On the Evil Scale: Keeper of La Tecla (The Key) Book Two

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๐’ž๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“…๐“‰๐‘’๐“‡ ๐Ÿค๐Ÿฆ

๐’ขently unfolding it, I took notice the penmanship belonged to Billy from White-haven. I wondered why he sent a note; now of all times. His words read:

โ€œHello, dear girlโ€ฆ

I know weโ€™ve had our differences since our last meeting in Ireland and again I offer my deepest apologies. Mary and I will no longer participate in their rituals, but thatโ€™s not the reason for my letter today. Iโ€™ve received word from a contact of mine in the Great City, that the situation taking place there has escalated in grand proportions and spreading in every direction. The reports say that two monasteries have been destroyed, housing many refugees I sent over the years. Thank goodness though, some but not many, escaped and returned here and we are currently on our way into Scotland or back to Ireland for refuge. I just thought you should know I fear something horrible is coming and who or whatever is doing this, has great power and resources and itโ€™s only about to get worse. Also, strange flying machines and some sort of black shadowed mass seems to be scouting in a wider terrain. Please be cautious, extremely aware and always watch the skies. I hope you, your mother and all the dwellers there stay safe.


Once reading the note, I lowered my hands; my eyes studying the cobblestone ground beneath my feet.

โ€œJust when I thought this bullsh*t was over.โ€ I slurred then suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder. Growing startled I jumped in place lightly and looking up, there stood my mom with a curious expression as she pulled her hand away. Taking a deep breath, I continued, โ€œSorry. You scared me, thatโ€™s all.โ€ I quickly tucked the parchment in my pocket, keeping the contents to myself for the time being until I could figure things out first before alarming her or anyone.

โ€œEverything alright?โ€ my mom hinted to my current state of tension and demeanor.

โ€œNo. Itโ€™s not, but listen...I want you to enjoy yourself for the rest of the day. I have to go and tend to some things in the study so weโ€™ll catch up later, okay?โ€ I proposed. Leaning in, kissing her cheek I smiled then backed away but called out before I turned away, โ€œIโ€™ll tell you everything later, I promise!โ€ I waved then disappeared in the crowd and as I left my mom behind, I reached out to Axeon as I glanced at the sky, โ€œI need you!โ€

โ€œI will be waiting for you.โ€ he answered as his form slowly hovered above then flew toward the rear of the island disappearing behind the trees; Abraxas returned to my side landing in my arms

Wyatt, Nick, Justin and a few others had gathered near the garage waiting for Leonus to emerge from the cellar beneath the storage room. Wyatt waited at the top of the stairs with a set of keys held in hand belonging to the shackles still bound around his wrists. He backed for the smell of Leonusโ€™ months underground disturbed his sense of smell. He reached out his hands grabbing onto the middle chain with a gloved hand pulling the Lycynian behind him. The workers had been dismissed for two hours because the sight wasnโ€™t for their eyes so no one stood to witness the Scotsmanโ€™s walk-of-shame. Once outside, the sun peeking down blinded Leonusโ€™ blue eyes; he raised his hands covering his eyes as he stumbled forward.

โ€œBloody hellโ€ฆโ€ Justin whined as he pinched his nose for his Wraith sense of smell caught the strong whiff of Lycynian musk, damp Earth and body odor, โ€œheโ€™s the Skunk Ape more likely.โ€

Nick chuckled, familiar with the American urban-legend.

Wyatt dragged the 6โ€™6 alphaโ€™s bulk toward the hoses used for the vehicles and waving his right hand toward the valve, it quickly spun filling the hose and within seconds, Leonus was doused in heavy-harsh cold water and despite having a higher body temperature, Leonus felt a chill from the Spring air crawl across his wet skin. Once the water ceased and hose returned to its place, Wyatt reached for the chains once more, pulling him behind his form with Nick, Justin and other guards trailing behind.

โ€œWhere are we going?โ€ Leonus ordered.

โ€œHome.โ€ Wyatt answered without looking the man in the eye.

โ€œNot looking like this.โ€ Leonus pulled away from the Wyattโ€™s grasp on the chains.

โ€œThe Keeper instructed us to take you home. She certainly didnโ€™t tell us to give you the special treatment, now either you get moving...or itโ€™ll be my pleasure locking you back in that cage.โ€ Wyatt stood face-to-face with the Lycynian, โ€œYour choice, so please choose carefully or Iโ€™ll make it for you.โ€

Leonus growled flashing his red eyes since that was all he could do considering the confinement of the chains binding his willing transition. He rolled his shoulders then arched his back as he took a step away from the Demon guard.

โ€œAfter you.โ€ he mocked, gesturing at the path ahead; the chains rattled loudly from movement.

Wyatt turned his back squeezing his fists that grew warm from arcane magic wanting to be released. He sighed heavily following the path out through the gates and along the way, Leonus glanced at the homes that stretched ahead of him. Approaching the Lancaster home last on the left (or right depending on the direction youโ€™re coming from or going to) Heather stood outside their front door; her dark Auburn red hair blew lightly in a faint Spring breeze. A shawl covering her shoulders swayed as she approached the gate leading onto their property. Leonus felt ashamed having his beautiful and loyal wife seeing him in such a state; he avoided making eye contact as he listened to whispers from neighbors peeking out their doors and windows.

Nick and Justin instructed them to mind their own business and upon receiving those instructions, they adhered; their doors and curtains closing without argument but you knew thereโ€™d be gossip.

โ€œLeonus, my loveโ€ฆโ€ Heather rasped as her hands touched his face but he pulled away.

Wyatt released his grasp on the chains connecting the shackles but left them in place bound around the mansโ€™ wrists. Wrapping the chain in a curled heap, he brushed shoulders with Leonus who turned questioning about the shackles.

โ€œOh, no they stay on.โ€ Wyatt grinned arrogantly, โ€œAnd if youโ€™re worried about how they look, wellโ€ฆโ€ he approached the man and waving his hands over the metal shackles, their appearance changed into leather gauntlets that appeased the Scotsmanโ€™s taste, โ€œthere you go. And donโ€™t even think about trying to cut them off because they may look like leather, butโ€ฆโ€ he tapped the surface and they made a metallic clank against Wyattโ€™s knuckles, โ€œtheyโ€™re still metal. Welcome home. Heatherโ€ฆโ€ he nodded respectfully in her direction then turned away, walking down the trail toward the square.

โ€œYou f*cking magic-fingers little twat!โ€Leonus groaned.

โ€œLeonus, please...come inside.โ€ Heather pleaded, placing her hands on his back.

He turned to her wanting to say so much but studying her beautiful-tired face, the words wouldnโ€™t form. He huffed then scampered into the house ahead of her without a kiss or sign of affection. Heatherโ€™s eyes filled with tears as she wrapped the shawl around her shoulders in a tighter fit then turned, entering her home where she could hear her husband stomp around the kitchen looking for his secret stash of Scottish whiskey but she had poured it out, not wanting it in the house. He complained in low whispers as he broke a row of glasses freshly washed that sat on the counter dishmat. He leaned against the kitchen sink listening as footsteps entered the home. Staring at a reflection in the glass panels of the cabinets, he watched as Heather closed the door and hung her shawl on the hook. Before he listened to her soft voice he stormed down the hall to the bathroom slamming the door.

He stared at his feet watching as the filth from the past four months turned the water dark as it swirled down the drain. He scrubbed every inch until his skin turned red. He stared at the gauntlets unaffected by the water and when attempting to remove them beneath the hot steam, a spark of electricity shocked his finger tips in defense. He groaned then turned the showerhead off and when stepping out of the shower, Heather sat on the toilet waiting for him. He felt uneasy and disgruntled by her presence considering how things had been between them. Before his hands could reach the towel, Heather already held one in her hands and standing to her feet, she began drying her husbandโ€™s muscular frame dry. Stroking his back with the cloth, she gave kisses in between then standing before him rubbing his chest, she stared into his blue eyes. They studied each otherโ€™s face for what felt like forever then dropping the towel, Heather wrapped her arms around his shoulders and she gave into her desires for the man she loved more than anything. It was rough but she didnโ€™t mind as he carried her down the hall to their bathroom.

As they laid there holding one another, Heather remained silent as she stroked her hands along his chest while feeling his hand run down her spine as the sheet covered only their lower torsos.

โ€œWhat brought this on?โ€ Leonus questioned, continuing to feel the curves of her back.

โ€œI missed my husband and considering everything thatโ€™s happened, I wanted you to know that Iโ€™ll always be yours.โ€ she answered.

โ€œWhy does that sound like a goodbye?โ€ Leonus scoffed as he adjusted the pillow beneath his head, โ€œHeatherโ€ฆโ€ he glanced down at her hearing her silence.

โ€œItโ€™s not, my love...itโ€™s not.โ€ she stroked his beard then sat up, showing more of her love in ways that pleased the Scotsman greatly.

She wanted peace between them before she and her sons left the Isle, even if it meant staying quiet and performing her duties as wife. But regardless, she was going to keep her independence and stick to her decision but wanted Leonus to think everything was settled between them. Although, she knew he was smarter than that so sheโ€™d have to play her cards very carefully.

I walked the stretch of road back to the manor and with the clean-crisp air with the scents of food from the passing homes, flowers and grass, I felt a calmness rush over me before worry wiped the sensation away. Abraxas remained silent as he released low pur-like roars. Venturing upstairs to the study and down to Axeonโ€™s cavern, he waited for my presence in all his magnificence; his massive wings stretched out and his head held high. He released a loud roar that vibrated through the cavern and waiting for its echo to fade, I approached. Abraxas flew from my arms and landed on a nearby boulder as I held my hands out, making contact with his snout.

โ€œI know what news you have received for I have seen these monstrous things!โ€ Axeonโ€™s voice echoed in my mind, โ€œThey are growing nearer every moment on each passing day.โ€

โ€œAnd what have you seen that Billy hasnโ€™t?โ€ I inquired curiously.

โ€œMuchโ€ฆโ€ Axeon replied bluntly, โ€œmuch that should not be ignored or easily dismissed.โ€

โ€œWhat should I do? I canโ€™t see whatโ€™s coming. How do I prepare?โ€ I shrugged.

โ€œIn time you will and I will be there to assist you. But now, you must warn all that dwell here of what is to come. You will find the words and means to do so and never have the attitude that you are not ready, for that is when your enemies will find your weaknesses and use them against you. And you will be receiving visitors of whom will be extremely beneficial to the war to come. Now goโ€ฆโ€ he nodded his head closing his eyes before backing away.

I watched as his height grew; towering over me in elegance and grace. I smiled, admiring his beauty, remembering when I first met him then turned away, knowing exactly what I had to do and how to proceed. Once returning to the study, I began. Dialing a series of numbers, Derek, Nick, Jon, Caleb, Wyatt, Justin and Erik answered their phones simultaneously and upon requesting their presences, they appeared; seconds apart after the calls ended. All of them sitting around, the environment was solemn as I could see the curiosity on their faces.

โ€œWhatโ€™s HE doing here?โ€ Erik complained, gesturing at Derekโ€™s presence.

โ€œYeah, hi...HE has a name. Use it?โ€ Derek snapped with a tilt of his head.

โ€œHey...thatโ€™s enough!โ€ I lectured, โ€œSit down!โ€ my voice grew agitated as my eyes watched the young Demon and Lycynian sit far from each other.

โ€œWhatโ€™s up?โ€ Caleb asked, shifting in his seat.

โ€œThis isnโ€™t about something Leonus has done, is it? Because if it is, I wasnโ€™t there.โ€ Derek muttered sarcastically.

โ€œNo.โ€ I answered with a grin because his sarcasm was appreciated in an attempt of breaking the tension, then quickly relayed what the note revealed, โ€œEach of you should read it for yourselves.โ€ I handed it to Jon who passed it down until they all read Billyโ€™s words and afterwards, they grew a better understanding of the situation.

โ€œWhat do you need us to do?โ€ Nick asked, โ€œGo into the Great City?โ€

โ€œWhat!? No! Absolutely not! I asked you here, all of whom I can trust to spread the word among all who are warriors; doesnโ€™t matter if theyโ€™re Wraith, Lycynian, Demon or human. I need them all to meet me outside in front of the manor, ASAP. Somethingโ€™s coming and I want us to be prepared for it.โ€ I stood in front of the desk leaning against its ledge.

โ€œOf course.โ€ Erik replied.

โ€œAnd what makes you think the mutts will listen to us?โ€ Caleb questioned as he stood, adjusting his gun holsters strapped around his hips and upper thighs.

โ€œCalebโ€ฆyouโ€™re a smart Wraithโ€ฆbe creative!โ€ I smiled, knowing heโ€™d do just that, โ€œBut to make things a little more...calmer in this particular situation, go to your own and speak with them.โ€

โ€œGo to our own?โ€ Justin asked.

โ€œShe means Demons go to Demons, Wraiths talk to Wraiths...you get the idea?โ€ Derek muttered.

โ€œNo sh*t, really?โ€ Erik interrupted, โ€œWhy donโ€™t you just heel with the other flea-infested mutts that came with you and leave this to the rest of us. Hmm?โ€

Derek stood as did Erik, face-to-face as if wanting to engage in a skirmish. The others present were ready to step in but I shook my head allowing this to play out without interruption. Derek eyed the 5โ€™8 young man before him then scoffed, backing away. In a low tone he tormented,

โ€œSorry, kid. But my fightโ€™s not with you. Besides, even if it were, thereโ€™s not much of you anyway.โ€ he referred to Erikโ€™s average height, โ€œGrow a few inches then weโ€™ll seeโ€ he mocked then turned to me, โ€œAre we done?โ€

โ€™Yes.โ€ I cleared my throat through a chuckle, โ€œThank you, Derek. Remember, do it calmly. I donโ€™t need panic.โ€

My friends and Derek nodded then left the study leaving me behind to pace nervously. I glanced over at Zanz and Abraxas continuing to playfully chase each other around. Catching their cheerful moment; oblivious to everything taking place, took my mind off things momentarily but the feeling became a past memory; replaced with worry. I made a promise to myself that Iโ€™d overcome insecurities so now Iโ€™m going to keep that promise. Plus, I have finally learned whom I can truly trust and whom I canโ€™t.

Hours passed and Caleb had flyers printed out in various colors; he, Erik, Jon and Nick passed them out quickly reinforcing the verbal instructions. Those who had shops, stores and even vendor stands in the square, closed them down. Not knowing the situation, they grabbed their weapons. Some possessed swords, daggers and guns; others carried bows and arrows, clubs and maces. Not to mention axes, spears and shields. Considering the era, everyone wielded bladed weapons with guns thrown in among them. The sight for some was powerful and majestic, watching as warriors of different backgrounds, skills and ethnicities, marched toward the manor.

โ€œWhatโ€™s going on!?โ€ Leonard shouted from his blacksmith shop.

โ€œThe Keeper has summoned all warriors.โ€ a black man in his late 30s replied in a rough English accent handing Leonard a flyer he removed from his pocket.

Leonard read the flyer, nodding as he returned it.

โ€œInteresting.โ€ Leonard mumbled.

โ€œCan you fight, Sir?โ€ the man asked, not knowing Leonardโ€™s past; being a skilled Hunter, specializing in tracking and killing Lycynians.

โ€œI forge them, ladโ€ฆI donโ€™t use them.โ€

โ€œA blacksmith that forges weapons, yet doesnโ€™t know how to yield his own work?โ€

โ€œI never said I didnโ€™t know how to use them.โ€ Leonard frowned, โ€œBe on your way now, lad. Donโ€™t wanna be late and keep the young Keeper waiting now. Go onโ€ฆโ€

The man continued on his way; glancing back at the blacksmithโ€™s shop. Leonard fiddled with a towel he held in his hand, thinking back; flashes of his past playing through his mind like an old film. He closed his eyes taking a breath before turning away, pushing the thought aside. He returned to work, crafting, hammering and melding pieces of an iron gate together.

As Lycynians passed Leonusโ€™ home, Heather came from inside, standing near the door, watching as they passed.

โ€œWhatโ€™s going on?โ€ she asked softly.

โ€œI donโ€™t know.โ€ Leonus groaned, โ€œThe girl must have done something alarming.โ€

โ€œLeonus, my love...please donโ€™t. It must be important if all warriors it seems, are heading up to the manor.โ€ she studied the crowd passing with weapons on their person, โ€œWill you be joining them or should I prepare your dinner?โ€ she continued without argument.

He glanced down at her, confused by her sudden calmness. He frowned then heard familiar voices and raising his gaze toward the road, Derek and Nathan strolled by. He scampered toward his fence of his property and carefully leaning on the iron bars he beckoned them over,

โ€œWhy is everyone armed!? Is there a rebellion?โ€ he pestered anxiously.

โ€œThe Keeper called for warriors and after what happened months ago between you and her, I donโ€™t think that includes you.โ€ Derek answered with disgust, eyeing the man with distaste.

โ€œMaybe sheโ€™s putting you on trial.โ€ Nathan mocked over his shoulder as he strolled head.

Derek scoffed as he trailed behind the young man, leaving Leonus standing there watching as their forms grew smaller. He clenched his hands on the fence unsure if he should abandon his family but turning around, there stood Heather in the doorway holding his sheathed sword. He tilted his head in confusion wondering why she supported him all of a sudden. Glancing down at his sword in her hands, she reached out his right hand placing the sheath in it. She smiled stroking his beard then turned away, closing the screen door. He sighed heavily then turned, rushing out the gate and down the road meeting up with Derek and Nathan.

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