Nicolas no longer recognizes his life. Having been given his heart’s desire in the form of his best friend Jackson, he has been told that he is a Guardian of the earth and his magic must quicken.
When Nicolas' magic does quicken, the Guardians of Diana are threatened by the most dangerous of dark forces: the Shadows. They seek to destroy the Goddess and the very earth itself.
Can Nicolas find the strength inside of him to use his magic and save humanity?
Or will he lose the man he loves forever?
Nicolas knew they were in trouble when he saw the fear in Jackson’s eyes.
“What is it, my love?” Nicolas whispered.
“Shadows,” Jackson said. “Lots of them.”
“Hundreds of them,” Henry said.
“You’re both wrong. There are thousands,” Clarence said, his voice a hoarse whisper.
“What does it matter?” Will asked softly. “They have us surrounded. Can’t you hear them within the confines of the woods?”
The trees surrounded them on all sides. Whereas before, the trees had seemed comforting, the leaves of the deciduous trees and the boughs of the conifers were now filled with menace.
They had dressed quickly, and Nicolas experienced a moment of pure panic. Now that his magic was ready, he had wanted to take time to learn how to use it. He said as much to Jackson.
Tears streamed down Jackson’s face. “I told you I was sorry. There is no time to test your magic.”
“And no time like the present to learn its potential,” a voice spoke from behind them.
They turned to see Diana stride purposefully from her tree, the trunk glowing a bright blue before she took form in front of them.
“My Lady,” Will said. “You must return to your tree. There are too many Shadows here.”
“That is precisely why I am not in my tree.” She regarded each of them with a serious glare. There was depth in those eyes, wells of power that spoke of old magic. “You need what power I can lend to aid you in this. There is no other way.”
“But you risk getting yourself killed,” Clarence said, rage in his words at their current situation rather than at the Dryad herself.
“Then so be it. I will go back to the land from which I came and another will take my place. Together, we are complete: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. Without me, the circle is not complete, your power not strong enough for this.”
“We have been strong enough to protect you for hundreds of years.”
“And yet you die,” Diana said. “Was Nicolas not just marked to replace the one who carried the water in his blood? Did we not just lose one of our own recently? I have gone about this the wrong way. I will not hide and cower inside my tree. I will fight alongside you.”
“Let us at least find a sixth,” Clarence said.
“No,” Diana said harshly. “Jackson and Nicolas are marked with Water. You are marked with Fire. Henry is marked with Earth, and Will with Air. There are six of us together, and together we must fight.”
“But Lady…” Will said.
“But nothing,” Diana said. “There cannot be more than five guards. That is the way it has always been and the way it will continue to be. Though I wish we had another who could wield Fire, it is not matter. We will prevail.”
“How can you be sure?” Henry asked.
Diana looked at each of them, the lightning of her magic sparkling in her eyes. “Because we have no other choice.”
There was a war cry from the woods. It chilled Nicolas’ skin, filling the air around them with something that sounded like the wind being given a voice: a screech loud and as shrill as needles along the surface of the skin.
“Get ready, gentleman,” Diana said. “They are coming.”