roving from him to his horse and back again to the mans eyes. The only thing I could see of his features were these deep cerulean blue eyes, that were hard, like chips of blue ice. With his head gear on and his Arabic looking clothes, I couldn’t tell anything so far, other than he was humanoid, like us. He also wore two razor-sharp looking scimitars on his hips. I still couldn’t get over the coloring of his horse and it kept mesmerizing me, which could be dangerous in this kind of situation.

‘Shadin ‘le says your coloring is beautiful, too,’ his mind voice taking a lower, softer tone. My hair coloring, true, was unusual even for our world - brown, but with shades of chestnuts and reddish highlights in the sun that would flash to gold if I tilted my head just right.

‘Your horse is telepathic?’ I was amazed.

‘Shadin ‘le can communicate to me, since he chose me to ride him. He can hear others and feel emotions. He is a most powerful warhorse with magick enough in his own right,’ he answered.

I looked at the horse closely, with more than my physical eyes. Shadin ‘le’s aura shown with a golden glow and a thread of magick was going from him to me. My lips pressed tight as I turned my inner sight to the rider and saw another spindle of power going from him to me, as well, but also tied to the horse. Shadin ‘le was the anchor for a spell meant for me. The threads of blue, white and gold were so subtle, so fine; I had never seen a spell woven so artfully.

 

Now I knew why I had felt a pull to this world. I noted how many other mistakes I had made since stepping foot into this dimension. I didn’t put on my Gaileyah and I didn’t put my long hair into a braid to keep it out of the way, if I had to fight. I would never normally forget to take such simple precautions such as these when entering a totally unknown territory with the potential for being hostile. It was a damned spell.

‘Why did you spell me?’ my mind-tone going flat and unfriendly-feeling.

He drew back slightly from the anger he felt from me. ‘To draw our mate here to us. Your world was too large to search for you physically. My cousins and I, along with Shadin ‘le, crafted a spell to bring you here.’

My eyes went wide with shock. ‘I am already bound to my mates from my world. I can’t be your mate. You must have made an error in casting.’

He felt angry himself now and dismounted lightly from Shadin ‘le, despite looking like he weighed about 235 lbs. I dropped my left foot back and readied myself for a fight.

He noticed the motion and stopped abruptly. ‘I would not hurt you, Meshallima; be at ease.’

“Cat?” I heard a voice with a warning tone behind me. Rock knew my body language too well, and saw I was getting ready for a fight.

 

The rider looked beyond me, asking, ‘He is your protector?’ his eyes snapping blue flame.

‘He is a fellow warrior. We work together as equal leaders,’ my tone of mind-voice still not friendly towards him.

‘They have no strong magick. How can they be true warriors?’ Even in my head, I could feel his total disregard to the threat our team posed.

‘I am all they need in magick; they have my back in all other areas,’ I hissed in warning.

He looked sharply at me, then bowed his head. ‘True, you are formidable in your own right as our Meshallima should be.’ He adopted the nonthreatening pose I had shown to him before. ‘May I see your bonding cords?’

I eased my stance a bit. ‘Why do you need to see my bonds?’ To Rock, I said over my shoulder, “Hold, no threat yet.” He must have trusted my judgment, because I felt them ease down behind me.

‘Your shields are strong. I cannot see past your shields to your energy centers to find if the bonds are true or not.’ He walked slowly towards me.

Walked? Seven hells, this man moved like a jungle cat. His footsteps barely disturbed the sands underneath his feet for all his 6’4 frame. I could see the calluses on his palms and fingers from working out regularly with his blades. His arms bulged with muscles. I couldn’t see his bare chest, but he definitely filled out his outfit nicely. I shook my head again to clear it. I was damn near panting and that wasn’t like me.

‘What are you?’ Being inter-dimensionally politically correct be damned; everything about him was magickally enhanced. The way he moved, his scent as he got close enough for me to catch a smell mixed of sandalwood, cedar and musk, to the warhorse he rode with such ease, was slowly intoxicating me again. I had to stay mad just to keep my head in the game. Strong emotions seemed to be the only thing that kept his magick from overwhelming me; and he wasn’t even overtly trying anything, yet. Now he wanted me to drop my shields? No fucking way.

‘I am one of three Dai’ Khan’s of this world. My other two cousins are also Dai’ Khan’s of two other provinces. Together we rule this world.’

Three was a powerful number, even in this world, it seemed. Three is a holy trinity. The Christian God had three - with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. My own Goddess had three aspect beings called The Triple Goddess with Mother, Maiden and Crone making up Her Holy Being. The rule of three, obviously had leeway here, as well. That could be good for me if I had to lash out with magick.

‘What is a Dai’ Khan?’ Though I had a vague idea it meant a king or at least a prince. I found out I wasn’t too far off the mark.

‘What you would call a sorcerer-ruler. Only the strongest can rule here. We are the best at magicks in our lands and the best blades. We’ve earned our right to rule with strength, magick and blood.’ His inner tone of voice was strong and sure of himself, so I didn’t doubt him.

‘How did you know me, to spell me like this?’ I was curious to know.

‘We didn’t know you personally, but the spell we sent out would find our mate and bring her to us. We knew when the spell went out and didn’t come back right away that we would have our mate soon from that world. We stayed to wait at Jeno lah’ leah,’ pointing to the Oasis behind him. ‘Pond of life. You have arrived.’

That meant the spell wasn’t a specific one, but a general one, which tended to be weaker than a spell cast for an exact person. If a general spell casted was this strong, a spell sent for a direct purpose could give me a run for my money. It may even top my own magickal abilities. I may be screwed if this turned ugly and in so many ways. I noticed a part of my body wouldn’t have minded that so much. I mentally slapped myself again.

‘Undo the spell,’ I demanded.

His eyes narrowed in response. ‘May I have the name of our Meshallima?”

Names had power for those who could wield it, in any world. Giving him my name would make it easier for him to try a direct spell casting at some later point, which would be harder for me to defend against. Knowing the name of the sorcerer, however, could also give me more power to defend and even out the playing field.

So I countered, ‘What’s yours?’

I swore I could feel him smile underneath his head wrap.

He bowed his head, saying, ‘Ja’ Cullam, son of the first house of Rakul, Dai’ Khan of Pladon Chino lah’ din. Province River of tears. Co-Dai’ Khan of Kla’ din, Gods tears.’

It felt like the truth and I appreciated the translations, so I gave him his answer. ‘Catrina Garcia.’

His head tilted at me, ‘That is all?’

I put my hands on my hips and responded with a flippant attitude, ‘I have many titles. I didn’t want to bore you with them.’ He threw his head back and laughed a deep belly rumble of a laugh; even his horse snickered a whinny. Damn males.

Laughter could be understood in any language and I heard Rock say behind me, “Well it looks like she made a new friend. Pay up Wizard.” The tension from the unit at my back eased up even more. Rock had bet on this first contact? It was customary for our combined teams to bet on the outcome of missions to help lessen the stress, but seven hells, even this? Again, damn males. I snorted at them all.

‘The spell?’ I reminded him, as his laughing slowed down.

He bowed his head and raised his left hand to me, his other hand to his horse and with a simple flick of both hands, the spell was cut.

I breathed slightly easier, as I felt the release of the spell. I looked again with my second sight and saw the threads had disappeared. I bowed my head back at him in response.

‘So, Meshallima Catrina, what other titles do you have?’ He tone sounded light and curious at the same time.

‘First born Daughter of The Triple Goddess and Her Consort, High Priestess to The Lord and Lady, Princess of Trinidad, and Nightwolf Protector of Earth.’

He was the first, besides my siblings and mates, who had heard of all my titles. Even Rock and General Pierce didn’t even know half of what I stood for. But letting this man, this Dai’ Khan, know them all would give me more status here, I felt. Titles seemed to have an importance in this world, much like many countries on Earth. I would use anything here to give me an edge.

He bowed to me again. ‘We are well met, Meshallima Ja’ Catrina.’ Ha! I knew it. He had given me an equal footing in his world view with that statement. I kept my poker face on and smothered my emotions with an air of indifference. ‘Now, may I see your bonding cords?’ he asked again, politely.

I looked at him archly, ‘What guarantees do I have that you won’t do any magick against me if I drop my shields?’

Even with the head wrap on, I could tell he looked affronted. ‘You are our Meshallima, a Ja’ in your own right. Hurting you in any form would be sacrilegious.’

He could be bullshitting. He could be hiding his true emotions better than I could.

Just to be on the safe side, I said, ‘I must have your sworn oath that no harm in any fashion, large or small, will happen to me, if I drop my shields.’

His eyes sharpened to mine. ‘Ja’ Catrina does not trust easily, I can see now. Fine, I swear on my throne, no harm shall come to you in any fashion, large or small, so you may drop your shields in safety.’

I gave him a warning look. ’Know this Ja’ Callum - my astral spirit blood lines are Fae. If an oath is broken or a lie told to one of my kind, ill could easily befall you without me even lifting my hand. Do you understand?’

He nodded his head.  ‘Much the same for our land and people. A sworn oath cannot be violated.’

Slowly, I laid down my shielding. One layer at a time, until I was bare, metaphysically speaking.

His eyes widened and he growled, ‘Your bonds are blue-white, but your soul is damaged. Many scars, wounds are there and some are still bleeding. How could your mates allow this to happen to you? They do not deserve your bond.’

I allowed my anger to show. ‘Never speak ill of my mates. Most of these happened before they were in my physical life and no fault of theirs.’

He moved closer to me, lowering his eyes to mine. ‘How long have they been in your life?’

‘A few months, physically,’ I answered truthfully, still showing anger in my mind-tone.

‘My cousins and I could rightfully challenge them then. Some of these wounds had to have happened within that time frame.’ He sounded sure of himself.

My first instincts were to tell him he would have to go through me first, but then I thought about what kind of status that would put my mates in -making it look like I protected them, making them less than me. That wouldn’t be a good thing and it wasn’t true. Even I respected my mate’s abilities, both physical and magickal, in being better than I was. True, they had more formal magickal training for far longer than I did, so for the time being, they were way above me. With the same training, I could possibly match or even outstrip them someday. For now, they could best me in a fair magickal duel (not that they would ever even think of doing it).

Their physical skills were more formidable. Even with hundreds of years of training, I don’t think I would ever be able to best them. Men and women are different, period. They had strength and weight on me; you can’t get around that. Facts are facts, and they are natural born warriors. Unless I got tricky, they would always be able to take me. But again, they would never come at me in anger, so it was never a worry.

‘Some of these wounds happened in closing a negative vortex and are still healing. Again, no fault of theirs. They have to let me do my job as a Nightwolf Protector of Earth.’ I walked back a few steps and snapped my fingers, reinstating my shields instantly.

 

“Cat?” Rock knew I had done something. Not what, exactly, but something, and he could tell by my walk that I was angry.

“Just a pissing contest of sorts, Rock. Nothing truly dangerous at this time,” I apprised him of the circumstances, since he couldn’t hear what we were talking about.

“I can tell you have a dialog going on. Though it’s silent to us, just let me know what’s going on from time to time. The suspense is aggravating, if nothing else.”

I looked back at him and his eyebrow was raised. That showed me he was serious about wanting updates. I didn’t blame him. If the situation were reversed, I would want the same thing. “No worries, Rock. He wants to challenge my mates to a duel for my hand.”

‘Your guard worries for you?’ Ja’ Callum asked, listening to our verbal exchange.

“He wants what?” Rock exploded in shock. I could hear Wizard (Sergeant Mark Logan) laughing in the background and offering a bet.

“Just give me a minute, Rock,” I said to him. To Ja’ Callum, ‘He is not my “guard”. He is a fellow warrior with the same level of command I have with the Nightwolves.’ I was trying to get him to understand that Rock’s position couldn’t be ignored or dismissed as substandard to mine.

‘Command? You lead warriors and close down Large Magnitude Vortexes? They allow you to put yourself in danger? A breeding Ja’ female? This can NOT be allowed’, and before he could issue a challenge to my mates, I lost my temper.

I walked up to him, closed my fist (thinking of it as a brick) and slammed his jaw with it. I had finally figured out what to do about this.

The punch made his whole upper body twist and he lost his balance, not expecting the blow. He did recover fast, though. I had to give him that, as he got himself in a defensive crouch immediately afterward.

“Rock, stay out of this no matter what,” I shouted and set myself for a fight.

“Nice negotiation technique.” Rock gave me a half grin before turning to Wizard and saying, “Fifty on the big guy.”

Ungrateful cur, I thought; didn’t even think I could take the guy. “I’ll double that in my favor,” I shot back.

“Done.” He was now taking bets with the other men in our unit. I wondered what kind of odds I was getting.

‘Meshallima Ja’ Catrina would challenge her truemate?’ The look in his eyes made my heart twist in pain.

What the fuck? He was not my mate to ache for, even if I caused the slightest harm, even by accident. He was more my match in being a magick wielder and not human. I shouldn’t even feel any guilt in fighting him, as I did when I had challenged Captain Holland to prove my physical skills.

I hardened against him. ‘My mates, I fear in battle, though they would never hurt me, so let me show you what I can do.’ There, that should give my mates a standing here if I could make a good showing in this fight.

‘You fight for them,’ he scoffed.

“NO. I fight for myself. I am a warrior in my own right. I fear no one and nothing in any battle, but my mates are more skilled and lethal than I am,” I spoke this both verbally and mentally, so Rock would know what set this off.

‘I swore an oath not to harm you in any fashion, large or small. This would harm you,’ he reminded me.

I volunteered an escape clause. “I release you from your oath for a physical fight. No magick. No weapons. Just physical. Agreed?”

‘To harm a female is a death sentence on Kla’ din. To harm a breedable female, is slow torture for many days before death is granted,’ he growled.

“Good thing I am not a citizen of your world then, isn’t it?” Although I was impressed with the lengths these people seem to go to protect their womenfolk. I approved. However, I needed him to fight me, so he wouldn’t fight my mates without lessening my mates’ standing. I was trying to protect their ego, though they weren’t even here. As it was, I was looking at another spanking, I was sure. Thinking about that got my body to tighten in arousal and I shuddered in memory of the last time Antonio disciplined me.

Ja’ Callum took my reaction wrong. His eyes narrowed on me and my body as if he could tell something was in the air that wasn’t quite so strong as before. His stallion even waved his head and mane around, snorting to whatever it was they had both picked up. If his head wrap was off I wondered if his nostrils were flaring for a scent.

‘My Meshallima needs proof of my virility. My strength,’ his mind-tone low and seductive now. ‘No other here has strong magick other than you. Fine, I agree to your terms. Let us dance the dance of strength, but when I win, I will claim you,’ with a tone that left no doubt to what he meant by ‘claiming’. My nether regions grew swollen and wet at the thought.

Damn, the spell was gone; what the hell was wrong with me? I couldn’t let him win, no matter what. My losing would cost me more than a few bucks. I was so glad my mates were on the other side of that portal or they would’ve have felt my physical response to this Dai’ Khan.

He waited for me to make my move and I spun out two back kicks, one low and one high. Then, I dropped back into my stance. He blocked them easily. He came at me with a right hook, but I could tell he was pulling back his power, so if it had connected, I wouldn’t get hurt so badly. That was his first mistake. I grabbed his wrist as it came close to my face and pulled him off balance. Spinning around, I took my other hand in a chop to his back and I didn’t hold back. As the blow landed across his back, I reversed my spin and hooked his leg with mine. Using both my hands, I pushed him down to the ground with the plan of pinning him. But, as he hit the ground, he put his hands down on the ground and did a push up so strong he landed back on his feet and turned to face me in one fluid movement.

I back peddled, lashing out with my right hand in a punch to his face, which barely got his jaw. It didn’t move him. His eyes narrowed at me and he advanced with punches and blows which took every skill I had to block and counter with punches of my own. He added some low kicks to my legs and I had to use my own to block those, as well. Back and forth we went across the sands. I got a feeling he was just wearing me down, using moves to make me tired and not to actually hurt me.

The fighting style he used reminded me of Krav Maga and it was one style I wasn’t familiar with, even on Earth. I had many other styles under my belt, but not Krav Maga and that was one fighting style I had a feeling could have given me more of an edge in this fight. His plan was working, since I still wasn’t fully healed from the EMP-like blast that came from closing the vortex. The other wounds to my soul would take even longer to heal, since I still hadn’t released the pain and rage I had stored deep inside me. I fought with him, trying not to be impressed with the ease which he met my onslaught. Lust wasn’t going to help me win.

 

I tapped into the rage instead, and tried to control the release, channeling it into my fists and legs. I actually hit him hard enough a few times to make him take notice. I got in a strong kick to his solar-plex, knocking the wind out of him for a second. Then, he backed up and looked at me deeply. He must have seen something in my eyes he didn’t like because he growled and came at me like a whirlwind. In no time, he had me pinned from behind, holding me tightly against his body with my back to his chest and both my wrists grappled taunt against my own body.

He held me tightly. ‘No, Meshallima, you cannot release your rage like that. It would harm your soul even more.’ He bent his face into my neck. ‘Let me take your pain and replace it with love.’

Then, before I could take another breath, we were on an astral plane together. He was still holding me, our astral bodies naked, slowly merging into an astral melding of our souls. ‘Create the bond with me, so I can remove the pain and rage, Meshallima.’ I turned to him, not sure I was going to continue the fight or allow the meld, but I let my fangs drop so I could use even more of my vampire strength. His eyes widened in shock. ‘No, you can’t be vampyre.’ And just like that, we were back in our bodies.

I got loose from his grip and even physically my fangs had dropped, so they were showing when he was coming out of his trance. Popping back and forth from the astral so much had made me faster in snapping out of a trance like that, so I had the edge on him there. Before he could focus, I landed on him and pinned him to the ground using my vampire strength to hold him. He tried to make me move off him, then it seemed the fight had gone out of him abruptly.

I felt despair roll off of him in waves. ‘Go ahead, Meshallima. I know it is in your nature to kill. I don’t want to live knowing my mate can do naught but kill anyone she comes close to.’

Even though my face was close to his neck and I could smell the sweet scent of his blood, I could hold myself in check easily enough, so I was confused at the total and utter despair I felt from him. ‘Why? I don’t need to feed and I have never killed with my teeth. If I can have your promise not to attack me anymore, I’ll let you up and see if we can be friends.’

Shock radiated from his entire being. ’You do not want or need to kill?’

I snorted, ‘No, I just wanted to show you I am a warrior and I fight alongside with other warriors to defend Earth from…well… really bad things that are trying to come into our world. That was why we were looking at the portal. We just wanted to make sure your world wasn’t going to try to harm ours. Other than that, we try to live in peace with others, as much as possible. A peace treaty would be nice, but I won’t force that issue. I firmly believe in free will. But no more fighting; you’re too damn good,’ giving him his due. ‘Agreed?’

Still shocked, he answered, ‘Yes, agreed.’ I slowly let him up and moved back, just in case.

 

Glancing back at the men, I saw that if I didn’t have their respect before, I had it now.

Rock had seen that my fangs were out. “Cat, are you in need?” I could wait if I had to, but seeing the look in Ja’ Callum’s eyes, I thought a small demonstration would be helpful. “Yes, please.” Rock walked up slowly. “He is just coming to feed me. Again, the taking of blood has to be freely given. I can’t feed off of anyone without their express permission.”

Rock had reached us and bared his wrist to me. “I offer my blood, warrior to warrior, with heart and soul, of my own free will. So be it.”

Keeping my eyes on Ja’ Callum, I said, “I accept your offering with honor, warrior. So be it.”

Gently, I put my mouth to his wrist and bit down, feeding from him. All the while, I watched Ja’ Callum take this all in. When I was finished, I licked the wounds closed which would heal within a day, and moved away from Rock a bit.

“He was kicking your ass,” Rock said from the side of his mouth.

“I won the bet. I’ll expect payment later.” I refused to acknowledge the obvious.

Rock persisted. “He was mopping the floor with you and you had to pull fang.”

I clicked my tongue, “I still won the bet.”

“You cheated.” He raised his eyebrow at me.

“Did not, he never said no fang,” I protested.

His grin grew cocky, “He obviously didn’t know about the fangs.”

I shrugged my shoulders, “Still, not my problem. I won.”

‘What does your …warrior…say?’ He was still shell shocked and trying to recover his equilibrium.

‘He had a bet, which I say I won. He says I cheated. I didn’t,’ I growled.

Ja’ Callum threw his head back and roared with laughter.

Excerpt of Nightwolves Siren's Song

 

 

In Loving memory of R.J. Kirkham

(The 'hood took you too young. We'll miss you bro.)

 

Nightwolves Siren's Song

by

Clarrissa Lee Moon 

 

Chapter One

 

White moves first

 

Cassie and I were late for the meeting in the war room at the base in Truax Field with General Pierce and the Nightwolves. We had been paged right in the middle of healing some soldiers in the East Wing of the base hospital and couldn’t stop what we were doing to answer our pagers. It was a hazard of the job of being mercenary, as well as magick users, who couldn’t ignore the pain of a wounded soldier. Using our gifts for good has always been a priority in our training, but lately, times have made it seem we used our gifts mostly for defense, rather than for good deeds. We had been trying to rectify that by spending more time in the hospital at Naval Air Station, more commonly known as Truax Field, and volunteering time as nurse’s aides at the local hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Though, we had to hide what we were doing from the locals and even had to watch ourselves on the base, where they sort of knew what we were doing, but pretended ignorance for the sake of budget and personnel cuts. We couldn’t be too obvious in our healings in either place, lest word got out witches were real and burning us females at the stake became all the rage again. I definitely wasn’t into torture; which I'd found out recently and would happily pass up being ousted as a witch.

I really was a witch, but I was also more than just that and not one of the evil kind. However, after having just recently healed, both physically and psychically, from being tortured by an evil General who was also a High Dark Adept, who was trying the 'ole rule the world' ploy (which when you think about it, it's really a stupid plan). It’s been tried so often before by others, it’s practically a cliché now. Movies, books and real life evil-doers have been trying the same 'ole, same 'ole, for so long. Can’t the bad guys think of anything new to try, to ruin someone’s good day? I mean, come on! Although, what I thought was worse than wicked bad guys, were people who, either out of ignorance or just plain stupidity, helped the bad guys by vilifying the good guys, like us. Yes, we may be different and yes, we may be magick users, but that didn’t make us worthy of death. The Gods and Goddesses themselves put our spiritual bodies into human infants to be borne by human mothers so we could grow up and help save the world from those who would enslave it. Yet, because of what we were, half demi-God children and witches, we would still, to this day, be burned at the stake, if the sheeple could get away with it. Then, who would protect them and this world from the dark covens and dark Gods, hmm?

Stupid mortal humans, I grumbled to myself. Why we risked ourselves to save this dumb assed planet full of sheeple sometimes eluded me, until one of my mates would point out some smiling infant with wide, beautiful, innocent eyes that hadn’t been shut closed by this world’s society yet. Then the baby would burst into a joyful giggle when they saw me. Every time I saw one of those cute, chubby cheeked babies, my heart would melt and I would pray this child would grow up smarter and more tolerant than his or her parents. That would make all this crap worth it then.

My attitude had been mellowing so much lately though that I couldn’t even get up the old angst of how much I really hated people in general. My mates were the culprits in taming my usual hot temper, turning me into a much more relaxed version of my usual self. Everyone, at one point or another, has done double turns at watching me smile for no apparent reason. Smiling wasn’t what I usually did. Snarling, sneering or throwing wicked evil grins was more my style, but lately, I just couldn’t tap into the anger needed for any of that. I had found my happy place and my mates were the center of that warm safe retreat. No one was used to it; even the General looked at me oddly from time to time these days. I couldn’t even care enough for that as I looked around my environment and remembered how blue and clear the sky was this morning as we rode to the base for the big test to see if I had healed enough, on all levels inside, to use my powers without causing my brain any more damage. I smiled happily as my sister and I walked down the long corridor to the war room to meet up with the rest of the team for the big meeting.

My sister took a long sideways glance at me, but she wasn’t smiling. “Sister…”

“Hmmm?”

“Are you sure you are all right?”

I looked at her, and asked, “Why wouldn’t I be?”

Her expression grew pensive. “We have noticed how distracted you've been lately. Not that anyone could blame you.”

“Distracted?”

“Well, yes. Distracted would be the best word to use. It’s just that you haven’t really gone after General Robertson like we had expected you to.”

I stopped walking and turned to her. “Shamus said not to use my power to even tap into the watcher. Everyone has been on my case about not using my powers so I don’t blow anymore blood vessels in my brain, and now I have been distracted?”

“That’s not what I mean. It didn’t come out right.” She took a deep breath. ”It’s good that you followed orders so well this time, but, that’s the problem. You don’t usually follow anyone’s rules and now you just seem to be flowing along without any direction. No goals. The Coven follows you, and without any direction, we don’t know where we should be putting all of our energy.”

“You guys ride my ass when I do things my way and then you ride my ass when I follow orders. I really wish you would make up your friggin’ minds,” I snorted and started down the hall again.

She moved to catch up to me. “I am sorry. You’re right, but after what  happened to you, we thought you would want to retaliate immediately. We thought we would have to literally tie you down to hold you back and here you are just going along with things…well, it's a little disturbing for those of us who've known you for so long. The General and the others too, know that there is something different about you. They just don’t understand exactly what - and frankly, we don’t either.” She looked up at me, her brown eyes wide with concern. “We are worried you're losing your edge and what that might mean for you when we go up against the Dark Coven,” she rushed her explanation so fast, I barely caught on to what she was saying and that wasn’t her usual MO She had a precise way of talking and rushing her words together wasn’t normal. This showed me how upset she was.

Half of me wanted to get pissed, but the other half understood what was upsetting the rest of The Coven. Nothing was more dangerous to a mercenary team than a leader who has lost their edge. My anger had given me my edge, I knew this subconsciously, but I also knew that I had never been so happy in my life and by the Goddess, I friggin’ deserved to be happy after all the crap that I'd been through. It’s not my fault my other siblings have had fifteen plus years of peace and quiet to enjoy their mates and have the blessings of children and the time spent with them, while I was trapped in my own personal hell the entire time. This was my time. This was my chance. I knew they didn’t understand just how close I had come to losing my mind. It was a miracle I hadn't gone completely, fucking insane from being so close to my mates, but still not being able to touch them. To hold them. To get to know them as my siblings knew their own mates. They would never understand. How could they? They couldn’t even fathom it. Sure, they'd seen me go through it - unable to help me undo the curse that had trapped me - but they could never understand the pain, mentally and emotionally, that I'd gone through; or how often I came to offing myself just to stop the nightmare.

I still couldn’t really get angry at her, though.

“Listen, the Coven doesn’t have anything to worry about. For one, what I went through with General Robertson wasn’t anything worse than what I went through as a kid. Ok, maybe not quite that bloody, but still, nothing that I haven’t been taught to handle a long time ago. So, me getting pissed and wanting revenge isn't going to happen.” I looked over at her. “Oh, we will even the score. Never doubt that. But, we are going to do it smart, when they least suspect it.” I smiled again with the ghost of my usual evilness. “Let them relax and let down their guard before we strike at them and make them regret fucking with us.” I saw her shoulders loosen up and her own smile reappeared. “We can’t let what they did slide, but we can pick our time when the odds are more in our favor.”

“All right, Sister,” her tone relieved. “That sounds like a valid move and a smart one. You know we are behind you all the way. Just let us know what we need to do to get things moving towards that goal.”

Who would of thought the Coven would be hungry for immediate action and I would be the one who was willing to wait for the right moment to strike? Maybe I really had lost my edge. I didn’t let it worry me, though. I knew things would be all right in the end. I didn’t know how yet, but I knew it would be all right. Meanwhile, I was going to enjoy every minute of finally being with my mates and damn the consequences.

“Never fear, sister dear. I will.” I winked at her and we continued down to the war room together.

We were just about to walk from the building that was used mostly for hospital staff and patients, to the base, as a young man walked by us and accidentally bumped up against me.

“Excuse me...miss?” he said and stopped dead in his tracks. “You're the one!” he exclaimed, incredulous.

“I think you have made a mistake,” I said, nicely.

“No, it's you. You saved me. You're real.” He couldn't seem to get over actually seeing me in the flesh.

Actually, he really shouldn't have recognized me at all. Most coma patients never remembered anything from their time in a coma such as Juan Rico had suffered from. A few weeks ago, I'd brought his spirit back from the astral planes after healing the rest of his body the doctors couldn't fix. He was an Air Force pilot and had had a really bad day and almost lost his life. Until I brought him back and for some reason he seemed to recollect it.

“You must have me mixed up with someone else. Is there a doctor we can get for you or something?”

“No, I know what I saw and what I heard. You said I had to come back and help save the world. That this world was in danger. Now you're here and that means it was all real. My mother was right.”

Confused I asked him, “What do you mean?”

“My mother came here when I woke up from the coma and I told her about this real-seeming dream I'd had. She said it was no dream that I had been saved and brought back. She said if I ever saw you, I needed to do whatever God had in plan for me, because it would be important. That it was why I came back, when the doctors had told her to be prepared in making arrangements for my funeral. Then, I woke up, and I'm completely healed. I just got back from my checkup and they said it’s a miracle that I don't have any long range problems. Most face months, if not years, of rehabilitation, but not me. My mother was right.”

Oh, shit. Mexican families were more superstitious then in most cultures. They still remember the times of magick working and had earlier myths and legends then most races of people here. They were also more attuned with the Earth, as were American Indians. They were steadfast in their beliefs and were really hard to sidetrack when it came to esoteric situations. Especially dreams. They were really big on dreams. In a nutshell, it was going to be a pain in the ass getting this guy off of my trail.

I had read his file before taking on his case. He had scored highest in his class and was one hell of a pilot. The crash was not his fault and if it hadn't been for his flying skills, the crew aboard would also have been killed or badly injured. Because of his skill, only he'd suffered the worst injury on that flight. That, in and of itself, was a freakin' miracle.

“Come outside with us,” I told him. I didn't ask, it was more of an order. Cassie had that look in her eyes again. Probably thought I was going to off him or something. Back in the old days, I would have, if the situation called for it, but today I had a better idea. I went with my gut instincts.

Outside, where there was less chance of having ears on the walls, I turned to him. “Fine. I did and yes this world is in for some shit. We might need you but not right this minute.” Before he could ask any questions, I gave him answers he would have asked about, making it easier for me. “No, I don't know when or how, but do me a favor. Don't talk about it or your dreams, and if you don't have a problem working with a pagan High Priestess, I sure don't have a problem working with one of God's people. I like God and Jesus just fine but I really hate the church, so if you have a problem with that, keep walking and forget you ever saw me.”

“You're a Bruja?”

A Bruja was a Mexican witch, and most of the time, they weren't nice guys. It was why most Southwestern houses had painted their doors blue. The myth was, a witch couldn't cross into a house with a blue door, or spell anyone in the house. They were right on that one. That didn't stop me from going into a house with a blue door, though. But my intentions had always been good.

“Witch, yes, Bruja, no. Like I said, I like God; I think Jesus is very cool, hate the church. My Goddess is Celtic. Is that going to be a problem?” I gave it to him short and sweet, because I was pressed for time. I was supposed to be at the meeting in the war room.

He thought about it and said, “No. No, I don't have a problem with it. Things felt too light, too good, for it to have been evil, but why do you hate the church?”

“I'm supposed to be in a meeting right now. In about five hours, go see a General Pierce in that building over there.” I pointed to the building we were heading to. “General Pierce will give you some papers to sign and a list of books you'll have to read for yourself, if you want an answer to that question and make your own decisions. Like I said, I am very late.”

He understood I was pressed for time. “All right, I understand. Maybe later, we can talk?”

“Sure, if I can get some down time. Take care.” I started to turn away then turned back to him. “Oh, General Pierce may tell you many things that may blow your mind. Just remember to breathe and know it's all part of a grand scheme of things. Just don't ask me what. I'm still trying to figure it out myself.”

We turned back to the building.

“All right, and hey, thanks!” he yelled after me.

I waved and kept walking.

“You're sure that was a good idea?” Cassie asked.

“You had another?”

“We could have just told him it was nothing more than it was a dream, a coincidence. You didn't have to verify any of it for him.”

“Sister mine, pieces keep being thrown in my path. I am going to start collecting them and someday use them. We've got Marines, We've got Special Forces, now we've got Air Force, or a start, in that branch now. Robertson and Williams have got their players. We need to gather ours.”

“I can see how that would be a good idea for a mundane operation, but the risk of exposure to us greatly increases with every person who knows what we really are.”

“True, but when have I ever played it safe?” I grinned at her. “Sometimes, you got to say what the fuck, make a move, and see what happens.”

She shook her head at me. “Just make sure what happens isn't pitchforks and stakes.”

“Well, if we get bored, that could be fun, too.”

She laughed at me.