Young Chronicles, Book 3
Darkness cowers in the shadows. Hope rises in the light.
The moment has arrived. The Alpha must make her final stand against the Darkness. An evil her ancestors have never faced. The Young bloodline is put to its fiercest test.
Will Destiny’s Champion rise to the challenge, or will the world fall into complete annihilation?
Rising Light a contemporary supernatural fantasy, is the final instalment to the Young Chronicles Trilogy. You won't want to put it down, but will be sad when it's over.
OTHER BOOKS IN THE YOUNG CHRONICLES TRILOGY
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Taya scanned the area; the carnage of dead vampires and brutally injured Guardians were scattered around the field. It only took her a second to find the person she was looking for. Marcus. Relief filled her but only for a brief moment. Immediately, dread formed a knot in her stomach. Something was wrong. Marcus helped Duncan move Mattie away from the gore before them—the corrupted Guardian Taya had halved during her battle.
After Marcus, Duncan, and Mattie disappeared into the trees, Taya eased into an easy jog to follow them. She could feel Marcus’s concern like it was her own. When she stepped into the trees and found them, Mattie was doubled over and dry heaving as there was nothing left in her stomach. Her breathing was erratic, and she couldn’t catch her breath between heaves.
Marcus was rubbing her back. “It’s going to be okay, we’re all okay now.”
“Okay?” She stood and looked at him. “How is any of this going to be okay? Did you not see any of that?” She gestured at the field behind them. “Taya had a sword sticking out of her back! A sword! And she just pulled it out and kept going.” She pointed to where Taya had appeared and stopped when she spotted her.
“Mattie, I’m so sor—”
“Sorry? You’re sorry? You should be dead! You had a sword stuck straight through you and you just pulled it out and ran like nothing happened. So, explain to me how this is going to be okay?” Her hands were shaking, and she had to make fists to make them stop.
“I know this all seems really bad right now.” Marcus’s voice was soothing.
Mattie pulled away from him.
“I think we should get her to one of the Guardian doctors,” Taya said. She looked between Marcus and Duncan. Duncan was holding his side where he’d been stabbed several months earlier and wincing. His shirt was completely soaked, and he was paler than normal. Marcus’s lip was split, and a bruise was forming around his eye. She reached for Marcus’s face, and he grabbed her hand. “How are you two? You’re not healing very quickly.” She turned to Duncan. “We need to get you some-”
Marcus cut her off. “Don’t say it, not here.” He nodded toward Mattie.
Mattie straightened. “How are you all so calm? And who the hell are you?” She pointed at Duncan. “Why did John take you? Why would John do any of this? I know we didn’t always treat him great, but this?” Mattie clutched at her side and tried to catch her breath.
Taya looked at the field through the tree line. “Maybe I should get Domineec; he’s an empath he’ll be able to help calm her.”
“How can you be so fucking calm?” Mattie slurred her words. She swayed on her feet.
“I think she’s going to pass out,” Duncan said reaching for her but she pulled away.
Mattie struggled to get the words out. “You saw—you saw everything I did.”
Taya moved in as Mattie collapsed. “I know this all seems unbelievable, but I promise it will be explained.”
Mattie slumped, her body limp. Marcus picked her up and cradled her in his arms. “Let’s go find those doctors of yours.”
Taya nodded and led them out of the trees. The Guardians were making fast work of clearing the area. A large bonfire had been built and they were burning the dead vampires. On the opposite side of the field there were ten more on their knees, their hands behind their backs, with muzzles over their mouths and guarded by three Guardians.
Taya looked at Duncan, since out of the two of the vampires in her life he was the only one who had voiced concern about the treatment of his people.
“You all right?” she asked when she saw him eye the bonfire.
“Don’t worry about me, Sweets. I’m on your side.” He touched her arm and gave it a small squeeze. Taya spotted the broad-shouldered god of a man, Scott, speaking to one of the council members, Ishaan. He was the tactical leader.
She scanned the area as she continued to lead the others toward where she’d entered the clearing only an hour earlier, though it felt like years. Taya spotted Domineec coming toward her, and she rushed to him.
“My friend needs medical attention.” She pointed at Mattie. “She passed out.”
Domineec nodded, glanced about, then whistled to a small group gathering injured Guardians in one place. When they looked up Domineec yelled, “Tim!”
Tim jogged toward them and stopped in front of Taya. “How are you healing? Do you need help?” He reached for her and Taya stepped aside.
“My friend Mattie took a pretty bad beating. She passed out.”
Tim looked between Marcus and Duncan, then to Domineec.
Domineec put a hand on Tim’s shoulder and nodded. “They’re all right, don’t worry about them.”
Tim nodded once and gestured for Marcus to put Mattie on the ground. He knelt and dropped a small medical bag next to her head. He lifted her shirt revealing deep bruising. Her breathing appeared labored as well. Tim grabbed a stethoscope from his bag and listened. He pulled her eyes open and flashed a light in them. He pivoted on his other knee and looked at Domineec and Taya.
“She’s in pretty rough shape.”
“Can we take her to the local hospital?” Domineec asked.
“Why wouldn’t we be able to?” Taya asked. “Let’s go now.”
Tim shook his head. “There would be too many questions we can’t answer.”
“You don’t know anyone here?” Domineec asked.
“No not here. We’ll have to take her to the Fifth Temple; it will be the only place we can treat her without raising questions.”
“How far is that?” Taya asked. It had been twenty years since she’d last been there. After they had cleared out the large vampire compound and killed the wendigo. Her stay had been short because she healed quickly from her injuries.
Tim shook his head and gave a slow shrug. “Six, seven hours. We have several choppers waiting just outside the perimeter. That’s as fast as we can get her there.”
Taya shook her head trying to understand. “You can’t take her to the hospital down the street because of questions, but you have helicopters parked just outside?”
Tim lifted a hand. “There’s a cover story explaining this area is quarantined. So we can get the choppers in and out without too many questions. It all looks like a military operation. Look, we’re wasting time she doesn’t have.”
“Can she hold on that long?” Panic filled every fiber of her being. Marcus wrapped an arm around her shoulders and Domineec took one of her hands. She felt some of the panic ease.
Tim stepped away and shouted at the men surrounding the corrupted Guardians. “Bring us a stretcher and blanket.”
A minute later a man ran up carrying a stretcher and blanket. Marcus took them and he and Duncan lifted Mattie onto it. She groaned as they moved her. Tim knelt.
“Can you hear me?” he said and looked up at Taya “What was her name?”
“Mattie, can you hear me? Can you open your eyes?”
She didn’t respond and slipped back into what Taya hoped was sleep.
Domineec grabbed one corner of the stretcher, Taya, Duncan, and Marcus, the others. They jogged from the clearing as best they could without jostling her too much.
When they reached the helicopter and loaded Mattie, Taya tried to follow. A hand reached out and grabbed her arm. It was Scott.
“We need you here,” he said.
“Fuck that, I’m going with her.”
Snoops came up behind Scott. “Unfortunately, we do need you here, Taya.” He looked at Duncan who was getting whiter by the minute. His jeans were now stained dark and his shirt could no longer contain all the blood. “You, on the other hand, should go with them. They will give you what you need at the Temple.”
Duncan scoffed. “Me in a Temple full of Guardians that already hate my kind and all by myself? That’s a hard no.”
“I’m aware of your condition-”
“Condition?” he snorted. “Is that what you lot are calling it now? A condition?”
“Duncan,” Taya started.
“Yes. You are going.” She grabbed his arm and led him to the waiting helicopter. “The more you argue the longer you keep Mattie from getting the help she, and obviously you, need. Now get the hell into the bloody helicopter.”
He stared at her and she glared back. “All right, geez. But if they kill me, I’m so coming back to haunt you.”
“A vampire ghost... I just might pay to see that.”
Duncan glanced up to see Tim holding out his hand. Duncan took it and climbed in. They closed the doors and Taya and her group stepped back as the helicopter took off.
Taya felt like she wanted to collapse. The idea of Mattie not surviving was more than she could bear. Marcus wrapped his arms around her, and she gripped him tightly.
“Uh, not to disturb this tender moment,” Scott said. “But...”
Still holding onto Marcus, Taya glanced at Snoops. “What do you know?”
“Not much. Charlie’s not talking, which isn’t surprising. We hauled him off. He’s being taken to the Second Temple.”
“The insane asylum? Really? Why?”
Scott snorted. “He’s an Elder that aligned himself with a raving lunatic who commanded a vampire army. That’s pretty insane if you ask me.”
Snoops rubbed his face. “Nobody asked. But it’s the closest thing we have to a jail. We can hold him there until we figure out what he’s up to. As for this John fellow—or should we call him the Darkness?”
Taya pulled away from Marcus, “No, he’s not. He’s something else. I don’t know what he is, but I do know he is not the Darkness.”
“Well, I guess that’s something.”
“Silver linings,” Scott said smiling.
Snoops furrowed his brow and headed back to the clearing.
“Silver linings...” Taya scoffed and followed.
She heard Marcus say “I thought it was a bit of good news.”
“Right!” Scott answered.
Taya stopped next to Snoops who was talking to Trevor.
“I honestly don’t know who that would be. Personal I would ask Paul, but—” Trevor stopped short and stared at Taya. She could see the relief and fear in his eyes.
Taya gave him a small nod and smile. “I’m okay.” Those two words appeared to give him some comfort.
Snoops said, “Go to the Seventh Temple. The Keepers there will have the Young Archives for the Custodians. You will find his name and where to contact him.”
“Are you talking about Rowan?” Taya asked. “I can tell you where he is.”
“No, you can’t,” Snoops said with a hint of a smile. “Three years ago, he was moved to a Temple to complete his transition to the next Elder to the Alpha. He’s been preparing since Paul’s death. He was there.”
“What? Rowan was at Paul’s release? Why didn’t you tell me?”
Snoops raised an eyebrow. “One, it was Paul’s plan never to tell you Rowan had chosen to fully embrace the Second Life because it was never your damn business. And two, there are more important things to worry about at the moment than hurting your feelings.”
“Why do I always feel like I’m a child when I’m around you guys?”
“Because you are,” Snoops and Ishaan said simultaneously, as he stepped up to the group.
Ishaan continued, “We’re going to take the dark Guardians to the Second and the injured to the Fifth. A few Guardians will be left here to mind the fire and insure we don’t attract any further attention.”
“What about them?” Snoops pointed over his shoulder at the seven remaining vampires.
Ishaan stared at them. “If we want to keep them alive, the only place they can go is the Second. Or we can dispatch them now, throw them on the fire, and be done with the cockroaches.” His eyes moved to Marcus and no one missed the underlying threat.
“Hey,” Taya shouted stepping into his line of sight. “He was a victim to all of this as much as the rest. He has nothing to do with any of it. Marcus is one of us; he is of the Second Life and you’d best get on board with it.” The two glared at each other. She added, “And Duncan had better be well taken care of, too. If anything happens to him, I’m holding you personally responsible.” She poked Ishaan in the chest and immediately regretted it, but still she held her ground.
She was still in considerable pain from her injuries. Her legs were starting to tingle, and she hoped that meant her spine was healing.
Ishaan looked down at the finger jabbing his chest. He narrowed his eyes and clenched his jaw. “And what shall I do with them?” His voice was hard and Taya was certain he could taste blood from biting his tongue.
Taya stared at the seven vampires. She didn’t think they were high enough on the command chain to have any information. “Set them loose.”
“What?” All four men said in unison.
“Have them each followed. It’s not likely they will stick together. But one or more of them may lead us back to John, or at the very least the compound or hideout where they’re hiding out.”
Ishaan nodded. “That’s a solid plan. Scott, you’re with me.”
“Righty-ho. Catch you later, Gorgeous.” Scott stared at Marcus for a long second. “Maybe we can catch a game of rudgeball later once this settles down.”
“That’d be great.” The two smiled at each other and Scott took off to catch up with Ishaan.
Snoops snorted. “Well, if Scott approves that’s saying something.” He winced and grabbed his side.
“Are you okay?” Taya reached for him while Marcus moved to his other side.
Marcus said, “John laid into all of us pretty good. I’m assuming you, sir, are not immortal?”
“Sir?” Taya and Snoops said.
Snoops snorted again. “No, I’m not. I think it’s time for me to get to the Fifth, and by the looks of it, you should as well.”
Taya took a long look at Marcus. “The Temple will have blood for you.”
Marcus shook his head. “No, no blood. Not ever. I will heal, just slower. I do need to find Tammy and the others, though.”
“Let’s walk and talk,” Snoops said. “Taya, you will come with me to the Fifth. Marcus, I will have you taken to the Third. They’ll be able to help you find your family. We have the best world surveillance in that Temple.”
“I don’t think—” Taya started.
“You said so yourself, Marcus is of the Second Life. Therefore, he has the freedom to move from Temple to Temple like the rest of us.”
“You have no reservations whatsoever?”
Snoops’ voice filled with what Taya could only classify as gratitude. “When John abducted us last night your vampires stood side by side with Scott and fought as hard as they could to protect me and your friend. I’d trust them with my life any day.” He sighed. “I’m certain Scott feels the same, and he won’t keep his yap shut about it. Word will spread very quickly if it hasn’t already started.”
Taya felt a lump in her throat.
“I’m also certain Paul would have agreed if he’d had a chance to get to know them. Now, come on, let’s hitch a ride.”
A Guardian assigned to the cleanup ran toward them as they were climbing into a car. “ Snoops, Taya, hold up.”
“What’s wrong?” Snoops asked.
“Master Jack was hoping Taya could give some assistance to one Guardian in particular before she left.”
“Jack?” Snoops shook his head. “When did he get here?”
“About twenty minutes ago.”
Marcus leaned into Taya and whispered, “Who’s Master Jack?”
“He’s the lead medical director and a council member,” she said. “What does he need me to do?”
“You should just come with me.”
Taya shrugged. “Okay, lead the way.”
The three of them followed the Guardian back into the dead zone.