It's been five years since the Chosen One's war and Hayden's pack has been able to enjoy life once again. Of course, things can never stay calm and they soon find themselves caught up in another epic fight and this time it looks like Ternach might hold the key to winning.
Mortal since losing his powers in the battle of Paradin, Ternach decides to take a trip to Sageden in hopes that Hayden can help him get his magic back. Along the way, he meets Sarah; a woman with a secret and an agenda.
It doesn't take long before sparks are flying and Ternach starts to think that maybe being human has it's perks after all.
When he discovers Sarah's secret he needs to make a decision: Does he stay human so he can stay with Sarah, or does he attempt to become immortal again knowing he has what is needed to win...
“So we’ll leave first thing in the morning then. I wish I’d known sooner what had happened. We could have been gone already.” Cassandra frowned and looked to the door of Ternach’s room.
“Can I have a look at the orb again? It really is irking me that I can’t remember when I saw the other one.” Ternach put another piece of wood on the fire he had going. Cassandra reached into Peter’s pack and pulled out the yellow orb then handed it to him.
“Have you left Quelondain?” Peter sat behind Cassandra.
“Hmmm? Oh, yes, I have.” He looked up from the orb and its moving veining and smiled. “If you name it I’ve probably been there. It’s amazing how bored a being can get over time.”
Cassandra laughed and leaned back against Peter who kissed her shoulder. Ternach smiled at the gesture then frowned as he looked at his door.
“Is she alright?” Peter was looking in the same direction.
Ternach shrugged. “I’m not sure. I can’t tell you if this happens every time she comes home, or if it’s a new occurrence. It could have been the fight with that Brent character or the fact that someone left a dead animal in her bed.” He remembered how she’d shivered against him through the night. He took a deep breath. “Bastard,” he muttered under his breath. He wasn’t entirely sure what the idiot had said to her, but she’d seemed distant for the past day. Other than the odd glance in his direction she’d barely acknowledged he was there though she hadn’t left his side since they’d found her room covered in blood. He handed the orb back to Cassandra and stood.
“I have some herbs that might help calm her down if she wants. If she needs me, we’ll be in our room.”
Ternach nodded and walked off to find Sarah. “She told you she needed a minute to herself,” he mumbled to himself. He stopped walking then started again. He had a bad feeling.
“No!” Sarah’s voice was filled with fear. Ternach ran as quietly as he could and hid behind a bush.
Sarah looked in his direction, like she’d felt him grow near.
“Ow, Brent, you’re hurting me.” Sarah winced as his fingers dug into her arm. Her heart was pounding. Brent had always been quiet and gentle.
He jerked then looked at her with the strangest look on his face. “I’m hurting you, am I? What are you going to do about it?”
He grunted. “Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about! Tanner did the same thing!” He shook his head. “What? You’re drunk, Brent. Go sleep it off.” He brought his hand up and slapped her in the face. Sarah’s face exploded with pain as her head snapped back. “Well, I’m not drunk now, Sarah, so how are you going to explain it to me?”
“Explain what, Brent?”
“Come on, now. Stop me.” He spun her around and pressed his dagger to her throat. “Stop me, Sarah. I know you have more sense than Tanner. He thought I’d stop if he didn’t do anything. You won’t make the same mistake, now, will you?”
“What are you saying? You’re the one who killed Tanner?” Tears spilled from her eyes. “Why?”
“I know what you are, Sarah! I know what you both were! But your mate was stupid, wasn’t he. Even when he was dying he refused to help himself!” He pulled her head back even farther and Sarah felt the blade bite into her throat.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about! Brent, please!”
“Oh, that’s nice. I like the sound of that. Beg some more. Actually, just agree to my proposal and I’ll let you live. I don’t mind what you are, Sarah, but I refuse to let anyone else have you.”
“I’m a Namael! A cheetah! By the moons, Brent, I don’t understand!”
He pressed his dagger harder against her throat. “Come on. Save yourself. You know you can.”
“Is there a problem here?”
Brent turned quickly and growled. Sarah’s heart jumped into her throat.
“Move along, man. This is none of your business.”
“Now that’s where you’re wrong.” Ternach tried to look calmer than he felt. All it would take was one quick swipe of the dagger and Sarah would be dead. He couldn’t help but think about the fact that his magic would be handy right about now. “Sarah is my business.” His jaw clenched as he saw her eyes widen, her tears running down her bruised face.
Brent frowned. “What’s wrong with your eyes? Are you one of them?”
“One of who? What’s he talking about, Sarah?”
“I don’t know!”
Truth be told, Ternach didn’t really care what the man was talking about. Just keep him distracted, he thought to himself. To Brent he said, “I’m definitely not one of those, but I’ll agree with you, she’s something else isn’t she?”
Sarah’s eyes widened.
“There! I knew it!” Brent pushed her away, spinning her around so that she was looking at him. Ternach was sprinting toward them. “Now, save yourself, witch.” Brent wound up and threw his dagger at her then grunted with the impact of Ternach’s body colliding with his.
Ternach straddled the smaller man and punched him until there was no more struggling under him. “Sarah!” He turned and scrambled to his feet. Sarah stared at him with wide eyes, unmoving. “Are you alright?” He looked her over, trying to see if the dagger had hit its mark.
“I’m… I’m fine.”
“Where’s his dagger?”
“It… he threw wide.” She couldn’t stop staring at Brent’s listless form on the ground. “Did you kill him?”
Ternach frowned and glanced back. Brent’s chest was still moving as he breathed. “No. He’s alive. By the moons, Sarah, look at me!” He reached out and took her by the arms. Her eyes finally met his. “Are you alright?”
She nodded slowly and suddenly, all of the strength she had left evaporated. Ternach caught her as her legs gave way.
“Let’s get you to the inn and we’ll figure out what’s wrong,” he said as he cradled her in his arms. Brent moaned and reached up to touch his swollen face. His eyes met Ternach’s.
“If you ever come near her again you’ll die.”
Brent’s eyes widened. “You can’t possibly believe her! She’s a witch!”
Ternach shook his head. “I know from personal experience that she’s not a witch and I meant what I said. Killing you won’t bother me in the least.” He strode away and hugged Sarah to his chest. He looked down at her, frowning.
“Let’s get you back to my room. I’ll go get Cassandra for you.”
“But Cassandra could help…” He touched her face lightly where it was bruised.
She shook her head.
“What do you need me to do?”
“I…” Sarah felt as though she was being carried through a haze. “He did it.” Tears slid down her face and Ternach pulled her close. “He killed Tanner.”
“Did he say why?”
She shook her head. “He kept saying he knew what we were. He called me a witch.”
“Well, then, the man is obviously losing his mind, no?” He kissed her forehead. “I know witches, and you, my girl, are definitely not one.” He rubbed her back until she started to relax against him. He managed to open his door and lay her on the bed.
“But you agreed with him. You said I was something else.”
He chuckled and lay beside her. “I didn’t agree that you were a witch.” His gaze softened and he tucked her hair behind her ears. “I said you were something else and that you are.”
Her heart fluttered in her chest. “Ternach?”
“Why did you go come find me?”
“I…” He frowned. “I’m not sure. I had a strange feeling.”
He chuckled. “Anytime.” He lifted her chin and looked at her throat. “Are you sure you don’t want Cass?”
Her eyes widened. “No! I’m fine. Really.”
“Sarah, are you sure you’re alright?” Ternach couldn’t get over the scared look in her eyes. “Are you scared he’ll be back? He won’t touch you again, I promise.”
She only moved closer to him and buried her face in his chest. There had only been one man that had been able to make her feel safe until now. She took a deep breath and felt him tighten his hold on her. Maybe everything would be alright. Would Brent try anything else? Maybe. Ternach was right, he’d obviously lost his mind. Who in their right mind would make accusations like that? Stop thinking about it.
“Do you want me to add some wood to the fire?” Ternach was starting worry about how hard she was shaking against him.
She shook her head. “Just hold me.” Truth be told, she wasn’t shivering because of the shock of her situation anymore. She focused on the feel of his hand moving along her arm.
He pulled the blankets over the both of them and hugged her close, rubbing her back. Sarah felt her tunic ride up in the back and his fingers brushed along her skin. She jerked at the touch and her heart jumped.
“Sorry.” He smoothed everything down again and continued trying to warm her.
“What have you been feeling? I mean, when I walked into the restaurant last night and then after that?” She remembered the frown that hadn’t left his face.
He thought about it for a minute. “Worried, why?”
“Oh, well, I thought you might have been upset after finding out about Brent.”
“Is that why you’ve been acting standoffish?”
She nodded, still sure he wasn’t entirely happy with her. “And what about now?” She looked up into his white green eyes when he didn’t answer and caught her breath at the look in them.
Sarah smiled at his blush. “And?”
The corners of his mouth twitched. “By the moons, Sarah, you’re pressed right up against me. If you can’t figure it out…”
She grinned and gasped as his fingers left hot trails down her arm.
“I don’t think you lost your magic at all. I think it’s buried somewhere in there.”
He shook his head. “Trust me, my girl, if I had any magic left, I’d know.” But even as he said the words he couldn’t help but hope she was right. “So why would you think I had magic left? I thought you didn’t have a feel for magic.”
Sarah’s heart beat a bit faster. “I… I don’t. I’m not sure why.”
“Are you sure you’re alright? I still think I should go get Cassandra.”
She shook her head. “I don’t want you to worry or even think right now.” She reached a hand up and ran her fingers along his jaw line.
His frown deepened. “Sarah…”
She repositioned herself so she could kiss along his jaw. “I’ll add no talking to the list of things not allowed at the moment.”
“You’ve been through a lot the last two days…” He closed his eyes at the feel of her hands running through his hair and Sarah smiled at the shiver that ran through him as she flicked her tongue over his lips.
“Make me forget.”
He pulled her up so he could look at her. “Are you sure?”
She answered by pushing him onto his back, straddling him, and pulling her tunic over her head. He groaned and pulled her down so that his face was pressed between her breasts. His tongue flicked over her nipple lightly and it was her turn to groan. His hands ran up her back and tangled in her auburn hair. His mouth left her breast, trailed along her collarbone, up her neck, and found her lips. Her tongue found his and she melted over him, her hips moving against his. He let out a strangled gasp and suddenly she was sure that if she couldn’t feel him naked under her hands she would die.
Sarah rolled to the side and pulled him into a sitting position so she could tug his shirt over his head. Her heart was pounding and at the sight of his bare chest it started to race.
“Pants…” she managed to choke out the word. He obliged her by standing and stepping out of them. Seeing him standing before her, his eyes blazing with need, his body ready to take her, she shivered.
Ternach closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Once he’d managed to calm down a bit he took a step closer to the bed and leaned down to kiss her. His arms wrapped around her and he moaned at the feel of her breasts against his chest. His head was reeling and he pulled back, stood her on the bed and helped her out of her pants. His teeth brushed over her nipples and she arched against him, her gasp causing him to groan.
Sarah moaned as his fingers found their way between her legs. They slipped inside of her and she had to fight to stay upright. Ternach’s mouth moved from one breast to the other then moved back to her lips. His fingers flicked inside of her.
“Wait… wait…” Her head was spinning and the heat inside of her was building. “I want you in me…” She felt him smile where he’d been nibbling on her neck.
He felt her start to tighten around his fingers and he stopped his stroking. He moved back to her breasts and she arched against him as he pulled most of one into his mouth.
“You know, I’ve never done this without magic…” He let his tongue slip from one nipple to the other where he proceeded to pay attention in great detail. Sarah’s breath caught in her throat as his fingers resumed their stroking.
“Ternach…” Sarah moaned as his tongue found hers and she wrapped her arms around his neck. Her whole body was on fire. Every touch was sending heat waves scorching through her. She sobbed in frustration as his fingers stopped once again. “Please…”
Her eyes flew open as they left her body. His one arm pulled her to his chest and she wrapped her legs around his waist as he crawled to the head of the bed. He lowered her gently.
“This is feeling alright for you?” He brushed the hair out of her eyes and waited for her answer.
Sarah stopped herself from laughing when it became obvious he was serious. She let her fingers trail along his jaw. “It is feeling so good that if you don’t stop talking and keep doing what you were doing I might decide to kill you.”
“Hmmm…. Well, we can’t have that now, can we?” His words were whispers in her ear. He spread her legs with his knees and groaned as he pushed himself into her. Sarah caught her breath, her hips tilting upwards to meet his. He seemed to fill her completely and as he started to pull back again she quivered under him. He pushed in again, slowly.
“By the moons, Ternach, please…” Every movement in and out was slowly bringing her to her release. He felt her start to tighten around him and he stopped, buried as deeply as he could be. He groaned and took a deep breath.
“Not yet, my girl, not yet. The moons only know when we’ll have a chance to be alone again.”
Sarah squirmed under him, urging him to move, but the weight of his hips against hers kept her from achieving what she wanted. He waited a moment then resumed, loving the small groans that escaped her every time he would push back in.
His strokes quickened and he looked into her dark hazel eyes. Sarah wrapped her legs around his waist then bit into his shoulder to muffle the scream as she clenched around him and every nerve in her body exploded with feeling. Ternach’s breath caught in his throat and he groaned as her release set his off. His mouth found hers and he kissed her tenderly. He jerked as he closed his eyes and a flash of light filled his head.
Sarah gave a surprised cry.
He opened his eyes and found himself in a time he’d forgotten about. Hazel eyes a shade lighter than the ones he’d just been gazing into peered back at him. Plumper lips smiled sexily. He grinned and kissed them lightly.
“By the moons, Brailla, I’m going to miss you.” He made to roll off of her.
She hooked her legs around his hips and held him in place. “Don’t get up yet. I want to remember this feeling.”
He relaxed over her and let himself settle deeper into her. She sighed and ran her hands lightly over his back.
“You’ll be careful?” He couldn’t help the worry he’d been fighting off from returning.
“I will be.” She ran her fingers along his jaw line. “I’ll be fine.”
He grunted. “You’re not about to take a stroll through the dragon mother’s den… you’re going up against Vallorg.”
“I was born to this, Ternach. I can’t simply say I won’t go.”
“I know. Are you sure you don’t want me to come along?”
She smiled. “Yes, I’m sure. It doesn’t say anything in the Witteck’s Prophecy about some beautiful immortal swooping in to save the day.”
“And this Glear character…”
“Will treat me well. If he doesn’t, I’ll be sure to break his nose for you.”
“Alright.” He kissed her softly and moved so that he was sitting by her side. Brailla stood and he watched as she made her way to her pack.
“What are you looking for?”
“You asked if there was anything you could do to help me and I think I just thought of what that might be.” She stood, the firelight highlighting her bare skin and long auburn hair. “I think you should keep this.” She handed him the red globe she guarded with her life.
He took it from her and watched as the dark red veining moved lazily through the sphere.
“If for some reason Vallorg manages to capture all of us and take the keepers’ orbs, he’ll still be short this one. He can’t do anything without all of the spheres. He’ll never think of looking here for it.”
Ternach frowned. “You’re talking as if you’re knowingly going to your death.”
She shrugged. “I’m not saying it’s what I want to happen, but I won’t lie to myself. The possibility is good.” She pulled her clothes on before kissing him again.
“Let me get my clothes on and I’ll walk you to the edge of the woods.”
Once they’d made it to their usual parting area he paused. “Good luck, Brailla. For everyone’s sake, I hope you succeed.” He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her softly. “Stay safe.”
She took a deep breath and nodded. “Goodbye.” She stepped back, muttered under her breath, and vanished.
Ternach jerked back to the present and found himself still lying on top of Sarah. Her dark hazel eyes were wide, her jaw slack with surprise. He moved so he was on his back and covered his face with his arm.
“By the moons, did you see that?” His voice came out strangled.
“I did.” Hers was just a whisper. Neither one of them said anything for a moment.
“You knew Brailla.” Sarah didn’t make it a question.
“I did.” He turned onto his side so he could look at her. “You’re a Witteck.” It wasn’t a question either.
She rolled and gazed up at him. “I am.”
“Did you come looking for me thinking I might know where the red orb was?”
She shook her head. “I had no idea.” She smiled. “But now that I know she gave it to you, where is it?”
He shrugged. “I have no idea.” He grinned at her raised eyebrow. “Sarah, I buried it somewhere in the Northern Regions, that’s all I can tell you. That was almost a hundred thousand years ago; a lot has happened since then.” He tucked her hair behind her ears. “It’s safe.”
She started to laugh.
“I just… I was just thinking that we are the only two beings alive today that could have experienced what we had and be having this conversation as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.”
He chuckled and pulled her close. “So Brent was right about you then.”
“He was, though he was wrong about the witch part. Wittecks aren’t witches. We’re the keepers of the orbs.”
“Was he right about Tanner?”
“He was.” Her voice was just a whisper. “Tanner was my other half. He didn’t want to be a Witteck. He insisted it was a mistake. He refused to start looking for the orbs. As far as I know, we were the only two to have been called. The more danger of the orbs being united, the more Wittecks will appear. We’re born regular beings, but a dream seems to unlock the ancient memories of the past.”
“Do you know where the rest of the orbs are?”
She shook her head. “When Brailla and Glear displaced them, it was a random act caused by them alone. There is no record of where the orbs went.”
“Well, we know where three of them are. Peter and Cassandra have the yellow one, Marilynn has the green one, and somewhere in the Northern Regions, I have the red one. Do you know why you’ve been called?”
“If we’ve been called, it means some evil has risen.”
Ternach grunted. “Terrific.”
“Did you love her?”
Ternach frowned. “What?”
“Brailla. Did you love her?”
He raised an eyebrow at her. “How do you switch over from what could be the end of the world to my love life?”
“I… I’m not sure how to explain it, Sarah. I was immortal. I loved her as much as I could knowing that she would get old and die and I wouldn’t. There was also the fact that she was already a Witteck when we met and she was waiting to dream of her other half. It was fun and we both cared for each other, but we knew it wouldn’t last.”
“Is that why she left that night?”
“It was. Can we get back to the end of the world?”
She noticed a flicker of sadness in his eyes. It was there and gone so quickly she wasn’t sure she’d seen it at all.
“I suppose we can, though there isn’t much I can tell you. I fated to Tanner. Six years ago we both had the dream that marked us as Wittecks. I managed to find one of the keys needed to lock the orbs back into their nests but with everything that happened with Braw it was hard to explore without being questioned. Both halves of a Witteck couple have to be together at all times. We lose our magic otherwise.”
“That’s right, I remember that now. But Brailla was a Namael sorceress. I remember how her energy multiplied after she dreamed of Glear.” He frowned. “You’re not a sorceress.”
“No, I’m not. Why?”
“When Brent threw his dagger, he didn’t throw wide. I saw it on the ground not too far from where you were standing. And in the bedroom our first night here, while you were in the tub, I didn’t think anything of it, but you were able to warm the water. Am I wrong?”
“You’re not. I managed to warm the water and I deflected the dagger, though if you hadn’t been there I would have been dead. I’ve tried doing magic without you around. It doesn’t work. I’m not exactly sure why, but you’re my other half now.”
“Well, now, that doesn’t make sense. I’m not a Witteck.”
She shrugged. “Like I said, I’m not sure why. My magic needs a second half to work. I think it’s reacting to your magic.”
“I don’t have any magic left.”
“Well, then, you explain it to me.”
He opened his mouth then closed it. “I can’t.” He smirked. “You know, if I do have any magic left somewhere in me, I don’t think it’s very fair that you get to use it and I don’t. Why are you looking at me like that?”
“I was just thinking…”
He waited for her to go on.
“It’s just… this is almost too good to be true.”
“Well, for starters, there’s how I lose my other half then just happen to run into you who seems to be able to replace his magic. Then there’s the fact that you were lovers with Brailla, the first of all Wittecks, so you actually have a clue what I’m talking about. And then, to top it all off, you seem alright with all of this?”
He smiled. “Are you waiting for me to run out of the room screaming?”
Sarah blushed. “Maybe.”
His smile softened. “I meant every word I said when I told you how I felt. A lot of this comes as a surprise, I’m not going to lie, but I’ve told you before, Sarah, it takes a lot to shock me.” He felt her relax against him and pulled the covers up.
“Can we keep this to ourselves for now?”
“What’s that? The orbs, the fact that you’re a Witteck, or what we just did.”
She smiled up at him. “The orbs and the Witteck part; I couldn’t care less about who knows what we just did and what they think about it.” She snuggled against his chest and yawned.
Ternach closed his eyes. It seemed that even as a human his life was bound to be anything but normal. Now, if he could just get his magic back, he’d be set.
So now, enter the giveaway!!