Each of the others stepped forward.
“I’m ready,” Rachel spoke in her quiet, strong way.
“I’m ready,” Elle added.
“I’m ready,” said Crina.
And, last but not least, Cynthia announced, “I’m ready, too.”
Jen smiled at them, a wicked gleam in her blue eyes.
“Do you hear that, Desdemona, last of the witches? I have so named you! Hear me now,” Jen yelled into the dark forest, the wind and thunder still rolling around her. “Your time is drawing near! We are coming. Throw back your head in your tiny victory, laugh at our short-lived defeat, but we are coming. The night will be filled with our howls, the ground will shake with the stomping of our feet! We are coming. We are coming for you, Desdemona, and death follows!”
Jen lifted her head and let out a howl worthy of an Alpha female. The others joined. And as their howls died down, for a brief moment before the silence took over, they heard howls beyond the earthly realm, howls filled with grief and triumph, pain and fear, anger and love – howls from those caught in the jaws of the In Between. They had heard their females' cries and they had answered.
“The Veil has been bound from the other side,” Cyn informed the Fae High Council.
The council members sat in their great hall, staring at the female guard before them. The air around them began to shimmer and in a single breath, standing beside Cyn, was the Great Luna.
The six council members instantly stood and each took a knee before the goddess. Cyn, whose eyes had widened and mouth had dropped open, sunk quickly to the ground.
“Great Luna, you grace us with your -” Alston began.
“Swallow the lies you are about to spew, old one,” the Great Luna growled.
Alston’s mouth snapped shut.
“I am here to ask why my children and the other supernaturals in the human realm are suffering alone, why they are preparing for a battle for earth alone, while you sit at your table, lazy and fat with power.”
She began to circle the Fae, who were still kneeling on the ground before her.
“I am here because I have united your race with my children and yet here you sit while one of your own lays imprisoned in the In Between.”
A sharp, collective intake of breath rippled across the room.
The Great Luna raised her brow. “You did not know that your brother Adam had been taken?” She paused, and the feeling in the room was that of children being lectured. “Could it be because you have wiped your hands of the problems of others? You, who are more powerful than you deserve.”
“Luna, we -” Nissa bega.
“Silence.” The Great Luna did not have to raise her voice – the power behind it did all the work. “You will hear me and you will do as I say. A war is coming. There are laws I must follow and there is only so much in which I can interfere, but a war is coming that I cannot prevent and the world needs you. You can no longer take comfort in the safety of your realm. Desdemona’s power has grown and she has bound Perizada from crossing the Veil.
“It is time, Alston, High Council of the Fae. It is time to stand against a threat that will destroy the world if it is not stopped. I charge you with its safety. Join your people, the supernaturals, and lead them. There are beings who straddle the line of good and evil – do not let Desdemona sway them. Do not let laziness and an inflated sense of entitlement be your legacy. Stand up and be worthy of the responsibility you have been given.”
Alston and the other Council members looked up the moment the Great Luna finished speaking, but she was gone. In her place was a white stone.
Cyn picked it up delicately. “Moon stone,” she announced.
Lorelle’s mouth dropped open. “She wants us to call the packs.”
Alston’s eyes narrowed as they fell upon the large white stone in Cyn’s hands, “All of them.”