I walked into the bar and the first thing I could smell was blood. “Well this is definitely a Vamp bar.” I said dryly. “You promised, Marcus.” Sage said warily as her eyes narrowed as she watched the group that huddled in front of the bar arguing fiercely ignoring the daggered looks they were getting by the surrounding Vampires.
I looked at them carefully realizing that something was definitely off about them. They were all bulky looking men. With dark shaggy hair, and whiskered faces, most of them wearing different shades and colors of plaid, all of them wore ankle-length combat boots stained with mud. I scowled as the faint smell of wet dog came to me.
“Werewolves.” I cursed under my breath. As if they could hear me they all turned to look at us both. One of the werewolves moved to the front the other werewolves standing behind him.
“I’m assuming you are the pack master?” I said preferring not to refer to him as the Alpha while we were standing in the middle of a vamp bar.
“No, that’s why we called Sage, I don’t recall us asking you to bring a warlock in.” The werewolf said his eyes narrowing as he looked me up and down before glaring at Sage. She smirked. “Trust me. You need him. Way more than you need me.” She said slanting a look at me before standing straighter in front of the wolf pack.
“We need him alive. He betrayed us. It is our right to seek vengeance. We only asked for a locator spell from you.” The wolf said angrily his whole body trembling slightly. Some of the nearby Vampires got up silently and left quickly. Which I found a bit smarter than hanging around. Of all places to meet. I thought sighing in my head.
“She brought me instead, because I am the best. I’m good at finding people. And I excel bringing them back. Alive.” I said curling my lips into a smile.
“But are you going to be able to face down a witch?” The pack master said narrowing his eyes at me.
“What do you mean?” I said glancing back at Sage who held a wary gaze towards the wolves. One of the other wolves glanced nervously at the others, this one was different he wore soft grey plaid and over his eyes hung a pair of wire-rimmed glasses.
“We’re sure that Hunter has a witch helping him hide. We tried to sniff him out but we were blocked, we can’t even find him through the normal channels.”
“I am a retrieval expert; I can find him and bring him to you. I assure you my success rate is excellent.” I said. The pack master nodded. “Then you better start.”
“This guy is such an amateur.” I said grinning wildly.
“Who’s this then?” Isaac said smirking wildly at me, I glared forcefully at both Isaac and his brother Isaac. Who in return were both grinning like Cheshire cats.
“Well who is bothering you now?” Jacob said.
I rolled my eyes. “The werewolves are finally concerned about their little runaway. They have acquired a warlock to help expedite the process. Hmmm.” I said my eyes narrowing as I recognized “If I’m not mistaken, the warlock is also receiving help from the pest Sage.”
“OOOOOOH.” Jacob and Isaac said together. “Isn’t Sage the same witch that disrupted your first human sacrifice spell?” Jacob said grinning wildly.
I scowled. “Don’t remind me.”
“To be fair, the sacrifice in question was one of her childhood best friends.” Isaac said. “I thought they were lovers.” Jacob said narrowing his eyes.
“That too.” Isaac said.
“Ergh, childhood love.” I muttered darkly. Jacob snorted. “you act like you’ve never been in love.” I scowled as I shook my hands pulling out of the locator spell that the Warlock and Sage were currently working on. “You two are boring me.” I said before making a sharp swipe in the air. Jacob and Isaac shimmered for a moment before they flew back into the picture frames that stood tall above me. I looked up at them both. “Some days I wonder why I ever bothered saving the two of you to begin with.” I said as I walked away.
For five generations Talon witches, have been cursed with eternal life, which wouldn’t have been a bad thing except that we age forever. We live forever eternally ageing. I first learned about the curse on my family when I was sixteen years old. The first curse I ever performed was on my 22-year-old twin brothers Jacob and Issac who I saved by cursing them into gilded picture frames.
The Talon witches were once the most powerful clan of witches there were, until a coven of light witches, led by the white witch Rebekah, cursed all the Talon clan with eternal life. Forever aging. I sighed pushing my hair back from my face before I entered the master bedroom. I walked towards the dark violet bedset, leaning on one of the bedposts as I watched the man that lay in the middle of the bed. “Hello grandfather.” I murmured reverently as I sat down on the edge of the bed. His hand, old and wrinkly moved towards me. I clasped his hand in both of mine, and gently kissed it.
“It won’t be too long now. I promise everyone will be free once more. Free of this curse forever.”
“Do you remember my first curse?” I said walking around the bed, running my fingers through the intricate design around the bedposts.
“I was only sixteen years old.” I said smiling as I thought back. “I had just found about the immortality curse. I was young.” I said shaking my head.
“Too young to realize what living forever meant. Our family has been in pain for far too long.” I put a hand gently on Grandfather’s cheek.
“We deserve to die. For our ancestors to feel peace. For our children to ensure the future of our lineage survives. We are weak without the ability to be one with the earth. And I will succeed.” I said, smiling softly at grandfather, leaning back putting my hands in my lap.
“Hunter Moon’s blood is the key.” I said softly, as I walked away closing the door gently behind me.
“Hunter Moon’s blood may be the key, but are there no other elements to consider? Are you ready to do what is needed?” I smirked, as I turned around looking at the elderly redhead. “Hello Frankie.”
She narrowed her eyes at me. “It’s Francesca. Which I’ve told you once before.” She said darkly as she followed me down the corridor.
“I am ready. I know what needs to be done. And I can do it.” I said my eyes turning dark.
“Is the reason you’re doing this, worth the cost you will pay if you fail, or worse if you succeed?”
“It is.” I said narrowing my eyes. “Do you not believe that I can do what needs to be done? Do you doubt me?” I said questioned. “I doubt the price of ending the curse is worth it. Everyone over the age of ninety will die the moment the curse ends.”
“All those people are suffering. It’s not murder if you’re ending the suffering of your people. Your family.” I said turning and facing Francesca. She took my hand in both of hers. “And what about your suffering? I’m afraid that once you do this, there will be no going back.” Francesca said worrying her lip through her teeth. I pulled my hand softly away from hers, and took a step back. “There is no going back. Not for me.”
“This witch is nasty. I’m going to need to do this the old-fashioned way.” I said as I leaned back clasping my hands behind my head.
“What do you mean?” Sage said looking up from a grimoire she was currently looking through. It had been three days since meeting the wolf pack in the Vamp bar in Tennessee. After meeting them we opted to go back to the witch haven in Memphis.
A secret house hidden in the middle of Memphis downtown that held secrets hidden in Witches Grimoires that had been shared and passed on to the house for centuries since the first Salem Witches left their own books behind.
“I mean that instead of trying to force my way through this particular Witches’ Brew,” I said pausing as Sage gave me a full out glare at my term “Witches Brew” which was slang for a particularly nasty form of black magic. Most witches preferred to call it the “Darkness”.
“I can instead just follow his trail from the smoky mountains.” I said ignoring Sage’s scowl as I walked to the cluttered mess she liked to call a desk. I waved my hand clearing the desk and used some loose magic to form a map.
“So he started here in the Smoky Mountains Campsite, where the wolves have settled.” I said pointing to the dot that indicated the smoky mountains. Sage rolled her eyes, “And how pray tell are you going to figure out his whereabouts without having something that belonged to him?” I grinned at the smirk that lay in her voice, then I pulled out the chain I had in my pocket.
“Where did you get that?” Sage said her eyes opening wide, as she reached for the delicate silver.
“I got it off from one of the wolves, the nerdy looking one with the glasses.” I said letting her hold it, watching as she fingered the silver claw on the medallion it held.
“This can’t be Hunter’s. It’s silver.” Sage said doubtful as she looked at the markings. “But it is. Hunter’s mother gave it to him prior to him becoming a werewolf.
He has held it close to his heart even after turning. It gives him strength to wear something that would otherwise weaken him.” I said taking the chain, I held it close in my closed hands and chanted.
Out of the chain came a red trail. Because the chain had been silver, and thus danger to werewolves, Hunter had bled constantly on it. He had even bled on it the day that the werewolf, Jeremy had grabbed the medallion as he tried to run. This blood is what I would use to see what route of escape he took. I watched as the blood fell on the Smoky mountains dot and traveled down, past Jackson where we had met the wolves in the Vamp bar, and even past Memphis where we were now until it finally stopped in the city of Tupelo.
“So that’s where he is.” I said murmuring. “Well you’ve got your location, time to go werewolf hunting.” Sage said moving away from me and walking towards her room. I heard some rummaging and then she came out with a traveling bag on her shoulder.
“Are you going somewhere?” I asked narrowing my eyes at her. Sage smiled, “I have to get back to Las Vegas. I promised my aunt I would watch her terror of a niece. She’s three and already growing into her magic, as I deal with natural magic and origin’s the coven of witches have elected me to train her, so in other words I’m so screwed it’s not even funny.” Sage said sighing as she walked past me.
“I can’t do this without you. You have to come with me.” Sage smiled putting a hand on my cheek. “Yes you can. And you will. Because there’s important I must tell you.” I looked at her warily. “And what’s that,”
“I no longer care about this mission or you.” She said slapping my cheek as she left. “Have fun finding Hunter.” She said in a singsong voice.
“Great. Tupelo it is.”
I woke up tired and feeling the bruises on my abdomen, and shoulders. Not to mention my bloodied knuckles. I got up rigidly every muscle in my body screaming out in pain. I knew that I should probably stop indulging in the street fights but I just couldn't stop myself. I staggered towards the one mirror that the shabby motel room I was currently living in had. Despite how extremely ragged I felt, I definitely didn't look it.
"Stupid witch." I cursed. Three months ago, I had learned of the circumstances of my birth. I had always known that my name 'Hunter Moon' came from a rare moon cycle that happened after every Harvest Moon. What I hadn’t known about my apparent birth was that it had fallen on one of the most powerful autumn solstices in three thousand years. Which apparently also made me a perfect ingredient in undoing a curse put on a family of witches nearly a century earlier.
The family, a clan of witches from Salem had been cursed to live forever eternally. Forever aging but never able to die. I rubbed a hand over my face. Since learning this fact I’d done as much as I could to run away from my fate. Hiding out away from my wolf clan, trying any way I could to destroy my soul.
Which is what the witches needed to sacrifice to break their curse. Three months ago, a witch, the most recent daughter, and the most powerful had approached me. Who not only told me all of this, but also said that she would be coming for me in four months. I had a week left.
“What happened to you?” Frankie said in surprise. “You look like you were rolling in the dirt.” She said as she took me in. I rolled my eyes, as I spread my arms making all the dust covering at me blowing away. Frankie scowled, as she brushed herself off.
“Unless you want to be turned into a frog, you will stop talking.” I said as I opened the freezer pulling out a bag of peas and placing it on my rapidly appearing bruise on my arm.
Frankie snorted, before she smirked at me.
“So where’s Hunter?” she said humming at the end of her sentence. I scowled, waved my arm, sending a wave of electric currents at her as I walked away. I heard her yelp and I grinned to myself.
The twins walked around the cauldron waving their hands as they chanted. The flames rose higher around the cauldron as rainbow colored sparks flew out of the concoction. I looked up at the moon, the half-moon glowing white in the darkness.
“It won’t be too long now.” I whispered.
Curses were odd things. Undoing them were slightly more complex, every witch and warlock had their own unique way of weaving each spell. It’s what makes undoing curses so hard. Sometimes impossible. Luckily for the Ravenscar coven we’ve been working on undoing this curse for centuries. Throughout the family since the initial curse, Ravenscar’s have been documenting the different nuances of the curse, and what reverse methods we would have to do.
The original curse made by the White witch Rebekah. Using the power of the North Wind I let the pages of the many witches that came before me sink into my skin. I closed my eyes and let my head drop as I spread my arms wide. I chanted the words of my ancestors. I opened my eyes as I felt power sweep through my frail body. Rebekah cast this curse with the help of friends and sisters of the elements.
For the reversal spell, we would have to do the same. As dark witches my family has always been unable to do this part of the curse but I had recently learned that this could be done by use of sacrifice. Or more specifically six deaths: One by fire, one by ice, one by wind, one by earth, one by water and of course the death by white magic. Death by light. Six of my family members walked out and positioned themselves around the fire. My twin brothers continued to chant but stood outside of the circle. I smiled grimly as I walked into the circle.
My hands gripping the gilded tome in my hands tightly. I stood in front of the fire staring at the flames that spread over the cauldron mixing with the bright purple liquid. I pivoted on my heel, and gently laid the book down its pages opened, looking straight at the moon. I pulled a ceremonial dagger out of my leather jacket. And sliced open my hand. I looked at the six family members, who each nodded at me. I pressed my hands together before putting both hands flat on the book’s pages. I took a breath before I raised my palms up leaving only my fingertips on the books now bloodied pages. I fiercely spoke the incantation, and the liquid in the cauldron arose floating in the air for a moment before forming six separate orbs. Each orb floated becoming less opaque and showing one of the six elements, they floated in the air for a moment before floating towards and above the respective family members, the orbs opened the elements attacking each family member. As their screams rent the air. I whispered, “In order to be free, sacrifices needed to be made. Tis the way of a black witch.”
I walked into the bar feeling apprehensive. Something was wrong today. I could feel it like an ache in my chest. I walked to the bar careful of my surroundings watching everyone. I sat down on one of the stools watching the other drinkers with apprehension. Everything looked normal, like any other Thursday. The bartender a thin blonde with multiple piercings approached me.
“I don’t want to alarm you, but someone was asking for you, by name.” She said her voice quiet with worry, as she handed me a scotch and bourbon, my usual. I drank it in one gulp and looked around again, I looked back at the bartender. “Who?”
“A warlock, that warlock actually.” She said pointing towards the back of the bar. I turned to see a man with glowing violet eyes rimmed with kohl staring straight at me.
I glanced at him in surprise. I didn’t know him but he was staring at me intensely over a glass of bourbon. It was only after I noticed that the warlock was wearing a suit that I realized what the bartender had said. I turned back to her in surprise.
“How did you know that he is a warlock?” I asked narrowing my eyes. She smiled her eyes suddenly turning a liquid blue. “Because I’m a seer. Also, I’ve used his services once or twice.” She said.
“Don’t worry I haven’t told her that you’re here. But you might want to talk to that warlock. It might turn out to be quite fruitful to you.” I scowled, as she filled my glass back again. I took it and turned walking straight toward the mysterious warlock. I sat down across from him watching him as he watched me.
“Who are you, and why are you looking for me?” I said careful to keep my emotions in check. Lately even the slightest emotion has made me start to tremble and want to shift into my werewolf form.
“What do you want.” I said uneasily as he sat there watching me. He took a big gulp of his drink. “I’m looking for you, because you are a wanted man.” He said. My jaw tightened as I heard his voice a mix of a deep Spanish accent and a slight Italian accent, the sound made my insides squirm making me feel like mush.
“I’ve no idea what you mean.” I said tightening my grip on my glass. Could he possibly be a minion of the witch come to take me to her?
“Your wolf-pack. The one you ran away from.” The man said leaning back in his chair. I let out a breath.
“They sent you here looking for me?” I said feeling like a weight had lifted from my chest. I hadn’t spent a moment thinking of the wolf-pack I had left. I had been more worried to bring the witches wrath towards them to actually let them in on what was actually going on. I never thought they’d actually send someone looking for me.
“What do they want?’ I asked raising my eyebrows. The man similarly raised his own. “Murder, torture, one of those lovely things.” He said shrugging his shoulders.
“Great.” I said sarcasm lacing my voice.
“So who are you?” I said sighing. “My name is Marcus.” My eyes narrowed as I realized who he was.
“Marcus the retrieval expert?” I said with surprise. “You know me?” Marcus asked looking at me carefully. “I-” I sucked in a deep breath as my stomach turned and my breath turned sharp.
“What’s happening to me?” I said huskily.
“That would be the drugs taking effect in your system.” He said calmly. My eyes widened. “You drugged me?” I said screeching. And then the world went black.
I threw him unceremoniously in the back, and then turned to face Hera, the blonde bartender who had so kindly put wolfs bane in Hunter’s drink.
“Will he be out for long?” She asked turning her eerie silver eyes toward me.
“No, long enough for me to at least get to the nearest interstate.” I said crossing my arms.
“I hope he ends up alright. He’s a good person. Rough but good. And you.” She said poking me hard in the arm. “If you need me make sure to call. Have a nice drive.” I smiled as she sashayed her hips away from me.
Then I climbed into the car and drove off entering the stream of traffic. As I put on the radio a stream of cars drove by adding to the traffic. I scowled. It was going to be a long night. I hummed along to the music until it turned into some old country song.
Grumbling I waved my hand reverting the radio to one of the Memphis channels. Thank god for magic. I sang along with the music, my fingers tapping to the beat.
The hours blended together and eventually I found myself loudly singing along to gangam style.
“What the hell is that crap?” I heard Hunter growl behind me. “Argggh!” I said as I swerved awkwardly in the road.
“How the hell did you get in the backseat?” I said my voice almost turning birdlike. Hunter leaned forward his head poking out in the middle of my backseat.
“How on god’s green planet is that considered music.” He said glumly. “Are you purposely avoiding my question?” I asked turning slightly to glare at him myself.
“No comment.” Hunter said his voice dry as he climbed over and arranged himself in my front seat.
“Comfortable, are you? I said sarcasm lacing my words. He glanced at me. “Where are we headed anyways?” Hunter said, sighing sounding as if he had finally given up. “We’re headed back to Memphis where I live. Why? Do you just want details so you can best plan your escape?”
“Now there’s an idea.” A lilting feminine voice said from behind us. Hunter froze beside me his lips thinning into a line. “Talia.” He said. I gripped the steering wheel harder, glancing in the mirror to see the exquisite white-blond girl with the piercing silver eyes looking right back at me.
“Tatianna of Ravenscar. You are quite a legend.” I said my voice clear of emotions. I felt her consider me before she spoke. “You are Marcus. The Warlock.” She said looking at me her mouth quirking in a smile. “You know you once helped my Great-grandfather. He’s still alive.”
“How unfortunate.” I said as I pressed the accelerator and exited the highway driving west towards Jackson. “Why don’t you just make this easy on yourself and forget the werewolves and just send Hunter to me? It would be easier on everyone.”
“And why would I want to make it easy on you. I hate you and yours. Your family is nothing but trouble. You also tried to kill Sage I happen to like Sage. Very much so.” I said as I sped up faster. “What are you doing?” Hunter asked his voice spiked with panic. “Oh nothing but a slight spell.”
“You’re lying. There is no spell that requires you to drive this fast.” Tatia said looking at me darkly.
“But saying these words will: Asid Omnia tremdere.” I said as I turned the car sharply and opened both doors causing Tatia to flash just as the car disappeared and reappeared just out of the highway just on the border of Jackson and onto the edge of Nevada. Hunter looked around his eyes wide.
“Where the hell are we?” He said turning back to look at me. I made a sharp turn and drove into the desert. “Welcome to Las Vegas.”