Here Be… Dragons?
The Callaghan Alpha stalks towards the wolf I’ve injured, claws half out, a growl emanating deep from his throat. James pulls him up by his hair, but the injured wolf can now hardly stand.
“Who sent you?” James asks him in a vicious growl. I stand at the periphery, I don’t want to be near this encroaching wolf shifter or his ‘pack’. I know Aunt Em will back whatever James decides, so Ella and I will do the same.
“You don’t want to know,” the injured wolf states, still somewhat determined.
“Oh, but we do,” James states and he nods to Aunt Em. From her pocket, a silver strand emerges, looped around her finger. The injured wolf baulks and tries his very best to get out of James’ grip. He might as well be fighting against a giant; he has no hope.
Aunt Em waits until James has the wolf on his knees, howling in both pain and indignation at his situation. The wolf takes what feels like forever, fighting against James. Then, James has him on the floor, arm twisted painfully behind him, incapacitating him. James nods to Aunt Em, then the silver cord is draped over his neck and James snarls in appreciation.
“Who sent you?” James asks again, this time his voice is quieter.
“Our Alpha. The other pack gave shelter to someone Alpha Merrick decreed banished,” he whines.
“So you hunted the pack that helped?” I sense Ella beside me and I cast her a quick sidewards glance.
“We were told to, Merrick’s orders,” he tells us.
“Why would Merrick order that? Who did he banish?” Aunt Em asks what I have had on my tongue for the last few minutes.
“Because of whom they gave shelter to,” he tells us. I can see that he won’t last much longer, his life force is leaking out and not just his blood. Such is the gift I have; I see Death sucking the life from him: his time is up.
“And who was that?” I interrupt; I want the answer before life fades from him. Somehow it feels terribly important. He looks up at me and snarls.
“A dragon,” he states as the last of his life force bleeds out, making him fall to the floor, out of James’ clutch. Aunt Em looks at James, who looks at me. I don’t look at either of them. I hear Aunt Em utter the word “dragon” softly, questioningly while looking between James, Ella and me. What this wolf told us, suddenly explains a lot of things. How the heck am I going to explain this to Aunt Em, never mind the Ruling Council?
The Callaghan Castle
Castle Callaghan can be seen from the top of the wooded hill, thanks to the floodlights that surround it. As we escort the women and the cubs from the fleeing pack to the protective enclave of The Callaghan Castle, I can feel Ella’s stare in the back of my neck. The other wolves from the hunting pack are being guarded by Aunt Em and James’ guards. When they’ve been fed and watered, James will question them.
As we enter the Castle grounds, James’ wife, Emily, and a group of other women joins us. She quickly takes charge, ushering the women and children into the Great Hall while the prisoners are escorted to the dungeons. I leave the women and children in Emily’s capable hands and help secure Merrick’s men. James nods as each wolf is secured in his own cell. We know that anything and everything they say will be recorded and used. Their silence suggests they’re aware of it too.
James orders his men, Ella, Aunt Em and me out of the dungeons and up to the main hall. Within seconds, James is hugging his wife and learning what they’ve told her. I listen in, needing to know more.
“We helped a man, a shifter, though we couldn’t work out what kind of shifter he was. He just wanted a bed for the night, somewhere dry. Michael said he was powerful, an Alpha but not a wolf. The next night, Merrick’s men attacked. I have no idea…” the woman, their Luna, bursts into tears. James nods at his Beta and he heads off with a nod. Emily kneels down and takes the woman’s hands.
Dragon Seeks a Callaghan Witch
“We’ll find out what we can and find a way to get you and the cubs home, or somewhere else safe, if you wish,” she offers. The woman looks at Ella and me.
“You’re both Callaghan witches?” She asks between sobs and we nod.
“The man said he was looking for a Callaghan witch. He didn’t say why,” she offers. “Or which one.”
“What does he look like, this man?” James asks her gently before I can. Why would a dragon shifter be looking for a Callaghan Witch?
She sucks in a deep breath and closes her eyes, recalling. “He was over six foot five, more intense than we are, with something behind his deep, soulful brown eyes. He didn’t scare us though, that was the thing. As big as he was, he was gentle with us women, softly spoken with a slight foreign accent, kind with the kids.” James turns to Ella and me. We shrug; I haven’t the heart to tell him I think I know who this man is, though not his name. Now I know he’s a Dragon shifter, other things begin to make a lot more sense. And I know I’m in trouble.