A/N: I'm sorry for the massive delay with this story but it's very long to make up for it. This chapter covers the ninth book of the Night World series and if you're following this story and haven't searched out the books then you are really missing out on what I believe to be one of the best sets of work I've ever come across. Up until, and including, this chapter I've had the storyline of the series to work with but the next chapter will cover unchartered waters. There are hints to cover it and I'll be doing some serious searches to try to get a glimmer of what the author, L. J. Smith , intends for the conclusion of this series. If anyone has any suggestions on that topic then please PM me or mention it in a review.
Warnings: This story and chapter contains SLASH. There's vampires so their technically BLOOD PLAY too. This chapter has neither in any explicit amount. There is also VIOLENCE and bad guys dying. You've been warned.
Chapter 10; Dragon's Fury
Harry's eyes snapped open in the dark of his hotel bedroom as all his hunter reflexes reacted at once, including an instinct unique to his original race, the reflex to stall time. The dull sound of cars in the city went silent and the curtain in the window that shouldn't even be open stopped moving in the breeze.
Harry shifted quickly to the side and rolled onto his feet as his eyes scanned the seemingly empty room. His hard-learned instincts told him that he wasn't alone but his eyes failed to find anything in the dark and hitting a light switch without releasing his hold on time was useless. It might not seem it to most people but lights took time to come alive. His hand tightened on his faithful sword that always lived against his headboard but he didn't draw it just yet as he pulled his jeans on over his boxers before scouting out his room. Which was when he finally found his intruder. A vampire standing out of sight of his bed by his ensuite door and opposite the open door that led into Quinn and Rashel's room. The open door wasn't a surprise since Quinn had insisted on that before they'd separated for sleep, if Quinn had even gone to sleep.
The vampire in his own room wore completely black from head to toe. A Dark Ninja as they called themselves. He'd faced them before in several previous lives and his sword had killed many of them through the ages. They were made up of shapeshifters and vampires mainly and answered to the Night World Council and they were lethal at their jobs. This vampire had been coming to kill him if his black sword meant anything but clearly when Harry had awoken he'd moved out of Harry's direct line of sight and lain in ambush. But it was very hard to lay a trap against someone that could move between the seconds of time.
He turned away from the half hidden figure and drew his sword as he moved through the joining door and into the scene there. Clearly they'd sent one vampire against him but the rest to silence Harry's bodyguard and they'd barely taken Quinn by surprise. Rashel had been sleeping fully-clothed on the top of the bed and was in the process of rising quickly as a figure grabbed her arm. Quinn was on his feet though and spinning out of a vampire's grasp. Another was in the process of flying back towards the open window and clearly Quinn had just thrown him. Yet another was the real danger though. Quinn was turning to face one but Harry could tell by the body position of the fourth assailant that he was experienced and using Quinn's movements against him. Shifting to enter his temporary blind spot and attack Quinn's back even as Quinn moved.
Harry spread his senses out as only the most highly trained could. He became all of the most dangerous personalities inside him all at once as he went into action. He threw the sheathe of his sword at the face of the vampire grabbing Rashel and moved around it even as it froze as it left his hand. As he moved time recovered and what had seemed so peaceful launched into chaos. The vampire flying backwards was the first to make noise as he hit the window frame, splintering it. Harry's sheathe his it's own target but Harry's attention narrowed onto the vampire swinging a sword into Quinn's back. Harry twisted and threw his weight down along his sword. Enchanted metal buried itself deep through tough skin and flesh even as Quinn recognised the danger and twisted out of the way only for the last vampire to come up short at the commotion.
Harry pulled his sword clear and swung it back to his side as his kill crumpled to the ground. Rashel had thrown her own assailant and when the vampire with Quinn spotted Harry standing behind his kill his distraction let Quinn get his own attack in and he crumpled to the floor as Rashel struggled with her own.
Harry let Quinn worry about Rashel and the two recovering vampires in the room as he turned to face the vampire that had awoken him as he stepped into the room. The vampire assessed him through the coverings over his face and eyed the sword in his hand. "If you think you can survive this blade you're wrong." Harry announced simply as he heard a grunt behind him from the others. He knew Quinn and Rashel could handle themselves but he kept part of his attention on them knowing that he could freeze time and kill all their attackers without giving them a chance.
The vampire readied his weapon and attacked. Harry shifted his weight to counter the move, twisted around the long knife and slid his beloved katana between ribs and through his heart. "Compared to Maya you're nothing." Harry told the vampire in his last moments before dropping him just as the door burst open. A figure rushed in and froze as Harry stepped out of time but the vampire was familiar to him, as were the two in the doorway behind him. Harry unfroze time and turned out of the way as the Circle Daybreak operatives came to their assistance. Three vampires and their witch backup who moved in after them. Harry knew better than to go in for more of a fight and let the young male witch pull him back to the wall while one of the vampire operatives moved into position to block them further. Between the two other operatives, Quinn and Rashel the rest of the Ninjas were out of their depths.
"Are you alright, my Lord?" Raven, the leader of this particular team ask him in a rush and eyed him from head to toe.
"I'm fine, Raven." Harry nodded. "You have good timing."
"We didn't notice the wards on your rooms come down until it was too late to reach you." Raven told him with a wince. "I'm sorry."
"You did your job." Harry assured him. Rashel slipped over and handed him his sword's sheath and Harry moved back into his own room to get a cleaning cloth to clean his sword. Of course he was under close guard now and the operatives searched the room thoroughly.
"They must have had help from a witch." Simon Arlin, the witch, told him softly. "I didn't feel any tampering until the wards were already gone."
"Calm yourselves." Harry told them. "You didn't fail." He knew that's what they were worried about. "And I can handle myself."
"Yes, my Lord." Simon sighed.
"You killed two." Quinn told him. "That's impressive."
"I've killed thousands of vampires in my years, Quinn." Harry told him simply as he grabbed his clothes and started dressing.
"Lord Harry. We've got company." One of the other operatives warned from the door into the corridor. "Shapeshifters."
"We knew the Drache family were watching us." Harry shrugged.
"They're securing the hotel." The same vampire told him. "Should I call Lord Thierry and arrange transport back to Las Vegas?"
"Why leave?" Harry asked. "We've clearly struck a nerve."
"We're not putting you at risk just because you enjoy causing a stir everywhere you go." Quinn told him.
"Well they had to start wanting to kill me eventually." Harry shrugged just as two shapeshifters were led into the room by two of his own operatives.
"We've been ordered to bring you to the safety of the First House." One told him and Harry watched the play of emotions. The shapeshifter knew that Harry was highly respected and powerful in Circle Daybreak. A Lord. But he was still just a human.
"You must be insane." Raven put himself between the shapeshifters and Harry. "Those were Dark Ninjas. Here on Night World Council business. Your First House is Night World Council."
"Easy, Raven." Harry soothed. "The First House has nothing to gain by making an attempt on my life. The King assured me of my safety and I will take him up on his offer."
"With our direct protection." Raven turned to Harry, eyes narrowed.
"Of course." Harry smirked back before turning to the shapeshifters. "We'll be taking our own cars of course."
"We will escort you." The shapeshifter nodded and turned.
Harry grabbed his phone on the way out and called Thierry to explain the situation but only dialed Cameron when he was safely inside the limo and out of earshot of any of the shapeshifters that had secured the hotel.
"Harry!" Cameron gasped in relief. "Security just woke Galen and me up. You were attacked?"
"I was half expecting something." Harry told him as he relaxed in his seat and ignored the looks he was getting from the operatives, Quinn and Rashel. Two of Raven's team were in the front seats but Raven and Simon were with him.
"So was my father it seems." Cameron sighed. "I wish one of you would have mentioned it to me."
"Then you would have spent all night worrying." Harry told him. "I'm fine and so are Quinn and Rashel. You know I'm hard to surprise."
"Dad's locking down the house and putting security on high alert. He's giving you a secure wing for the night for your security to lock down." Cameron sighed. "He might not be a fan of humans but he has his honour to think about. You're our guest in our city and he won't let anyone harm you. It would speak badly of his power."
"And I'm counting on that." Harry nodded. "Thierry is sending a helicopter in the morning to pick us up."
"I'll be with Galen to meet you." Cameron announced before somebody called his attention.
"Bye." Harry announced and cut the call just as they turned the corner and into sight of the massive building and it's gates which swung open for them and their escort. They actually looked rather regal as their limo slid up to the door with black sedans in front and behind. Harry still had his sword in his hand as he stepped out of the limo with his own operatives but he handed it to Quinn who slung it over his back. Harry knew he made more of an impression by being unarmed and since he could retrieve his sword from Quinn without any delay in a fight he wasn't endangering himself.
"Lord Drache." Harry greeted simply as the man walked down the stairs to meet them with Cameron and Galen behind him along with more of his own security who eyed Harry's vampires carefully.
"Are you all unharmed?" Cameron's father checked.
"Of course." Harry nodded simply. "We're quite capable of defending ourselves from underhanded miscreants."
"I see." He didn't seem convinced but his eyes shifted over the rest of Harry's security.
"Indeed Circle Daybreak operatives are highly trained and loyal to their cause." Harry declared. "But do not be fooled by my appearance and the fact I'm a human. I've been killing vampires since the very first ones were created."
"And shapeshifters since before that." Galen's lips twitched into a small smirk.
"Indeed." Harry nodded. "But trust me when I tell you that shapeshifters drew the first blood."
"Let's move this inside." The King declared. "I have had refreshments prepared for you and a wing secured for your party."
"Thank you." Harry nodded and let his operatives, Quinn and Rashel escort him in behind Cameron's family. They were led into a smaller audience room on one of the higher floors and Harry watched as Raven was engaged by a couple of shapeshifters, talking about his security.
"Your protection takes their duty to protect you very seriously I notice." The King told him. Harry looked around the room. Quinn and Rashel were a few steps behind him, Raven was talking with security and the other three were moving around the room to make sure it was secure and also keeping an eye on the shapeshifters.
"Of course they do." Harry nodded. "Lord Thierry picked them himself to guard me. They are aware that I can protect myself but they also know that I am a high priority target. My position in relation to Circle Daybreak, my friendship and history with Thierry and my part to play in the upcoming days as the Millennium approaches."
"I thought you said you weren't officially part of Circle Daybreak?" The King asked.
"I am and I'm not." Harry shook his head. "Circle Daybreak understands that I have experience and knowledge of the coming dangers, not to mention my long history in this world. But this is the first life time that I have in fact been part of Circle Daybreak."
"And they have simply accepted you?" The King asked.
"Thierry Descouedres created the Circle Daybreak that we now know with me in mind." Harry admitted even though he'd teased Thierry about it before. "He remembers a time when humans and witches lived harmoniously and he strives for that very thing again. Circle Daybreak owes it's strength to the diversity of its members. Vampires, witches, shapeshifters, werewolves and humans working together." Harry told him softly. "It is my belief that if the world is to come out strong from this era that it must be united. All species working together. That's what Circle Daybreak stands for. The Night World Council refuses to see that and the very threat of the Circle gaining your support, or even just peace with you, has made them strike out at Circle Daybreak's representative. That, if anything, should show you how desperate they are to maintain dominance and how scared they are of what Circle Daybreak represents."
"You speak very eloquently." The King nodded. "But my decision has not yet been made."
"I understand more than you believe." Harry nodded. "I have seen the shapeshifters at their most powerful and at their weakest. I have similarly seen them at their best and worst. Your rule over the shapeshifters reminds them of their former glory more than thirty thousand years ago and thus just how far down the witches threw you when they helped overthrow the dragons. You look for any way to raise your kind up from that low." Harry met the King's surprised eyes. "Just remember that you will always have enemies. You must decide who exactly you want as your enemies."
"And does that include you?" The King narrowed his eyes.
"Only if you come between me and my purpose." Harry shrugged simply. "And that is not a position you want to be in. Now if you'll excuse me it's late and our helicopter will arrive in the morning."
"Of course." The King nodded. "Tell my security detail if there is anything more that you require. You'll be safe here until you leave. The Night World would not dare attack the First House directly."
"Not yet." Harry agreed and turned to join Raven, Quinn and Rashel as they talked about security.
The next evening
"That's the last time you leave without us." Jez shoved him in the chest and into the wall.
"Jez..." Harry groaned as Jez shoved him again. Though lighter this time.
"Don't 'Jez' me!" Jez complained. "I had to hear it from Tam this morning!"
"I didn't want to wake you." Harry told him.
"He was up all night worried about you." Nicky added helpfully and Jez turned to glare at her full force.
"I had to go." Harry shrugged. "And I'll have to do things like that in the coming months. I wish I could keep you close but it's just not safe."
"But it's safe for you!?" Jez hissed. "Harry!"
"I have thousands of years of practice, Jez." Harry shook his head before pulling Jez close and wrapping his arms around him. He set their foreheads together. "You're safer if you're not connected to me. And it's not like I'm ever alone. I have both visible and invisible guards everywhere I go. Just like you and Nicky do."
"Do we?" Nicky asked in surprise.
"Four when you're together." Harry nodded. "If you separate two each. They rotate through though."
"You didn't tell us that." Nicky frowned.
"They work best if you're unaware of them." Harry shrugged. "Otherwise if someone was watching you they'd spot you looking at them."
"You've changed." Jez told him simply. Harry felt like he'd been punched in the gut though and he flinched dramatically and pulled back.
"Jez..." Harry knew he'd gone pale just from the lightheaded feeling.
"I didn't mean it like that!" Jez gasped and hugged him tightly once more. "You're still you. It's just I forget you're more than that now. I have trouble keeping up."
"I'm sorry if I come across as abrupt or whatever." Harry sighed. "But I've got a lot to deal with right now and if you and Nicky aren't safe then I can't do everything else I need to. That's why I can't pull you with me every time I go somewhere like I did this week. I can't deal with the distractions."
"It's fine, Harry." Nicky told him as she hugged them both, kissing them both of the side of the head. "We just like taking care of you. It's our thing. How we support each other."
"And after all this is over and done with we can go back to that." Harry assured them. "Open up a vet centre just between us. Or a small zoo. We can forget all about everything else and just do what we wanted to from the start. Why do you think I come back here and go to the centre with you for training? I want that life so bad."
"Just with Cameron in it." Jez nodded.
"And Tamarack." Nicky smiled at them as they pulled apart again. "I'm sure we can add Tamarack and Cameron to the plan."
Harry gave her a soft smile before hugging her firmly. "Movie night?" Harry offered them both. "Just us?"
"Great!" Jez grinned and rushed to find them something to drink as Harry and Nicky relaxed and fought over what snacks to open for the film and then over what film to watch.
Three weeks later
As the year approached its close Harry spent more and more of his free time at the manor, especially now that he was on the Night World Council's radar. Word of who he was, or rather how old he was, had spread to those that wanted to know and he'd become a target. Cameron had been beside himself ever since Harry had become infamous but there really wasn't any chance of Circle Daybreak letting him out of their sight. Another apartment in their building had been rented by a protection team and numerous undercover operatives had been set up at the Institute to keep an eye on him, his friends and the rest of the staff just because of the number of visitors that went through the place. Anywhere they went with the team at the Institute was already scoped out beforehand by Circle Daybreak. Other than the numerous meetings with the upper echelons of the Circle Harry had had it rather quiet. The witches had officially seceded from the Night World Council in recent days so a certain weight had been lifted from them all even though plenty of witches had gone rogue and split apart from the two larger Circles, Twilight and Midnight. With the Crone, Mother and Maiden officially on their side negotiations with the shapeshifters had gone ahead though the First House were still sitting on the fence but all of Cameron's extended family had gotten together more than once to discuss matters which had kept Cameron busier than normal and away from Harry.
But it was the Prophecy that the shapeshifters had dug up from the depth of the witches archives that had given them a key negotiating position with the shapeshifters. The matter had always been that the shapeshifters felt like second class citizens under the Night World and any assurances that Circle Daybreak could give them that they would stand equal amongst them was to their benefit. Unfortunately the remaining Night World Council had jumped on the same tactic and were being rather more physical about it. It was only going to be a matter of time before the chaos built.
But the prophecy of the Witch Child was a saving grace even though it was causing Harry and Cameron no end of trouble which was why Harry was at Thierry's manor right now. The Prophecy was an old one with debated origins but this reemergence wasn't the first time that Harry had come across it in his many lifetimes. It basically stated that one day the First House of the shapeshifters and the witches would be united through the famed Witch Child. The Witch Child was debated however but because of the single line from the Prophecy about the Wild Powers that mentioned 'One from the Hearth which still holds the spark' they were focused on any member of the Harmen family. Whichever member proved to be the Wild Power would also be the Witch Child, almost as important to the witches as their Crone, Mother and Maiden. Whoever that was would unite the witches and the shapeshifters for the first time in history.
And the King wanted the witches to prove their sincerity by complying with the prophecy and the witches had agreed. The witches had assured the shapeshifters that the Witch Child would be married into the First House and the King had declared she'd marry his second son. Cameron.
That announcement had caused the latest commotion though. People knew Thierry was friends with Cameron but only a few knew that Cameron was Harry's soulmate and so the leadership of Circle Daybreak didn't understand what the problem was. Thierry had bought them time by agreeing in general without specifically agreeing to it being Cameron but it wasn't their place to dictate the First House's side of the negotiations.
"Harry." Hannah's voice made Harry turn around to face her from his view looking out over the grounds of Thierry's manor and its carefully maintained grounds. Harry missed the real cold of Britain in the winter though. People here complained about the relative cold but they couldn't really appreciate the calm that cold brought with it.
"Hana." Harry greeted using her original name and Ryn's accent as he always did. Thierry tended to call her the more modern version but Harry hadn't known her so many times in the last twenty thousand years. He occasionally called her Harriett though from his time as Calamy but always Hana when they were both meeting with Circle Daybreak. It reminded them of both of their ages just by using a name.
"We've heard back from the First House." She told him softly as she put a hand on his back. Harry turned to look down at her before nodding. He'd figured that was possible when Thierry had text him to ask him to swing by that weekend. "We've found the most likely candidate for the Witch Child. She's one of only a few Harmens that are the right age. As an extra she's a Lost Witch."
"And?" He asked softly.
"King Drache wants a meeting. Face to face to decide on the possible alliance once and for all. I imagine he's unhappy about our delaying tactics." She shrugged.
"There's only one way to convince him to release Cameron from the agreement." Harry told her simply. "And that's to tell him the truth about Cameron and I. Doing so will announce it to the entire world."
"I highly doubt the King will uphold the Night World Law with matters as they are. He knows doing so would end our alliance before it began." She pointed out.
"Who needs who the most though, Hana?" Harry frowned before looking to one side. "What now then?"
"The Council wants to speak with you. They want your opinion." She announced simply.
"I can't be bothered." Harry told her simply. "But I'll deal with this the way they want me to. I just don't see the point going through them first. Ask Thierry to arrange a meeting with the First House."
"Where?" She asked. "The Night World is just waiting for any opportunity to attack this alliance."
"In the one true stronghold that we utterly control." Harry shrugged. "Ask Prince Delos to host the meeting and ask Jez Redfern to attend."
"Show the King that we already have two Wild Powers loyal to us." Hannah grinned. "But do you really want to tell the world that we still have Jez?"
"That's up to her." Harry shrugged. "It's the time to bring her back into the fight. It's too late for the Night World to try to place plans into action against her and we need to have the Wild Powers together to support one another now."
"I'll ask Thierry to arrange the meeting." Hannah nodded.
"And I'll call Jez and Delos." Harry agreed.
"Can you travel now?" She asked.
"If that's your wish, your Majesty." He teased before giving her a proper smile. "But I'm taking my friends with me. I don't really like them being targets alone and Jez misses Tamerack."
"I'm sure Thierry's plane can be put to good use." She laughed and turned to leave Harry to make his calls.
The next morning
They'd flown late evening, checked into a hotel for the night and then used the helicopter that plied in and out of the valley to get to the castle itself. As they made their final approach though Harry couldn't help but smile at the changes since he'd last been here. The fog was mostly gone, dispelled by the witches, and the natural vegetation was returning with a vengeance despite the deep layer of snow throughout the valley. The castle itself stood out against the white snow like a black monolith but the town itself had changed drastically. The entire human section had been obliterated and the low buildings of the rest of the town had spread to fill in the gap so that the humans there lived in exactly the same wealth as the vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters and witches.
The helicopter settled down in the snow just outside the wall of the city and shut down. The crew opened the door and Harry, Thierry, Hannah, Jez and Nicky slipped out just as security in the armour of the Dark Kingdom appeared through the gates to escort them.
"Whew, look at those." Jez whistled in appreciation at the other helicopters on the field, all on their own pads. There were five of them and they were all for passengers and they were all privately owned. One was identical to the one they'd arrived in with the same colours used by Circle Daybreak which had brought the Circle's Council the night before. Another sleek one Harry recognised as the one that the Crone used when she really had to which meant the witches were here already. Another two were actually larger, Lockheed Martin Kestrels according to Cameron. They would have brought the First House and their escort here.
"We're the last to arrive it seems." Thierry announced.
"Fashionable." Harry muttered.
"If they haven't started without you." Nicky pointed out. "After all the Circle is the third party here."
"The King and the Crone are the heads of the negotiations but they are treating Harry as the mediator." Thierry told her. "Harry has gained great respect from the First House for his blunt opinions."
Harry let Thierry and Hannah lead the way into the walled city and up through the snowy streets to the black tower. The doors were wide open but only a few people were standing to greet him. Delos Redfern and Maggie Neely were standing arm in arm waiting on them at the top of the steps and Delos looked a little nervous about Thierry's presence. Harry suddenly realized that Thierry hadn't had time to visit Delos' kingdom as of yet.
"You're making the poor boy nervous, Thierry-brother." Harry smirked and saw Delos twitch and pull Maggie into his side. Maggie frowned.
"Lady." Harry bowed at the waist to the girl. She was surprised into a smile but Delos wasn't letting her go. Jez, at Harry side, laughed and mimicked Harry with a flourish. "Prince Delos, thank you for having us. These are my friends Jeremy and Nicola, Jez and Nicky as they prefer."
"Welcome to Black Dawn." Delos nodded.
"Guys." Harry turned to his friends. "This is Prince Delos Redfern and his soulmate Maggie Neely."
"Hi." Nicky nodded.
"Prince Delos. I see you recognise Thierry from his reputation." Harry nodded. "This is his soulmate Hannah Snow. Lady Hannah as far as Circle Daybreak is concerned."
"You're an Old Soul like Harry?" Maggie asked.
"First born during the Stone Age." Hannah smiled at her. "Thierry and I met briefly in that life. We've spent the last twenty thousand years missing one another through the different ages."
"Shakespeare had nothing on their story." Harry sniggered and got swatted on the arm by Thierry. Harry punched him back as hard as possible without hurting himself but knew Thierry would barely be pained by his attack. "Shall we take this inside? Us humans need a little warmth you know."
"What he said." Maggie nudged her soulmate who nodded.
"The First House arrived twenty minutes ago. The witches before that." Delos nodded. "They're waiting on you."
"And your cousin?" Harry asked as they turned towards the doors. The inside of the tower was a lot brighter than Harry remembered it but guards lined the area with so many guests around.
"Arrived during the night." Delos told him. "She and her group are with the others. She wanted to show that she and I are allied."
"She's got a good head on her shoulders." Thierry nodded. "How did they react to learning that we still had her?"
Delos chuckled at that. "They seem to be waiting on you before reacting." He told them.
"How are the humans here, Maggie?" Harry asked just as the guards opened the doors.
She smiled happily. "Most of them decided to stay and we've been renovating the city to welcome them. They donate for the vampires and they've agreed to maintain the duties that the others aren't capable of yet. Like rearing the livestock that the werewolves, shapeshifters and witches need to survive but the others are learning. The humans know they can't just sit back and do nothing but we're building an equal society. Delos has exiled a few vampires that refused to comply but the werewolves, witches and shapeshifters haven't given us any trouble at all."
"The witches follow Sylvia. They know how close the witches are to Circle Daybreak." Delos nodded. "They accept my judgment. With the witches firmly on my side about this equality the werewolves and shapeshifters are happy to follow suit. The vampires are slowly coming around but they won't go against me anymore."
"I'm sure it helps having these negotiations here." Hannah nodded. "Harry up to his scheming again."
"I don't scheme." Harry glared at her only to have Nicky and Jez laugh at him. "We want to show the First House that the different species can live together as equals."
"We'd best go in." Delos nodded and made for the doors. Harry followed them in with his friends at his sides and Thierry escorted Hannah in last. The room was filled with the different groups and Harry's eyes found Cameron quickly up by his father's side at the far end of the large hall. There was a table in the middle of the room with three seats at the head and numerous down each side but plenty of seats elsewhere in the room.
"Lord Thierry." The King dipped his head.
"It's good to see you once more." Thierry smiled softly. "It's been a while since you and I both attended a Night World Council meeting."
"In truth I haven't been to one myself in a few months." The King nodded.
"I doubt you are at much risk from the vampires." Harry added in simply.
"And why is that?" The King was clearly surprised.
"Because should they do something to you they lose their best supporter amongst the First House." Harry shrugged and moved towards the head of the table at Delos' offer. "After all you are still considering joining them over us."
"Harry..." Thierry warned.
"It's just the truth." Harry shrugged as he sat himself down in the chair to the left of the centre. "Your son, your successor, is less likely to join them. It's in their best interest to support your reign for the time being."
"I hadn't thought about that." The King frowned before motioning Galen and Cameron forwards. They sat on the right side of the table with Galen and Cameron sitting nearer to the seat that Thierry took at the head of the wide table. Delos sat himself in the 'throne' in the centre of the head of the table. The King sat on Cameron's other side and then a couple of his relatives. His wife and the two girls took seats behind them away from the table.
"You might want to think on it further." Harry pointed out. "Or perhaps you have missed the fact that they might target your sons to prevent the shapeshifters falling under their control if you decide to ally with us formally."
The King frowned and looked at Cameron and Galen who seemed rather shocked as well. "Harry has a lot of experience in these sorts of politics." Aradia spoke softly as she let the Mother seat her next to Harry on the left side of the table. The Crone was escorted into the next seat by her aide and then the Mother took the seat beside her followed by most of the rest of the Inner Circle of the witches. Around the bottom half of the table sat members of Circle Daybreak's council or most influential members and Harry looked around the room before shifting to get more comfortable. Everyone glanced at him as he tucked a leg up to his chin and relaxed but nobody commented even though he knew that Thierry had probably rolled his eyes.
"Let's start this." Thierry nodded. "Thank you to Prince Delos for allowing us the use of his castle for these talks."
"You are not part of Circle Daybreak?" The King asked him.
"I support them." Delos nodded. "I understand that they are doing what is necessary to safeguard lives no matter what species. I want that too."
"But they have not allowed you to join?" The King frowned.
"They wouldn't dare." Harry shook his head.
"Circle Daybreak does not desire control of other factions." Thierry spoke up. "I started it in an effort to protect those that fell between the laws of the Night World. To give shelter to those with nowhere else to go."
"It's been decided to keep the other segments separate." The Mother nodded. "The witches are friends and allies with Circle Daybreak and we support them in their endeavours but we are not part of Circle Daybreak."
"As with us here." Delos nodded. "I have given permission for Circle Daybreak to use this as a safe haven but they have not asked me to join."
"Prince Delos is too powerful for any other faction to control." Harry shrugged. "I would not appreciate Circle Daybreak trying to control him or Jezebel Redfern."
"Hence why she seems to have appeared despite Circle Daybreak's surprise." Galen spoke up with a smirk.
"Rumours of her disappearance were exaggerated." Thierry told them and he and Harry got looks from the other end of the table.
"I reported that Jezebel and her gang had disappeared on me but that wasn't true." Harry shook his head. "I asked them to disappear. Otherwise they would have been targets and having a Wild Power under the Circle's control would have increased the pressure."
"An interesting tactic." The King nodded. "So who controls her?"
"Wild Powers should not be under anyone's control." Harry shook his head and turned to find Jez and her group who were standing with his own friends behind the First House at the table. His own friends were standing with Tamerack just so Jez and Tamerack could be close together.
"I've offered her a place here." Delos spoke up. Harry turned to look at the hybrid Wild Power who nodded to him.
"They are each other's best protection." Harry nodded. "The Night World Council will undoubtedly target them but against two of them... They will be safe here."
"But onto other matters." The King nodded. "You have our proposal?"
Aradia and the Crone both looked towards Harry which seemed to surprise the Mother who frowned over at him. "And if they refuse your exact terms?" Harry asked when his favourite two witches didn't move to speak.
"That's not your place." The Mother snapped sharply.
"Watch your tone." The Crone told her in the exact same tone.
"You think they should refuse to arrange a marriage between the Witch Child and my family?" The King frowned.
"No." Harry shook his head. "But I also don't agree with forcing someone into a marriage they have yet to even hear about. If she outright refuses then I don't expect there to be any further problems."
"You feel strongly about this?" The King asked.
"I will not permit what is essentially slavery." Harry stated simply. "As the one person at this table to have been a salve to every species here I will not permit it in this alliance."
"And despite not being officially Circle Daybreak Harry's opinion speaks for us." Thierry nodded.
"We will explain the situation to her." The Crone nodded. "Impress on her the importance of this alliance but if she is unwilling we will discuss matters with you further." She told the King. "This Alliance is of great importance to us."
"But you agree to the terms as they stand?" The King asked. "If you can convince this Witch Child to join you in this fight and marry my son?"
Galen looked at his little brother who had gone pale. Harry looked at Cameron until he looked up to meet his eyes. "What do I do, Harry?" Cameron asked desperately.
"I am behind you all the way." Harry let the words form with the power of all of his different minds.
"We cannot agree." Aradia sighed making most of the room flinch in shock at her soft words.
"What!?" The Mother hissed.
"On this I cannot speak further." Aradia shook her head. "Other, more powerful, factors must be taken into account."
"Like what?" The King asked angrily. "All these talks and you refuse? Despite everything at stake."
People were getting angry now, the shapeshifters especially, and the witches wanted to know why their negotiations were stalling without any warning. Cameron looked at Galen desperately and Harry watched as Galen nodded with his own support. They seemed to be having their own little telepathic conversation but Harry merely watched them as the arguing continued. The witches wanted to know why Aradia had made such a declaration yet Aradia and the Crone weren't willing to explain. Harry knew they were waiting for Cameron.
"Dad..." Cameron spoke up though he wasn't really heard by anyone. Cameron touched his father on the arm but his father barely gave him a moment's notice as one of Cameron's Uncles spoke quickly into his ear, clearly angry. "Dad!" Cameron tried yelling but that barely helped.
"Not now." Cameron's father told him. Cameron gritted his teeth and Harry winced as his power flared. An angry dragon wasn't something you saw every day and it wasn't something you ignored. Cameron might not have active control over his dragon like the Amaru of old or even his father who had chosen an animal form but all the witches, vampires and shapeshifters in the room noticed the welling of dark, dangerous, power.
"Father..." Cameron growled and stood, his chair tipping backwards. Harry watched Delos tense as his soldiers twitched nervously and shifted their weapons. Delos rose and bared his teeth and most of the people at the table remained seated at his demand.
"Cameron?" His father frowned.
"The Crone and Maiden aren't saying they wont give up the Witch Child." Cameron looked down at the table for a moment. "They just know that I can't marry her."
"What!?" His father gasped. "I know it's not ideal, Cameron. But an alliance has to be forged."
"I can't." Cameron repeated. "I..."
"Out with it!" Cameron's father hissed and Harry rose sharply, his hand straying to his faithful sword which was inverted on his back with the handle just in the small of his back. Nobody even knew he had it there most of the time.
"I have a soulmate." Cameron bit his lip. "I can't marry the Witch Child and turn them away."
"You have a soulmate?" Cameron's mother gasped from behind him.
Harry glanced at Thierry with a frown. "Sit down, Cameron." Thierry told him softly.
"Lord Thierry..." Cameron's father started.
"The rest of you may depart." Harry declared simply.
"Lord Harry?" One of the vampires of Circle Daybreak asked.
"Get out." Harry stated sharply and he watched the ripple go through the room. The members of Circle Daybreak rose and nodded to him, realizing that they needed a smaller audience right now. Harry turned to look over the three ruling witches. "If you could?" He prompted.
"Of course." The Crone nodded and motioned behind her. Her aide quickly helped her up as the rest of the Witches departed.
"Prince Delos?" Sylvia asked softly from behind them.
"Us as well." Delos nodded and turned to slip out of his seat. Maggie quickly appeared and grabbed his hand but Cameron shook his head.
"You may remain, Prince Delos." Harry called to him. "This is your hall after all." Harry just didn't mind them finding out the truth.
"Father." Galen prompted.
The King turned and snarled at his own people who tensed but even his extended family slowly filed out of the room along with Delos' guards at his prompting. Jez and her gang nodded to Harry and with Tamerack going with them Harry didn't mind his two best friends leaving under her protection. Finally they were left only with Harry, Delos, Maggie, Thierry, Hannah, Cameron, Galen, their parents and their sisters.
"What is this?" The King demanded as he stood and paced. He grabbed Cameron and held him by his shoulders tightly.
"I..." Cameron went pale. "Father... dad."
"Don't..." The King snarled.
"Father!" Galen hissed and pulled Cameron out of their father's hands.
"Why didn't you tell us?" Their mother asked in confusion. "If you have someone to love..."
"Because..." Cameron started but clearly was at a loss at how to go about this.
"It's a human." His mother whispered in horror and they all watched the King flinch back sharply and go pale.
"Cameron..." His father gritted his teeth. "A human! Are you insane!?"
"I don't care about your laws!" Cameron hissed. "I love him and nothing you do can change it!"
"A human boy?" His mother swallowed.
"How dare..." Cameron's father started forwards towards him and Cameron flinched violently at the dangerous power his father was giving off. Harry reacted before Galen could pull Cameron out of the way of his enraged father. He drew his sword, vaulted the table and his blade came up between him and the King in a block. The King backpedalled but his power writhed in fury. Harry stepped back a little and leveled his blade. His eyes were cold and hard and his sword held perfectly steady as one particular life came flooding to the fore. The life in him that could kill someone that his soulmate loved. The life that understood that there were certain circumstances where the end did justify the means.
"No dragon blood has been spilled on his sword, Codahar, but I have drawn dragon blood in my time." Harry hissed in a low medieval English accent, Oliver's accent. He knew how Cameron would be feeling to see Oliver getting in his father's face.
"Codahar?" Galen asked softly.
"Weakest of the dragons." Oliver smirked. "I fought against the real King of the Amaru. He tasted the edge of my weapons. You are nothing in comparison."
"Who are you!?" The King snarled though Harry wasn't sure exactly what he was asking.
"He's my soulmate." Cameron spoke softly but there was strength in his declaration. "He's mine." Cameron continued. "It doesn't matter what you have to say about it, father. Or you, mother. You can't do anything to me that is worse than losing him."
"And I'd kill you before you got between us." Harry told the King simply without lowering his sword.
"You put us in a very awkward and dangerous position, son." The King frowned but backed up.
"My being a Prince doesn't mean anything." Cameron told him.
"You met him at the zoo in Britain?" Cameron's mother asked as she moved up and put her hand on the King's arm. She was scared and confused but she cared about all of her children. Cameron moved up next to Harry and put his own hand on Harry's wrist.
"It's okay, Oliver." Cameron told him softly. Harry twitched but let Cameron push his hand down. Harry spun the sword around in his hand, inverted it and slid it home into its sheathe on his back without having to guide it. He knew how impressive that was to anyone with an idea of the training and experience necessary to have such confidence.
"Oliver?" Sophan asked quickly as she moved up behind her mother with Elizabeth.
"A past life." Cameron told them. "I can recognise them by their attitudes and the way their minds feel."
"He has lots of minds?" Sophan frowned.
"That is why he cautioned you from seeking out his thoughts." Cameron nodded. "Only I can move through the hundreds of minds in his head without causing chaos to him and pain to myself but I still trigger some of the worst of them without meaning to at times."
"Like what?" Sophan looked fascinated.
"Not now, Sophan." Her mother put them back on track.
"I awaken normally when my life is in peril or when confronted with something in the Night World that one of my previous lives recognises." Harry told them with his own, more modern, British accent. "This time was because Cameron and I recognised one another as soulmates. It is not just I that views Cameron as my soulmate but all of my lives. All the way back to when dragons ruled the world. There is power in that and nothing can come up against it and win."
"You can't ask Cameron to abandon Harry and marry this Witch Child." Galen spoke up. "I'll do it."
Cameron spun to face his brother so fast that Harry had to dodge his arm. "Galen!?" Cameron gasped.
"It's alright, little brother." Galen shrugged. "I know how important this is for both the witches and the shapeshifters."
"But Galen..." Cameron frowned. "I..."
"It's alright." Galen assured him. "The chances of me finding my version of Harry is slim. If I can do this for us..."
"Just wait one moment." The King demanded.
"Do you see another option?" Thierry spoke up quietly from where he'd put himself back into his chair with Hannah sitting on the arm. He'd drawn her close when Harry had drawn his sword just in case a fight started for real. "Or do you think you can get between Harry and Cameron?"
"That's another matter entirely." The King narrowed his eyes at Harry. "A human in the First House..."
Harry snorted in amusement. "That's your problem with this?"
"Harry..." Cameron warned.
"It's always all about the pride with you Night Worlders." Harry rolled his eyes.
"I'm merely considering the few things I can make a decision about." The King sighed. "It's not like you are leaving me much else."
"Then you can accept this?" Cameron asked and Harry turned to see the desperation in his voice. "You're not going to try to separate us or demand his life? Mine too?"
"Kill my own son?" The King frowned. "Don't be absurd."
"A few months ago though..." Harry reminded him.
"Did we not listen to you when you graced our halls before?" The Queen asked.
"You mocked the fact I was a human and got insulted when I deigned to speak." Harry pointed out.
"Harry has a way of insulting people without actually doing much." Thierry shrugged. "But he has a way of getting through to the most stubborn people."
"But you do leave me in a very difficult position." The King sighed and turned away to pace. "I have to decide between trying to force a future with the Night World Council or fight for peace by aligning myself with the witches and Circle Daybreak."
"Agreeing to accept Prince Cameron's relationship with Harry does not align you with Circle Daybreak." Thierry told him simply. "Harry has not taken responsibility for Circle Daybreak. I have never asked him to join."
"Yet the Night World targets me as a member." Harry shrugged. "Cameron and I will be together in this fight but if it's alright with him we'll leave whether to be public about it to you."
"You'd do that?" The King frowned. "Hide the truth?"
"As long as Cameron and I have each other it means little to us what others think." Harry shrugged.
"But you can't make me hide away while Harry risks everything to protect this world." Cameron told his father. "I'm with Harry on this."
"Coming clean about your relationship will make you a target." The King sighed. "I either disown you or protect you as I should with any member of my family. Doing so with necessitate aligning myself with Circle Daybreak and the witches."
"Cameron is already under our protection." Thierry told the King. "Young Tamerack has always taken her duty to your son seriously and Harry has the best protection that I have."
"As if he couldn't protect himself." The King scoffed. "You move in a way I've never seen."
"Find me someone in the world that knows more about war and battles than I do." Harry challenged. "Like I said I saw the strongest of your kind in battle. I fought him personally."
"And did he kill you?" The Queen asked.
"Another time." Cameron frowned and grabbed Harry's hand. "So what now?"
"It seems that the shapeshifters will have to align with the witches and Circle Daybreak." The King nodded. "Your agents will be welcome in my lands and once the Witch Child joins him as part of this family then you will have the alliance you wish for."
"So you'll accept Galen as a substitute?" Hannah asked.
"Galen?" The Queen asked. "You will do this?"
"It is better this way." Galen sighed. "I knew this would happen from the start. And the witches will be happy to know that our line will continue down through their Witch Child."
"You knew about your brother and this human?" The King asked.
"The human has a name, father." Cameron growled.
"Indeed." The King nodded. "Galen?"
"Cameron introduced us after they arrived back in the States during the summer." Galen nodded.
The King turned to his seat and sat himself down with a huff. "A witch and a human in the First House." The King shook his head. "It's never been done."
"Look around this city, King Drache." Delos spoke up. "It's ruled by a vampire and a human, has a council of two of each species and they all sit equal now. And this Kingdom has never been better than it is now, despite everything that has happened. I believe as Harry does that the only way the world will have a real future is if we all work together. The Night World Council still has strength but it will have to stand alone."
"What do you truly know of the millennium?" The King asked Harry.
"Nothing." Harry shrugged. "But this is the first time that prophecies have come together to accompany the change. The first time that the different factions have been drawn together. The soulmate principle is all around us, drawing the species together, forming ties between natural enemies."
"Like between us and the witches?" The King asked.
"Between the dragons and their oldest enemy. Before the first witch walked the Earth." Harry nodded and got surprised looks from Thierry and Cameron. Hannah knew the truth of course but she wasn't as alert to the situation as Thierry and Cameron.
"Harry?" Cameron asked in concern.
"If I am to be welcomed into your family..." Harry started as he turned to Cameron. "If your father is going to turn his Kingdom against the Night World because of us."
"That is not the only reason." Galen spoke up. "What's this about?"
"What do you mean by before witches walked the Earth?" The Queen asked. "Before witches there were only humans and shapeshifters."
"And angels." Harry smirked and looked at Sophan.
"They really fought with the witches?" Sophan asked softly. "They were real?"
"They were real." Harry nodded. "They walked the Earth before the dragons rose up. For tens of thousands of years they coincided with the shapeshifters that ruled over humanity. The dragons were wary of their power but when the world burned everything was forced to change. The dragons attacked their clans and war began between them. The witches rose up from the midst of the humans and led them in revolt and their new abilities, untested by the dragons, turned the tide."
"What happened to the angels?" Sophan asked, her eyes begging for information.
"The war was bloody. Many died on all sides, even some dragons." Harry nodded. "But the angels were hit hardest. If they had pulled from the fight they might have survived to this very day but if they had then the dragons may have continued to rule unchallenged. The last two died in the final battle to silence the dragons."
"The final two?" The King asked.
"Myself and my battle-mate." Harry dipped his head.
"Impossible." The Queen shook her head.
"The greatest of the witches armies tried to corner the last few dragons, amongst them the most powerful of their kind. They were taken by surprise but Cal'va and I joined the fight and the dragons focused on us. We fought them but it cost us our lives but we lived briefly beyond the fight. Long enough to see the dragons finally beaten. It was us that conveyed the need for the witches to put the dragons into the ground where they would not be disturbed." Harry told them solemnly.
"A'Zia." Cameron turned to him with tears in his eyes.
"A'Zia?" Sophan asked.
"His name back then." Cameron turned to his sister. "Thirty thousand years ago."
"My first life as the last of my species." Harry nodded. "Until now. My species has awoken, merged with humanity. At least in me."
"What do you mean?" Galen asked in shock.
"Galen... I told you he was there when we were researching his past lives. I just never told you that the pictures we found... of the angels in that battle... were actually of him and his friend." Cameron looked down at his feet.
"How are they back?" Sophan asked.
Harry shrugged off his jacket and placed his sword sheathe on the table. His t-shirt had the slits necessary in the back and with a twitch of his shoulders his massive near-black wings unfolded and stretched high above him and out to the sides. Everyone but Cameron, Thierry and Hannah gasped in shock.
"Ask yourself what could cause an extinct race to return through the only Old Soul to have once been part of it?" Harry asked as he shifted his wings, reflecting the fires against his wings as the group stared. "What must the world be about to face to bring back my kind like this?"
"But you have not always returned like this?" The Queen managed to get out.
"Never before." Harry agreed. "Always has a normal human until now."
"I see what you mean now." The King nodded. "Natural enemies coming together. You and Cameron are as opposed as can be."
"That's why I believe that only through forming an alliance can we survive this." Harry nodded. "I believe that the next era will be all species together, in the open."
"It's only a matter of time before humans discover us and we can't keep them silent." The King rubbed at his forehead. Harry rolled his shoulders and his wings folded back out of sight and he took his seat with Cameron standing next to him. "Bring them back in." He told Thierry who pulled out his phone.
Cameron went back to his seat between his father and Galen and Harry watched the man touch Cameron on the shoulder even as the girls demanded seats in their laps. The rest filed back in, clearly confused about events. Harry leaned towards Aradia to whisper so that even Delos, sitting right next to him again, couldn't hear him. "They know of Cameron and I and of what I was so long ago and once again now. Galen has taken Cameron's place."
Aradia nodded to him before turning to nod at the King, sensing his presence, who was watching Harry's exchange silently. "My decision has been made." The King nodded to them all. "And nobody shall question it. I decree the Night World Laws null and void under my power."
"Brother?" One of Cameron's uncles questioned.
"Lord Harry is Cameron's soulmate." The King declared for all of them to hear and shock and outcry seemed to rule for a while before a growl from the King silenced them all even as the witches stared between Harry and Cameron in shock. They all knew how powerful that particular bargaining chip had been for them. "I won't demand they end it in light of everything we face right now. Only through this Alliance can we prosper I believe."
"So be it." The same Uncle sighed and rubbed at his jaw.
"And the Witch Child?" The Mother asked. "What of the prophecy?"
"I still require some assurance of your dedication to working together." The King nodded. "Galen has offered and if you'll accept that change then we have a deal but only if the Witch Child is bound to him and him to her."
"We are in agreement." The Crone nodded and the Mother and Aradia nodded their own agreement.
"Have you found her?" Galen asked.
"We have." The Crone nodded. "But we have not yet made contact. We hope to do so in the next few days."
"Then the Winter Solstice seems the proper time for this." The King nodded. "We will meet at midnight on the Solstice to confirm our allegiance."
"Agreed." The Crone nodded.
"If the girl doesn't freak out." Harry snorted in amusement.
"You can be rather convincing I have discovered." The King told him.
"She's a Wild Power." Harry laughed. "I don't see anyone forcing a teenaged girl with that kind of power out of a tantrum."
"Galen can." Cameron laughed at his brother's expense which just made Galen blush.
"Please." Delos rose. "I think we can adjourn. There are refreshments in the antechambers for all. I think we've had enough tension for one day."
"I have things to discuss with my family." The King nodded as he rose. "Lord Harry...?"
"I'll be there shortly." Harry agreed and turned to Cameron with a small smile.
Cameron left with the others and Harry hung back with the Inner Circle of the witches as well as Thierry and Hannah even after Harry's friends joined Tamerack as she went with Cameron.
"We're going to have to do this extremely carefully." The Mother sighed. "Everything now rides on this one girl. The Night World will try to find her and kill her."
"Or control her." Harry frowned. "They know we have at least one Wild Power."
"What about asking Delos and Jezebel to pay her a visit?" The Mother asked.
"They are targets enough already." Harry sighed. "Who is this girl?"
"Her name is Iliana Dominick. She's the right age and living in North Carolina." The Mother nodded. "She's the only option left."
"You feel certain of this?" Harry asked.
"I do." Aradia spoke up with such certainty that Harry couldn't argue. He knew just how powerful Aradia's gifts were. If she said that Iliana Dominick was a Wild Power and the Witch Child then she was right.
"You plan to send a team?" Thierry asked.
"We all know that the best teams to do this are in Circle Daybreak." The Crone announced.
"I have a small team that would be perfect at this job." Thierry nodded. "A shapeshifter, witch and vampire team. They're young but extremely talented."
"Then I ask you to send this team to track her down and locate her." The Crone nodded.
"You wish them to tell her of the situation?" Thierry asked.
"We'd better try to do this without scaring her." Harry sighed. "If she's a Lost Witch then I doubt she knows anything at all about magic."
"We'll set up a safe house. I'll instruct the team to make contact with her as soon as they find her. They'll have the safe house if they need it but hopefully they can protect her until we can explain the situation to her." Thierry nodded.
"Keep me informed if you will." Harry nodded as he stood and stretched. "I have a dragon to go make nice with."
"Don't forget the rest of the family." Thierry smirked.
"You're not helping." Oliver's accent bled through and Thierry twitched as most of the light faded from his eyes.
Oliver shifted silently through the tomb, ever listening for any sort of disturbance in the long-forgotten labyrinth of tunnels. He was deep into the earth in a place so ancient that most of it had caved in leaving it as a riddled mess of deadly traps and confusing passages. He'd found numerous bodies nearer to the entrance where people had fallen to traps and the first time he'd come back in here in his current life he'd nearly died a few times but he knew this place as if he'd helped build it within his own life time.
He was deep under what was now Ukraine in tunnels that, except for accidental discoveries, had gone unnoticed for thousands of years and with the addition of hundreds of new traps he'd installed it would stay that way. There were plenty of bodies in the upper levels of the tunnels that showed how quickly would-be explorers were caught out by the unstable tunnels even though most of the original traps had failed over the millennia since they'd been built by a long gone civilisation. Only the fact that Oliver had helped to build this labyrinth helped him navigate it safely and find a suitable hole to bury the greatest evil ever known on Earth.
He'd contemplated killing them of course, even come close to trying a few times but even he didn't know the spells involved in keeping them asleep and he wasn't fool enough to risk waking them by harming them and he'd kill any witch that so much as laid eyes on them. In fact he'd killed plenty that had seen them over his life. For years he'd hunted down these sorts of places all over the world, stealing and killing to ensure safe passage because he knew that these creatures needed to never be found again. He never worked with anyone long term and never travelled long with any one group and several times he'd learnt just how dangerous these creatures were despite their sleep. The power to twist and distort anyone that spent too long around them without guarding themselves properly.
Oliver trusted only himself and he'd proven it many times ever since finding out that his home had been built over one such ancient hiding place.
Oliver passed over temporary flooring, navigated trap after trap, on his way deeper into the labyrinth into places nobody but him had walked for millennia, where the air was so stale he struggled to breath with the weight of the creature on his back.
Deep under the ground, in tunnels worn smooth with thousands of years of flooding he finally found his destination and he manipulated the false walls and hidden corners that would confuse even the most thorough of explorers and eventually dumped his cargo onto the top of a stone slab cracked and worn smooth over time. He backed up away from it and shuddered. They always looked so innocent from a distance but their eyes spoke volumes.
He couldn't resist checking on the others, avoiding traps in the floor that he'd installed almost five years ago after deciding to hunt this hideaway down for his collection. He'd dedicated this life time doing the necessary evil but he knew that one day it would catch up with him in one way or another.
He looked down and felt the cold chill shoot up his spine as he met cold, evil, unreacting black eyes. Until they shifted to focus on him.
Harry gasped as he shot up in the bed with a cry of fear, colliding with Cameron even as Jez and Tamerack rushed in from the other room. Cameron wrapped his arms around him but knew better than to intrude into Harry's mind right now when it was this chaotic.
"I haven't seen a reaction like that in a while." Jez muttered softly as he settled down on the bed in front of them. Clearly Harry had made more noise than just the last cry since he'd woken the two of them from across the hall. Harry settled himself down and turned to bury his face in Cameron's neck, glad that Cameron's father had accepted Cameron spending more time with Harry.
"Who was it, Harry?" Cameron asked him quietly.
"Oliver." Harry muttered softly, feeling the need to hide all his secrets once more.
"Babe..." Cameron kissed the side of his face. Jez and Tamerack both tensed up at the familiar name but only Cameron knew the truth about Oliver. All anyone else knew was that something had kept Oliver's life locked away ever since Oliver had lived and that Harry refused to talk about Oliver's life. The only thing that they knew was that Oliver had killed himself, put the very sword that now sat on the headboard through his own chest. They, and Circle Daybreak, knew that Oliver's secrets were so important that Oliver would kill himself to keep them.
"Want to talk about it, babe?" Cameron asked after a moment.
"Just a nightmare." Harry shook his head.
"We'll leave you to get some more sleep." Jez told them softly before leaning in to hug Harry. Harry let himself be comforted but soon he was alone with Cameron once more and slowly felt Cameron entering his mind, soothing Oliver's memories once more.
"It didn't really happen like that." Harry whispered as the labyrinth played out for Cameron and the tomb with the eight dragons inside. Oliver's life work. Cameron jerked as the dragon in Harry's dream focused his evil eyes on them. "Didn't really move. Just a nightmare." Harry muttered and Cameron nodded against him.
"You're scared." Cameron whispered.
"Of course I'm scared." Harry told him. "Despite everything I'm still sane."
Cameron chuckled at that and pulled Harry to lay down with him.
The next day
The last day of the term at the Institute rolled around without any trouble and despite everything else that was going on Harry felt the need to be there, to hold onto some sense of normalcy, not to mention be with his friends in their simpler life. Jez was having fun all day trying to spot Circle Daybreak operatives amongst the normal crowds moving around the centre but with all the extra people around that was a lost cause and the operatives could blend in with rediculous ease.
They weren't there to really learn anything and only had a couple of group sessions with most of their lecturers to cover information for the next term when they'd start to prepare to depart for their trip. Harry was a little distracted because he knew it was likely he'd have to drop out from the actual trip and his friends knew it and he was just trying to convince them that they could still go and that it would be much safer for them when it happened. They were walking through the compound chatting with Michael about the trip the next year, trying to not let him know that there might be a reason Harry couldn't go, when Harry's attention zeroed in on a figure moving sideways through the crowd ahead of them.
His ever-ready senses tracked him in a single glance but he wasn't sure whether it was one of his own escort or not. A second glance as the figure shifted in the other direction showed an ear-wig in his ear. Circle Daybreak used wireless ear pieces inserted into the ear, like the one in his own ear that he always wore lately. The guy wasn't Circle Daybreak, or at least not part of his protection detail, but he was definitely a vampire.
Harry reached across to his left jumper sleeve and the small device on the inside and turned on the microphone on his collar. "Contact, my two o'clock." Harry muttered quietly.
"I've got him." Quinn announced quickly but Harry wasn't a fool enough to turn to find Quinn and Rashel behind them in case he gave away their position.
"What is that!?" Michael suddenly gasped and pointed off to the side. Harry, Jez and Nicky all twisted and Jez and Nicky jerked at the sight of three timber wolves perched on the roof of a nearby building.
"They're not ours." Quinn announced just as the rest of the crowd spotted the wolves. The three of them dropped down to the floor and out of sight behind the crowd which quickly started to panic. It was the roar of a lion that started the screaming though. Somebody screamed in pain even as Quinn and Rashel rushed up but they had no time to do anything before the vampire that Harry had first spotted was in front of them, a gun coming up. Harry froze time even as the bullet fired at him and he narrowed his eyes at the vampire. He checked that nobody else would be hit before turning to Quinn who had Harry's katana hidden under his jacket on his back. Quinn was drawing his own as was Rashel but Harry ignored that as he pulled his own sword out of the sheath, leaving that on Quinn's back. He moved quickly even in between moments and released his hold on time just before his sword hit the vampire's neck. The bark of the gun caught up again as the bullet whizzed through empty space but the vampire barely had a split second's warning before his head was coming off of his neck. Harry spun the sword around in his hand and moved to block Nicky, Jez and Michael from the wolves as they rushed at them.
"I've got more vampires and two witches approaching from the north." Another voice announced. "They're ignoring the humans."
"What is going on!?" Michael demanded.
"Jez, Nicky." Harry demanded and pushed Michael towards them. He touched his microphone rather than yelling over the noise. "Quinn, Rashel. See them to safety. Security to me."
"Confirmed." His head of security announced and figures appeared out of the crowd behind them. Harry glanced at them but he recognised them all as his own security.
"Harry..." Quinn demanded.
"Now, Quinn." Harry hissed as a wolf leapt at him. He didn't freeze time this time and instead lashed out viciously with his sword. He needed to put the shapeshifters on the defensive and show them he wasn't just a push over. His sword lashed out lethally again, drawing blood as he slashed. He reversed it as he shifted forwards and inserted the blade between ribs and through the wolf's heart.
Chaos erupted and Harry heard sirens but focused only on the situation around him. They were about evenly numbered with their attackers once the vampires joined the fight and Harry had to freeze time to deal with a witch since they didn't have their own magical protection on hand but eventually Harry found himself staring down the lion. His own feet moving slowly to keep in motion, ready to pounce as the lion tensed and relaxed muscles.
"Drache." Harry hissed sharply, sensing the difference between this lion and just a normal shapeshifter. This lion was one of Cameron's relatives who had chosen, like the King had, to be a lion. He also knew it wasn't the King himself since he'd seen his lion form recently while getting to know them in Castle Black Dawn. Clearly some of Cameron's family didn't like the fact he was Cameron's soulmate.
The lion's head twitched and he pounced, a telepathic shockwave slamming into Harry. Harry was thrown backwards into one of his security detail but time froze so he could find his feet even as the lion landed on the vampire Harry had fallen into. Claws had dug into the vampire's chest but in a second Harry knew it wouldn't be fatal. He turned and buried his sword through the lion's side even as time returned to normal.
The lion slumped back into human form and Harry winced at the resemblance between the man and the King. He recognised him as one of the King's younger brothers.
Harry righted himself as the vampire shoved the body off of him and Harry turned to see camera crews and police rushing towards them."Control." Harry snapped into his microphone.
"Lord Harry." A voice came back. A man probably back at Thierry's mansion.
"We're good but you'd better get a cleanup crew here. We're on TV." Harry winced knowing how this looked. He could see the TV station logos on the vans and knew at least a few would be transmitting this live. "Exit now."
"Car around on the right." The controller told him even as one of his own security grabbed him lightly on the arm as police yelled at them. Harry let the vampire guide him with the rest towards the limo parked on the grass just around a building and slipped inside before the police could follow them. The limo tore off and the dividing screen rolled down.
"Lord Harry? Destination?" A young looking vampire asked from the front passenger seat.
"The mansion." Harry declared simply. "Jez, Nicky and Michael?"
"That other human is freaking out but they're on their way back to the mansion." The vampire nodded.
Harry touched his microphone control again. "Control. Contact the First House. I want their security on high alert and I want Cameron protected. Tell the King I just killed one of his brothers in self-defence if you have to."
"I'm on it, sir." The voice told him.
"That might not go down well." The vampire next to him, the team leader, told him quickly.
"Like I had a choice." Harry shook his head. "They just outed the Night World to three local and two national television stations."
The limo screeched as it turned onto the main strip and then back off again onto the other side were two police cars fell in behind them with lights flashing. One screamed passed them and fell in ahead of them.
"They're with us, sir." The vampire in the front seat declared. "Handy."
The mansion quickly came into view and Harry instantly spotted that security had been put onto alert. Thierry rushed out to meet them. "My friends?" Harry demanded.
"Inside and safe." Thierry nodded. "Hannah is with them explaining the truth to your friend, Michael."
"I want Jacob found and brought here." Harry told Thierry who nodded and turned to Harry's previous security detail and sent them running inside to organise it. Jacob was back west at his school but Harry knew that Jacob had a small team watching him that would pick him up and bring him to safety. It might be overkill since Harry hadn't seen him in the last week and he hadn't been as famous back then but there was still a chance.
"Harry, we've got bigger trouble." Thierry told him as he led him inside.
"Bigger than a broad daylight attack led by one of the First House?" Harry demanded.
"I've just spoken to Cameron's father. Cameron is safe under guard with his family. Except for Galen." Thierry sighed. "The King accepted what you did."
"Too right." Harry nodded. "Galen?"
"Took it upon himself to go to North Carolina." Thierry sighed. "To meet Iliana."
"And?" Harry demanded when he realised that Thierry was trying to gently build up to something.
"The Night World found her first." Thierry sighed. "Our team has her at the safe house with Galen but..."
"Out with it, brother." Harry demanded.
"They have a dragon." Thierry announced despite the crowd watching them in the foyer.
"A..." Harry knew he'd gone pale and Oliver rose to the fore. "A dragon?" He checked, his accent shifting so sharply even Thierry was surprised. Harry clenched his fists at his side and wished he hadn't given his sword to the protection team in the limo.
"The team leader tried to kill it when she recognised what it was." Thierry sighed. "She got damn close too."
"Close!?" Harry demanded. "What stopped her?"
"She would have died too." Thierry told him.
Harry turned sharply and moved to the stairs and kicked the banister sharply even though it hurt his foot more than the banister itself. "One life..." Harry turned back to Thierry who flinched sharply. "One life for one dragon. It would have been the best way."
"I don't know exactly what happened." Thierry told him. "The Crone is meeting them as we speak."
"Get me a flight there." Harry demanded.
"There's a dragon..." Thierry started.
"You think I don't get that!?" Harry snapped sharply. "Find me someone better!" He shouted in a language even Thierry had no chance to decipher. A thirty thousand year old dead language. "I'm the only one that knows how to handle a dragon."
"Fine." Thierry sighed.
"It's starting, little brother." Harry told him in the language and accent of Ryn.
"I know." Thierry agreed in the same language before shifting back to English. "I'm sending you with Quinn and Rashel. I'll keep your friend here under lock and key."
"Do you have any more information on this dragon?" Harry asked, his accent shifting back to Oliver.
"Nothing right now." Thierry shook his head. "Maybe the local team know more."
"Thierry..." Harry sighed and he knew his entire demeanor shifted to match Oliver's. "This is Oliver speaking right now, Thierry."
"I know." Thierry dipped his head, recognising what that meant.
"This dragon must die and it must die fast. No matter the cost." Harry told him. "It dies or we lose."
"The witches put them to sleep." Thierry pointed out.
"Weapons have come a long way." Harry told him simply. "If we can't kill it personally then we capture it and drop it into a mine and drop a fucking nuke after it."
"Oliver..." Thierry started. "What are you hiding?"
"The Night World found this one." Harry turned away from Thierry. "I know where others are hidden. I spent my life reburying the ones that were close to being discovered. I..."
"You what?" Thierry frowned.
"I murdered people to keep these things hidden. I tracked down people that had stumbled across them and killed them to make sure the Night World never heard of them." Harry told Thierry quietly. "That's on me and I swore that my future lives would never have to relive what I did."
"And they didn't." Thierry nodded. "Until now."
"Until now." Harry nodded.
"I've done what's necessary before, Oliver." Thierry told him.
"If there's a waking dragon out there then it's my job to deal with it." Harry announced simply.
"Lord Thierry! Lord Harry!" A young boy rushed down the stairs two at a time.
"Joshua, slow down." Thierry frowned at the young Old Soul. Joshua spent most of his time coordinating the hundreds of Circle Daybreak cells around the world. He'd been around when Thierry first started building the Circle up.
"The safe house was attacked in North Carolina!" Joshua told them loudly. "They got away."
Harry turned away and gritted his teeth. "Thierry. A plane. Now." Harry demanded.
"Get the team with Iliana and Galen to her house. Send in our best witches to put up wards." Thierry told Joshua.
"Is the Crone alright?" Harry demanded.
"Yes, sir." Joshua nodded. "Keller, the team leader, covered her and Galen when the house collapsed on them. The dragon..." Joshua swallowed at the word. "He walked right over them to go after Iliana."
"I'm leaving now, Thierry." Harry announced.
"Go see your friends while I get things sorted out." Thierry nodded.
The next day
It had taken a while to get things sorted out and for Quinn and Rashel to prepare to leave and that had given Harry the time to speak with Cameron and his father about what had happened. Cameron's family were in a bit of a mess because of what happened but the guy that Harry had killed had been considered a bit of a rogue with more friends in the Night World Council than in his own family. Harry had also spoken with Michael along with Jez and Nicky and told them to look after Jacob when he arrived and not to get into any trouble. Jez and Nicky had explained what they could to Michael who was looking a little shell-shocked at the whole thing but they all also knew how dangerous the situation was. Five people had been killed in the attack on the Institute and Harry had been spotted in the distance fighting with the lion and his deadly efficiency with a sword had been caught on camera.
The whole thing had already gone viral on the internet and he knew it wouldn't be long before it was either considered as a hoax or explained away one way or another. Or it could blow up even more if similar events happened elsewhere. Even on a mission to execute a human the Night World had never blown apart their secrecy this badly.
Harry flew by Lear jet east to North Carolina and landed at Charlotte which was the closest major city to their destination which was still a reasonably sized place a little more than twenty minutes out from the airport. They found a car waiting for them and it was a rather expensive one which suggested Thierry's hand in things but it was much subtler than a limo like Circle Daybreak tended to use. The black car soon ate up the distance and they were soon pulling up outside a suburban house. It was late in the afternoon on a Monday but he already knew from a call to the controllers looking after the group that they'd come back from school via the hospital. They'd had a run in with a car outside the school. Harry planned to order them to remain home for the rest of the week behind the safety of the wards.
Harry also knew that the team here didn't know to expect him since Circle Daybreak knew that a lack of information about his movements was better than announcing it, even on secure channels. The house was a nice brick affair and Quinn parked the car on the road right outside and stepped out along with Harry and Rashel.
"The wards won't let me pass." Quinn told Harry and Rashel. "The witch on the team will have to add me."
"Then stay by the path." Harry nodded. "We won't leave you standing outside. It's too dangerous for you."
Harry grabbed his backpack from the car with his books inside since he only trusted himself to guard the history of his existence, the one so carefully put together by Cameron and Galen.
Harry checked his sword was on his back under his jacket and glanced at Rashel and got a nod. As humans they could walk through the wards without setting off alarms and they walked up the garden path to the front door and Harry let Rashel knock. He knew the team inside would be taking precautions but he also knew that he and Rashel didn't look all that much, unless you looked passed them at the younger-looking Quinn standing by the car.
The door cracked open after a moment and a girl of about eighteen or nineteen looked out. Harry and Rashel both recognised her as a practicing witch because of her jewelry and they'd seen the pictures for all of this team. She frowned as she looked them over.
"Can I help you?" She asked in confusion.
"Of course you can." Harry nodded.
"Winnie?" A voice asked softly from inside and the door opened just a little bit more to show a vampire that was slightly older than the witch. This time though her eyes widened in shock at the sight of Harry. Harry vaguely remembered seeing her in person.
"Let them in. Quick." The vampire, Nissa Johnson, demanded quickly.
"Our escort too." Harry declared and stepped to the side.
"Is that...?" Nissa gasped. "Quinn?"
"Yes." Harry nodded and even Winnie, or Winfrith Arlin, recognised that particular name.
"Winnie, let Quinn through the wards." Nissa told her teammate before stepping back to let Harry and Rashel inside.
"Thank you, Miss Johnson." Harry nodded as he was allowed to step inside with Rashel behind them. It wasn't more than a few seconds before Winnie permitted Quinn through the wards and he was joining them.
"We didn't know you were coming, my Lord." Nissa bowed her head and Winnie twitched at the reverence, trying to work out who he was.
"Who is home?" Harry asked instead of answering.
"They're all in the kitchen." Nissa declared and led the way through. "Iliana's mother and little brother went shopping. There are teams following them."
"I doubt they'll focus on them." Harry nodded as he entered the kitchen-dining room behind Nissa and Winnie. His eyes found Galen first of course and Galen scrambled up.
"Harry!" Galen gasped and shifted around the table.
"Harry?" Winnie asked before gasping. "Lord Harry!?"
"What!?" Keller, the shapeshifter team-leader, hissed in surprise.
"Who are they?" Another girl asked softly. "Lord?"
"Perhaps introductions?" Harry offered. "Yes, I'm Lord Harry and, no, you weren't informed of my arrival. It seemed prudent in case any communications were intercepted. I've become a bit of a target."
"So have we." Winnie nodded.
"So I heard." Harry nodded and turned to Galen. "Are you alright? Your brother is very worried about you."
"I'm fine!" Galen hissed.
Harry thumped him on the shoulder rather hard and Galen hissed and ducked back as Keller, Nissa and Winnie twitched in surprise. "That's from Cam."
"I figured." Galen groaned.
"Cam?" Iliana asked from the table.
"My younger brother." Galen told her. "Cameron. Maybe I should do introductions since I know everyone?"
"Sure." Harry nodded.
"This is Keller, Nissa and Winnie." Galen introduced the three. "Obviously they've not seen you around before."
"I have." Nissa interrupted shyly. "Once."
"And this is Iliana Dominick." Galen continued.
"The Witch Child." Harry nodded sagely.
"Let's not get into that again." Keller cut the girl off.
"But..." Iliana started regardless.
"Iliana, this is Lord Harry and his permanent protection detail, Quinn and Rashel." Galen continued.
"What are you? Vampires?" Iliana asked without any sign that she was skeptical about the Night World. Just clearly about her position in future events.
"Quinn is a vampire." Nissa explained. "He's about five hundred years old." Iliana gasped and her eyes went wide.
"Rashel and Lord Harry are human." Winnie continued.
"I used to be a Vampire Hunter." Rashel explained. "Those are humans that learn about the Night World and train to fight members of it. Since I met Quinn though I've retired from that life and now I just help Circle Daybreak."
"And Lord Harry?" Iliana asked in confusion. "Are you a Vampire Hunter too?"
"I have been several times." Harry nodded and just saw the confusion there.
"Lord Harry is an Old Soul." Galen told her. "I mentioned them earlier when we were talking about Circle Daybreak. Most of the Circle's leadership are Old Souls. Nobody can question their wisdom."
"What are they again?" Iliana asked.
"Basically." Harry spoke up. "I'm much, much older than I look."
"So are the vampires." Iliana told him with a smile.
"I'm thirty-thousand years old." Harry told her simply. "I just age and die over and over and over again. Sometimes I don't remember who I've been before. This time I do."
"That's..." She frowned. "Amazing. And scary."
"It can be." Harry dipped his head.
"Who's this Cameron then?" Iliana asked.
"My soulmate." Harry told her. "It's just how humans understand it. We're bound together. Cameron is also Galen's little brother."
"Not that I can really argue it." Keller frowned. "But why are you here?"
"Because of what is hunting you." Harry mused as he circled around and to the dining room table where manuscripts were laid out. "Have you explained a little of the history to Iliana?"
"A little." Galen nodded. "We were just getting to the part where the witches banded together to fight them."
"I see." Harry nodded. "Perhaps I should explain the next part then?"
"Why?" Iliana asked.
"Because, Miss. Dominick, I was there." Harry smirked. "I am the only person in the world to have seen a dragon awake, let along fought them."
"Until now." Keller told him.
"Yes. Until now." Harry looked at Galen. "I know you were just following your heart, Galen, but you made a mistake."
"What!?" Galen gasped.
"You should have let Keller kill it." Harry stated simply.
"She would have died too!" Galen glared at Harry.
"I would have paid that price gladly." Keller told Harry honestly.
"I know." Harry nodded. "As would I. But it's too late now. Dragons recover fast. If you wounded and almost killed it then they can't have woken it up that long ago. They rushed him into action."
"What could make them want to fight?" Winnie asked.
Harry chuckled. "They are pure evil." Harry declared simply. "All dragons are."
"Harry..." Galen narrowed his eyes.
"Even your family, Galen." Harry shook his head. "Or haven't you seen the news today?"
"What?" Galen frowned.
Rashel shifted to a laptop on the kitchen counter and in moment she had a Nevada news site open and a video playing. It was the report from the day before showing the end of the fighting. The others gathered around and they all watched as the scene played out on the screen.
"The lion?" Galen asked.
"Your Uncle Goldrick." Harry shrugged. "Not happy that a human has been accepted into your family."
"Was that a one off attack?" Nissa asked.
"So far." Harry nodded.
"You did that?" Iliana asked in shocked.
"I've had experience through the millennia." Harry smirked at the girl before getting serious and turning to Keller. "What can you tell me about the dragon you encountered?"
"Not much to be honest." Keller sighed. "Except it seemed powerful."
"They all do." Harry sighed. "Unless you've witnessed the range of their power you can't assume it is powerful amongst them."
"I've never felt or seen telepathic power like that." Keller shook his head. "Even with stories of vampires with extreme telepathic power."
"I was once tossed off of the top of a Mayan temple by a dragon." Harry shrugged.
"Trying to kill it?" Winnie asked.
Harry chuckled. "I was being a curious, and very stupid, child." Harry told them all. "I wanted to see what a dragon looked like. I was hiding with the Mayan humans and it spotted me and swatted me out of the way."
"It didn't come after you to kill you?" Keller asked. "Why not?" She wanted to know if this story had information that they could use.
"Because that was before war broke out." Harry shrugged. "The dragons and my tribe had a long standing armistice. The dragons knew they'd take a lot of losses by going to war against us so they had their rules. I was in the wrong place but the dragon I saw was lower down in the hierarchy. It wasn't willing to come after me and take on my tribe alone or start a war when more powerful dragons might punish it for starting a war."
"What happened with the dragons?" Iliana asked.
"Oh yeah, the story." Harry nodded and sat himself down. Galen sat next to him with his head hung and Harry reached over and touched his shoulder. "Things were building up across the world. Dragons ruled everywhere but that made them stretched out and global control over the humans landed on the shapeshifters. Shapeshifters were fallible but the newer witches knew they couldn't take on all the shapeshifters even if they could actually be killed unlike the dragons. But if the dragons joined the fight..."
"No chance." Keller frowned. "So why did the war start?"
"The humans started to revolt." Harry shrugged as he shifted through the plastic-protected manuscripts and found one that showed humans with weapons around the base of an old Mayan temple.
"The humans?" Iliana asked in surprise but sat herself down opposite Harry.
"Humans have always been the strongest faction on the Earth." Harry shrugged. "As much as the Night World would love to deny it."
"The Night World was founded on principles of secrecy." Keller told Iliana. "To hide us so that humans didn't hunt us in force."
"You mean like the Witch Hunts? Salem?" Iliana asked.
"A small muck up." Harry announced darkly and saw Galen twitch next to them. "A few witches were messing around. The Night World dealt with them but it was too late and the church led Witch Hunts whether they had proof or not. Part of it was an opportunity to consolidate power. Either way some humans trained themselves up to hunt witches. Sometimes they found real trails and other times they tried and executed innocent people."
"Harry..." Galen tried to soothe him.
"Not now, Galen." Harry shook his head.
"What?" Iliana asked.
"I was there." Harry shook his head. "Let's leave it at that and move on."
Galen huffed but shrugged. Harry shifted through the manuscripts and found one that showed witches amongst the humans.
"The witches were very integrated with some of human culture so naturally when the humans revolted the witches were forced to join the fight to protect themselves." Harry shrugged.
"And your tribe was with the humans?" Iliana asked.
"No." Harry shook his head. "We had nothing to do with regular humans or witches. The witches didn't know of our existence."
"What made you different?" Iliana asked. "You were just humans right?"
"Patience." Harry smirked as he found a few more manuscripts that told the story. "With the witches joining the fight the humans had the power to actually defeat some of the dragons and the dragons knew it. They also knew that they could wipe the slate clean and start over. They were immortal even if their shapeshifter followers would suffer with the humans and witches. They torched the world."
"What!?" Iliana gasped.
"They used their own magic to trigger volcanic eruptions in the centres of human civilisation but using such magic had consequences for them." Harry smirked. "They weakened themselves and we took the opportunity and struck. The fight was bloody on both sides."
"You killed some?" Keller perked up.
"A few." Harry nodded. "But a lot of the more powerful ones we had to leave to the humans and witches."
"What happened to you?" Iliana asked in amazement.
"I watched all of my kind die." Harry told her seriously. "But we couldn't risk withdrawing from the war to save ourselves when it would surely mean that the witches and humans would fail. It was only really in the final battle though that we joined the witches and humans in their fight and were really seen."
"Angels..." Keller gasped.
"Angels!?" Iliana gasped.
"That's what the humans and witches saw when myself and my battle-mate joined the final fight." Harry nodded. "With our help they won the battle but the wounds we took cost us our lives."
Harry found the familiar manuscript and smiled down at it like he always did to his book. He smiled across at Galen who smiled back at him warmly. "My soulmate and Galen found this for me when looking for documentation of my previous lives. This is the oldest written recording of an Old Soul." He pointed to the picture of two angels standing amongst the images of battles between dragons, humans and witches.
"That's you?" Iliana asked as Keller, Nissa and Winnie stared at him in shock. "Did you really have wings?"
"My kind did." Harry nodded. "That fight is where the legend of angels started. It was just taken up by religions in more recent millennia."
"Wow..." Iliana gasped.
"Anyway with the dragons defeated the shapeshifters scattered but the witches didn't kill or put to sleep every dragon." Harry explained. "Galen's ancestor was a small girl. A dragon but the weakest of them and without even their immortality. But they are still very much dragons."
"Harry..." Galen started only to get a smirk from Harry.
"The shapeshifters eventually formed into their own community under the Drache family which makes the Draches the oldest ruling family in the world right now." Harry nodded. "The witches ruled the world for the next ten thousand years."
"But humans still remained strong?" Iliana asked.
"As they always have." Harry nodded. "The Night World grows and falls in line with the human population. It's dependent on it."
"Try getting the Night World to agree with that." Winnie scoffed.
"At any rate..." Harry shook his head. "I was reincarnated a lot in those years but most notably in a human-witch tribe nearly ten thousand years after the witches took over."
"With Hecate Witch-Queen?" Winnie gaped. "You were Ryn!?"
Harry chuckled but nodded. "I grew up as your ancestor's adopted son. Alongside Circle Daybreak's creator and leader. But that's getting off of the dragons too much. I can answer more questions about history at a later time."
"So you're pretty important?" Iliana asked. "You get a say? You can convince them I'm not this Witch Child?"
"Oh, you're definitely a descendent of Hecate." Harry smirked. "But only you can convince yourself about this whole Witch Child superpower thing."
"Nice way to put it." Galen sighed.
"Right now it doesn't really matter." Harry told Iliana. "Whether you are the Witch Child or not the dragon and the Night World believe you are and that means they'll never stop coming for you. If you reject our help then you're putting your mother and little brother in serious danger."
Iliana gasped in horror at his sudden change of attitude and the others stared in shock. "I'm giving you the choice to believe whether you're the Witch Child or not. I'm not giving the choice of whether to accept our protection or not. If the dragon wasn't involved I'd be all for freedom of choice but there is a dragon involved."
"This is..." Iliana started before hissing and running from the room. Nissa and Winnie took off after her.
"I forget how scary you can be." Galen sighed.
"Can we kill them?" Keller asked after a moment of silence.
"Yes." Harry nodded. "But it's not easy."
"How?" Galen frowned.
Harry reached out and ruffled Galen's hair with a smirk but he had a purpose. "The Drache family don't have the tell-tale but all other dragons do. Horns."
"Horns!?" Keller asked.
"I've never heard of horns." Galen frowned.
"Horns are the seats of their power." Harry nodded. "Destroying the horns leaves them with the same sort of level power as the Drache family members but also in serious pain. In comparison that makes them a walk in the park."
"But with the level of power I felt..." Keller frowned.
"Getting through their powers to get to their horns is next to impossible." Harry nodded.
"How did you when you were an angel?" Keller demanded.
"I can't go into that right now." Harry shook his head. "I don't want the dragon to realise we have first-hand knowledge of their abilities."
"But..." Keller started.
"Knowing what gave me an edge thirty-thousand years ago is not going to help you." Harry told her sharply. "As far as he knows you know nothing about his horns. Keep it that way until you can use it to surprise him."
"That's why you've never mentioned it before?" Galen asked.
"And haven't since finding out a dragon had been spotted." Harry nodded unrepentently. "It's one of our only edges against it. It thinks we know nothing about it."
"What powers does it have?" Keller demanded.
"Shapeshifting is its most powerful ability." Harry nodded. "The horns allow it to shift into any form it touches."
"Unlike my family." Galen sighed.
"And it will know everything about the person whose form it takes." Harry announced. "Which will allow it to get close to Iliana without anyone realising it."
"Could it mimic one of us?" Keller frowned.
"It could take on your appearance and your memories but not your alternative form. You as a human only."
"So we'd quickly sense it wasn't me." She nodded. "Telepathy?"
"Yes and no." Harry nodded. "Because its telepathy is so powerful it can't be used as a subtle attack. Even pulling its punch it hits like a sledgehammer. Like a blast of fire. Hence the myth about dragons and fire."
"And if we take off its horns?" Keller asked.
"You can then capture or kill it." Harry nodded.
"How hard would it be to take off the horns?" She asked.
"A solid attack from your claws would do it." Harry assured her. "Witch fire might do it."
"Wild Fire definitely." Keller nodded.
"Don't pressure Iliana." Galen warned her and Harry spotted their shared look and glanced over at Rashel and Quinn who were watching from the kitchen without commenting.
"What about calling in more help?" Galen asked Harry.
"You mean Delos or Jez?" Harry asked. "I'll give it some thought. Unfortunately if the Night World Council gets word that we're moving our key pieces into the fight they'll make a bigger target of this area. They'd simply slaughter this entire area to reach either of them and Iliana. As long as the Night World Council is being subtle about it then we need to do the same. We can't afford Iliana to be the centre of a war until she has access to her full powers."
"Oh." Keller nodded and sat down before suddenly looking up. "Would a name matter?"
"You mean the dragon?" Harry asked.
"I heard the vampires with him call him Azdehah." She told him.
Harry looked away. "It would be his name when he ruled." Harry nodded. "But I don't know of any of them but the names pulled up from ancient human civilisations' tales and documents. Cave paintings and early language. I can't tell you how powerful it is."
"But the horns?" Keller asked.
"Their horns denote their power. The weaker ones have a single horn. Up to four and possibly five." Harry nodded. "But maybe even a sixth."
"Six?" Galen asked.
"The one that killed me had six." Harry told Galen. "In the final battle thirty thousand years ago."
"Let's hope they didn't wake that one up." Galen muttered.
"Are you staying here?" Keller asked.
"No." Harry shook his head. "Quinn, Rashel and I will be staying in a safe house just outside of town. Call us through your handler if you need my help." Harry rose up from the table and quickly gave Galen a hug before turning to Keller. "You'll need you A-game for this, Keller. Don't let anything slip past you."
A few days later
Harry was standing at the windows of his hotel suite in Charlotte. Circle Daybreak and the witches had taken over a retreat just outside of the city where the agreement would be signed at midnight that night but the Drache family and the leadership of the shapeshifters had taken over the nicest hotel in the small city and secured it tightly after everything that had happened and at Cameron's family's request Harry had come to stay with Cameron in their heavily protected rooms along with Harry's own protection, including Quinn and Rashel.
The Night World was in chaos after the last few days after the rather public attacks carried out by mostly shapeshifters answering to what remained of the Night World Council that was really just the vampire hotshots fighting for their own domination of the planet. But it had come to a head and dealt a serious blow to Circle Daybreak and the witches especially when a family of shapeshifters, timber wolves, had broken away from Drache rule and attacked Grandma Harmen, leader of the witches, killing her right outside her shop in Las Vegas in front of television cameras and dozens of human witnesses.
Harry was more focused on the dragon though because he knew everything else was nothing in comparison. He knew that if this dragon succeeded here that it would cost them a Wild Power that they critically needed and in time this dragon would find others that had been hidden away and then they'd be crawling in dragons and with all of the Night World species growing in strength it wouldn't take long for the dragons to return to their old levels of power.
"You are quiet." Harry turned his head as he heard Sophan's small voice at his side. The girls seemed to like him at least but he expected most of that was because of Cameron's love for him. Though their mother was careful to make sure the girls gave him his peace and quiet because she knew how much he was dealing with right now.
"Someone once told me that the world makes a lot of noise." Harry smiled down at her. "If only we are quiet and listen out for it."
"And what would the world say to us?" Sophan smiled back at him.
"You think the world really notices we are here?" Harry chuckled. "Notices our struggles and wars?"
"Who said that?" She asked.
"My mother." Harry told her. "Twenty thousand years ago. Back when I was Ryn and younger than you are now. She was a better hunter than my father. She taught me and Thierry a thing or two about tracking animals in the woods."
"Mum wanted me to get you and Cameron for dinner." Sophan told him softly. "Where's Cam?"
"With your father I believe." Harry told her. "There are many matters to deal with for tonight and since Galen is off running around like an action hero Cameron has taken up the slack in standing at your father's side."
She giggled at that but then offered her hand. Harry took it and let her lead the way back through into the main dining room of the rather posh suite where Elizabeth and the Queen were already sitting. Harry sat himself down in his usual chair and frowned up at the clock. Right now the team protecting Iliana would be on their way into the large homes of one of Iliana's best friends for a party. The only reason it had been allowed was because Circle Daybreak had secured the place three days ago but it didn't sit right with Harry. But Harry knew that he couldn't strong arm Iliana without losing her support in the future even if the involvement of a waking dragon did change things for him.
"Cameron is still in with his father?" The Queen asked. Harry nodded briefly as his own food was brought over from the hot plate.
"There's a lot hinging on tonight." Harry agreed.
"But that doesn't seem to be what is keeping your mind occupied." She commented.
Harry glanced over the table at the girls and then back to the Queen. "There's a lot on my mind, your Majesty." He didn't want to bring up the dragon in front of the girls, even if they were both dragons themselves. He could always sense their power and it was growing, just like Cameron's was in the time since he'd met him. The Queen seemed to understand his reluctance because she dropped the subject.
They were almost through a very late dinner when Harry's ever present ear bud chimed into life with a double tone that showed it was contacting him privately. Harry pressed the small button on the inside of his sleeve cuff as he put down his cutlery. "Harry here. Go on."
"Operational Control." A familiar voice announced, the young werewolf currently monitoring all communications for Circle Daybreak about Iliana's protection detail. "We've lost contact with Keller's team inside the house but the perimeter teams aren't reporting any disturbances."
"Damnit." Harry hissed as he stood, knocking his chair back. He just knew it was something really bad. The Queen and the girls jerked in surprise at his language but he didn't bother to apologise as he headed through towards his room and his sword. He grabbed it as he spoke. "All protection teams move in. Secure and hold all civilians with extreme caution. The dragon could be anyone in there."
"Confirmed. All teams move in on the party." The voice announced even though Harry's words were reaching them all now anyway.
Harry hit the channel up button in his sleeve to switch to his own protection detail, the six in the hotel including Quinn and Rashel, even as he walked into the office part of the suite where Cameron and his dad were going over details. They looked up in surprise. "Quinn, Rashel. I'm heading for the party and I'm going the fast way."
"We can't agree to that." Quinn was quick to argue.
"Tough." Harry announced before looking at a worried looking Cameron. "They've lost contact with Keller's team. I'm just going to go help."
"Harry…" Cameron started.
"Your brother's in the thick of this, Cam." Harry reminded him.
"Hey! Don't do that!" Cameron hissed and whacked Harry on the arm. "Don't use my brother's safety against me."
"I'm sorry but facts are facts." Harry told him.
"I'm going with you." Cameron declared.
"Cameron!" His father shook his head.
"Your father is right." Harry announced as he walked to the balcony and opened the doors. "You can't fight and I can't watch you in danger."
"Then I'll see you in half an hour." Cameron demanded.
Harry took a look back at a worried Cameron just as the King put a hand on Cameron's shoulder to restrain him. Harry spread his wings and jumped onto the railing before throwing himself out into the night air. The air was cold but he climbed hard to get enough height so he could cover the distance quicker than any car could hope to match.
In reality it only took him five minutes to cover a distance that should have taken him three times as long since he froze time several times to cover the distance faster but he knew if he simply froze it completely that he'd tire himself out trying to fly without the movements of the air through his wings and wouldn't be able to do anything when he arrived.
He had just sighted the mansion he was now familiar with because of the pictures taken by the perimeter protection teams and spotted the lights of cars all around it when a blast of something ripped through the air to his left. Time shuddered to a halt and he slipped down in the air as he studied it but it was easy for A'Zia to recognise. Dragon Fire erupting upwards between the trees a mile from the house.
Time resumed as Harry shot towards it and his entire demeanor began to change as Imazato, Calamy, Oliver and Liam gripped his sword tightly while A'Zia's mind focused on how to fight the battle. As he approached fast he didn't have long to assess the situation. He froze time just as he always had and just like always against dragons the world around him slipped in and out of time as the dragon overwhelmed his ability, forcing time to continue. It had been the one defence that they had which had prevented A'Zia's kind from killing them all. That had evened up the sides of the war.
But it gave Harry the chance to land knowing that he couldn't dodge or protect himself in the air with time playing up on him. The dragon had taken a form that Harry had only ever seen one dragon take on before and it made his entire body run cold and made him feel light-headed. It was a good twelve feet in height and more reptile than mammal. This one was the reason that the myths of the dragon had begun. And this was the strongest of the Amaru. The one that had killed him and his battle-mate.
He'd landed in the middle of the clearing knowing he'd need the room to move around but behind him was a clearly unconscious or dead Nissa and barely conscious Iliana and Winfrith but the two cats were clearly still in the fight. The near pitch black Keller and an orange leopard that Harry realised was Galen.
The dragon, Azdehah, roared through stuttering time and with an explosion of power ripped them all back into real time. Harry spread his wings wide as Azdehah focused on him and then on his wings and roared again in fury. Harry twisted the blade in his hand and Azdehah focused on it before power erupted out. Black fire shot out at him, Galen and Keller and slowed as Harry stepped out of time. It still came at him but it gave him the time to wrap his wings around himself protectively knowing they'd shield him at least a little. He couldn't worry about Galen and Keller right now and just had to focus on getting the jump on the King of the Amaru.
Fire and magic burned against his feathers, rolling around them and he heard pain from Keller and Galen but the moment it let up he launched himself forwards, freezing time with every ounce of concentration he could spare as he leapt at Azdehah. Thirty thousand years ago he'd had lesser weapons that couldn't carve into the bone and flesh of Dragons but now technology was far beyond what Azdehah was used to and he'd use every advantage he had.
Azdehah's claws came up to try to grab him but they moved in slow motion and to the dragon Harry was just a blur and his sword unavoidable as it came down against his face. Somewhere along the lines Azdehah had already lost two of his six horns and his sword caught across another two. Unfortunately he hadn't been able to shift his grip to the right angle to hit the others but he had to win clear. Even in pain though Azdehah was fast and just as time returned to normal he took a vicious swipe at Harry's right wing. Harry rolled, twisting his wing back behind him and up into the air and Azdehah only caught the edge but with his wings like that he was open to Azdehah's follow up attack. His black fire caught Harry's left wing as Harry tried to wrap it between him and the dragon but the power still slipped around and slammed into him, throwing him back into a tree.
"Die like the rest of your kind, filth." The voice was in his mind as much as in his ears and the ancient, long dead, language brought Harry back to reality. They were probably the only two beings on the planet that could understand it.
"I beat you once three ages ago." Harry spat as he righted himself and held his sword ready. "I'm not letting you kill me twice and this time you really will die."
Harry saw Iliana lurch up to the side of the battle with Winfrith helping her and saw power flow up between her hands. Orange witch power turned into blue Wild Fire even as Azdehah spotted her moving and turned to throw an attack at her. Harry attacked to distract him and as he blurred out of time Azdehah was forced to turn back against him but it was too late for Azdehah as blue fire shot through the battlefield faster than even Harry could move and slammed into the King of the dragons.
With an explosion of fire time sped back up and Harry was tossed backwards by the eruption centred on where Azdehah had been. His wings came around him but even with them shielding him the blue fire trickled through but didn't harm him, merely taking away the ache from where he'd previously hit a tree. He opened his wings as the blue light faded and then rose to his full height and looked around.
There was a small crater where Azdehah had once been and both Keller and Galen were back to normal though Galen was rather underdressed. Naked was a better term for it. Harry froze time just as Galen realized it as he tried to slowly get up. Nissa, Winfrith and Iliana seemed none the worse for wear, all healed perfectly by Iliana awakening her powers.
Harry shook his head as he pulled his wings away and moved to a couple of dead vampire ninjas nearby that had clearly helped ambush the team. He cleaned his sword off on one of them before sheathing it and then stripped trousers and jumper from another. He dumped them in Galen's lap just as he unfroze time and put himself between Galen and the others.
Galen gasped and made to cover himself up only to realise Harry was in the way and he had clothing to scramble into. Galen went bright right as Harry chuckled but grabbed the trousers and pulled them on as Harry turned to the four girls.
"You might want to give our dear Galen a moment to regain his modesty." Harry chuckled which even made the three Daybreak Operatives blush a little.
"Git." Galen grunted. "Where the hell did you come from all of a sudden? Did Cameron do something stupid too?"
"Cameron is safe at the meeting." Harry told Galen as he moved into view next to him looking rather out of place in black. "Where you all also need to be." Harry reminded them.
"That was pretty impressive, my Lord." Winfrith announced. "We could barely see you. You were a blur."
"That is complicated." Harry told her. "Unfortunately it is not so effective against dragons, especially not one like Azdehah."
"Harry?" Galen detected something in Harry's tone, just like he always did with Cameron as well.
"I wasn't about to let that beast kill me a second time." Harry declared simply before cutting off their surprise. "Now get into that jeep and get to Charlotte. I'll tell them you'll be a little delayed but hurry all the same."
"Yes, sir." Keller glanced at Galen and Harry frowned and turned to look at the two. Keller rushed off away from Harry to get Iliana set to go and Harry caught Galen's arm.
"You took a form." He stated rather needlessly. "Necessity or something else?" He'd seen the way Galen looked at Keller.
"A little of both but…" Galen looked over at Keller again who spotted the look and jumped into the Jeep.
"The truth." Harry demanded. "Out with it right now."
"I'm older than you!" Galen huffed.
"Brother…" Harry warned and saw the way the tension eased out of Galen at the reminder of their relationship through Cameron.
"She's my soulmate." Galen sighed before shaking his head and rushing to the Jeep.
"My Lord?" Winfrith asked. Harry just shook his head and spread his wings and they gazed at him in awe for a moment before Nissa gunned the engine and floored it through the trees.
Harry touched his watch and activated his microphone, quieting the buzz of voices he tuned out most of the time. "Harry here. The dragon is dead and Miss. Dominick is safe. The team will take her to Charlotte. All other teams secure the route if you're close to it or search the area for remnants of our opponents. Lethal force is preferable. The less information the Council has on what happened here the better."
"Confirmed, Lord Harry." The handler declared before calling for organisation with the other eight teams around them.
Harry beat his wings through moving air to get altitude and then froze time, relieved when it fully took him out of the flow of time once more. It would tire him out to do this over this kind of distance but he could sleep tonight and ignore the parties that would follow the completion of the alliance and he needed the extra time to think about Galen and Keller's situation.
Harry watched from an upper balcony inside the meeting room as the gathering progressed. He'd headed straight for the resort where the meeting was taking place and arrived just before midnight but he knew Keller's team with Iliana and Galen would be a little late but didn't expect anyone to really complain. The people here all wanted this to work. He kept well out of it too as he recuperated and he had a lot on his mind. Killing Azdehah had been a personal matter for him. Iliana had arrived at ten minutes past the hour with Galen, Keller, Nissa and Winfrith with her and had surprised everyone by refusing to marry Galen. She'd had another plan though which had been a relief for Harry and luckily the Drache family were perfectly happy with Iliana making blood ties with Keller as a shapeshifter. It might have been a little worrying in that Keller was Circle Daybreak and only answered to the rulers of the shapeshifters peripherally but with the declaration that she was Galen's soulmate that wasn't a problem.
As the party went into full swing Harry took his leave and headed back to the hotel where he knew he'd get some peace and quiet. He knew Cameron had sensed his mind at the gathering and also knew his boyfriend would know he was heading back to the hotel to rest. Harry had other plans though and he grabbed a few supplies from the hotel room before heading up to the roof to work. He had charcoal from the open fire in the room, lighter fluid and a highly useful fire lighting block. He went up onto the roof and the fine gravel that covered the flat surface that he'd spotted earlier and smiled as he went to work. He pulled off his t-shirt and spread his wings and cleared a certain pattern in the gravel, tracing an intricate pattern that would only mean something to himself.
He straightened up after that and grabbed the charcoal and looked down over his chest and sighed out miserably. He couldn't do the whole ritual because he couldn't reach his back and someone else was supposed to do this bit. A'Zia had had patterns marked into his skin permanently along with Cal'va when they'd become men and then when they'd become warriors together, battle-mates. He started drawing on the marks that should have been permanent and was almost finished on his chest and stomach when the access door behind him opened. Time froze as he turned but then spotted Cameron coming out of the door. He released time and watched as Cameron spotted him and moved over towards him. Harry glanced past Cameron as Galen and then Keller arrived on the roof, pushing the door to behind her.
"Harry?" Cameron asked softly. "What…?" Cameron trailed off as he spotted the drawing on the floor. He set his forehead against Harry's and knowing words couldn't explain well enough he settled into their mental landscape and Harry showed him exactly what he was trying to do. Cameron drew back after a moment and took the piece of charcoal off of him and as Harry prompted him with memories of the drawings Cameron slowly finished off the permanent ones and then traced the temporary ones of mourning over the top just like A'Zia had worn on his skin at funerals. His whole tribe had done so.
"What's going on, Cam?" Galen asked.
Harry smiled but brought a finger up to his lips for quiet and Galen nodded and let Keller settle under his arm. Harry turned back to his drawing as Cameron moved back to his brother and put an arm around his back.
Harry grabbed the fire lighter block and crumbled it up in his hands and used the powder to fill in his drawing, Cal'va's name, and then used the lighter fluid to make sure it lit just right. Thirty thousand years ago they'd had a paste that they used for light and also for this that would have been nice but he didn't want to waste time trying to find the minerals and plants necessary to make it when this ritual was already thirty millennia overdue. He let his wings flap a little in the night air and felt more of A'Zia settle into place in his mind and knew Cameron could feel it.
Harry knelt and used the lighter to set off his little memorial and with a race of fire the lighter fluid lit and then the lighter block went up and held the flames high as they traced Cal'va's name.
"For all eternity, fly with the wind." A'Zia declared and then stood and glanced back at the others with a nod. Cameron moved to his side and Harry pulled his wings away so that Cameron could put an arm around him. Galen and Keller moved carefully around the burning symbol to stand on the other side.
"A'Zia. Are you alright?" Cameron asked.
"A'Zia?" Keller asked softly.
"Hello, demon." A'Zia greeted in his own ancient language making Keller twitch.
"English, A'Zia." Cameron laughed. "He does it on purpose."
"I greeted you, demon." A'Zia told Keller making her frown. "It is what your name means, does it not?"
"I don't particularly like being called demon though." Keller told him.
"Not every civilisation through the ages has considered demons as inherently evil." Harry announced as his mind shifted back to what it normally was, a blend of all his lives. "Thank you for remaining quiet."
"Was this a memorial service?" Galen asked just as the fires started to go out. Harry knelt quickly and much to Cameron's shock he put his hands down at the base of Cal'va's symbol and fisted the dying ashes. The heat burned but it wasn't anything that would hurt his flesh. He released it and stood up, brushing the ash off onto his jeans.
"You are right." Harry agreed. "For my old battle-mate. Him and I died defeating Azdehah thirty-thousand years ago."
"Harry!" Cameron gasped and moved to hold him. "That was the King of the dragons?"
"It was." Harry nodded. "The only one with six horns. The last that the witches put into the ground."
"Do you have to avenge the dead before this?" Galen asked in confusion.
"No." Harry smiled at him. "But Cal'va and I were the last of our kind when we died. We managed to make the witches in the battle cremate us as our customs dictated but there was nobody left to carry out the memorial. As I came back it was never necessary for me."
"You waited until now though?" Keller asked.
"It never felt right to do it before." Harry shrugged lightly. "Now though it did."
"What is a battle-mate?" Galen asked. "Is that romantic?"
Harry laughed. "There might have been a few moments between us when we were bored and horny." Harry declared unrepentantly which made Galen and Keller both blush although Cameron just laughed. "But no, we were not like Cameron and I or the two of you. My kind were naturally paired. Our abilities matched only those we were born with. We were paired at birth."
"Abilities?" Galen asked. "You mean how you blurred around the fight earlier?"
"I can step out of time." Harry stated simply. "Every member of my original race could and I can now."
"How does that work for an entire race?" She asked with a frown.
"If I stepped out of time all those of my race were as locked in time as all overs. All except for Cal'va, my battle-mate. Our abilities were attuned. We fought together and existence through time together, stepping in and out of it together. Only using that could our kind fight effectively without confusing one another." Harry explained.
"I understand." Keller nodded. "It's amazing."
"Yes." Harry nodded and smiled down at the ashes of the symbol. "The bond between Cameron and I is the only bond to another being that comes close to that which I had with Cal'va. The hardest thing about the fight earlier was that Cal'va was not at my side."
"I'm glad you were there." Galen announced.
"You seemed to have it handled." Harry told them both. "Losing Azdehah is a serious blow to their side. We must hope that they do not find any other dragons and awaken them."
"But we have the tools to fight them this time." Cameron reassured him before shifting behind Harry to hold him tightly.