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  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
    astone2292
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Love in the Shadows - 8. Chapter 8: Meeting Mother

Vincent didn't believe his eyes. He wanted to question why the librarian was at Mason's parents' house, but he knew from his boyfriend's grin that the reason was simple. Miss Elaine is...is Mrs. Wilson? Holy shit! This is crazy! She never mentioned that she had a son.

"Miss Elaine? Y-you're Mace's mom?"

Elaine smiled meekly, trying to hold in the enjoyment from the newly released secret. "Yes, Vincent. Mason wanted to keep it as a surprise for you since we are already friends. I've only known for a day now, but I am so happy that you are my son's destined mate. I don't believe I could have prayed for a better pairing, for the both of you." She walked up closer to the duo and gently clasped onto the younger mage's hands. "My wolf and I know you will make my son beyond happy."

Having the words echo in his ears, along with the endearing warm hands on his caused his heart to swell with happiness. He couldn't have asked for a better experience in meeting Mason's mother. I'm so glad it was someone I knew. That made this so much easier. Vincent replayed the kind conversation back through his mind.

His eyes shot wide open. Wolf? Upon closer thought, the statement made more and more sense. She is most certainly mated to Lei, so I'm guessing they did the whole turning process. The mental conversation reminded himself he needed to ask Mason about how that works.

"Well come on in! Vincent, did Mason tell you why I wanted you here?" Elaine let go of the man's hands and turned to walk back in her home. Mason laid a palm on his mate's back, ushering him inside.

Vincent looked up to Mason, hoping for a clue. "No, ma'am."

Elaine let out a joyful sigh. "None of that 'ma'am' stuff with me, and you know that. Just because you're mates with my son doesn't mean you and I are going to start being formal." She turned to Mason with pointed eyes. "And Mason. What did I tell you about keeping things from your mate?"

Mason held up his arms in defense. "Sorry about that, Mom. I assumed that you would want to tell him." His mother folded her arms in response.

"And should I remind you what assuming does?"

Vincent snickered at his man being scolded. This is great. But I am getting curious about this reason. "I thought I was here just to meet your mom, Mace?"

A light laugh came from the lady. "That's one reason. But I wanted to offer you something, Vincent. I can't force this on you, but I highly suggest you take it." Elaine opened her front door. "Let's talk inside."

The three stepped inside, and Vincent took in the space. He expected to have his mind blown, but wasn't truly prepared. The style was more dated when compared to Mason's, but was equally beautiful. Upholstered matching tan furniture sat on the faded white carpet. Family photos littered the wall space, showcasing Lei, Elaine, and Mason in a variety of ages from the passing years. Vincent smiled when he noticed how his man grew up in the multitude of photos, and halted on a photo from Mason's teenage years. He looked like such a trouble maker!

"I can tell you have an appreciate for homes." The smaller man turned to Elaine.

He nodded. "Yeah, I've wanted to work in interior design for a while now. You have a beautiful house, Elaine."

"Why, thank you. Allow me to give you a tour. We'll start in Lei's den. I believe the boys are going there for a conference call."

Elaine led the way after Vincent nodded once more. Mason slipped his hand into his mate's, walking closely. "Mason, I don't think I need to tell you to keep the hankypanky to a minimum."

Vincent's cheeks became blood red after having his man called out. Wait, did she...hear his hand touching mine? Gods, that's some super hearing! He felt his hand gripped ever so more firmly as they continued the tour. They passed the kitchen and Vincent loved what he saw. It's a very similar layout as Mason's, but it's so much bigger. With white walls and a brown and tan back-splash, the kitchen looked immaculate.

Through the other side of the kitchen, a darker brown walled room came into view. "Here is the den." Elaine brought the couple in, and once again, Vincent was deemed impressed. Along one of the walls, a large cabinet housed several displayed guns, ranging in size and type, along with a miniature bourbon bar with glasses. Yep, it's a man cave. The thought was proven true as he glanced to the wall parallel to find a large flatscreen television mounted with a mahogany console housing books and DVD cases.

"Vincent! Good to see ya again!" A loud and ecstatic voice cast over the room, as Vincent turned to see Lei in a leather recliner facing the flatscreen. "Whatcha think? Pretty swanky?"

Nervous, but happy to see Mason's dad, Vincent smiled. "Hi, Mr. Wilson. Yeah, this looks pretty cool." The mage kept eyeing the books in the console table. "If you don't mind me asking, what kind of books are those?"

Lei looked at the books his son's mate was referencing and gave a prideful smile. "Those? Those are records of our pack's history, dating back over two hundred years. After you get done with your training today, I'd be happy to let you read them."

"That sounds great! I'd love to read…" Vincent trailed his words as he became curious about what was said. Training? What training? He looked between the three shifters that surrounded him. "What do you mean by training?"

Elaine stepped forward and gave a small cough to clear her throat. "Well, Vincent. I've been thinking about it ever since I met you, and with recent events, I think now is the best time to bring this up. I want to train you to hone your frost affinity."

Vincent had mixed feelings with the offer. A...a trainer. To train my frost magic. That's awesome! He furrowed his brow in regards to the other train of thought. I thought I was already pretty decent with it. I've taken out my fair share of mercs without a problem. But I'll take the training. I can use all the help I can get.

"Miss Elaine, I'd be honored to have you as my master."

She smiled, and took one more step towards the younger mage. "Okay. Let's go ahead outside in the back yard and get started." Elaine ushered Vincent out of the den, and the two Alpha shifters looked at each other.

Lei pushed his legs to close the footstool portion of his recliner. "Well, you ready to get this over with, son?"

Mason nodded and made his way to his father's desk. "Yep."

***

Dave pulled into the driveway of the former Alpha's home, slightly disappointed that he was a few minutes late. But that nap was a lifesaver. He shot a text to Mason to let him know he was heading inside. As he reached the porch, he got a reply. 'Den, come on in. V & E are out back fyi.' Dave entered the house and made his way through the living room, but stopped when he got another text. Random number.

'This Dave?' Puzzled, he responded back swiftly.

'Depends. Who is this?'

'Caleb Gage.' Dave recognized the name and quickly put the number in his contact list. 'Alpha Wilson said I start my position immediately and to text you. How can I help?' Dave shook his head in total confusion. Position? What the hell is this?

'Mason hasn't informed me. What position?'

'Enforcer. He tested me this morning and offered it on the spot.'

A darkness clouded Dave's consciousness. Right. Enforcer. He let out a ragged sigh as he understood Mason's decision. It probably is time for the spot to be filled. Kind of glad he did it without my say so. I would have said no. Dave continued typing.

'Gotcha. Come to Mason's parents' house. 318 Hwy 60.'

'Yes, Beta.'

Dave smirked at the text. 'Its dave. Beta and Enforcer are on equal position level. To make sure, ur the lion shifter, right?'

'Lol sorry bout that. And yes. Be there in 10.'

Dave put away his phone and continued to the den. He walked through the open doorway to see Mason and Lei seated at the desk, clicking away at the computer. "Dave, glad you could make it. How's the store?" The Beta looked at his former Alpha's somber smile and bared his neck. He still hasn't gotten over it. Can't say I blame him.

"Good. Can't wait for Vincent to come back, though. Seems like nothing can get done without him."

Mason smiled from the comment. "He should be good to come back earlier than expected. His head hasn't given him any problems today, as far as I can tell."

Great, since I'm short an assistant lead now. Might put a bug in the manager's ear to make him an overnight lead. "Also, Caleb is on his way. Want him to sit in, or watch over Vincent?"

"He can watch Vinnie. I'll need to wait until after the meeting before bringing him in with pack matters."

Lei looked between the two with curiosity. "Who is this Caleb?"

Dave turned to Lei. "He's the ailouros shifter Mason brought in last year." The Beta gave Mason a side-eyed glance. "He will be the new Pack Enforcer."

The older shifter blinked several times, remaining expressionless. "I see. If Mason believes he will be a good fit, I'd like to meet with him." Lei turned back to the monitor. "Almost all the invited Alphas are on the conference call now. Let's wait a few minutes and we can get started."

***

Elaine and Vincent stood in the rather large and spacious backyard, cornered by the neighboring dense forest. Vincent appreciated the evenly spaced trees in the yard, providing some opportunity for shadow magic. Along the porch, a multitude of flower beds and pots were arranged in a variety of colors.

The elder mage turned to face Vincent. "Beautiful, isn't it? Gardening is one of my many hobbies. I've been meaning to creating a reading spot with plentiful shade and flowers surrounding it."

Vincent's mind began wandering with potential possibilities. "That would be amazing! I may have to come visit often if you make it, Miss Elaine."

"You will always be welcome here, Vincent. Always." She changed her posture to emanate a more stern position. "Now, let me see a dagger using your ice."

Vincent nodded and sharply flicked his wrist to conjure his standard ice dagger. Elaine motioned with her hand to bring it closer, and Vincent handed over the dagger. She inspected the weapon, squinting her eyes and palming it, as to determine its weight.

"It's a very standard dagger. Sharp as a knife should be, hilt is comfortable, and it has weight. A fine weapon, but I believe you could do better." She threw the dagger downward, spiking it into the Earth. With her right hand, she gave a sharp flick of her own wrist, and a lighter blue knife appeared in her hand. "Once you create a mental image of what you wish to conjure, you are able to manifest it, down to the tiniest of details without any extra work. It may cost a bit more of your energy, but in a life-threatening fight, that energy can save you. Hold it and mark the differences."

The young mage took the dagger and was immediately blown away by several details. It's a little heavier than mine, and the hilt fits in my hand so much better. He looked along the weapon to see that a finger loop was built on the end. I get it. It's a combat knife that doubles as a throwing dagger. Interesting. Vincent gave the shard a few swings, noticing he can put more force behind it than his own. As he swung, he found one final detail in the weapon, and it sent a chill down Vincent’s spine. It is silent. And with every swing too.

“So. Name all the differences between your dagger and mine.”

Vincent took a moment to collect a list in his head. “The hilt has a throwing loop, it’s heavier, and the blade is designed to give silence when swung.”

Elaine gave a meek smile. Impressive. I didn’t imagine he would get the blade shape. “Excellent, Vincent. I was told by Mason you prefer the use of daggers in combat. Is there a reason why?”

“They’re easy to use and they get the job done.”

A laugh came from the lady mage. Well, at least he is honest. “Okay then. Do you think a dagger will save you from a wolven attack in daylight?”

Oh. Now I get what she’s after. “No, I suppose it wouldn’t.” Vincent understood what Elaine was explaining to him. “I need to expand my arsenal, don’t I?”

I’m so glad he’s a fast learner. “Yes. What would be an accurate weapon to combat a wolf?”

“A staff-like weapon. Perhaps a spear, or halberd.”

Elaine gave a subtle nod. “Yes. You can attack and defend from a distance, and it puts an attacking foe on an immediate defense. The weapon becomes an extension of yourself, and can be used in hundreds of ways, inside and out of combat.” She knelt down and placed her palm onto the grass. As she rose, so did her hand, conjuring a long rod starting from the ground. Her hand stopped as she raised herself back to a standing pose, and finished manifesting her staff, which stood at a crisp five foot in length. “Have you used a staff in battle, Vincent?”

Vincent shook his head. “No, I haven’t. I’ve only used daggers and the occasional sword.”

He needs to seriously open his arsenal. “A mage is only as good as the tools they can create. The staff is an integral part of any frost mage’s weapon cabinet. We will focus on crafting them today. Please, make one that matches your height.”

He licked his lips while creating a mental image of the staff he wished to conjure. Okay, so five and a half feet tall. I want a thin handled hilt on one end, while a large sphere on the other’s tip. Vincent took in a deep breath, confirming his design. He knelt down to the ground and forced controlled ice through his palm into a cylindrical design. Once done, he admired his work. Just as I envisioned it.

When he handed the staff to his teacher, she seemed very impressed. “Looks very nice. I see the hilt and ball. Useful for bringing it down hard. And they’re at opposite ends, so you still have the middle to twirl, defend, and grip if need be. You did a decent job here, Vincent.

“However.” Elaine placed the ball tip into the ground with the hilt in her hand. Using her flat soled shoe, she lifted her leg and brought it down, snapping the staff in half. Shocked at the turn in emotion from his trainer, Vincent let his jaw drop. “It looked pretty. It wasn’t pretty sturdy. If a little lady like me can crush this, then a wolf, or another mage’s staff can easily do so. You must focus on the structure. Your staff must be able to take hit after hit after hit! Your weapon is what’s defending your life.”

Vincent lowered his eyes in defeat. This isn’t the same Elaine I knew at the library. But I think I needed this. She will get me into shape.

I need it to kill him.

***

Mason pressed the unmute button on the conference video call. "Glad you all could join us." The screen was filled with fifteen or so squares showing other Alphas from across the United States. "Let's get down to it. Our pack is requesting assistance for information on a rogue mage. This man has been a problem with our pack in the past and has made a reappearance this morning."

"Mason, good to see you again." The square window labelled Wieken Leonard flashed when the voice came over the line. "Can you give us some more details on this man?"

"Yes. His name is Stefan Gregoro. He is an Italian man, aged fifty, gray eyes, six feet in height. Known magical affinities include fire, clairvoyancy, and shadow. He is to be considered a dangerous threat."

One of the middle aged Alphas, pressed the 'Request to Speak' button, causing a red outline on his window. "Yes, Alpha Drego. You may have the floor."

Drego cleared his throat. "I concur with Alpha Wilson's description. Even if this mage hasn't been an issue with your own pack, this man has caused trouble throughout the world. Mason, correct me if I am mistaken, but is this the mage that attacked your mother?"

Lei let a deep growl escape his lungs as he remembered that damned day over twenty years ago. Mason's eyes averted to his father, but quickly returned them to the monitor. "Yes. He was the one who came here twenty-one years ago and destroyed a quarter of our library."

"And why has this man returned?" Drego leaned forward in his chair, getting ever so closer to his webcam.

Hoped I could have put this off, but Drego likes his information. "I intended to bring up this second item a little later. I would like to inform everyone here that I have found my destined mate."

Almost all of the Alphas began to applaud and, although they were on mute, Mason could hear their congratulations in his head as he read their lips. "Thank you, all. I feel beyond blessed by the Gods my mate has entered my life."

Once Drego finished his applause, he brought himself back into the conversation. "I congratulate you, Mason. It is truly rare that a shifter of any kind finds their one and only. But I feel there is more to this that you let on. I'm assuming that your mate and Gregoro have ties?" His question brought a silence to the conference.

Mason furrowed his eyebrows as he nodded. "Yes. The two have crossed paths, and my mate has been hunting this bastard down for seventeen years. Ever since Gregoro killed his parents."

Wieken pressed his request button and was given a nod by Mason. "Alpha Wilson. Please give your mate my pack's deepest condolences. That goes without saying you will have our full cooperation in this matter." Several Alphas unmuted, agreeing with their fellow leader.

Drego remained quiet, as he unmuted himself. "I hate to sound like an old codger, but this scenario sounds almost prophetic. You and your mate have come together to battle a common foe. Mason, would you care to tell us more about your mate. I imagine your wolf is dying to brag about him."

Mason chuckled. Such a wise wolf. "My mate's name is Vincent Bolton. He is a human mage, and an impressive one at that." He saw one of the Alphas in the bottom corner motioned to someone off screen, but thought little of it since he didn't recognize the shifter. "He possesses three affinities. One of which will ruffle your coats, so I will give you this fair warning. He is adept in clairvoyancy, frost...and the shadow affinity."

A few of the conference members sat up straight, knowing this meeting just got heavy. Drego was the first to chime in. "Now I feel certain these events belong in a legend. Two shadow mages, one of fire, one of frost, destined for battle. I hate to ask of this, Mason, but is your mate to be trusted? He is of an affinity surrounded by evil morality."

Mason's eyes burned bright orange as the Alpha could barely contain his anger. "My mate is not evil! He is of pure heart and is the sweetest man I've encountered. His shadow powers came from a desire of revenge for his family. The only two goals in his life is to bring Stefan down, and to make the shadow affinity something to be proud of. I have every intention to assist him in both."

"I meant no ill intent for my words. Just a simple question. I believe that is all the information I need. I will have my Beta send you any information we have on Stefan Gregoro to your email. Consider us in on helping bring this mage down."

Several of the others voiced their support, while a couple showed their disinterest. Mason couldn't help but feel grateful. "Thank you for your interest in these matters. Does anyone have anything they would like to bring up while we are all here?"

"I have something, but I'd like to share with just Alpha Wilson."

"Likewise"

Mason searched his screen for the two Alphas. Frank Reardon and...Tierney Scott! Holy shit! The Alpha over New York State! He was bewildered at the fact the most prominent Alpha in his continent wished to speak with him. "Very well. This meeting is adjourned." One by one, exiting tones filled his speakers until Alphas Readon and Scott remained.

Reardon, a middle-aged tall but stout man, was the first to speak. "I don't mind sharing with our neighboring pack on the information I have, but Alpha Wilson, I need to share with you some crucial information. You may not like what I have."

"Any information is welcome, Alpha Reardon." Mason braced himself nonetheless. Can't tell if shit's about to hit the fan…

Reardon retrieved a file from another set of hands. "Not sure if you're aware, but my territory covers the state of Maryland. I recognized your mate's last name, and I had my Beta grab a file from when I was police chief over Elkridge for a short time." Mason tensed up. Vincent's hometown. Yep, shit's gonna fly.

"The file I have is the police report of the night Paul and Marianne Bolton were mysteriously killed. I had no idea they were murdered by this Gregoro character, and I put myself to blame for the shoddy police work. You should have the report in your email by the end of the day. It does not have to be today, but I would like to speak with your mate and get a statement from him in regards to the events that night. It said in the report that the boy saw a shadowy figure and the detectives dismissed it as make believe. I will personally revise this report with any additional information you and your mate can provide."

A ragged sigh left Mason's lips. "I'll have Vincent give you a statement, and this news is very well needed. Thank you, Alpha Reardon, for taking care of revising the report. Expect a call from us within a couple days."

"Understood. Have a good day, gentlemen. And Alpha Wilson. Happy hunting for you and Vincent." The square on Mason's screen disappeared, and enlarged Tierney Scott's face to fit the monitor. Mason would be lying to himself if he said he wasn't nervous in front of the New York Alpha. The shifter was dripping in power, from his trimmed full beard to his multi thousand dollar suit. His thick black hair was neatly combed to the side, giving off a political look.

"Alpha Scott. It's a pleasure to have the chance to meet you."

"Same to you, Alpha Wilson. I was happy to hear that Leidolf's son rose to take his position. How is the old fart?"

Lei dipped his head down to fit in the webcam. "Old fart? Come on, Ty. You were better at name calling back in Libya!"

The serious demeanor on Tierney's melted as he saw his buddy. "Lei! I didn't know you were there! How's my CO been?"

Mason's eyes widened as Lei continued the conversation. "Not bad. Enjoying retirement. Bet it's more relaxing than having the largest pack in North America."

Tierney rolled his eyes as he combed through his hair. "Can't say it's a joy, but it does have its perks. You have raised a gentleman, Lei. Mason is one of the few Alphas who are man enough to ask for help when it's required."

Lei laughed heartily. "First thing I told him when he took the job. It's a small pack, so we can't be embarrassed to ask for help."

"That is good. But, back to the subject at hand. Mason, I have a personal favor to ask of you and your mate."

Mason sat up straight. A favor? From the strongest Alpha? "Anything, sir."

Tierney chuckled. "That will be Ty to you. No need to be so formal, young man. Your father and I go way back to our Marine days."

"Alright, Ty." That's gonna take a bit to get used to. "What can we do for you?"

Ty leaned back in his office chair. "I'm partially embarrassed to be asking this, but when you described your mate's power, my wolf had...an itch, if you will. He seems like a very capable man. My request is one you will not find amusing, but I promise you, there are no bad intentions attached."

Mason furrowed his brow. I'm already not liking the sound of this. "Go on."

The man nodded on screen. "I would like to meet your mate. It doesn't have to be any time soon, but if it can be sooner than later, that would make me happy. I have fought every kind of affinity there is in this world. All except one. Alpha Wilson, I want to request for the honor to spar with your mate."

The younger Alpha crossed his arms, preventing any sign of anger from revealing itself. Didn't expect that. I see his thought process though. Haven't had the thought myself, but now that he has mentioned it, my wolf wants the chance as well. "I understand your request, Ty. Part of me wants to howl in anger, but that's me wanting to protect my mate."

"I assure you, Mason. No harm would ever fall onto Vincent. My wolf pretty much demanded the opportunity once you said he is a shadow mage. You and your mate would be considered my esteemed guests, and would stay for as long as you two please."

Mason nodded. If he served with Dad, I believe I can trust his word. "I just need a couple things to be made clear. Vincent has not been turned yet, and our bond is not complete. He is still learning our culture, but he is learning fast. He is due to be inducted into our pack as an honorary member, for the time being."

"Understandable. A young human being dropped into the lycan universe can result in some pretty wild emotions. You're taking things slowly with him, and that is both smart and admirable. Your wolf must be going crazy."

"It's been a test, that's for sure. But anything for his happiness is worth it. I would like for Vinnie to have a say in this matter. I dislike the idea of him fighting an Alpha, even if it won't be a serious match. I will let him have the final decision. Just need your word on one more thing, Ty."

"Sure."

"This sparring match will not be considered a challenge for status or territory, for either you or I. Vincent is currently in no position to be a part of negotiations of that level."

Tierney gave a light laugh. "Very thorough. You are becoming a damned good Alpha, Mason. It has been years since I thought of making a power move like that. You have nothing to worry about. I couldn't expand my territory even if I wanted to. I have enough on my plate with what I have."

Mason smiled, happy to get a compliment from the Alpha. "Would you like to ask Vincent for your little favor? He's currently out back training with Elaine."

A red glint appeared in Tierney's eyes. "I would be honored to speak with him."

***

Oh, Gods! My...my muscles hurt. This is a lot! Vincent rested his back against a tree and sat down on the cool grass. Elaine is putting me through the wringer. I must have made twenty staffs before getting it right. But I got it down. My weapons are now ten times stronger than they used to be. The mage, proud of himself for his accomplishments, let his head back gently.

“Yo! Vincent! You need a bottle of water or something?” Raising his head, he saw Caleb standing near the porch. The new Enforcer came through the backyard a few minutes after Elaine shattered the first staff, and has been keeping a close eye on the mage’s training since. She began taking a defensive stance when she heard of his arrival, but Vincent threw a sight ward when the truck pulled in. After quickly telling his teacher who the new guest was, she simmered down. He bent his neck to her as she gave the lion a handshake.

“Mister Gage, make that two bottles. I’m getting parched myself.” Elaine gave a quick and gentle smile to the large shifter.

“Yes, ma’am.” Caleb left to the kitchen for refreshments. The lion shifter felt prideful in his new position, even if his only tasks given so far have been menial. He wanted to set a respectful expectation.

Elain turned to his student. “You’re doing very well, Vincent. It normally takes a frost student several days to get to the quality of your most recent staff. I can’t tell if it is because you are a mage with three affinities, or if you just have a knack for mastering skills fast.”

Vincent blushed at the compliment. “Thanks, Miss Elaine. I’m going to chalk it up to you being such an amazing teacher.”

“Flattery will get you nowhere.” She turned her head as she smelt the lion about to step out of the house. “Mister Gage, I hope you found the pantry without much trouble.”

“It wasn’t a problem, ma’am. My nose tends to find food pretty fast.” Vincent laughed at the remark. Caleb handed a bottle to both of the mages, and became surprised when both of the bottles in their hands began frosting. Well, isn’t that just useful? Wish I could make all my drinks cold on demand. He stepped out from under the patio and stood directly in the sunlight.

“Umm, Caleb? Wouldn’t you rather sit in the shade where it’s cooler?” Vincent stared at his old friend in curiosity. It has to be 80 degrees out here, and the humidity isn’t great either.

“Nah. I’m good, Little B. I enjoy the sun’s energy and heat. I’m trying to catch as much of it as possible before the winter months come.”

“That is correct.” Vincent turned to pay attention to his teacher. “Ailouros shifters are creatures of warmth, contrary to how lycan wolves prefer the colder weather. The sun gives lions a boost of energy, while stalking in the dark grants wolves an advantage.” Elaine gave Caleb a gentle stare and nod. “Mason was wise in his decision. Caleb protects during the day when he’s strongest, and my son does the night shift. Not even I would have thought of that.”

Vincent felt a rush of pride for his mate’s intelligence. Me either. That was a pretty smart move. I thought he just did it because Caleb and I knew each other and he is an exceptional pack member.

“Pardon me, everyone.” Everyone turned their attention to Dave, who stood in the doorway to the house. “Vincent, your mate and father-in-bond wish to see you in the den. One of the other pack Alphas wishes to meet you.”

Elaine stepped forward. “Which one, Dave?”

“Alpha Scott of New York State Pack.”

The female shifter’s face brightened at the name. “Oh my! What an honor. Do give my best wishes to Tierney, won’t you, Dave?”

Dave nodded. “Will do, Lady Wilson.” Vincent looked between Dave and Elaine, trying to understand why another Alpha wanted to speak with him. Am I in some sort of trouble? I’ve only been to New York a couple times in my life. Was I trespassing or did I do something against a pack custom? “Vin, you aren’t in any sort of trouble. Alpha Scott just has a...request to ask of you.”

Vincent nodded and got up from his comfy seat. He looked over himself, noticing the sweat stains on his shirt. Can’t have that in front of an Alpha. Moving his hands over the stains, he pumped very cold air over them, causing them to dissipate quickly. Cold, but better than having a nasty t-shirt on. The mage made his way up to Dave, who ushered him into the house, followed by Caleb. Dave noticed the lion following and turned. “Sorry, bud. Until you’re brought into the position officially, pack politics are classified.” Caleb nodded in understanding, and rejoined Elaine.

“Come on, young cub. Have you ever gone toe-to-toe with a frost affinity master?” Caleb grinned at the challenge and accepted as Dave and Vincent went inside.

The two men entered in the den, and Vincent saw his man sitting at the desk with Lei behind at an angle. They were talking and laughing at the monitor, along with a similar voice resembling Lei’s coming from the speaker. “There he is! Looks like Mom put you through it.”

Vincent smiled as he heard Mason’s voice and wanted to jump in his lap. I’ve only been gone for just under an hour and I feel like I haven’t seen him in years. This bond thing is getting pretty serious. “You could have warned me about her secretly being a drill sergeant. But I learned a lot just by manifesting weaponry.” Lei pulled up the office chair from the other side of the desk for his soon-to-be son-in-bond. Vincent happily took the leather chair as his body told him he needed a break. Mason rolled his eyes as he got a whiff of his mate. Gods! Someone needs a shower! Wafting his hand around his nose, Mason began introductions. “Vinnie, I’d like to introduce you to Alpha Tierney Scott. He is the Alpha of the New York State Pack, the largest in North America, and one of Dad’s old Marine buddies.”

Oh...cool. The Alpha of the largest pack on this continent. So, nothing special or anything. And he wants to meet me. Vincent did his best to collect himself, but the nervousness couldn’t be sequestered. He looked to the monitor and saw what seemed to be a forty-year-old man that oozed authority.

“You must be Vincent. And before you start, if you call me Alpha Scott, I’m going to wag my finger. My name is Tierney Scott, but I prefer Ty. Might I say, it is an honor to meet you, not only as a fellow Alpha’s destined mate, but also as one of the rare and formidable shadow mages. Forgive your mate for informing me of your power. He is rather proud of your abilities, and your goal to bring positive glory to the shadow affinity. That is rather noble of you, and I wish you the best in your adventure.”

Vincent’s mind held onto the nervousness, but couldn’t stop the sense of joy when he learned of Mason’s bragging. He shares my goals. Mace wants to help me make something of the shadow affinity. The mage glanced at his man sitting next to him. Gods, I'm starting to think I don't deserve him. “Thank you, Alph...Ty. That means a lot, and it is an honor to meet you. Miss Elaine wants to give you her best wishes. She would have come in, but I believe she stayed outside to test our new Enforcer.”

Ty gave a thin grin over the monitor. “Now, Mason! You’ve been a busy wolf lately. Finding your mate, and a new Enforcer. And I believe you said Vincent was just learning about pack culture? It seems he’s been doing his homework as well.”

Mason gripped his mate’s knee and looked deep into his eyes. “Vinnie is a very quick learner. Strong at heart, as well. He is handling our customs better than any human that has entered this pack. Our Enforcer was a spur of the moment decision. He has lived in this pack for over a year, and assisted on several missions. When I found out that him and Vincent used to be childhood friends, the decision became clear.”

“Powerful, powerful connections. I am almost jealous of the bond of friendship that has been created between your mate and Enforcer.” Ty turned his attention to Vincent. “Young one. Your mate has requested assistance from various packs across the United States in search of your parents’ murderer. I wanted to tell you personally that you have the full and undying support from my pack. I will use every resource and connection I have in possession to track this man down. Provided he comes willingly, he will be yours to determine his fate.”

Vincent dropped his head, unable to pull back his tears. I don’t want to cry any more. Mason leaned in and pulled his mate in an embrace. “Alpha Scott, forgive the formalities, but your offer is more than appreciated. Our pack is in your debt.”

Tierney stiffened his suit, almost moved by the young one’s tears. He is emotionally driven to find this evil man. I imagine it must be such a burden for one so young. That is both a sign of power, and of weakness. He will grow into a strong man. One fit to be by the side of such an intelligent Alpha. “If you need a moment, I can get a cup of tea. But, Vincent. I must ask a single request from you. Please, take all the time you need. I shall be back.”

“N-no, sir.” Just as Tierney began standing up, he halted, surprised to hear the Alpha’s mate’s voice. He sat back down. He watched the head of long dirty blonde hair lift up, showing his slightly bloodshot eyes. “I apologize. The past several days have placed a weight on my shoulders, and I am still getting used to it. I am beyond grateful for your kind words, and for that, whatever you need from me, just say the word and I can be there in minutes.”

Ty cocked his head to the side with a smile. No. There is no weakness in this man. He will make a fine addition to his pack. No question about it. “Well, I don’t know about minutes, young Vincent, but I appreciate the gesture.”

“Oh, Tierney. He’s serious about being there in...well, a New York minute.” Mason glanced at the monitor as he held his mate’s hand, rubbing his thumb over Vincent’s palm. “One of the many perks of the shadow affinity.”

I have a hard time believing this. Traveling so far in such a short time? “I’m sorry if I’m showing signs of disbelief, but you two are spouting crazy talk. As much as I would like to question more on this matter, I would like to get on with my request for Vincent.” The mage sat straighter in anticipation. “I have already explained it to Mason, and he had a few concerns, but they have been straightened out. He has left the final decision to you, Vincent.”

Okay. Concerns. Always lovely to hear. “Ty, I would be happy to hear your request.”

Tierney leaned forward in his chair, interlocking his fingers into a ball. “Vincent, I have never come across a shadow mage, and not only my curiosity has been piqued, but my wolf has made a rather impulsive demand of me. It would be a pleasure for you, and Mason, if he would like to join, to come stay at my apartment in New York for a short time.”

Vincent smiled. “Of course! That sounds like an amazing time. I would love to come see New York again.”

“I’m glad to hear that, but that wasn’t my wolf’s demand. You may turn this down if you so wish, but my wolf would be truly honored to face you in a sparring duel.”

The mage’s face remained a mystery. Silence and a blank expression was plastered over Vincent. “Vin? Vinnie? You don’t have to commit to it. Ty already explained to me no harm would come to you, and you would be under his council’s direct protection.”

“That is correct, Vincent. I have no intention of harming you. If I did, Mason would no doubt tear me limb from limb. And I, quite frankly, like breathing.”

A chuff left Vincent’s lips. That’s funny. I believe him. Both of them. And with Ty saying he’s going to give all of that help, I think it would be appropriate. He moved his head back up to meet the monitor and Tierney’s deep brown eyes. Gods, don’t let me regret this.

“Alpha Scott, I would like to accept your challenge. Name your time and place.”

Copyright © 2020 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

I will not believe that my destined Mate would ever cause Vinnie any harm. Although, the "...I've never fought a Shadow Affinity and would love the opportunity to do so...' seems - questionable?

Can you imagine what an Alpha of New York State, which just so happens to be the largest Pack in North America, would be like? Goddess Have Mercy! Please let Ty be a true good Wolf, please!

One thing I've been wondering, why did Stefan suddenly make contact with Vinnie? Is he starting to take Vinnie's quest seriously now? How many Shadow Affinity Mage's are there left? That's got nothing to do with it, right?

Every chapter brings something new and adds to the wonder of this story. So excited. I haven't been keeping an eye on how often chapters are released, but if this one was released sooner than normal, thank you :) Even if it was't, thank you :)

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14 hours ago, Patch1 said:

And again, you have left me wanting more!  You know you have a great story when you feel like you are living the moments with the characters...when you can "feel" what they are feeling.  Excellent!!!  All I can say is more, more, more!!!

Patch1! I'm so happy I leave you wanting more! And I do my best in character development :D

 

11 hours ago, Buz said:

I will not believe that my destined Mate would ever cause Vinnie any harm. Although, the "...I've never fought a Shadow Affinity and would love the opportunity to do so...' seems - questionable?

Can you imagine what an Alpha of New York State, which just so happens to be the largest Pack in North America, would be like? Goddess Have Mercy! Please let Ty be a true good Wolf, please!

One thing I've been wondering, why did Stefan suddenly make contact with Vinnie? Is he starting to take Vinnie's quest seriously now? How many Shadow Affinity Mage's are there left? That's got nothing to do with it, right?

Every chapter brings something new and adds to the wonder of this story. So excited. I haven't been keeping an eye on how often chapters are released, but if this one was released sooner than normal, thank you :) Even if it was't, thank you :)

I love, and will always love your comments, Buz! Putting yourself in Tierney's (most likely) Italian leather shoes, he's done it all:  leader of the most powerful pack in NA, went in the Marines and traveled the world, and has fought against every magical affinity...until now. His wolf merely wants the experience of fighting something that is spoken of in legends. 

Ty is a character with neutral-positive morality. He plays the good side of things, but he will want things for his own personal reasons. I'm not saying he commits unlawful deeds to do so, but like with wanting to spar with Vin, he will be giving all the information he can get his hands on about Stefan in order to get his wish.

Stefan works in mysterious ways. He does as he pleases, sometimes for his own amusement, or to create drama. In regards to shadow mages in the world...there are more than just Stefan and Vincent ;D

I finished this chapter earlier than I expected, and I've created numerous events that will keep our cast of characters occupied for a long time.

Edited by astone2292
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I have a feeling that Ms. Elaine is probably more than deadly; glad to see someone of her skill level helping to train Vincent.  He will need every trick to be able to handle what is to come.  I have a feeling that the trip to New York will be very memorable.  The duel maybe more than just memorable however, I have a feeling there is more going on than we know yet.

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Oh wow what a chapter. Thank you! 
 

I’m excited for the spar but I think Vinnie needs several more sessions with Elaine and maybe other people before he can go toe to toe with a serious and very powerful Alpha. 
 

I like how in every chapter I learn more about this world you’re building. From pack dynamics and politics to magical affinities. Wow. 
 

Hopefully Mason’s pack becomes one of the big packs in the future. Hehe.

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1 hour ago, gabz2000 said:

Oh wow what a chapter. Thank you! 
 

I’m excited for the spar but I think Vinnie needs several more sessions with Elaine and maybe other people before he can go toe to toe with a serious and very powerful Alpha. 
 

I like how in every chapter I learn more about this world you’re building. From pack dynamics and politics to magical affinities. Wow. 
 

Hopefully Mason’s pack becomes one of the big packs in the future. Hehe.

Vincent's already a competent fighter at this point. Remember from Chapter 1? He debated on calling for Dave to take Mason down? Debated. 

I tried to string out the details. Even writing Chapter 30, I'm still building the world! I view it important to leave crumbs along the trail. 

And maybe one day, Mason will look into expansion...one day... Thanks for reading! I'm blowing past your story at a ridiculous pace! It's very well laid out, just needs some editing when it's all done. Feel free to reach out if you need help with it since you have a bajillion chapters :)

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No. There is no weakness in this man. He will make a fine addition to his pack. No question about it. 

That one thought caught my attention. I thought Alpha Scott told Mason there was no strings in the challenge. I don't like the idea that they will be staying with that Alpha at all. Sounds like a rogue wolf to me. They had better be on alert with the New York Alpha in my opinion!

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3 minutes ago, Story Reader said:

No. There is no weakness in this man. He will make a fine addition to his pack. No question about it. 

That one thought caught my attention. I thought Alpha Scott told Mason there was no strings in the challenge. I don't like the idea that they will be staying with that Alpha at all. Sounds like a rogue wolf to me. They had better be on alert with the New York Alpha in my opinion!

I love the sus on Tierney!!! Seeing conspiracy theories as the chapters were being written versus having the story already posted is so conflicting to me! But...I'll keep my mouth shut, and I'll let you forge on. 

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No matter the power and experience Ty might have, I think Vinnie has the advantage if he has shadows on the playing field. 

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