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A King Will Rise: The Legendary Series, #4

A King Will Rise: The Legendary Series, #4

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A King Will Rise: The Legendary Series, #4

Lunghezza:
520 pagine
6 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Dec 27, 2016
ISBN:
9781540177025
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

The war is about to begin. Whose colors will you fly as a King rises?
Aliana, Dagg, and the New Round Table are so close. The alignment is only weeks away. All they need is to find the Grail of Power and unite the seven realms, but Mordrid is drawing ever closer and victory is far from assured.
All the bonds, questions, and betrayals will come to a head as the new Knights of the Round Table prepare for the final battle. To win, Aliana will have to do what hasn't been done in over three millennia: claim the power of the alignment and use it to either save the realms or raze them to the ground.
Join Aliana, and her family and allies, for the final installment of their Legendary quest.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Dec 27, 2016
ISBN:
9781540177025
Formato:
Libro

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Anteprima del libro

A King Will Rise - L.H. Nicole

Author

Prologue

I will kill them all! Glass shattered against the plaster-covered wall of the fifteenth century villa. I’ll start with that accursed Merlin. His death will be a painful one. The dark wizard sneered and sat back in his well-worn chair. Though nothing compares to what I have in mind for the pretender king who seeks to once again sit on Camelot’s throne. Mordrid sank deeper into the plush leather chair, staring out at the night sky and Mediterranean ocean. He ran a hand through his shoulder-length raven hair, his palm touching the edges of the fading burn scars on his face, left from that annoying Silver Dragon, Daggerhorne. He snarled as a tremor tortured his muscles.

No one was in the villa with him, but even if they were, they wouldn’t dare to comment on his raging monologue. "I am Camelot’s rightful ruler! That Gold Dragon stole the throne from my ancestor, the great Onyx Dragon. I will sit on Camelot’s throne, and I will have the Destined One, my Aliana, by my side as my queen."

He had almost killed Arthur once with his enchanted blade. This time, he would have to make sure the blade finished off the golden king. Blast that Druid for sending his spy away. The magic Merlin used that was still keeping Aliana’s godfather, Joe, away was far stronger than Merlin should have been able to use in his condition.

I have to find a way to get my spy back since the magic that protects Aliana and her home cannot be penetrated. Something which grated on Mordrid’s already frayed patience. It took far too long for Morgana and Viviane to free me from that hole the Fae bitch, Titania, threw me. I am still weak, my magic drained from the pocket realm. He rubbed his cheek, knowing he looked as haggard as he had when Aliana first set the prophecy in motion in London seven months ago.

It did give him time to reflect; however, and he realized now the mistake he had made. When his dark magic almost took over Aliana in Camelot, when she had been sent back to Camelot’s past by the Fae queen, he had seen things. He had been a blind fool to not realize what that meant, to not realize the true depth of her power. Nothing should have been able to destroy the Spear of Hel and its magic gems. Yet she did.

It appeared there was more to the Destined One than even Mordrid realized.

It was a miracle that her magic had grown so strong in only seven months. Before her, he did not know of one who could have done so without killing themselves. But he suspected the prophecy stone and her bond to that annoying Silver Dragon of hers had much to do with it.

Thinking of the Destined One always brought up his memories of kissing her. The first time he had stolen a kiss after she and her blonde friend had walked right into his trap back in London. Her sweet tart taste had become his obsession since. The second kiss was one she had given him—part of a deal she had made after he freed her godfather and friend’s mother—after he had saved her life. The foolish girl had thrown herself in the way of a magic attack that would have killed anyone else. A mistake he had taken great pleasure in making his cousin, Morgana LeFay, pay for.

Once again, he had underestimated Aliana and let himself lose sight of his end game. Back in Camelot, disguised as a page boy serving the Knights of the Round Table, he had followed her. . Even back then, the first time he had seen Aliana, arriving on the back of Merlin’s horse, he had known she was something special: a treasure to be possessed, his treasure. It hadn’t been until they faced the Manticore he had sent that he’d realized she had magic. The clever girl had kept it hidden so well until she thought no one was watching her. But I was always watching her.

He felt the chill of two magical signatures touch his skin, one as cold as buried stone, the other like ice. Viviane and Morgana had returned.

He stood, needing to strengthen his muscles. He couldn’t afford to look weak in the High Priestess, Viviane’s, eyes. Morgana and Mordrid had been raised together, as close as brother and sister. They were blood cousins since she was the daughter of his uncle, the Onyx Dragon’s youngest son. That son had fallen in love with the sister of Uther Pendragon and paid the price for it. She had died in giving birth to Morgana, with her lover following soon after. The mortal king cast Morgana off after she was born because he had just wed Igraine, the Dragon Queen and refused to have anything taint his kingdom with darkness. He commanded one of his knights to leave Morgana in the forest, but that knight betrayed Uther and took her to the magic sanctuary the great Onyx Dragon had created.

Viviane’s family had served the Onyx Dragons for ages. After his defeat, he had realized he needed to build an army to take on the battle for Camelot. He had given great magical power to Viviane’s family, so long as they loyally served the Onyx Dragon clan.

The bestowed magic gave all it touched unnaturally long lives, so that the Onyx Dragon could always be sure those who served were loyal. Mordrid himself was the grandson to that same Onyx Dragon. His mother and father long dead before he could even remember them. Viviane had told him that the son of the Golden Dragon had taken their lives because Mordrid’s parents were close to amassing a force strong enough to retake Camelot for the Onyx Dragon clan.

Mordrid sneered again as the two women walked into the wide-open room he often took to recovering in. It was decorated with priceless tapestries and lush furniture that could have seated two dozen people, but Mordrid had no use for visitors.

He leveled them both with his black gaze. Tell me you have good news.

Morgana nodded once, her hazel eyes trained on the rug at her feet, her blonde hair braided in a severe mass down her back. His cousin had not once stepped a foot out of line from his will since she had been released from her punishment. As it was, her own magic, bolstered by the magic of the Firebirds, was still healing the deep scars and bones that had not set properly after being put back in their sockets.

Viviane stepped forward, head high, her gray lavender eyes alight with triumph. She brushed her own black mass of curls back over her shoulder. We have secured the alliance of five of the tribes of Atlantis. The Sidhe have already started rebuilding their ranks, stealing as many human souls as they can to maintain their power. The Goblin king has also granted us his full army.

Mordrid tapped one long finger on his chin. Good. Tell the Atlantian tribes to have their scouts watching all gates to their realm. The Destined One, Arthur, and their band will be making their way there soon, I suspect.

He looked back out at the ocean for a moment before turning back to Viviane.

What is it? the Priestess asked.

Mordrid dropped his hand to his side. Have we discovered the tribe that hides the Grail of Power? Aliana has the map. No doubt she will soon figure out how to use it. We cannot let them have a head start on us. He saw the small snarl that appeared on Morgana’s lip at the mention of their enemies.

Not yet, his cousin said, finally raising her eyes. But I will return and seek the answer out.

There is something else. Mordrid frowned at Viviane as she spoke. One of the tribes says Oberon, King of Avalon, has been seen in Atlantis.

Mordrid pulled out the dagger that had almost succeeded in killing Arthur. Then we will kill him too, if he gets in our way.

1

I know what Mordrid’s orders are, but ever since my memories were unlocked, it’s harder to make myself do what he wants. Every day, more and more, I feel the call of my soul, desperate for its mate. All my life Viviane and Mordrid’s plans, visions for the future, felt right, yet now I fear them. I realize now they don’t care about me, and maybe never did. I’ve lost everything; yet still I feel a small star of hope. I can’t reach out to him...but maybe I can warn another. I’ll have to be sure I don’t tip my hand. I may be of Viviane and the Onyx Dragon’s blood, but I can’t do what they want anymore. I’ve changed, and I can only hope it’s for the better.

~Morgana

––––––––

Stop being such a scaredy-cat, Aliana, and do it!

Aliana narrowed her emerald green eyes on one of her sister-best-friends, Dawn Anson. You have your own bad-ass powers now. Why don’t you do it?

Lacy Edrick, the third member of the magical sister trio groaned and rolled her blue eyes. "Because you’re the only one of us that has the connection to the energy, air, and water element’s magic."

Aliana crossed her arms over her chest as her bare toes curled into the chilled sand on the beach behind her Charleston home. "Last I checked I’m not a weather witch. I don’t have the cool X-Men nickname Storm." Sure she had made herself float before, when she and Galahad had snuck away for a private moment in the Isle of the Blessed, but that had been nothing like what the girls wanted her to do. This training had been Aliana’s idea, and it had seemed like a good one at the time.

The two girls grinned, their glee breaking the stern glare Aliana was trying to give them.

If we could focus, please, ladies. The three looked at the small silver Dragon, Daggerhorne, that was hovering behind them. We are trying to help all three of you gain more insight and control of your magic.

Dawn sighed dramatically; Lacy pursed her lips. It was Aliana who spoke for the trio, We know, Dagg. No matter how much we love you, you harping on us every five seconds doesn’t help.

The little Dragon frowned. This isn’t a game. Mordrid and Morgana have been far too silent. And you, Aliana, are the one who said you wanted to better understand your magic. This is the only way. You still have yet to master connecting with the five magic elements to help strengthen your own unique magic.

This time Aliana’s narrowed eyes and stern look was not playful. Thanks for the reminder; like I could ever forget my freak magic!

Both girls came to her side. Dagg, Lacy started, maybe this will go a little better if you head back to the house with the guys, Vira and Guin. I think a little girl time could be just the thing right now.

Dagg flew closer to them. It is not safe.

You know it is! Aliana insisted. Not only did Titania, my grandmother, lay one badass shield over this place, she opened her arms to gesture to the private strip of beach they stood on and the area that led to her adoptive family’s plantation home, but my birth parents have put their own layers of protection over top of the Fae queen’s. We are more than safe here and you know it.

It still sounded foreign to her ears to talk about her birth parents, General Alaki—aka Death and the Underlord’s son—and his souls mate, my mother and the daughter of Titania. To finally know their names and story and why they had given her to their friends, her adoptive parents, to be raised. Time travel made everything all kinds of crazy weird, and hard to keep track of events. It still felt like only a few weeks since she had entered the Underworld, back in Camelot’s past, and outsmarted a Sphinx to gain the magical map that would lead to the Grail of Power. Right on the heels of that, she had learned from the Underlord, one of the four greatest powers in all the seven realms, that his son was her real father.

I still don’t like it, the Dragon guardian mumbled.

Aliana hugged him. Our bond will tell you right away if there is a problem. We’ll be fine.

The bond, fueled by the Prophecy of the Destined One, built up by Titania fifteen hundred years ago, bound her and Dagg together like one. What one felt, so did the other, including all of their emotions, physical pain, or pleasure. It got annoying at times for Aliana when her sometimes volatile emotions got to her and she didn’t want anyone, especially the know-it-all snooping Dragon, to know. Not to mention she didn’t want the secret she was keeping from everyone in her life to be discovered. She still needed to talk to Merlin about that again.

Aliana shook the startling thought aside, back into her mental hidey-hole. Go make sure the guys aren’t killing each other with their sparring. You know how they get when they play with sharp objects.

The girls snickered, and the magical creature nodded reluctantly and flew back towards the trees that separated her home and the ocean.

I think he’s getting even more paranoid.

Lacy chuckled. I think you’re dead on with that one, D.

Aliana looked at her sisters with a raised brow. Can you blame him?

They both shrugged. It had been eerily quiet since she had returned from Camelot and the past. They had even been able to enjoy Christmas together along with Delphina—a Fae friend from Camelot, J‘alel—an Elf from Avalon, and Dawn and Lacy’s parents. It had been tricky, hiding the Pixies who helped out around the house and cloaking the fact Delphina and J’alel weren’t human. They had managed it though. Dawn’s mother, Michelle, and Lacy and Wade’s mother and father were now all on a three-month world tour, courtesy of Merlin and Lancelot.

A safety precaution, the guys had assured the girls. Aliana still suspected Merlin had used some kind of magic or even a potion on them to get them to go. No matter how sneaky it felt, the three adults would be safer away from the coming war.

Lacy clapped her hands. Enough of the paranoia and reflection, time to get down to business!

Everything about her life now was overwhelming on a good day and close to unbearable on the bad days. Like when she had learned the truth of her adoptive parents’ deaths. She had lost the people she trusted and loved most in the world the night Morgana blew up their ship. The witch had commanded that same magic fire to consume Aliana who was watching in shock on the dock.

Though she hadn’t known it at the time, it was her birth parents that had protected her from falling victim to Morgana that night, over two years ago.

A small rational part of her brain knew it wasn’t her fault, that she couldn’t be held responsible for what Morgana had done. But then nothing about the tragedy was rational, and no matter how hard she tried to ignore it, Aliana couldn’t always silence the voice that whispered they were dead because of her.

Ever since finding the entrance to Avalon, it seemed to Aliana like she had no control over her own life; that she was slowly losing herself to the magic, prophecy, mythical creatures, and magic realms. Not to mention her own bone deep worry that the beautiful, wonderful bonds that had formed between her and Galahad and her and Arthur might be a side effect of another’s magic. That it was possible that neither man truly loved her of their own free will.

Right now, the only two things keeping her sane were her sister best friends and her photo art. In the quiet weeks that had settled since her return from Camelot, she had started on a new King Arthur photo series, using the photos she had taken from the magical realms and of her Knights of the Round Table.

Fingers snapped in front of her dazed green eyes. Hello in there! Dawn’s voice shattered her thoughts.

Yo, Earth to Lia. Come in, Lia! Lacy added.

She smiled sheepishly. Sorry, girls.

Lacy looped her arm around Aliana’s slumped shoulders.

You looked like you were about to drown in your thoughts there, sister. Dawn shrugged her shoulders then winked. Consider us your personal life jackets.

Lacy nudged Aliana closer to the water. Okay, you didn’t get us up at the butt crack of morning just to stand on the beach. You say you need to figure out who you are with all this new wicked cool magic of yours, so we start with helping you understand and gain full control over it all.

Aliana snorted. Yeah, it’s too early in the morning for you to be this perky! Taking in a deep, calming breath of briny ocean air, Aliana shored up her determination. Okay, I’m ready to focus.

Dawn grinned and rubbed her hands together like a cartoon villain. Time to get down to business. Let’s see if you can do it.

Aliana’s mouth pulled to the side. She had made one joke last night about wishing she could fly, and Lacy and Dawn had jumped on it like a hot-guy-one-day-sale. I don’t even know where to start with this crazy idea.

All the girls thought for a moment. Dawn tapped her finger on her pursed lips before saying, In the cartoons and comics, it always looked like Storm gathered the air around her like a cyclone. Maybe you try something like that and see where it gets you.

Aliana wanted to say that was ridiculous, but what did they have to lose? Closing her eyes, though she didn’t strictly need to, she opened her magical senses and used her magical ruby to hold them wide open. The solid, calm rolling power of the earth element surrounded her. The fizzling feel of the energy element’s magic teased her skin. The refreshing, cold marble feel of the water element’s magic lapped at her fingers.

A hot wave floated towards her, but Aliana shut her senses off from the dangerous power of the fire element. Just because she had managed to connect with the fiery element, and now understood that Morgana had been in control of that demon fire that had been a part of her nightmares for two years, didn’t mean she’d been able to shake her fear of flames. She raised her hand and felt the magic of the air element circle her hand and blow away the lingering heat. Her hair started to toss in the gentle breeze.

Alright, Lia. You’ve tapped into them; now imagine the air surrounding you.

Aliana could almost hear the smile in Lacy’s excited voice. It seemed inane, but she still visualized the invisible gusts of air magic circling her. She thought back to the way she had felt floating lazily above that beautiful lake, Galahad in her arms staring lovingly at her. It had been back in the Isle of the Blessed, when they were searching for Excalibur, and she had taken him to the lake outside Titania’s Tree palace. She had been worried about his strange behavior and they had ended up dancing in the stars. She shut down the memory, her traitorous heart thumping faster at the once perfect moment.

The air element danced out of her control and her connection vanished.

Damn, Aliana mumbled.

What happened? You almost had it! Dawn’s confused face was almost funny.

I...got distracted.

Lacy poked her temple. Then get your head on straight and focus only on your magic and the elements. That’s what Delphina has told me is the key to my magic. Part of your magic is Fae too. It would make sense that same pearl of wisdom would apply to you.

The blonde girl was referring to the fact that somewhere in her family tree a Fae had gotten together and produced a halfling offspring. But for some reason, it seemed Lacy had been the only one since to touch that part of the Edrick heritage. Not even her brother, Wade, had any magic aside from the prophecy magic that had reincarnated him.

Aliana nodded, meeting both of their gazes. Ding, ding, round two. She opened her magic sense again, sorting past the other elements to once again take the power so freely offered from the air. This time she focused only on the cool feel of the air, like soft, silky ribbons brushing her all over her body. She imagined how she must look, dressed in a pair of pale jeans, a purple thermal long sleeve shirt, a silver and pink scarf wrapped around her neck, and a glowing ruby set in the middle of a web glove on her hand. Her clothes rustled, almost in tandem with the strokes of flying magic. Her hair tossed a little more, the long milk chocolate waves swaying over her arms and her back, tickling her neck and shoulders. This would make one heck of a picture. Her photos could never lie to her. They often revealed things to her she would have never known.

You’re doing it! Dawn cheered with a whoop.

Aliana popped open an eye to look down at herself as Lacy did a happy dance in the sand. She was floating! Her feet were a good six feet off the sand, and she was surrounded with flowing trails of pale glittering pink, the color of her own unique magic.

She opened both eyes and gasped in delight, but in her excitement, she lost her concentration. She dropped to the sand like an anchor to the bottom of the sea.

Aliana gave a little yelp as she hit not the sand, but her best friends.

Oomph.

WTF!

Both girls cried out and looked up at Aliana who was now sprawled on top of them.

Sorry, she mumbled trying to untangle her arms and legs from the two girls.

After what Aliana imagined looked like an anime body pile, the girls got to their feet.

This time, Dawn warned, shaking a supposed to be threatening finger at Aliana, warn us if you’re going to drop like a bag of cats.

Aliana nodded once, trying to hide her laughter. Right. Third time’s the charm.

Lacy made a ding ding sound, and Aliana repeated the process, faster this time, now familiar with the paths the different elemental currents flowed on. In a battle, she wouldn’t have the luxury of taking her time. As she had learned the hard way, a slow reaction could get her or any of her friends injured or killed. Even thought Puck had managed to save her soul, Vira’s murder in Camelot was not something she would ever forget. She wasn’t ever going to let that happen to anyone she loved again.

The air surrounded her again and Aliana imagined herself hovering over the sand again.

So far so good, she heard Lacy mutter.

She opened her eyes and felt herself bobble, but she concentrated on the power making sure to be in full control this time. This idea would only work if she could walk and talk at the same time, as the saying went. She commanded the air to raise her higher, and before the thought was even complete, she shot up another six feet.

Whoa! she gasped, but despite her surprise, this time she maintained her hold on the magic. Her legs were bent, the force of the air currents making it hard to balance herself.

Try and straighten your legs! Dawn shouted, no doubt realizing the problem.

If I’m going to try and fly like a superhero I might as well go all in. She imagined the elemental magic surrounding her limbs and body like a costume. She almost lost her balance again, but flailed her arms like a baby bird before gaining her much-needed center of gravity. Now what? How do I do this?

Try tilting your body forward and at the same time shifting the air to hold you.

Lacy’s idea seemed as good as any other. Praying she wouldn’t face plant, Aliana leaned her body forward. The air currents moved with her, leveling out her body. A big smile bloomed on her face as she waved down to the girls.

Dawn whistled like a bird. Don’t just hover there like a cloud, Lia! Get to flying.

With a rueful smile, Aliana expanded her senses and willed the air element to push her forward. She shot ahead a few feet so fast she jerked to a halt, wobbling to keep herself in the air. She tried again feeling like she did when she first learned to drive and kept jamming on the brake every time she hit the accelerator. She took another breath and imagined herself sailing through the air at a nice slow, steady pace.

That’s it! Lacy cried from below her.

Aliana grinned before whispering to the elemental magic to go a little faster. She glided along the surf for a few feet before twisting her body to the right and flying out over the murky ocean water of the Atlantic. The sensation of feeling the air currents all around her, brushing over every part of her body were like nothing she had expected, and the suit of air she had formed around herself kept the forceful gusts from hitting her face.

It felt freeing to be so high off the ground, doing something that so many people jokingly wished they could do. She felt in control for the first time in quite a while. With a newfound confidence and surety, she urged the air to push her faster and heard the girls cheering for her from the beach.

She angled her body again, flying right back to them, righting herself to hover a few feet in front of them.

That is so freaking awesome! Lacy squealed, her and Dawn high fiving.

Now try the other parts! See if you can use the water and energy magic to form attacks!

Aliana nodded to Dawn as she turned and headed back out over the water. Being sure to keep her link to the air element, she glided closer to the water’s surface. She reached her hand down, her fingers slicing into the salty water as the power of the element flowed into her. She gasped in delight as her magic core expanded and took in the new magic.

Excitement poured through her as she shot forward like a bird, the water around her fingers rising like growing waves as she flew. She rose higher, the waves made of her magic climbing with her. Aliana couldn’t stop the excited laughter that broke out as she tucked into a spin, the water circling around her like a magic shield, blending with the pink glittering ribbons of air that kept her aloft.

She shot straight up, pushing the water out as she suddenly stopped. It burst around her like a shattering glass globe, the glint of her pink magic sparking in the thousands of drops of water as the morning sun added to the almost diamond shimmer.

Holy anime, Batman! Where did you come up with that? Dawn shouted from the beach.

Grinning, she shrugged. "Let’s say I was inspired," she said in their minds, laughing. Ever since the three of them had connected through the Well of Realms, it was even easier for their minds to link, creating a private mental pathway.

Lacy shook her head, her grin evident even as Aliana continued to glide back and forth over the water, not wanting to lose her connection to it. Alright, Show Off, see if you can do that again, and this time add your energy magic to it!

Right away, Drill Sergeant Lacy! Aliana gathered up the waves again, this time commanding them to flow through the air next to her like a giant flag from her right hand. She expanded her senses again, the power flowing from her ruby glove adding to her strength as the sizzling sparks of the energy element blended with the air flowing around her before settling around her left hand, leaving a trail of pixie dust sparkles in its wake.

She exalted in the feel of so much magic surrounding her, waiting for her next command. Even three months ago she would have never thought herself capable of any of this, but now it felt like there was nothing she couldn’t do.

A burst of moonlight exploded to her right, and Aliana jerked to the left just in time to avoid the small ripples of magic.

She halted and twirled around to gawk at Lacy. What the heck was that? Aliana shouted over the water to startled to use their mental connection.

She could hear the grin in Lacy’s voice as it invaded her mind. "We are here to figure out how to use this as a defense, not look pretty."

Yeah, Lia. Dawn’s voice joined Lacy’s. "I think you’ve got the hang of it now. Let’s take it to the next level. Besides, this is for us too. Maybe Lace and I can figure out some attacks to help fight against Mordrid and Morgana and that sicko Viviane."

Reality came back to Aliana as she hovered above the water, the borrowed magic still clinging to her. They were right. She had let herself get lost in the feeling of being free and in control that she forgot one of their main purposes for this training.

You’re both right. I’m sorry. Bring it on, sisters!

Both girls cheered from the beach as Aliana took flight again, this time paying attention to her surroundings as she flew. A large ball of liquid moonlight shot up in front of Aliana. On instinct she called up her bubble shield adding to it the magic from the energy element. She speared through the bright magic, her shield protecting her from backlash. Quicker than she could have imagined more and more balls of light came at her. Lacy was going all out, so she had to too.

Aliana thinned the glittering water flowing from her left hand into a whip. This was one of Morgana’s favorite weapons. It seemed like a good idea to fight fire with fire, so to speak. She attacked the globes with the whip, bursting them when she could and dodging the ones she missed. Angling her body, Aliana shot back towards the beach, releasing her own balls of pink energy magic at the girls. It wasn’t strong enough to do any real damage, just like Lacy’s magic hadn’t been, but the girls also needed to learn to defend as well as attack.

Dawn leaned forward scooping up a hand full of sand and threw it in the air. In a blink, the sand multiplied and formed a wall similar to a net, infused with wisps of pale purple magic that was uniquely Dawn’s. It caught the pink blasts and slammed them into the ground as they fizzled out.

Son of a biscuit, D! Aliana said landing in front of the girls, panting from the strain of using so much magic. Where did you learn that? Iris and Isis? Aliana hadn’t met the two Wood Nymphs that had taken Dawn under their wings while she was in Avalon, but she had heard a lot about them.

Dawn nodded, grinning like a mad hatter. They gave me a few scrolls on Wood Nymph magic. I saw a drawing in one of them that explained that shield.

Wow! Lacy said sounding a little jealous. I wish Delphina had given me something like that.

Aliana jumped forward and hugged both girls. This is so cool, she said pulling back. It feels good knowing we can defend ourselves and will be able to help the guys when we finally go to Atlantis and face Mordrid!

Aliana didn’t mention her plan to try and save Morgana yet. She still had a lot to figure out and both Lacy and Dawn were still very sensitive of the evil Sorceress that had taken Dawns’ mom and had attacked and almost killed their knights several times over.

But she knew what they didn’t accept yet. That Morgana was only so evil because she had sacrificed herself to save Merlin, when Mordrid had tried to infect him with a magical poisoned dagger that would have taken over the Druid and turned him to the side of evil. Despite the witch’s anger and jealousy that had led to her betraying Arthur and the guys in Camelot, she had been unable to see her souls mate, Merlin, hurt in such a way and had thrown herself in the way of the dagger.

Aliana had promised herself and Merlin that she would find a way to rid Morgana of that foreign evil and help the girl return to the beautiful, warm, if not slightly dramatic healer she had been.

Let’s get back to it, Aliana said, firming up her determination. The guys won’t get anxious for another hour or so. Let’s use the time to try some more attacks!

The girls nodded and Aliana called back the air element, shooting back into the air and out over the water. Much quicker than before, she gathered the water and energy magic to her. As she flew several yards above the water, she saw a long, large shadow appear below the surface before it disappeared as quickly as it came. Another trick by Dawn or Lacy, maybe?

She was ready to turn to the girls and say something as another, bigger globe of moonlight burst beneath her, throwing off her balance. She faltered for a second then regained her balance and shot down to the water, scooping it up as she flung her hand out as if throwing an underhand pitch. Giant waves formed rushing towards the two girls on the beach faster than any natural wave ever could.

The girls squeaked in surprise before Dawn created the sand shield again. The first wave crashed into it, protecting the two girls, but it fell to the ground before the second hit. Worried for her friends, Aliana tried to call the rogue wave back, afraid it would hurt them, but Lacy hit it with her own whip of moonlight causing it to fragment and burst into thousands of droplets.

Despite the backlash Aliana knew all three of them were feeling from using so much magic, they continued to throw different attacks at each other trying different kinds of magic and shields to diffuse attacks or even turn them back against the one who sent it.

Aliana release her hold on the water magic and called out her black, glossy magic bow from her ruby glove where it hid until she needed it. She released pink magic arrow after pink magic arrow as she glided left to right, targeting the small balls of moving moonlight magic and pale purple gusts of magic the girls kept sending towards her like moving targets. She hit each one as it came at her; the magics bursting and fading out.

"I can’t keep this up much longer," Lacy gasped into Aliana’s mind since she was still too far out to be heard.

"Me too," Aliana said back teetering where she hovered. She was going to need one heck of a nap when she got back. Or maybe just a nice energy boost from Dagg.

I third that sentiment! Dawn added sounding exhausted.

Aliana let out an airy giggle before flying back towards the beach, much slower than she had earlier. The dark shape reappeared beneath her again. Guys, do you see—?

Before she could finish the thought, the shadow grew larger as a deep blue mass broke the surface, coming straight up towards her. Black tipped blue barbs and horns rushed towards her as glowing white eyes with narrow diamond blue pupils fixed on one target—her.

Shocked and numb with terrified surprise, Aliana lost hold on her magic and fell straight towards the water monster with a loud scream.

2

Much has been accomplished this night. I finally broke through Merlin’s spell of concealment, thanks to the power of my master. And should this plan fail, I have another failsafe in place to finish the deed. Our allied grow in numbers and strength every day, beyond what even I had imagined we could raise. Soon I will be able to lay the Destined One at my master’s feet; her magic will be his to command. The Onyx Dragon clan will rise again and rule all.

~Viviane

––––––––

Aliana tried desperately to grip the air magic again but her panic overwhelmed her senses. Frantic, she flung out her right hand and commanded the ruby to blast the blue Dragon. Pink energy burst forth smacking the long snout of the beast, its long thin head snapping to the side.

Orange rays wrapped around Aliana’s middle like a lasso and jerked her back towards the beach with such force she couldn’t do anything but be slung around like a rock. She crashed into a hard, muscular chest, strong arms wrapping tightly around her before she could fall to the sand.

Are you alright? Galahad demanded looking down at her with blazing blue eyes.

Breathless, she nodded realizing everyone from the house and the girls had surrounded the pair of them. King Arthur moved in front of them, his magic sword, Excalibur, drawn and held at the ready. He and the other seven knights watched the Dragon still shaking off the effect of Aliana’s attack.

It’s white and diamond blue eyes narrowed as it shot closer to the beach, its large mouth with rows of long thin pointed teeth bared like an attacking shark. Merlin’s sunlight magic clotted the air as the guys drew their swords and got into a fighting stance. As quickly as it had been coming, the Dragon suddenly stopped, like it was frozen in the shallow water.

The shields! Dawn said quickly.

They must be keeping him out. Merlin’s confirmation didn’t make the guys relax.

Galahad drew his own sword, reluctant to release his hold on her.

I am a she.

Aliana’s eyes widened as the first lyrical and unyielding words left the blue Dragon’s mouth. The creature looked like a blend between a horse and a serpent with the tips of pointed wings peeking out of the water’s rippling surface. Sophvira, Galahad’s little sister, took Aliana’s hand in hers.

Those eerie eyes stared hard at Aliana. That attack was rude, young one. I was merely trying to help stop your descent. Her gaze slid to Dagg. I would have thought a Dragon such as yourself, Lord Daggerhorne, would have taught your charge better manners.

All eyes turned to the small silver-marble Dragon that hovered at Aliana’s side. Aliana is not always the easiest of charges to teach and protect, Lady Nera.

Dagg, what in the blue hell is going on? Do you know this Dragon? Lacy demanded.

Clearing his throat, Dagg glided past the guys. Please lower your weapons. Lady Nera means us no harm. His amethyst eyes turned to the blue Dragon, whose wet scales on her thin, serpentine body glittered with seawater. She is an old friend and no ally to Mordrid.

Too right, she said haughtily. I felt a great summoning of water magic nearby, and I feared that witch Morgana had returned. I have not felt such strong water magic since the night she sank a ship in a bay not far from here. She quite upset the balance of sea life that night, controlling all those sharks the way she did.

Not to mention the waste of human lives she took, Dawn muttered to Lacy. All the guys glared at the dark haired girl. Their looks screamed for her to keep her commentary to herself.

Anguish pooled in Aliana’s throat. This Dragon had been there that night? Why were you there? Aliana asked, stepping between Arthur and Wade.

Her narrowed eyes softened. The waters of the East Atlantic coast are my domain in the Mortal realm. I was down the coast when I felt the magic; by the time I arrived, it was too late to save the lives she had taken. The only thing I could do was calm the marine life.

Aliana’s shoulders slumped a fraction. What could have happened if this Dragon had been there? Would Morgana have been able to carry out her murderous plan that claimed the lives

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