Linda Downey had not had the most conventional life. Even as a child, she was different than the other kids. No one could resist her charms, meaning she could get her way with a sweet smile or a doe-eyed look. Her older sister Becka had always explained it away as being the nature of the youngest, saying that by being the baby of the family, she had a talent for commanding attention. Becka never envied her this talent though, as Becka herself was charming and lovable. But as Linda grew older, her talent for charming everyone around her became overwhelmingly and noticeably different, at least to her. She spent much of her freshman and sophomore years in high school in the library researching magic and studying her lineage for traces of similar oddities.
On a chance, she came across information that led her to find that she was what was called an enchanter and that she had relatives who had also been magical, though of different sorts. Linda soaked up all of the information she could find on the magical world she apparently belonged to, longing to understand all that she could about it. During her research, she had managed to get herself all the way to England, where so much knowledge seemed to be in store for her. While there, though, she had been found out by some other magical folk who had captured her and tried to sell her off into some version of slavery.
Luckily for Linda, a hero soon entered and managed to sneak her out of what was called "The Trade." That hero was Leander Hasting, a wizard. Leander, or Lee as he insisted she call him, had offered to help her flee and stay hidden, but because of her own experiences in the magical world, she convinced him, without even flexing her powers, to let her join him in his fight against the current system. Through her time in The Trade and from Lee's often passionate and spirited rants, she quickly learned that wizards were ruling the other magical people, including enchanters, with a vicious and cruel system that had been set up centuries ago. He intended to continue to undermine the current system by not only helping individuals such as herself, but by also somehow infiltrating the wizard council to completely rewrite the covenant and thus changing the system.
In this way, Leander reminded Linda of her sister Becka, who was always getting involved in some effort or another to change the world. It was the one thing about Lee that felt familiar and comforting. Everything else about him was startling and unsettling. He was good looking in an unconventional way, with the sharp angles of his face offset by the thick curls that fell gracefully all around him. His eyes were dark, deep, and sharp, always moving as if he couldn't settle permanently anywhere. His mouth usually set in a thin frown, but could turn into the most brilliant smile when Linda could make him laugh. He was serious and constantly in plotting mode, but on sporadic occasions he would insist on taking Linda out to see some part of whatever town they happened to be in at the time, saying how she had to actually see the world she lived in.
At some point during all of the time Linda spent with Lee, she fell helplessly in love with him. She never dreamed that he would return her affections, but one night, while they were enjoying a picnic under the wonderfully lit Eifel tower in Paris, Leander made his move. Linda's head spun as she leaned into Lee's kiss, while the rest of the world seemed to disappear. When his lips parted from hers, she quickly fell back to earth, her thoughts immediately trying to figure out what had happened. Just as Linda was sure that the romantic atmosphere of Paris had caused her to hallucinate, Leander admitted that he had fallen for her. She quickly returned the sentiment and their whirlwind romance began.
Linda tore herself away from Lee to go back home when her sister got married, and again when she was soon to go into labor with her first child. Linda sat nervously in the hospital waiting room, constantly looking for her brother-in-law to appear holding her nephew and beckoning her to congratulate her sister. But when he did come to get Linda, it was to usher her with concerned frowns and anxious twitches to come console Becka while they waited to find out what was wrong with their newborn son, Jackson Swift. After Linda had managed to convince Becka to sleep, she stood over her dying nephew in the infant ICU. The second she looked at Jack, Linda knew that what was wrong with him was most definitely magical.
Linda's first instinct was to call upon Hastings for help, but while holding the phone in her hands, she faltered. Leander had only once shared his family history with Linda, and it had been painfully difficult for both him to tell and for her to hear. She had pretended not to notice the tears he swept aside with his hand as he turned away at the thought of his wrecked family. After that, she had always hesitated to talk to him about her family, despite how much she wanted to. Because they were constantly running all over the world, and many times, trying to avoid being found, Linda had to distance herself from her family, and Becka especially. It was hard for her not to be able to keep in better contact with them, and it made it even worse that she basically had to act as if they didn't exist for Leander's sake. Now, she knew he would be knowledgeable about whatever problem plagued her nephew, but she was concerned at how he might respond. After considering her options, she contacted Jessamine Longbranch, who she knew not only for her skills in wizardy, but also for her medical career.
Unfortunately, Linda would regret that decision for years to come. First, Jessamine had tricked her by promising to save Jack by giving him the wizard stone he lacked and then putting in a warrior stone for her own purposes. Upon learning this, and all of the strings that Jessamine attached to the offer to save Jack, Linda immediately wanted to go to Leander, but something stopped her. Instead, she went to another trusted friend, Nick Snowbeard. A powerful and old wizard that she had actually been introduced to through Hastings, Linda trusted him possibly more than anyone else in the entire world. He had become the father figure in her life that she had lacked for far too long, and he constantly offered his support. Linda had poured her heart out to him about any tragedy that had come her way, and this time with Jack was no different. Nick proposed that he and some other trusted magical people who just happened to live in the area keep an eye on the boy. After three weeks of the neighbors keeping a vigilant eye on Jack and the town, Linda felt comfortable enough to go back to her life on the run with Hastings.
One night several months later while they were dining at their favorite hole in the wall restaurant in Rome, Linda broke down into silent sobs. Lee quickly paid the check and guided her back to their hotel, coaxing her with soothing coos the entire time. Once in the safety of their rented room, Linda had broken down with the whole story, telling Leander the gist of the trouble concerning her nephew, leaving out as many details as she could while still making some sense. Lee sat quietly the entire, the frown deepening on his angular face more and more as she spoke. When she was done, Leander made some confessions of his own. He told her about his history with her family. After learning that she was not the first woman in her family to fall for Leander, Linda gathered her things and left. She went back to Trinity, Ohio, where she cried to Nick, cooed over Jack, and insisted to Becka that she was completely fine.
But of course, she wasn't fine. While there was some anger, confusion, and hurt that she felt about all that Lee had told her about his relationship with Suzanna, Linda couldn't deny that she was still completely and irreversibly in love with Leander Hastings. But with just her luck, she found out she was pregnant with their child just as she was planning to rejoin him. The unexpected child just added to all of the rush of feelings she felt, and she confided her problem, as always, in Snowbeard. He tried, without success, to convince her to go back and tell Lee about his impending fatherhood. Instead, Linda used her contacts to end up in Canada with Genevieve LeCerc, a sorcerer who mostly stayed away from magic and the magic world. Ultimately, after giving birth to her beautiful son, who obviously favored his father, Linda decided to leave him with Genevieve. She forged his birth records, naming him Joseph McCauley, and concocting a story about his birth parents untimely death. She also set up a generous fund for him and filled out the paperwork to become his legal guardian, which she would do through a law firm so as to keep her connection to him as remote as possible. It tore her up inside, but she couldn't risk Leander finding out, nor any of his or her enemies. Through all of their adventures, they had racked up plenty of enemies, so giving up their son was the only plan Linda could devise to keep him safe.
But Linda knew she wouldn't be able to keep the secret of their son to herself if she crossed paths with Lee again, so she quietly kept up with his movements and stayed away from him. She had already done so when she had found that she was expecting Joseph, but even after she had left her son, who she affectionately called Seph, she continued to keep her distance. She found it extremely difficult to stay away from Leander, especially since she was keeping up with his every move, and Seph, who she constantly kept tabs on, but it did help that now she had the comfort of her sister, who soon divorced her husband, and her nephew, whom she doted on as often as possible. When she wasn't on the run from being discovered by some wizard enemy – or even Hastings – Linda spent as much time as possible in Trinity. Her trips there were never long enough, though she had come so accustomed to being on the move that staying much longer than a few days would probably have felt unnatural.
Years passed, and then the day came that Linda dreaded. Jack's power had been discovered. After a long adventure that ended with Jack knowing much more than Linda had ever hoped he'd have to find out about magic, his family history, and the wizard world. His two closest friends, Will and Fitch, were also let in on some of the information, which Linda felt uneasy about. She loved both boys very much, even insisting that they call her Aunt Linda like Jack did, but she worried that Jack was in enough danger without two Anaweir being so knowledgeable about his unusual condition. But Nick assured her that his friends could only help Jack through what was sure to be a difficult transition. Nick also offered to train Jack in wizardry, but with his offer, Linda was reminded of other training that Jack needed. Jack needed training to hone the warrior power that thrummed in his chest. He needed a great warrior teacher and Linda just happened to know one.
So Linda stared at the phone, dreading this possibly more than anything else. She took a deep breath, remembering that making a similar phone call when Jack had been born without a stone so long ago would have changed the entire course of her, and several other loved ones, lives. As the phone rang, she could feel her heart beating furiously against her chest. After two and a half rings, there was a click and then a hesitant yet powerful, "Hello?"
"Lee?" Linda practically whispered into the phone. "It's me. Linda. I need your help."