It had been a glorious two months. Winter was in full swing in western Canada and a small bit of peace had finally entered the lives of the warlocks, Zeus and Jaida. Since the night of the battle they had become inseparable. They spent every moment of the day and night together. They even trained together, often allowing Anthony to join in as well.
The twins had resigned from being warlocks in America., much to the chagrin of the American Warlock Council. Both had already begun the process of applying for Canadian citizenship. Once the government realized who they were dealing with, they were more than happy to expedite both applications. If they could somehow convince the two to join the Canadian Warlock Corps, they’d have the three greatest warlocks on the planet, all working for Canada.
The new head of the Canadian Warlock Council, Jason Friend, said as much to Zeus as he tried to talk him into returning to work for the council. Zeus went to the council chambers to collect his personal belongings from his office when Jason approached him.
“Zeus, we have revamped the council and we need you on it,” Jason said.
“Sorry Jason, it’s nothing personal, but I now see the futility of being a part of such a weak organization,” Zeus responded.
“That’s a bit harsh and totally unnecessary,” Jason declared.
“Is it?” Zeus asked. “I was accused, put on trial and forced to answer the council’s allegations all while trying to manage dealing with a shift. All because a weak link, one that never should have been on the council to begin with, wanted power, control and money.”
“Yes, but Thomas is gone now, and we are ready to start anew. We can’t do it without you. The Shifter Council is more suspicious than ever. Without your backing, they are threatening to withdrawal from the treaty,” Jason pleaded.
“Ready to withdrawal? They should all be hunted down and dealt with! Where was the Shifter Council when a thousand of their shifters were heading here to kill me and my companions? They never alerted anyone, and you know as well as I do, that many shifters can’t go on the move without the council knowing exactly what’s going on. They can’t be trusted. That’s the reason we pay our spies among them so well.
“As for Thomas, of course he’s gone, I made sure of that. But what about the rest of the warlock council? It has become a retirement home for warlocks that are no longer able or willing to do their duties. If they can’t do the job, why are they dictating to the active warlocks what to do and how to do it? It’s one thing if they want to try to kill me, but they could just as easily have gone after my grandson. And for the record, Gabriel is three times the warlock I’ll ever be.
“No Jason, I’m done with the council and that’s final. Also, don’t bother trying to recruit Jaida, she’s not interested either,” Zeus explained.
“Gabriel is three times better than you? Come on Zeus, we all saw the video. You put down those shifters in the mansion like it was an afterthought. Surely he couldn’t have done better than that?” Jason asked, mystified by what the master warlock was saying.
“Did you see the aftermath of the attack outside the mansion? I took out a couple dozen shifters. Add to that a couple of very large shifters, and the White Alpha, but that’s all. It might seem impressive, but Gabriel took on almost a thousand of those shifters at one time?
“How long has it been since you were in the field Jason? Ten years? Fifteen years? Do you remember what it like to take on two or three shifters at a time? Now just imagine watching hundreds streaming over that wall and coming at you. How long would you stand your ground? A minute? Less?
“Gabriel stayed there all night. Wave, after wave, of hundreds of shifters and he never faltered, never considered giving up. It was me they were after, not him. He could have escaped any time he wanted. But in the end, he almost died. Not from shifters, but from sheer exhaustion! Yes, Jason, he’s fully three times the warlock I’ve ever been, and I couldn’t be prouder of him,” Zeus said emphatically.
Jason thought about what Zeus said. The image of hundreds of shifters pouring over the compound’s walls and the young warlock not only stood his ground, he defeated the hordes of shifters. It made Jason shudder to even consider what it must have been like.
“So, tell me, how did you finally bring her down? The video shows her trying to rip your arms out their sockets one second, then there’s a flashe of white for several seconds and then the White Alpha was on the ground dead. What actually happened?” Jason asked.
Zeus knew better than to mention that the flash was Oz re-appearing so he thought for a second.
“It was the vest I had on. Dr. Connors and my old friend Oz developed it for me to use when I was in my shifter form. On the front, there are a series of ultra-bright, blinding LED’s and the back has silver coated spines. I was able to get one arm free and activate both the lights and the spines and defeat the White Alpha,” Zeus explained.
“I would have loved to have seen that. Just looking at that beast on the monitor was enough to make me glad I’m no longer in the field, Zeus. So, if we can’t get you on the council or the female American, what about the brother, Anthony? Is he interested in working for the council?” Jason asked.
“Only he can answer that for you. I will tell him you’re interested in his services,” Zeus answered.
“Okay, okay Zeus. I was hoping it wouldn’t have to come to this, but I’ve been in talks with both the interior ministry and the Prime Minister himself. We all know that being a warlock is in your blood, same goes for the American twins. You can try to fool yourself into thinking you can just walk away from it, but we know better. You hated every minute of the last twenty years and now that you’ve gotten a taste of it again, you couldn’t walk away, even if you want to!
“I’ve been authorized to offer you a way to keep being the master warlock you were meant to be and still be free of the council. The Prime Minister wants you to consider heading up a free-lance corps of warlocks or otherwise trained professionals to deal with the worst of the worst, when it comes to matters such as rogue shifters. You will be given carte blanche in al matters assigned to you and the budget will be what you feel it needs to be, within reason of course. As an agent for Canada, you will be free from worry about any repercussions from any activities you may need to be involved in after you have shifted. The P.M. saw how in control you were and feels there is no reason to force you to be locked up every night,” Jason offered.
Zeus was genuinely stunned. It was everything he could ever ask for and more. Still, he couldn’t just say yes. Not without careful consideration and consulting with Jaida and Oz. He had learned long ago, to never consider a matter this important without talking to his mentor, Oz.
“So, I pick my team? No questions asked?” Zeus asked.
“Yes, those are the terms I was authorized to give,” Jason answered. “Let there be no mistake Zeus, I’m not happy about any of this. I respect you and your abilities, but I also fear what a ‘loose cannon’ with your kind of power could do to innocent civilians.”
“Then why are you making the offer?” Zeus asked.
“Simple, both the P.M. and the council fear the next version of the White Alpha, even more than we do a shifted Zeus,” Jason answered honestly.
So that was it! This was all about the White Alpha and others like her. The video Oz had broadcast was more effective than all the lobbying in the world would have been. Having seen how nearly invincible she was, everyone in the government was looking for a defense as well as deniability. If Zeus and his team failed, they could always say they had nothing to do with them. Typical government double-talk.
Still, it could be a once in a lifetime chance to make a real difference without the strings of the council or the government.
“I have others I need to talk to about this before I can give you an answer,” Zeus said.
“Take what time you need. We’d like to know something before the next version of the White Alpha appears. We’re all pretty much opposed to the destruction of the human race,” Jason said with a smile.
Even Zeus had to smile at the little joke. He shook Jason’s hand and headed for the compound. Dr. Connors was supposed to meet him in an hour and he wanted to talk to Oz and the twins about Jason’s proposal before the doctor arrived. In his head, he was already assembling his new “team” of warlocks. And what a team it would be…three master warlocks, a computer genius, a giant wolf, a warlock trained-Gabriel, a Breena, whatever she was and maybe even Gabriel’s father, some kind of a giant gryphon-man! The troubling part was, it might take all of them to stop the next version of Grace. Zeus knew full well what they were going up against and what it would take to stop her. He needed an edge, something to help his team and to hurt Grace. Unfortunately, he had the edge he needed, but he didn’t know it. Not yet anyway.