Once inside the house again things seemed tense. All three of them stood in the hallway looking at each other for a few moments. Gaw, this will be fun. Cassie squared her shoulders and walked over to the dining room table, which was behind the sofa in the open concept dining space. She sat down with a grunt.
“I suppose I should thank you for getting her back here?”
Wow, thanks from a witch. That’s a first.
“No worries, Mrs. Armel. Just trying to help,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders.
She eyed him for a second like she was trying to figure out his motives. “You can call me, Maddy.” She smiled then turned to the table and sat herself directly across from Cassie.
Max shifted on his feet nervously. I suppose I should make myself scarce. “If you need me, I’ll be out in the cruiser.”
Max was almost out the door when Cassie turned towards him and said. “Wait, please stay.” Maddy’s eyebrows shot up and so did his. She really doesn’t trust herself with hearing the truth, does she? He looked at her mother to see her response. She rolled her eyes and gestured to the chair at the head of the table. “I might as well explain this to both of you, since you have to work together.” A grunt escaped his lips in response as he sat stiff legged in the chair. Silence thickened around the table. God, this is intense. His wolf squirmed around in his head not liking high emotions.
“I suppose I should start from the beginning?” Maddy began. She placed her hands out in front of her and entwined her fingers with her eyes downcast. “That would be good,” Cassie said with a frown plastered across her delicate face. I miss her smile. She deserves to smile more often, Max thought.
Maddy sighed and began from when Cassie was a baby. “When I was with your father, we were happy and deeply in love. He was the apple of my eye and kept my world one. We were inseparable. But he belonged to a family that looked down on witches. They thought the mingling of our bloodlines was a disgrace. That is why the fighting started. Things seemed to head toward the worst outcome possible for us when I found out I was pregnant. Your father was so excited, he was determined to protect you even before you came into this world. He did everything in his power to bring peace. But in the end it wasn’t enough. He vowed he would find a way to protect you and then one day he was gone.
“As any scared woman I went to my mother for aid. She did nothing but lecture me about how my choices were going to be the death of me. When I told her I was pregnant, she was dismayed. Even our witch coven wouldn’t accept you for the blood of your father’s running through your veins. The best thing we could do to protect you was to remove you from this world all together. I didn’t want you to have to hide who you are from the world. Life as a witch, let alone one without a father, can be daunting.”
Max looked at Cassie as her mother talked. I wonder what she is thinking about her father?
Maddy continued. “Your grandmother helped me create a pendant that would hide your powers from the other witches. This would also allow your powers to come in gradually so you wouldn’t be overwhelmed. However, when your sixteenth birthday came and nothing happened, I figured your powers would remain dormant, so I never told you about our family heritage.”
“Wait… you said something about a pendant. What exactly is the pendant?”
“The necklace I gave you as a babe.”
Cassie growled. She pulled out the necklace from under her shirt. Max instantly felt on edge. The power coming off the little charm made his hackles raise. “You mean this necklace is a magical pendant?” Max looked at Cassie and saw rage in her eyes. All this time she has been wearing a protection spell on her. No wonder I could smell the scent of a witch on her.
Maddy nodded and reached out to take it from Cassie, ignoring the fury steaming off her daughter. She flipped it over in her hand and whispered something in an unfamiliar language. Then the charm floated off her hand and glowed. Cassie gasped in surprise with wide eyes, her anger obliterated. He sat back as far away from the thing as possible. I hate magic. His wolf howled in protest. Get that damn thing away from me, he howled.
Maddy smirked as she eyed him. He couldn’t help but gulp back his paranoia. Don’t worry Max, she will not kill you. It’s just a necklace charm, that’s all. Cassie gripped his knee under the table bringing him out of his head. She smiled at him and looked at him with concern. Maddy let the necklace drift back to her palm and placed it on the table. Max sighed in relief. The touch of magic in the air receded.
“Thanks for the show, but what does it mean?” Cassie asked as she crossed her arms over her chest and glared at her mother. Max watched the two stare each other down until Maddy spoke once more. “It means the charm is still active.”
Silence stretched on for a few seconds. Maddy looked down at the necklace then picked it up by the chain and held it out to Cassie. “You need to keep wearing this. It will help you control your magic.” Cassie reached out and took the necklace from her mother. Slowly, she placed it back around her neck and looked up at her mother. Once the pendant was out of sight Max relaxed a bit. He still was on edge about being in the same room with two witches. But so far they didn’t seem to want to harm him. He trusted Cassie since she had already showed her loyalty by saving his life. Maddy on the other hand—he didn’t know yet.
“I find it strange that after all this time your abilities are now starting to appear.”
Cassie smirked and crossed her arms over her chest while she leaned back in her chair. “I guess I’m an exception to the normal.” Maddy nodded her head in agreement, then flashed a glance in Max’s direction.
“I find it odd that a werewolf would be okay partnering up with a witch.”
“Yeah, well…I owe your daughter my life,” Max said. “She saved me from The Triad.”
“You what!” Maddy jumped to the edge of her seat in shock.
What’s her problem? Max thought.
“You faced off against The Triad? What happened?”
Cassie arched an eyebrow and looked over at Max. “Well, I saw them in a vision killing Max, so I intervened and saved him,” she said. Max was glad she didn’t go into detail about the entire event. He still felt on edge about his near-death experience.
“Did you use magic? Did they know you were a witch?”
Cassie sat forward with a worried expression and put her hands on the table. “No, I pushed Max over the side of a bridge and we got away through the river.”
Maddy’s shoulders relaxed. “But no magic, right?”
Cassie nodded her head. “What is The Triad to you, anyway?”
“Did Max tell you about them?” her mother asked.
Cassie shrugged. “A little back at the diner, but he didn’t really go into deep details about them. He said they’re a group of trained warlocks that hunt paranormal creatures.”
Maddy rolled her eyes. “Leave it to a wolf to skip the details.”
Max couldn’t help the growl that slipped from his lips. His wolf was okay with the conversation, just not the sarcasm. God this woman is infuriating! “Sorry, I didn’t think your daughter wanted to hear that her kind were murderers.”
Maddy glared at him. “We are not all murderers. The Triad is a special force created within the witch covens to help keep peace amongst the supernatural creatures. At least that was their purpose at the beginning.”
“Yeah, now they murder my kind in cold blood.” Max growled as his eyes glowed with his inner wolf. She challenged him by making eye contact with his beast. His wolf didn’t like it one bit. His nails elongated and dug in his flesh. The smell of blood dripping from his hand filled his nose. His beast was ready for a fight and another growl escaped him, louder this time. Maddy realized the threat he presented and finally lowered her eyes to his wolf. The urge to kill consumed him. He wanted to put the woman in her place. He wanted to master her and show her who was the alpha species. But her lowered eyes showed her submission. Slowly, his wolf sat down and receded to the back of his mind. Max came back to his senses and saw Cassie glowering at him.
“What the hell was that about!”
He shook his head.
“Sorry, my other half nearly took over for a second.”
“Why? All we were doing was talking about The Triad. I mean they aren’t even here, Max. You need to get a grip!”
“Sorry…Mrs. Armel. My wolf sometimes gets the best of me.”
“No worries. We all have beasts inside that need to be controlled,” she said with a smirk. “You can still call me Maddy, by the way. Mrs. Armel is so formal and makes me think of my mother.”
“Okay.” Max bashfully lowered his eyes. He glanced over at Cassie and saw that she was still glaring at him. Great, now she thinks we hate her mother or worse. She might think we are the big bad wolf that wants to eat her. His wolf perked up at that and wagged his tail. Knock it off, you’re getting us in trouble. The golden beast lowered his head in submission with mirth dancing in his fiery blue eyes.
“Now that we have control of ourselves, can you tell me about The Triad?” Cassie asked. Maddy’s smile disappeared from her lips. She let out a sigh in frustration.
“Very well…” she said as her eyes locked with Max’s. He nodded. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath to brace herself.
“First things first, you have to understand the concept of the veil. You see 3,000 years ago we thought our world was the only one. Until a warlock names Weis Weasleton discovered the veil. Think of it like a wall that surrounds the world you’re in, leaving viewers blind to the other side. He discovered a way to create a vortex that opened a doorway through the veil. In doing this he discovered the human realm where we are right now.”
“So what does this have to do with The Triad?”
Maddy flashed Cassie a fiery glare.
“To understand The Triad, you first have to learn about how they came about. Now do you want me to continue, or are you going to interrupt again?”
Cassie sat forward in her seat and motioned for her to continue. Max couldn’t help but chuckle at the scene before him. He never took Cassie for the impatient type. However, he was still learning how to deal with her different sides as they appeared. She is such a spitfire.
Maddy cleared her throat.
“After months of experimenting, Weis stabilized the vortex and traveled to the human world regularly. He finally brought it to the elders’ attention. At first they feared the world on the other side of the veil. They didn’t understand the people or know if they were safe. So the elders sent an expedition over to the human world to study them. After they realized the humans weren’t a threat, more of our kind drifted through the vortex. Not even a hundred years later we realized we weren’t the only ones who had discovered the ability to walk through the veil.
“Supernatural creatures of all kinds started appearing in the human world. The elders weren’t happy about another world taking what we found, even though we had no right to it anyway. This led the elders to create a team of warlocks that would keep the peace and keep the supernatural creatures from taking what was ours. The team of warlocks were The Triad.
“After The Triad was born, all the covens had to supply them with troops. Think of it like a soldier race that protects the covens within our world and without. For 3,000 years things were peaceful, until recent times when a new leader took over The Triad, who believed all supernatural creatures were inferior beasts that needed cleansed from all worlds. This led mothers to give up their sons to an evil cause, and many species went extinct. I know the werewolves retreated into their world to lick their wounds.”
Maddy looked at Max with sympathy. He nodded his head in agreement.
“I didn’t know much about the witches’ history or how The Triad came about. My kind just knew the human world brought peace to our beasts and gave us a chance at being people,” Max said running his hands through his hair.
“If that is the case, doesn’t this mean the human world is like a stew pot stirred together with all kinds of creatures?” Cassie asked as she drummed her fingers on the table. “The Triad needs to back off and leave the human world to the masses. They don’t have the right to destroy any one species.”
A flash of worry cascaded across Maddy’s face. She pressed her lips into a thin line and gripped the side of the table. “Saying things like that is treason amongst our people, Cassie. So was saving Max from The Triad’s wrath. If they find out you are a witch and that you stopped them from killing a werewolf, they will hunt you down.”
Cassie sat back in her chair and rolled her eyes.
“I’m a police officer, Mom. My job is to protect those in my city. I took an oath and I intend to keep it. I don’t care about The Triad and their agenda.”
“That’s what worries me.”
Cassie reached out and took her mother’s hand into her own. She squeezed it gently to reassure her everything would be okay. “Now Max, how did your species come to the human world?”
Aww shit…I never liked history. He gulped. “Uh…I’m not entirely sure how we came here. I know our wolves don’t need any kind of spell to break through the veil. It just bends to our will when we want to enter. I think us being here was more of an accident than anything.”
“Sounds to me like you know little of anything.”
Max growled at the middle-aged woman, wanting to tear off her head. His wolf howled his agreement in his ears. Cassie rolled her eyes at the two of them. “Do you really need to needle him? We already know his wolf is on edge when it comes to you.”
“Fine, I retract my statement,” Maddy said, holding her hands up in surrender.
Max chuckled at her expression. She isn’t sorry one bit. “I know little about the history of the veil because that is the Alpha’s knowledge only.”
“Mother, stop it!” Cassie glowered at her mother without remorse.
“Okay. Okay, I’ll stop. I just don’t understand the pack mentality of these beasts. I mean wolves.”
Max rolled his eyes. Now she is just doing it on purpose. He just sat there shaking his head with a grin plastered across his face. I can see where Cassie gets her stubbornness from.
“I know little about witches, but don’t they usually keep a special spot to access the veil?”
“Yes, they do.” Maddy stood up and walked around the table. She stopped by the couch and looked at the two of them. “Well, get your butts over here.” Max didn’t think twice as he jumped to his feet to move to the living space. Cassie followed him. They stood side by side as Maddy swiped her arm across the room, removing the rug and coffee table from its center. A pentagon shape was engraved into the wood floor.
Max watched with interest as Maddy stepped forward and put her fingers into the grooves. Inch by terrible inch, she turned it clockwise. The room hummed as Max covered his ears. The sound was unbearable. He went to one knee as the floors shifted away from Maddy in an ‘x’ shape, then turned wide. Before he knew it, the floor flipped under itself, opening up into an old stone staircase. Torches burst to life along the dark entryway that descended into the earth itself.
Cassie gasped and looked about the room as light sparkled in blue and gold circles, dancing across the stone walls. She walked over to Maddy once the room had settled. Max was still trying to get a hold of himself. His wolf was whimpering inside and begging him to flee. Maddy looked at him with remorse and walked over to him. She gripped his shoulders and eased him to his feet.
“Don’t worry, the magic won’t hurt you.”
She guided him over to the staircase. He looked down into its dark depths, wondering what lay beyond the firelight. Maddy smiled and said. “Well, let me show you my world.” Cassie looked at him to see if he was okay. Together they nodded their heads and took a step towards the staircase. Max wasn’t sure about this, but he wasn’t about to leave Cassie’s side. He just hoped that he would walk out the other side with his head still intact.
Thank you for reading Chapter 13 of my Vortex Series: Book 1. Want to keep on reading? Click here for Chapter 14.
Each chapter is released on a month to month basis to my Dragon Ryder VIP Reader List. If you have missed a chapter feel free to check out the Library. The library will list all the available chapters.
Disclaimer: You are reading the first draft of this book. When the book is finished it will go through an extensive edit. It will also have a read through with my beta team. Then once completed ebook copies will get sent out to all members.