A/N: For anyone interested in seeing a sneak peak of the sequel to Inevitable (titled Legacies), read on!
After lingering for another moment or two at his mother's grave, he stood up and headed for the closest cemetery exit. Before he made it more than ten steps in that general direction, though, a woman stepped into his path, appearing so quickly it was almost as if she'd materialized out of the twilight gloom.
He couldn't be sure because of the fading light, but she seemed young. Not much older than he was, actually, with brown hair cropped short and pale skin like she hasn't been out in the sun much lately, and he normally wouldn't have thought much of her youthful appearance except for the sheer level of power he could sense from her.
Or rather, from within her; he couldn't articulate it properly even within his own thoughts, but the magical energy he was sensing seemed to be almost a separate entity from the young woman in front of him; almost as if it was possessing her, rather than power she possessed in her own right.
"Well, well, well," she said to him, tilting her head and regarding him with a look that reminded him of cats watching canaries. "Kaleb Westphall. You've arrived earlier than I anticipated."
He tensed up automatically at a stranger using his name, a problem compounded by the fact that it was a magically powerful stranger using his name. Names were power in their own way, after all, and now he was at a notable disadvantage.
"I wasn't aware that anyone was overly invested in my comings and goings," he replied, careful of his wording and tone; it never paid to offend a powerful practicioner with rudeness.
"Oh, on the contrary," she responded, "I've been looking forward to meeting you for quite some time." Her gaze raked over him in a way that, quite frankly, made his skin crawl. It was a clinical look, as if she were assessing absolutely every facet of his being and weighing the pros and cons. "Yes, I think you're precisely what I've been looking for."
"What are you talking about?" he asked, taking an instinctive step back. "What have you been looking for? Who the bloody hell are you?"
She gave a smile that seemed sweet on the surface, even as her eyes sparkled with a dark light that spoke of unfathomable power. "What's in a name?" she quipped, her light tone belied by the intensity of her demeanor. "Who I am isn't important Or rather," she corrected, "it isn't important for you to know. You're just the means to an end, after all, you sweet boy."
Kaleb took another deliberate step back and started pulling up some of his own magic, letting it swirl within him, just under his skin. "What do you want with me?" he demanded, heart pounding.
A long, long moment of tense quiet, the silence only broken by the incongruous twittering of the birds in the trees that were settling down for the night.
"I suppose the truth won't change the outcome at this point," she said at last, and then gave another one of those smiles. "I need a vessel," she told him. "For the soul of one of my sons. And you, Kaleb Westphall, are a perfect choice."
A/N: If you're interested in reading more of Legacies, it is available via the list of works on my ffnet profile page. Currently it is being updated on a monthly basis.