1/17/15

Cecily Magnon Day 5



Dark Skies (The Order of the Anakim Book 3)
Chapter One

December 26th, a little past midnight.
Isabel sighed, allowing the quiet to finally fill her, easing her mind and body. She reached behind her, feeling the fatigue in her back as she grabbed for
the armrest of her chair, cautiously sitting down. She was feeling her age
and the need for rest settled upon her heavily. She was quickly slipping into sleep when the phone rang, jarring her awake. The leather cushion squeaked
as she leaned forward to reach for the phone. "Isabel! Please. I need your help," a distressed voice whimpered on the other end of the line.
It took Isabel's foggy mind a moment to recognize the voice. "Samantha? Is that you? What's happened?  How can I help?"
"Isabel, my friend Will… He's here in my home and he's badly hurt. His wounds go beyond my expertise."
Despite her fatigue, years of training and the ability to make quick decisions immediately guided her.
"Samantha, it'll be okay. I'll send for help. Your friend can be brought here to the estate. I'll have the
infirmary ready. Do you know what happened? Who is Will? How can we get prepared?"
"Isabel, Will is… Elysa's father."
Her heart dropped. In all the years the Anakim had watched over Elysa, the identity of her father had been
kept a mystery. Sarah, Elysa's mother, was a Watcher, but she guarded the secret ferociously and had
never uttered a word about him.
She spoke slowly, though her pulse was racing, "Caleb and I will be there as soon as we can. You must
tell me everything you know, Samantha."
As Isabel pressed down on the phone's plunger to disconnect the call, her heart was still racing over the
news, her hand tightly gripped around the neck of the handset. Dearest Creator… Elysa's father?
Isabel dialed a series of numbers on the phone. She hadn't heard the line ring and had been surprised to
hear Caleb greet her. "Caleb, please get ready. We must get to Samantha's immediately."
She exited her Library, her mind fully awake, yet muddled with a thousand questions. As she walked
briskly down the hallway, the light flutter of her white shirt danced in the wake of her gait; she tapped on
her com-disc, waiting for an answer from the Infirmary.
Hearing Mary's voice and having her understanding of the gravity of the arrival of their unexpected guest
provided some measure of relief to a mind full of questions, "Mary, discretion. Highest security. Please be
ready."
"Understood, High Mother."
She was almost running to the main entrance in the foyer, her light steps soundless over the smooth,
polished wooden floors of the hallway. Caleb would be arriving any minute and she didn't want to waste
time. She exited the main doors as Caleb's black SUV slowed to a stop.
Caleb ran around to open her door and help her into the passenger seat. "Thank you, Caleb. I apologize
for the abrupt nature of my call, but an extremely urgent matter has arisen."
Caleb bowed to Isabel before returning to the driver's seat. "Is Samantha okay?"
She clicked her seatbelt and adjusted the belt over her torso. "Yes. She's fine. We are needed to assist
Samantha's friend. Please hurry. He is badly injured. I don't know how serious, but I do not want to take a
chance. Time is of the essence."
Caleb smiled. "Of course." He pressed down on the accelerator, causing the SUV to roar with power.
"Hang on."
Isabel swallowed as the vehicle sped down the winding hill. She was getting too old for such things, her
nerves, not quite what they used to be. She looked at Caleb. He seemed to be enjoying himself. The
earlier heaviness in his eyes was now replaced with bright alertness.
She caught her breath and acclimated to the increased speed of the SUV barreling down the hill.
"Caleb…" He needed to know before they reached their destination. "Samantha's friend, the injured man,
is Elysa's father."
Caleb looked at Isabel, his brows rising in question. "Ellie's father?"
Isabel nodded. "Yes. This is as much a surprise to me as anyone else. We didn't know of him and don't
know about him. His identity was kept secret by Elysa's mother. Why? We don't know. But whatever her
reasons, it must be significant -- even Elysa was kept from him."
"Are you going to tell Ellie?"
"Yes, of course, but great care will be needed. It is a delicate situation and I have a feeling the arrival of
Elysa's father is a grave matter. I don't know what this reunion will bring about, but The Order must be
ready."
Isabel and Caleb quickly reached Samantha's residence in the Castro District. Traffic had been light, due
to the lateness of the evening, and they made good time. Samantha ran out to the sidewalk to meet them,
clearly in distress.
"Thank you, Isabel. Thank you, Caleb. Please hurry."
Isabel felt the shields wrapping around the house. It was thick, charged with strong magick. Being the
High Priestess to the Corvidae Coven, Samantha always had shields up on her house. It was just part of
the practice one got into when one started fighting demons.
Samantha waited at the door. She was wringing her hands, her eyes darting back and forth, as if searching
the front of the house.
"Where is your friend?" Isabel asked as she and Caleb came to the threshold. Samantha gracefully
flourished her arm up and down three times before opening the door and hurrying to get inside.
"He's in my room. I don't know what else to do. His wounds are significant, and nothing I've tried is
working to stop the bleeding. They keep opening back up. I've even tried to stitch them closed." Samantha
spoke rapidly, her voice catching at times.
Samantha led them to the back of the house and into her private room. Caleb caught Isabel's gaze for a
moment, but didn't say anything. He gave her a shallow bow and took his post outside the bedroom door.
Isabel tentatively approached. A large man lay sprawled across the foot of the bed. His shirt was soaked in
blood, as were the sheets beneath him. He was pale, and sweat covered his face. His clothes were torn and
dirty, and it was obvious he'd been involved in a serious altercation.
Isabel could feel the man's energy sweep over her. It was jagged, erratic, turbulent. She could almost feel
the pain coursing through his body as the energy charged at her like a blade. She kept her voice soft and
quiet. The poor man didn't need any more stimuli to aggravate his condition. "Will, my name is Isabel. I'm
a friend of Samantha's. I'm a Healer. Please let me help you."
Will groaned.
"The most serious wound is on his abdomen." Samantha gently sat down next to Will and peeled back the
blood-soaked shirt.
Isabel gasped at the sight. The wound gaped open, deep and bloody. The skin looked puckered and
swollen, and she could see where stitches had unraveled, the ends of the thread still looping through the
skin.
"Samantha, get a wash basin with warm water. Pour your healing oils into it, with a concentration of
Calendula. The best we can do right now is to prevent infection and slow the bleeding."
Isabel placed her hands lightly along the perimeter of the wound, noting the inflammation and heat
radiating from the skin. She felt Will's forehead. He was clammy and warm, yet his teeth were chattering.
A fever was taking hold. Not a good sign.
Isabel turned towards the door. "Caleb, get in here, please."
Caleb looked at the man in the bed. All Guardians knew the signs of battle all too well, and Caleb seemed
to be studying the clear signs that had been left on Will. "This is Ellie's father? What was he doing
fighting demons? Is he Anakim?"
"Can you sedate him? He is in a lot of pain, but we need to transport him back to the estate."
Caleb took a step toward Will and placed two fingers lightly on his forehead. He waited until Will's
breathing evened out and his body relaxed before lifting his fingers. "Is there anything else I can do?"
"How will we get him back into the vehicle? Will you be able to move him?" Isabel asked.
Caleb stepped back from the bed to assess the potential load. "Yeah, I can move him, but Samantha will
have to hide us from view."
"Understood."
Samantha returned with a wash basin. The fragrant water sloshed around as she hurried to Isabel's side.
"Samantha, I need you to take that cloth and get a few drops of water into the wound itself, then wash
around the area while I try to manipulate the energy around it so we can keep the wound closed long
enough to get him back to the estate."
Samantha moved expediently, doing exactly as instructed and settling near the foot of the bed, diligently
cleaning the wound.
Isabel started breathing deeply, filling her lungs and emptying them, until she could feel all other
distractions fading from her consciousness, allowing her to concentrate on the healing. She hovered her
hands over Will's open gash. Her gut knotted at the presence lurking inside his body. It fought her, dark
energies swirling, invading Will’s lightness, poisoning his system. It was strong magick and it was
quickly depleting his life force.
She called upon the energies of Mother Gaia. Hold me in your protection, dear Mother, she recited in her
mind repeatedly as she wrestled with the darkness that was fighting to hold onto Will.
She felt a charge penetrate the sole of her feet and rush up her legs. The energy spiked in her gut and
rushed to her heart. She felt solid as a mountain, a volcano throbbing with energy. The healing energy
from Mother Gaia was ready. She collected it, channeling it down her arms and into her hands, pushing a
surge of cleansing energy into Will.
He convulsed, his body reacting to the opposing energies of light and dark. Isabel was not about to lose
the tug-of-war that had begun. She anchored herself and all her energy to strengthen her hold. More, dear
Mother, she called out to Gaia. She needed the extra strength to pull the dark tendrils out of Will. She grit
her teeth as the dark tentacles tightened around his life force. He was being suffocated from the inside.
"Hold on, Will," she groaned.
She fell back on the floor with a thud, her old hipbones landing squarely. She grunted, but did not lose
focus. She was holding on for Will's life. The dark energy was coming lose, its grip coming undone. This
was her chance. She clamped her jaw, sucked in her breath, and yanked with all her strength at the alien
energy inside Will. He screamed, his unconscious mind not giving him any reprieve from the pain.
Isabel caught the dark tendrils of energy and cast them back onto the earth to be contained and,
eventually, neutralized by Mother Gaia. She was breathing hard, her heart thundering inside her chest.
She looked at Will, thankful, that his body had gone limp. If Caleb hadn't already sedated him, he would
have passed out from the shock and pain.
Removing the dark energy was enough to stop the bleeding, but it wasn't enough to completely heal him.
She couldn't get it all; the strongest of the dark tendrils held on and continued their harmful work. She
needed the strength of the estate and the other Healers to complete the healing.
"Samantha, let's hurry and get this wound covered up. We don't have much time. The bleeding will start
again. Caleb, please get ready."
Caleb nodded. "Samantha, I need you to hide us. I'll have to float him into the car, and I don't know what
kind of traffic is out there."
"Just tell me when you're ready."
Isabel felt a ripple of energy leave Caleb's mind as he closed his eyes. The air around the room charged
with mild static and a faint buzzing was barely audible before the atmosphere lightened and seemed to
thin and spread. Will's body lifted off the bed.
"Now, Samantha."
Samantha invoked a spell and cast it upon Caleb and Will. Isabel recognized the spell as one of glamour.
Samantha couldn't actually make them invisible, but she could fool the eyes of anyone who might see
them. "What is the illusion cast?" Isabel asked.
Samantha shrugged. "A couple of mastiffs." She looked at Caleb. "If someone tries to pet you, just
growl."
Caleb lifted an eyebrow. "If someone tries to pet me, I'm biting."
"Isabel, if you would please walk next to Caleb, and I'll walk next to Will. It'll complete the illusion."
Her breathing was finally slowing, her heart regaining its normal rhythm. "Very well. Let's go." Isabel
stood next to Caleb and followed Samantha out the door. Isabel stopped and looked around before
proceeding to the SUV. The street was quiet, except for a few barking dogs down the street.
To an innocent passerby, they would simply look like dog owners out for a walk. She opened the SUV's
rear door and Caleb expertly directed Will's body inside. His telekinetic powers and control had grown
over the years, making him one of the strongest guardians within The Order.
She walked to the front of the SUV, feeling drained of her energy. The healing had taken a lot out of her.
She hadn't confronted anything like that before. Such power in just a small amount of force… She knew
the dark energy hadn't unleashed even half its potential. A chill ran down her spine as the realization
caught up to her. What kind of beast left the toxin inside Elysa's father? She shook it off and twisted
around to look at Samantha and Will in the back. "How is he?"
"We need to hurry." The Priestess had her hand on Will's forehead. "His fever is rising."
The dashboard lit up, illuminating the inside of the SUV with a bluish haze as the engine roared back to
life. Caleb depressed a button and she heard a faint buzzing overhead. Caleb turned to her, "Infirmary is
patched in."
"Infirmary," Isabel started, "we have wounded arriving in approximately thirty minutes. Multiple
lacerations on the torso. Wounds are demon-inflicted. The patient is infected with dark energy, preventing
wounds from healing. Bleeding is temporarily stopped, but wounded has lost a lot of blood. Be ready to
meet us at Level 3's back entryway."
A stern voice responded, "We'll be ready. Infirmary, out."
"Caleb, make haste." Isabel settled herself in the seat, anticipating the drive to be a quick one.
The vehicle was nearly halfway across the bridge when Isabel's spine stiffened, the hairs on her neck
rising. She scanned the perimeter. She could not see any disturbance, but she could feel it.
Caleb looked at her. His laid-back posture behind the wheel had been replaced with keen readiness.
"We're being tracked." She spoke calmly, too many years of practice instantly waking up to ready her for
a confrontation. The earlier fatigue was gone with the spike of adrenaline that rejuvenated her system.
"Where are they? Can you sense a location?" Caleb asked.
"No. Their presence is shrouded, but they're near. How much longer before we reach the borders of the
estate?"
"At this speed, about ten minutes."
****
Easily moving across the length of the Golden Gate Bridge, he felt the accelerator sinking toward the
floor, the massive engine of the SUV easily accommodating the demand for speed.
He didn't need to be instructed to accelerate. He understood exactly what she was asking. Anakim lands
were protected and as soon as they crossed into their border, they would be safe from the demon's
advance.
Thick fog rolled in, gathering around the vehicle and surrounding it in dark clouds. The windows became
wet with condensation, obscuring his view of the path ahead. The vehicle trembled, fishtailing over the
slick asphalt, the tires spinning without traction, coasting on the pools of water that came with the fog.
"Fuck," Caleb bit out. "Hang on."
The condensation around the SUV collected, solidified, then separated into eight humanoid forms --
Water Demons. They shrieked an ear-piercing call, rattling the reinforced windows. Caleb's eyes darted to
the rearview mirror. He could see Samantha protectively hunched over Ellie's father. She had her eyes
closed and was rapidly mouthing something as she swayed with the movements of the car.
Two of the demons swung from either side of the car and onto the top of the hood. They pushed their
faceless heads into the windshield, drowning the glass in running water. Caleb stomped down on the
breaks, lurching the car forward and flinging the demons off the hood.
Caleb tried to drive away, stomping heavily on the gas pedal, making the tires squeal over the pavement.
A demon jumped on the hood, the heavy impact popping the back of the SUV up in the air. He heard
Samantha let out a small yelp as the SUV landed heavily on the back tires. "Is Will okay?" he called back
as he stared at the Water Demon trying to push through the windshield. It was craning its neck to catch a
glimpse of the passengers in the back.
"They want Will," Samantha hissed. She had him completely shielded underneath her body. In the
darkness, it would have been difficult to discern another body underneath her, let alone identify who it
was.
"Why?" Caleb growled, keeping his eyes on the demon. It had grown, combining with the other demons
and forming one huge being with the strength of a rushing river. It started punching at the windshield.
"The glass is reinforced, but all it will take is one crack and these bastards will drown us."
"He's a threat. They want him dead," Samantha yelled over the shrieking. The demons were doubling their
effort to crack the glass.
His eyes darted toward Isabel. She sat calmly in her seat, but her back was rigid, her head held high.
"Caleb, let's take this battle outside." It was an order from the High Mother.
"The demons are not affected by any type of weapons. The only thing that has stopped them has been
heat; fire from Adam, lighting from Ellie. Nic slowed them down with a huge blast of air, but it was
temporary."
"Let's see how they react to Earthly powers, shall we?"
****
Caleb stopped the vehicle. Isabel opened her door and walked steadily onto the middle of the bridge. A
strong breeze whipped through, chilling her face as it rushed against her, howling in between the
undulating girders of the famous landmark. She looked behind her, toward the sloping green hills that
were a mere few feet away. She only needed to disperse the water demons, just enough to disturb their
form so they could get away.
The demons whipped around her. She could feel them studying her, yet not attacking. Caleb rushed to her
side, guns loaded and ready to fire.
"I thought you said weapons had no effect?"
Caleb smiled his devilish smirk, making his blue eyes twinkle. "They don't, but it's still fun shooting at the
fuckers."
There was no more waiting. The demons gathered, their forms melting into each other, until they were
one large, swirling vortex of water that spun menacingly around her and Caleb. Stray streams of water
whipped out of the liquid tornado, the jets slicing the skin on her arm on contact. It burned like acid, the
pain making her pulse and breathing race.
She mustn't lose focus. She looked toward the vehicle and could feel the protective shield Samantha was
conjuring from within. It was strong, even stronger than the one cast over her home. She hadn't realized
the kind of power the Priestess could generate.
Caleb moved in closer, blocking her from the demonic whirlpool that had encapsulated them. Her
expression morphed, showing the calm surface that harbored the raging storm of a Guardian. She hadn't
been in field battle for years, but she felt her powers gather quickly, ready to be deployed at her
command.
She could feel the immense power of Mother Gaia flowing up her legs, melding with her own source of
energy, sheltering itself within her. The separation between her and the earth was no longer present. She
was of the earth, a daughter of Gaia herself, and able to wield those forces as her own.
The bridge began to rumble, and the graceful cables spanning from tower to tower swung back and forth.
Isabel focused. "Blessed art thou, Mother Gaia, who giveth in this time of need."
Isabel felt her feet sinking into the cement as if Gaia herself reached up and pulled on her soles. She felt
secured and charged with flowing energy running up from her heel, all the way into her spine. The power
was building within her, flowing out and gathering into her arms. She could feel the rumbling underneath
her, a steady force that moved the powers of the earth into her. Her eyes widened with the call of Gaia in
her heart, Cast it out!
She bent to her side, her stance wide, and twisted her frame to hurl earthen energies into the swirling
liquid vortex. The energy rumbled out of her arms, like a boulder crashing down a hillside, and smashed
into the liquid. Millions of energetic pebbles dissipated inside the demonic monstrosity.
"Caleb, run!"
The top of the vortex glimmered and was changing in consistency. It was thickening, darkening, steadily
solidifying. Caleb stooped down and grabbed her around the waist, carrying her as fast as he could back to
the SUV.
Caleb peeled out, their return to Anakim land only minutes away. She turned around to check on their
passengers, her gaze finding the Priestess. Samantha gave her a shallow nod as she held onto Will,
keeping him from getting tossed around.
Through the back window, Isabel caught sight of the vortex, the liquid funnel continuing to change, layer
by layer. It was slowing down, dropping chunks of dirt and mud onto the ground. The water was being
overtaken by the earth, the dirt acting like a sponge to soak up all the demonic liquid. Thank you, Mother
Gaia.
She straightened in her seat, clasping her hands over her lap. They still felt warm, stimulated by the rush
of blood and strength needed to channel the powers. She looked out the window and fisted her hands in
her lap, hoping Caleb wouldn't notice her hands beginning to tremble.
Caleb wound his way through the hill and around to the estate's hidden hillside entrance. "We've crossed
into our border," Caleb announced as he patched the Infirmary through the SUV's communication system.
"Infirmary, be ready. We're just a few minutes away."
Mary was waiting with her assistant. Caleb quickly exited the vehicle and opened the back door. "Bring
the gurney here." He waved Mary to the back of the car, where he safely guided Will's unconscious body
out of the SUV and onto the gurney. The Healers looked at their new patient, their faces grim. Mary and
her assistant rushed to take Will back to the Archives.
Isabel waited until they were gone, taking advantage of the moment to collect herself. "Samantha, Caleb.
Please follow me. We need to speak." She led Samantha and Caleb into the Elders' Chamber and closed
the door behind them. "I ask that neither of you reveal Will's presence to the other Guardians, or to any of
the Sisters, for that matter. I want to share the news with our kin myself, but I need time. Will must wake
so I can speak with him about his intentions, his business… about Elysa, about Sarah... "
"Understood," Caleb replied without hesitation.
"Can I be there with you, Isabel? When Will wakes and you speak with him?" Samantha took a deep
breath. "He's a friend, but he's been long absent and I have some questions myself. I promise I will not
interfere with your questioning," Samantha requested, her voice full of sadness.
"Yes, of course, Samantha." Isabel nodded. "I'd like you to stay here at the estate while Will is being
attended to. Stay close to him. He needs all the help we can give him right now."
"Thank you," Samantha replied. "I want to stay. Help where I can." She bowed to Isabel and Caleb before
leaving the Elders' Chamber.

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