Authors: Casey Knight
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places, and events are the work of the author’s imagination.
Any resemblance to real persons, places, or events is coincidental.
Solstice Publishing -
Copyright 2016 Casey Knight
To Gage my latest guide dog puppy, he has graduated and is a working guide dog. He spent many patient hours waiting for me to finish writing for his walks.
ack from our honeymoon, Traygen and I settled into our new home and married life. We were glowing after spending two weeks in the Seychelles. Then Traygen carried me into our new home. He had purchased it before our wedding and wouldn’t give me any details. It’s a tradition in his country and a concession I readily accepted. We now own a beachfront home in Malibu on La Costa beach. Xena and I are in our glory. The house is perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The front of the home faces the ocean and has floor to ceiling windows offering a panoramic view. The inside is open with high ceilings and gleaming bamboo floors. We run every day along the water with our favorite dragon. I never tire of watching the pelicans dive for their breakfast. He won’t tell me what it cost, but then he’d had over a hundred years to save his money.
Traygen is my husband and a changeling, specifically, a dragon. He can change forms between his human self and his dragon form. I am the wizard in charge of keeping L.A. free from all forms of supernatural terrors. I require a team to help with the arduous task of policing L.A. Traygen, Tokem and I worked together from the start with The World Council of Wizards. Tokem is a Tykili, an air spirit, who stands all of six inches tall. Our newest member is Corbin. He is the prince of a black court vampire family. I saved his life when he was sentenced to die for being gay. He repaid me by helping me find and rescue Traygen and during the search, he saved my life many times. Corbin now lives in L.A. and is adjusting well to his new life. As the wizard responsible for the Los Angeles basin, I guard a wide array of magical creatures including wizards, vampires, fae, demons, and werewolves. When these creatures mingle with the millions of citizens of L.A., people fear for their lives. Some die. I don’t like that.
The team and I were on leave from our responsibilities to keeping L.A. safe for Traygen’s and my wedding. We receive our assignments from Jason, who is my mentor and boss with the World Council of Wizards. He just sent word telling me to gather my team for an assignment. This meant one thing. The honeymoon is over. I went to my office where I keep a marble sculpture of the Dragon's Eye identical to my pendant. It stands two feet high and symbolizes the balance of love, power, and wisdom - my conduit for summoning reinforcements. I put in a call to everyone but Traygen. He would join us after he finished his shower..
I placed both hands on top of the pyramid and said, “Tokem Flint Runner and Corbin Drake Aran.” I stepped back and waited. Fios didn’t stand a chance against my pyramid. A universe-wide summons with no dropped calls or data charges. Several minutes later, I heard a static pop, followed by the sound of a small pair of wings, and Tokem flapped into view. Tokem is the team’s spy in the sky, in charge of surveillance and security. Jason provided me with Tokem's full name, which is how we met. The use of his full name binds him to me and he has provided me with invaluable service ever since. Several minutes later another pop announced Corbin’s arrival.
“Lauren, it is so good to see you. How was the honeymoon?”
“Yeah, we want details,” Tokem quipped.
“Not a chance. But, it is good to see you both.” Traygen shook hands with Corbin and bumped fists with Tokem.
“Does anyone know why Jason called this meeting?”
“Tokem, he didn’t say but he should be here any minute.”
Right on cue, Jason transported into the room.
“Glad to see you two made it back from your honeymoon. Corbin, Tokem, it is good to see you both. I’ll get right to the point. As you know, every fifty years, the paranormal community holds the Supernatural Games. Security at the games is rotated for every Jubilee. It is the World Council’s turn to supply the security for these games.”
“Who is hosting?”
“Good question, Lauren. We will need to work closely with the fae, who are hosting. The games will be played at Tri Na nOg. King Melwas of Summerland is hosting.”
“Lauren, you dodged one there. Queen Mab still has a price on your head,” Tokem chuckled.
“Is there anyone you haven’t annoyed?” Corbin said.
“Corbin, I think that’s unlikely. Now if I can have your attention, we need to focus on the task at hand. First off, there will be delegates representing five races of supernaturals competing. The sups represented are the elves, fae, lycan, vampires, and witches/wizards. It makes the most sense for us to protect the course design team. Lauren, you have the best chance of shielding them from anyone trying to steal the course plans.”
“Jason, you know we will do our best.”
“Thank you. The rest of the team will secure the design team in Tri Na nOg. It is, as you all know, a parallel universe. Tri Na nOga is an island paradise inhabited by supernatural beings. It is a place where life is eternal and can be reached only using magic. The games are timed to allow admission during the thinning of the veil. Meaning, entry is not the primary concern, it is who enters. We will need to assure the safety of all participants, which, if recent history is any indication, is never a sure thing. I don’t need to remind any of you of the assassination attempt on Queen Aeval.”
“Jason, how big a security force are we sending?”
“Lauren, we will send eight teams. There will be a contingent assigned to each group of sups, one for event coverage, one assigned to keep the entry ports secure, and your team will secure the course design team. We will have more than enough people to do this right. I am asking each team to go over the list of their respective assignments and schedules. Then prepare a plan to keep them safe. I’ll expect your proposal in forty-eight hours. So if you have no more questions, let’s get to work. Your information packets were sent to your tablets. Good luck.”
With a static pop, Jason left and we started our prep. After looking over the underground cities’ blueprint, the team decided the designer’s team was in a defensible compound. The fae city is in a parallel universe and designed to mirror the city layout of the mythical city of Tri Na nOg. The metropolis’s eastern border faced the Irish Sea and the remaining three sides formed a semi-circle. The western border backed up to a large park. A series of canals and harbors bisected most of the city. The royal palace was located at The Four-Courts in the center of the city, with water on two sides. The Four-Courts is where we intended to house the design team. We worked independently until dinner and then I ordered take-out from my favorite Thai restaurant. My favorite is the spicy, sweet and sour crying tiger beef or sauna rong hai. Once the food arrived, we piled our plates high and commenced our strategic discussions.
“Lauren, how might you steal the designs? For my money they will use magic of some sort because electronics won’t work in the fae realm,” Traygen stated as he sat beside me.
I finished chewing before I answered. “If it were me I would put a spell on one of the creators to keep their identities secret. Still, we need to assume someone will leak the information. With that as my basic assumption, I would attempt to place a bubble or shield over them so they couldn’t be hacked.”
“Yeah, but if anyone can lip read they might still be compromised. We need to put them in a sealed chamber and keep them there. We can test everything entering and leaving the sealed room,” Tokem added.
“Tokem makes a good point, but what about their families? Are we going to detain anyone they’ve made contact with? If we do then we only draw more attention to them. We need a decoy, a fake team we keep under the same level of security in another part of town. And let’s not rule out the fae. We will need Tokem to go over every inch of the palace. We can’t risk the fae selling secrets to the highest bidders,” Traygen noted.
“Traygen and Tokem, I want you two to take the lead in securing two separate sites. Corbin, I want you to find out everything you can on the project’s team and their families. I will begin working on spells for invisibility, concealment, and whatever else we will need to protect the design group. I suggest we meet back here in twenty-four hours with a blueprint we can discuss.”
“I think we are forgetting an important point.”
“Corbin, go ahead, tell me what tell me what we’ve missed?”
“We are planning on protecting the team and their families but what about the actual sites of competition? If there are leaks, then each of the sites is vulnerable to infiltration, bugging, or whatever else might provide an advantage. We need to know where they’re planning the events.”
“You make a very good point. As to how many, there are always four competitions based on the original Olympics, which consisted of four events. I’ll contact Jason and see if he can find out from the fae what areas we will be responsible for defending.”
I hugged Traygen before proceeding to my office. There are four different types of wizards. I'm an adept. I use thaumaturgy and theurgy. Thaumaturgy is the use of magic, which in my case means harnessing the natural elements. I can use wind, lightning, and almost any other element. Unfortunately, I’m not comfortable with fire. Theurgy is much different. It uses divine intervention or spirits to intervene to save humans. My office is lined floor to ceiling with books, vials, plants, rocks… in short, all the accoutrements a wizard needs to create. Most of my power stems from my ability to redirect or capture the natural energies of the universe. On a good day, I can channel the forces of the universe through my Dragon's Eye pendant, my platinum Uroborus bracelet, and my staff. Now I needed to consult my many books and files. Unfortunately, my books are not indexed, a librarian I am not. It took me forty minutes to find what I thought I might need.. I finally found it in the Black Pullet Grimoirie. The book catalogs all the spirits, the spirits’ powers, incantations, spells, and talismans.
I searched for information on cloaking and concealing spells. When I found what I needed, I started assembling the necessary ingredients. I spread a ring of salt around my worktable. No need to gamble or risk a chance encounter with some badass malcontent demon. They weren’t invited to my cook-off. I fortunately had everything I needed to make enough vials of concealing spells to hide half the eastern U.S. By the time I made enough charms and spells to handle the Herculean task, I broke my circle and hauled my exhausted body to bed. Traygen beat me and already snored softly in our bed. I undressed and slid in next to him and instantly fell asleep.
I slept until well past noon and when I woke up, Traygen was already gone. I enjoyed a long hot shower and then went in search of something to eat. My stomach growled and I prayed for food. When I stepped into the kitchen, the gang was already present.
“It is nice of you to join us,” Tokem teased.
Traygen came over and handed me a steaming cup of coffee.
“Thank you, Love.”
“Do you want eggs and toast?”
Before I so much as contemplated my food options, a static pop announced a visitor.
“Good you are all here. Lauren, I ran your request for the site locals by King Melwas. He sent over the designer’s plans. I forwarded them to you all. But, they are using four portable universes and they’re the only ones with the coordinates. Look them over, and let me know if you need more information from me. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
With that, Jason departed, and we all turned our attention to the information he had sent us. From what I read, the design team created four portable universes. These portable creations produced entire small universes or setting within the empty space surrounding our world. Think ship in a bottle and you get the gist of it. This had its good and bad points as far as I understood it. The biggest plus was the universes were easier to protect because unless someone knew the exact coordinates, they were nearly impossible to find. Unfortunately, I didn’t think we could keep those coordinates a secret. I did not care what they said; those coordinates were vulnerable to theft, hacking, and bribes. By the time I finished eating, everyone seemed to have read the information.
“Thoughts on the mini universes,” I asked.
“Lauren, I don’t like it. I can’t see how they can keep those coordinates a secret. We all know the biggest competition at these games is to see who can cheat, steal and bring home the prize with the least amount of effort.”
Tokem made a good point, and as I looked around the room, the others nodded in agreement. The question was what if anything might stop the theft of the latitudes, longitudes. My mind blanked as I contemplated the magnitude of our challenge..
“Can we move the portable universes around? I mean in theory they are portable. This way the thieves couldn’t hone in on the exact location, not with any degree of certainty. Lauren, what do you think?”
“You make a valid point. I don’t have enough power to move them. But, the council of wizards certainly has the energy to keep them moving. They could assign a group of wizards to move them constantly, so no one would know exactly where they were at any specific time. I’ll contact Jason and see what he thinks.”
I left and went to my office to confer with Jason. I needed to summon him, which meant I needed my Dragon’s Eye sculpture. It took only moments before a loud pop announced his arrival. I went out to stand with the others and Jason was already there. We shared our concerns and what we thought might work. He considered it and told us he was sure they had enough wizards to keep the portable universes revolving. Then he departed as fast as he had come.
“Does anyone else have concerns regarding our mini universes?”