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    WolfM
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Embers - 10. Embers 10

Brandon noticed a small blond and a tall brunet get out surrounded by several others. His eyes flashed amber in surprise and a low growl escaped his throat. He received puzzled expressions from Noah and Lucas, as they looked from the newcomers back to him. “Oh just fuckin’ great. What the hell are they doing here?”

“You know them?”

“Yeah. It’s the goddamn, fuckin’ Kardashians.” A moment too late, Brandon realized his voice had been louder than intended, as everyone around the van turned towards him.

Surprise was etched on Ethan’s face. “Wait, is he talking about us?”

“What the hell?” Aiden was pissed. “We’re nothing like that train wreck.”

Casey and one of his mates, Cody, burst out laughing. “Oh man, can’t breathe. Not sure if it’s from the smoke or that epic burn.”

“I see your reputation even extends to here.” Trevor shook his head as his hand covered the smile.

“Remind me to demote you when we get home.” Aiden took a playful swipe at his best friend’s head.

Darius, the more serious of Casey’s two mates, took major issue with someone insulting his alphas and brothers-in-law. “I don’t care if that guy’s still manning a hose or not. No one’s going to show that level of disrespect towards you two while I’m around.” He took two steps before a hand pressed against his chest. Casey and Cody moved in, growling at their mate being touched.

“All of you stay right where you’re at.” Joe focused on the tall blond he had blocked. “I don’t know who you are or what you’re doing here, but you don’t mess with one of my men.” His voice was little more than a low, threatening growl. “Around here, while this fire’s burning, I’m the alpha of these men and the fuckin’ ruler of this area. You may have Alpha Sampson with you, and I’ve got the ultimate respect for him, but he doesn’t call the shots.” Joe turned towards the New South Wales Fire Commander. “Mason, before things get out of control, what the fuck’s going on?”

“I may as well be the Queen of England,” Brody’s hands-on-hips stance garnered stifled laughs, “for all the bloody good my position does me.”

“Brody!” Thorin chastised his mate. “Hush, Your Majesty. I wish you were the Queen. Then I’d have all those fabulous tiaras. Now let Mason talk. Oh, and guys”he smirked at the newcomers“you’re in the lycan media as much as the Kardashians are in the human news.”

“These are Alphas Aiden and Ethan Jacobs-Tucker.” Mason began the introductions.

“Oh for god’s sake. We already said to drop the hyphenated name when we arrived. It was cute at first, but now it’s annoyingly long. I’m Alpha Jacobs and he’s Alpha Tucker. It avoids confusion.” Aiden’s exasperation was clear.

“Anyway, as I was saying,” Mason dipped his head in deference towards the group of leaders. “They were brought in from the U.S. to try and help us with the fires. They’re the Elementals we’ve been hearing about for the last couple years. Gentlemen, this is Joe Nevins. He’s crew chief of the Mutts.”

“These the two with the hocus-pocus stuff? What the bloody hell are they going to do? And why is my crew being bothered with this. You’ve already got us busting our arses running from one blaze to the next. I know the whole damned country’s on fire, but we don’t get enough recovery time as it is. Then we get pulled from Katoomba on our day off and sent down here to protect some high-ups property while our own homes and businesses are burning to the ground. Are we supposed to babysit these tourists and try to fight the fuckin’ fire too? How much more are you going to ask of us?” Joe did not care who was around, he obviously had no intention of holding back.

“My fault, guys.” Brody quickly surrendered in hopes of defusing the situation. “These homes belong to relatives of mine. Maybe I shouldn’t have done it, but I pulled as many strings as I needed, to get extra protection here for my family. Honestly, I didn’t know what else to do.”

“Guess that explains the urgent orders.” Joe huffed. “Sorry, but we lost two of the five. Guess some of your relations are in the same situation as a couple of my men. The idiots… err, your relatives didn’t do a good job at clearing things back like RFS has been telling people for months. We can’t protect a building with trees right up to it. Tin roofs are great except when piles of old leaves build up on them. As long as the winds keep blowing away from here, these three should be safe now.” The smoke made the man cough loudly. “So, the Elementals, Mason?”

“I’ve tried for years to get Aunt Clair to trim back those trees.” Brody ran his hands through his thick hair. “She always said it made it more like living in nature. And Uncle Warren wouldn’t touch the damn things without her blessing. Let me know which men and what pack lost homes, and I’ll coordinate with them on making sure rebuilding goes quickly. It’s one thing I can actually control in this disaster.”

“Well, the house, barn, and everything else are all back to nature. Ashes to ashes and all that.” Joe did not sound too sympathetic. “I’ll ask again, the Elementals?”

“They can both control fire.” Mason finally managed to step back into the conversation.

“Bloody good for them. I can too by pissing on the damn thing. Can I get back to fighting flames now?”

“Listen for a damned second, Joe. The hope’s they can either draw down the blaze enough you can fight it more effectively or maybe even extinguish it.”

“Seriously? We’ve been at this for how many fuckin’ months, and you just now think to try this?” Joe threw his hands into the air, obviously exasperated. “I’ve got work to do. The road out of here’s that way. Get back in your vehicles and leave. If you don’t like my attitude, Alpha Sampson can give you my alpha’s contact info to file a grievance.”

“Look, Joe. This is all new to us, so no one even considered it.” Mason grabbed the chief’s shoulder. “We’re still getting used to having them in the world.”

“I fell in love with Australia when we were here for part of our honeymoon.” Ethan stepped forward. “Chief Nevins, when we started seeing all this on the news back home in December, I wanted to try and do something. Like he said, we can both control fire. It isn’t an exact science, it may not always work like we want, but it might help. I can also control water and might be able to make it rain.”

A shift in wind caught Joe’s attention. Smoke filled the area that had been relatively clear minutes earlier. After a quick survey of the surroundings, Joe cupped his hands around his mouth. “It’s gonna head back. Save your hoses until you see the flames. I’m not sure how much water we have left.” With orders issued to his men, he turned back to the visitors. “It’s likely to get bad here soon, so either make yourselves useful, or get the fuck out of our way. Sorry to be rude, but I can’t protect you and my men.”

“Pup, see if you can turn the winds so the fire burns back on itself. I’ll see if I can do anything.” Aiden stood behind his mate, resting his hands on the smaller shoulders. A red glow slowly built in his normally dark eyes.

A sapphire blue shine illuminated Ethan’s eyes but quickly shifted to a golden hue. The smoke thinned. Gusts came out of the north instead of the south, as they had been moments earlier. Embers dancing through the air lost their brilliance and fell to the ground as harmless ash.

After several minutes, the red dissipated from Aiden’s brown eyes. “That should help for now. I just hope we didn’t turn the blaze towards someone else. Chief Nevins, I don’t know if we can really do anything to help or not. What I do know is I was given a gift by my mate, and as an alpha, it’s my duty to try and protect others.” He looked towards Brody and Mason before refocusing on Joe. “We were told your team has done an outstanding job in conditions I can’t even imagine. If you’re willing to work with us, I’d like to see if we can help you in return. Hopefully to put a stop to the bushfires.” Aiden extended his hand to the chief.

“Two conditions.”

“Name them.”

“You listen to me, if I say to evacuate the area. No argument. Get in your van and get the hell out. Even if you can control fire, it can still be an uncontrollable beast. I don’t want your people or mine hurt.”

“Deal. What’s the second condition?”

“One of my men may have disrespected you. You keep your guy here away from him. If, and given what we do it would be a big stretch, I think he said something wrong, I’ll deal with him. Your man doesn’t touch, reprimand, speak to, or do anything to him.”

Ethan turned his head towards his mate. “It’s not too much to ask, Big Bad.”

“You heard the man, Darius. He’s off limits, so stay clear of that guy.” Aiden was satisfied when he received a nod. “You have my word, alpha to alpha.”

******

Brody, Thorin, and Mason climbed into the SUV for the drive back to Sydney. “Okay you guys. Play nice once we leave.”

“Mason, I hope we get a supply truck soon. We don’t have enough rations to feed us and the new guys.” Joe was back to his gruff attitude. “And we’re not sharing our meals. Too bloody small at is it.”

“I’ll call it in now. Should have water, fuel, and food within the hour.”

“Guess it’s time you guys met the Mutts.” Joe waved a hand, asking the Elementals to follow him.

The newcomers trailed towards the fire crew. Lucas laid his hose down and moved towards them. “Looks like we caught a break when the wind shifted again. I’m gonna start the men on rotating watches. We should take this time to get a little rest, before they send us to the next hot spot, or it burns back towards us.” He extended his hand. “Lucas Thompson. I’m Joe’s second in command.”

“Aiden Jacobs and my mate Ethan Tucker.” He shook the offered hand. “Our betas Trevor and Darius.” The men waved. “Those two are our enforcers, Casey and Cody. The one hanging back at the van is our driver, Dainen.”

“Nice to meet you. I know I’ve seen your faces before, but with that accent you’re definitely not from around here.” Lucas turned to Joe. “Boss? So what’s up?”

“These gents are here to help us with the fire.”

“No offense, but none of you are in the right kit for hard yakka. Did you at least bring shovels?”

“He means hard work. So we don’t have to go through this multiple times, call everyone together, so we can go over why they’re here.”

******

“Joe, I’ve read a few things about them since they were discovered.” Lucas leaned back on his elbows. “I’m not sure I believed the stories, but the leaders across Oz made a big deal about it when they toured the country. Even held a huge sun and moon gathering at Uluru.”

“The wind shifting away from us earlier was their doing. According to them at least. All I know is their eyes got all glowy like I’ve never seen a lycan do and the embers burned out.” Joe stuffed the trash from his meal back in its bag. “We’ve been at this job for months. I say we give them the help they need if there’s a chance of stopping these fires.”

“Guess we’re in agreement.” He sipped from his cup. “Damn, we talked so long my coffee got cold.”

“Mind if I join you?” Aiden sat as the two acknowledged him, leaned in and touched Lucas’ cup. Steam rose from it accompanied by the beverage’s aroma. “Your men took our presence rather well. Except for the one the size of my mate.”

“Umm. Thanks for the reheat. Brandon’s a good guy for a Yank. He volunteered to come over on his own last month and gives everything he has to help.” Lucas drank his now-warm coffee. “He’s had run-ins with pack leaders in the past that didn’t go well, so that’s one point against you. You and your little band of merry men are the epitome of a way of life he wishes he could be cured from.”

“Wait? Are you saying he doesn’t want to be a wolf?”

“All I’m saying’s give him room. Not everyone’s gonna to be razzle-dazzled by the legendary power couple.” Lucas set the metal camping mug down. “We haven’t known him very long, but we’ve all adopted him as one of our own. As far as I’m concerned, he’s my little brother. Don’t think you’ll find anyone on the crew who’s not protective of him.”

Clearing his throat, Joe pointed over to Brandon. “Thought you made a promise to me, Alpha Jacobs.”

“Damn it. I told all four not to bother him.”

******

“Is it okay if I sit here?”

Brandon shrugged. “You’re an enforcer. You guys can do pretty much whatever you want. And often do.”

“I’m Cody.” He extended his hand. “And I’m not trying to be an enforcer here, just socialize with the guys we’ll be working with.”

“Right. Out of twenty guys you pick me to be social with. The one who mouthed off about your boss, so you’re playing the nice guy, while the tall blond over there occasionally glares at me.” He finally accepted the hand shake. “Brandon. You’re a Marine?”

“Yeah. I served my time. The tattoos and haircut usually give me away.”

“How’d you manage to keep the tatt through shifts. Thought they vanished like scars.”

“If you get it done by a lycan artist, they know what inks will stick for us.”

“I’ll have to tell my mate. He was disappointed his EGA vanished the first shift after he got it. Thankfully, none of his fellow jarheads had seen it. He thought he had it done right.”

“Your mate’s a Marine? Cool!” Cody stuck his fist out to bump. “That would suck to lose an eagle, globe, and anchor. What’s his MOS?”

“Zero-eight-forty-eight. Field artillery.”

“I’m rusty on their numbers. Is that cannoneer?” Cody’s eyes flashed with recognition. “Wait, your mate’s Staff Sergeant Austin Brookover?”

“Umm, yeah Austin’s my husband. How’d you know? Already ran a background check on me? Or making sure my alpha knows I’m a disrespectful, little ass? And no, it’s Fire Direction Control.”

“Suspicious guy, aren’t you?” Cody’s laugh showed he was being playful. “I got a call from Alpha Sampson around New Year asking me to find out about a Marine serving in Iraq. He said the info was for an American firefighter working with an all lycan crew. I can’t imagine there would be too many like you over here whose mate’s in artillery. From the guys in that field I met, they love to shoot off a big cannon.” He winked.

“Thanks for letting me know he was okay. It shook me up pretty bad, seeing what was happening over there, and not being able to find out anything. I knew his base was out in the desert, but didn’t know if it had been attacked. Plus you guys are always the ones to rush in to defend an embassy.” Brandon could not suppress the smirk. “I’ve never heard a complaint when he makes his favorite howitzer blast.”

“I’ll always help a fellow Marine. Or his mate. I just relayed the information. People I know with access at the Pentagon did the real work.”

“I only recognize the oh-three-eleven around your EGA. What are the other two?”

“Yeah, everyone associated with the Corps knows rifleman. Zero-three-twenty-one is when I was in recon, and zero-three-seventeen is from my time as a scout sniper.”

“So you’re one of the badass jarheads my mate idolizes. Semper Fi.” This time it was Brandon who initiated the fist bump. “Is your beta gonna be upset you’re talking to me? Or is this part of the good cop, bad cop plan before you guys do something to punish me for what I said?”

“Don’t worry about my husband. He agreed you’re off limits. Personally, I thought it was a hoot hearing you call them the Kardashians. They hate the media coverage, but there’s public interest in them, so they deal with it. And it gives them a public platform to try and do some good. I guess it doesn’t always come off the best, based on your reaction. I’m not going to push, but both my men are sweet guys if you decide you want to meet them.”

“Both? You have two mates? That’s possible? I wasn’t told I could have more than one.”

“It’s apparently rare, but yeah, it can happen.” Cody could not hold back his laughter which attracted Casey’s and Darius’ attention. He waved the two over, who cautiously approached. “Casey, Darius, I’d like to introduce you to Brandon, my new friend. Brandon, my husbands.”

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Darius kept a respectable distance. “We were ordered to leave him alone.”

Flopping down on the ground and laying his head back on Cody’s lap, the other wolf stuck out his hand. “I’m Casey. Cool to meet you.”

“It was worth it to come say hi to him. He’s a good guy.” Cody winked. “We’re not talking to him as betas or enforcers. It’s just one Marine and his mates chatting with another Marine’s partner. He’s the one we got the call about with the husband in Iraq. Hopefully, he won’t hold it against you being an ex-Army officer.”

“You mean the one from the embassy? I’m Darius.” He extended his hand and waited, unsure if it would be accepted or not.

It took the shorter American a moment before deciding, but he grasped the blond’s hand. “Brandon.”

******

“Okay, there won’t be any human crews working close to us.” Joe briefed Aiden, Ethan, and his own people. “We’ve got our work to do, so don’t get in our way while you two try to do your thing. I’d put more faith in this if you were Kiwi wizards or hobbits than a pair of Americans.”

“This will be our first actual field test. We tried this out with small stuff before we came, but we’re in the unknown here.” Aiden rubbed his hands, uncharacteristically nervous. “Our guys will take care of us.”

Less than thirty minutes later, the Mutts were attacking the blaze. The American team froze in shock as they watched the men take on the wall of fire bearing down on a small farm. Trees exploding made them jump and the heat was like nothing they had ever experienced. Even at the distance they were from the inferno, it was a terrifying sight.

Kangaroos raced from spots they had sheltered in, heading for the cool streams of water spraying towards the trees.

“Hey, Luc. I think they’re the smart ones. They know when to run.” Brandon directed his hose at an animal whose fur was smoking.

“Holy shit. I’ve been on fire a few times, but this…” Aiden turned to his mate. “Do you still think we can handle this?”

“We won’t know ‘til we try.” The glow was already building in Ethan’s eyes. The brilliant blue quickly morphed to purple, before settling on a vibrant red.

Trevor and the others were arrayed around their alphas, ready to evacuate them to the van, if things went badly.

Soon, Aiden’s eyes matched his mate’s. He reached out with his right hand, feeling the inferno as it consumed everything in its path. The conflagration began to die down. A shift in winds caught the two off guard as a firenado formed near the Mutts. Ethan focused his attention on the cyclone, dissipating it before it reached the men. His distraction allowed the blaze to regain its strength even with Aiden’s continued efforts.

After nearly twenty minutes, the pair took a break.

“It’s harder to control than I thought.”

“No kidding, Pup. I can feel it raging and not wanting to give up.”

“I want to try something different. You deal with the fire. I’ll try to make it rain. The humidity’s low, but I think I can still work with it.”

“You’re the boss, Master Jedi. I’m your humble padawan.”

Ethan rolled his eyes. “Just focus on what you’re supposed to be doing. We can get into you calling me master some other time.”

As both their eyes glowed again, this time, Ethan’s remained blue. The intensity reflected off the smoke around them. The temperature decreased, and starting with a drop at a time, rain began to fall, slowly building until the sky unleashed a downpour.

Cheers went up from the Mutts as they danced around. “By god they did it.” Joe was ecstatic.

It was the first measurable amount the area had seen in months. With Aiden’s assistance, the flame died back, as steam filled the air. Ethan kept it up for nearly three quarters of an hour, turning the surrounding landscape into a smoldering wasteland.

The sound of something heavy hitting the ground startled both groups. There were more impacts, as balls of ice hit the trucks. A light on the top of one shattered, while the bonnet of another dented under the increasing barrage of hail.

“MOTHER FUCKER…” Lucas dropped the hose and cradled his arm.

“Umm, Pup? You’re getting hail. And it’s big.”

“I know. Something’s wrong. I can’t stop it.” Ethan’s eyes grew in brilliance as he tried to bring the storm under control. His heart sank when he realized he could only watch the men get pummeled by the icy terror. For about thirty feet around the Elementals, the ground was clear. Beyond that, it was turning white.

“Take cover.” Joe dove under his truck.

A few of the men made it inside their vehicles, while others tried to crawl under them. A blood curdling howl made everyone stop and turn.

“LACKIE!” Brandon scrambled from his spot under a truck into the maelstrom, before anyone could stop him.

Copyright © 2021 WolfM; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Awesome and intense chapter, I think that Ethan is against a powerful negative power feeding the fires , and I hope that he can rein in his power to defuse the hail 

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4 hours ago, CincyKris said:

Damn that was intense!  Hopefully Ethan will figure out how to better control his powers.  I'm also hoping that Ethan and Aiden will be able to improve Brandon's lycan self-esteem and alter his negative views of packs.  

Thank you, Kris. :)  When an instruction manual is needed it can never be found. Plenty of fires burning for him to run tests on.

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4 hours ago, heifel35 said:

Ethan not being able to turn of his power can't be a good thing. Something is fighting back. I sure hope both Lackie and Brandon will be allright. 

I like the way the guys tried to bond with Brandon. And absolutely loved the Kardasian line🤣😂

Thank you, Heifel. :)  Using that family to insult Ethan and Aiden was too good to pass up. When Cody found he was talking to the mate of a Marine, that was enough for him to consider Brandon a friend. The world needs more people like him.

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4 hours ago, mikedup said:

Awesome and intense chapter, I think that Ethan is against a powerful negative power feeding the fires , and I hope that he can rein in his power to defuse the hail 

Thank you, Mike. :) Up to this point in the different stories everything Ethan has tried, he succeeded at: saving his mate from rogues, healing ferals, saving his friend from being murdered. For the first time, Ethan failed while using his gift.

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3 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

You just don't f#&k with Mother Nature.  The planet tends to know what really needs to happen; while the fires are horrible and homes and lives are lost; humans have moved into areas that really were not habitable for a reason.  We have screwed with water tables, rivers, deserts, and so much more and then wonder why nature bites back at times.

Good interaction through out this chapter, writing was excellent and flowed well.  

God help everyone if Lachlan gets hurt bad; Brandon will come unglued.  

Thank you, Centex. :hug: I always enjoy what you have to say. Mother Nature is pissed and the last couple years she's been showing it.

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2 minutes ago, WolfM said:

For the first time, Ethan failed while using his gift.

I would not call it failing. He did accomplish his goal, to make it rain. He just did not consider side effects.

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1 hour ago, Carlos Hazday said:

I wonder if the Kardashians realize how often their the butt end of jokes. Probably doesn't matter to them as they  out their money.

Austin being a jarhead may just provide an in for Brandon. I was impressed you thought about tats dissappearing when shifting. It's those little details that round out a story even if most readers won't even notice. Good job, son.

Thank you, Big Daddy. At least I haven't gotten a cease-and-desist order over using them as an insult.

The big stuff in a chapter always catches the readers attention. The little stuff makes it fun.

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2 minutes ago, Kitt said:

I would not call it failing. He did accomplish his goal, to make it rain. He just did not consider side effects.

Fair enough. He knew there could be variables he might not think of going in, which is why he kept saying it might work or it might not.

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Another of your great stories.  Am very excited to see where this goes.  I'm guessing there are some big changes ahead for all of the fellas.

 

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Who knew a story about gay were creatures and Elementals fighting fire in the wilds of Australia would be this engrossing and dare I add believable?  Thank you. Many career jarheads in my family, including my father. Semper Fi. 

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18 hours ago, Quixo said:

Another of your great stories.  Am very excited to see where this goes.  I'm guessing there are some big changes ahead for all of the fellas.

 

Thank you, Quixo. :)

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13 hours ago, re2 said:

Who knew a story about gay were creatures and Elementals fighting fire in the wilds of Australia would be this engrossing and dare I add believable?  Thank you. Many career jarheads in my family, including my father. Semper Fi. 

Thank you, re2. :)  I figured I had a 50/50 shot with this story. I'm happy with the response so far.

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The physics of a heavy rainstorm are sneaking into this story! Hail is a product of strong updrafts raising raindrops up into the cold of high altitude where they freeze, then begin to fall. As they fall through the warmer atmosphere layer below, they accumulate another layer of water on the outside and get blown up into cold stratosphere again where this new layer freezes on the outside. This rise and fall of raindrops and freezing, repeats again and again until the iceball gets too heavy to be blown upward again and falls to earth as the iceball we call hail. Obviously, in a very strong updraft these iceballs could become quite large and when, eventually, they fall, can do damage to crops and even structures on the ground beneath.

Mr Will

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6 hours ago, Will Hawkins said:

The physics of a heavy rainstorm are sneaking into this story! Hail is a product of strong updrafts raising raindrops up into the cold of high altitude where they freeze, then begin to fall. As they fall through the warmer atmosphere layer below, they accumulate another layer of water on the outside and get blown up into cold stratosphere again where this new layer freezes on the outside. This rise and fall of raindrops and freezing, repeats again and again until the iceball gets too heavy to be blown upward again and falls to earth as the iceball we call hail. Obviously, in a very strong updraft these iceballs could become quite large and when, eventually, they fall, can do damage to crops and even structures on the ground beneath.

Mr Will

Fires like what Australian had created tremendous updrafts at times, as evident by the size of the smoke columns. The hail can do a lot of damage to people caught in it too. ;) 

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