Markus a wizard from a parallel Earth travels to our world in a bid to stop a blight that is destroying his own. Here he meets Alcina, a Wiccan Priestess, who is in a custody battle over her son, Tim, against Carl, the boy’s sire, who abandoned her when she was pregnant eight years before. Carl has the backing of a dangerous religious cult in his bid to take Tim.
Together Markus and Alcina face the forces of intolerance and hate to save a child and a world and thaw two warm harts too long trapped in the ice of betrayal.
Meanwhile, Markus’ best friend and his ex-fiancée, who is now a vampire, battle the authorities who are likely to hang Markus upon his return because he has done research into forbidden magics.
Publisher: Dark Dragon
Tropes: Fated Mates, Fish Out of Water, Humanity is Dangerous, Magical Disaster, Parallel Worlds, Psionic Powers, Redemption Arc, Sex Magic
Word Count: 113,100
Setting: Backwell, Derbyshire Dales district of Derbyshire, England
Languages Available: English
A Call Finally Headed
The BMW stopped in the lay-by. Markus was out the door and heading up the trail at a run. “She is here.”
Bill was at his side in seconds. “What’s the plan?”
They were forced to slow to a swift walk on the rough terrain. Markus pulled a pyramid box from his jacket pocket. “Do what you know to do and use this to make it more. Use what you need, but need what you use.”
Bill nodded. “You?”
Markus took a pyramid from his other pocket. “They will remember this affront to the end of their days!”
A chubby woman in a long skirt moved to intercept them. “I’m sorry, but you can’t go up there.”
Markus and Bill ignored her.
“No. Stop. Wait!” She grabbed at Bill’s jacket.READ MORE
Without breaking stride, Bill opened the lid of the pyramid box a crack. He became living night. The cloud of his aura embraced the woman. She screamed in terror and fell to the ground weeping and gibbering.
Alcina lay on the woodpile as Jones struggled to light the poorly laid logs.
“I guess you weren’t a boy scout.” Alcina could not resist taunting him, it helped her control her rising terror.
“I know enough to know the effect cold water will have on these demon stones after they’re heated. This temple of Satan will not see another day.” Jones bared his teeth in a malignant smile.
“You can’t destroy my Gods’ temple. It is in every blade of grass and flowing stream.” Alcina spat at Jones.
Jones snarled at her. “Brother LePoer, the gasoline.”
LePoer appeared carrying a petrol can and sloshed its contents over the wood.
“Good. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you have been found guilty of the heresy of Witchcraft and sentenced to death by burning.” Jones lit a match and threw it onto the log pile. The petrol caught. Alcina screamed as flames licked over her.
Markus and Bill saw a flash of light and heard a scream. They sprinted through the woods by the circle and saw the scene. Jones and his cronies vibrated with glee as Alcina screamed amongst the flames.
“God is joyous for we send evil from this world to Satan, and we save the innocent child from the corruption of the Lord of Lies. Today the witches, tomorrow...” ranted Jones.
Rage kindled in two men’s hearts.
Markus blazed with golden light, while Nix became walking shadow. They were two sides of a coin that had existed since the dawn of time. Life and death, day and night.
As they neared the circle, Jones’ followers turned to stare at their approaching doom.
As one, Markus and Nix focused their thoughts and made a gesture towards Jones’ followers.
A wave of fiery rage swept over the human rabble, smashing through the feeble, natural defences that even untrained and impressionable minds possess. Treating them to a sense of what they faced. Cold fear followed through the opened minds as a blast of arctic wind and their imaginations played, building for each the image of their greatest fear.
“Stop the demon spawn!” Panicked, Jones sent a bullet careening into the night then snatched up the box of shells and rushed to reload. Whendon, McVade, Duncan, Lancre and LePoer froze in place, facing the embodiment of all they feared.
Markus leapt atop the flaming pile of logs. The flames parted, welcoming their master. He touched Alcina, who was burnt and broken, and the flames flowed away from her. Her skin ranged from red to blackened char, but she still drew breath. The last trace of mercy left Markus. He cradled her body in his arms and spoke in a voice like thunder. “Leave!”
Bill moved to one side of Markus. Duncan and Lancre shook off their paralysis and rushed him. Bill barely touched them and they hurtled ten metres and fell to the ground with jarring force. McVade tried to sneak behind Bill with a branch she was using as a club. He did not even turn. The dark cloud of his aura swept back. The branch exploded into flying splinters. She stumbled a few steps then fell to her knees sobbing.
Jones loaded a bullet with trembling hands and took aim at Markus and Alcina.
Markus recognized the weapon from the television shows he’d watched. All he had learned told him it held many projectiles, each of which could be deadly. Jones pointed the weapon at Alcina.
“Drop the we—” called Markus as he reached with his mind to divert the shot.
Jones pulled the trigger.
Markus unleashed the full force of his will, driving the bullet up and to the side. It was so fast. Markus hissed in pain and looked at his arm. There was a hole in his jacket sleeve, and he felt a burning sensation beneath it. His eyes blazed with golden light.
Jones still held the gun pointed at Alcina.
Markus focused his will. The flames around him left the logs so that not even hot coals remained. The energy enveloped Jones whose scream lasted less than a second. Markus maintained the spell until nothing but fine ash and a puddle of metallic slag remained.
Cradling Alcina, he stepped down from the woodpile.
“Please, no.” Whendon found her voice as she gazed at Markus wide-eyed.
Markus scowled. “Why not?”
“Please.” Whendon whimpered.
Markus bent to lay Alcina on the ground. LePoer crept from behind the woodpile holding a hatchet. He neared Markus.
“Markus,” called Bill.
Concentration touched Markus’s brow. LePoer screamed, ran three strides, tripped and fell to the earth unconscious.
Bill saw Duncan running away and sped after him.
“Bill, let him go!” Markus knelt cradling Alcina’s head.
Bill turned at the call and ran to Markus’s side.
“What have you done to her?” Bill demanded of Whendon.
“It was Jones. He did it. He told us we had to!” Miss Whendon blathered.
“I should—” began Bill.
“She isn’t worth it. The crystals are a limited resource. I have more important uses for them.” Markus closed his eyes, sensing Alcina’s injuries. “She is on the border of death. She has inhaled fire.” Sliding the lid on his pyramid box fully open, Markus let the golden glow course through him, then into Alcina. A properly trained healer could have done more with the energy, but Markus was a Classical Magician, his knowledge of anatomy and physiology was limited. Still, he drove the energy against the damage he sensed was the most grave.
As Bill watched, Alcina’s breathing eased even though the black, red and white burns covering most of her body remained. Markus dropped the pyramid. “Give me yours.”
Bill glanced over the area. Lancer lay where he had fallen, his leg at an odd angle. Aside from Whendon, the others posed no danger.
“What about her?” Bill pointed at Whendon.
“Kill her if you wish. I can’t be bothered. Just be quick, we have to get Alcina proper care.”
Bill glared at Whendon for a long second. “You’re not worth it.”
Whendon lost control of her bladder then sat heavily on the ground.
Bill handed over the box. Markus opened it and again the glow. Alcina’s mutilated thumbs healed and her breathing became less laboured, but she did not awake. Markus closed the box.
“Keep going,” ordered Bill.
“I cannot. I told you the pyramids are a limited resource. I drained these ones.”
“What should we do?” Bill gazed at Alcina’s face.
“She needs a hospital.”
“Freeze!” ordered a tall uniformed Constable from the edge of the clearing.
Markus stood. “Officer, we must hurry. Our friend is badly burnt. Can you call an ambulance?”
The cop stared at Markus. “It’s on its way. What the Hell happened here?”
Markus picked up Alcina and started down the trail. “My friend will give you any information you need.”
“Freeze,” ordered the Constable.
Markus ignored him.
“Constable, why don’t you escort us,” said Bill.
“Those people are injured,” stated the Constable.
“Yes. I promise my friend is just going to meet the ambulance. Someone needs to,” Bill spoke in even tones.
The cop glanced at Markus’s retreating back then at the broken people lying on the ground. “Bloody Hell!” Pulling his mic from his belt, he pressed the transmit button and began to speak.COLLAPSE
J. Hughes wrote:
I loved this story which used quite a mix of religious, spiritual, magical, material and environmental relationships in new ways. I had the pleasure of receiving this book from the author to review and didn't want it to end. I have always been a seeker but more recently become more tolerant of all religions and belief systems, believing every person is at their own place in this life. To me this story portrayed in a nutshell the best and worst qualities in humanity. "And the greatest of all these is love." What a wonderful love story across the worlds. Every aspect of the story drew me in, spiritual, magical, relationships good and bad. I went to bed last night analyzing what I had read before I got to sleep. The jargon was a bit technical at times, but I could totally appreciate its use.
I thought the true biblical oath was fantastically written, if only the world's courts worked that way we wouldn't have to wade through possible intentions.
The description of dyslexic learning style was smartly written and makes me so sad that our education system is missing the boat on this generation of visual learners.
So many great bits of lore strategically placed into the story line with amazing flow.
I would read this book again in a heartbeat and would love a series between worlds. What a brilliant imagination. I can't wait to check out his other books.
Sincerely, Molly Moblo Perusse
This story is a mix of fantasy and real life as it deals with many human and family issues. It was fun to find the setting is Bakewell, Derbyshire, where I live. A good read.