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Eternity Unbound - Chapter 1 Excerpt

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Eternity Unbound
Available: 
5th December 2023

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Sensing Branwen’s faint presence, Ky finally stopped dimension hopping, sifting in and out of the ether to get from one point on the planet to another in the blink of an eye.  Some parts of Earth he had been to were in darkness, some in twilight, either at the beginning or the end of the day, and others like here, were in full daylight.

 

As the adrenaline receded, he was overcome by exhaustion that consumed both his body and mind.  Emotionally, he felt like he’d been torn into pieces, struggling with a range of conflicting emotions - anger, confusion, desperation, and disorientation.  He felt lost in every sense of the word - emotionally and physically adrift.

Ky thought back on the events that had led him here, wherever here was.  He was on Earth, that was the only fact he was certain of.  The continent and country, he could only guess at.  Wherever he was, the climate was hot and humid with dense green jungle as far as the eye could see, much like the wilderness in Fey he was so accustomed to.  Except, somewhere in this jungle was his mate Branwen, along with the horde of demons who had abducted her.

His mind replayed that fateful moment which had irrevocably derailed everything he had believed, setting him on an uncertain path toward an unknown destination. 

After spending the best three weeks of his life with Branwen, her father had once again chosen to separate them.  Only, this time Jovan was determined to put as many miles distance between them as possible, and sent her to stay with relatives in a small village near Hadrian’s Strait, southeast of Avengard’s city.  Or so he’d been told.  Of course, Ky wasn’t happy about it, but what could he do?  Branwen was still his daughter, and until she was of appropriate age, she was not free to make her own decisions, regardless of the fact that she was his mate.

Ky sat by the fire in the dining hall, absently pushing his food around on his plate as he listened to the discussion between his brothers.  He wished he didn’t have to hear about Wade’s honeymoon, it wasn’t as though he had no interest in it, he just didn’t want to hear about it right now when he was missing Branwen so much.  Not that anyone would’ve noticed his melancholy mood since it wasn’t much different to most other days.  Except, no matter how hard he tried, today he just couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right.

He could feel Branwen’s pain and distress through their bond.  No doubt she was feeling their enforced separation as keenly as he was, he assumed. 

Silently, the door opened and a servant quickly entered, bowing toward Raif.  “My Lord, Jovan is here to see Ky.  I’m sorry, he refused to wait in the vestibule,” the servant flustered.

Ky put his fork on his plate and stood.  “It’s okay Kenric, I’ll see him.”

“You’re damn right you will.  This is all your fault!” Jovan impugned angrily, pushing the servant aside as he stormed into the room.

“What’s my fault?” Ky asked apathetically, Jovan’s animosity toward him seemingly par for the course and nothing out of the ordinary.

“If it wasn’t for you, I never would’ve sent her to my brother’s home.”

“What the Hell are you talking about?”

“Glen Neth.  That’s where my brother lives.  I sent her there to keep her away from you.”

Ky frowned, even more confused than before.  “Let me put this another way.  What the fuck are you talking about?  You sent her west, to Glen Neth?  Are you crazy?  I thought you sent her to Lisvane, on the coast.”

Ky suddenly felt lightheaded and for a second, time seemed to stand still.  Branwen was sent to the western-most region in Avengard where there had been recent attacks by the Gaulin demons?

“The village of Glen Neth was raided last night by demons, including my brother’s farm…and Branwen was taken.”  Jovan’s voice trailed off in a sob of regret.

No, no, no, no, no, no! 

The true reason for the intense emotions Ky had been feeling from Branwen became acutely clear.  On a sharp intake of breath, his whole body went rigid with a stab of pain so intense, it felt like a knife had cut straight to his soul.  His whole body shook with fury and despair.

“Why?  Why did you send her there?” Ky’s voice was barely above a whisper as he forced the words through the constricted cords in his throat.

“To make sure she wouldn’t be tempted to lose her virginity.”

“Are you serious?  You’d rather risk your daughter’s life than allow her to follow her heart and bond with me, her mate?!  Well, old man, I should inform you that you’re too late.  We’ve already done that deed,” Ky told him defiantly.

“What?  No!  You’ve had sex with Branwen?” Jovan almost screeched. 

“You didn’t think you could keep us apart forever, did you?” Ky replied.

“This can’t be happening.” Jovan’s anxiety seemed to skyrocket in an instant.  “You don’t understand.  I was trying to keep the two of you apart for a reason, and not as you believe because I don’t like you.  In truth, I think you’re a great match for my daughter.”

“What?  Then why have you gone to such great lengths to keep us apart for so long?” Ky asked, totally bewildered.

“Because, when Branwen was born, a seer told us that one day she would come into great power, but she wouldn’t obtain this power until she had intimate relations for the first time.”

“She’s never mentioned this to me,” Ky snapped angrily.

“She doesn’t know.  Her mother and I never got around to telling her.  We had hoped that by keeping her away from temptation, the prophesy wouldn’t be fulfilled.  At least, not until she was of age, and hopefully more capable of controlling her power.”

Ky was so shocked he forgot to breathe.  “What’s the power she’s supposed to have, a healing ability, like my sister Brin?”

“No.  We were told she would be able to absorb the abilities of others.  The way the seer described it, as her powers are emerging, there is a chance that she could be swayed toward the dark path, or her power could be used for evil purposes.  She wasn’t too clear on that point, so my wife and I decided Branwen needed to be protected from obtaining her power for as long as possible.”

Holy crap on a cracker!

“And now it appears you’ve managed to put her directly in the path of evil to help fulfill that prophecy,” Seth told the older man, stating what everyone was thinking.

“I was trying to protect her,” he defended.

“I hate to say it, but if those Gaulin demons were able to sense her power, that could be the reason why she was taken.  Do we know anything about the other girls who’ve been abducted?” Raif asked, looking at his brothers.

“I know that one of them had recently been accepted as a novice to a seer,” Wade replied.

Jovan’s anxiety increased as his daughter’s dire situation was becoming more and more clear. 

“Ky, if you’ve bonded with Branwen, can you sense where she might be?” Jovan asked desperately.

“I haven’t bonded with her, not fully.  We’ve only had sex.”

“But you’ve always felt a strong connection to her, you know whenever she’s nearby.  Can you sense her location now?” Wade asked him.

“I know where she’s not.  She’s not in Fey.”

The moment the words left his lips, Ky knew what he had to do, and where he had to go.  And he wasn’t about to waste a single second getting there.  Walking to the window with long strides, he opened it and leapt out, shifting into his dragon on the free fall.  He cut it so fine that as he lifted his head to climb toward the sky, his tail hit the ground, gouging a deep hole in the courtyard.  He had barely cleared the street level buildings when he punched through the dimensional barrier to Earth.   At such a low altitude, it created a sonic boom that rumbled through the city like an earthquake, shaking and rattling everything within a one mile radius. 

His brothers cried out to stop, but by the time they realised his intention, Ky was already gone.

How long ago was that, he wondered, three hours, four, or maybe even ten?  It felt like an eternity.  The only clue he had was the discomfort in his wings, which were starting to ache and cramp.  He could recall this happening only once before, after foolishly braving a trip across the Hadrian Straight, through the worst storm he’d ever had the displeasure of encountering.

It seemed that after the initial panic which had driven him to fly aimlessly across the world subsided, a few rational thoughts were beginning to return.  Ky shook his head in an effort to untangle his jumbled thoughts. While he hadn’t made it a priority to learn about Earth in the past, he was aware that armed conflicts raged on nearly every continent.  The last thing he wanted was to face both demons and armed men at the same time, at least not without a plan. 

With that in mind, it was imperative that he land and shift back into human form, and not just to ease the discomfort in his wings.  He needed to find someone who could tell him where the Hell he was. Not to mention there was also the small matter that humans of Earth were under the impression that dragons were nothing but a mythical beast, and it needed to stay that way.  The longer he remained airborne, the higher the risk of being spotted.  He highly doubted anyone from his homeland of Fey or his extended family here on Earth would be too pleased with him if that were to happen. 

Muscles rippled beneath the thick emerald-green hide of his dragon wings, every muscle beginning to shake with strain.  Regardless, he ignored the pain, flying low over the tree line until he came in sight of something familiar.  A road.  It was a narrow dirt road, filled with potholes, yet it looked to have been used recently.  Small puddles of muddy water had begun to dry, leaving deep indentations of fresh tyre tracks. 

 

Ky followed the road, flying so low the tips of his wings clipped the tops of the trees, hoping the humid fog that clung and hovered over the jungle would shield him from view, at least in part.  He listened for the sound of a car engine, it was far in the distance at first, growing louder as he got closer.  Finally, he spotted it, an old beat-up, faded red tray-truck, filled with crates of noisy chickens, sacks and boxes.

For a moment he debated where to land.  If he landed behind the truck the driver may not see him and continue to drive on, leaving him alone and lost.  That left only one other option, landing in front of the truck.  Okay, so that would mean exposing his beastly side to a human, but it was only one, not a whole city.  If necessary, he could always call for the assistance of a vampire to wipe the person’s memory, he justified as he flew ahead of the vehicle, did a quick 180o, pulling his wings in tight so as not to demolish a section of the jungle as he came in to land.  Extending his legs, his long taloned claws bit deep into the soft road surface, bringing him to an immediate stop.

It was only when the car continued to speed toward him, skidding to a stop only a meter from where he stood that he considered a third option.  He could have landed around the next bend in the road and just waited there for the truck to catch up to him.  Oh well, there was nothing he could do about that now.

“Nossa! Meu Deus!” the woman screeched as she slammed on the brakes, trying to avoid a collision with the giant green dragon that had landed not twenty feet in front of her on the road…that was not a dragon, but a man?  What the Hell?  She shook her head and blinked quickly a couple of times to try to clear her vision. 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.  Do you speak English?” Ky asked as he walked toward the car.

The woman slowly nodded.  She wasn’t exceptionally young, nor was she exceptionally old, he noted.  Maybe in her early thirties?  Her thick lock of long dark hair showed no signs of any grey, and while there were a couple of small lines at the corners of her eyes and mouth, they looked more like laugh lines than from age, and her olive skin remained taught and youthful, other than her hands which still gripped the steering wheel tightly, showing evidence of hard work and exposure to the elements. 

“Great.  Can you tell me, where on Earth, am I?” Ky asked.

The woman stared back at him, her fearful expression not entirely directed toward Ky, he could see she was doubting her own sanity, and that maybe the heat had somehow made her hallucinate the image of a dragon.  One second the road was clear, the next a giant dragon landed in front of her, then in a haze of dust from her tyres the dragon disappeared and a man appeared?  No, that wasn’t right.  For one thing, there was no dust from her tyres, the road was too wet for that.

“Huh?”

“Where am I?  Which part of Earth am I in?”

“You don’t know?” she asked suspiciously, still trying to decide whether or not she was losing her mind.

“No.  Please, I need to know.  I’m trying to find someone who’s been abducted.  I’ve tracked her to this region, but I just don’t know whether this is.”

“Ahhh…” The woman scratched her head.  Abducted?  This was certainly the region for it, so maybe she wasn’t having the complete freakout she thought she was.

“This is Brazil, the northern part of the country,” she told him.  “I’m from a village not far from here, along the Rio Negro River.”

Okay, from the little he knew about Earth, he was aware Brazil was located in South America.  And other than what he observed during his flight over the region for the past few hours, which revealed a vast expanse of dense jungle with rugged terrain, stretching as far as the eye could see, he had no additional understanding about the country.

“Do you know anything about abducted women being held captive somewhere in this region, or any other strange creatures?”

“Stranger that you?  No.  But I know of someone who might,” she told him.

“I’m sorry, I’m being rude.  I should have introduced myself.  I’m Ky.”  He held out his hand cordially in greeting, a gesture she chose to ignore, staring at his extended hand like it might somehow swallow her up.  That was his fault he conceded, he did just scare the crap out of her.

“Ana Maria,” she replied.  “You’re not from around here.”  It wasn’t a question, but a plainly stated fact.  The only hint of a question in her statement related to which planet he might have come from, not which country. 

“Not exactly.  You said you know someone who could help me?  Could you take me to them?”

“I said he might be able to help.  Climb in the back.  My village is about a half hour drive.”  She put a lot of emphasis on the word, might.

Ky looked at the empty seat beside the woman, and then at the cramped space in the back of the truck. 

Clearly she didn’t trust him, not that he could blame her, she’d just seen him shift from a dragon to human.  Regardless, she hadn’t completely freaked out and tried to run him over, which surprised him a little.  In fact, she not only stopped to talk with him, she was prepared to let him ride in her truck, the woman had courage, he admired that. 

With a resigned sigh he thanked her and climbed onto the tray of her truck.

Fortunately, he wasn’t as well muscled as some others of his kind, i.e. his brothers, so took up less space in width, although with a height of only an inch shy of seven feet tall, he suspected he was exchanging cramping wings for cramping legs instead.  Regardless, as the saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers.  Whether he liked it or not, he needed this woman’s help.

And, as it turned out, in addition to his cramped limbs, he also acquired several superficial wounds down the right side of his body where he was pressed hard against the chicken cages.  Those noisy creatures had nasty temperaments, pecking at him continuously for the entire trip to Ana Maria’s home.

As the truck came to a stop, Ky couldn’t get out fast enough, levelling the beastly fowls with an indignant glare.  One in particular appeared to take great pleasure in his suffering, he would even go as far as saying it was gloating, if chicken gloated.

“That bird is evil,” Ky pointed an accusing finger.

“Which bird?” Ana Maria asked.  She stood cautiously at a distance, however the suspicion in her eyes began to soften and lighten to mild humour as she looked at the numerous bloodied marks on his arm and thigh. 

 

Maybe she thought it funny that a dragon could be bested by a puny chicken?  Okay, there was something amusing about that, in an annoying way.  In fact, he would have thought it hilarious if it had been anyone but him in this situation. 

“That one,” he pointed to the bird with a patch of brown on its chest.

“Ahh…Okay then, that one will do.” 

Baffled by her nonchalant statement, Ky watched as she unlatched the cage door, seizing the chicken by the legs.  In a swift motion, she tucked the bird under her arm and broke its neck with one clean snap.

“Why did you do that?” Ky shrieked, his tone escalating in shock.  

Ana Maria shrugged.  “This one is now dinner.  I don’t like savage chickens, they tend to teach the others bad habits, so they’re always the first to go in my cooking pot,” she grinned.  “Hungry?”

Ky hadn’t thought about food until now, and yes, he was a bit hungry.  Although, there was something he needed more than food.  He needed to find Branwen.

Seeing the conflict in his eyes, Ana Maria stepped closer to put a hand on his arm.  “If you plan on looking for your friend out here in the Amazon, you’ll need to eat first,” she told him simply.  “Come on, come inside.  Bring the chicken after you’ve finished plucking it.”  Handing him the lifeless chicken, Ana Maria and turned on her heel and headed inside.

Ky surveyed his surroundings. In front of him stood a solitary, one-storey structure with a spacious veranda. Time had taken its toll on the porch's wooden teams, as evidenced by the rot and decay which had set in, due to the constant dampness from the ground and air. The building itself fared a little better, with plenty of windows and a wide entrance that ensured adequate ventilation. However, it could benefit from a fresh coat of paint as the once vibrant red hue had begun to flake and fade over time into an unassuming shade of brown, giving the building a camouflaged appearance against the surrounding jungle.

He mumbled under his breath, cursing the demons that took Branwen.  Cursing the fact that he found himself in this isolated place.  And cursing himself for not taking steps beforehand to ensure this could never have happened.  If only he had stood up to Jovan earlier, insisted that he should be allowed to marry Branwen, as they had always wanted.  Was it a lack of courage on his part or a misplaced sense of respect for his mate’s father’s wishes?  Either way, hindsight never helped the present situation.

So, with that in mind, Ky set to plucking the feathers from the chicken, and took great pleasure in doing so, he found it quite cathartic actually, expending all his pent-up anger and frustration on the savage beast.  When he was done, he entered the house, which he discovered wasn’t exactly a house.  There were several tables and chairs dotted neatly about the room, with a bar ran the length of one wall, and behind it were glass shelves lined with bottles of alcohol, plus other general supplies.

“This is your home?” he asked Ana Maria when she appeared from another room to take the chicken from him.

“Yes, and the local bar, and the local general store.  And today it’s also the local boarding house.”

Ky understood her meaning and he was about to protest but Ana Maria countered his thoughts before he had even fully formed them in his mind.

“Senhor Ky, I know you want to find your friend as soon as possible, but if you don’t know where you are now, how do you know where you need to go?  This is a big land with a lot of nasty surprises just waiting to catch out the unprepared.  And believe me, you Senhor, are definitely unprepared.”

“I’m sure I’d be fine out there, I’m not like other men,” he told her.

“Clearly, but that doesn’t mean that what I said is less true.  Now, you’ll find the bathroom through there, get cleaned up and help me prepare dinner.  You can cook, can’t you?”

“Umm…”

“Ah, aquela pobre garota!” she growled.

“What did you say?”

“I said, I feel sorry for that poor girl you’re here to find.  Obviously you’re in love with her since you’ve travelled here from who knows where, to rescue her.  Is she your wife?”

“No, not yet.”

“Ah, in that case I suggest you start learning how to be a good husband.  Learn to cook.”

What could he say to that, except okay.  Nonetheless he itched to leave, to continue his search.  Every minute he wasted was one minute more that Branwen was in danger.

The next hour went by quickly as he helped prepare the chicken for dinner, the occasional clip across the back of the head to refocus his attention was required, but at the end he was surprised he had accomplished the task with relative ease and the bird was now roasting in the oven.

“You said you know someone who might help me, how can I contact him?”

“You can’t, Pedro will come in here this evening for a meal and a drink, if he’s anywhere in the region.  You can talk to him then.”

“What makes you think he can help me?”

“He was here yesterday and mentioned he’d come across a couple of indigenous tribal people only two days before, further up the river.  They told him about one of their young women who had been taken by a demon.  The native folk are a highly superstitious lot with strange ways, even more so than us villagers, so it was assumed they were talking figuratively about the demons.  Now?  What you’ve said definitely corroborates with their story, and since I didn’t believe in dragons only a few hours ago, I’m less inclined to dismiss the possibility of demons walking around these parts too.”

“How can I contact them?”

Ana Maria frowned and clipped him across the back of the head.  He was beginning to be a little disappointed that the intimidation she’d felt seeing his dragon, didn’t extend to him as a man.  “Senhor Ky, you’re not listening to me.  You need to speak to Pedro.  The natives live many miles up river, and they don’t take kindly to visitors.  Pedro is probably the only one who knows where to find them, he sometimes makes the trek up that way.  If you’re lucky he might take you,” she suggested.

“Great.  How long before he comes in here tonight?  I need to leave as soon as possible.”

Ana Maria laughed.  “Not so fast.  It’s not as easy as that.  First, you have to convince Pedro to go, assuming he’s even in the village at the moment.  Even if he does come in here, it’s getting late, he probably won’t want to leave until the morning.”

“What?  No!” Ky exclaimed.  His disappointment and distress tinting his words with anger.  Maybe he should go home to Fey, or at the very least contact Alaric or Dray in England.  Surely they have contacts here in Brazil who could help him find and rescue Branwen. 

He thought on that option for a moment.  All his life he had always relied on his older brothers. They rescued him as a child from getting into scraps with bullies, they defended him against criticism regarding his lack of social skills and frequent absences, which lasted for weeks and sometimes months at a time.  And, most recently they arranged for him to have three weeks in close quarters with Branwen.  His oldest brother Raif, the High Lord of Avengard, having insisted that her father allow her to participate in a Bollywood dance routine which took three weeks to learn, practice, and then perform and Ky’s second brother, Wade’s wedding.    

Ky couldn’t remember a single instance where he had taken charge of his own life, made a decision or stood up for himself.  He had always felt like he was just going through the motions.  Though he was skilled at surviving in the Avengard forests for long periods, it was only because circumstance had forced him to be separated from Branwen, his intended mate.  The forest provided him with a sense of security and isolation which helped him maintain his sanity.

What now though?  Did he call in the calvary again and let his family rescue his mate? That idea didn’t sit well with Ky, not one bit.  Branwen was his mate, and it was his responsibility to look after her.  The fact that they weren’t bonded yet made his decision easy.  An unbonded male is not the most tolerant of creatures when it came to his intended mate.  He would as soon beat the crap out of any other male who so much as looked at her, let along touched her physically, even if they were trying to help save her from demons.

No, this was something he was going to have to handle on his own.  He felt his dragon stir, offering him a purr of satisfaction.

If worse came to worst, he could always call in the calvary later.  For now, rescuing Branwen was his responsibility and come Hell or high water, he wasn’t going to relinquish that task to anyone.

As the first car pulled up outside the building, Ana Maria turned to him.  “What are you?” she asked him in a hushed tone.

Ky debated whether or not to answer her truthfully, and while he knew he shouldn’t, he was still surprised by what came out of his own mouth.  “I’m a wyvern, I am half human and half dragon.  My people used to visit Earth regularly a long, long time ago, but now we keep to our own world, Fey, mostly,” he told her, reminding himself that trust had to go two ways.

“Ana Maria, my little nutcracker, como você está?” The deep male voice boomed from the doorway.

“I’m fine Pedro, it’s good to see you,” she replied in Portuguese.

This wasn’t the response he was accustomed to from Ana Maria and was taken a little aback and a little wary.  Normally she was curt with her reply and often insultingly rude.  He eyed the tall man sitting at the bar, his sixth sense for impending danger raising the hackles on the back of his neck.  Even before he met the man, he knew he was going to regret stepping inside Ana Maria’s tonight. 

Likewise, Ky sat on the stool at the bar assessing the scruffy looking man.  Pedro’s unruly beard seemed to blend seamlessly with his hair, both unkempt and greying, and gaps from missing teeth when he smiled highlighted his lack of hygiene.  For all that though, his eyes were as sharp as a rattlesnake’s. 

“Pedro, I have someone I want you to meet.  This is Ky, he’s hoping to get your help with something.”

Pedro cursed under his breath, giving the door a brief look as though contemplating whether to turn around and leave.  But, in the end it was the bottle on the top shelf that won that debate.

“Pour me a drink of your best,” he growled, plonking himself down on the seat next to Ky who held out his hand.  “Make it a double,” he ordered gruffly, ignoring Ky’s cordial greeting.

“What is it you think I can help you with?” the man asked in perfect English.

Briefly, Ky outlined his situation, leaving out the part about him being a wyvern or how he came to be in this part of middle-of-nowhere Brazil without so much as a car or boat. 

“I was hoping you could take me up the river to the people who’ve also lost women from their village, maybe they have some idea where the women have been taken, but I need to go now, tonight.” Ky said.

“You don’t know what you’re asking.  It’s not as simple as that.  Firstly, it’s an eighteen hour boat trip up the river, then you have to hike through the jungle for another four or five hours to reach the vicinity of their village.  If they decide they don’t want you there, you’ll never find them.  They don’t trust outsiders, they don’t even trust us.  I don’t see them trusting you.”

“I have to try.  I’ll pay you to take me,” Ky told him. 

“I wouldn’t take you for free,” Pedro laughed.

“How much?”

Pedro thought about it for a moment.  If he left in the morning he could load up his boat with supplies and make a bit of extra money from other villages along the river.  Make it worth his while.  “$500 US dollars.”

“Deal.  And we leave tonight?”

“No.  We leave in the morning.”

“I can’t wait that long, we need to leave as soon as possible.”

Pedro scratched at his beard.  It wasn’t that he wasn’t accustomed to navigating the river at night, in fact it was the best time to smuggle goods past authorities.  He was more concerned about filling his belly with half a litre of rum.

“To leave tonight it will cost you much more.  It’s very dangerous on the river at night,” Pedro told him. 

“How much?” Ky asked, less enthusiastically.

“$2,000 US dollars.”

“Fine, but we leave within the hour.” 

“You pay me up front, then we leave.”

Okay, now Ky had a minor problem.  He didn’t actually have any money, at least not money that could be used on Earth.  He did have one option though.

“Do you have a bank account I can transfer some money to?”

“Of course.”  Pedro waved to Ana Maria who produced a laptop from behind the counter, setting it up on top of the bar.  It wasn’t the laptop itself that surprised him, but the fact that there was internet connection way out here in the middle of nowhere. 

“We might look backward out here, but we have all the modern technologies,” Ana Maria laughed. 

“Do you have a phone I can borrow?” he asked.

Once again Ana Maria produced a mobile phone from behind the bar, a chunky satellite phone. 

“How do I reach England on this?”

Ana Maria looked up the code and punched into the phone.  “There, now just add the number.”

Which is what Ky did, dialling Alaric at Havenswood Manor near Cadley.  It rang once, then again and was picked up on the third ring.

“Hello?” Alaric answered.

“Alaric, it’s Ky.  I need your help.”  Quickly he outlined his situation, careful how he phrased his words. 

“Wait there, we’ll be there in about 30 minutes.  Where are you exactly?”

“Thanks for the offer but this is something I have to do myself.  If I get into trouble I’ll call you, for now though, I’d be indebted to you if you could transfer the money for me.”

“Ky, I understand but I don’t like it.  Just know that we’ll be ready to come at a moment’s notice if you need.”

“Thanks, I appreciate it.”  With that Pedro gave Alaric his bank account details and watched the laptop screen as the amount of $10,000 US dollars appeared in his account, his eyes going wide with delight. 

“Pedro, listen to me carefully.  Ky is family to me, if you don’t look after him and keep him safe, there isn’t anywhere on this planet you can hide from me, got it?” Alaric told him, the colour draining from Pedro’s face ever so slightly.  It wasn’t what Alaric said, exactly.  It was the unearthly voice he had, silky smooth, with a hint of something unnatural. 

“I’ll have the boat ready to leave in twenty minutes,” he told Ky, clearing his throat when his voice suddenly broke with a squeak. 

Ky inwardly smiled.  Alaric scared the man from halfway across the planet with a phone call.  He couldn’t help wondering if he would actually soil his pants if he saw the alter ego of the man he was about to transport up river. 

That triggered another thought.  Branwen.  Her father had said she would be coming into her power soon after she’d had sex for the first time.  That was more than a week ago now.  He could only assume the demons took her because they could sense it within her, but was Branwen herself beginning to become aware of it?  Had it already surfaced?

And if so, was she already lost the darkness the seer prophesied would engulf her?

He had to believe the answer was, no!  Surely, he would sense the change in her emotions through their bond.  Then again, maybe not.  It worried him that he hadn’t felt his connection to her for several hours now. 

What did that mean?

   Chapter 1

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