Mia sat before the roaring fire with a mug of hot apple cider clutched between her hands. Nick had left moments ago to take a phone call leaving Nathaniel and Mia to await the others. Nathaniel had been telling Mia every embarrassing story he could drag up about Nick when he was a child. Nick had begged his grandfather to stop but Nathaniel had refused. He said he had been waiting forever to tell these stories and he wasn’t about to stop now.
Mia had laughed so hard at some of the stories that her sides hurt. She had never laughed like that before, and she realized that she liked it. She sat back against the padded back of the old worn leather arm chair, sipping on her warm cider. It was so nice here, she could stay here forever, she thought as she closed her eyes and leaned her head against the back of the chair.
“It has been such a long time since I’ve seen a beautiful woman sitting in that chair,” Nathaniel told her. Mia felt her cheeks warm as she opened her eyes to find Nathaniel watching her.
“Hardly beautiful,” She said, “I tried very hard to not stand out when I chose this face.”
“I have a hard time believing that,” He said shaking his head, “I saw your original face once before, and believe me when I tell you, that this once I far more beautiful. Beauty is not about your features, it doesn’t came from the shape of her nose, the color of your eyes, or the softness of your lips. It comes from what within. It could from the kindness in your heart, but the strength of your soul. This face I see before me, outshines the one I saw long ago.”
Mia could feel her cheeks growing even warmer at his words, “How did you see what I looked like before?”
“I was there the night Nikolas was rescued. I watched as you carried him out of the forest, covered in blood, your eyes hollow and dead. I saw the carnage that you left in your wake. Yet when everybody backed away from you, I held my ground, for I saw what none of them did. I saw the way you held my grandson. I saw the tenderness in your every movement. How you carried him carefully so that you would cause him no more pain then needed. I saw the way you looked down at him, and I saw that spark for just a moment in your eyes as you looked at his face, before it was gone again.”
“You walked right up to me and handed him to me. You told us that you would cover us while we got him away. You were already covered in cuts and bruises. One of your legs was messed up pretty badly, but that didn’t seem to stop you at all. Instead you began to glow, and the blood that had been covering molded itself in to two twin blades. You heard what we could not. You sensed the other group coming for you. Instead of running to safe yourself, you put yourself between them and us. You screamed at us to leave, to save him to protect him because you couldn’t. I watched as you ran towards your own clansman to protect us. I will never forget that night and I will never forget you.”
Mia stared at him in surprise. She didn’t really remember what had gone on that night. It had all been a blur. She had been so weak, she had lost so much blood that she had been pretty much on auto pilot. She had one goal and one goal alone. She fought until she could fight no more and then she had felt. She had run that day and had kept running for the past twenty-five years. She had finally stopped running when she had finally found something to fight for again.
Nathaniel gave her a warm smile and she couldn’t help but smile back. It was then that Nick walked back in to the room.
“That was Marco, he got stuck in a last minute meeting and is one his way to pick up Delilah. Ronan said he headed out now; he just had to stop off and grab Alistair and Sarah. From what he said, Alistair’s car wouldn’t stop and Liz’s car was blocked in by all their guests,” Nick said with a weary sigh as he sat down on the sofa next to the chair Mia sat in.
“Shouldn’t Alistair stay at the party? I mean it is for his employees,” Mia said with a frown.
“He says he stayed long enough. He ate some of the food and they opened presents. He said it was time to leave when Liz wheeled out the Karaoke machine,” Nick said with a grin that made Mia’s heart skip. Nathaniel chuckled besides her.
“Very smart man,” Nathaniel agreed, “After a few too many drinks, and suddenly everyone thinks they can sing.”
Mia knew what Karaoke was, she had worked at a bar for a while where they had a karaoke machine and every now and then, when one of the customers had a bit too much to drink, they would decide to give it a try. Not everyone had been bad singers, but there had definitely been a few customers who should never had been let up there. One had been so bad they had actually cracked a glass sitting near the speakers. So Mia understood why Mr. Rosen was fleeing.
“Well, since it seems everyone will be a while more, shall we have a bit to eat,” Nathaniel suggested as he stood up holding his hand out to Mia with a wink.
She actually was starving but hadn’t wanted to say anything. Her stomach hadn’t been growling yet, but she was sure it was about to start. She hadn’t eating thing since this morning when Marco had brought her pancakes and bacon. She hadn’t realized she had been out for so long, but her stomach had.
“Let’s get something in to your stomach, shall we,” Nathaniel said as Mia placed her hand in to his.
Her cheeks flushed a light pink, “How did you know?”
“Well, you could hardly take your eyes off the popcorn strands on the Christmas tree, so I figured you were a little hungry,” He said, a big grin on his all too handsome face, which just made Mia cheeks grow even warmer.
“I don’t have much to offer as the staff has left for the night, but I do have enough left over to make you a nice sandwich and some milk to drink with it,” He said as he led the way to the kitchen.
“You live here all on your own?” Mia asked as the traversed the large house. She only noticed then that she hadn’t seen a single person or heard any noise that indicated there was anyone else in the house.
“Hardly alone, only tonight. I gave the staff the night off and shooed out my son and his wife for the night. They decided to take an early weekend and left for a nice ski vacation,” Nathaniel told her.
“That’s good, I don’t think this house likes being alone,” Mia said absently as she ran her fingers of the wooden boards of the hallway wall. The walls seemed to thrum beneath her fingers, as if responding to her touch. A smile came to her lips as she let the warmth of the house wash over her. She hardly noticed when Nathaniel’s head turned sharply to look at her, his eyes opened wide as he watched her intently.
“It must be nice to live in such a place,” Mia continued on, hardly realizing that Nathaniel had stopped. She was almost to the end of the hall when she realized she was alone. Stopping, she turned back to see Nathaniel standing ten feet behind her just watching her.
“Did I do something wrong?” She asked, a frown creasing her lips.
Nathaniel just shook his head as a smile light up his face, “No, no you haven’t. I think you have just answered a question I have had for a very long time.”
“Yes, a question,” he said as he caught up with her, leading in to the brightly lit kitchen. Mia’s eyes were instantly drawn to the large stone hearth that took up the back wall of the kitchen. A fire blazed brightly behind the iron grate, heating the entire room to a comfortably warm temperature. While all the other appliances and décor in the room looked new and modern, the stone hearth looked old. It looked like it had been built in another time. The gray stones that made up the hearth had been worn smooth by time yet the construction had been so well done that the hearth appeared just as sturdy as it must have been when it was first built.
As Mia drew closer to the hearth she realized that all two things. One, that the magic that powered the house and the surrounding wards originate from the hearth. And two, that the magic that power and protected this house was blood magic, more specifically, her blood magic.
Mia came to a stop right before the hearth, everything else around her vanished; all that remained was the hearth and her. She reached out slowly, her fingers brushing against the worn stone. The magic of the hearth reached out to her, wrapping around her fingers, flowing up her hand. She had never felt anything like it before. It was so warm, so light.
Until now, all she had known of blood magic was dark and cold. Using blood magic had always given her a euphoric high, but it was like a drug you couldn’t get out of her system, a drug you craved constantly. This was different. This was the completely opposite.
Mia closed her eyes and let the magic wrap around her, she let it fill her and consume her. She could hear the sound of a man’s laughter. She could felt his touch as his hands ran up the sides of her arm, she could feel his breath on the back of her neck.
“Mia,” his voice whispered in her ear.
“Kai!” The name burst from her lips, shattering the spell she had fallen under. Suddenly the warmth vanished. Her eyes shot open and she was back in the kitchen, her hands were clenched against the top of the hearth. The flames flickered at her feet, seeming to beckon her, trying to call her back.
Mia didn’t understand why, but her heart suddenly hurt. It felt like something in her was broken. Tears came to her eyes once more. She couldn’t seem to stop crying now days. She didn’t understand what was happening to her. What was wrong with her?
“Shhh,” a soft voice said as she was suddenly enveloped in a pair of strong arms, pulled tightly against their chest. “Shhh, everything will be all right. Just let it wash over you. It will be over soon.”
Mia buried her head in Nick’s chest as her arms wrapped tightly around his waist. She didn’t understand why but she had this deep fear that if she let him go in this one moment she would lose him forever, he would once again be out of her grasp.
“Don’t go,” She whispered in to his chest.
“Shhh, I’m not going anywhere,” He assured her as he ran his large hands down her back before turning to the other occupant of the room, “You shouldn’t have brought her back here. You know what the hearth does to those not of our blood.”
“She can feel it Nicholas, she can feel the magic,” Nathaniel said, Mia could hear the wonder in his voice, “No one else but those born in to our family have ever felt it before, yet she can feel it. It responded to her, welcomed her. I haven’t seen anything like it since you were a child.”
“That’s no excuse for what you did,” Nick rumbled, she could feel his body tense in her arms, he could feel his powers building, “She could have been hurt.”
“I don’t think you understand, my boy,” Nathaniel said, “The magic of Stonehearth would never have hurt her. If I am correct, it what I suspect it true, then the magic of Stonehearth is her magic.”
“That’s not possible,” Nick argued.
“But it is,” Mia said softly. She felt Nick stiffen around her. She slowly pulled back, enough so that she could look up at him. He stared down at her, his golden eyes filled with worry.
“I don’t understand it, I don’t even know how it’s possible, but the hearth was built with blood magic, my magic,” Mia said as she turned to look at Nathaniel who offered her a kind smile.
“Mia, you don’t understand. I know you think that the magic you felt what your own magic, but it’s not possible. The magic that powers this house is old, ancient even. The hearth was here long before my family came here. The magic had slept until my grandfather found it and awoke it. It welcomed him, so he built his home around it. This house has been here for four hundred years, and who knows how long the hearth has been here before that. There is no possible way your magic could be fueling the hearth.”
“The magic is old, probably ancient even,” Mia agreed before looking Nick straight in the eyes, “but it is my magic. I can feel it. With every part of my body and soul, I can feel it. If you can’t believe me, then wait till Delilah arrives, she will tell you. This is my magic.”
Nick frowned down at her but didn’t let her go. His hands were a steady warmth against her back.
“There are so many things we don’t understand, so many things we may never know. But I know this, this is my magic.”
Nick shook his head but didn’t argue, “The others will be arriving soon, we’ll discuss it then.”
Mia smiled up at him, her only reply was a grunt as he loosened her arms around her until they were completely gone. Mia couldn’t stop the feeling of loss that suddenly filled her, but she was afraid to ask him to hold her again, afraid because she may never let him go if he did.
“Hurry up and make yourself something to eat or you’ll have to wait till I take you home to eat something,” With that said, he walked out of the room, not looking back at either her or his grandfather. Mia watched as he left but didn’t call him back. She had no claim on him and no right to call him back to her, but part of her, a very big part of her argued that she did. He was hers, fully and completely, just like she was his. It didn’t matter what stood between them, nothing could keep them apart.
Once she ate her sandwich and drank her milk, she helped Nathaniel wash the dishes and clean up the kitchen. They were just heading back to the den where they had been before when they heard the front door opening.
“Do you know there’s a snow storm going on outside?” Ronan said just as Mia and Nathaniel reached the entryway. He was covered in snow, his heavy jacket, pants and shoes were white. Sarah and Mr. Rosen who entered right behind him looked like identical snow men. “It’s the weirdest thing though, there was nothing about it on the radio and it didn’t actually start until we got on the private road leading up to this place. We would have turned around but there was no place you could make a turn.”
“A snow storm?” Nick said with a frown as he looked to his grandfather.
“The wards are active, something must have triggered them,” Nathaniel stated, his frown identical to his grandson’s.
“But what? We would have sensed something on our way here,” Ronan said as he shook the snow of himself, before turning to Sarah to help her out of her snow jacket.
“Not necessarily,” Mr. Rosen said as he pulled off his snow covered clothing.
“Hurry up and come inside, warm yourself by the fire while I get you something warm to drink,” Nathaniel said as he gestured the three towards the den.
Mia watched as Mr. Rosen helped Sarah towards the den, Ronan not far behind. Nick watched them with a frown, before turning back to the front door.
“What’s wrong?” she asked when he didn’t move.
“Marco and Delilah still haven’t arrived yet. They were supposed to be ahead of Ronan. They should have been here by now,” He admitted to her surprise.
“Do you think something happened to them?” Mia asked worriedly as she glanced towards the front door. Where her cousins out there somewhere in the middle of snow storm? “Is there some way to turn the wards off? Someway to make the storm stop?”
“The house controls the wards. The storm won’t stop until it believes the threat has been eliminated,” Nick said softly.
“But my cousins aren’t a threat,” Mia argued.
“It may not be your cousins the house is sensing,” he said as he finally turned to look at her.
That didn’t make Mia feel any better in the least. Did that meant that there was something out there with her cousins? Something that may wish to do them harm? What is something had already happened to them? What if something had already gotten them? What if they were lying out there somewhere slowly dying from the cold, or even worse, a wound.
Without a second thought, Mia hurried toward the front door and stopping only to grab her winter coat of the rack hanging on the wall beside the door. She was just pulling it on when a hand stopped her.
“What are you doing? You can’t go out there is a snow storm, you’ll just get yourself killed,” Nick barked at her.
“Well, I can’t just sit here and wait for them. They could be out there somewhere hurt, or even dying,” Mia said as she shook off his hand and pulled the coat over her shoulder. She was just reaching for the front door when two hands wrapped around her waist and threw her over his shoulder.
“Put me down, I have to go out there and find them. They could be hurt, they need me,” Mia screamed as she pounded on Nick’s back.
“What on earth is going on out here?” Nathaniel asked as he walked in to the entryway, the others not far behind him.
“I need to go out there, I need to find my family,” Mia begged as she pushed herself up enough so that she could see Nathaniel.
“Don’t be a fool Mia, you’ll just get hurt. We barely made it here, going out there would be suicide,” Ronan argued.
“You don’t understand. They are the only family I have. The only family who stood beside me. I can’t let them die,” Mia pleaded.
“Mia, please calm down. Let us all sit down and think of a better solution then you running out alone into a heavy snow storm,” Mr. Rosen offered.
“Mia, they wouldn’t want you to endanger yourself,” Sarah added as she looked at her friend.
“But if it were me out there, they would come after me,” Mia said.
“Which is a good reason why it’s us and not you,” Marco’s voice said as he and Delilah pushed their way in to the room, the heavy wind tried to blow the door out of their hands. “If our safety were truly reliant on you, we would definitely be dead by now.”
“Marco!” Mia squirmed until Nick finally put her down. She ran up to her cousin and to the surprise of all in the room, she threw her arms around his shoulder. “Don’t do that ever again.”
“Wasn’t planning on it,” Marco said as he looked down at his cousin, his eyes wide and his body stiff.
“Okay, who the hell are you and what have you done with Mia?” Delilah said, in a half-joking manner, but even seen looked uneasy at her cousin’s reaction.
“Mia, come here,” Nick said with a sigh as he pulled Mia away gently from her cousin, “I’m sorry, I should have warned you. Mia got a little close to the house’s magic. It has this effect on people sometimes.”
“You mean it makes them nice?” Ronan asked from behind them, which quickly earned him an elbow to the ribs from his cousin and a look from his uncle.
“The house’s magic has different effects on different people. For some, it brings them peace, for others happiness, and for some, deep sadness,” Nick explained.
“So which one is she suffering from?” Ronan asked.
“All of them,” Nathaniel answered, “Mia has experienced what very few others have, what even some of my own family have never experienced, Mia has touched the house’s heart.”
“I’m sorry,” Marco said with a frown, “the house’s heart? What does that mean?”
“What don’t you come inside and get settled down first and then I explain to you about this house and our family’s history,” Nathaniel said as he gestured everyone to the den once more. Marco just nodded as he took his coat and his sister’s coat and hung it upon on the hangers on the wall. Nick helped Mia out of her coat and hung it up besides the other coats.
“Why don’t you go on in and I’ll go get us the coffee I started,” Nathaniel said.
Nick waited for the others to go in, before he followed, his hand wrapped around Mia’s elbow, anchoring her at his side as if he was afraid she would wander off and do something stupid. Mia didn’t protest his hold, mainly because she felt safer knowing he was right beside her.
Nick took a seat on the couch he had been previously sitting and he pulled Mia beside him. Mr. Rosen placed Sarah in the armchair Nathaniel had been using earlier but he sat down in the armchair besides the fire that Mia had previously been sitting in. Marco and Delilah took the settee across from Nick and Mia, and Ronan sat down on the other side of Mia.
All eyes were watching her again, something she was starting to get used to. With a weary sigh, she sat back against and stared down at her hand which rested on her lap. The only sound in the room was the crackling of the flames, it was as if they were waiting for her to explode or something it was so quiet.
“Okay, here we go,” Nathaniel said as he walked into the room with a tray carrying a carafe of coffee, seven mugs, a creamer and a cup of sugar. He set it down on the coffee table to let everyone help themselves before taking a seat himself.
“So what is this about the house’s magic?” Mr. Rosen asked as he poured himself a cup of coffee, he didn’t bother with any cream or sugar and just drank it black. Sarah reached out with an expert’s ease, picking up a mug and filling it half with coffee, a quarter with cream and another quarter with sugar. Mia just smirked as she watched her friend. Sarah was addicted to caffeine but was not a fan of the bitter coffee flavor, so she always turned her coffee into a sweet sugary mess.
No really paid attention to Sarah as they had all seen her do this before. You wouldn’t be able to tell she was blind if you didn’t know. She has such an ease with new places that you would think she actually had her vision. Mia had once asked her how she did it, and Sarah had just explained that everything gave off energy. Even though she was blind and had been from birth, she could see these energies, see their shapes. So it was sort of like she could see, she just couldn’t see like Mia or her father could. She didn’t see objects, but rather shapes and colors that made up her world. She could differentiate between objects by the different energies they gave off.
Mia was just about to make her own cup when Nick handed her a mug.
“But-“ she wanted to argue that it wasn’t the way she liked it.
“It’s just the way you like it, 2 spoons of sugar and a dollop of cream,” he told her before moving on to pour himself a cup. Mia frowned down at her mug, but agreed that was the way she liked to drink her coffee. But she would much rather had made it herself.
“Thanks,” She muttered before sipping on the hot liquid, and sourly noticed that it was exactly how she liked it. Nathaniel watched her with an amused smile and winked at her when he caught her eye before turning back to Mr. Rosen and his earlier question.
“I’m not sure if you know about my family and our connection to the Dragos Clan,” Nathaniel began, Mr. Rosen nodded and affirmative and so did Sarah, but everyone else sat there shaking their heads. “Well, about five hundred years ago I had a run in with the matriarch of the Dragos Clan. She and I had a difference of opinion, she wanting me to become her husband and lover, and I wanted nothing at all to do with her. Sadly to say, Theodora Dragos does not take rejection kindly.”
“Or at all,” Delilah muttered under her breath, which earned her a nod from Nathaniel. “Our grandmother was not the most tactful person and if she didn’t get what she wanted, well then heads would roll, most often quite literally.”
“Well Theodora had a special punishment in mind for me. When I tried to run away from her in the middle of the night, she followed me back to my village and slaughtered every man, woman and child, everyone but me. She made me watch and she slowly drained my fiancée, a girl I had known and loved since we were young. My Anna cried and screamed for mercy, but Theodora would give her none,” Nathaniel’s voice was hard and cold as he relived that night once more.
“It took hours for her to die and it would have taken longer if Theodora had not needed to cast her spell before the sun rose the next day. She drained the blood from every single villager and she used the magic to curse me with immortality. I would never grow old, I would never get sick, and all my wounds would heal instantly. Even blood blades had no effect on me. I know that for a fact. For a years after Theodora left me that way, I tried a thousand different ways to kill myself, to end my misery and wash away my guilt, but there was nothing I could do to end my life.”
“Finally, I decided I need to move on with my life, if I couldn’t end it, then I would make something of it, I would ensure that what happened to me would not happen to another. So I followed Theodora and her family to America. Back then, America was still a very big place, there was a lot of land that had still not been discovered. I tried to track where Theodora had felt to but lost track of her quite quickly. No one wanted to admit they had seen her or even knew of her, afraid that something might happen to her. I was at my wits end when I came upon this place.” Nathaniel said as he gestured to the room around him.
“I was out of food and out of money. I had been travelling with a party of explorers but they had begun to notice that I never aged and that my wounds magically sealed themselves. Even more magic users, that kind of magic was not normal. I decided it was best if I went off on my own before I awoke one night to find them standing over my bed with an axe.”
“I had been stumbling around the woods for days and was truly afraid I was lost and I was going to be stuck in the woods with no food or water. You see, I wasn’t the best of hunters. Back then, I wasn’t very good at using my magic, I literally couldn’t hit a tree in the forest,” Nathaniel said with a laugh.
“I was pretty much at the end of my rope when I stumbled upon this old rundown cabin in the middle of the woods. It was a very big cabin, and it appeared to be hundreds of years ago. The forest had already begun to reclaim it, vines covered every inch of space, and the wooden logs had begun to rot and sag. It looked like all it would take to fall in upon itself was the light breeze.”
“I don’t know what it was about the place that drew me, all I knew was that I was walking in the direction of the cabin before I even realized what I was doing. I walked up the rickety steps that let up to a door that hung on it sides. I entered the cabin afraid that in any moment the place would come crashing down on me, but to my surprise, as bad as the outside looked, the inside was relatively untouched. Sure the placed was covered in dust, dirt, and leaves, but the furniture was still standing, the ceramic cups and plates were laid out on the table as if they were waiting for their owners’ return. Even the bed in the corner was still made, the sheets near rags now, but still, it was as if they owners had just walked out one day and never returned.”
“I almost didn’t notice it at first, I thought it was my lack of food and sleep that was playing with my mind, but the air in the cabin felt so fresh and warm. The chair that sat before an empty hearth looked so welcoming. I couldn’t help, but have a seat and rest my weary bones.”
“I planned to close my eyes for only a second but when I opened them again the room had fallen dark, the only light came from a small fire burning in the hearth beside me. At first I thought that maybe the cabin wasn’t abandoned, that someone still lived they and I had trespassed on their territory. I instantly got to my feet and looked around me, but nothing was different, everything was exactly the same as when I had closed my eyes.”
“I heard it then, a voice calling my name. It was so soft at first I thought it was the wind. But then it called for me again, and this time I clearly heard it. I looked around the room and still found nothing out of place, no shadow I couldn’t explain. I was ready to bolt out of the place except for the fact that I didn’t feel like I was in danger. It was the exact opposite. I felt welcome, I felt like I had finally found the place I had been searching for all my life. I truly thought for a while that I had gone mad. I took me a while before I understood that whoever had inhabited the cabin before I did had left the place saturated with their magic.”
“I heard of similar things happening,” Mr. Rosen said nodding his head.
“So have I, but usually it not a warm feeling left behind, but instead the place is saturated with the fear, pain and misery of those who have been there before,” Marco added.
“Well, this place was different. I knew that the person who had lived there before was a very powerful magic user and that whoever they had been, they had been happy, in love even. But something happened, something that caused her to leave the place. But even though she was gone, the magic she had invested in to the place still lived and thrived.”
“You say she as if you knew it was a woman,” Sarah stated, “Why did you get the feeling that it was a woman’s magic?”
“It’s hard to explain, I would say you would have to feel the magic to understand, all I can say it that I get a female sense from the house. I and every member of my family who had lived beneath this roof have gotten a sense that the magic user was a female,” Nathaniel explained. Eyes turned to Nick for confirmation and he just nodded in agreement.
“So what makes you think something happened to this magic user that forced her to leave rather than say, passing away?” Mr. Rosen asked, a frown marring his brow as he listened to the story.
“What a few people have experienced when they have come in contact with the magic is a deep and heart wrenching sadness, as if this woman had experienced a great loss and just couldn’t remain here any longer. It’s a feeling they get when they’re asked about it later,” Nathaniel explained.
“And this is what you felt?” Marco asked as he turned to Mia who just nodded, her hands gripping tightly to one another as she remembered the one moment of complete and utter loss, as if everything that meant anything to her was gone and all that was left was emptiness and darkness.
A warm hand laid over hers and gave it a reassuring squeeze. Mia blinked back the tears that had come to her eyes and hoped no one had seen them.
“You say that only a few people have this kind of experience when they come in contact with this magic, and usually they are your blood family,” Mr. Rosen stated and Nathaniel nodded in agreement. “So how is it that Mia was able to experience these things when she is not related to you?”
“From the very moment she arrived the house has responded differently to Mia than to anyone I have ever seen, aside from Nikolas. If I had to put it in to words, I would say that the house recognized her. Mia herself said that coming here, felt like coming home. I suspected there was a connection between Mia and the house. But I didn’t realize just how deeply so until I took her to the source of the houses magic and almost instantly she connected with it.”
“What are you saying?” Sarah asked, her voice soft and hesitant.
“I’m saying that Mia and the house’s magic are connected, that they have always been connected. I believe that the house’s magic originated from Mia herself,” Nathaniel stated firmly. There was a hushed silence in the room for a long moment.
“Is that even possible?” Sarah asked finally as she looked between Nathaniel and Mia.
“Until today, I would have said no,” Nathaniel admitted, “But in the four hundred years that I have lived in this house, I have never seen it react to anyone as it has Mia. I have seen a similar affect with Nick, but that was too a much lesser extent. The house seems to recognize him and welcome him, but with Mia, the moment she walked through the doors the magic has been responding, flooding the house with its magic, trying to reach her, calling her.”
“But how is that even possible?” Mr. Rosen asked.
“I have heard from my grandson that Mia is an Omega. Not just any Omega, but one of the original five. No one knows anything about the Omegas except for the fact that they are all blood magic users. If Mia is truly the reincarnated soul of one of the original Omegas, who to say that she didn’t once live in this house. In truth, most of the world knows nothing about blood magic. It has always been taboo and anyone who has shown the least interest in blood magic has been ostracized if not outright assaulted. All we know of blood magic is the death and darkness, but what if there was a lighter side, a good side to blood magic,” Nathaniel offered.
“I’ve been trying to tell her that for months. Blood magic like all other magicks is neither good nor evil, it is all dependent on the user and the purpose of the magic,” Sarah said, practically bouncing up and down in her seat with excitement.
“If this is truly Mia’s magic, is there some way to prove it?” Mr. Rosen asked, his frown deepening.
“I believe you have one of the best trackers in the world with you, would she not be able to tell,” Nathaniel said as he nodded towards Delilah.
Delilah squirmed in her seat as all eyes turned to her, “I can sense something. I’ve been sensing it for a while now. And yes, it does feel like Mia, but at the same time, it doesn’t. There is a connection but I couldn’t say for sure that it is her magic. I honestly thought it was just the residue of the blood magic Mia had used earlier.”
“Speaking of that, what were you doing before I picked you up?” Nick asked as he turned to her.
Mia squirmed as suddenly every eye in the room was on her. She wasn’t sure how much to tell them. Did she admit she was going mad? Or that she was already there? Did she tell them she was hearing voice in her head? As if her situation she was in bad enough. She really wasn’t sure exactly what happened and she didn’t want to say anything that would cause them even more worry or fear. As far they knew, she was the most powerful Omega in the world right now. But what if she went mad and released all that magic on the innocent civilians? What if she hurt people? Would they try to lock her up? Would they bury her in some cave somewhere where she couldn’t hurt anyone? Would they decide to kill her?
She didn’t know and that was making her even more agitated. The lights around the room began to flicker and the flames in the fire place grew higher.
“See, the house is responding to her again,” Nathaniel pointed out as he looked around the room.
“Mia calm down,” Nick said with a sigh as he leaned back, his hand running up and down her back, “Forget about the question for now. We’ll come back to it later when we’re not in a place where you control our surroundings.”
Mia knew she should be relieved but she wasn’t. He wasn’t going to let it go and she knew enough about him to know that he was very stubborn and if he wanted to know something, he would find it out. But what could she say? How could she explain to him that she was losing her mind, if she hadn’t already lost it?
Mia squeezed her hands tightly on her lap and she stared at her entwined fingers. What was happening to her? She didn’t understand any of it. Could this be a side effect of what Theodora had done to put her soul in this body? Where any of the Omega’s experiencing the same thing? Was there even anyone she could ask?
Her mind was going a mile a minute, her thoughts firing off one after another. She couldn’t stop them, she couldn’t calm herself down. Her heart was racing, every muscle in her body tense. What was happening to her?
An armed wrapped around her and she pulled against a warm chest. Soft lips brushed against her forehead and his voice whispered in her ear, “Shhh, calm down. There’s nothing that can hurt you here.”
She wanted to argue that yes there was. That there was something that none of them could protect her from. That she was becoming her own worst enemy and that there was nothing any of them could do to stop it.
But instead she closed her eyes and nodded her head. She took deep breaths, inhaling his scent, that warm spicy scent that unique him tinged with just a hint of a metallic charge that came with being an electric magic user, an almost coppery scent. Mia breathed in his scent and slowly her heart calmed, her pulse slowed and the lights in the room stopped flickering.
“It seems we have gotten a little off track, but now that things have calmed, what did you want to speak to us about?” Mr. Rosen said as looked to Marco, who was watching his cousin warily. Mia could feel his eyes but she refused to look at him or anyone else in the room. She just kept her head pressed against Nick’s shoulder, her eyes closed as she tried to remain calm. She concentrated on the feel of Nick’s hand running up and down her back, of the prickly feeling of her five o’clock shadow, she tried to concentrate on anything and everything that took her mind off what had just happened.
“I just received word that Emily has finally been located,” Marco stated. Mia opened her eyes at his words, but still kept her head down. Her sister disappearance had worried her, but not so much for her own safety. If her sister had truly lost it, she had worried for the world in general. Like Mia, Emily was an Omega. Her powers were limitless. If she truly wished to, she could cause of wave of unending destruction, and if she had gone mad, what was to keep her from doing so.
Mia knew Marco had his men and his contacts in Clan Dragos searching for any clue of her whereabouts. After she had disappeared a week after her grandmother’s death, he had sent people to find the other two Omegas, Mia’s own mother and her cousin Daphne. He wasn’t sure what Emily had planned, but she had just killed one Omega, he wanted to make sure she didn’t go after the others.
“So where is she?” Sarah asked curiously.
“It seems she sought out the Chens,” Marco informed them. Mia’s head came up instantly as she looked at her cousin who simply sat there watching her.
“The Chens? Aren’t they the blood magic family who rule Asia?” Ronan asked with a frown.
Marco nodded, “The Chens are by far the largest blood magic clan in the world. After the Chens come the Rosengards who rule Europe and then our Clan Dragos. When it comes to power though, the Dragos Clan has always held surpreme power because of Theodora. She was feared by all, even the other Clan leaders. But with Theodora dead, and the clan heir seat open at the moment, it is only a matter of time before the other Clans step forward to try and clan our land.”
“Right now the Dragos Clan is divided in to two, there are those who believe that Amelia is the rightful heir and await her return. While the other side is divided among themselves on putting someone else in the seat of Clan leader. Some believed Emily should be the next leader, but she suddenly disappeared and no one knew where she went. Others supported Daphne, another Omega for the seat but she wanted none of it and left to go in to hiding until the matter was settled. There are a few other cousins who are vying for power, but everyone knows that if either Amelia or Emily come back to claim the title, none of them stand a chance.”
“So if Emily could have become leader after the death of your grandmother, why did she leave?” Sarah asked with a frown, “And why go to the Chens? She doesn’t seem to need their power. After all she did just kill Theodora Dragos. That fact alone should be enough.”
“It seems she’s searching for something,” Marco said, a frown darkening his brow as he looked to Delilah who placed a file out of the coffee table between them. She opened the file and laid a bunch of 8×10 photos across the wooden service.
Mia recognized her sister instantly. She also recognized the glow of light that seemed to surround her in all the pictures. In most of the pictures, Emily was walking through the crowded streets of Hong Kong, Mia assumed since that was where the Chens main house was located. She seemed to be surrounded by a group all dressed in familiar black uniform with a golden dragon crest on the back of their jackets.
“None to conspicuous are they,” Ronan remarked sarcastically as he pushed the photos around.
“The Chens rule Hong Kong, the Guild there is bought and paid for by Xavier Chen. They don’t see the point in hiding their presence,” Marco explained.
“Most of the common people see them as heroes. They keep the peace, the keep the city clean, they own the largest business in town which provides jobs for most of the people there, what’s not to love about them,” Delilah said with a smirk.
“Who’s this?” Mr. Rosen asked as he picked up a picture that showed Emily standing close to a man who looked to be of Asian and European descent. He had bright green eyes and long black hair framed his beautiful face perfectly. Every feature was so perfectly crafted that you couldn’t help but stop and stare.
“Damien Chen,” Marco reported, “Xavier has a hundred wives and more the five hundred daughters, but Damien is his only son and heir.”
“A little too pretty, don’t you think,” Ronan said with sneer.
“Don’t take his looks too seriously. Damien is a blood letter of great skill, and the best fighter I know. As far as I know, there is no one that can beat him in hand to hand combat. Even Mia, who is by far the best in our clan didn’t last more than a minute,” Marco stated.
“You fought him?” Nick asked. Mia just nodded as she stared at the picture of Damien Chen.
“We’ve sparred a couple of times,” Mia said.
“Could you beat him in your life depended on it?” Nick asked seriously.
“I wouldn’t need to get near him to kill him,” Mia stated, her voice flat.
“Good,” Nick nodded his head.
“So did your sources learn what Emily is doing there and what she searching for?” Mr. Rosen asked as he put the picture down.
“From what I can gather, she’s searching for something called the Heartstone. It’s supposedly an old relic that has currently fallen into the possession of the Chens. From what I could gather, with the Heartstone you could locate any soul in the world, not just in the living world but also among those who have died as well,” Marco explained.
Ronan let out a low whistle, “That could be a very dangerous tool in the wrong hands.”
“There is one catch to using the Heartstone,” Marco said as everyone turned to him, “You need to have something that belonged to the soul in their present life or their past life.”
“So do you think she is searching for Mia?” Nick asked stiffly.
“No, she would know where to find me if she were truly looking,” Mia said shaking her head. “Emily has always been able to locate me no matter where I am. Not just me either, but my mother, my cousin Daphne and my Grandmother before she was killed.”
“So the Omegas, you mean?” Nathaniel asked, Mia nodded.
“I agree with Mia, if she had truly been searching for her, she would have found her a lot sooner than now,” Marco stated.
“No, I’m not Emily’s target, she’s searching for someone else, someone she has been looking for her whole life,” Mia said with a sick feeling in her stomach.
“Who would that be?” Sarah asked.
“I don’t know who exactly. All I know is that my sister has been obsessed with finding a single soul for as long as I can remember. I don’t know who specifically, and I’m not even sure if she knows who for certain. But since she was able to leave the manor, she has been searching the world for any trace of this one soul. I don’t know much about it, since she would never confide in me. You see, Emily and I were never close. We’re twins but we have also been more rivals than sisters. And that was the way my grandmother liked it.”
“She has always been secretive. I don’t think she ever confided in anyone, ever. I think that, that she must have finally found what she was looking for and is now planning on using the Heartstone to find this person,” Mia said.
“So does that mean she’s a threat to us? I mean, if she going off on her own to find this lost soul she is searching for, do we really need to worry about her?” Ronan asked.
“Seeing as how we don’t know who this person is or what they are capable of or even why she wants them, I think she still very much poses a threat. Especially when she had been quite vocal prior to her disappearance on wanting Mia dead. I had thought at first that she may have been just going after the Clan leadership position. But now with this new information, I think that it’s something more, something we don’t know about,” Marco explained.
“What exactly did you do to your sister to cause her to want to kill you so badly?” Ronan asked.
“Emily and I were never close, but we were never enemies. We were always rivals, but then again so was everyone else in the family. I know she has always been searching for something, but until now, I didn’t realize it had anything to do with me. Emily never expressed any hatred or anger towards me when we were younger and then when we grew up, I barely saw her. She was given more freedoms then I was, so I hardly ever saw her.” Mia said with a frown.
“I think that everything leads back to the original Omegas,” Nathaniel stated. “Emily and Mia are two of the Originals. What if their differences don’t stem from this lifetime but from their past life? Maybe Emily can remember her past, and maybe some event from the past is driving her in this life time.”
“That would make sense,” Sarah agreed.
“But then were back to square one, we still can’t find any clue to the original Omegas, who they were, where they came from and how they are all related,” Nick said with a frustrated growl.
“Unfortunately, Emily’s whereabouts was only part of the reason why I called you here tonight,” Marco said with a deep frown.
“What could be worse than that?” Ronan asked.
“My sources had confirmed that Ophelia Rosengard is headed this way,” Marco said as he looked Mia directly in the eye. Mia stiffened in her seat as her cousin’s meaning hit her. Ophelia was coming for her.
“Who is Ophelia Rosengard?” Sarah asked a moment before Nick could.
“Ophelia Rosengard is her father’s emissary in North America. She used to be the commander of his arms and his best assassin when the Clans were still at war. But now that we had a tentative peace, Ophelia acts in her father’s stead her in North America in any matter that deals with the Rosengard clan. Theodora allowed her to remain because she had never seen the woman as a threat to her power. And until now, Ophelia hasn’t been.”
“So what is the difference now?” Mr. Rosen asked.
“There is no one currently leading the Dragos Clan. Our territory is basically up for grabs and with Emily out of the country and it would seem completely uninterested in leading the Clan, there is only one thing standing between the Rosengard and the Dragos territory.”
“Mia!” Sarah gasped as she looked in the direction of her friend.
“Even though she has made no move towards taking over the Clan, she will always be seen as a threat that must be eliminated, because if there is anyone that could unite the Clan, it would be the Heir.”
“So you’re saying that Ophelia is on her way to Stonehaven to start a war,” Ronan said dryly, “So now, we don’t have to just worry about Mia’s bat shit crazy stalkers, but now we have to worry about fighting against the second largest blood magic clan in the world.”
“Ronan,” Mr. Rosen scolded his nephew.
“I’m just telling it as it is,” Ronan said with a shrug and he sat back against the couch beside Mia.
“I don’t understand,” Sarah said, biting her bottom lip as she mulled over this new information, “Don’t they know that Mia’s an Omega. What would be the point of them starting a war against her? They feared Theodora because she was an Omega, what do they hope to gain by going against Mia?”
“Mia is a relative unknown among the blood magic clans. Our grandmother kept her mostly secured at the manor. Visiting guests met her, but none of them have actually seen her in action. Some saw her spar with Damien Chen, but it was only hand-to-hand combat and neither used any magic. Only those within the Clan know what she is truly capable of and until recently, Theodora Dragos was the only known Omega in the world. Words about the other four originals still hasn’t reach the other clans and even if it did, I don’t think any of them can truly understand the power of an Omega without witnessing it first hand.”
“What was so special about Mia that your grandmother didn’t want anyone to know about her?” Nathaniel asked as he sat forward in his seat.
“I honestly don’t know, I could only speculate on the reason. But of the four Omegas, Mia was the only one who my grandmother kept on a tight leash. The others were allowed to roam the territory freely, but Mia was confined mostly to the manor and within the state. She was allowed to leave for training purposes, but it was never far and it was always for a short duration.”
“What did Theodora know about her that we don’t?” Nathaniel said as he tapped his finger against his knee.
“It’s not just Theodora,” Nick reminded his grandfather, “William Gregor and that stalker from the book store aren’t interested in the other Omegas either, they’re only interested in Mia.”
“It seems the question of who you truly are has become quite important,” Nathaniel said with a kind smile for Mia.
“Someone told me that I am not the first Mia and I will not be the last, that by taking her name and her face, that I have awoken her,” Mia said hesitantly, keeping her eyes down so that she wouldn’t have to watch the faces of those around her.
“Who told you that?” Nick demanded to know.
“And what does that mean? That you are not the first Mia?” Delilah added.
“Her face?” Sarah asked thoughtfully as she mulled over Mia’s words.
“Does that make any sense to you?” Nick asked.
“I think so,” Sarah said as she got that lost look in her that she usually got when she was ‘seeing’ something. It reminded me of something I saw in my vision. I thought I was misunderstanding what I was seeing, but Mia’s words make me realize that I had been seeing it correctly. In my vision last night, I saw a Mia who was not Mia.”
“Okay,” Ronan said slowly, “Now what does that mean?”
“I saw a woman who appeared to look just like Mia, but the sense I got from her wasn’t like the Mia I know. The darkness ran deeper in the Mia in my vision, but then so did the light. She was connected closely to world around her, tied tightly to the land and the magic that ran through it.” Sarah tried to explain as best as she could, “I got a sense of power from her, but also great sadness.”
“That would match what some of the women had reported about feeling the house. There is great darkness in the power, but also great light. There is a balance between the two that keeps the magic balanced,” Nathaniel offered.
“So are you saying this woman you saw in your vision looked like Mia?” Delilah asked, confused.
“Yes and no, she didn’t just look like Mia, she was Mia, but a difference version of Mia then the one we know,” Sarah said.
“Okay, that wasn’t the least bit confusing,” Ronan said.
“I think that the woman I saw in my vision was Mia, but a Mia we don’t know, a Mia that lived long ago. I think that she was the Original Mia,” Sarah offered.
“So you’re saying that Mia just happened to change her appearance by pure coincidence to look exactly like her previous self?” Ronan asked as he turned to look at Mia beside him, “Okay, that’s not freaky.”
“Shut up Ronan,” Sarah snapped, “you’re not helping matters here.”
“As badly as Ronan had put it, he does bring up a good point,” Mr. Rosen said as he turns to look at Mia as well, “If you don’t mind me asking Mia, just how did you decide to change your appearance.”
“When I was trying to change my appearance I was just looking for features that were common among people, something that would keep me from sticking out. I didn’t have a specific face in mind and I didn’t realize that I was modeling my face to resemble another. I just melded together features I thought would be easily forgettable,” Mia admitted.
“Interesting,” Mr. Rosen nodded.
“Maybe that was how William Gregor and that stalker recognized her, not as Amelia Dragos, but as the woman from Sarah’s vision. They would surely know what she looked like, after all they seem to recognize her for her past self and not as Amelia Dragos,” Delilah suggested.
“That actually does make some weird sort of sense,” Marco admits.
“So by changing my appearance, I just made it easier for my enemies to find me?” Mia asked with a sigh.
“Only the ones looking for your past self,” Ronan said as seriously as he could with a nod.
“Okay, all that aside for the moment, let’s concentrate on the real problem at hand, what do we do about Ophelia Rosengard?” Marco said before things could get any further out of hand.
“Isn’t it obvious, we get rid of her,” Ronan said with a smirk and a shrug.
“How you make things sound so easy,” Delilah said shaking her head, “If it were that easy to just get rid of her, she would have been dead long ago.”
“Ophelia is a very serious threat and should be treated as such,” Marco said stiffly, “Delilah is right. If Ophelia had been as easy kill, she would have been taken out long ago. Many people would love to see her gone, but none of them have yet succeeded.”
“I don’t get it. Why is she such a threat that no one has been able to kill her yet?” Ronan asked.
“Ophelia, like Mia is a blood letter which means she can make any weapon imaginable out of her blood. She is her own best weapon. She is over five hundred years old and has been her father’s assassin for over four hundred and eighty-five of those years that we know of for sure,” Marco explained. “She is a Level-A blood magic user, but she is also a rare double magic user meaning she has a secondary power, her’s just happened to be air. She can easily kill a person by suffocation as she can with her blades. And if you’re wondering, her rank in air is A-Level as well.”
“Lovely,” Ronan remarked dryly.
“It’s awfully hard to fight when you can’t breath,” Delilah added.
“Okay, so where does that leave us? How do we fight her? What are her weakness, she must have at least one?” Nick asked seriously.
“She does,” Marco admitted as she looked towards Mia who just scowled.
“And that would be?” Nick demanded to know as he looked between the two of them.
“Damien Chen,” Mia said simply.
“I don’t get it, what does her weakness have to do with the Heir to the Chen Clan?” Ronan asked.
“He is her obsession in the way that Nathaniel was my grandmother’s,” Mia said softly.
“And what does that have to do with you?” Nick asked with a frown as he kept his eye on her.
“She would do anything to have him, she has already killed nearly every person she sees as a possible rival for his affection,” Mia said.
“And?” Nick said.
“She has killed everyone but one,” Marco said simply as he purposefully looked at his cousin.
“Are you kidding me?” Ronan nearly fell out of his seat guffawing. “The pretty boy wants a peace of our little blood princess?”
“It’s not what you think,” Mia said shaking her head, “Damien has this weird obsession with finding the perfect mate. He’s looking for a woman who is his equal in every way. He refuses to take a wife until he can find a woman who can stand by his side in every part of his life.”
“Mia is the only woman he has fought who held him off for a long as she did. Most women are done in the first few seconds. Mia was able to match him move for move until she made one small error.” Marco said dryly.
“And what was that?” Nick asked, his voice cold and hard.
“She saw Ophelia in the crowd and she lost her concentration,” Marco replied.
“Why? What was she doing?” Ronan demanded to know with a big smile on his lips.
“Bleeding,” Mia said flatly, “She was prepared to start a fight right then and there with me for Damien and I didn’t see the purpose.”
“So you lost the fight on purpose?” Ronan asked.
“No, she tripped on a stone and fell to the ground at Chen’s feet,” Marco reported, “He wanted a rematch but Mia turned him down.”
“So why didn’t you just fight Ophelia and kill here then?” Ronan questioned, “Aren’t you like an all powerful Omega?”
“I didn’t know that then,” Mia scowled. “I didn’t know anything about the Omegas then. All I knew was that Ophelia Rosengard was the most feared blood magic assassin in the five clans and I would do best to stay away from her. I wasn’t scared, I just wasn’t sure I wanted to start a fight I wasn’t completely sure I could win. She had a good four hundred years of experience on me. I wasn’t going to do something stupid.”
“And now?” Nick asked.
“Honestly, I couldn’t say,” Mia said as she looked around the room, “I fought Damien when I was young, probably around when I was fifty or so. I’ve improved since then, but so has she. She has four hundred years of experience on me and within that time she had mastered her powers, both magicks.”
“But you’re an Omega,” Ronan said with a frown.
“All Omega means to me right now is having more power then I know what to do with. If you have asked me if I could beat Ophelia twenty-five years ago, I would have said I had a chance. A month ago, I would have said I had no chance. Now, I just can’t say because I haven’t had time to test my powers much less learn to control them again. We’ve been trying so hard to keep my identity and my location a secret that I haven’t been allowed to use any of my magic.” Mia said with a frustrated sigh.
“Could Amelia Dragos win?” Nick asked, his voice flat and emotionless. Mia whirled to look at him in surprise, as did everyone else in the room.
“I’m beginning to think Mia wasn’t the only one affected by the magic of the house,” Ronan said to Nathaniel beside him. Nick just gave his friend a cool look.
“Do you understand what you’re asking me?” Mia asked, her voice strained as she looked up at Nick.
“Could she?” He asked, holding her gaze, his eye serious and determined. Unable to hold his eyes any longer, Mia shook his head and turned away.
“Yes,” Mia said finally as she admitted the truth to herself. If she were to go cold, if she were to leave all worry and fear behind her, then yes she could win. But in that state, she could just as easily destroy the town and she could kill Ophelia, and the thing is, she wouldn’t even blink an eye at the destruction she left in her wake. She would destroy them all to end the life of her target.
“Yes?” Ronan said, “That’s it. Yes? You say you can’t win but your alter ego can. What the hell kind of sense is that?”
“You don’t understand,” Delilah said with a sigh, “You’ve never seen Amelia Dragos in action. What you have seen is like a muddied reflection of the woman she was. Amelia Dragos was Heir to the Dragos Clan for a reason. That night she escaped with Nick, she killed fifty of our kin in thirty seconds. Hundreds of people died that night yet she escaped leaving a trail of dead bodies behind her. We lost a lot of our best blood letters that night.”
“Yes, I believe Amelia Dragos could win,” Nathaniel nodded his head in agreement. Mr. Rosen nodded his head in agreement but he didn’t look happy about it.
“So what are you saying, we unleash Blood Queen Jr. here on the hordes of Rosengards?” Ronan asked in disbelief, “Does this sound insane to anyone else here?”
“I don’t think we have a choice,” Sarah admitted sadly.
“Are you listening to yourselves? You just told me that this woman killed hundreds of her own people without blinking an eye. Do you understand what kind of damage she could do in a town filled with innocent people?” Ronan shouted angrily as he came to his feet.
“Ronan, calm down,” Nick said, Mia could hear his own anger leaking through the calm he put forth.
“And that was before she knew she was an Omega,” Ronan continued on, “Can you imagine the destruction she is capable of with unlimited power? Have you all loss your minds?”
“War is coming Ronan,” Sarah said, her voice hollow, “I have seen it. This is a war thousands of years in the making. There is nothing that will stop it, there is nothing we can do to even slow it down. All we can do now is hope that as many people as possible can survive it. I know you think we’re risking too much, but right now, there is no such thing.”
“What have you seen?” Mr. Rosen asked as he reached out to take his daughter’s hand, giving it a squeeze.
“Something is coming, something big,” Sarah said, her voice soft as she held tightly to her father’s hand, “What we have seen so far is nothing. I haven’t been able to see anything clearly. I’ve been trying as hard as I can but whatever is coming in strong enough to block my visions. But what I can sense from it scares me. Whatever it is, it’s old, it’s powerful and it craves blood. The only thing that will appease it is the death of every living being in this world.”
Ronan fell back into his seat without another word.
“The Originator,” Delilah said, her words so soft that Mia thought she had almost imagined what she said, but when Delilah looked up at her brother and then to Mia, she knew she hadn’t been mistaken. Marco scowled but nodded his head in agreement.
“Who is that? The Originator?” Ronan asked, the first one to find his voice.
“It is an old blood magic user myth, something we were told as children to scare us in to obeying our parents and working at our magic,” Marco explained, “The Originator was supposed to be the original magic user, he was more of a god than man. Supposedly the first magic was blood magic-“
“Of course, it would be coming from a story passed down only among your people,” Ronan snorted. Marco ignored the interruption though and continued on with his story.
“Back then, blood magic was not seen as it is today. It was not associated with death and evil. It was just magic, it could be used for either good and evil. Back then, you actually used your blood as payment for whatever magic you asked for. If your child was sick and you needed magic to heal him, you went to Originator and paid him a blood price. He would use the magic in the blood given as payment to fuel the magic he preformed. It was an equivalent exchange.”
“Why are you people so scared of him when he sounds like such a good guy?” Ronan asked.
“Ronan will you shut up so he can finish the story,” Sarah snapped at her cousin, before nodding for Marco to continue.
“The Originator, although some thought of him as a god, he was still very much a man. He was long lived, and he was very powerful, but he was not a god. As time passed, he became envious of the people who came to him asking for him to use his gifts for him. They had no magic but they had what he desired, family, love, companionship. Yet as long as people saw him as a god, no woman who dare to love him.”
“So he was lonely? Really?”
“I’m just saying, it seems an awfully weak excuse for him to go be such a feared figure.”
“You might just want to skip passed all the explanation and just get to the important part,” Delilah said with a sigh.
“Long story short, the Originator was finally able to find a woman who was capable of loving him as a man. The woman gave him a family he desired so much, and like their father, their children, all daughters, had his gifts. We’re they had revered the god, the people now feared the man and his family. They feared what they could do now that there were more of them. Soon their fear got the better of them and they attacked the man and his family. The man’s human wife died immediately. The man saw her go down and he went insane. He had watched thousands of years for a single woman to be able to love him. He knew she would one day die but to have her taken from him drove him into madness.”
“He unleashed his greatest powers on the people and killed every single one of them. His daughters who had tried to stop him fell at his hands as well. No one but the man survived that night. Not only did he lose his wife but he had taken the lives of his own children, there was no coming back from what he had done. He became completely insane and scoured the lands, killing all those he came upon as revenge for what had been taken from him.”
“He was unstoppable, people fled, hiding in caves and deep in the forests for fear that he would find them. People no longer remembered him as a god but saw him only as a demon. The people prayed and begged for someone to save them. Their prayers were answered. From the ashes of ravaged home, the creature’s daughters rose. They being half human were not nearly as powerful as their father, but together they were strong enough to defeat him. They knew that if the man was not stopped the entire world would be destroyed. They hunted the creature that had once been their father down and chained him down in the deepest darkest hole they could find. Even together, they weren’t strong enough to destroy him, but they were strong enough to bind him and trap him down there. They put him in to a deep sleep and buried him beneath the earth. They knew one day he would rise again for no one’s magic was strong enough to bind him forever. So they knew their only hope was to build an army strong enough to defeat him when he rose again.”
“The creature’s daughter went out, separating and travelling across the world. They gathered people from around them and they created others like themselves. Gifting them with blood magic, teaching them what their father had taught them. As time passed the magic they had gifted became diluted and the people were no longer able to control all magic, but instead only certain parts. Some had power over water, some could control the air, while others were gifted with fire. As time passed, the gifts splintered even further, until you have the magic users of today.”
“Lovely story, but what does it have to do your Clan and why is it passed down,” Ronan said with a scowl.
“Because the Originator’s daughters created the five blood magic clans, the Dragos, the Rosengard, the Chens, the Akachi, and the Salazar. They were created for one purpose and one purpose alone, to fight the Originator when he awoke once more,” Marco explained.
“That doesn’t seem to be their main goal anymore,” Ronan replied.
“Probably because most of them don’t believe his exists anymore. Supposed the Clans were created thousands of years ago. They may have originally been created to fight the Originator, but so much time has passed that he had become a figure of myth, not a real blood monster. The myth might not even still be told among the other clans. But Theodora always used the Originator to inspire our clan to be the best we could be, the train hard, to be always vigilant. As psychotic as our grandmother was, she was prepared for what would come,” Marco said with a shrug.
“Five blood magic clans?” Sarah said the words with a frown and she twisted the words around her head, “Five clans, five daughters, the Originator’s five daughters.”
Mia watched her friend, waiting to see how long it would take her to piece it together. Mia had heard the story hundreds of times as a child. It was something that Theodora had pounded in to their heads. The creature would rise again, but this time they would be strong enough to destroy it. This time they would be triumphant.
Mia had thought it was nothing more than a stupid myth passed down from generation to generation. There couldn’t possibly be such a powerful creature. There was no way such a demon existed. They were the most powerful blood magic clan in the world, nothing could defeat them.
But maybe they were that way for a reason. Theodora had surely believe there was a threat out there, a big enough threat that she resurrected four of the Original Omegas. Now that Mia thought about it, she had no idea just how old her grandmother was. She didn’t think anyone did. The oldest person in their clan was her father Alexander, he was over a thousand years ago. His sister after that, Marco’s mother was only seven hundred years old. Why such a big age gap. Why was there no one older than her father. What had happened between those two times and why was there no one in their Clan older than her father. She hadn’t thought about it till now, but shouldn’t there be others just as old if not older than he was. The clan was thousands of years old, why were the oldest people her grandmother and father. What happened?
“Five daughters, five omegas,” Sarah was saying softly, Mia looked up at her friend to find Sarah’s eyes clouded as if she was lost in a vision.
“Multiple Mias,” Her voice came out as a mere whisper but Mia heard her, as did Nick who took her hand in his giving it a squeeze.
“Oh please tell me she isn’t saying what I think she’s saying?” Ronan said with a groan.
“She’s probably right you know, the five Omegas are probably the Originator’s five daughters. It would explain why they are so powerful. If they are directly descended from the creature that created all magic users, they would definitely be more powerful than the magic users today,” Delilah remarked to Marco in an offhand manner that belied the seriousness of the conversation.
“It would also explain why those directly descended from the main house are so much stronger than the rest of the family,” Marco nodded in agreement as he looked over at Mia who sat rigidly on the couch between Ronan and Nick. Her hand clutching Nick’s so tight she was sure she was cutting off his blood circulation.
“Do you think that was the reason Theodora resurrected the other Omegas? Because she believed the Originator was rising?” Delilah asked her brother.
“It’s possible,” Marco admitted thoughtfully.
“Why did Emily have to go crazy and kill grandmother now when we have so many questions for her?” Delilah sighed, “And what does Emily know that we don’t and who is she searching for? Nothing about this makes any sense.”
“Nothing has made sense for a long time,” Ronan said with a shake of his head as he leaned back in to the couch.
“Is there some way you could look up the histories of the Blood Clans and their origins?” Nathaniel asked as he looked between Marco and Delilah. Delilah frown and Marco scowled before shaking his head.
“The Blood Clans have been at war with each other for so long that any of that information would have destroyed or rewritten,” Marco said.
“It might have been helpful to know which of the sisters created which Clan,” Nathaniel said, “We might have been able to find out more about the Omegas if we could learn more about their pasts.”
“There is probably someone who does know about the Omegas and their origins, but he will not provide the information freely,” Mia admitted softly.
“You’re talking about this supposed William Gregor?” Nick asked. Mia nodded.
“If what he is saying is true, he worked with our Grandmother to figure out a way to resurrect the Omegas. When I spoke to him that one time, he implied that he knew all about me. I had assumed he just meant about me being an Omega. But what if he knows about the origins of the Omegas? He could probably tell us what were looking for,” Mia offered.
“In return for your soul,” Ronan reminded her flatly, “Besides, he’s probably not the only one. You other stalker seems to know about your past as well and at least he’s not asking for your soul in return for the information.”
“Are you suggesting we should hunt this man down and get the truth from him?” Delilah asked in disbelief, “Did you happen to forget just how powerful he is? He may not be an Omega, but he’s probably as close as anyone will ever get.”
“The False Omegas shall rise, born of the demon’s black blood and the eternal one’s white fire, they shall raze the lands bringing with them death and destruction. Light shall fade and Darkness shall reign, that is when the One shall rise once more.” Sarah’s voice stopped all conversation as all eyes turned towards her. Her face was pale, her eyes empty, her hands trembled as she saw a horror that none of them could.
“Are you freaking kidding me?” Ronan said as he came to his feet, “I didn’t sign up for this. I didn’t want to know any of this, especially if we’re talking about the freaking apocalypse.”
“Ronan calm down,” Mr. Rosen order as he gave his nephew a dark look before turning back to his daughter, “Can you see anything else Sarah? Can you see a face, a place, a time?”
Sarah shook her head, her lips turning purple as her whole body began to shiver, “The Lost One shall fall, her body broken, her soul shattered. With her death, the world shall plummet in to Darkness once more, for she alone holds the Darkness as bay.”
“Is there a way to stop this? A way to protect this Lost One?” Mr. Rosen asked as he grabbed both of Sarah hand’s tightly in his.
“No,” Sarah said softly, “It is her destiny to fall so that another can rise.”
“Another what Sarah? Another what shall rise?” Mr. Rosen prompted.
“A soul as bright as the sun,” Sarah voice said, as her eyes got large. They all watched as slowly the color began to fill her cheeks again and the shivering stopped, “A new beginning, a new chance, a different future. As long as the darkness cannot find her before her ascension and wipe the light from the world entirely, she shall save us all.”
With those last words, Sarah wilted into her father’s arms. Her breath shallow and her eyes closed. Mr. Rosen easily caught her, he picked her up in his arms before she fell out of the chair completely.
“Nathaniel, is there a place I can lay Sarah so she can rest?” Mr. Rosen asked as he turned to Nick’s grandfather.
“Of course,” Nathaniel said as he came to his feet, “She can rest in Rebecca’s room. I think she’ll like it in there. Rebecca’s loves her comforts and her room is near to the kitchen. I believe being that close to the houses magic will help her recover.”
“That sounds nice,” Mr. Rosen said with a thankful smile as he followed Nathaniel out of the room. The others watched as they left, not saying a thing at first. They were too busy taking in Sarah’s last words.
“A soul as bright as the sun?” Marco remarked finally.
“That’s our only hope, huh?” Ronan said as he took his seat beside Mia once more. He ran a hand through his golden curls, shaking his head. “I can’t believe this, I honestly can’t. This is just too much. I don’t believe in the Originator, I don’t believe in a war that will destroy the world, I don’t believe in any of it.”
“Does that help? Not believing?”Marco asked with a smirk.
“No,” Ronan replied grumpily.
“That’s because deep down you know her words are true,” Delilah told him.
“I think I liked the world better before I knew about the Omegas and Blood Magic Clans,” Ronan said as he laid his head back against the top of the couch.
“Welcome to our lives,” Marco said with a snort. “The world is not a very pretty place one your eyes have been opened.”
“So what do we do now?” Ronan asked as he turned his head to look at Nick and Mia.
“The only thing we can do, prepare,” Nick said with a sigh. War was coming, a war that could destroy their very world. In the end, there really was nothing any of them could do but hope. And maybe that was all they really needed, hope.
Next: Chapter Five