Home > My Beacon (Bewitched and Bewildered #13)

My Beacon (Bewitched and Bewildered #13)
Author: Alanea Alder

 

My Beacon

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Bewitched and Bewildered

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ALANEA ALDER

 

 

Copyright © 2022 Alanea Alder

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed "Attention: Permissions Coordinator," at the address below.

 

 

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law.

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

www.sacredforestpublishing.com

P.O.Box 280

Moyock, NC, 27958

Digital ISBN- 978-1-941315-29-3

Print ISBN- 978-1-941315-30-9

Sacred Forest Publishing

 

 

Dedication

 

 

~Omnia Vincit Amor- Love Conquers All~

 

 

~Thank you for waiting~

 

 

The past couple years have been hard on all of us, but like Meryn and the gang, try to keep your thoughts positive, things always get better.

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

 

Gage watched in horror as the flames rose in front of his mate. He could hear her scream, but the intensity of the fire prevented him from taking even a single step forward. The flames rose higher and he could no longer see her. He blinked and he was now in a hallway, watching the scene before him from behind a doorway. The flames died down long enough for him to see her turn his way, reaching for him. Suddenly, the door slammed shut.

Gasping he woke and sat up kicking off the blankets. He didn’t want anything next to his skin. He could almost still feel the heat from the flames. Feeling frustrated he flung himself back down on the bed.

How could he save his mate, if he couldn’t reach her?

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Gage leaned against the wall as he listened to those sitting around the large table sound off about the dimming of the city’s lights. Yesterday, after sprinting back to the palace, chaos ensued as the queen sent out runners everywhere. This morning, his unit was summoned back so that Ari could attend meetings. Covering his mouth, he tried to stifle a yawn. An elbow in his side had him rolling his eyes as Kincaid scowled at him. “Pay attention,” the witch mouthed at him. “Yes, mother,” he mouthed in return. “So, what you’re saying is that y’all don’t have seasons? Doesn’t that get boring,” Meryn asked. “Meryn, we are called the City of Eternal Sun,” Brennus reminded her gently. Meryn tilted her head to one side. “So, like, no fall? No, bonfires and pumpkin spice?” Izzy eyed the shorter woman. “Pumpkin spice? Really? I wouldn’t have pegged you as one of ‘those’ people.” “What?” Meryn protested. “That shit is good, I don’t care if it makes me a basic bitch.” Izzy rolled her eyes and smiled. “Bitch?” Aiden growled. “No one better say that about you.” Meryn made kissy noises up at her mate. “Don’t worry babes, no one would say shit with you nearby.” “They probably wouldn’t say shit with him on another continent either, Meryn,” Brie added. Meryn nodded in agreement. “True.” “Back to the new crisis at hand,” Kari said, bringing them back to the reason for the meeting. “I think it’s a crisis to stay in summer forever. Let it cool off a bit,” Meryn mumbled under her breath, snuggling into her sweater. “It’s not that simple, Meryn,” the queen said, sighing. “We’re already having to make arrangements to cover and warm some of the more delicate plants around the kingdom,” Portia added. Molvan closed his eyes and sat back in his chair. “It’s been a logistical nightmare.” Meryn turned to Kendrick. “Isn’t this your sort of thing to handle?” Kendrick stared at her, a flat expression on his face. “Normally, yes. However, I have no idea how the lighting here works,” he admitted, looking disgusted with himself. Kincaid’s eyes widened. “That happens?” Anne stifled a giggle as Kendrick growled. “Yes, fetus, it does happen, even to the best of us.” Kincaid flushed, but was smiling at the admonishment. Gage knew that the younger witch felt a bit of relief that even Kendrick ran into problems with magic every once in a while. “And, fire is your primary element,” Thane added, further rubbing salt in the wound. “I know that,” Kendrick shot daggers at the other witch. “Maybe you just have to change the batteries,” Meryn suggested. Everyone at the table turned to look at her in unison. She blinked at them. “Turn it off, then turn it back on again?” Once again, silence met her suggestion. She shrugged. “I got nothing then.” Izzy tapped her fingers to her lips. “Meryn may not be that off in her ideas. This one time, when I accidentally flooded the walls and had water coming out of the electrical sockets, I had to call an electrician, then the plumber. Couldn’t you call the ones that installed the lights?” she suggested. Oron stared down at his mate in horror. “What? How?” She held up her hand. “Long story.” Portia turned to the queen. “Though not exactly the same, the suggestion does hold merit. I have been scouring our city archives for anything that may help. According to one of the city journals the Fire Temple of Storm Keep are the ones that designed and installed the lights of the city.” Kendrick nodded. “Mikel, as the Fire Temple Head, would be invaluable in troubleshooting this.” He frowned. “I think he left some time ago, but they should be able to recall him.” Aiden smiled. “It would be nice to see him again.” Darian laughed. “Just like old times.” Meryn bopped her head back against Aiden’s chest. “Old times?” Aiden kissed the top of her head. “Mikel became Alpha’s witch when I became Unit Commander. When he had to return to Storm Keep, we got Keelan.” Meryn’s eyes widened. “A Keelan, before Keelan.” Kendrick shook his head. “Not really, they’re nothing alike. Mikel is much older for one and a more serious individual.” “Damn fine witch, though,” Darian added. Kendrick just nodded his agreement. “Portia, could you contact the Fire Temple and have them send the Fire Temple Head as soon as they can possibly spare them,” the queen requested. “At once, Your Majesty,” Portia inclined her head and hurried from the room. Darian reached over and placed his hand over the queen’s. “I’m sure it’s nothing.” She smiled wanly. “As much as I would love to believe that, the lights dimming after our enemy’s attempts at infiltrating our city has me pessimistic.” “I wonder if it’s like how I used to help Law get into buildings. Cut the security and the lights, then bust in,” Meryn mused out loud. Once again, heads swiveled to her, this time varying looks of horror on their faces. “Meryn, you’re a genius,” Law admitted. Unlike everyone else at the table, he looked thoughtful. “It’s exactly how we would try to infiltrate a location.” He turned toward the small menace. “Flip the script. What would you do if you were running security of the building and noticed lights and security cams were fritzing out?” Gage was officially impressed. Law seemed to know exactly how to engage Meryn, to get her thinking in her own special way. Meryn frowned. “It’s not that simple. Had I truly been in charge of the building, I would have countermeasures already in place. That’s not the case here.” The queen leaned forward. “What would you add?” Meryn was silent a moment, then turned to Kendrick. “Do portals accumulate any type of measurable energy before forming?” Kendrick’s mouth dropped open. Gage watched in fascination as one of the most powerful witches he had ever met sat there slack-jawed. A moment later, Kendrick broke into a huge grin before he jumped to his feet, whooping. He moved around the table and picked up Meryn, swinging her around. “Such a clever mind!” Aiden stood growling before he plucked Meryn from Kendrick’s hands. “She’s not a damn doll.” Kendrick ignored him. “Boys, Kincaid, Justice, you’re with me.” He was still muttering to himself about energy signatures as he practically sprinted from the room. Nigel, Neil, Kincaid, and Justice looked at each other before breaking into a dead run after the master witch. Gage blinked as his friend disappeared from sight. “What just happened?” “We’re mixing technology and magic,” Meryn explained as she settled back down in Aiden’s lap. “I need a bit more than that,” Brennus said, looking confused. Meryn shrugged. “Since I haven’t been able to use wands for magic like in Hogwarts, I have been approaching magic from a scientific standpoint. To me, it makes sense that there would be a gathering of energy to form a portal. If we’re able to measure and track that energy, we can pinpoint when and where these dark portals will pop up. That would be step one in my defense plan,” she explained. Thane and Law turned to look at the doorway with envious expressions. Gage could tell that they wanted to play with the experimental magic too. The queen sat back, looking stunned. “What would be your step two?” “Death and traps,” Meryn answered succinctly. Thane sprang to his feet a second before Law stood. “We can handle that,” he volunteered. Meryn tapped her chin with her pointer finger. “It will have to be easily moveable. We don’t know where these portals will show up.” Law said excitedly. “Sounds like a fun project.” “Come on, Law, we can’t let the prissy librarian show us up,” Thane said, heading toward the door. “Thanks, Red Queen,” Law grinned wickedly and followed his brother. Brennus sat back next to his mate. “We should just leave Meryn in charge.” Aiden exhaled. “I’ve been saying that for months.” Kari lifted her stylus. “We still don’t know why the lights are dimming,” she reminded them. “And we probably won’t until Mikel gets here. Until then, we’re working on countermeasures,” Declan said, before kissing his mate on her neck. Izzy turned to Oron. “So, what do we do now?” Gage couldn’t have been more surprised when Kari turned to him an apologetic look on her face. “When you have a moment, I have a message for you from your family.” Declan rolled his eyes. “Leave the boy be.” He looked him in the eye, smiling. “And it’s not your entire family, just your mother.” Kari scowled up at her mate. “Maybe he would like to discuss this later,” she reprimanded diplomatically. Gage winced and rubbed the back of his neck before turning to Kari and Declan. “I know what you're referring to. Ever since the shadows have been sighted here in Éire Danu, my mother has been calling to see if I could return to Noctem Falls,” he paused, then continued. “She seems to forget that I'm grown and unit warrior,” he looked around the room. Those from Éire Danu were well aware of his mother's overprotectiveness toward him. The others, recently from Noctem Falls, had met his uncle and aunt. As embarrassing as it was, he felt like he should just get everything out now, to get the conversation over with. Meryn looked over to him. “I remember meeting Simon and Leana and Beth’s bodyguards, but I don't remember meeting anyone else from that family. Your mom lives there, right?” she asked. Gage winced. “Yes, she lives with my uncle and my aunt, but she keeps to herself. My mother is Leana’s sister, so, technically, I am not related to the Géroux by blood, but Simon has always treated me the same as his nephews, Tarak, Kuruk, and Bastien.” He stopped, took a deep breath, and re-centered himself. When he looked back over at Meryn, he smiled wanly. “It is a difficult conversation to have. My mother’s mate, my father, is not the most caring of individuals. Growing up, I constantly heard that people were surprised she had not faded due to the lack of love between them. But, for all his faults, he is a fair leader and does well by House Fabre,” he sighed. “Unfortunately, my mother did not want a fair leader. She wanted love. Without a mate at her side, she became that much more protective of me. She transferred all the love she had to give to me.” Next to him, Ari snorted. “And became a bit obsessed,” he added playfully. Gage smiled. “Something like that. It was nothing inappropriate,” he clarified, “and it meant she was able to raise me, and I got to know and love my mother, but sometimes it can be daunting.” Meryn nodded. “That makes sense. You’re her son. She's lived for you, and now she's worried you might get killed by random ferals popping up in shadows in a city that is supposed to be impenetrable.” To Gage, her lack of pity was almost refreshing, and he found himself liking her just that much more. “Thank you, Meryn. I think we all needed that recap,” he teased. Kari lifted her stylus. “I can be a point of contact for her if that is easier. I do send updates to Magnus, and I am sure he is meeting with Simon often,” she offered. Gage thought about it a moment before nodding. “You know, that might not be a bad idea. If it comes from you, via Magnus and my uncle, it's mostly coming from official channels. She wouldn't be able to argue. It wouldn't be a matter of just not wanting to visit her. Thank you Kari. I’ll take you up on that.” Out of the blue, Priest wrapped his arm around his neck and pulled him down to rake his knuckles across his scalp. “He's just a baby vampire, who needs his bot bot,” Priest teased. Laughing, Gage drove his elbow into Priest’s solar plexus, and his unit brother grunted. “And you're just our little baby bird, Dora,” he countered. At the table, Meryn spoke up. “That’s Pandora,” she corrected. Ari stepped between the two of them, and they both straightened, remembering that they were in the Queen’s chamber. Ari placed a hand on his shoulder. “You know it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you wanted to invite her here,” he suggested. Gage just stared. “You want me to invite my mother to the city? We've been having these strange portals pop up out of nowhere. Are you out of your mind?” he exclaimed. Ari simply raised an eyebrow. “And both of my parents live here. She could stay at the Lionhart estate with them.” Gage shook his head. “I love my mother, I do, but I can barely handle her in a whole other pillar city. I'm not sure what I would do if she were down the road,” he said, sighing. “Paranormal helicopter parent,” Meryn announced. “I wonder how much more that's amplified than in the human world.” Groaning, Gage buried his face in his hands. Ari removed his hand. “I’m telling you, it will do a lot of good if she can see for herself how safe you actually are. Maybe a lot of her anxiety is from not knowing.” Gage straightened. “I see your point. All I can promise is that I’ll think about it.” Behind Ari's back, Priest was making faces at him. Just as he was about to reach over and slap him one, an alarm sounded. Meryn blinked. “That's new. What is it for?” she asked. Around the table, everybody looked a bit confused. Not getting an answer, Meryn looked up to Aiden. “Babe, do you know what the new alarm is?” she asked again. Aiden was already reaching for his walkie-talkie. “Ben, report!” he barked. “Adonis,” Meryn whispered. Aiden ignored her. “Commander, another one of those shadow portals appeared in almost exactly the same location as the last one. Citizens saw it and reported it to Dav,” Ben replied. “The Old Guard is in place and Gamma is heading there now. We’ll be on standby.” “Stay alert,” Aiden ordered. “We’ll be right there.” Switching channels on the walkie-talkie, he stood then started speaking again. “Kendrick, a new portal has been sighted at the perimeter. Grab your witches and head there. We’re leaving the palace now. Tell Nigel and Neil to come back and guard Meryn.” “Got it,” was the quick reply. Aiden turned to them. “Tau unit move out,” he ordered. And just like that, Gage was moving. They ran through the palace, Kincaid meeting up with them in the hallway. Since the appearance of the first portal and with them not knowing when they were going to get deployed to warehouses, the units had taken to wearing a lot of their regular gear as they patrolled. Luckily, they didn't need much as they headed toward the perimeter. Gage pulled out his sidearm and checked it as they ran. “What do you think we’ll find when we get there?” he asked. Ari glanced back at him, a wicked gleam in his eyes. “Hopefully, our enemies,” was the cheerful reply. The city proper flew by, and as they rounded corners in the Border City, they soon found themselves at the perimeter. The Old Guard and Gamma was standing in formation, looking up at a large shadow portal. As they ran up, the guard saluted Aiden.

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