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  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
    astone2292
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Love in the Shadows - 1. Chapter 1: Dark Discoveries

Vincent Bolton released a loose sigh as he placed the last jar of store-branded spaghetti sauce on the shelf. Hearing the subtle collision of glass meeting metal made his eyes close, wondering how many more times that sound will happen tonight. He brushed his medium length, dirty-blonde hair out of his face, and pulled out his phone, and confirmed that, in fact, his shift just started an hour ago. Vincent mentally groaned at the concept of doing this for another seven hours. Turning to break down his box, he slips away to the all-familiar recap of how he came to work at a grocery store in the middle of Kentucky.

Rumor came that Stefan was in the state. The goal is simple: study and practice affinity, find Stefan, and kill him. Vincent’s eyes darkened as the scene from seventeen years ago swept his memories, as the slender mage slayed his mother and father, as if they were mere toys. The mage came looking for something, ‘precious’ or ‘powerful.’ His mission was filled with failure and spilled blood of non-magical folk. Stefan turned to the boy.

Little Vinnie, as his parents called him, faced the steel-gray eyes of the murderous man. Tears rushing down the boy’s face, he cried out an uncontrollable sob. He didn’t understand why his mother and father lay motionless on the floor, and how this mysterious man made flames appear in the palm of his hand. One thing was for certain, and that was this man caused these bad things to happen. Vinnie gathered up his rushing emotions, and charged at the intruder.

“Go away! Get away from my mommy!” Vinnie babbled out under the tears and mucus running down his face. He threw punches as hard as he could at the man’s legs. His fists grabbed Stefan’s leather trench coat, and wildly thrashed his arms about to no avail.

Stefan stared at the boy with his cold eyes. He placed his hand on the boy’s head, and pushed him away. The mage kept his eyes on the child as he turned and walked out the door into the night. Stefan collected his thoughts. The boy will follow, there is no need to spill more blood tonight. And the slender man stepped out of the door frame, and vanished before Vinnie’s eyes.

Vinnie couldn’t believe that the man disappeared. He ran to the doorframe, and frantically scanned the outside of the house. The boy’s mind had enough. Ten minutes ago, he had his whole world. And now it’s gone. He looked back at the door frame, and Vinnie caught his breath. Wisps. Little wisps of smoke. Vinnie scrambled to get closer and see more detail. Moving his hand over the wisps, they flowed in the gentle breeze. This isn’t smoke. It’s darkness. That guy disappeared into darkness. What kind of guy can do that?

Looking up in the starry night sky, the nine year old boy made a solemn promise as he closed his eyes.

When opening his eyes, twenty-six year old Vincent returned to his grocery store.

I’m going to kill that man. No matter what it takes.

***

Mason Wilson pulled into a parking spot halfway down the parking lot of the Greenthumb Grocery. He didn’t usually shop here, but it was pretty late and his usual grocery was already closed. Mason exhaled out of his nose as he pictured the long lines at the one or two registers that were probably open. He hated waiting. On the bright side, his long-time friend, Dave works here and they could chat for a bit.

A smirk crawled onto Mason’s face, and opened the door to his 2010 Toyota Tundra to climb out. Shutting the door, and walking around to admire his newly acquired truck. The grille was black. The rims were black. The interior, the body, and everything that could be painted or upholstered, was black. It was love at first sight when Old Man Richards said it was up for sale. To Mason, it screamed manly.

And his wolf wanted it.

The 6’ 3” 27 year-old man started his walk towards the entrance. Mason stooped lower to see himself in the side-view mirror. His light brown eyes followed the neatly trimmed and full beard that ran his jawline. Roaming his hands through his short brown hair to keep it nice and spiky, the wolf wanted to make sure the wind didn’t mess up his devilish good look.

He surveyed the patio awning that showcased the summer furniture and large bags of mulch, and housed the video rental kiosk and metal propane cabinet. Laughter came from the darker corner, as Mason turned his head to the other side of the building, and saw three people sitting on a picnic table.

Workers, most likely. Break time. Mason shifted to his golden wolf eyes to see if he recognized any of them. A very standard-build guy in his 40’s. An elderly lady in her 70’s. And Dave. Smokers. Dave needs to curb that habit. Mason chuckled to himself and made his way toward his best friend. Can’t hang out long, those cigarette fumes burn my nose like a bitch.

Almost instinctively, Dave turned his head towards his upcoming buddy and unveiled a warm smile. “Mace! What’s going on man? Haven’t seen you out here in a few weeks!”

Hands were outstretched and grasped in a firm handshake. “Stopped in, your store is the only one open 24/7 in town. Surprised you and your cigarettes haven’t burned it down yet.” The other workers snorted and laughed at their boss being made fun of.

Dave’s brows flatlined and flicked his cigarette to relieve it of its ashes. “Asshole. Would you believe that I’ve been cutting back? Down to smoking just three a day.” A smile came across both men. “What’cha coming in for, Mace?”

“Just a few things. Bacon, eggs, stuff for spaghetti, and a couple odds and ends. What’s with you, don’t you usually work the dayshift?”

A deep breath left Dave’s nose as the six foot man folded his arms. “Yep, but we got a couple newbies that need their hands held. Didn’t get the memo when stocking groceries became rocket science.” Mason bellowed a hearty laugh, imagining some high school kids fumbling around, acting clueless. “I won’t hold ya up. Go on in there, I’ll be clocking in shortly.”

Mason waved as he walked away towards the entrance. Walking into the slightly unfamiliar store, the big man grabbed one of the tacky green shopping carts, and pushed it into the produce section that greeted every shopper. He pushed past the greenery and headed to the bakery. The lycan male was always a meat, potatoes, and sandwiches kind-of-guy. Mason smiled to the bakery lady, who was placing frozen rolled dough onto trays. Fresh. That’s a laugh! Even though they were frozen, the aroma of bread baking was intense, and Mason loved it. Mason stopped and took a big whiff of the department.

His eyes shot open. He smelt the bread, but there was something there. Something that never crossed his nose. Mason’s heart started beating, and his eyes were begging to shift to aid him in his search. Abandoning his cart, he prowled onward in the store, passing the meat department. No time, need to find it. Need it now! Urgency moved to his feet, as his wolf was knocking on the door to his mind. No way. It’s here! Has it always been here?

Mason picked up his pace, walking like a man on a mission. He walked down the store, side-eyeing down every aisle until he found it. Patience was running thin as he was almost to the end of the store. Mason looked up, saw that he had a couple aisles left to search. It has to be here, the smell is strong. His eyes shifted amber-gold without him meaning to, as he gazed down aisle eight. The canned food and pasta aisle.

The smell accumulated. It’s here! Mason carefully stopped before going down the aisle, and peeked around the corner. Down the aisle, sat a pallet of boxes and plastic-wrapped cases of spaghetti sauce, a cart filled with broken down cardboard.

And the most beautiful man that Mason has ever laid eyes on. They widened as he began stalking the only person that mattered in the store. The boy was wearing a vibrant red t-shirt and black pants, with yellow active sneakers. He couldn’t have been taller than 5’ 8”, and, if sopping wet, maybe 160 pounds. From what Mason could see on the man’s side, his left eye showed dedication in his work, with slight purple discoloration under them. The man has a chin strap that hasn’t been trimmed in quite some time. He was sporting a pair of black, thick-rimmed, plastic glasses that made him look intelligent. Mason lowered his eyes to find his new object of obsession. The black pants were nice and snug on the man’s behind. His ass is subtle, but Mason knew that it would be perfect wrapped around his manhood.

A growl emitted from Mason’s throat. The sexy man’s head nodded up, and began turning Mason's way. Quickly turning away from the aisle, the shifter began getting his breath under control. Short and sexy as fuck.

He’s mine. He’s my mate. All mine!

Air. I need air. Now! Mason rushed back towards the entrance. Groceries be damned, more important matters are afoot, but he needed to breathe and think. Nearly out of the store, Mason needed out, and he wasn’t afraid to brush past anyone. He smelt the outside air as he collided with Dave.

The stumble almost caused Dave to fall back. “Mace, what’s going on? I smelt your panic from ins…” Mason glared in Dave’s eyes with his golden pupils. Oh, fuck! Something either pissed him off, or I magically did. Either way, I gotta talk to him.

But Mason spoke first. “You. Follow. Now.” His voice sounded like it came from the deep pits of hell. Dave dipped his head to the side and followed his Alpha, and lit up another cigarette. He knew he was going to need it. Dave could barely keep up with Mason and his brisk pace as they reached the black truck.

The Alpha did an about face, and stared down the Beta shifter with his golden irises. “Who is the man working on aisle eight. Short, glasses, light beard. Tell me now.” Every muscle in Mason’s body was in overdrive. It is taking every ounce of willpower in his body to prevent the Alpha from going back in the store and dragging that sexy man somewhere dark and secluded.

“Mace, what did Vincent do to you? Whatever he did to piss you off, it’s done and I’ll fire him. Just need ya to…” Dave was going to tell him to calm down, but got the exact opposite.

Mason grabbed Dave by the shoulder, putting an intense pressure on his Beta, and got face to face. Dave could smell the anger that emitted the eyes, the hot air coming out of the nose and shifted fangs.

“You say one word to my mate, and I will gut you like a lamb! You got that, Dave?” Mason made his intentions clear, as he stared at his bewildered friend. Mason blinked, and realized what he just said, and pushed his wolf down. “Dave, I’m sorry. I-I didn’t mean to threaten you.” He reached out and grabbed Dave’s arm. Mason let out a large sigh, “I walked in, and I smelt him. He smelt like lilies at a creek bed. I know he’s mine. He’s mine, Dave.”

A wave of relief rushed over Dave, as he chuckled and clapped his hand on Mason’s back. “Congratulations, man! I am so happy that you found your mate. No hard feelings, I didn’t know.” I just told him that I was going to fire his mate. I’m lucky to be alive right now! “So did you introduce yourself to Vincent? Or do you want me to help with that?”

Mason looked at Dave like he was just given a baby pup. Vincent. That is his name. “You can help me get set up with Vincent? Dave, I can’t repay you. What’s he like? Do you know what food he likes?” Mason’s eyes widened in thought, then quickly narrowed them as he looked Dave in the eye, “What time does he go on breaks?”

Dave bent over laughing at what he was hearing. “Mace, Mace! Slow down man. One at a time, and I’ll tell you all I know.” Mason leaned over to gather all the information on his mate.

***

Well, tonight’s been interesting. Dave went on break. Five minutes later, and a big mountain of a man entered the parking lot. Then this same man moves in the store, stops, then makes one hell of a bee line for me. Vincent’s mind was moving a million miles an hour. His first ward at the bakery was breached, followed by his second personal ward that covered the aisles on both sides of his. Damn, man moves fast!

***

The mage was well versed when it came to a fight. His affinities blended together well. Vincent became very adept in his clairvoyant abilities, beginning at the age of eleven. Putting up wards that alerted movement to him were easy. He was then able to control his eyes to establish a mental sight ward, a supernatural security camera at sixteen.

At twenty years old, Vincent became one of the lucky few mages to acquire a second affinity: frost. Spending days experimenting with the power, and nights studying dusty books in libraries, he rapidly grasped how to control it. Pushing out with his hands in different velocities, he can summon frost or ice in light powders, or chunky hail at high speeds. After a week of playing around, he can focus the hail into larger forms, and refined shapes. Months later, hail became sharp swords, bulky staves, and delicate daggers.

Then, on a pitch black night, two short years ago. Vincent was studying hard with a pile of books in a local library in Arkansas. He got some bogus rumor on Stefan’s location, and rushed to the library to learn more. To become stronger. Frustrated, unable to understand the concepts and hypotheses on forced learning of other affinities, Vincent stormed out of the small library and began his walk to his apartment he rented on a weekly rate. His anger circled around and around again in his mind, how he couldn’t force his body to learn a new affinity. Vincent picked up the pace little by little, until he was running down the sidewalk. Tiring out, he gave one last burst of speed, closing his eyes, and shouting at the top of his lungs! Winds flowing past his body, Vincent just wanted to avenge his family.

After running for another minute, the young man slowed to a halt with his hands on his knees, catching his breath. I can’t beat his darkness with just clairvoyance and icy daggers. I need more! A stern sigh came from Vincent’s nose, and straightened up his back to see...not the state of Arkansas. In the place of the small, woodsy town of 3,513 hickfolk, was the hustle and bustle of New York, New York. Eyes widened, breath shortened, Vincent began looking himself over for a clue. A double take was needed as he looked to his shoes. Smoke. Darkness. The same as that damned night my parents died!

Vincent took several weeks off from magical studies. The conflict within himself demanded all spare energy. He possessed the very magic that killed his family. The mage blamed the Gods, Fate, and Destiny for days, but upon further meditation, he realized that he was given power. Power that could vanquish Stefan.

It didn’t take Vincent long to figure out he needed to bottle his anger, and learn how to release it in small spurts. The only problem with the power is that it came with one environmental requirement, something that no other affinity asked for: the user must be touching some sort of shadow. In more detail, the user must stay in the shadows to continue to use it. Once that matter is met, the mage could move just under the speed of light, and become ethereal in the process. Although, Vincent’s further studies and success in the matter didn’t make him enthused about his newfound power.

The shadow affinity. Regarded as the only dark art in the magical world. Mages could either earn this affinity by devoting themselves to a negative morality, by doing evil deeds in the world. Or it could be thrust upon them by random chance, but that chance was beyond slim. Less than half a percent, upon the already slim two percent of humans developing an affinity in the first place. Mages gossiped and rumored about that these afflicted mages were devil worshipers, destined losers, and eventually, outcasts.

Vincent never saw his power that way. He didn’t gain it from evil morality. It was from frustration. He never harmed someone of ill intent. It took him a long couple of weeks to come to an ultimate conclusion. And the second goal in his life came to fruition: he was going to make the shadow affinity something to be proud of.

Combining all three of these affinities, Vincent could fight any opponent. Search, slash, and sneak. He can perfect his affinities. He can kill Stefan.

***

The hairs stood up on the back of his neck, reminding the mage of the current dangers around. The man is watching me. Waiting for me to make a move. Vincent decided to put his clairvoyance through an exercise. He knew the guy was watching from the left, so Vincent closed his right hazel eye. Never done this, but let’s try it. After a controlled breath as he placed a jar on the shelf, Vincent opened his right lavender eye. Using his power, he created a sight ward cloud above his aisle in the rafters. He positioned it just outside the aisle to get a good vantage point of his new stalker.

Vincent was impressed. A cut above the usual mercs Stefan sent his way. Tall, dark, brooding, and handsome. How much did this guy cost ya, Stef? Am I starting to be a problem for you, old man? What Vincent didn’t understand was the fact this guy was just watching. Waiting. Lurking.

Not that he didn’t mind. The stalker was handsome, and if the guy likes what he sees, that can make it easier to dispose of him. Just in case the guy tried something, Vincent kept part of his shoe under the shelving unit, stepping into the shadow. He moves, I disappear into the darkness. You aren’t the only shadow mage now, Stefan...

His eye was beginning to hurt after a minute of the stalker just standing there. Vincent had to maintain control of his facial emotions, or he would be tipped off. He continued to move his hands, pulling forward jars to the edge of the shelf. I need to make it seem like I’m still doing work.

A growl came from the corner of the aisle, and Vincent re-solidified his concerns, but lost his mental grip when he slightly moved his head toward the man in hiding. Looking through his sight ward, the man hid behind the end-cap of the shelf. For the first time, in a very long while, Vincent’s heart sank in fear. The man’s eyes glowed an amber gold.

Alpha wolf shifter. Fuck! This won’t be an easy fight. Should I call for Dave? Vincent knew his boss was a shifter, and he let Dave know he was a mage that knew some of the clairvoyance and frost affinity powers. They kept each other's secrets, but Vincent couldn’t let his boss know everything. Dave was pretty strong, but Vincent was doubtful that both of them could make it out of a fight unscathed. The mage focused all emotion on his lavender eye, and keeping it open while maintaining complete control. The wolf took a deep breath and began his trek back towards the meat department, then the bakery, then produce, then the exit.

What? You’re just going to leave after you found me? Pussy. Vincent kept his sight ward moving through the rafters, tailing the retreating lycan.

What Vincent didn’t expect was that the mystery wolf runs into Dave. And Dave leans his neck, and follows the wolf outside. Vincent gasped and lost control of his eye, reverting it back to hazel. It took a few seconds for his breath to get caught up. That took a little too much energy. How does Dave know this wolf? Dave couldn’t be a spy, I literally met the dude as I stopped in this shithole town a month ago.

Vincent didn’t have time to worry about details. He quickly walked through the nearby double doors to the back dock. Walking became running, as he pushed through the emergency exit door that was unlocked and unarmed. Dave, if you’re crossing me, you really need to quit smoking your cigs out here. Once his foot hit the darkness, Vincent flew into the shadows along the building wall, leading up to the roof. He re-solidified and leaned out over the edge of the store roof, searching for Dave and his partner. Finding two guys the size of football players in an empty parking lot was easy.

Both wolves were in a heated discussion near a black truck halfway down the lot. Unfortunately, clairvoyance doesn’t work with audio, so Vincent just has to watch for physical clues to happen. Emotions were all over the place with these two: anger, fierce anger, misunderstanding, happiness. Vincent kept his eyes on both guys, but his attention wanted to go completely to the Alpha wolf. C’mon, Vinnie. Sure, he’s smoking hot, but he may be trying to kill you… oh, fuck it! Vincent got a good view earlier of him, but extra surveillance doesn’t hurt. He stared at the bigger man for half a second longer.

What a handsome face! Cute beard stubble, pretty stoic facial details, spiky hair that screamed for hands to be run through. Big guy that looks like he works out. I love a big guy that works out. Vincent admired his stalker. He wished that they could have met at a corner bar or in an alleyway. The mage blinked and felt that tingle go down his arms through the light hair along his forearms. Vincent looked up to the Alpha wolf’s eyes.

The Alpha was gazing a hole though Vincent with his amber eyes.

Fuck me! It’s like he knew I was looking at him. Vincent panicked and retreated behind the edge of the roof. Gotta go. Get back inside and just pretend to be a wallflower. The small mage retraced his steps back to his aisle, and collected himself along the way, prepping for the fight of his life.

Vincent quickly threw some precautionary wards around his aisle. Alright, he probably can’t keep up with me if we take the fight outside in the dark. I can use my frost daggers to get in close, then get out. Guerilla tactics.

“Vincent!” His name getting called snapped his thoughts. Vincent looked over to Dave. How did you get around that ward? He must have been in the area before I cast the spell. He was smiling. Why are you smiling? “How’s the aisle going? Everything good?” Dave’s face showed concern, but Vincent saw the thin layer of nervousness below.

Vincent decided to smile, and walk up to Dave. Gonna leave it all on the table. What’s the worst? A fight that I can run from? “Dave, it’s going good.” He got up in Dave’s face and whispered in his ear, “Back-dock. Now.” And walked towards the double doors. He didn’t need clairvoyance to know Dave was confused and pissed.

Dave followed the little guy through the double doors with his head down, wondering how many more times tonight he was going to get bossed around. He chuckled and looked up, and didn’t see Vincent. Puzzled, he looked down the hallway to the right, then walked up further to the hallway to the left. “Vincent? Where’d ya go…”

His sentence cut short, Dave felt a small arm with intense pressure pull him around to the hallway wall. His back slamming against the wall, Dave got his arm free, ready to let a punch fly with all his might. His body went as cold as an icy dagger pressed against his neck. Dave’s eyes flashed to the dagger, followed the arm, all the way to Vincent’s dark gaze. The wolf’s eyes squinted as he tried to deduce why his Alpha’s mate was holding a magical blade to his neck.

What a crap scenario. I could get sliced open here! Or I could lay hands on my Alpha’s mate, then I’ll really get sliced open by Mace and his oversized claws. Well, time to do my job. “Vincent, what is this all about? Whatever is going on, we can talk this out.”

Vincent, as disarming as his slightly high pitch man voice could be, it was just as scary as Mason's Alpha voice. “Hate to do this Dave, but I need answers. And you’re going to give them to me. Is that okay, boss?”

Dave studied the little man quickly, breathed a snarl before nodding an affirmative. His stance is slightly off balance, favoring his left foot. When I need to, I can grab the wrist, and kick his feet out from under him. Shouldn’t hurt him too badly, and, I pray to the Gods, Mace would understand. “Alright, Vincent. What do you need to know?”

“I need to know who the Alpha shifter is that stalked me on my aisle, how you are connected to him, and what both of your intentions are towards me.” Dave’s eyes widened in shock. He felt stupid. Really stupid. He was a Beta wolf, an advisor to an Alpha. And he didn’t see a 5’ 6” runt with glasses as the kind of guy to know this much about the lycan world, let alone use some wicked magic tricks to hold him hostage. He needed to word things properly to get the dagger away, and to make sure things with Mason work out well.

“The Alpha that was in here is of no threat to you, Vincent. I need you to know that. I’m his best friend, and I’m his Beta wolf. He came in to get groceries, and he got...a little distracted. By you.” Dave noticed Vincent’s eyes being surprised by this news. “He got a little nervous when you were turning around, and bolted like a scared little puppy. He ran into me on his way out, and had me follow to see about…about…” Dave stumbled on his words. Purposefully.

Vincent re-positioned his knife against the wolf’s neck. “About what Dave?” Dave looked into the small man’s face. He could tell that his eyes were itching for that big detail.

Dave let a dry chuckle out of his throat, and smiled at the serious face. “Well, he may be a big bad wolf, but he certainly can act like a teenager.” A sigh left the wolf’s mouth. “My Alpha, Mason Wilson, would like to ask you out on a date.”

A date. A date? Wait...what? Vincent’s eyes shot open when his boss said that the big and scary Alpha that came in this store like a bullet, that stalked him, and ran away...wanted a date.

Butterflies flew in his stomach. That hot Alpha lycan wants to see me? Romantically? I’m nothing special, and he probably can get damn near anyone he so chooses. A sense of reality sparked though these silly thoughts of Vincent’s. Are you kidding yourself, Vin? This guy bolted in here, stalks you, and you’re thinking about letting your guard down to get some dick? He is still a credible threat. A credible, and sexy threat.

A chuckle left Vincent’s throat. Dave seemed both confused and relieved simultaneously. The frost dagger disappeared from the human’s hand, and Vincent stepped back, now lost in laughter. Looking back at Dave, Vincent had to ask, “You are kidding, right? It is kinda hard to believe that an Alpha is too chicken to ask a guy half his size on a date.”

Dave was still trying to read Vincent. This isn’t the same guy I hired. He usually was all smiles and acted a tad dainty. I have no clue where this scary assassin came from. But I need to play this cool and understanding. “Yeah, he isn’t one to confront his feelings too well, so I’m doing my role as his Beta to help convey them. I would like to let you know his intentions for this Friday evening. I'll be taking you off the schedule that night.”

The mage gave a calculating stare to the shifter. Vincent was incredibly conflicted. On one hand, Dave has been here for me since day one, got me started at this decent job, and helped find an apartment. He’s been one of the only friends I’ve made here. I do trust him. On the other hand, there are new details that have come to surface about this man. He’s a Beta wolf, with an Alpha that came in here and acted fairly shady. Now, there is a demand for a date with one of the most smoldering hot men I’ve ever laid eyes on?

I need to get more information. And I probably need to share more with Dave.

“Dave, there are things that I need to tell you, and there are more things I want to hear from you. I will agree to the date.” Dave grinned pretty damn hard, hearing he has done his job correctly. “But.” The wolf’s eyes flashed back to the small man. Vincent was glaring back, as if to assert more dominance in the conversation. “You and I need to have a serious conversation. Not as coworkers. As two people keeping each other’s secrets. As friends.”

Friends. Both men flashed the word though their minds, smiled, and shook hands. “Dave, I am trusting you with my life with this information. I need you to help me with my goals, and I’ll be happy to help with yours.”

Dave nodded, “Vinnie, I’d be happy to help you with anything. I am all ears, and you know I’m not one to be concerned with much in life, so fire away.” That made Vincent smile pretty hard. “If it’s going to be a lot of stuff to tell, we can probably wait until after the shift. We can grab some breakfast at JD’s then.”

Vincent agreed to the terms, and both men shook hands once more. They left the back dock to get back on their aisles, and realized they needed to make up for lost time.

***

Mason waved to Dave as he turned back to go into the store, and climbed in his own truck with the intention of heading home. The two wolves just finalized their plan of attack for the Alpha to woo his mate.

Mason wasn’t exactly enthused when Dave admitted that the boy was a mystery. Not much details have been shared between his Beta and mate, which both angered and pleased Mason. I don’t want anyone to get their hands on him. But I need to know more myself.

His mate has been wandering around for the past several years, didn’t have any family to lean on, and just recently got his life in order. Mason’s heart broke for his mate. He wanted to swoop him out of that store and into his arms, whispering sweet sayings in his ears. This nearly trumped the other feelings that were felt for the kid.

Nervousness crawled in the back of the Alpha’s head. He’s a mage. From what Dave said, not too shabby at icy knives, and able to see things happen around him. A dark smile curled on Mason’s face, imagining the joy of meeting the challenge to sneak up on his mate. A small wave of pride kissed the mind of the Alpha, knowing his mate can hold his own in the world. I would be honored to fight alongside him, and protect him.

Dave did mention that Vincent isn’t an idiot, and is probably hiding more than he has let on. Apparently, the younger man was able to tell that Dave was a shifter in the first week of the job, and had the balls to strike up a conversation, confronting the topic. Probably caused Dave to crap himself. Mason snickered, boosting his confidence that his mate would be perfect at his side.

Mason sent Dave to inform Vincent that they will be going on a date this Friday. Dave was about to put a finger up, arguing that Vincent had a shift, but was met with one of Mason’s infamous ‘make it happen’ stares. The details were Mason’s responsibility. We can head to the city and grab a table at a steakhouse. Going to make sure he gets plenty to eat and drink. He is worth splurging on. Maybe take a nightly stroll along the river park. Mason’s wolf wanted some heavy interaction with his mate, but things needed to go perfect and there couldn’t be any rushing through this.

Putting the keys in the ignition, Mason made his way home. During the drive, one detail of tonight’s events bothered him. How did my little mate get to the roof that fast? I’m certain he’s nimble and swift, but to get onto the roof… Mason didn’t bother Dave with these details. I do enjoy the fact that Vincent was admiring me. Shows that he feels the attraction as well, even as a human.

The wolf didn’t live too far from town but to most, it seemed far out there. Going above the speed limit on the familiar roads, Mason pulled into his gravel driveway, driving in and parking through the opened door for his two-car garage. His garage was neat, well-lit up, and everything had its proper place.

It was also attached to a three bedroom, two-bathroom ranch style house that Mason grew up in. He just got the house from his parents, as they were moving into their parents’ much larger estate further outside the city limits. When Mason got the deed to the property, he needed to make changes. The house was his, and his parents left a decent amount of unwanted furniture and some smaller trinket possessions. After sorting through the pieces he wished to keep, Mason got a small moving truck and donated the rest. Then ordered all new furniture and art that he wanted from online and furniture stores in the bigger metropolitan area nearby.

Mason got out of the truck cab, and took off his shirt, exposing his lightly defined abs.

Need to run.

The shifter stepped inside the garage side entrance, and dropped his shirt on the lid of his deep freezer. Taking off his clothes at a brisk pace, being impatient about letting his wolf loose. Once naked, Mason closed his eyes and let his wolf come to the front of his mind. Dropping to all fours on the cold concrete floor, Mason’s body began to shift from human to wolf. Silver fur rapidly growing from every pore, across every inch of skin. His eyes turning amber gold, teeth changing length, bones and joints painlessly snapping in place, allowing the wolf to run at incredible speeds.

The wolf stood on his four legs, measuring to be just under five foot in height. Shifting doesn’t cause any harm after performing it several times, and it only takes seven or eight seconds. The silver wolf took light steps out of the side door, and turned his head towards the woods hiding behind the ranch house. Mason trotted at a pace, increasing speed until his wolf was running towards the treeline.

Just for about half an hour. Maybe get some food since my spaghetti won’t be made tonight. Brushing past trees at a breakneck pace, all attention was diverted to finding a prize for his wolf.

Searching for fifteen minutes in the all-quiet forest, the wolf spotted a doe a quarter-mile ahead. Smaller, but it will do tonight. The shifter began his stalking. Putting one paw in front of another, avoiding small twigs that may alert his position, the amber eyes were focused on his meal. The predator easily halved the distance without exposing himself. Silly girl. You need to be more aware. You haven’t looked my way in the past twenty seconds. That will be the cost of your life.

Enough toying. Time to eat. The wolf broke his slow pace, and rushed into a dead sprint. The doe knew its fate, but ran nevertheless. Yes, run from me! A snort of breath left the beast’s muzzle as he closed the gap between himself and the meal. If the need for food wasn’t necessary, Mason would play with his food by taking a couple swipes at the doe’s body. But he was hungry for meat. The wolf sped up, closed the gap, and lunged at the doe. Teeth sunk into the collar, and claws ripped the sides. It was over.

Mason’s wolf began eating, getting his fill. His imagination began to wander as he continued his meal. He couldn’t wait for his wolf to chase his mate in the woods, for his mate to see him for who he is.

And to complete his mating and be able to run with his mate. Well, once Vincent completed his turning. Mason intends to give his mate a small opinion on the matter, but his wolf demands a fellow wolf to mate. I will have him. The wolf finished his meal, and let out a howl to the heavens, letting the creatures of the night that he had been satisfied. One more snort of his muzzle, and Mason began his walk home.

Returning to the garage to collect his belongings, Mason shifted to his human shape. The changes from human to wolf reversed themselves, as his fur receded back into his pores. Seconds later, and Mason stood naked as the day he was born. Holding his clothes in one hand, he walked through the door to step inside to his kitchen. Mason walked down the hall to his bedroom, flinging his clothes in his hamper. He crawled on top of his comforter, and rested his hands behind his head.

What a day! I saw my mate, and he is everything I could ask for. Short. Handsome. A little meat on his bones. And my Gods, that ass is perfect. Mason’s thoughts soothed his nerves, and caused him to rise. Mason moved his right hand to stroke his now erect manhood. The Alpha was modestly proud of what he was given. Uncircumcised and at attention, Mason was slightly larger than most men, and was fairly girthy. Mason was happy with his body hair, but he tended to keep his manhood groomed, as left alone, hairs would be pulled by his foreskin.

The man shuddered as he thought of Vincent, and how he should be here, pleasing the Alpha. Mason’s imagination roamed as he envisioned his short mate on his knees, begging to suck Mason’s member. His fantasy of Vincent had the small man sucking Mason, only being able to get half the length, and using his hand to stroke the remainder to the hilt. The wolf’s breath tightened as his body warned of release. Picturing Vincent’s perky behind in those pants from earlier this evening, Mason stroked himself faster, wanting to mate with his man. Mason wanted to feel Vincent under him, writhing from being touched. The fantasy of Vincent pressing his hole against the Alpha caused Mason to close his eyes and roar, as ropes of seed erupted across his chest and body.

His breathing was ragged, and Mason quickly realized he couldn’t do this again without thinking of his little Vinnie. Vinnie. That’ll be the name I call him. He’s too cute to be called Vincent all day. Blinking several times, Mason began collecting himself. He was a mess, and grabbed his shirt from earlier and cleaned most of it. Throwing the shirt in the hamper, he turned on a shower to his liking. Mason began counting the seconds to Friday night.

***

Dave and Vincent were absolutely stuffed. Vincent was nearly comatose, and Dave rubbed his newly pregnant belly. Gods watch over this place. JD’s has the best omelettes, and I’ll fight in this place’s honor. Dave downed the restaurant's famous lumberjack omelette with ham, cheese, ham, peppers, cheese, bacon, and more cheese, along with a stack of pancakes and a side of crispy American fries. Vincent had every intention of just getting a coffee and the value breakfast, but Dave was not having any of it and demanded he order something that cost more than $7.

Can’t have Mace thinking I’m starving his mate. The kid barely eats, and I know that will change when Mace gets his hands on Vincent. Dave looked back at Vincent, who had his head leaned back, looking out of the booth window at the passing traffic.

“Alright, Dave. Time to talk.” Vincent’s head bounced forward, meeting his eyes with Dave’s. “Just to clarify, I’m gonna tell you some things that may shock you. All I ask, is that you don’t look at me any differently.”

“Vincent, I’ve seen a lot in my days. Not saying I’m an old fart, but I’ve dealt with my fair share of bull. Lay it on me.” Dave rested his elbows on the table, leaning forward so Vincent didn’t have to speak louder than necessary.

Vincent looked at his empty plate, and released a sigh. Looking up at the wolf, Vincent let his life leave his lips. “As you know, I’m a mage. You know that I’m decent at handling my frost power, and pretty good with my clairvoyance. I am a little more versed than I let on. Any time I’m off work, I am probably studying, practicing with my affinities, or sleeping. I can definitely hold my own in a fight.” Vincent let a chuckle through his throat, “Honestly, I was debating whether I needed your help in taking down your Alpha, if it came to a fight.”

Dave released a laughter to create a calm between the men, but that statement rattled some nerves. He needed to debate to call for back-up? He has some serious confidence in battle, especially if he intended to fight an Alpha lycan shifter. “I figured you were pretty scrappy in a fight, but when you had me against the wall, color me impressed, Vincent.”

Vincent’s cheeks blushed rosy for a bit, not being used to receiving compliments. “Thanks Dave, but there is more to my story.” Dave nodded and let the smaller man continue. “I’m here because of my past, and a vow I made to myself when I was nine years old.” Vincent’s eyes began to grow cold, and the wolf could feel the man going to a dark mental space. “When I was nine, I watched someone murder my parents.”

Dave nearly choked on his coffee. “Vincent! My Gods man, I can not tell you how sorry I am. Did they catch the guy?” Vincent furrowed his brows and shook his head. “Do the police have any leads? Is there anything I can do to help?”

A faded smile came to Vincent’s face, “I appreciate the concern, Dave. The police called off the search a month after their deaths. There were a few clues, and they ran thin fast. The worst thing about that night is that no one believed what I saw.”

Interest peaked in Dave's mind. “What did you see, Vincent?” Dave shifted position in his booth to stretch a couple muscles.

“I saw the man. The guy who killed my mom and dad. He was in his thirties then, and now pushing fifty. Steel-gray eyes, no compassion or emotion in them. Blonde hair, but graying on the sides. Slightly taller than me, but rather skinny. Wore a black leather trench coat and black pants.” Vincent taking a pause for a sip of his soda. “He was also a mage.”

Dave could feel the pressure of how destiny is causing these two to intersect. He listened carefully as Vincent continued, “Obviously, something like that can cause a man to be obsessed. And that’s what I am. I researched this man over the years. His name is Stefan Gregoro. He is an Italian man who has lived in America for years before killing my family, and has scoured the world for magical artifacts to make him stronger, or for pure collecting.

“He is considered a master in clairvoyance and fire affinities. He burned my parents’ throats when they didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear. They died as non-magical folk.” Dave saw how void Vincent’s face appeared when telling the story, but he could smell the anxiety and anger being pushed down. “When he was done, Stefan walked out the door, and disappeared into the shadows.”

“Did you tell the police which way he went?”

“Dave. I’m being literal.” Dave looked puzzled, and Vincent explained while staring into his drink. “He is also a shadow mage.” This news caused Dave to sit up straight.

“A shadow mage? My Gods, that’s rare. I’ve heard that shadow mages always became evil, but I didn’t think I would be around to learn of one existing.” Vincent got a bad taste in his mouth when hearing Dave’s remark about evil shadow mages.

“That’s another thing I need to talk to you about Dave.” This brought Dave’s attention back to the story teller. “I’ve considered myself an academic. I study and I study hard. During the last five years, I’ve been across the country, learning as much as I can about my powers, and how I can use them. I am beyond proud of what powers I have been given.

“Now Dave, I won’t sit here and let someone trash-talk magical ability. Stefan is the worst human on this planet, in my opinion. I intend to hunt him down, and kill him. But I won’t let you say that we’re evil people because of our gifts.”

Dave felt guilty of the message he received. “Having power is something to be proud of, Vincent, and I’m sorry if I insulted you…” The sentence was abandoned. Realization hit Dave like a mack truck. He said ‘we’re evil people…’ and ‘our gifts.’ That doesn’t mean…

“Yes, Dave. I see your face. Your face just slid right off. I am a shadow mage.” Vincent looked hard into the wolf’s eyes. “I am not evil. I’m not a pleasant person either, but I’ll be damned if I get labeled in the same boat as a monster like him. It’s a goal in my life to make the shadow affinity something to be proud of.”

Vincent studied Dave’s face like a book. The wolf swallowed down what’s left of his now dry mouth. Dave’s probably got a million things going through his mind. I need to calm this guy down before he chews my head off. “Dave, would you like for me to show you what I can do? I promise I won’t bring harm to you or others.”

Left in disbelief, the offer piqued Dave’s curiosity. He wants to show me what a shadow mage can do? I’ve seen fire and frost in action, but I gotta see this! “Y-yeah. I would like that a lot, Vincent.” Dave brought out his wallet and dropped two twenty dollar bills, and got up to get ready to leave when he noticed that Vincent was gone. His eyes were deceiving him...right? What in the hell? I would have noticed him getting up… Dave inhaled through his nose, and he could still smell Vincent being here and nearby, but he was nowhere to be seen.

A light knock on the window pane caused Dave to step back and sharply turn his head to the outside of the building. Vincent had his knuckles up against the window, gathering the wolf’s attention. Dave’s eyes were wider than they have ever been before. He’s...outside? I just got up from my seat, and he was able to get outside at the same time? Dave blinked and… he’s gone again! Can the kid teleport or something?

Dave heard a toilet flush from the men’s restroom, and narrowed his eyes. We are the only ones here, and we’ve been alone for the past hour. The large man was taken aback when Vincent came out of the bathroom, grinning from ear to ear.

“You look so lost, Dave! I swear, I thought you wolves were pretty good hunters.” Vincent was on the verge of breaking out in laughter as he could see the steam pouring out of Dave’s ears. “Alright, alright. That was below the belt. But this is the main thing we can do as shadow mages. Take a careful look at the floor around you.”

Dave looked down and saw what Vincent was referencing. Smoke? No, shadows. He can move in the shadows. Oh man, that’s cool as hell! Shooting his head back up to meet Vincent’s, “I get it! You can move in the shadows. Vincent, that is incredible! You should be proud of that! How does it work? You just get to do it all willy-nilly?”

“Not really. I can only use my shadow affinity when I am touching the shadows of an object, or the darkness of nature’s night. I also have to harness and channel my emotions, and ride with them as I move. I can almost move at the speed of light.” Vincent shot a smirk at Dave, “Makes traveling around the world pretty easy.”

Dave’s jaw dropped. Travel? Around the world? Fucking what? “Wait, you can go anywhere you want? Like different states, or countries?”

Vincent nodded, “Yep. I have been measuring the time it takes for me to travel when I’m ethereal. I can travel from state to state in about twenty-five seconds if I run as fast as I can. Because I become a shadow, I can travel on water, and go almost anywhere I please. But it only works when I’m in the shadows.”

Questions were being fired at Vincent like if he were lecturing children. Dave’s curiosity came from nowhere, and could not be satiated. One question really stuck with Vincent, because he has not studied or experimented with it.

“Can you bring another person when you travel in the shadows?” That would require a lot of energy, and I don’t imagine being able to traverse very far. Maybe short distances, but that will require further research. He told Dave that he needs to study more on that, and that he would answer more questions later. The two guys walked out the door and leaned up against Dave’s older Silverado.

“Alright Dave, I’ve told you plenty about my life. I got a couple questions to ask you.” Dave looked over and nodded. “I need to know about your Alpha. At least get me ready for this date. Are there things I need to be aware of?”

Dave laughed loudly at the idea of Vincent getting ready for a date with his best friend. “Okay, Vincent. His name is Mason Wilson. He’s twenty-seven. Pretty independent guy. Has his own house, and truck. He works on his parents' farm, making an honest living. Mace likes to get things his way, but that’s because he is an Alpha. He is a compassionate guy, treats everything he owns with pride and delicacy.” Dave grabbed a cigarette from his denim pockets, and lit it with a match. Looking down at his coworker, Dave gave a serious look, “Vincent, he will want to own you. Not in any sort of derogatory manner. If you agree to be his m...boyfriend, you will be his to protect, and to please.” The wolf took a long drag and blew his smoke towards the morning sky. “And if you say yes to him, you will make him the happiest man alive.”

Vincent leaned against the truck. He felt a twinge of pride when learning his date has his life in order. But there was a prick of fear. I don’t like that idea of being some sort of ‘property.’ I am my own person after all. And I’m not exactly trustful of his initial plan to stalk me. He could have just walked up and had a normal conversation.

The boy looked at the wolf, “Dave, I will go on this date.”

Dave clapped and nearly howled. He did it. He did his job as Mason’s Beta to get Vincent to go on a date.

“On one condition.” And just in a flash, Dave’s heart went from his chest, to his stomach. Tightening his breath, the shifter faced the shorter and younger mage. I hate that he is now scary to me…

Vincent cracked a smirk, as he saw the turmoil in the wolf’s mind. “Before this date, I need one thing.” He placed both hands in the pockets of his pants, and tapped the tip of his shoe on the concrete. “I demand a little respect from the man who has penciled himself in my planner. Tell him I would like a proper introduction, and from him, not you, to ask me out. He may be an Alpha wolf that, no doubt, deserves the utmost respect, but it seems a little childish to send someone else to ask me for a date.”

Nervousness and conflicting interest got caught in Vincent’s chest. Am I about to ask Dave to do the same as he was asked by Mason to do? The boy’s eyes blinked with confirmation. No. I won’t stoop. If a man wants me, then he needs to...well...man up!

“Dave, I won’t ask you to do something that a certain other person should be doing for himself. Thanks for breakfast, Dave. I’ll see you tonight at work?”

“Yeah, I’ll be coming in an hour early to a head start on the new displays on aisles three through five.”

The two men walked away from each other, Dave towards the driver side door, and Vincent to the passenger. “Oh, and Vincent…”

The younger man whipped his head around as he opened his door.

“I’ll talk to Mason. Expect him at the store before Friday.” The wolf grinned as he dropped himself in his bucket seat, and closed the door behind him. As the engine came to life, Vincent couldn’t help but stand. With intense emotional conflict.

On one hand, the very intimidating Alpha wolf shifter will show up between tonight’s shift and Friday’s date, and may or may not be in the best of moods. This Mason is indeed an imposing figure, and wouldn’t be afraid to rip something...or someone, to shreds for making him do something against his will.

But on the other hand, Vincent will get to see his date a little earlier than anticipated. As intimidating as he seems, the young boy couldn’t help but let the butterflies roam his mind and stomach. The shifter was dark, tall, handsome, and my Gods that ass. If he played his cards right, Vincent may get to grab it.

A man can dream. Vincent giggled as he hopped in Dave’s passenger seat. He couldn’t wait to be dropped off to get a little sleep.

Copyright © 2020 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Awesome start to this story, I would seem that there will be sparks flying between them and very soon

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Truly an interesting start to this story; well written and the pacing was good.  Can't wait to see where you take this.

 

 

 

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I love the start!  I have an affinity for wolf shifter stories.  Headstall's Morningstar Malaise is my favorite.  Robcub and Mann Ramblings have great ones, too.  Just once, I'd like to see a deer shifter story, they're out for revenge!

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2 hours ago, CincyKris said:

I love the start!  I have an affinity for wolf shifter stories.  Headstall's Morningstar Malaise is my favorite.  Robcub and Mann Ramblings have great ones, too.  Just once, I'd like to see a deer shifter story, they're out for revenge!

Oooooh! Deer shifter! That is a very interesting concept! Being on the run from both human hunters and other shifters could lead to a novel of dark and horror-filled content. I will definitely consider this, that is if someone else doesn't beat me to the punch.

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On 1/17/2021 at 11:42 PM, CincyKris said:

I love the start!  I have an affinity for wolf shifter stories.  Headstall's Morningstar Malaise is my favorite.  Robcub and Mann Ramblings have great ones, too.  Just once, I'd like to see a deer shifter story, they're out for revenge!

Me too I think I have read morningstar like 10x and  Sasha Distan also writes some great ones 

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So far loving it but those Mason have a pack seems weird to be an Alpha of one anyway thanks 🤩 continuing 

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drpaladin

Posted (edited)

I remember reading the first part of this chapter and got interrupted; somehow I never got back to it. It's too good not to continue. Something tells me this Stefan is about to be tag teamed.

Edited by drpaladin
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5 hours ago, drpaladin said:

I remember reading the first part of this chapter and got interupted; somehow I never got back to it. It's too good not to continue. Something tells me this Stefan is about to be tag teamed.

Glad to see you have made the return! I still need to find time to come back for a clean-up edit, but I hope you enjoy it!

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Intriguing premise. The chapter could use a thorough editorial scrubbing. The sudden shifts in tense and point of view were particularly bothersome.

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4 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Intriguing premise. The chapter could use a thorough editorial scrubbing. The sudden shifts in tense and point of view were particularly bothersome.

Pfft, this whole thing needs a bath. It's definitely on my to-do list, and I really needed this reminder! Thank you for commenting!

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So happy I was introduced to your story. This is a very cool start. The mix of magic and lycans most definitely has my attention and affection. I can't wait to read more. :)

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 not to shabby at icy knivess nnot too shabby at icy knivesot too sBBBBBB

 

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Before I get too far into this story, I feel I should introduce myself. I am famous among the authors of GA as the 'Old Troll, who lives in a cave under the bridge that authors must cross barefoot to get to the publication of a story. I read a story with one eye open looking for errors in the English language No, not errors in punctuation….That is a tar pit worse than La Brea, from which no author is ever able to escape. My specialty is 'homophones', that is words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings, like for example: 'rain, reign, and rein' one meaning water that falls from the sky, another meaning the rule of a King, and the third meaning a leather strap used to control a horse.

There are many homophones in the English language, I have seen lists on the Internet of 300, 400 and 1,000 of them. When an author uses a Spell-Check program, the software will frequently substitute a homophone for a misspelled word. That would require the author to go back over his work again and again with a critical eye to detect these homophones. Sometimes, by that time the author is so sick and tired of revising his work that he will miss those errors. So a 'fresh' eye can be valuable to clean up the boo-boos that the Spell-Check commits.

Another thing I try never to make a comment upon is character dialogue. An author will often use a slang word in entering dialigue into a story just to establish the educational or social standing of a character. That is cool, and is acceptable in any story.

Please note, that any suggestions I make about word substitutions in a story are just that "suggestions", If an author chooses to ignore my suggestions, that is his absolute right. Above all, the author is the creator of the story and may use any form of language in his writing that he chooses to.

OK, enough BS, now back to the story and to my enjoyment if your writing,

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21 minutes ago, Will Hawkins said:

Before I get too far into this story, I feel I should introduce myself. I am famous among the authors of GA as the 'Old Troll, who lives in a cave under the bridge that authors must cross barefoot to get to the publication of a story. I read a story with one eye open looking for errors in the English language No, not errors in punctuation….That is a tar pit worse than La Brea, from which no author is ever able to escape. My specialty is 'homophones', that is words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings, like for example: 'rain, reign, and rein' one meaning water that falls from the sky, another meaning the rule of a King, and the third meaning a leather strap used to control a horse.

There are many homophones in the English language, I have seen lists on the Internet of 300, 400 and 1,000 of them. When an author uses a Spell-Check program, the software will frequently substitute a homophone for a misspelled word. That would require the author to go back over his work again and again with a critical eye to detect these homophones. Sometimes, by that time the author is so sick and tired of revising his work that he will miss those errors. So a 'fresh' eye can be valuable to clean up the boo-boos that the Spell-Check commits.

Another thing I try never to make a comment upon is character dialogue. An author will often use a slang word in entering dialigue into a story just to establish the educational or social standing of a character. That is cool, and is acceptable in any story.

Please note, that any suggestions I make about word substitutions in a story are just that "suggestions", If an author chooses to ignore my suggestions, that is his absolute right. Above all, the author is the creator of the story and may use any form of language in his writing that he chooses to.

OK, enough BS, now back to the story and to my enjoyment if your writing,

Hi, Will! 

I believe we've spoken before through PM in regards to my other story, Cernunnos, but I'm really glad to see your introduction! By all means, I love feedback, positive or negative, and I encourage it heavily! If there's a major issue, or several small ones, feel free to shoot me a Personal Message, and I'll be able to go fix it.

I would like to mention that I've been approached by a member of our GA community and we're working on a major edit of this story. This was my first writing adventure and I'm unafraid of admitting its need of assistance. Please enjoy this story for how its written now, and I would love to see a comparison comment between the current version and its successor.

56 minutes ago, Will Hawkins said:

 not to shabby at icy knivess nnot too shabby at icy knivesot too sBBBBBB

 

I'll make this quick little edit. 👍

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11 hours ago, Will Hawkins said:

OK, enough BS, now back to the story and to my enjoyment if your writing,

Without coming across as a smartass, I'm just curious, should the "if" be an "of"  ?

if your writing - to me is a question

of your writing - to me is a statement

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2 hours ago, Peter J. Gee said:

Without coming across as a smartass, I'm just curious, should the "if" be an "of"  ?

if your writing - to me is a question

of your writing - to me is a statement

I'd say "of." 

Also, @Will Hawkins, you're reading Book Two first, according my notifications from your reactions :)

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On my old computer the exchange of an 'I' for an'O' is the most frequent error I will make as the letters printed on the key pads are nearly worn off, and here in Brazil it would be a MAJOR effort to find a computer repair location that has the correct pads to replace them. Unfortunately my learning 'touch typing' was at least seventy years ago. I try to remember to look back over my typing when it comes time to send a message off to the Internet to correct my own typing errors, but sometimes I miss them. In this case you are totally correct, the word should have been 'of'.

Mr Will

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3 hours ago, Will Hawkins said:

On my old computer the exchange of an 'I' for an'O' is the most frequent error I will make as the letters printed on the key pads are nearly worn off, and here in Brazil it would be a MAJOR effort to find a computer repair location that has the correct pads to replace them. Unfortunately my learning 'touch typing' was at least seventy years ago. I try to remember to look back over my typing when it comes time to send a message off to the Internet to correct my own typing errors, but sometimes I miss them. In this case you are totally correct, the word should have been 'of'.

Mr Will

All you need is a set of keyboard letter stickers.

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