More magic, more problems.
Newly minted Protector Daria Rosewood is thrilled to finally receive her first mission. Deployed to Earth, she teams up with Dr. Drake Jones to hunt for a missing woman in Seattle’s paranormal underworld.
It’s time to prove to everyone that she can uphold her family’s legacy and the proud tradition of Protectors. Expecting a simple investigation, she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for.
Daria quickly finds her skills, magic and mental fortitude stretched to their limits. A harsh new truth becomes apparent. The honor of a lifetime sometimes demands a steep price.
Check out the first chapter of this new urban fantasy:
Daria Rosewood somersaulted through the air as she leapt from the building’s ledge. She twisted her body and landed in a crouch before her enemy, with hardly a sound.
The creature roared in surprise and lashed out with a paw, sharp claws glinting in the streetlight. Quick as a mongoose, she batted its paw aside and struck out, slamming a fist into its hairy face. She circled around to the side to avoid its counterattack. The creature’s fangs dripped saliva, eyes boiling with fury, as Daria eluded it. The wolf lunged forward, but she leapt back, dodging a swipe at her midsection as she squared off against the massive black and white werewolf.
The beast growled, and lunged again. It snapped at her with its powerful jaws. She was ready for the attack and dodged to the side, firing a beam of light from her palm at its chest. It dove sideways, avoiding the worst of it, though she still managed to burn a valley across the edge of its muscular shoulder. Smoke curled up from the seared flesh and fur.
The werewolf whimpered and then howled, a skin-crawling sound that echoed off the buildings around them. A surprisingly pleasant smell of roasted meat wafted in the air. Daria smirked at the beast. Playtime was over.
This bad boy was going down.
She stepped forward to attack, but its claws swiped at her again, forcing her back. Feinting with a kick that made the werewolf twist away to protect its injured arm, she rushed forward.
Or tried to. Daria’s toe hit a crack in the road, throwing her off balance. Her arms flailed in the air.
How ridiculous! she thought, as she fought to maintain control.
Daria’s arm came up to block the attack and then her forearm erupted in pain, as a claw sliced it from elbow to wrist. She tucked and rolled with the momentum, to end up crouched in the road a full six feet away. She wriggled her fingers. They all worked despite the horrendous gash.
Blood ran freely from the wound, dripping onto the asphalt. Her instructor’s constant warnings, to maintain situational awareness, rang in the back of her mind. Daria mentally scolded herself but was grateful that the gash wasn’t mortal.
I will survive.
Daria stood and gathered the magical energy within her. She always imagined it as a liquid that flowed through her body like blood, but separate. The air hummed with the buildup of power. The werewolf sensed it, and his hackles rose. A growl rumbled in its chest and his snout wrinkled, exposing teeth that gleamed wickedly in the street lights. The muscles of his legs coiled as he prepared to spring at her.
With her arms held out to the side, Daria shouted an incantation. Clapping her hands together with her arms extended like a weapon, she channeled all her power into a massive blast of white energy. A thundering boom rattled her chest, and stung her ears, as the light exploded from her finger tips as one giant beam.
The shining magic punched through the werewolf like he was made of paper, leaving heat ripples in the air. Daria had incinerated everything, from its chest to its stomach, cleaving the wolf into four pieces that landed with a splat in the road. Blood spurted from the severed limbs. She gagged at the sight, choking down the stinging bile in her throat. In an instant the werewolf went from a standing position to a jumble of body parts, like a disassembled doll. Its furry head rolled away until it bumped against the curb.
She wiped sweat from her forehead, and stared at the gruesome sight. Her mind spun at the devastation she’d wrought. A flicker of movement to the right caught her eye. She jumped back and turned to face a potentially new threat. Squinting into the darkness, she saw a form move out from the shadows. Its movement was catlike, smooth and confident. Powerful.
Streetlights revealed a pair of vampires. They sneered at her with hunger in their eyes. One was Daria’s height, but broader and muscular. The other was a few inches taller with a wiry build and its long hair was pulled back in a single, thick braid. Both wore suits, which seemed impractical for a fight.
Daria took a deep breath. Lethargy permeated her body after using the last spell. The training scenario description had not mentioned vampires. But as her instructors were fond of repeating, a protector’s life in the field is always unpredictable. This must be another way to test her resolve and push her limits.
She gritted her teeth, mentally preparing as the vampires slowly advanced. Then another saying sprang to mind. One that Drill Instructor Fox loved to repeat, “Blades, magic, and firearms are tools. You are the weapon. Impose your will.”
Daria flexed her hands, lightly balled them into fists and strode toward the vampires. Better to take the initiative and control the fight. She angled slightly to the side, to keep them both in her field of view. Something about their behavior made her nervous that a third might sneak up behind her. So, she changed her strategy and continued stalking around them until her back was to the building, to avoid a sneak attack. Carefully stepping onto the sidewalk, she watched them for subtle hints of their intentions. A street sign along the edge of the sidewalk could be used to her advantage. The pole would frustrate attacks from that side, if she used it properly.
“What are you waiting for?” she asked with a sneer.
The vampires flickered and then disappeared. Lights clicked on overhead and the illusion of the city faded away.
Daria sighed and placed her hands on her hips.
This better be good.
“The simulation has terminated. You have received an urgent message from guild headquarters. How would you like to proceed?” Naya asked, in her usual pleasant tone.
Ever since graduating months ago, Daria had rarely received messages from the guild headquarters. Most of her time was spent training or reporting for minor duties at the academy. Unlike most of her fellow graduates, Daria still had not received her first mission. A point she had been sure to mention anytime she saw her mentor.
Hope surged that this might be her lucky day. If not, someone at the guild was going to get an earful. Clinging to hope, she clapped her hands with a small squeak of excitement.
“Deliver the message to my PCU,” Daria said, grinning as she bounced on her toes. The Personal Communication Unit on her wrist dinged. She tapped the Read New Message icon and began to read.
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