DARK WITCH OF THE JAGUAR
A Bonus Short-Story
Of Doorway of the Triquetra
Copyrighted © July 23, 2015 by Lenore Wolfe
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the authors imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locals are entirely coincidental.
Triquetra Press Publications
Copyrighted © July 23, 2015 by Lenore Wolfe
All rights reserved.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Shakespir.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SIGN UP FOR MY NEW RELEASES
ALSO BY LENORE WOLFE
SOMETHING NEW I’M WORKING ON
To Elisa and Isabelle
Best-selling author, Lenore Wolfe’s best seller, Dark Warrior: To Tame a Wild Hawk
“It was emotional, beautiful, and even suspenseful. A fabulous read!”
By Christie Snow on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Shakespir and Goodreads
Mira has been busy. I found her popping up in several of the following Sister Series that I’ve been writing, so you will find her in her own series, Children of Atlantis, book one, Doorway of the Triquetra. You will also find her as a mentor-teacher in the Land of the Fae to young Alli in the series Realm of the Elemental Witch, Fire Sprite. And you will find her in this bonus short-story, as she walks through the series Sons of the Dark Mother, The Fallen One.
If you have read any of these series, you will find some of what you read here are excerpts of these stories, and my hope is that this story will bring these stories together for you with greater clarity. So here you go—follow Mira as she walks you through the Land of the Fae, and as you follow Mira on her journey of magick as one of the Sisters of Three.
Enjoy! Happy reading!
Sons of the Dark Mother
Chicago, Present Day
Mira sat back in her comfy overstuffed chair, letting its comfort hug her, watching Micah as he moved about the room—his bare chest covered in a sheen of sweat, his muscles flexing as he put himself through the moves. His dark hair shone in the midnight fire, and she swallowed under the intensity of her emotions. He sprang forward and Lucius blocked with his forearm, leaving a trail in the sand in his wake.
Mira swallowed. She almost forgot what she’d come out here to say to Micah, watching him move through his paces. The men had been quick to order this chair be brought out for her. They always pampered her this way. But still, an overstuffed chair—sitting by one of the Great Lakes. It made her smile—it was just so sweet of them. Who’d have thought such soldiers could be so sweet?
Lucius had white hair, shot through with silver, clear to his waist, and a face that looked as if it were chiseled to perfection. He was taller than Micah, at least six-feet-four, and looked like he held a lot of muscle on his frame. He wore a white tunic, something like you might see in the movies. His eyes were violet, his skin nearly translucent, it was so white. It had the look of alabaster.
Lucius wasn’t human—he was Starborne. His looks often had some of the other races mistaking him for the one who was the prophecy.
Micah, on the other hand, had a look of an exotic, beautiful prince, with skin of deep chocolate and eyes so dark they were nearly ebony, fringed in dark, curly lashes. His was sinfully beautiful. His face looked like something someone had taken great care to carve for him, with the deepest perfection.
Both men had lived so long they were often thought of as immortal. They weren’t. But they had lives for thousands of years, so she could see how that idea would have got started.
They’d spent much of that time—waiting for her.
Mira still couldn’t believe how much her life had changed this past year, since they had brought her to them, again, in this lifetime. She’d lived through many lifetimes with these two. But she’d also lived lifetimes with several others. But it was these two, plus Roman and Caesar, who’d waited for her through several of her lifetimes. And the four men had hardly left her side since she’d been returned to them in this one.
She’d been Alexandra in her first life with Lucius, and that’s how she’d came to him since. She shared her body with who she’d been to the others in her past lives, as Lady Isabelle with Caesar and Morrigana with Roman. She always came through as one of these women, when they came through to love their men in this lifetime. But even though she’d been Nadia in her past life with Micah, she always came to him as herself whenever she was with Micah.
Mira watched him, now, with such longing that she caused him to miss his step, and Lucius grinned as he took full advantage, laying Micah out flat. She covered her mouth to smother the laugh, threatening to bubble up as he got up off the floor and came over to her. She grinned at him, and he hauled her up out of the chair and into his arms, kissing her until she was breathless with desire.
A few hours later, Mira poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down at the kitchen with a newspaper. There had been a lot of violence in the city of late. This city always had a lot of violence—but there had been a lot more than usual of late. Which was why Justice had decided to move them to one of the mansions owned by the Alliance. As she sat there reading the paper, she had to agree with that decision. Hidden from the prying eyes of the humans, the Alliance provided a place to train for the Jaguar People, where they could prepare to be one of the many groups who made up the guardians of Mother Earth.
Mira felt someone enter the kitchen, as she read her paper, but she didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to who it was. They shared this house with a lot of people—not to mention all the people who went back and forth to the other two houses. It was getting to be ridiculous. As far as she was concerned, it was one more reason why they needed to go to that mansion Justice had mentioned.
When the person who’d entered the kitchen had poured a cup of coffee and sat down across from her, setting down her cup of coffee, Mira looked up—and then she jumped up out of her chair so fast it went crashing to the floor.
“Amar…!” she stammered.
“Hello, dear,” her grandmother said, smiling.
“So everyone was right—you’re not dead,” Mira muttered, staring. She’d seen her old mentor die, while fighting her first real enemy in the world of magick. A world she hadn’t even recalled until Mira had come to her with an ancient medallion that had changed the course of her entire life.
Her grandmother grinned at her. “No, dear. I assure you, I’m very much alive.”
“But I saw you die…”
Her grandmother laughed upon hearing this. “No, dear. You let your human upbringing convince you I’d died. But you should know that with magick—anything can happen.” She picked up her cup and took a sip of her coffee. Looking up at her granddaughter she said, “I had simply moved into another dimension.” She shook her head. “You saw us do something similar when we crossed into the Land of the Fae. Did it not occur to you that I might have done something like that?”
Mira nodded. It had occurred to her—and her grandmother was right—her human upbringing had prevented her from seeing the truth of this. “I guess I was afraid to hope….” Mira grinned at her. “So is that why you’re here?”
Amar nodded. “Yes.” She took another sip of her coffee, blowing across the surface first. “You have sisters-and I’m here to train the three of you.”
Mira’s mouth fell open as Amar glanced up at her, and in the next hour she revealed the story of Mira’s missing past.
“Train us? In the way of the wise?” Mira finally asked, when she’d finished, suddenly excited.
Her grandmother nodded again. “And to help Jes to make this transition. There are some things that might provide us with a magickal assist and just might be of some use in helping Jes regain her full memory.”
Mira’s mouth fell open—and she closed it. “And you waited until now?” Then something else occurred to her before Amar could answer. “Wait! You could have helped me to remember too?”
Out of the Past
Saint Louis, Missouri—Present Day
Mira had a sister. No—make that three sisters. She couldn’t have been more amazed if someone had planted a bomb under her feet. In fact, she kind of felt like someone had. She still couldn’t remember the tragedy that had taken her memories—but she had at least one sister—that she could contact anyway. The other two had gone missing.
Mira had packed and left for the Alliance. She’d left immediately, even though Amar had been quick to tell her that she should wait to see Jes. Her other sister—one of the two missing—Dara—they still searched for. The third seemed to have some mystery surrounding her. Mira resolved to get to the bottom of that.
Mira stared out the window as the driver drove her to the compound. Amar had told her that a family tragedy had driven them all apart. And worse, she’d been warned that Jes—still didn’t remember anything.
Like Mira, herself.
But the baby, Jes, had been severely traumatized—and the doctor’s had warned them not to jar her into remembering. So that, even now, Mira wouldn’t be allowed to come out and tell her anything.
Mira had met her once and considered her a friend. She didn’t care so much that she couldn’t tell her the truth about her being her sister. She wanted to get to know her better—even if she had to get to know her as a friend and hope that one day she could help her to remember too.
Perhaps it would help them both to remember.
When Mira arrived at the Alliance, she leaned forward in her seat to stare outside at the massive structure. She hadn’t been able to believe what Amar had told about this place.
She’d said it held the Jaguar People—her people. Could this really be happening?
She stared at the guards up on the wall. Though the guards were well hidden, her senses had told her where they stood, and she easily picked them out amongst the outcroppings of the fancy, fifteen-foot stone wall.
When Amar had visited her last night, to tell her about this place, nothing could have fully prepared her for actually seeing it. She still couldn’t believe she had a people. She’d been under the mistaken impression that she would only meet an occasional member of the Jaguar people. But now, she’d learned there were numerous such compounds of the Alliance all over the world.
This one happened to be one of the central locations.
She looked around. The fifteen-foot stone wall, with its large, iron-gate, kept out any onlookers there might have been. Not that there would be any. This one had been glamoured and sat sufficiently out into the country, as to not draw a whole lot of attention, yet close enough to the big city of Chicago for the warriors to be of assistance to those stationed in Chicago.
As the car pulled around the large, ornate circular drive, a woman met her when the car pulled alongside the front door. She opened the door of the car, smiling brightly in greeting.
“Welcome,” she told Mira. “Amar told me you were coming. I hope you don’t mind my meeting you here.”
Mira couldn’t have been more delighted. She hadn’t been looking forward to the awkwardness of trying to talk to the people, here, since she didn’t know anyone. Yet, this wonderful woman had greeted her like a long, lost friend.
She let herself be led inside the main building where she had Mira sit in a comfortable room to one side. The woman, who’d greeted her, went to close the French pane doors.
Mira watched her, curiosity eating at her. “So Amar told you that I was coming?” she prompted.
“Yes,” the woman said, smiling. “Yes. She did.” She sat down in the chair across from Mira. “There’s no gentle way to tell you this. Do you mind if I speak bluntly?”
“No,” she said and smiled. “No, I prefer it.”
The beautiful woman smiled, holding herself in a way that Mira considered regal. Mira watched her eyes. There seemed something vaguely familiar about her.
“Amar is my mother,” she told Mira quietly.
Whatever Mira had expected her to say—this hadn’t been it. She felt her jaw go slack. She knew her mouth worked up and down like a fish out of water—gasping for air. She couldn’t help that. She stared at the woman. She wanted to drag her gaze from her. But she didn’t seem to have any control over her senses.
The woman leaned forward and put her hands over Mira’s, who’d gripped her own tightly in her lap.
“I am your mother,” she said to Mira, again gently.
Mira stared at her. “So Amar really is my grandmother.” She nodded. She’d known that. She didn’t know exactly when—but she’d known.”
Her mother nodded. “My name is Cara,” she spoke softly. “A long time ago, a terrible incident happened to our family. To protect my children from it happening again, I had to let you all go to separate places—to try to protect you from someone.” She squeezed Mira’s closed hands—almost in a pleading gesture. “I sent you with an aunt.” She watched Mira’s eyes.
Mira knew she looked for some kind of recognition—some kind of—understanding. But she couldn’t comprehend what she’d just told her, more or less acknowledge or show this woman some understanding.
She felt numb.
“Why don’t I remember you?” she finally got out. “Why don’t I remember anything?”
Cara, smiled, but her smile seemed sad to Mira. “You were pretty young—and the—incident—traumatic for you—and your sisters.”
“Sisters?” That’s right, Amar had told her she had sisters. She hadn’t come right out—at any point—and actually said she was her grandmother—but Mira had known.
“You have three sisters. But one raised your baby sister. And—your baby sister knows her as—her mother.”
Mira’s gaze followed Cara when she stood. “And does she know you?”
She saw a deep look of sadness pass through Cara’s eyes. “Yes—but she thinks I am her grandmother.”
Mira frowned. “That must be—difficult.”
Cara only nodded.
Mira nodded too. “You must have loved us very much—to put yourself through losing us—in order to protect us.”
She saw Cara’s eyes glisten with tears—before she looked away.
Mira stood then—and went to her. She put her arms around her, and they both stood like that for several moments—as silent tears fell.
Sometime later, after Mira had been shown to her room, she pondered the mystery of their broken family.
Her oldest sister, the one who’d raised her baby sister, had gone missing, but years after they’d all been split up. Two families had disappeared one day when something horrible had happened to a boy, who’d belonged to an unusual faction of the Jaguar People.
Her other sister, Dara, had also gone missing, years after the traumatic event that had broken them all apart—but she’d run away from several foster homes before she’d disappeared.
They’d been given some word, here or there, when they had sightings of her, but she wouldn’t come in. And they’d been looking for her for some time.
Jes was her baby sister. But she didn’t remember anything. She’d been very young when the occurrence had taken place, and soon after she’d gone to live with their oldest sister, and her new husband, she’d started calling her sister, mommy.
They said she might never remember anything that had happened.
Mira shook her head sadly. Yeah, and she’d meet her once, but she hadn’t known about all this at the time—and now she was being warned not to tell her anything. So now—she couldn’t talk to either of her older sisters—since they were both missing—and she couldn’t talk to her baby sister either. She couldn’t acknowledge her as her sister.
She’d never felt so frustrated. Still, talking to her—becoming her friend—had to be better than not getting to know her at all.
Before going to her room, Cara had invited her for diner, where she would meet Jes, again, so she took a shower to freshen up and started putting her makeup on again.
She’d been told Jes had become a detective in an outlying suburb of Chicago, so she worked with humans yet, apparently, she’d always been aware she’d been born Jaguar—was one of the Jaguar People.
Which Mira thought must be better than not knowing, like what had happened to her. She picked up a wide tooth comb and started running it through her wet hair. She’d been in for a shock, finding out that she wasn’t human. Amar’d had to come to her to teach her—and help her to remember who she was—since she didn’t remember anything.
But since she thought she was human—and was about to reach her majority and find out she was one of the Jaguar People—the hard way—Amar hadn’t had a choice but to tell her everything.
It had been different for Jes.
Since she knew herself as one of the Jaguar People—there hadn’t been any reason to force the rest of her memories on her.
Mira had a feeling that would change—and soon.
She looked in the mirror, staring at herself for a moment. She still couldn’t get over the fact that she’d been born Jaguar. She stared at her eyes—looking for the eyes of the Jaguar to stare back at her—but she saw the same eyes that had been looking back at her since she could remember.
She picked up the flat iron and began to straighten a section of her hair.
Mira had been plagued with knowing things, lately. She’d know something—and then that something would happen—something Amar had told her came from being one of the Sisters of Three. She’d also told her that the time would come when they would need the Sisters of Three to work together.
The term, Sisters of Three, had caused Mira to think she had two sisters. Finding out that there were actually four of them had come as yet another surprise.
She shook her head.
She’d had so much thrown at her of late, she didn’t know what to think. Everything she’d thought she known—had been wrong, and she felt as though she’d been living a lie.
She couldn’t help but feel angry. She envied Jes. At least she knew herself—even if she didn’t know some of the facts around her.
But Mira had the instinctive need to protect Jes, as well. And she felt more than a little excited to finally be able to get to know her.
She glanced at the clock. She wanted to go—and she still had an hour to wait.
She sat down in the chair with a flop, sighing out her frustration at waiting. But she’d only sat there a couple of minutes when she heard a knock on her door. And when she opened it, she’d have recognized her baby sister anywhere.
Well—now that she knew.
“Hi, I’m Jes,” the young woman said. “Nanna told me to come and get you for dinner.”
Mira smiled. “I’m Mira.”
Jes smiled at her. “Yes. I know, I met you once before.” She grinned. “You’re the famous Jaguar Witch.” She laughed. “I would know you anywhere.” She gestured back toward the other part of the house. “Plus, Nanna told me, again, a few minutes ago.” She smiled.
Mira flushed at the Jaguar Witch—a name that had been tagged on her since working with the Queen of Darkness in the Land of the Fae. But she only smiled at her baby sister—and shutting her bedroom door, she followed her down the hall.
Amar swept into the room with a brilliance that had both Mira and Jes looking up in surprise. She was lit up with obvious joy.
“What is it?” Mira asked her with alarm, more in tune with her emotions than Jes and sensing that something significant was up. She glanced at Jes. Mira had been compelled to tell Jess the truth—that they were sisters—some weeks before. And in the time since she’d felt the need to reveal the truth to Jes, they’d spent most of their time together—now it would appear that something else was amiss….
Mira stared at their grandmother expectantly. She’d never forget Amar’s reaction when she’d figured out that Mira had told her baby sister who she really was.
Amar had smiled at her, then shook an old, crooked finger at her. “You told Jes…”
It had been Mira’s turn to grin, causing Amar to give her a dark look. “Things have changed Amar—I mean—grandmother” Then, her tone had turned serious. “I had to take a chance on her. It’s important Jes remember—now—not later. Time has run out.”
“Okay—granddaughter, you have made your point—for now,” Amar had said to her. “But when this is over—we will revisit this again.”
Amar looked at the two of them, now, her face beaming—and Mira couldn’t help but be intrigued.
“We have found your sister—or perhaps I should say Second Chances has found your sister—and sent her to Dracon.”
Their expressions went from joy—to alarm. “Dracon?” the both said in unison.
Amar wagged a finger at them both. “Not to worry. She has a new challenge she must meet—since she was turned, but—”
“Turned?” both women said, more alarmed than ever.
Amar wagged her finger at them again—like naughty children. “Not to worry, dears. She will come through this nicely—and with new and even greater powers for the experience—and for that she will have to endure the learning.”
“Is that supposed to be a joke?” Mira nearly snapped.
Jes looked at her in amazement. She half expected her to go up in a cloud of smoke for speaking to the old witch that way.
Amar only laughed, but then sobered. “Seriously, child, it is done now. There is no use crying over what we cannot change. We must move on. Do not forget, she may be your sister—but she is also my granddaughter.” She gave her a stern look. “She will come through this—stronger than ever. She is a Machelaean.”
Jes frowned. She had heard that name before—but she couldn’t think from where. She looked at Mira, who was looking somewhat contrite—but it only lasted a brief instant, and then she ruined it by half growling at their grandmother.
But as usual, Amar was unmoved by Mira’s quicksilver emotions. She looked pointedly at the pot, and the sisters quickly turned their attention back to the potion they were trying out. Amar came around, sniffed, and nodded her approval.
“Second Chances has picked up a rumor on the wind,” she said with yet another sniff.
Something in her tone caused the two young women to look up from what they were doing.
“What is it, Amar?” Mira questioned.
The old woman had by now come around to the other side of the round table at which they worked. She wasn’t very big. She peered over the table at them. “Once, many years ago, I had the occasion to have to deal with these—bat-like beings. They’re really very large—half-human—half bat-like creatures.”
Jes shuddered at the thought. “They don’t sound like anything I’d like to meet any time soon.”
Amar nodded. “Well, they haven’t been around in more than three hundred years now—or so everyone thought.” She came around the table, her dark hair framing her face. Her wise, old eyes were bright with what she was about to reveal.
She looks like something out of a gothic movie, Jes thought.
Amar turned her sharp gaze on her.
Jes nearly jumped. She was really going to have to get the hang of reading people’s minds, she thought, not for the first time.
“These creatures require the Sisters of Three to bring them down,” Amar announced.
“Then we will need our sister,” Mira commented.
“When do we get to meet her?” Jes asked.
“Soon.” Amar turned toward the door. “Keep practicing.” She stopped and turned around. “Once, my own sisters and I took down powerful beings as these.” She pointed at the sisters. “Now, it will be up to you two—and your sister. Hopefully she hasn’t been too damaged from the vamps.”
So Amar did have some concern, Jes thought, in spite of the brave face she’d put on for them.
“Well, it won’t be easy for her,” she said, looking at Jess as though she had just read her mind.
Jess scowled. She was really getting tired of people doing that.
Their grandmother smiled. “You’ll see. It will do her a world of good to be back with her sisters.” She went over to sniff their potion. “It wasn’t my idea to spite you and your sisters up to begin with.” She raised her head and nodded as if to put her stamp of approval on the potion. “But no one thought to ask me.”
Jess smothered a grin and looked over at Mira. She saw Mira smirk. Clearly, she was more than use to Amar’s ramblings.
“I mean,” the old woman went on, “why would you ask an old woman? Just because she has years of experience with fighting off the enemy—that’s no reason to think to ask.”
Jess grinned openly. “Well, if it helps, I wish they would have thought to ask you. Imagine how different things might be. We might have even been prepared for someone as powerful as…,” she stopped, then said, what’s-his-face.”
Amar grinned. “Now see. Finally! A girl that has some sense.”
Mira laughed then shook her head, still stirring the potion in the cauldron. “Don’t encourage her, Jess,” She said, laughing. “You see how incorrigible she can get.”
“Mind your tongue, child,” Amar snapped, sobering Jess right up.
But Mira only laughed, and then Jess was surprised to see Amar grin at her.
Amar turned to go—but then, she turned back, eyeing her granddaughters.
Mira glanced up at her, wondering what she had on her mind. She sensed something different—something that Amar was not saying.
“What is it?” she asked.
Amar only smiled. “You shall soon see.” She turned and was gone.
Jess shivered. “I still can’t get use to the way that she does that,” she said.
Mira stared at the place where Amar had just stood, but her mind was on what she had just sensed from the old woman.
What was Amar up to now?
Jess looked at her long enough to break Mira’s concentration. Mira looked over at her.
“What is it?” Jes asked her.
Mira smiled and went back to stirring the cauldron. “I think we’ll be finding out soon enough,” she said.
Jess made a face at her. “See, you’ve been hanging out with her way too long—that’s the kind of cryptic talk…,”
Mira looked up and grinned at her. “Actually,” she said, “I probably picked up that habit in the Land of the Fae.”
Jes raised a brow at her. “That’s true.”
Preparing for War in the Windy City
The men cleared a room where they could have some privacy—and settled down to business. In the weeks since she’d been reunited with her sisters, they had come to know one another again. First, she’d felt she’d needed to tell Jes the truth. She’d felt it necessary since the rogue factions of vampires were quickly coming together to form groups against the Alliance and the Sons of the Dark Mother.
Then, they had found Dara—and learned that Constantine had bitten her—forced the change on her. Since then, she’d had to remain with Dracon, an old friend of the, Justice, the Prince of Fire, and her baby sister’s mate.
Dracon was an old battle vamp himself, and Dara remained by his side most of the time. But that didn’t stop them from forming the Sisters of Three—and bringing together the magick needed to fight Constantine—and the groups of fledgling vamps he’d been forming faster than they could fight them.
Mira realized that Justice knew he wouldn’t see Jes tonight. And, they all knew, as usual, it couldn’t be helped of late. But that didn’t make it any easier for either of them—not Justice—and not her sister—especially after the attack she’d just suffered at the witch’s hands.
At first the men exchanged some superficial stories that were kept light-hearted, stories that didn’t hold the weight of the war at hand. They just enjoyed the night and camaraderie for a bit, but eventually they got down to the inevitable business of war—and the ever-present danger pushed in on them and threatened to force them to take a stand, unlike any stand any of them could remember in human history—save what had happened at Atlantis.
And that war had sunk an entire city into the sea.
Many of the humans could no longer recall Atlantis Herself, much less what had taken place there—and the supernatural forces that had been used, both in the fall of the city—and as the means used to save Mother Earth.
But somehow, if they faced what rumors said they faced, even the fall of Atlantis paled in comparison.
They sat down and caught the rest of the men up on what had been going on, and what their plans were for the upcoming battle. Every man sat quietly, for several moments, contemplating the enormity of the strength this kind of power would bring to Constantine. He had, by himself, proven a threat, the likes of which none of them had ever faced before. With this power—he would be unstoppable.
With this power—he would see himself as a god.
Mira watched as they laid out maps of the city and the outlying suburbs, and they followed Constantine’s path—everywhere he’d been for the past two years—and exactly what they could recall he’d been doing during that time.
They had to move forward, as though they were merely fighting a hand-to-hand battle with Constantine. None of them had any idea of how to deal with the possibility of the other, more horrific, power that might now be a threat.
She knew they would have to search for ideas about how to deal with that one.
In itself, just the standard meeting of vamps, Fae, and Jaguars in war would be difficult to coordinate. And they all knew that war likely would not end with this one battle. This would likely be only the first of many battles, and they were very likely to lose their share.
In fact—Mira realized—they were very likely to lose more than just a few. They just had to make sure they won more than they lost. If the control and power started slipping more and more into Constantine’s hands—than they were doomed.
And none of them were prepared to let that to happen.
Lucius would be the liaison between their troops and the Queen of Darkness—and that concerned her. The queen, herself, had appointed him the one to keep her abreast of the situation. She wanted kept aware of all the planning that went into their efforts to keep Constantine from gaining the power he sought. She’d made it clear she’d send more help should they need it.
But would the humans be able to handle the influx of Fae?
On the other hand, if it came to that, everything the humans had known would be permanently and irrevocably changed by the time the need came to send in large swarms of supernatural beings—shocking the humans and making them realize that everything, they now believed to be true, was an illusion—an illusion thrust upon them by those who would control mankind.
Mira knew that by that time, the humans would have suffered a few major shocks to what had become the great illusion of mankind—given that they’d allowed themselves to be lulled into complacency until eventually they’d forgotten everything—and now were becoming more and more sure they were completely and utterly alone on their planet—or even, in the worst illusion of all believed themselves completely alone in the universe.
Yet if it came down to it and the Queen of Darkness needed to send in large armies, it would no longer matter what would come as a shock to the humans—just as long as they didn’t allow Constantine to win—and take over their Mother Earth.
After Amar had left, Jes glanced at Mira in some alarm. Her sister knew a lot more about being a Jaguar Witch than she did, but they were all pretty new at this—certainly they didn’t have the hundreds of years of experience that Amar’d had. How would they ever be ready to take on such an enemy?
Mira looked up at Jes.
“Don’t tell me you can read minds too?” Jes growled under her breath.
“No,” Mira grinned. “But I’m pretty empathic—as you are. I can sense your fear.”
“Aren’t you afraid?”
“Of course. Who wouldn’t be?” Mira said. “But any man or woman who goes into battle and is not afraid is either crazy—or a fool.”
Jes nodded. She thought as much, too. But it didn’t make her feel any better about going up against something that could only be destroyed by the Sisters of Three—while being mere babes in their craft. That bordered very much on foolish, too—at least in her own mind.
“We will just have to work hard—and trust in the Goddess always,” Mira told her, coming over to put her arm around Jes.
Jes nodded and met her sister’s worried gaze. “And fight like there’s no tomorrow when the time comes, because if we don’t—between the factions of rogue vamps and these bat-like beings—there just might not be a tomorrow—at least not one we will recognize.”
Mira went back to work on the potion. Jes went to read the Book of Shadows. They were going to have to spend more time than ever studying.
They needed to ready themselves to do their part for when the time came. If they failed, everyone they loved would be placed in much more danger.
She knew the humans were oblivious to the many things around them that existed. Once they had known this, but they’d since forgotten. They only allowed themselves to play around with the idea in books and movies.
But this wasn’t a joke—and it wasn’t a movie. The power of three had been around for thousands of years. Jes had always heard the expression by the power of three times three. Now she began to understand what that meant—and what power it drew into the universe, when used. The blood, they carried, helped tap into that power.
Only a witch can beget a witch, Amar had told her—her blood the blood of the Goddess—and the Goddess enabled them to tap into the kind of power it took to go up against a being, who hadn’t surfaced for over three hundred years—or so everyone had thought.
Isn’t that what Amar had said? Jes’s head throbbed—and she rubbed her head.
The power of three—and the love of the Goddess, she thought, would be the only thing that would take them down.
In fact, that love was key, and perhaps one of the greatest reasons the sisters could tap into their power—their love for the Goddess—and their love as sisters.
Without them, they didn’t stand a chance against these beings. Without the power of three—the Sisters of Three—the power of three times three—none of them did.
It was a heavy responsibility.
Roman took Justice though the doorway to speak to the Queen. He came back within two days. He informed them she would send a bigger army.
Where would it all stop?
They could come up with bigger and bigger armies as all the Crow People and Jaguar People—and all the Fae and other races—pulled together—but what made this any different than the humans’ civil war?
Could they avoid a war? Was there any way to stop this war?
The prophecy told of them fighting battles—in order to stop another battle that would end everything as they knew it.
They all knew this, and as a result, a quiet bunch headed for Santa Fe. They were all lost in their own thoughts. This war would be bad, and they all knew it. It had to be stopped—at all costs. Humans were not the only ones at risk. The balance of the Earth was at risk. The rogue factions couldn’t be allowed to have dominion over the Earth.
Humans would become their livestock. And who knew what would happen to the rest of the races.
The first meeting didn’t go well, from the start—this particular faction of Dracasians waited for them as soon as they arrived, since their people had sent word ahead to them about the meeting in the Garden of the Gods—and the Fae. They all sat down for some very tense interactions. Justice reminded them that the Queen of Darkness had sent an army. Of all the armies who were now gathered, the Fae army stood to the front.
Justice talked to them, telling them what the Queen of Darkness had to say to them, when he suddenly turned and peered out into the blackness of the night. Dracon had done so too.
Jes stood immediately, trying to figure out what had alarmed them. The night had taken on a deafening silence.
The forest always warned of those who would hunt. It warned them now, as if the animals living there—waited. Watching to see what would happen—when the predator found its prey.
The armies surrounding them took on a defensive formation. This only further alarmed Jes. They’d thought of the possibilities of a fight—had even prepared for the possibility. But she didn’t know if she was ready to take on paranormal beings in hand-to-hand combat yet.
She stiffened her spine—and her resolve.
She was ready—and she was able. Those who taught her had said as much. She just had to believe—to feel the readiness within herself.
Mira muttered something under her breath. She raised her hands and lit up the night sky—and then they saw them.
They came swooping in like large-winged bats—much bigger than any bat, yet not quite the size of a man. They were like shadows, swooping through the night. And like the shadow, they seemed to appear and disappear with little movement—or effort.
Jes scanned the tree lines surrounding them. She felt for the knife on her hip. She’d taken to wearing a curved dagger like the one Mira wore. Her sister had gifted her with it when she’d arrived. They’d placed a protection spell on it: a spell written by Mira when she’d taken her first trek into the Land of the Fae looking for Xavier Dubioux.
The Bat Things were everywhere.
A chill snaked its way up Jes’s spine. How could the armies fight a shadow?
They pressed in—just outside the strike of the armies, who now surrounded the women. And then, as quickly as they’d appeared—they were gone.
The leader of the Dracasians laughed. His laughter sent another chill snaking down Jes’s spine.
He stood and walked before Justice—and Dracon without fear.
“Now,” he said. “You begin to understand.” And with that he and all his men turned and melted into the night.
Justice turned and looked at Dracon, and Jes followed his gaze.
The ancient vamp watched the woods where his enemy had disappeared, his eyes dark with the bloodlust pouring through his veins, his body taut with heightened anticipation, which had brought out his fangs—and Jes knew….
The time for peaceful conversations had ended.
And in its place—had come war.
Book of Shadows
Mira handed Jes some mandrake root from where she stood before a cauldron, making a potion. Jes dropped a small piece of mandrake in, being careful not to allow it to touch her skin. She stirred the pot. She had aligned this spell with the pull of the full moon, the day of the week—which was Monday—and the hour. All to make the strength of her spell come through that much clearer.
She was working within a large circle, around a large, round table. She had five candles burning. Four were at the four directions, and one was in the place of spirit. For added effect, she had placed a large turtle in the center of the table, which sat in the center of the room, bringing in the Shaman element of the medicine wheel. Something Mira was familiar with.
She didn’t need any of these things to work her spell, but doing so impacted her psyche, making her spell all the more powerful for it.
She was a fast learner—and she was quickly becoming good at this. It was as if she’d been born to it.
Now that was a thought.
Because she had been.
She smiled at her own thoughts and dipped a turkey baster into the liquid, drawing up some of the precious fluid. She injected it into a spell bottle and capped it.
Mira beamed at her. “That was perfect.”
“Are we going to try it out?”
“No, I can feel the power of it. You did an excellent job.”
“Okay. And who is it for?”
Mira lifted the large Book of Shadows from the table and set it upon a smaller table by the sofa. Jes joined her on the sofa and watched as Mira turned the pages. The book was large, and Mira explained as she turned the pages that the book had been passed down through generations, which was considerable information considering the advanced age so which the Jaguar People lived.
They both sat there like that, looking through the book. As was always the case, they got snagged for several long minutes over several of the things they saw in the book while searching for the page Mira had spotted at one time and was trying to find again.
“One or more of our ancestors sure did some painstaking work with the drawings,” Jes mused.
“Didn’t they though,” Mira agreed. “I couldn’t believe it when I first saw this book. It was the most amazing book I’d ever seen. I could sit here all day reading it. And the spells are amazing.”
Jes nodded. “They’re very powerful.”
Mira turned the page, and once more they both sat there reading before she turned to the next page. At last, Mira came to a page that pictured several, large, bat-like creatures. They looked a cross between a bat and a human. They were hanging upside down from large tree branches.
“It is called a Bat Thing,” Mira said, reading from the title.
Jes half laughed and then shuddered. She stared at the drawings. They were exactly what she had seen in her dream. “You would think our ancestors could have come up with a better name for them,” she said, making a face.
Mira laughed at Jes’s shudder, and then she, too, shuddered.
Jes giggled at the look of repulsion on her sister’s face. “And you are the one who spent all that time in the Land of the Fae,” she accused.
Mira grinned. “Nothing there looked like this.” She looked back down at the drawings. “Anyway, I imagine that they couldn’t rename them, although I agree, the name is trite and doesn’t do them justice—at all. They would have had to stay true to the ancient writings about them.”
They both stared at the page.
“Well, you’re right. As much as I am used to supernatural beings—this Bat Thing takes the cake,” Jes said.
Mira gave a small laugh, but Jes could tell she was just as creeped out as Jes. They both just sat there staring at it. They couldn’t help it. It was like one of those things on the movies, where you are overcome with the horror of it, and you know you should look away, but some morbid curiosity won’t allow it.
Finally, Mira started reading from the Book of Shadows. “The Bat Thing is an ancient being,” she read. “It will feed on the blood of any live creature, but it particularly loves human blood.”
“Now that sounds familiar,” Jes commented.
Mira wrinkled her nose in disdain.
Jes gave a short laugh. “You really don’t like vampires do you?”
Mira shook her head.
“What are you going to do when our sister arrives? How are you going to handle the fact that she is now—a vamp?”
Mira pressed her lips into a thin line. “I don’t know,” she said finally.
“What do you think makes you dislike them so much?” she asked carefully.
“Well, to start with, I wasn’t raised knowing about all the supernatural beings around us,” she said. “And then, I had a run-in recently with a particularly vile one.”
Jes nodded. “Darthanian. I heard about that.”
Mira nodded. “I’ve seen some amazing things lately. Things that I didn’t even know existed just a few short years ago.” She turned to Jes. “But you always knew all these things existed. Why do you suppose they sent me with an aunt who didn’t follow the Jaguar People, where I wouldn’t be taught our ways?”
Jes shrugged. “Maybe they thought if she was living as a human—nobody would suspect her.” She looked away, thinking about that awful day in her dream. She couldn’t drag her mind from it. She looked up to find Mira watching her.
Mira was frowning at her. “You act like you know something,” she accused. “I can feel it.”
Jes smiled. She told her about the dream. She told her about the little girl, her, staring at her older self, as though she were begging her to fix everything.
Mira had silent tears running down her face as Jes finished the story.
“It all makes sense now. I can see it all as clear as day, just as you describe it. And I hate the vampires. I hate these bat-like beings. And I loved our nanny. She was like a mother to me.”
Jes nodded. She was crying again too. “To me, too.” She sniffed.
They sat there like that, crying, for several long minutes.
After a moment, Jes asked Mira, again, how she was going to deal with the fact that Dara was a vamp. She asked because she knew she held the same fears that her sister held.
She asked because she knew she carried the same hate for the vamps that had killed their nanny.
Their nanny had died that day—and they had loved her as much as they loved their own mother—more so, because she was there for them—she was there with them. They had loved her as much as they would a mother. In many ways, she was their mother.
And she had died that day.
Now Dara, the sister they loved as much, the sister who had been ripped away from them for all of these years was, herself, a vamp.
Mira sat with her legs folded in front of her, her ring fingers and thumbs touching together in a classic meditation pose as she mediated alongside of her sisters were. She dropped into a deep trance, letting her mind turn to a black screen and giving her thoughts a much needed rest.
Micah was sticking close to the Sisters of Three. He refused to leave Mira’s side at a time like this—and Justice hadn’t even needed to ask to place him as an extra guard over the sisters. Between Roman and Micah, they gave Justice some peace of mind. His duties would not allow him to remain as close to Jes. Mira had no doubt that this was one of the more difficult, and more frustrating, parts of leading his people. He’d have no doubt the sisters could handle themselves. Still, she quickly realized that it helped to ease his mind, knowing that Micah was there. Micah had loved Mira through numerous lifetimes. He would never allow anything to happen to her. He would do what he could to keep the Sisters of Three safe. And that Roman was there, too, with his ability over the doorways, Mira realized brought a great relief to Justice.
They’d needed this—especially after last night. But their needed recovery hadn’t actually caused their current meditation. Actually, they meditated, now, to listen to the spirit world for answers, answers that would tell them how to deal with Constantine.
They listened for their ancestors, so that they might hear something, anything, which would help to lead them toward victory. They listened for the wisdom of the ancients.
After facing Constantine, the sisters knew they would have to put all of their concentration into finding a way to defeat him. It would take their all.
But mainly, for Mira anyway, she meditated on that elusive thread of her thoughts—a strong gut feeling telling her that she should follow something through—if only she knew what that something was. If only she knew what she was supposed do—and to what end.
Justice’s sisters had returned back to their hand-to-hand combat training—driven, now, more than ever, to hone their skills. Jes hadn’t had as much time to practice her hand-to-hand combat skills, at the moment, but she had been careful to put any time she could into it.
Mira had a feeling that their battles would come down to a lot of hand-to-hand combat, at some point. She had a feeling that the day would come when she would need those physical skills, herself, even beyond the magickal skills they currently were learning, in their roles as the Sisters of Three.
Later that night, the sisters worked together to figure out one of the spells in the Book of Shadows. They were trying to work with the old spell that talked about the bat-like beings, trying to work out how to best help the guards to deal with them.
To do this, they’d decided to call on the wisdom of the Morrigan.
Dara mentioned that Bat Things were immune to garlic and, in fact, very little would affect them. However, if the guards were able to stake them, their bodies would die—much like the Vampires.
But—the sisters needed to weaken the creatures first, to allow the guards the time to get close enough to beings like that. Like many spirit-based beings, their spirit wouldn’t die.
Yet, the problem was—they’d learned they were still plenty dangerous without their bodies. Still, they wouldn’t be nearly as powerful in spirit form.
None of it of which Mira found encouraging, and frankly it gave her the creeps. Both she and Jes were intrigued by the depth of Dara’s understanding of these beings—and the level of her training as a Jaguar Witch.
She could almost teach Mira as much as she could teach her. Jes was the only one who didn’t know much about being a witch—though she learned quickly. Dara had been the one to tell Jes that one day she’d be more powerful than both her and Dara combined.
Mira knew that Jes doubted this. Her sister thought it was just something nice that Dara had said to give her confidence. Still, she hadn’t been so concerned with being powerful, just in their staying safe.
Sometime later, Mira realized how much Jes wanted someone to reveal her true name to her because, thus far, she and Dara had refused, trying to remind her that they’d have Amar to deal with, if they told her that.
Instead, they worked to reinforce the spell of protection, around their ritual room, using dragon’s blood, along with some other things—like crystals that they’d programmed with their intent—and they’d placed several small smoky crystals into the potion, chanting beneath their breath as they worked.
The three sisters clasped one another’s hands, leaving Jes’s right hand free to stir. Once more, they’d stood in the center of the circle. A statue of the Goddess Morrigan sat on the table. They had a feather for air, a candle for fire, a shell for water, and dirt for earth on the altar before them.
Jes continued to stir, as the three sisters began to chant.
We call the ancient ones of old,
Those who have gone before us.
We call the power to help us now,
As we walk our path as Jaguar witches.
Lady bless us, protect us now,
Masters show us the way.
Light our path so we may know,
The song of the ancients.
As we speak these words of protection,
We bring the power of three.
Maiden, Mother, Crone of old,
As we will it—so mote it be.
Jes stirred in a quarter cup of Myrrh to aid in meditation, with a quarter cup of Mugwort to aid psychic powers and prophetic dreaming, and a teaspoon each of honey and olive oil. She used these because they’d come to her in a trance, and so she’d told her sisters about them, and she and Mira had looked them up. She’d found they were excellent herbs for inducing trance.
They simmered the mixture and put it into a tiny container.
Mira took out three Candles: one for the Goddess, which was red, one for sisters, which was yellow, and one for the spirits and ancients, which was white. Dara took three stones, large enough to stack them with the largest on the bottom and the smallest on top. They would meditate for the next three nights on the symbols to go beneath the stones.
And they began the main part of the spell in the hours just past the dark moon, calling those who would assist them as they began to chant:
Sweet Mother of the scared Moon,
Just as you are round.
I call your moonbeams as a boon,
To see this Circle sound!
They called out to Morrigan:
Ancient Goddess of the night,
We invoke you, hear our plea!
We ask that you attend this rite,
To bring old knowledge to be.
To sing the old songs,
The words which hold the key!
They called the Quarters, chanting as they lit the candles in each direction.
We call the East to bring the light of the rising Sun. We call the South to bring the knowledge that our will is done. We call the West to bring the wisdom of other days gone by. We call the North that we may sit between the earth and sky.
And then they began to chant:
Great Mother whose heart beats,
Great Father Sky above.
May we have the grace to know,
When we’ve been shown great love!
After meditating for some time, Mira picked up the large stone to write the first symbol, knowing that they would know the order. Dara picked up the second stone, writing the symbol she’d seen in meditation on the bottom and then stacked it on the first, and finally Jes picked up the third stone, and wrote her symbol on the bottom, and stacked it on the second.
Again they began to chant:
As the stones know to lie,
Within the arms of time.
As they hold the ancient knowledge,
Between your world and mine.
Now we stand between the worlds,
And know the way each lays.
So, from this day we will remember,
The old songs from the pyramids they gave.
As our ancestors brought the knowledge,
And the people soon forgot.
We remember within the void,
That silence brings the drop.
Watch the rain, dear child, they heard within their minds. As each drop brings the new, they become part of the old.
“Thank you, Mother,” they said, “Blessed Be.”
They thanked the four directions for their knowledge and wisdom within the circle and closed the circle, then Jes and Mira ate to help ground themselves. Dara no longer ate human food.
They laid around for more than an hour after that, the three of them each caught up in their own thoughts, each personally affected by the ritual they’d just performed.
After a time, Dara got up, once more, to go. It would soon be daylight, and it was time for her to return to Dracon.
Mira watched her for a long moment. “I wish I could understand what it is you see in him.” She shook her head at the warning in Dara’s eyes. “No. I’m not being facetious. I really want to understand.”
Dara watched her for a long moment. She seemed to gauge the sincerity of the Mira’s question.
Mira noticed that Jes seemed forever surprised by her lack of fear with Dara. But Jess didn’t seem put off by their older sister—more like she had an innate respect for the level of power she knew that she felt within her.
Finally, Dara answered Mira saying, “Isn’t that the way of it?” she reproached quietly “That we are constantly trying to understand the motives of the women around us? And don’t we, so often, find ourselves judging those motives—and finding each other lacking—convincing ourselves that we would be so much stronger, so much wiser—so much better than that. Telling ourselves that we would never allow ourselves to be affected by whoever her man might be, or that we would never allow ourselves to be affected by whatever her situation may be.” She shook her head. “We are all so very arrogant,” she said in a near whisper. “Because the truth is, we’ll never really know exactly how we’ll respond, until we’re faced with our own mortality—our own weaknesses—our own deep love for that one man who will affect us so deeply that we’ll throw away everything—for him.” She stepped close to her sister now. “You know the one.” She took her hand and placed it over her heart. “He is the one who can raise us up—or break us.” There were tears in her eyes. “And when that happens—we can be sure there is someone else who’ll be watching us—and judging us for our weakness in loving him so much.”
There were tears, now, in Mira’s eyes too. “So true,” she agreed in a whisper. “And I will only understand, on some level, anyway, in my own deep love for—my own man.”
Dara wrinkled her nose, and Jes knew what was coming and grinned.
“Or men—as it were—depending on which past life our sister here is living in at the moment—and for which lover.” She laughed.
Mira laughed out loud. “Oh, unfair, cheeky sister.”
Jes laughed. “Ahhh…,” she nearly sighed, “but I am only just beginning to learn about my own strengths—and weaknesses—when it comes to love. I think we should count our blessings when we happen to fall in love with the right man. The wrong—wrong man—we’d simply walk away from. But—the right wrong man….” She sighed. “Well, I’d hate to find out about my weaknesses, then.”
Dara nodded. “Exactly. Only when you’ve actually met him will you know exactly what you’ll do, or what fire you’ll be willing to walk through for just the chance to walk a mile by his side.”
Mira shook her head and hugged her sister. “And until then,” she interjected, “We will go on judging other relationships by our own inflated views of our own strengths, and weaknesses, and believe ourselves above it all.”
Jes half laughed, and then shook her head at the thought of it. Her eyes went wide. “How truly sad we all are!”
Mira grinned, “Speak for yourself.” She stuck her tongue out. She turned to her older sister, who had opened the door, “Love well, dear sister. Because in the end, all we can take to our graves—is how well we’ve loved.”
Dara inclined her head. And pulled the door shut behind her.
They spent several days—at least, Mira knew Jes hoped they were days—with the Fae—before heading back, because when in the Land of the Fae, you couldn’t be sure of the true passage of time.
The Queen herself had sent for Dara. She wanted to do the ceremony for the Sisters of Three. She also sent for Amar and the sister’s true mother, Cara. The ceremony didn’t seem overly long, as ceremonies were apt to be, here, as some of the Her Highnesses ceremonies could go on for weeks.
But she held a very beautiful ritual for them. And before she finished, the Queen had them chant the spell from their Book of Shadows.
She’d had Amar bring the spell, but she had told her to keep the book, itself, someplace safe.
The three sisters combined their hands, forming a star as they said the spell.
Ancients of Old
Ancients of Light
We are the Sisters
Join us tonight.
The queen ran a silken cord around their hands, binding them together.
As we bind our hands as Sisters of Three
The power is woven
So mote it be!
The Queen of Darkness sent another army with them, when they left. They were to bring the rebels to her—anyway they needed to be brought.
She sent a portion of her army to escort them back to her.
Mira sensed a shiver snake down Jes’s spine, when she’d seen that.
This couldn’t be worse. Heaven help the rogue factions who refused to listen to the Queen. Actually, heaven help them all.
They couldn’t be caught between two more powerful enemies.
The Queen held Mira in high esteem—but she still remained the Queen of Darkness.
And now that the army, going with them, couldn’t be broken up into smaller units to remain inconspicuous, they may as well be waving a big red flag saying, “Over here! Here we are.”
Justice and Dracon split up to make the units smaller—and spaced them out fifteen miles apart. Now they were heading south of Denver, Colorado. After that, they would be heading toward Santa Fe.
They met with the rogue faction—that was just one of the armies of just one of the more dangerous factions they would have to deal with—in the Garden of the Gods well after dark. The Fae army seemed to simply appear out of the darkness and surround them. Dracon delivered the message from the Queen of Darkness.
The rogue faction, who called themselves Dracasians, didn’t take such news well. Jes was sure that if it were not for the Fae army they would be fighting their way out of this—and that meant risking someone getting infected.
Yes, they all had their inoculations. But like all inoculations, sometimes—for some reason—one failed. Perhaps it was because one of the ones inoculated hadn’t built up enough immunity. Still, the fact remained that one out so many thousands—failed. It was a risk—a small one—but a risk.
The greater risk, though, was in the sheer numbers of the various rogue factions.
They were given a message by the group leader. If they’d had any thoughts that these factions had split off and were each on their own—they’d been wrong.
There were armies all over the world—and they were not separate factions. The rogues had an army that rivaled their own—even with the Fae involved.
And they were being led by Constantine. He’d been Constantine the Great, and he’d been around for almost two millennia, since he’d commissioned the writing of the Bible. As the Emperor of Rome, he’d done so because he’d seen it as the only way to save his people. He’d been buried with the ancient rites of the pagans. But no one had known, then, that in truth he still lived.
For over three hundred years he’d hidden his true identity.
But Constantine’s love for battle had driven him out of hiding.
The Twelve Members of the Dark Cloth were the true darkness. They had tried to control the stone that was the heart of the mother as far back as Atlantis—for this was the stone that renewed all. But the fact that they could go to the stone wasn’t enough for them. Their greed for control over Mother Earth would have destroyed Her—if it were not for the courage of those who died to save Her. Those who walked in the light had been fighting their destruction ever since.
The Twelve Members of the Dark Cloth had many members secretly hidden within the human government. And for many hundreds of years, now, they had sought to control Constantine. Having the powerful old vamp under their control was just what they needed.
However, as of yet, Constantine was controlled by no one.
Jes didn’t have to wait too long before her former partner, Jared, sought her out to explain to him exactly what this meant.
He didn’t like what she had to tell him.
“What!” Jared nearly yelled. “Are you kidding me?”
“Nope. Not at all,” Jes sighed, looking him in the eyes and told him. “I’m not going to lie to you, partner. I can’t think of a more dangerous set of enemies. The Twelve Members of the Dark Cloth have infiltrated the human government, starting at the beginning of time. One or more were members of the very first governments all over the Earth. When your people won the United States, they were there to infiltrate the humans. Many have infiltrated their more powerful churches.”
“Why? What did they hope to gain?”
“They sway the people to go in subtle yet steady directions—directions they need them to go. It may take centuries to accomplish some of their goals. But the humans do not live long enough to spot a pattern. And in the meantime, they’re being led by an unseen power. They like chaos. They thrive off of chaos. They lead the people to always follow a more negative agenda. Not much, just enough to keep the humans heading down a slightly skewed path. But lately—there has been an awakening.”
She looked at Jared, then. “Right now, this force is the one in control, like a hidden government. But your people—are awakening. We’re just fortunate that Constantine has remained a power unto himself. If they were to control him—they would tip the balance into their favor. But Constantine only enjoys the battle. He does not do so for good—or evil.” She stopped, sucking in her breath.” But even separate,” she tried for a smile, and failed, “we can’t possibly win.”
He stared at her, his nostrils flared with the power of his emotions. He knew her, knew she wouldn’t sugarcoat their situation—not with him. She knew he’d heard that things of this sort were being talked about between the humans. She could see that he hadn’t missed the truth of what she’d just told him. “What about what the humans think about theses princes of darkness?”
She looked up at him then. “First, I need you to understand something.” She hadn’t missed how he’d said that. “There is a big difference between darkness and evil,” she told him. “Have you heard of yin and yang?”
He nodded. “It is the balance between darkness and light.”
She nodded. “There must be darkness to balance the light. The darkness—defines the light. Without darkness, you would have no understanding of what is light. It’s like when you walk into a room that has too much yin or too much yang. Neither feels right.” She drew the pattern of the symbol of yin and yang in the dirt. “Nature teaches us to have balance. The Dark Mother teaches us about that side of us. She teaches us about our shadow side—about the darkness that dwells within us all. If you deny that you have shadow, the shadow grows stronger—until you acknowledge that part of yourself. It is why people do things—and then don’t understand why they did them.”
She stood then and walked toward Jared. “The Princes of the Dark Mother fight to keep the true darkness—those who would only take from Mother Earth for their own greed and control—from taking over our Mother. And, yes, they are powerful, especially together.” She stopped. “They fight for the balance that must be—that balance is the balance between the darkness—and the light. But the church teaches the people to fear that balance. Yet, the more they try to only show love—the more they only wind up judging others—and showing anything but love. They live in fear of doing wrong—and that fear only feeds the true darkness—for such darkness lives—in fact thrives—off of that fear. It is only by letting go of fear—that the people will embrace their whole—and only then will the darkness lose their control over the people.”
Jared stared at her for a long moment, then frowned. “So, once again, as humans, we have allowed fear to rule us. And the church is how they have controlled the people with fear.” He frowned. “We have a lot to learn in letting go of our fears if we’re to stop being controlled.” He frowned. ”And that fear makes them more powerful?”
Jes’s brow shot up, but she didn’t say anything.
The power of that truth was a lot to integrate with everything he’d ever known—even for someone who was as open-minded as Jared.
“You have no idea.”
Jared’s frown grew deeper. “So how do we win against such a—set of enemies?”
It was Jes who frowned now. “I honestly don’t know.”
Sisters of Three
The Sisters of Three could see Justice move his body carefully out of the way of the door, without blocking the window to his right. He knew his third sister was poised to let her arrow fly from a window toward the back of the shack and to his left.
Constantine was so arrogant that he never questioned his ability to defeat any enemy, much less an enemy he considered a boy, like Justice. After all, he had been doing battle with his enemies for centuries.
It had become almost too easy for him.
Why else would he place himself with an open window nearly to his back?
The Sisters of Three watched the exchange between Justice and the old vamp, watched as Dracon came through the door.
And they saw the vamps pour from the woods in flocks.
The sisters let go of each other’s hands long enough to grab the potions. They saw Justice’s sisters expertly shoot their arrows at the incoming vamps, neatly piercing the vamps’ hearts.
They never missed.
But they couldn’t stop all of the vamps who poured from the darkened protection of the woods. There were just too many of them. Jes, Mira, and Dara were keenly aware that, no matter how hard they tried, Justice’s sisters could no longer reach him—or Dracon.
The vamps couldn’t see Justice’s sisters—so they remained unharmed for now.
But now it was up to Jes, Mira, and Dara.
They quickly began to chant their spell as they stepped through Roman’s doorway and appeared in front of the shack. They moved to form a circle around the perimeter of the cabin and threw their potions high over the shack, then crossed through Roman’s doorway back to their original place where, again clasping hands, they chanted the rest of their spell, temporarily binding their enemies and blinding them to their movements.
Roman had stayed behind with Justice and Dracon.
Seconds later, they saw Justice and Dracon disappear from the cabin.
Jasmine and Ophelia slipped through the woods like silent thieves. Their sister was in the hands of Constantine, and the waiting had been horrible. She had walked into the greatest danger—willingly—to give them an edge.
But now, they were finally moving to get her back.
It felt good to be doing something. They had just come through one of Roman’s doorways and now scouted the woods for the Sisters of Three, relaying what they found back to the sisters, who waited to cross through the doorway to meet them at the shack where Mia was being held.
They felt strange with one of them was missing, but they were going to fix that now.
They were in constant contact with Justice and Dracon, kept up-to-date with how the battle was going—but from the sounds of it, the men were not faring well, and it was also apparent that Constantine was again interfering with their communication with Justice and Dracon—although, after the last time, they had expected this.
What he had been unable to interrupt, however, was the connection that Jes had formed with Mia—from the moment she had helped Justice find her—through the shamanic journey.
That connection had strengthened over the last few days, and Constantine had been unable to break it. Both sets of sisters were now counting on that to help them to save Mia.
But from the panic that Jes had been in ever since returning from the journey, they were all afraid that it may already be too late.
No one knew for certain what trap an aged vamp like Constantine might have ready to spring on them. He certainly had not just been waiting for them to make their move. He most likely had been anticipating the moment that they failed to see what he was about.
The two sisters approached the shack on silent feet. The forest again held its breath. Not even the birds warned of who walked the forest this day.
That in itself was an omen they didn’t care to think about.
The two sets of sisters were the ones who would try to free Mia, while the battle hopefully kept Constantine busy. They knew they were dealing with a formidable enemy, one who quite possibly knew every trick ever known, throughout all of history, for defeating his foe.
But they were astonished to find that no one—no one at all–had been left to guard the shack. It sent a shiver down their respective spines—for Constantine was not careless.
And they did not have time to try to figure out exactly what trap he had set for them.
They approached the door, and Dara had almost stepped through the doorway, when they saw Morgi—and witnessed her hushing them with a wave of her hand in an effort to sound a silent alarm. The sisters moved forward quickly, as quietly as they could. The Sisters of Three were already approaching the other side of the cabin. They had come through Roman’s doorway, but Jasmine immediately put up her hand to halt any further action on their part.
Ophelia stared at them from the broken window across the way. They could see Mia. She stood within a circle. No one guarded the circle either.
Yet, even so, each of them knew they wouldn’t be able to get her out.
When the Sisters of Three had come around through the shack door—and stood in front of the circle—Jes finally met Mia’s gaze.
She had to fight to do so.
She did not want Mia to see—what she knew would show within her own eyes.
And she did not want to see—what would be there within Mia’s either.
When Jes finally did meet her gaze, Mia only shook her head at her in sadness. She looked at all three of them—meeting their gazes bravely. “Go sisters,” she commanded softly. “There is nothing you can do!”
But Morgi was already waving at them to stand on the other side of the circle. Mia stared at Morgi as she slowly walked the circle surrounding her. Mira also walked the circle. Jes had no idea what was going on; the power she felt was far too strong for any of them to break. They could potentially kill Mia while trying to free her from Constantine’s charm.
And Mia appeared to be sick.
Jes and Mira looked to Dara for confirmation.
Dara shrugged. “I want to say that he’s somehow turned her,” she whispered. “She looks sick enough—that he may have found a way to do so. That—or the vaccine didn’t work.” She frowned as she appeared to concentrate on Mia. “But something doesn’t feel right—she feels different…,” she said, making sure that Mia’s sisters did not hear.
Morgi had stopped on the other side. She directed Ophelia and Jasmine to stand on either side of her. She told them to use their love, nothing more.
She looked across the circle, expectantly. But the only one she stared at was Jes.
“Shira!” she commanded, “Raise the power!”
Jes stared at Morgi. She raised her hand, pointing at herself in her surprise. “Who—me?” She stared at the woman like she’d lost her mind. Who was she talking to? She was not Shira!
“Do as I tell you!” the witch commanded.
Jes was trembling with shock. She raised her hands, intending to tell the witch where she could get off. She was too amazed by the name she had just been called to think straight. Was that the name that Amar had forbidden her sisters to reveal to her?
Who did Morgi think she was, calling her that, when her own sisters had been so careful not to tell her what it was? Who did she think she was—to do what even her own grandmother had said not to do!
“I have watched the witch who made this circle! Now, do as I say!” Morgi again commanded.
Jes opened her mouth to tell Morgi it was impossible. She could feel the power of this circle, and she knew it was impossible. But then—she caught Mia’s eyes. And the look in Mia’s eyes stopped her cold.
Mia was a fierce warrioress—but what Jes saw in her eyes scared her beyond anything she’d ever felt.
For Mia stood there calmly, without fear. She stood there with only love shining in her gaze. And she stood there—ready to die.
“Oh, hell no!” Jes yelled at her. “No one dies today!”
And she did indeed raise the power.
Mira joined her—and then Dara. The power was so immense it brought tears to the eyes of those who watched. It went through the Sisters of Three like a great, white light, and they became like the ones of old, shining brightly—too brightly to behold.
The circle shimmered. Mia passed out. Jes felt her throat close with fear—and the light began to fade.
“Hold steady, granddaughter!” she heard Amar command.
She didn’t know where her grandmother was watching her from, but it was all she needed to hear.
The light magnified, brighter than ever. It turned the shack into a ball of white prisms. Jes was afraid that all of Justice’s sisters would die this day, but she couldn’t think of that. Fear was her enemy—especially here.
She raised the power higher still—Dara and Mira continuing to join in with her. The walls of the shack fell away—and then the circle that held Mia disintegrated.
Morgi yelled at Roman. She was a fierce sight to behold, standing there. He and Micah had stopped at the edge of where the shack had stood only a moment before—near to where the shack used to have a doorway—only moments before.
But now they saw only bare ground.
They both stared at first the ground—and then at Morgi. When the shack had disappeared within the blinding light, it had forced Micah and Roman to cover their faces.
And now they could only stare at where the cabin had stood—where now they saw only charred earth.
Roman raised the doorway and stepped across the charred earth to pick up Jasmine. Micah picked up Ophelia.
Morgi had not waited for them to gingerly cross the hot earth, but had immediately picked Mia up, tossed her over her shoulder, and carried her through Roman’s doorway—and had then returned to where Micah was holding Ophelia and took her from him.
He barely paid her any mind. He only stared at where the Sisters of Three now lay.
“Stay with them, I’ll return shortly,” Roman commanded, and Micah could only nod.
He couldn’t take the Sisters of Three through Roman’s doorway—none of them could. Their bodies were gone.
And in their place were beings—made only of light….
Land of the Fae
Micah held his hand out to Mira, from where she sat brushing her hair in front of the mirror. Smiling, she came to lay down on the bed beside him, slipping her arms around his neck and staring up into his dark, exotic eyes as he came up over her. She could see in his eyes that he’d been scared for her—and for her sisters—since they had come so close to dying.
He ran his hand down her arms, then moved his fingers over her rib cage, leaving a fire in his wake, and she moaned, drawing his head down to kiss her deeply, her body arching up in an age-old answering call to his.
He tore at the material covering her body as she did the same to his, impatient to get her fingers on his hard muscled, sinfully dark skin. Moaning out loud, she helped him to get her clothes off as he came over her and buried himself in her in a heated frenzy.
She whispered his name, telling him to take her harder, revealing in the touch of him—the feel of him. And when she came—he was right there with her, yelling his release into the darkening room until, spent, he collapsed on top of her.
She slipped her hands around his waist, running her fingers over his skin in languid movements.
“I never get tired of that,” she said with a smile.
He leaned up, kissing the tip of her nose, then giving her lips a soft kiss, causing her to deepen it as her arms came up around him—and it was some time later when they fell asleep.
When Mira woke, she lifted her head to find him sleeping quietly beside her, the early morning sun peaking in and touching his skin. She stretched, smiling.
Their future may be unsettled, she thought, but she had never been happier. She didn’t know when they would find peace from Constantine—but she did know that she could never be more blessed than she was right now. She had her sisters—as the Sisters of Three. She had Micah—and those who shared her body, from her past lives had Lucius, Roman and the others.
She smiled, staring at Micah’s perfect sleeping form.
The future might be uncertain—but whatever they needed to face—they would do so together—and they would do so for the rest of what remained of their lives.
She leaned up, giving him a sweet kiss as he opened his dark, sinfully beautiful eyes.
And together they greeted the dawn….
You can find Mira and Micah in
Jaguar Witch—Doorway of the Triquetra
Check back for Jaguar Witch
Book Two of Children of Atlantis
Due out in 2016
You can also find Mira in the
Daughters of the Circle
As a mentor for Alli in Fire Sprite, Realm of the Elemental Witch
And with the Sisters of Three in
The Fallen One, Sons of the Dark Mother
Morgan’s Wand Excerpt
Land of the Fae
Morgan glanced around at all those who had become like family here in the Land of the Fae. She missed Sophia. And, not for the first time, she felt a pang, hoping the time would soon come when Sophia could return home.
She winced at this. Now, she had to hope that she, too, would get to return home. Surprised, she stopped walking.
When had Ravenwood Manor become so important to her as to actually call it home? she thought. She couldn’t remember the last time she had considered any place to be her home.
She smiled, inwardly. She’d probably began to see it as home when she’d come to see all who lived there—and all who lived, here, in the Land of the Fae—as family—and not just her friends. They worked together to reach a common goal. They shared a common destiny. And they were as much a part of their family as Claire.
She stepped forward into the sunshine.
She didn’t know what would happen when she went to face the Witch of the Everwood, but soon she would find out. Mira had told her that the time had come for her to be taken back to the tree. She felt both apprehension at this—and relief. For, at last, she would know what was to be her fate.
The time had come and Mira led her to the edge of the Land of the Fae and lifted the veil, giving her instructions as to how to return to the Everwood Tree of the Fates, where she would meet her nemesis at long last.
Morgan walked with her head up and her shoulders back. She had the beautiful wand, held firmly within her grasp, holding it with firm determination in her right hand. Before Mira closed the veil between their worlds, Morgan turned and gave her a warm hug.
“Thank you so much,” she whispered near her ear.
There were tears in Mira’s eyes as she squeezed her hand and let her go. Morgan turned away before she broke down in tears, as well, and she stepped through the veil.
Turning, she saw Mira wave before the mist enshrouded her.
Morgan turned to face the forest. She let her head fall back, tilting her face to the sun before looking around. Her gaze sharpened, as she took in the wooded area around her. The sun dappled the ground, peeking through the lush green leaves above.
Suddenly, she didn’t feel so alone—and she realized that she’d never been. There were Faery friends all around her, watching over the forest. They were the living souls of every living thing.
Morgan smiled and headed down the trail she would need to take back to the Everwood Tree of the Fates….
Check back for Daughters of the Circle
Due out this fall of 2015
Lenora grew up in Montana and Alaska, and currently lives in the central US. She holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Northern Colorado, with a minor in writing, and is a student of the Shaman path. She lives her dream, daily, as a writer. She is also the mother of four grown children, inherited four more when they each took mates and has several beautiful grandchildren.
Sign up for my newsletter each month at
Or on my blog
Dark Cloth Series:
[+ Dark Warrior: To Tame a Wild Hawk+]
[+ Dark Warrior: Kid+]
Dark Gunman: Cord
Coming this summer
Dark Gunman: Jake
Coming this fall
Dark Warrior to Tame a Wild Hawk
Bonus Short Story
Coming out in May
SONS OF THE DARK MOTHER SERIES
The Fallen One
Coming out this spring
Coming out this summer
Coming out this fall
Daughters of the Circle
Shadows in Ravenwood
[+ Vol. 1+]
Released March 2015
Daughters of the Circle
Witches of Ravenwood
[+ Vol. 2+]
Released June 2015
REALM OF THE ELEMENTAL WITCH
[+ Vol. 1+]
Released March 2015
Coming out this summer
Coming out this fall
Want to be notified of new releases?
Your email will not be sold or used for any other purpose.
I give away a FREE ebook for signing up, and your name is automatically entered for a chance to win a $25 gift card at the next release time for one of my new books. I release a new book at least every three months—or four times to six times, or more, a year.
Want to help me to write more stuff you love? If you enjoyed this ebook, please give a quick review. I read each one of these, and with your help, I’m able to give you an even better adventure in my next book.
And if you write a review, please drop me an email at , so I can thank you.
Drop by or write me at [email protected] if you like the idea of a NEW Members Only Clubs for each of my series. For $25-$50, depending on what’s in that membership, you can read FREE Bonus Short-Stores, by part of my new PRE-release club, receive swag and gain entry into the LAND OF THE FAE.
When entering the Land of the Fae, you can gain access to the full Book of Shadows, get up and close and personal with the character interviews, gain access to maps and buildings, and learn all about the various weapons and wands used.
These are only a few of the perks I’m thinking of including….so let me know what you think
I am thankful for my soft place to land, even though he had absolutely no reason to do so, and even though his fears would make it difficult, it was still a roof over my head, and for that I am truly thankful. I am thankful for my family. I had some of the most difficult years of my life. I’ve lived through things I shouldn’t have survived.
I’m thankful to my children. I know I’ve worried you. I’m especially thankful to my youngest son, you’re pretty fearless and stayed right by my side. To my oldest son, you are always so kind to me. To my daughter, you were willing to do a difficult thing for me. And to my middle son, I will always love you. I love you all. I always feel our Great Mother watching over us. And I always come out stronger.
I’m thankful for all my angels and guides for brining me through my dark night of my soul. I see the light of day, and I’m thankful I’ve survived. I’m thankful to myself for having the strength to reach for life, even when I wanted to quit and cease to exist. I’m thankful for the wisdom to know I would be glad I made it through, even when I was screaming in my car so no one else would know. I’m especially thankful for my friends for reaching out when I most needed it and trying to help me through. I will never forget it.
I love you all so much. I’m thankful to my fans. My friends and family. It saved my sanity. I threw myself into my writing, and it took up all my time and provided a chance to heal. It also gave me a place to express myself in creative and healing ways. Her Dark Mirror may be fiction, but it allowed me to write without censor. Thank you for putting up with me, even when I hit a wall and didn’t update my blogs:) You all are the greatest.
Most of all I’m thankful for the divine—how could anyone question all the help we get. It is the reason we make it through. It’s in the soft petal of a flower, the sun’s rays upon the damp earth, the ocean’s waves upon the sandy beach, and the crest of the mountain top. We are loved. May we always have some place inside that knows it, even when we’re in our darkest hour. I am grateful mother. I am your daughter, and I am grateful. And I love you so.