Welcome back to the twelve days of Christmas, fantasy style. So far, we’ve had a god with a secret, two changeling cats, three fearless hunters, and four lightning birds. If you’re just joining the story, a small estate within the mortal realm has collapsed. All twelve days relate to the rescue effort.
On the Fifth Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…Five gold rings.
Maddison drew in a deep breath and prepared herself for trouble. It came in the form of two tall, arrogantly attractive men – the human halves of two lightning birds.
In their feathered form, they were like beautiful, long billed peacocks, shimmering with red and blue. They still reflected those colours, only it wasn’t feathers now, but silky locks that flowed to the shoulder.
Rolling her eyes, she whistled to one of the nearby soldiers on duty. His eyes were rolling too, but for an entirely different reason. The young human soldier was practically salivating.
Maddison gave up waiting for him to come to attention and walked to the table topped with clothes. They weren’t only for the changelings, but right now she needed to get Landon and Lochlan covered up.
“Thanks for the assist,” she said to the twins, throwing them each a pair of pants. “We’ve got it from here.” The last thing she needed was a camp divided. The gods weren’t the only ones prone to games.
Landon donned the pants quickly, his multi-hued hair glinting as he moved. “Mad, you wound us. Where is the love?”
She could have stopped him at any time, but Maddison allowed him to wrap his arms around her and brush his cheek against hers. The twins had saved her hide once, but more than that, she understood their need for acceptance. They didn’t allow her to throw up barriers, and she didn’t allow them to hide behind theirs.
Lochlan’s arms squeezed a little tighter than his brother, and she sensed his need, so she gave him the extra time. Lightning birds could be as private as the elves, and rarely allowed in outsiders. But, like changelings, they needed touch.
“We want to help,” Lochlan said, stepping back. “And we can’t be sure the Ancher twins have had their quota of fun.”
Maddison was about to protest when she felt it, the low vibration under her feet, as though the earth was fighting against the surge of power still being channelled by the elves.
She glanced over to the only structure still standing, a four-storey block of converted flats. It was going to fall, Maddison sensed it more than saw the signs.
If it fell, it would destroy the progress they’d made on the neighbouring properties. Even now she could see the gap they had meticulously uncovered.
So far, eight people had died in the collapse, and they had saved forty-seven. The medical tents were overflowing with injured, all awaiting for safe transport to a medical facility.
That left three. Those people had fought the hardest, and now they were about to be crushed because they had run out of time.
Everything inside Maddison protested. Between them, the rescue party had so much power they shouldn’t have to lose a single person.
Yet, like pawns in a sick game, they were prevented from overstepping the rules.
Screw that. Maddison began to pull rings from her hair as she jogged towards the building. The harmless looking accessories that bound her hair were actually a conduit to her power, and a secret weapon.
She’d only had them a few months, and hadn’t experimented nearly enough, but she didn’t have time to worry about that now.
Tossing them high into the air as she moved, Maddison unleashed her magic. The rings began to expand, spinning furiously as they continued their ascent.
When they were wide enough, she let them drop. Each fell around the building, hovering above the ground as she provided a link deep in the earth.
“Holy hell, that is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen,” Landon said from beside her. The twins were serious about helping, and she was suddenly grateful they stuck around.
“What we need is a little heat, boys.” She kept her eyes on the building as she spoke. “You see the top ring. I need you to hit it with everything you’ve got.”
They didn’t say a word. One minute they were beside her, the next they were flying up in a blaze of fiery blue. Lightning crackled around them, and though it was taking all of Maddison’s concentration to hold the rings in place, she watched the brothers light up the sky.
In a focused blast, they aimed their power into the highest ring. The energy exploded, creating a polarity effect, which travelled through each of the five rings, and held the building in check.
Maddison was aware of the heightened activity around her, and knew the others had moved in to double their efforts. She ignored them, concentrating on regulating the force field she’d created with the twins’ help.
If it took every drop of her energy, she didn’t care. They would rescue the three remaining survivors, because nobody else was going to die on her watch.
Thanks for stopping by.