Blood Prophecy Chapter 1
A Witch’s child of Fae is born when spirits of the realms are torn. Into the world, destruction she brings, while children cry and Angels sing. None may survive the vengeance of she, and immortal her soul is to be, to remedy the world of its natural discord.
“Oh my God, there’s someone in my bed!” My brain is screaming red alerts at me as I wake from a deep sleep. It’s like a fire alarm going off in my head. Without even thinking about it, I start pulling on the magic from the earth, bringing it inside of me, letting it fill me as if I’m an empty vessel. The feel of it flowing through me, building to a crescendo, is intoxicating. At this moment, as I’m just floating to consciousness, I am one with the earth and ready to safeguard myself with its gift. The magic begins to overflow, wanting to protect me, seeking a target – and then my conscious brain kicks in. Oh crap, it’s Kallen I’m trying to maim or kill while I’m half asleep.
“What are you doing?!” he practically yells as he wakes abruptly from a sound sleep and scrambles off the bed, all the while glaring at me. He’s wearing gray pajama pants and a black t-shirt that hugs his lean, muscular torso and he looks really good, even with the glare.
I mutter a guilty “Oops” as I sit up. “I forgot you were here. I woke up a little nervous because someone else was in bed with me.”
“A little nervous? You categorize pulling enough magic from the earth to cause an avalanche – one large enough that it could bury this entire house, as being a little nervous? Not to mention how heartwarming it is that you completely forgot about my presence.”
Okay, this morning isn’t off to a great start. “Sorry, I’ve never had anyone else in my bed before. You shouldn’t take it personally.”
From the way he’s raising his eyebrows and looking at me incredulously, I’m pretty sure he’s taking it personally. Kallen is my new Fairy boyfriend. I think. I’m still trying to figure out what our relationship is. He has the black hair and green eyes of the Fae like me, and he’s six feet six inches of lean, hard muscle making him absolutely irresistible. But he can also be a condescending jerk sometimes because he’s three hundred and fifty human years older than me - though in Fae years, he’s not much older than my seventeen. He’s working on that. I’m hoping he works fast. The one thing I am sure of about us is that he and I won’t be having sex any time soon. Apparently, under Fae law, that would mean we’re married. Stupid, I know, but that’s how it is.
Continuing to glare at me, Kallen asks, “Do you think you could let it go now, or do you still plan to use it?”
He means my magic. In all fairness, he does have the right to be worried. I still have pretty precarious control over my magic and I could accidently cause a lot of damage. I close my eyes and concentrate on letting the magic flow back down through me to the earth, which it does. Just a couple of days ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. Kallen would have had to try to push it out of me, and that never works out well for him. I open my eyes when I am magic free.
“Thank you.” I think he tried to sound like he meant it. He didn’t succeed.
Rubbing his hand through his hair, he takes a deep breath to calm himself down. “You certainly do keep life interesting. I find I am never at a loss for excitement when I am in your presence.” Kallen’s speech is always formal, and he never uses contractions. It took me a while to get used to that.
Cocking my head to the side, I ask, “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
The corners of his mouth start to curl upwards as he sits back down on the bed. “When I am not in fear for my life, it is a very good thing.”
I smile as he leans forward to kiss me. I’m growing really fond of his kisses. But before his lips can touch mine, Mom floats through the door. Mom and Dad are ghosts. Long story short, tragic car accident and they refused to ‘go into the light’ when they died.
“I thought I heard voices. Your father and I let you sleep in after the week you’ve had, but now that you’re up, we need to discuss what we’re going to do about your grandfather.” Looking pointedly at Kallen, she adds, “And we need to find appropriate accommodations for your guest.”
Mom and Dad didn’t hit it off with Kallen when they first met, even though they did send me off into the mountains with him to learn how to use my magic. Two other Fairies were trying to kill me at the time, so I guess it made sense. But, I don’t think my parents were planning on me bringing him back home as my boyfriend. Or insisting that he live with us since he has no place else to go. He gave up his realm to stay in this one with me, so it seems only fair we give him a place to live. At least, it seems that way to me. I’m suspecting that if Mom and Dad hadn’t been in shock last night at how strong my magic has become - I forced my Grandfather, a powerful Witch, from the house when he tried to kill me, they wouldn’t have let him stay. They certainly wouldn’t have let him sleep in my room.
“I do not feel that my gratitude for opening your house to me was appropriately expressed last night, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again,” Kallen says. I try really hard to keep my mouth from dropping open. He’s not usually so polite. Okay, he’s usually haughty and often rude. But he grows on you.
Mom scowls. I don’t think she expects Kallen to act like he appreciates anything received from someone who’s not a Fairy. He was pretty clear the last time my parents talked to him that he thought Humans and Witches were below him. And he was hung up on the idea that he couldn’t date anyone who wasn’t a full blooded Fairy. He’s undergone a transformation since then, obviously.
“You’re welcome,” Mom manages and I’m pretty sure she’s struggling between being polite herself and saying what she really feels.
Not much has changed with Mom since becoming a ghost. She’s still beautiful with her long blonde hair that I used to love brushing when I was a little girl. Her blue eyes are still bright and get a twinkle in them when she smiles. Which she is definitely not doing right now. She’s also just as impatient. Turning back to me, she says, “Xandra, are you coming?”
Looking at Mom’s insistent, translucent face, I groan. She’s not going to leave until I’m out of bed. I’m so not awake enough for this conversation. Or for the fact that my mother and my boyfriend look like they’re about to have a magical duel. “Mom, I already proved that I’m stronger than he is. If he comes back, I’ll just do what I did yesterday,” I say through a yawn. My confidence in my ability to defend myself with magic has grown considerably in the last few days.
She drags her eyes that were trying to shoot missiles full of poison at Kallen, back over to me. “Xandra, you have no idea how strong the Witan are. You may be able to take them on one by one, but when they combine their magic, there is no greater force on earth.”
My grandfather is the King of the Witches and the Witan is his Witch Council. It’s supposedly made up of the strongest and most powerful Witches alive. And, they all want me dead. Except for Mom, my biological family sucks. Shrugging, I say, “I guess I’ll just have to take them on one by one, then.”
“And how do you expect to work that out if they all attack at once?” Kallen asks.
Both he and Mom are looking at me with skeptical expressions. Geez, I should at least be able to have breakfast before they gang up on me. I liked it better when they were focusing on each other. Throwing back the covers and swinging my legs over the side of the bed, I grumble, “Fine, I’ll get up so we can talk about it.”
Mom looks relieved. “Thank you. Your father and I will be waiting in the kitchen for you.” With a last dirty look over her shoulder for Kallen, she floats back out through the door.
Kallen shakes his head as he watches Mom disappear. “I believe it will take some time getting used to living with specters. Providing they allow me to stay, that is.” Turning towards me, the smile is back on his face. “Perhaps now I could have that good morning kiss?”
He leans forward and captures my lips with his. When he was going to kiss me a few minutes ago, I thought it would be just a light peck, but this isn’t one of those types of kisses. This is an open-mouth, dreamy kiss that makes me lose track of everything else. Moving closer to me, he puts one hand in my long black hair and the other goes around my waist. Snaking my arms up and around his neck, I shift so I’m kneeling and can get even closer to him.
“Ahem.” I should have known the moment wouldn’t last long. Kallen abruptly pulls away from me and he has the guiltiest expression on his face.
Dragging my attention away from him to my angry dad, I can’t help but admire how well Dad has mastered the ‘I’m going to kill you if you touch my daughter again’ look. Considering there are no boys in a fifty mile radius from our house, meaning I’ve never even had a date let alone a boyfriend before, he hasn’t had any call to use it in the past. Well done, Dad. But, this is definitely one of the rare times that I’m glad my parents are ghosts. If they weren’t, I think Dad’s hands would be wrapped around Kallen’s neck about now. “I believe your mother told you we’re waiting for you in the kitchen?”
I didn’t find out until last week that this sandy haired, blue eyed man is actually my step-dad. The fact that he and my mom are both blondish with blue eyes should have clued me in, but it didn’t. My biological dad is the King of the Fairies. He wanted to kill me to use my dying blood to open the passage to the Fae realm that was sealed a long time ago by Witches. Obviously, my biological dad and I aren’t ever going to be close. The angry ghost floating in front of me is my real dad.
Ghost or not, I know when he uses that tone of voice, I’d better do what he says. Reluctantly, I stand up. Taking Kallen’s hand, I pull him up and we walk towards the door, being careful not to walk through Dad. Not that it would hurt him, it’s just too weird. Not to mention cold. Dad follows us as we walk down the hall towards the kitchen of our rambling ranch house which sits high in the mountains of Colorado.
My stomach rumbles, reminding me I need food before Mom can start overloading my brain with new magical knowledge – she never told me about any of this until my seventeenth birthday last week when my powers became unbound. And I didn’t take it at all well, at first.
I stop just inside the kitchen and open the freezer door, assessing what we have for breakfast. “Kallen, would you like a toaster waffle?” I ask over my shoulder.
His brow furrows. “What is a toaster waffle?”
They don’t have processed food in the Fae realm. Or toasters. They can toast things with their magic. I could, too, but since I’m just as likely right now to make the house explode as I am to get my waffle a golden brown, I stick with the toaster. “They’re like pancakes but crispier. You cover them in maple syrup before you eat them,” I explain as I put four waffles in the toaster slots. “They’re delicious.”
Kallen looks unconvinced but he says, “I will try one.” He takes a seat at the kitchen table and I have to give him credit. He’s handling the hostility radiating from my parents very well. Last week, he would have made some acerbic comment to make things worse. He was a little bitter then. He had to come to this realm to assess how big of a threat I was to both realms because his grandmother had a vision that I would intentionally open the gateways between the realms. What she didn’t tell Kallen was that I would be able to keep the Fairies in their own realm while sending back the two who were after me. We think she was doing some grandmother matchmaking.
As I wait for the waffles to pop up, I grab some plates and the maple syrup out of the pantry. Mom and Dad are being patient, but I can tell that they’re itching to get the conversation underway. Using the tips of my fingers, I pull the very hot waffles out of the toaster when they pop up and put two on a plate for Kallen and then two on my plate.
I put the syrup under my arm and carry it all to the table. Kallen still looks unsure but he puts syrup on his waffles and takes a bite. They must be to his liking because he keeps eating.
After my first bite of syrupy deliciousness, I look up at Mom. “So, what’s the plan?”
Mom and Dad exchange a look and then Dad begins. “We kept you safe for seventeen years from your Grandfather and his lackeys and we think we can keep doing that. But we need to leave here, find a new place…”
“What?” I interrupt with my fork halfway to my mouth. “You want to run away? You don’t want to fight?”
“Xandra, we want you to be safe, and if that means going on the run like your mother did before, then that’s what we’ll do.”
I put my fork down and shake my head. “No. I don’t want to run. We don’t have to let them chase us out of our home. And besides, if we leave here, we risk people finding out about you.” Letting the general public find out that ghosts really do exist just doesn’t seem like the smart thing to do. Who knows what chaos that could cause. “I want to stay here.”
Mom moves closer and lays her cold hand on my cheek. “Honey, I know you’re coming into all this power and you feel like you can take on the world right now, but you have no idea what these Witches are capable of; the magic they wield. Theirs isn’t new magic, Xandra. These are Witches who have dedicated their lives to becoming stronger, more powerful, and they truly are the most powerful creatures in this realm.”
I lean back and Mom’s ghostly hand drops back to her side. “I don’t want to spend my life running because we’re afraid to even try to fight! Grandpa’s magic was nothing compared to mine. I didn’t even feel his magic struggle against me when I was pushing him out of the house last night. I can feel Kallen’s magic when he and I spar, so it’s not like I don’t have anything to compare Grandpa’s magic to. I know I’m stronger than he is.”
Mom shakes her head sadly. “You caught him off guard, Xandra. But that won’t happen again. He got a taste of your magic and he knows what he’s up against now. He knows how strong you are. He’ll be heavily armed with amulets that will protect him from your magic, and he’ll be working spells that are beyond anything even I have ever seen. And that’s just your Grandfather. There are seven others who will be with him who will be just as prepared.”
I glance at Kallen to see what his reaction is. His brows are furrowed as he watches me and my parents. “Do you think we should run?” I ask him.
“Xandra,” Dad says sharply, “this isn’t a debate. Nor a democracy.”
Ignoring him, I ask Kallen again, “Do you think we should run?”
His brow smoothens and I can’t tell what he’s thinking. He’s doing that thing he does so well where he can keep his face completely free of emotion. I hate that. “I do not know how powerful the Witches your mother speaks of are,” he says evenly.
“That’s not what I asked you.”
Without taking his eyes from mine, he says, “I was not raised to run from a fight.”
Dad is in his face in a heartbeat, not caring that his body is deeply embedded in the kitchen table. “I don’t care how you were raised or what you think my daughter should do! I have spent the last seventeen years keeping her safe, and no Fairy is going to come into her life and take over my job and convince her to do something stupid!”
“Jim,” Mom says softly as my mouth hangs open. I have never seen Dad do anything like that, or seen him this angry. Kallen’s face stays blank as he and Dad stare at each other. The tension of the moment feels combustible and no one seems to know how to end it.
Suddenly, Kallen rises to his feet so forcefully that his chair falls backwards, shattering the uncomfortable silence. “A powerful being is on its way here.”
Dad looks at Mom and all thought of Kallen seems to have left him as he removes himself from the table and hurries to her side. “So soon?” he asks her.
Mom looks stunned. “No, it can’t be. They would need more time to prepare.” She looks at Kallen. “Can you tell how many?” The tension of a moment ago is now replaced with concern bordering on fear. It’s not comforting when my powerful Witch mother is scared.
Kallen nods curtly. “Just one. But this one is very powerful.”
“Is it Grandpa?” I ask him. Why can’t I feel anyone coming? I’m half Fairy. I should be able to do most of the things Kallen can do. But then I realize I am feeling something. It’s like a tickle at the back of my brain and it’s growing stronger. I don’t remember feeling anything like this last night when we came home and Grandpa was in the house. But then again, I probably wouldn’t have paid attention to the feeling today if Kallen hadn’t said something. I would have just put it down to stress. So maybe I did feel Grandpa here and didn’t realize it. I really need to start figuring these things out. Apparently, my life may depend on it.
Kallen shakes his head. “No, I do not recognize this magic. I have never been in its presence.” Fairies can ‘taste’ a Witch’s particular magic, and once they have the flavor, they begin to acquire immunity to it over time. The process is sped up the more a Witch says the Fairy’s name. There are so many stupid magical rules like that; I know I’ll never be able to remember them all.
“Would your father have sent someone on ahead to try to take us by surprise?” Dad asks Mom.
Mom looks unsure. “I-I don’t know. My father has changed so much since I left.” Guilt washes over her face as she thinks about how she had left her home after attacking two guards who were holding her captive for the Witan. I don’t think she should feel guilty. If she had stayed, they would have forced her to miscarry while she was pregnant with me because, according to them, I was never supposed to be born. There’s even a prophecy about it with me being responsible for destroying the world. Some people take these things so seriously. Like there haven’t been about a zillion other prophecies that the world was supposed to end any number of times in the past. Anyway, I’m pretty happy that she escaped from my Grandfather’s clutches. I like being alive.
Just thinking about that causes magic to flow back inside of me. How dare they come and attack us in our own home after all they’ve already put my mother through. The magic feels good as it fills me, and I don’t have any problem containing it, keeping it from overflowing. Rising to my feet, I walk out of the kitchen with my parents and Kallen following in my wake.
“Xandra?” Mom says nervously. “What are you doing?”
I turn around to look at both of my parents. “I’m facing whatever they’re throwing at me. Dad, I know you want to run, but I can’t. I won’t live in fear. If this past week taught me anything, it’s that I need to be strong enough to protect myself and the people I love. If I am going to survive in this world, I have to start by standing up against those who want to kill me simply for what I am.” Through Dad I see Kallen standing with his feet apart and his arms crossed over his chest. I still have a hard time guessing what he’s thinking, but I’m pretty sure he’s supportive of my decision.
Turning my back on all of them again, I walk to the front door. Kallen has pulled his own magic and I feel it just barely touching mine. Not in a challenge, but as if he’s adding his strength to mine. A smile touches my lips but I don’t turn around. Throwing the front door open, I thrust my magic forward in search of the Witch who dares to attack us.
I don’t know who I expected, but it definitely wasn’t the person at the end of the
driveway. As my magic surges forward, a slightly plump, very pretty woman who looks to be in her early sixties, which I wouldn’t have guessed except for her long gray hair, falls to her knees. She raises her arms above her head and then brings them back down to her sides. As she does this, a visible shimmering shield falls into place just as my magic hits her. Witch magic isn’t usually that visible, so I can’t help but be impressed, but I don’t falter in my attack. If my magic gets to her, it will cause pain that burns from the inside out. With her head bowed, she puts her hands out in front of her as if trying to hold the shield in place against the onslaught of power I’ve flung at her. I feel the shield buckling. It’s strong, but not strong enough to keep me out for long.
“Quillian!” the woman shouts. “I mean you and your daughter no harm! I’ve come to help you.”
“Xandra, please stop,” Mom whispers quietly next to me.
I glance over at her to see if she’s serious. “Do you know her?” I ask, but I haven’t lessened my attack yet.
Mom nods once. “She’s my mother.”