Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Two sharp cat like eyes of a gray- green color watched the young girl in the chauffer’s uniform closely.  In a game of cat and mouse the owner of the cat like eyes darted swiftly across the road and hid among the tall grass. She grinned as she saw the slender shoulders of the other girl tense up.  But the girl did not turn around. Instead she continued to work on getting the useless vehicle out of the ditch.  Using air as the means, the girl in the gray uniform splayed her hands and pushed against the car. But the tires had sunk in too deep on the right side.

The one hidden laughed silently and decided to continue the game. She was very much aware that the other girl knew someone else was there with her, but could tell that she had no clue if they were friend or foe.

In a blink of an eye the hidden one darted back across the road and hid just in front of the stretch limo, eyeing the green blue eyes of Kallista Pendragon. For her part, Kallista remained cool and moved to the trunk of the car, pretending to be looking at car equipment. Instead she fingered the handle of her newly acquired sword and then took firm hold of it. The back of her neck prickled and with a whirl Kallista turned on her stalker, sword ready.  Instead of a dreaded enemy standing there, Kallista faced the grinning figure of Bridget Whiplash.

“Whuz up?” Bridget sounded casual, aware of the triple fast beating heart of Kallista.

Pretending like she didn’t just scare the living daylights out of Kallista she moved around the car as if inspecting it.

“You know, I never much had use for these things.”

“Bridget…”Kallista was still breathing hard and not sounding casual at all.

“What is it Kal?” Bridget goaded her a little. “I didn’t scare you did I?”

“No…” Kallista lied and moved to put her sword away, avoiding looking at the prying interested eyes of the vampire. “You did surprise me though.  With all that is happening…”

Kallista paused and looked up at Bridget. “I could have easily attacked you.”

“Maybe, Chica. But you could never have hurt me.” The cunning Vamp remarked as she walked back to take a look at the sword.

It was not that she was bragging. It was a simple matter of fact statement. Bridget cocked her head, reaching out a hand to prevent Kallista from closing the trunk of the limo.

“What is it, Bridget?”

“Your sword, I have not seen it before.” Bridget lied this time and raised her eyes to study the girl in front of her. “Where did you get it?”

“It is a family heirloom. I found it in a family estate last night. Israel was with me.”

“Seems a lot has been going on while I was away.” Bridget dropped her playful tone as centuries of memories flooded into her. There was something about that sword.  It was right there on the edge of her memory.

“Have you had your fill?” Kallista interrupted the flow of thoughts hoping to distract her friend.

Bridget didn’t lose eye contact with Kallista as she banged the trunk shut. She knew exactly to what Kallista referred too.

“I have, Kallista my dear. So don’t you worry your lovely muddy head about it. I won’t dine on Pendragon tonight.”

“Oh, I wasn’t worried...”

“To hell you weren’t.” Bridget scoffed lightly as she interrupted her, the playful mood back. “But you need not fear. Do you want to know what I dined on tonight?”

Bridget walked closer to her as if stalking, her eyes has a strange crazy glow.  Slightly nervous, Kallista backed away mindful of the mud.

“If you please, I would rather not know.” Her pale face became even paler under the mud.

“Nonsense, Kallista. I think you should know that I did not dine on human blood the last several nights.”

“Animal, then?”

“No. Not animal. But FAERIE.”

Bridget paused dramatically in a pose and stared at Kallista as if she should be astounded and impressed.  Not wanting to offend a vampire high on faerie blood, Kallista gave a little agreeable laugh.

“Hey, that’s great Bridget! So happy for you!” She lied again.

“Yeah, I don’t know why Israel is so keen on getting rid of all the fey that have been appearing.” Bridget continued animated as she inspected the stuck vehicle. “Why can’t we just keep a few faeries around? I see no problem. It’s not like I actually KILLED them!”

Kallista opened her mouth to speak but stopped when Bridget jumped effortlessly onto the hood of the car and struck another pose.

“You know what I think Kalliewallie, dear?”

“I don’t know, maybe that you should come down and help me get the limo out of the mud and back to Elysium Manor?”
“Ha ha! Very funny, Kallista.” Bridget chuckled and in a blink of an eye stood before Kallista again.

Quickly the girl stepped back in surprise but Bridget did not appear to notice.

“I think we should go to the ball to night and have us a little fun!”
Bridget waggled her eyebrows at Kallista while wearing a big grin.  Kallista shuddered just thinking about what the fun would consist off. She was just about to speak when a slight disturbance in air signaled the presence of yet another person. Warily Kallista turned tense and ready to strike. To her relief it was Necros. He stood tall and silent for a moment, taking everything in with his hazel eyes. This was a good sign. It meant he was not in a bad mood. A grumpy Necros was not a good thing. No one wanted to mess with Necros when he was angry.

“You need my help.” He observed out loud and went to the limo.

Carefully he placed his hands along the side of the car in the center then pushed it. Immediately it became unstuck making a funny popping noise as it was freed from the mud prison.

Easily he pushed it back onto the road then motioned for Bridget and Kallista to get in. “Greetings, Ladies, if you will just get into the car we can be on our way.”
“It’s good to see you Necros.” Kallista smiled happily as she looked at him. “I was told by Israel you were sent away for a time. You left without saying goodbye. I didn’t know when you would return and was worried. I am so glad you are back!”
Necros face softened slightly as he looked at the dirty disheveled Kallista. “I am sorry you were worried Kallista. You need not have worried. I can take care of myself. It seems as you are another story though.”

“If you two pretty girls are done yapping maybe we can get this show on the road!” Bridget goaded her friends from where she sat in the driver’s seat.

“Pardon me, Bridget,” Necros replied, unfazed by the vamp’s ribbing. “I will be the one driving tonight as you are unfit, seeing that you are drunk on the blood of the Fey.”

Muttering under her breath the tipsy vampire crawled into the back seat under the supervision of her friends.

“Did you run all the way here Necros?” Kallista asked as she looked around to see maybe if there had been another car nearby that she might have missed before. She saw nothing.

“Yes. I just came from Israel’s. It’s not that far.” He informed her in a matter of fact manner holding the door of the passenger side opened. “Now get in, we need to go to the ball.”

“I was instructed to go back to the Manor.” Kallista hesitated.
“Since when have you listed to anyone?” Bridget scoffed with raised eyebrow. “Surely you are not going to start now!”

Kallista shrugged and looked off in the distance hoping that Bridget would move on.

“Oh, how dull.”

“Skyril is coming.” Necros informed them.

He had ignored their last exchanged and was gazing back down the road instead.

“This means we won’t have much time. The Ball has started.” He turned back to Kallista and gave her a brief hug. “Listen up. I am going on ahead. Ride with Skyril. She will explain it all to you.”

“He’s always so intense!” Bridget mused with interest as he flickered before them only to appear fifty meters in front of them. An instant later he was gone again, flickering in the same pattern away from his friends, heading to Dublin. “But what a fine tasty man he would be.”
All Kallista could do was roll her eyes and sigh.

“Well, I’m off too!” Bridget waved cheerfully, back in the front seat of the limo.  Gracefully she tossed Kallista her sword. “You will be needing that. Now let’s see…how do you work these things again?”

Grabbing the steering wheel, Bridget took off suddenly with tires squealing.  Kallista had to jump back to avoid getting hit. In disbelief she watched as the vampire did several donuts on the road before disappearing into the distance.

A few moments later, Skyril was there.  Smoothly she pulled up along the side of the road in her Black Aston Martin DB5. Someone else was sitting there in the passenger seat with her.

“Hey, Kallista!” Skyril greeted as she stepped from the car. “Hurry and hop in. We need to go!”

Eyeing the stranger warily, Kallista made her way to the side of the luxury sports car, wondering if there would be room for her. Sharp electric blue eyes of the stranger pieced her through as if seeing to her very soul.  Clearly he was not impressed with what he saw. No one ever was.

His dark clothing matched his dark hair and even though he appeared to be relaxed in the leather bound front seat of the car, she knew he could be on her in a minute if he felt threatened. Judging by the looks of his strong hands, he was no lightweight. Curious she raised her eyes to look at Skyril with questions in her eyes.

“Kallista, meet Gepard Valk.” She smiled as she introduced the pair.

“Uh… Skyril?” Gepard looked back at his friend. “She is not really going to ride with us, is she? I mean….no offence, but she is really dirty.”

“He does have a point Kallista.” Skyril nodded and Kallista realized for the first time that Skyril was not dressed in her every day clothes but was wearing a beautiful gown of purple and silver; her splendid hair was dressed elegantly in a coiffure. “Why did you not use your elemental magic to take off all that grime? Don’t tell me you are still hesitant to use your abilities.”

“To tell you the truth, I could care less at this point.” Kallista muttered and began trudging away. “I will walk, thank you.”

“Hey! No need for that.” Gepard said almost lazily as he stepped out. “I can help.”

Before she could say another word, the young man splayed his hands and suddenly Kallista was dripping wet with enough water that washed away the mud. A warm feeling followed shortly thereafter and she realized that Gepard was now using the heat to dry her off. A new respect filled her as she saw he did this with little effort.


“Gepard is a vampire and zombie hunter by trade.” Skyril informed her friend as they all got back into the gleaming black car. Somehow Kallista managed to fit. “He kindly agreed to help us this evening. I do believe we will have need of his talents.”

“He does know about Bridget though, right?” Kallista asked in alarm.

“Relax!” Gepard responded easily. “I know all about your vamp friend. Won’t say much about your choice of friends though. To each his own!”

“Thanks.” Kallista muttered sarcastically.

“I talked with Israel and was able to convince him to let you come.” Skyril continued then pointed to the package next to her. “Inside you will find a waiters uniform. You will be waiting on the guests tonight.”

“Sounds like fun!” Kallista murmured as she poked through the clothing.

“I will be posing as a late comer but will remain mostly on the outside, keeping an eye out front.” Skyril continued. “Israel has a few of our team members on the inside, but most of them will be stationed around the building, hidden.”
“Sounds like a lot of fuss for a bunch of magical bureaucrats.” Gepard remarked as he checked the sharpness of his sword. “Doesn’t the Sanctuary employ enough Cleavers?”

“Yes they do.” Skyril answered him. “Normally I would say, yes! This is over doing things a bit. But we have one of our own who is actually a guest and not an undercover working agent.”

“Of course!” Kallista remembered. “Quinn will be there too with Bryony!”

“Who is this Quinn?” Gepard asked, slightly bored.

“Quinnera Elviana is a distant relative to the British royalty and a young magician; a Sensitive to be exact. She is also a resident at Elysium manor and loved by us all.” Skyril told him. “We will protect everyone, but the one we are most concerned about is Quinn.  The signs of the times show that the faerie are back and they are not all that friendly. We can’t be too careful!”

In no time at all they arrived at their destination. Skyril pulled down a side road and continued on. Looking ahead Kallista saw the road led to a dead end. A large brick wall rose up out of the darkness, lit up by the car’s headlights. Yet Skyril did not slow down. Instead she accelerated.

Gepard laughed a little when Kallista gasped.

“Uh…Skyril. You do see the brick wall up head, don’t you?”

Skyril laughed. “Relax, Kallista. It is merely an illusion put up there by your own brother a few weeks ago. It is all part of the means to keep mortals away from this event.”

“I am surprised you did not know this.” Gepard turned around to laugh at her, his amazing eyes filled with sight contempt for her. “I was told casting illusions was one of your specialties.”

“I am still learning.” Was all she could say.

Still, she cringed when they drove through it. Nothing happened of course. Looking out of the car window, Kallista saw a large rundown cathedral. Large candles were lit up along each of the steps along the entry way. Built with stone the old church retained some of its former glory. Stained glass windows glowed beautifully in the night, lit up from the insides with soft candle light. Two double wide ornate dark wood doors carved with artistic flair led into the interior of the building.

“It’s more impressive on the inside.” Skyril said as she parked the car away from any streetlights. “It was abandoned over a century ago. Since then, the Irish Sanctuary has purchased it and renovated it on the inside. It is used now for functions such as this. Wards were set up long ago to keep away the non-magical folk and other uninvited guests.”

“Well, that is fun! Thanks for the info!” Gepard said as he walked away and gave a wave over his shoulder. “I will just go and help myself to some goodies then and will find a place to hide. See ya!”

“He seems nice.” Kallista shrugged then started to change under the cover of a nearby bush.
“He is more than capable for the job.” Skyril agreed.

A moment later and she was ready. Going back to the car she traded the wrinkles cast off clothing for her sword. Looking up she saw Skyril strapping on the last of her hidden daggers.

“Great. All set!” Skyril stood up with satisfaction. “Keep an ear open in the kitchen and the other help, Kal. If you hear or see anything, report it to one of us before handling it. If you can, wait for us to get there. You are not yet back to your full strength. Do not handle anything on your own!”

All Kallista could do was nod as the elegant lady walked away. She didn’t agree with her though, not anymore. In her hand the sword glowed softly, its power hummed intensely in her hands. Smiling, Kal walked to the back where the service door was located, aware that somewhere out there, some of her teammates lay hidden and watching. Stealthily she slipped in and found the perfect hiding place for her sword. Calmly she cast an illusion then moved off to do her duty.

Throughout the evening, Kallista walked around through the guests serving them beverages and food. Whenever she saw her brother, she would turn and slip away hoping not to be seen. 

It seemed that things were getting too dull for the new queen of Ossetia. Or maybe it was the opposite. For a person like Jodi Harte, getting fawned over contently crippled her style. Her pasted on smile seemed to be slipping as she nodded and chatted with the eager power hungry dignitaries who wanted to find favor with her.  Kallista watched closely and observed what seemed to be a careless hand motion by the queen but knew it was a signal.  Curious but tense, she waited to see what would happen. With Jodi around it could be anything. Fervently Kallista hoped it would not be anything that would involve explosions. Not with young Quinn nearby.

She need not have worried though. Another beautiful woman joined Jodi and her circle of admirers. In a smooth motion the lady swept off the elegant shawl she has been wearing and expended her wings. Kallista’s jaw fell open. Even though she had heard tales of real angels on earth, never had she seen one.

Someone came next to her and delicately pushed her jaw closed again.

“That angel’s name is NJ Maverick.” Skyril informed her dumbfounded friend. “She is a dark angel and also an ally. Really Kallista, with all you have seen in the last few years I would not have expected you to be so astounded.”

“Wow!” was all Kallista could say. “Those WINGS! So beautiful!”

“Yes and they are doing their job perfectly.” Skyril smiled wryly.

It took Kallista another few moments to realize what she meant.

“Where is Jodi?”

“And that folks, is the question of the decade!” Skyril rolled her eyes as she teased Kallista.

“Oh, stop it!” Kal could not help but smile in return. “Do you think we should follow her?”

“No.” Skyril said shortly returning back to business. “Our duty is here with the people to keep them safe for their sake and also for the reputation and sake of Ireland.  But mostly for Quinn. If anything happens we are to get her out of here.”

Nodding in agreement Kallista’s eyes roamed till she found the little girl. Standing next to her was Bryony Rose, Quinn’s faithful friend and protector. It looked like Quinn was really enjoying herself. Dressed in a sweet and lovely lavender gown, she twirled happily for her many admirers while enjoying a strawberry lollipop. It made Kallista feel better seeing her young friend smile again. Recalling the last few days she knew it had not been easy for the young Sensitive either.

“No one that young should ever have to suffer or worry,” Kallista remarked softly.

“I agree.” Skyril moved to walk away but Kallista stopped her. “I thought you were going to stay outside? Do you know how it is going for everyone else?”

“Everyone knows their duty. They are keeping vigilant watch.” Skyril answered her with a frown. “Even Bridget is doing a good job….in her own way, despite being intoxicated on faerie blood. As for me, I need something to eat. I will quietly reassure Bryony that all is well while I am inside. She knows we are here to help, but I think a few words from us will help. With all that is happening, one never knows what will happen next.”

Gracefully Skyril walked away, catching the eye of many men as she did so. If she was aware of it she did not let on.

Shaking her head, Kallista went back to the kitchen, nabbing some food along the way. Being a waiter meant that one was invisible to the eyes of the privilege. That’s how Kallista liked it. Popping the food into her mouth she glanced over to make sure her sword was still hidden. It was.

Satisfied she walked into the kitchen and spied a bored Gepard leaning by the back door against the wall. He didn’t even look her way but she knew that he was aware of her presence. He was monitoring everything without looking like it.

It was peaceful back by the door and Kallista wanted to stay there. Nothing was really happening anyways. Just a bunch of spoiled over privileged people dancing and stuffing themselves with expensive food.  Grumpily she peaked back out the door of the kitchen and could see just a corner of the room where some of the guests were. Florence and Darkane swept by a distance away, also monitoring the situation. With so many of the Sanctuary’s agents there, why did she have to stay? Because of Israel, her conscious reminded her. Not daring to defy another one of his orders was the only thing keeping her there. He was her family now. What is he decided he didn’t want her anymore? She would be cast off again.

Behind her she could feel the breeze as it picked up and flowed easily through the open door of the rear entry way. Balmy and gentle it carried the fresh scent of nature, tantalizing Kallista to drift away and linger outside.  Yet something else rode the wind and pricked at Kallista’s conscious. Even Gepard knew something was up as he noticed the change in Kal’s expression and demeanor.

Whispers so soft and mesmerizing drifted in the wind speaking in an ancient language. Almost in a trance Kallista walked to where her sword was, ignoring everyone in her way. The whispers spoke to her blood, to her hidden nature, luring it out.

Waving away the illusion Kallista grasped her sword and strolled boldly to the front entry way. Behind her Gepard followed after he alerted his unseen comrades outside that something was up.

Still in the sway of the whispers Kallista did not see the shocked and offended looks of the stuffy faces wives of the Sanctuary officials. A sword in their midst! How unseemly it was. Did this young upstart know who she was messing with?

Skyril didn’t need another warning. It was confirmed by little Quinn who was standing near her.

“They’re here!” She barely whispered through tight frighten lips, her eyes wide.

That was all it took for Bryony. In one smooth motion she swept Quinn in her arms and darted up the stars past Israel and Octaboona.  The two men exchanged a glace of an unspoken plan and Octaboona turned to follow Quinn and Bryony.

Outside the wind picked up and moved from a balmy breeze to a whirling wind, the mysterious unearthly voices rising with it. A resounding thumping noise struck at the front doors as the whole building swayed and shook.

“Get back! All of you!” Skyril took charge, motioning for everyone to move back. “Whatever you do, do NOT look at what comes through those doors!
Only one person was calm. Slipping away unnoticed, Kristos smiled and sealed himself away in the room he had set up earlier. Briefly he thought about his sister, standing there ready to take on what was coming. After this night, he would know just how well her ancestral sword would work.

Strange sensations pulled on Kallista as she stood there. Every fiber of her being could feel the intensity of the looming magic. Her heightened awareness took her for a moment to every place in that old semi restored cathedral. Above she was aware of the magic Octaboona performed as he used his gift to seal Bryony and Quinn safely in a special room made of iron. It was a precaution Israel and some others had set up prior to coming here.

Behind her she was aware of the magnificent dark angel who made her way to were the Ossetia Queen was, at last ditching the tiresome overly devoted admirers.  Beside her she was aware of Skyril who took her potion next to her, pulling out her daggers.  Israel and Gepard stayed back with the confused alarmed guests in the ballroom. Darkane and Florence stood protectively in front of the guests in the dining room area.

Outside, Kallista could sense her other friends in their various places with Bridget being the easiest to discern.

“Oh, I can taste the faerie blood already!”  The drunken vampire roared, outlined by the autumn moon, standing tall on the Bell tower with her eyes shining bright. “BRING IT ON!”

“It’s the Wild Hunt.” Kallista came back to herself after seeing what lay beyond the wind. “It’s early. I know what they want.”

The double doors burst open violently with a force that almost took them off their hinges. With a scream brought on both by terror and adrenaline, Kallista unsheathed her blade and held it in front of her, not distracted by the tornado like winds that tore at her. It was what followed behind that she focused on.

“I’ve had my knives coated in iron just for this.” Skyril snarled as she threw the first dagger at the ghoul that came through the entry way.

It shrieked with an unearthly cry and vanished but more came through the door. Both splendid and terrible the host of the faire still remained somewhat in translucent form.

“Go back where you came from!” Kallista roared with a force all her own as she swung her sword.

It sang as it came blazing around, cutting through the thick mass of the unholy host easily. Erie smoke flowed then dissipated each time one of the Fey was struck. Others had joined in the fray and protected the unarmed. Some were not so lucky. They fell under the onslaught, their magic blood becoming a feast, providing the strength they needed to become more whole.

“We come for the blood of the one who locked us away.” A heavy voice filled with power filled the whole room.

Kallista looked out and saw a dark figure who sat still on a dark horse. Its form was covered in a black misty robe that covered it’s featured. Dread filled her, threatening to steal what strength she had left. Under that hood she was aware of being stared at, memorized by an enemy more ancient and crafty that she had ever known. Slowly it raised a long pointed finger at her and whispered in a voice that was both soft and loud. You are MINE!

Dimly she was aware of Skyril and Israel fighting with all they had against the Fey.  It seemed that they were winning. Outside she was aware of other battles being fought by her friends. None of that seemed to matter. All that mattered was that the King of the Wild Hunt wanted her. His call beckoned her and she felt compelled to come to him.

Slowly she lowered her weapon, her anxiety lessened to a distant memory replaced by numbness instead.

“What do you think you are doing?” The shout of a horrified Skyril barely pieced through the unseen shield that the dark one had place upon her.

Desperately Skyril fought to overtake the fiend that was before her so she could then go and knock some sense back into her friend and comrade.

“Fight it, Kallista!” Israel growled through gritted teeth as he tried to maneuver to where Kallista was.

Coming down the stairway with his elegant purple robes flowing, Octa rejoined the others, his lips never stopped movie as he recited words of power that helped to drive back the full frontal assault of the Fey.

Nothing penetrated through to Kallista however. She stepped through the ruins of the doorway, her prized sword dragging on the ground behind her.

No other Fey impeded her as she drifted closer to their master. All around her in the courtyard the Fey screeched and hollered, their magic bursting at the seams after so long sealed away.

Then she was before the Dark figure. All she heard was the most beautiful music sounding gently in her ears. Bending over her the dark figure’s long robes fell forward and covered her.

“Not on my watch!” A strong voice interrupted the Dark Fey’s feast.

Necros stood with twin blades of light help firmly in his hands and cut in between the Master of the Hunt and his prey.

Kallista fell back as if in a dream, finally snapping out of it. Horror filled her but left just as quickly as she saw Necros set the unearthly figure on fire with his energy blades.  Inhuman screams filled the courtyard and everywhere the Fey paused. Seeing the distress of Dark Hunter, all the remaining Fey fled, cheated out of a night that was supposed to be theirs.  When Kallista looked back with wide eyes to the one who almost overtook her, it was gone.  Only the guests, Sanctuary agents, and the staff were left. But not everyone made it. Looking around she could see several people dead, nothing but an empty husk after the n feasted on.

Only Bridget seemed disappointed they were gone.

“Aww…was that it?” She called out, from the rooftop disappointed “I barely got a good supply of fairies!”

Skyril joined Necros in the yard and both helped her up.  Her friends looked at her with concern but she did not notice. Instead she looked down at her sword and knew that there was more to it then she had first realized. It had done its job, but it had acted just like any other sword. Something was missing. For her sake, for everyone’s sake, she hoped she could figure it out in time.
*This is dedicated too one of my oldest and dearest friends, Skyril. She is so dear I had to adopt her a while ago as my beloved sister.
Her birthday was two days ago, but I am still celebrating it today. I celebrate everyday that I have known her. I think back to how lucky I am to have and be a friend to someone as lovely and talented as our Skyril is. She is heaven sent, a prayer answered, and always a blessing to me. I love you dearest sister! *hugs Skyril tightly* I hope you had a happy birthday and that every day following will be filled with wonderful things and exciting adventures (and more of your excellent stories and poems) FTW!!!
VIVA LA SKYRIL! *cheers sound everywhere* :D

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Arrival of Jodi Harte: Dedicated to Lenka Sweet

“You play a dangerous game, my old friend.” China smiled coldly with narrow eyes as she surveyed her friend and sometime nemesis, Jodi Harte. “If you are not careful, you will be destroyed along with that kingdom of yours.”

“Nonsense. I am the best thing that has happened to it.” Jodi Harte replied looking off into the distance, already bored of this conversation. “Ossetia would be lost without me.”

“If you say so.” China smirked. “What do you have planned, Jodi?”

The Ossetia Queen ignored China and instead walked slowly, deliberately around the richly furnished room of the mansion.

“What do you think of Dublin’s Ossetia Suite?” Jodi asked her own question.

Recognizing the slight change in tone, China narrowed her lovely eyes slightly. “It is full of grandeur as is every Diplomatic mansion Dublin supplies.”

“Would you say it’s as nice as….well, as the Greeks?” Gracefully she gestured toward the large window the held the view of the Greek embassy across the street.

“I would not know.” China spoke tightly. The Greek embassy was one of the few embassies she had been barred from.  “I have never been inside.”

“Really?” Jodi feigned shocked disbelief as she casually reached for a teacup. Then almost serenely she sipped from the dainty cup and peered innocently over the edge of it at China. “Isn’t Lord Ambrosia the diplomat for Greece?”

“You know he is.” China replied stonily then interrupted Jodi from going further. “And, yes! I do know that it had been revealed the Kristos is Kallista’s brother. Word gets around fast.”

“Indeed. Just as word gets around fast that Ossetia has a new Queen.” Jodi’s smile widened.

“Is this your angle then, Jodi: to use your status as a queen to get into the embassies of other countries?”

“It IS a well-known fact that sneaking into an Embassy of another country is near impossible. Only those of the highest rank can get in without the usual stripping of magic at the door.” Jodi simpered as she swept across the room as if in a dance. “But no. I am only here for the Ambassador’s Ball.”

“Right, and I am nun.” China muttered under her breath as she watched the younger woman who was the only one to ever outwit her. But that had been only once. There would never be a second time.

“It’s too bad you could not attend, dearest China,” Jodi said as she inspected her colorful nails. “Kristos will be there. It should make for an interesting night.”

“Oh, but I AM going to attend.” China spoke smoothly. “As a highly valued consultant to the Irish Sanctuary of course I was invited.”

“Well, I can’t say I am surprised.” Jodi smiled coyly. “It just would not be a party if the great China Sorrows was not there.”

China got up to leave the drawing room, matching Jodi’s smirk with one of her own.

“Careful my dear,” China purred, a deadly tone underneath. “If I didn’t know any better I would think you were trying to start something with me.”

“Never!” Jodi mocked lightly, placing a hand over her heart as if in dismay. “I am just simply expressing my delight at finding that you will be there.”

“Of course you are.” China responded as she turned to leave. “I had best get going now. I see your next appointment is here. “

Jodi narrowed her eyes as the other woman took her leave without a glance back.

NJ Maverick walked into the room with serene grace as soon as the other woman was gone. Ignoring the servants who bustled about tiding up and the body guards who kept a close guard on Jodi, she opened her stunning blue gray eyes wide.

“How astounding,” she exclaimed, her voice smooth and eloquent. “How did she know I was there? My presence is normally not picked up by even the most talented mages out there.”

“Not much gets past China Sorrows.” Jodi told her guest, wryly. “But never mind that now. What did you find out?”

“Kallista Pendragon has found the lost sword of Godiva. Currently she is at Elysium Manor but had been staying with her brother.”

“That must have been an interesting family reunion.” Jodi smiled as she gathered up her sai swords. “Imagine that! All along Kristos has been a Pendragon.”

“Things are not looking good for Kallista. She is not allowed at the Ball tonight.” NJ continued smoothly then stretched.

From across the room and maid gasped startled as she stared at NJ wide eyed. Crossing herself against evil she muttered in Hungarian.

From behind NJ, large beautiful dark wings expanded reaching almost the length of the room.

“Really, Myrtle?” Jodi raised her eyebrows at the maid. “Have you never seen a Dark Angel before?”

“I AM pretty rare.” NJ admitted proudly and fluttered her soft wings for extra show.

But Myrtle shook her head and edged from the room with a wide eyed fearful look.

“OH, come on!” NJ called after her as the maid stumbled away in haste. ‘In some places I am considered good luck!”

“Which is why you are with me,” Jodi said as she dismissed the cowardly maid. then cringed as she heard a vase break on the smooth wood floor, knocked over by the fleeing woman. “That would have been my Ming vase. It was priceless. Oh well, what can you do?”

Jodi shrugged slightly as she walked towards the grand staircase. “We have things to discuss and a Ball to get ready for. Come with me NJ and tell me more about what you know of Kallista and her sword.”

Acquiring NJ’s services had been no easy task, Jodi mused as her personal maid Marta, assisted her into an evening gown. The gown was created just for her by a famous designer Versace, Valentino, Dolce…she forgot which one. But the gown was stunning, the fine material fitted over her slender body like a dream. Pleased, she did a slow twirl in the ornate room that was her suite.

“If you don’t mind me saying so, Your Majesty,” Marta bubbled out enthusiastically while playing with the rainbow clip in her hair that Jodi had given to her earlier. Jodi would not miss it. She had many more where that came from. “You look mighty splendid! So beautiful!”

“I do, don’t I.” Jodi agreed more to herself then anyone.

Amused, NJ thought she looked like a pleased lioness right after a successful hunt. Perhaps, in a way she was.

“I think you will be needing this.” NJ said as she walked over and handed Jodi the bejeweled tiara.

“Indeed I will,” Jodi murmured as she placed the glittering headpiece over her sleek styled hair.

Giving the dark angel a glance, she noted with approval that the girl needed no adornment for her head. Exquisitely dressed in an elegant gown with her hair pulled back in a glamorous style, she looked like she had just stepped off the pages of a high end fashion magazine.

“I had the tiara charmed just as you requested,” NJ spoke with the same mesmerizing voice that instantly put anyone with hearing distance at ease.

“And my sai swords?” Jodi questioned, losing her playful expression for just a moment. There were too many strange things happening lately that gave her great concern for her well-being.

“I had your weapons cleaned and charmed as well, Your Majesty.” NJ curtsied slightly, her eyes holding the barest hint of gentle rebuke. “I never go back on my word Jodi. You came to me for help and help I will give you. In these troubled times when the threat is growing, it will be good to have me by your side. An angel’s power is just as great if not greater than that of the faerie.”

Jodi nodded only slightly reassured.  There was too much at stake. Tonight she needed to break into the Sanctuary. It was there that she would find the answers. After digging deep she had found out about the missing Pendragon papers from the ancient family heirloom. It was like an oracle; she knew it would hold answers as to why this surge of magic phenomenon was happening.

Current events had alarmed her greatly. The tales she had been told of disappearing people, the rise of monsters and the dark faire had sent her fleeing to the small country she now ruled over to make a desperate plan and to put it into motion. This was HER world. She would not let anything take away her playground.

Tightening her lips in resolve she turned and dismissed Marta then turned to NJ. “It’s time to go then. Are you ready?”

“I know what I have to do.” NJ’s voice reassured her once more, her calm eyes promising safety and strength.

The two women were escorted from the Queen’s chambers down to the limousine by the smartly dressed captain of the guard and his finest hand-picked men.

The ride was smooth in the state of the art luxury vehicle. Jodi helped herself to a drink, offering one to NJ as well.

“No thank you, Your Majesty.” NJ smiled pleasantly, aware that every moment was being watched by the driver of the limo. No one was to know the exact relationship between the two of them. “I am on duty.”

Jodi only nodded half paying attention. Distractedly she looked out the window while mulling over her strategy for that night. It was still light out. Somewhere else, the sun was most likely blazing dramatic colors in the sky. But not here in Dublin where the clouds blanketed the vast expanse. How she missed the blazing color of Ossetia.

“What is that up ahead?” NJ’s lovely voice broke through her thoughts.

Mildly she took a sip, unconcerned of whatever lay ahead. Almost lazily she turned to take a look out the front window and almost choked on her drink.

Parked half-hazardly in the side of the road, slightly in the muddy brown field was another limousine. It’s finely dressed occupants stood on the clean part of the road while watching the chauffer attempt to fix the back tire. The two young looking girls seemed to be taking great delight in the misfortune of the driver who didn’t really seem to know what she was doing. The chauffer was none other than Kallista Pendragon.

Amused and a little more than curious, Jodi signaled for her driver to pull up beside them. Rolling down the window she took in the situation and didn’t know whether to laugh or to be sympathetic to the young girl’s plight.

“What in heavens are you doing down there in the mud, Kallista?” Bemused Jodi looked at the other two girls who she also recognized.

Regally she nodded in greeting to Darkane Claw and Florence Black, two talented rising stars in the Irish Sanctuary.

“Hello, Jodi.” Kallista responded dourly. “I hear you became a Queen. Would not have believed it if I had not seen it for myself.”

“Yes. I am Queen of a lovely small but prospering country.” Jodi smiled then narrowed her eyes. “But enough about me. What about you my dear? It seems you have been demoted.”

The Queen’s lovely eyes took in Kallista’s gray manly outfit, her long hair covered in a chauffeurs cap.

“I was hoodwinked.” Kallista responded shortly and resumed trying to fix the flat tire.

Darkane and Florence both giggled as the car jack slipped from the other girl’s slender hands again, falling into the mud. Muttering a low curse Kallista glared at them which made them laugh all the more.

“Oh, Kallista dear. We did not hoodwink you, sweetie.” Florence simpered.

“This is pay back for the time you let Israel and the others get the jump on us.” Darkane grinned in satisfaction as she remembered the prank gone wrong a few weeks before.

“Yeah, well…” Kallista looked up at them from where she was kneeling and tried to come up with a good comeback but failed. Sighing she facepalmed, forgetting about the mud on her hand. “How did I end up here?”

“Just because Israel said you can’t attend the Ball does not mean you can’t GO to the Ball.” Florence told her.

“And you did make a deal with us. Remember?” Darkane raised her eyebrows.

“I remember.” Was all Kallista said as she snarled and went at her task again, working furiously.

“Excuse me, Your Majesty.” The driver of Jodi’s limo looked at her through the rearview mirror. “May I be off assistance to the young lady?”

Darkane overheard and leaned in the window to take a better look at the driver.

“No. This is for Kallista to do.” She spoke firmly but pleasantly.

“All done!” Kallista interrupted triumphantly.

“Good.” Florence said, nodding. “I would like to get to the ball sometime today. I’ll take the wheel, Kallista while you push.”

“Of course.” The muddy faced chauffer growled and went to take her place behind the car, in the mud.

Another vehicle came roaring down the road then. Curious, Jodi looked back and saw the gray van that told her unmistakably that Israel would soon be there.

Kallista must have seen too for she muttered another low curse and shifted her hat down low over her eyes and turned away as if hoping to be undetected.

No such luck though. Israel Elysium pulled over and took in the scene with his intelligent eyes. His gaze rested on Kallista.  With raised eyebrows he said nothing and just sat back with arms folded, waiting for the car to become unstuck.

Gritting her teeth, Kallista strained to push the car out of the slight muddy ditch as Florence floored it. A cascade of mud came flying out of the spinning wheels suddenly like a thick tidal way and slammed into the slight girl pushing the car. With a scream Kallista slipped back then fell face forward, landing in the mud spread eagle.

“Well that was fun.” Israel spoke, not at all amused as he hoped out of the van.

Striding over to the limousine he gently assisted Darkane and Florence from the seat and lead them to his van.

“We need to get you ladies to the Ball.” He spoke determinedly. “It’s a big night. But YOU, Kallista,” He whirled on the groaning girl who was now just sitting up and looking quite dejected. “This is one of my best limos I expect you to have it out of the mud and back at the Manor by tonight, WITH YOU THERE AS WELL. DO you understand?”

He stared into her eyes long enough to look into them to be reassured of the truth that lay there. Satisfied that Kallista would do as she was told for once, he acknowledged the other two people who were there.

“Hello, Jodi.” He nodded in greeting. “You look…….royal!”

“That is because I am now.” She smiled charmingly at her old friend. “You remember NJ Maverick, of course.”

Israel’s eyes widened as he saw the dark angle in the other seat, looking just as resplendent as the Queen in her gown. Her dark wings were folded up neatly behind her.

The dark angel smiled and gave a little elegant wave.

Signing, he cast a gaze at the darkening sky and hastily walked back to the driver’s side of the van. Before he got in, he looked at Jodi with his piercing eyes.

“Meet me someplace quiet at the Ball.” He ordered. “We need to have a talk about your…activities.”

“You are pretty bold, sir,” Jodi mocked lightly under a playful tone. “Shame on you for ordering a Queen about.”

“Shame my ass.” He shot back at her and smiled, not amused. “You are going to explain things to me one way or another.”

Without another word, he hoped in and sped off. Jodi caught a glimpse as Florence and Darkane high fived one another after a job well done.

“First you are going to dance with me, sir.” Jodi whispered low and smiled cunningly as she watched him drive away.

Signaling her driver to move on out, she reflected on her evening ahead with newer thoughts. Mixed feelings filled her as she thought about what was to come now that she knew for sure that Israel would be there. Her plans would not be so easy to navigate for sure. But if she could get him to dance with her for a few dances….she smiled, delighted at the thought. It all would be worth it.

“This will be an interesting evening. Don’t you agree, Your majesty?” NJ smiled calculating as she read Jodi’s brilliant thoughts.

“Most assuredly, my dear NJ.” The Queen smiled in return.

Watching the vehicles until they were long gone, stood Kallista with shoulders slumping.

“Dang it!” She shouted as she ripped off her hat and flung it to the ground. “And I wanted to dance!”

Three more vehicles sped by then, each sending a gift of flying mud which slammed into her in quick succession.  Stagger back each time, Kallista would slip but managed not to fall. Laughter followed as the sports cars filled with people she knew sped happily to the Ball.



*This chapter is dedicated to one of my dearest friends who I love and have adopted as one of my blog sisters, Lenka Sweet. Lenka, I think you are one of the most epic people I have ever met! Thank you for being such a wonderful kind and giving person. Your compassion, encouragement, and your friendship have helped me many a time. Your talent inspires me and your personality delights us all. We all love you Lenka. *hugs tight*  I hope you have fun seeing Derek again and can spend some wonderful time with Octa and Pryo. May many noogies and hugs be passed around!

Love you sister! *hugs* THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU! Pure EPICA!!!!