Mia stood at her bar separating her kitchenette from her living room. The mug of coffee in her hands long gone cold as she stared at the open letter that had been left at her doorstep the night before.
You seek the truth, I have your answers, the note said. No signature, no initials, nothing but the black ink against the white paper.
Mia didn’t bother to wonder how this person knew she was looking for answers. Nothing in her life seemed to be a secret to anyone but herself anymore. Everyone else seemed to know everything about her. She was the only one still left in the dark.
With a sigh, Mia folded the note up and stuck in back in the plain white envelop she had found shoved in the crack between her front door and the tiled floor. Ronan had been weary enough after everything they had heard that he hadn’t noticed a thing. Mia knew he was already at his breaking point and she didn’t want to push him any further so she decided she would deal with the note and its contents on her own.
She had left the note on her counter last night, before taking a nice warm shower and falling right in to bed. She had only remembered it this morning when she had shuffled in to her kitchen to make herself a nice pot of hot coffee. Until then, she had completely forgotten about it.
Tapping the edge of the envelope on the countertop, Mia contemplated what she should do with it. Ronan would be furious when he learned that she had hidden from him and Nick wouldn’t be any happier. After all, Ronan was supposed to be there for her safety. She was supposed to tell him everything, but so far she was keeping more things from him than she was telling him. But after last night, she realized it was for the better. She wasn’t sure he could handle much more, especially so soon.
So without a second thought, Mia tossed the letter in her half filled garbage can. She would have to remember to take the trash out today. She didn’t want anyone else to stumble upon the letter and demand to know why she was keeping it from them. Sometimes it seems they fought she was a grown woman and able to make her own decisions about her own life. She was a hundred and fifty years old and had been able to take care of her for a while now, not to mention for the last twenty-five of those hundred and fifty years she had been able to live perfectly fine on her own with none of them to wiser and to her identity. Just because suddenly the world was out to get her, didn’t mean she still couldn’t take care of herself.
Dumping her untouched coffee down the sink, she washed and rinsed out of mug before placing it in the dish rack to dry. She turned back towards her bedroom and decided to get dressed. There was some place she wanted to go.
Since the weather had turned cold and Mia was now forced to wear her winter jacket anytime she left the house, she could no longer wear her halters that use to secure her blades to her arms within easy reach. The jacket was too tight to easily get the blades out and would cost her too much time, so she stopped carrying them around. Instead she had started to wear her silver rose ring again. It was the only thing she kept when she left her grandmother’s house, and the one thing that would give away her identity. But because she couldn’t wear her gloves with her ring on, she tended to keep her hands in her pockets out of sight so she wasn’t too worried about being discovered.
Although she avoided using her blood magic as much as possible, blood letter magic actually used very little magic so the trace was so minimal it was also unnoticeable. When she was hiding, she couldn’t take the chance of any trace of her being found. Even that minimal of a trace was still trackable, and with Delilah on her trail back then, it would have pretty much been suicide to use even that little magic. But now that Delilah was on their side, Mia was a little bit more lenient with her magic use.
She knew she should probably change that now that Ophelia was on her trail, but really, the only real weapon she had again Ophelia was her blood magic. If she was caught unaware, her steel blades would be nothing against Ophelia’s blood blades. They would cut right through the steel like melted butter. Her only chance against Amelia was her blood magic and they all knew it. If she was forced to use enough blood magic that others could sense her, it would already be too late since by then Ophelia would have found her.
Grabbing her brush off her dresser, Mia ran the bristles through her pale blond curls. Her hair had grown a little longer and now fell past her shoulders. Where before she had only been able to pull it up in a ponytail, she could now pull it up in a bun which was what she did. Securing a few stray curls with some bobby pins she took a look at herself in the mirror on the back of her closet door.
With a beanie to hide her hair and a jacket on, she could easily blend in to the crowds the filled the streets where she would be heading. With a satisfied nod, Mia grabbed her wallet and keys and shoved it into the pockets of her thick jacket before throwing it over her shoulders.
She was almost out the door when a knock suddenly stopped her. She stared at the closed door for a long moment and waited to see what the other person on the other side would do. When the knock came again not more than ten seconds later she knew who stood on the other side.
With a sigh she opened the door to find her cousin standing behind it. She gave Mia a bright smile as she looked her over.
“Are we going out?” Ada asked.
“It would seem so,” Mia said with a sigh knowing there was no way she could get rid of her without alerting the rest of her guard.
“Oh good, I need a few things. You would be amazed what Delilah doesn’t have in her house. Can you believe she doesn’t have bath salts or candles? Really, who can possible take a nice relaxing bath without bath salts or candles?” Ada said shaking her head as she watched Mia lock up.
Mia didn’t bother to reply as she turned down the hallway and headed towards the stairs. Ada followed behind her, her heels clacking against the tiles of the second floor landing.
“So where are we headed anyway? I saw a sweet shop on the way here that I would love to stop in,” She started up again as they descended the stairs, “I think I saw chocolate covered strawberries in the store window. I hope they use the good kind of strawberries. It would be such a waste if they were all tart and sour. I just hate strawberries that aren’t sweet.”
Mia let her cousin rattle on as they exited the brown stone and made their way towards the closet subway station. The whole time Ada went on about one thing or another, Mia pretty much ignored her. When Ada when in her moods, she could go on and on about absolutely nothing. It really did amaze Mia that she had survived as long as she did, especially among their family. Anyone else without her skill as a blood letter would have been dead long ago.
Ada kept up her running dialog as Mia purchased to tickets for them and then led the way thru the turnstile. The underground platform was packed with people all trying to avoid the harsh winter weather above. Mia found a pocket of space near one of the pillars and huddled next it, glancing down at her watch to see how much longer they would have to wait for.
Ada sidled up next to her, so that their shoulders were touching, her words so soft that anyone else would have missed it, but with Mia’s recent use of her blood magic her extra senses were slowly coming back.
“We’re being followed,” Ada reported. Mia nodded with a pleasant smile on her face as she scanned the crowd around them. She had sensed as much the whole way there, so she had an idea of who it was, so she wasn’t surprised to spot a familiar face in the crowd with bright blue eyes and black as night hair. He greeted her with a nod and a smirk, not even trying to hide the fact that he was trailing her.
“Who is he?” Ada asked.
“A neighbor,” Mia told her, “He’s a guild tracker, just moved in to the apartment a week ago.”
“Not even trying to be subtle anymore, are they?” Ada sniffed.
“No, not really,” Mia agreed as their conversation was interrupted by the squealing of the train pulling in to the station. Mia and Ada were jostled and elbowed, but like the other passengers, they were finally able to squeeze themselves in. It wasn’t a long ride, but Mia decided the next time she decided to go to this particular place, she was getting a taxi.
When their stopped arrived, Mia tugged on Ada’s sleeve as they dislodged themselves from the mass of passengers on the train and fought their way through those trying to get on. She had hoped that they would have gotten lucky and lost their tail, but he strolled off the train just as the doors were closing.
“Persistent, isn’t he?” Ada remarked dryly as she too watched Aiden emerge from the train. Mia just nodded as she turned away from her current shadow and headed up the stairs leading towards the surface. Once they made it out in to the cold air, she turned left and headed down the main street. Ada followed silently behind her, suddenly her earlier playfulness was gone, and now all that remained was one of the Dragos Clan’s most feared blood letters.
Mia walked down the main street for a couple of blocks before turning down one of the side streets. At night, this street was packed with people lining the sidewalks trying to get in to exclusive club, but during the day time, the street was completely empty. A few bars along the street had their doors open for customers but all the others shops or clubs still remained shuttered.
Mia made her way down the empty street until she came to a club that had a huge neon sign hanging above the entrance of a red devil stirring a black cauldron. The sign proclaimed the club as the Devil’s Pot.
For most of the residence of Stonehaven, the name was nothing more than flashy gimmick. One of the many Goth inspired night clubs that filled the down. For a blood magic user, it was something completely else. For a blood magic user, it was a calling card for one of the most powerful blood magic users in the country, maybe even the world.
Mia stood in front of the double black doors and just stared up at the sign for a moment. She spotted Aiden strolling down the empty sidewalk towards them out of the corner of her. She was sure he was wondering what she was doing in front of an obviously closed night club in the middle of the day, but she wasn’t going to both to explain that the night club owner just happened to be a man who claimed he was the legendary William Gregor, a man thought long dead as he and his followers were supposedly burnt to ashes by the Guild’s elite task force, the Dragon Legion.
She knew if Nick found out she was her, he would kill her, but right now they needed answers and William Gregor, or whoever he maybe, was one of the only men with them. She didn’t have time to hunt down her father, she needed answers now.
Strolling up to the front doors, Mia pushed them open. She was only a little surprised to feel them give as she pushed inward. She knew William had just as many spies around the city as the Guild did. He would have been alerted to her impending arrival the moment she got off the train. After all, there was nothing else in this part of town that she would need to visit.
The heavy doors gave easily under her palm as she strolled in to the dimly lit room. There were a few lights on by the bar and a couple on the stage by the deejay stand, but the rest of the room was dark. The black painted walls giving the room an even more gloomy feeling.
“I’ve been waiting for your arrival,” a voice said from above them, Mia whirled to watch as a shadowed figure descended the metal staircase besides them. Mia kept her fisted hands in her pockets as she watched the man emerge from the shadows.
He looked just like he had the last time she saw him. The same too tight black shirt and leather pants, the same devil may care smile, the same fluorescent blue eyes and too long black hair. The man was just as handsome and she remembered and just as dangerous. She could feel the ebb of power he gave off. It tingled up her arms and down her spine. He was powerful, there was no doubt about that. But the question was, was he powerful enough to stop her from killing him if he didn’t give her the answers she was looking for.
“You know why I’m here,” Mia said as she watched William came to a stop at the bottom stair, he smile cold and his eyes bright.
“I told you that you would come back,” He said.
“Not for the reason you said,” Mia said as she pulled her hands out of her pockets, if she was going to need to fight, she would need to be ready. William watched her movements with an amused smile on his face. “You will tell me what I need to know.”
“I see nothing has changed from the last time you graced my doors,” he chuckled as he took the last step down and headed towards the bar, “and this time you brought a friend.”
“She’s not a friend, she’s family,” Mia said as she watched William.
“Ah, I see, another Dragos then. Your lot seems to be filling our little town rather quickly,” William said, not bothering to turn around. He walked behind the bar and grabbed one of the bottles of the shelf on the wall. He grabbed a glass from behind the counter and proceeded to pour himself a drink. He lifted the glass and washed down the amber liquid in one swig before turning back to them, “So does your protector know you’re here or should I be expecting the cavalry to come bursting through my doors any minute now.”
“I took precautions,” Mia stated coolly, which just caused William to chuckled. As he held his hand out towards the double doors, which swung open just at the moment.
“Obviously not enough,” William said with that smirk Mia would have loved to wipe off his face. Mia gritted her teeth as she walked Aiden sauntered in the room with a wide smile on his lips. “Lucky for you, he’s one of mine.”
“Should’ve known that snake was yours,” Mia replied through clenched teeth, not at all surprised by the revelation. There has always been something about Aiden that had set her on edge, besides the almost electrocuting her thing. Now she knew what it was. “I see my grandmother was not the only one that had her spies in the Guild.”
“We all have to protect our assets in one way another,” William said with a nonchalant shrug, “I really can’t afford to wake up in a burning building again. It really was quite unpleasant the first time around.”
“I can imagine,” Mia replied flatly, “Now, what about my answers.”
“My dear girl, you haven’t even asked your questions and you already demanding answers,” He said wagging his finger at her as if she was a naughty child.
“I don’t have time to play your games. If you truly are William Gregor you know exactly why I’m here,” Mia snapped.
“Would that be because even at this moment the lethal beauty Ophelia Rosengard is marching to our pleasant little town, or because your little prophet has given you her doomsday prediction,” William said as he set about pouring himself another cup of from the bottle of amber liquid.
“Do you want one?” He asks as he notices her gaze. Mia just stares at him icily. He shrugs and downs the liquid once more.
“Isn’t a little early to get drunk?” Ada asked with a scowl.
“Hardly, the magic in my blood burns through the stuff like water. It would take a lot more to affect me then the little tidbit,” he informed them.
“Then why drink at all?”
“Because it reminds me of a time when I could be affected,” William said solemnly as he set the glass down on the bar. “I was not always this way. Once I could enjoy a drink just like any other chap out for a bit of fun. Now, I could down everything in the place and not even feel the slightest blur. Truly a waste.”
When he looked back up at Mia, she saw that all the laughter and jokes was gone. Before her stood a man, a very old and weary man. She was surprised he had let her shields down for her to see.
“I do know what you are here, but sadly I don’t have the answers you are looking for. I know nothing about the Originators and his spawn. It has been a theory of mines that the original omegas were indeed the daughters of the Originator, but I was never able to find any concrete proof to the fact.” He told them.
“Everything I know, I learned from your grandmother. She was very secretive about where she came upon the information but for the last thousand years she had been obsessed with resurrecting the original Omegas, you especially. She was the one that held the keys to your souls and she was the one that was finally able to pull you from the Darkness. All the experiments we did together were failures. I’m not sure how she was able to succeed where we had failed before. But she was successful with you and the three others.”
“And what of the False Omegas?” Mia asked.
“The False Omegas are you call them, were the outcomes of our failed experiments. We were able to alter the individuals enough so that they could contain the same amount of powers as that of an Omega, but none of them were true Omegas. None of them were like you and the other three. There was just something missing, I was never able to figure out what that was, but it seems Theodora was.”
“Why would you even try to create such creatures in the first place?” Ada said with a grimace.
“To prepare for what was coming,” William said as he turned to look at Ada before turning back to Mia.
“Your seer was not wrong, nor was she the first. We had no timetable, but we knew we weren’t prepared, so we tried to create soldiers that were strong enough to fit the demon. But no matter how successful we were, it was never even, they always lacked something, something we were missing,” William said with a frustrated shake of the head as he gripped the bar tightly in his hands.
“Is that what the man at the bookstore was? One of your failed experiments?” Mia asked.
William nodded, “He was one of the first. But something went wrong. Or maybe I should say right. We were experimenting and restoring old souls in out chosen candidate bodies, those who had the most potential to contain the powers of an Omega. He was unstable, often mad a times. He kept screaming for a woman named Mia. We didn’t truly understand who he was until it was too late and he had escaped.”
“So you’re experiment had been a success then.” Mia remarked dryly.
“All too much it would see,” William said with a bitter laugh.
“Why are you telling me all this information now, why not before when I first met you?” Mia asked, fully aware that something was different with him today, something that had not been there a month ago.
“As much as I would love to have you swear your allegiance to me, like you said, we do not have the time for that. Ophelia is on her way and the darkness is awakening. I can feel in deep in my soul, something dark is coming and unfortunately for us all, we have no way to stop it. The only chance we have, are you and the others. Since I can’t just have you killed by an lovesick fool I have decided to put aside my lofty goals of winning you to my side and have instead decided to train you so that you can defeat the bane of all our existences.”
“Train me? How? I already know how to fight and there is nothing you can teach me as a blood letter that I don’t already know,” Mia said with a frown.
“Ah, but my dear, you seem to know nothing about your secondary power from what my good friend has told me,” William said as he gestured to Aiden who was leaning at the bar a few feet away from his master. Aiden gave her a lazy salute with that all too smug smile on his face.
“Besides, that my dear. There is a lot I can teach you about blood magic that Theodora never taught you. Things she was afraid to teach you for fear you would break the lovely leash she held so tightly around your neck. If not for her one error in judgment, by trying to rid the world of one your true weakness, she would have still been in control of you now. She always was so hasty in making those important decisions. It probably what got her killed,” William said shaking his head.
“What do you know about Nick?” Mia demanded to know which only brought a smile to William’s lips.
“That my dear is for me to know and for you to find out. There are still some things I need to keep secret if I wish to ever win you over to my side.”
“How do we know that we can believe any thing you’ve just said? It could be a trick,” Ada demanded to know.
“That’s quite simple dear,” William said giving Ada a chilling smile, “I have no desire to die. If I do not ally myself with your little faction, death is all that will await me. I have already died once, I have no desire to try my luck once more.”
“I don’t trust him,” Ada stated.
“Neither do I,” Mia said as she glared at William.
“I’m not asking you to trust me, just to allow me to assist you.”
“What do you want in return? As I have learned from my grandmother, nothing is free is this world, what is it that you want from me?” Mia asked.
“Seeing the predicament that we’re in, I need something important from you far more than I need your allegiance.” Mia found that hard to believe as nothing in their world was more important than a person’s allegiance freely given.
“And what would that be?” Ada demanded to know as she moved to stand in front of Mia, obviously thinking the same thing.
“It’s some thing simple really, all that I ask for is a promise of protection,” William said.
“A promise of protection?” Ada said with a frown as she turned to look at Mia, worry in her eyes. They both knew what a promise of protection was, it meant that the person who gives the promise must do everything in their power to protect their person they have given the promise to. Everything meaning, that they would go so far as sacrificing their life to protect them. It was not a promise lightly given. It wasn’t as bad a giving your allegiance over to another person, but it was pretty damn close.
“How far does this promise go?” Mia asked, to Ada’s shock, “Do I just need to offer my protection to you or must I protect all of your lackeys as well?”
Mia nodded towards Aiden who just snorted at her comment.
“Your protection is one thing I don’t need,” Aiden said, as he lifted his hand towards her, bolts of lightning danced around his palm, Mia needed to lift her arm to block the light it was so intense.
“You’re lightning won’t save you from what’s coming,” Mia said through gritted teeth.
“It’s a good thing it’s not the only thing I have,” He said with a smirk at the lightning vanished. Mia watched in stunned disbelief as Aiden reached across the bar to grab a fragile champagne flute. In one quick motion, he shattered the delicate glass against the wooden bar. The top of the champagne flute shattered leaving a sharp edge. He quickly slashed it across his forearm. Blood began to flow from the cut immediately. Mia watched as instead of running down his arm to drip on the floor, the blood flowed around his palm to cover his hand like a glove. She watched as the tips of the glove elongated in to five sharp talons.
“Blood letter,” Ada said, her voice hollow and empty as she stared at the man they had barely paid attention to.
“No,” Mia corrected, she hadn’t be able to sense it before, but she could sense it now. She could smell it on his blood, feel it emanating from his magic, she had only felt magic like this once before but she would recognize it anywhere. It was the same magic the man in the bookstore had. Which meant only one thing, “Omega.”
Ada whirled around to look at her, her mouth hanging open and her eyes wide. Mia though kept her eyes on the man before her who just gave her a smile and a wink.
“As you can see, I am not completely without my defenses,” William said.
“You are a monster,” Mia said, rage bubbling within her. He and her grandmother were nothing more than monsters. They used people, experimented on them. They bent the rules of nature to create these things. She didn’t even know what they were. Were they still even human? Did they still feel? Or was they lost in the madness and thrill the power of an Omega instilled in them?
“No more than you are,” William said with a shrug, as if her words meant nothing to him. “You call me a monster, but what are you. You are no more a true Omega than Aiden is. You were created just as he was, the only difference is that he kept his soul while your birth sacrificed the soul of the body you now inhabit. You criticize me and my ways, but I have never once sacrificed a soul to gain my desired results.”
“I know what I am,” Mia snarled, “I have never forgotten for even a day since I found out the truth. I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t ask to be born. No one’s soul is worth this.”
“Would you still think it wasn’t worth if Theodora had done as she planned and sacrificed that boy’s soul?” William said, with that smug smirk Mia hated so much.
“What are you talking about?” She demanded to know.
“You connection to that boy had always been too strong. Theodora knew the only way to break it would be to destroy him completely. It wasn’t by random that she found him. She has been searching for him for as long as she has been searching for a way to bring you back. She knew he would return once you did. So she waited. You were never supposed to find about him, never supposed to see him. But she didn’t count on how powerful the pull between the two of you is.” William told her, all too smugly. Mia’s hands clenched tightly in to fists.
“I told her we shouldn’t bother waiting, we should just pull his soul from the Darkness as we had the others. He would be at our mercy and we could wipe his soul from existence then,” William smiled at her, his bright pearly whites flashing at her. He had too many teeth, she would be glad to help him get rid of a few of them.
“I told her if she truly wanted to control you, then she needed to break you, and how better to do that then to destroy the one thing that mattered to you most in the world, the other half of your soul. It still not too late, we can rid your of your pesky humanity yet, all we need to do is destroy that part of your that is still human, that part of you that is him.”
Mia wasn’t sure what happened next, all she knew is that the world went white. Every thing around her disappeared as the light burst forth from her. The bottles of liquor stacked on the back wall, the clean glasses stacked behind the counter, the mirror lining the back wall, it all shattered in specks of dust as she screamed.
She didn’t even realize she cut herself, but in the next instant her two blood blades were in her hands as she charged towards William. Aiden tried to protect his master and tried to get between the two of them, but Mia tossed him aside, her unbreakable blades shattering his blood talon before slashing across his chest. Her booted foot crashed in to his stomach as she kicked him out of her way.
William watched her come with a sick smile on his face, one she was all too happy to wipe off. She charged at him with all the speed of her race, and slammed into an invisible wall. She slid back, a growl on her lips, as her fury rose over being denied her rightful target.
She attacked the invisible wall between them with her blades, throwing wave after wave of power at the thing that separated him from the man she needed to kill. Nothing mattered to her anymore, nothing but taking his life. The world around her became nothing more than a blur as all her attention was directed at the wall that separated them.
She threw everything she had at it. Slashing over and over yet the wall held. Shattering her blades into thousands of thin needles, she sent wave and wave of needles at the wall, hoping to break it by hitting it in multiple places over and over again. When her needles shattered in to dust, she just created more. She paid no attention to the puddle of blood at her feet or the growing number of white spots that had begun to invade her vision. She felt no pain, she felt nothing. All that matter was shattering that wall and squeezing the life out of the man behind it with her bare hands.
She hardly noticed when she no longer had the concentration to kept crafting blood needles, instead she just began to hit the wall with wave after wave of raw power. She was so consumed with her desire to kill the man behind the wall that she didn’t notice when she slid to her knees or when her breath came out in pants. All that matter was destroying him before he could take from her what she fought so hard to keep.
With one final scream she slammed her blood-covered fist into the barrier sending ripples of blue cracks across the wall, but still it wasn’t enough to shatter it. As she slid to the blood covered ground, her eyes stayed locked on the hated man.
If she could have just gathered enough strength, she would get back on her feet to smash that barrier once and for all. But her body no longer had the strength to hold her up, no longer has the strength to her. Her eyelids had become so heavy she couldn’t keep them open any longer. She just needed a moment, she told herself. Just a little bit of rest and then she could start again.
But no matter how hard she tried, she could force her lids to open. Instead, all she could do was lay there and listen to the sound of the man’s footsteps splashing through the puddle of blood around her before she heard his voice whisper in her ear, “This is why you need me. Even your rage was not enough to destroy my barrier. You will kill us all if you do not learn how to control your power.”
“I will kill you,” She panted.
“Not today you won’t,” His voice smug as the darkness finally claimed her. She had failed, she had failed them all.
Next: Chapter Six