Marked (Book One of the Marked Saga)

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Attacked

Grace cried out as a blast of magefire sailed overhead. She ducked, barely missing the attack by an inch. Immediately, she retaliated, shifting into a stance as she shot a burst of magic and energy towards her opponent.

Vincent screeched high above them. He tucked his wings in close to his body, and then dived into the fray.

Grace glanced around, and though she was watching it, she still couldn’t believe what had happened. One moment, she and Basil were in her room, and the next, the mansion shook as an explosion rocked its base. They had raced outside, just as the mansion erupted into flames.

She couldn’t see Beck or Malcolm anywhere. She hadn’t seen either of them for the past couple hours, and she had assumed they were hanging out in the library, or even in the gym. But she and Basil had been fighting against their attackers for several minutes now, and there was no sign of either of them.

Grace could see Diana standing thirty feet away, a smug smile on her face. Beside her sat a sleek silver fox, it’s yellow eyes watching the chaos with its master. Rage filled Grace to her core. Rage and hatred. She wanted to encase Diana with magefire and burn her, just as she did to Ivan. Except this time, she knew what she would be doing.

Where did Diana manage to get all of these people? It was very easy to see who was a mage, and who wasn’t. Magefire was wrapped around their arms like pieces of armor, each of them shooting at Basil, Grace, and the mansion.

She heard a horrendous groaning from the house, and then she watched as half of the roof collapsed. She gaped, the magefire in her hands dying out. Vincent screeched again, and Grace heard the fox yelp in pain. Diana began screaming, and Grace turned to see Vincent and the fox locked in a battle to the death. Vincent’s talons were buried in the fox’s fur, his wings beating furiously. Diana raised a hand, aiming her magic at Vincent. Before she could, Grace shot a blast of magefire at her hand. Diana cried out, clutching her hand to her chest.

Diana turned towards Grace, a furious fire lighting her eyes. She advanced towards Grace, and began shooting magefire at her in rapid succession. Grace used a basic blocking spell that Malcolm had taught her, barely blocking each of Diana’s attacks. But, she began to grow weaker, and her spells were slower. She felt the lack of magic dragging at her limbs, and fear lanced its way through her heart. Diana was too powerful, and she wouldn’t be able to hold her off forever.

Grace cried out as her heel caught on a rock. She fell to the ground, and by the time she had pushed herself up by the elbows, Diana was hovering over her. In the light of the fire, and with anger lighting her blue eyes, she looked more like a wild animal than a person. She held her hands above Grace, magefire dancing between the fingers. She yelled and threw all of the magic she had at Grace, and all the girl could do was raise her hands in a hopeless defense.

Suddenly, a figure placed himself between Grace and Diana. He summoned a wall of magic and energy, deflecting the magefire at the last instant. Upon closer inspection, Grace saw that it was Malcolm.

She scrambled to her feet, dodding out of the way as a tall, muscular man attacked her with an axe kick. She continued backing away, dodging moves as the man advanced towards her. Malcolm was now locked in combat with Diana. They fired blasts of magic and magefire at each other, setting the grass around them ablaze.

Grace continued to dodge and defend herself from the man attacking her. Her limbs grew heavier with every movement, and she knew she would fall soon.

A huge roar shook the air, and then Basil was bearing down on them in bear form. He stood up on his hind legs, towering over the man. He roared again, and then brought his heavy forelegs down on him, killing him instantly.

“Malcolm! Grace!”

Grace spun around, and her heart sank when she saw two of the mages grab a hold of Beck. One of them drove his elbow onto Beck’s arm, and he screamed as a sickening crack filled the air.

“Beck!” Grace and Malcolm screamed. Diana pulled away, sending blasts of magefire at the three of them alongside two other mages. Before long, they had disappeared into the darkness, leaving Grace, Basil, and Malcolm to stand in the light and shadows of the burning mansion.


“Malcolm? What do we do now?”

Malcolm was sitting in the burnt out grass, staring blankly at his home. There was nothing salvageable from the mansion. Before the fire consumed all, he had used magic to transport the valuables he could, mostly grimoires, spellbooks, and irreplaceable trinkets, to a storage space he owned in London. But other than that, everything else had been burned.

And Beck… Beck was gone. He had been taken, and Malcolm had been unable to do anything about it.

“Malcolm…?”

Malcolm looked up. Grace was pressed against Basil’s side, his good arm holding her close. His left arm had been injured, and he held it close to his torso. Vincent had returned to Grace’s shoulder, his feathers ruffled and spiking everywhere. Both Grace and Basil had worried expressions on their faces. Malcolm stood, his joints and muscles aching as he straightened his limbs. He glared at the ruins of his home, and then turned back to Grace and Basil.

“We’re going to regroup,” he said. “And we’re going to go get Beck back.”

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