Can one Andor help his mate embrace the future or will Lucas be forever trapped by his past?
While Andor loves working for the Warlock resistance as a doctor, he always felt that there has been something missing in his life. Then as he watch his brother and his mate, Andor realizes what it is, he's missing his other half. But, when and where will he find him?
Lucas has been locked up in the Warlock rehabilitation camps since he was fifteen. That was the age when he lost control of his magic and accidently killed his own family. Ever since then he's been a pariah in his own community and feared by humans. Finally, after seven years, Lucas has enough of the hate and he manages to escape and is rescued by members of the resistance.
Andor has heard of Lucas' past. Yet, he can't help but feel an attraction to the other Warlock. Will Lucas finally be able to open himself enough to embrace the future? Or will Lucas continue to let his past haunt him, thus taking away any chance of a HEA?
Pain or hunger-which one was worse? Lucas often asked himself that question as he lay rotting away in the Warlock Internment Camp. Not that the answer mattered anyway, because he didn't see himself getting any relief from either any time soon.
He'd been there since he was fifteen. Ten whole years of hell and yet he had been denied the welcoming hands of death. After all, he knew he deserved it. In fact, when they had first captured him, they should have offed him right on the spot. It would have made things easier on him. Then he wouldn't have to live with the relentless guilt.
Lucas was slouched against a rusted out toolshed, although the building didn't hold any tools. He gazed out at the camp. It was overcrowded with warlocks and witches, all wearing the same kinds of ragged clothing as Lucas wore. Luckily, Lucas' garment covered all his private parts and he still had shoes. That was because the others were afraid to get too close to him.
The ground at the camp didn't boast a speck of grass. All there was to be seen was mud, sand and waste. The smell was bad, or rather Lucas assumed it was. After being there so long, he'd become accustomed to the scent.
His friend, Charlie, shuffled over and slid down so he was sitting next to Lucas. As Lucas gazed at Charlie, the warlock's heart broke. He and Charlie had been friends from birth. Charlie was the only one who had not turned his back on him, so it hurt to see him in such a sad state.
Charlie's short, beautiful, golden hair was now a gray matted mess that went past his shoulders. His sparking blue eyes were dull and full of hopelessness. The only clothing he wore was a pair of stained jeans so thin that they were literally falling apart and the red t-shirt he had on was in no better condition.
That wasn't the worst thing, though. That prize went to how emaciated Charlie was. He was so thin that it was a wonder he could even stand, much less walk. Charlie had a large tear in one side of his shirt, and Lucas could see every bone on Charlie's ribcage. The warlock's face had sunken in so much that his eyes looked overlarge and his teeth seemed to be protruding from his face.
"How are you feeling?" Charlie inquired, his voice coming out raspy and wheezy.
"I should be the one asking you that question," Lucas replied. He reached over and felt Charlie's forehead. "You're burning up."
"Yeah, I feel like shit. I don't think that I'll be here on Earth much longer. Hopefully, the Mother Goddess hasn't completely forgotten us and she'll still accept my soul and not leave me in limbo."
Lucas had stopped believing in the Goddess the day his parents had died. What had happened that night defied all common sense and should have never gone down. He didn't say anything, for he'd long come to the conclusion that the Goddess had forsaken him. Otherwise, why would she have stripped the witches of all their powers and let all of them who came from a magical family be rounded up? No, not rounded up, but thrown in these pits where they were slowly starved to death. No so-called Goddess that Lucas was raised to believe in would ever do that.
"Have you gone to the infirmary yet?" Lucas asked.
Charlie gave him a droll stare. "We both know that wouldn't work. Not only do they not have any medicine anymore, but if the guards were to find out I was sick, they would just shoot me on the spot."
Lucas had a sick feeling in his stomach. He hated to admit it, but Charlie was right. The guards claimed it was to prevent disease from running through the camp. Lucas didn't believe it for one damn minute. It was just an excuse for them to rid themselves of a few more warlocks or witches.
"Okay, no infirmary, but I want you to stick as close as you can to me. Something big is about to happen," Lucas said.
"I don't know for certain. The bands on my wrists still block my magic enough so I can't get a clear grasp on it. I just know that it's going to happen soon and it's going to change both of our lives."
Charlie sat up a bit straighter. "Will the change be for the better or worse?"
"I could be wrong, but something tells me that it will good for us, but like I said, things are a bit hazy."
Charlie let out a frustrated grunt. "I wish I still had my powers like you do."
"No, you don't. It's because of my strong powers that I lost my parents. It's more of a curse than a gift. People stare at me like I'm a monster. Do you know that you're the only one who will even come near me? Everybody else treats me like I have the plague or something."
"It could be because you stink so much. After all, you haven't taken a shower in ten years."
Lucas gave a shrug. "That could be true. You've only been here for two years, so you must smell like roses compared to me."
"I hate to break it to you, but we all smell the same-like death, B.O., pus and mud. I don't think we can get any lower."
Lucas struggled to his feet. "Well, you better get ready, because my premonition is about to go down, now!"
"How do you know?" Charlie asked, struggling to stand as well.
"I just do."
Lucas grabbed Charlie by the cuff of his shirt and dragged him in the tool shed. It wasn't the most ideal place for cover, but it was something. No sooner had they jumped inside than a blast of magic hit the area they had been sitting, leaving behind a large, dark spot.
"Fuck," Charlie whispered quietly.
The fact that he didn't cry out was a telling point of Charlie's ability to survive. After all, it had taken them a lot longer to catch Charlie than it had Lucas. It was a joke between Lucas and Charlie that the warlock had the survival skills of a cockroach. Nothing could take him down. Or rather, Lucas hoped so.
There were several large explosions, then the whistling sound of exchanging fires of magic filled the air. Lucas could hear the screams of both men and woman as they died or were injured. Tendrils of smoke began to fill the shed, letting Lucas know that there was at least one huge fire somewhere in the camp.
"What's going on?" Charlie asked.
Wanting to know the answer to that question himself, Lucas peeked out of the shed. What he saw nearly drove him to the knees. Other warlocks were there, but they weren't in chains and they obviously didn't work for the government, either. They wore a uniform of sorts, but Lucas had never seen it before.
Lucas told Charlie what he saw, and Charlie gasped. "That's the resistance. They've come here to free us."
"Why would they do that?" Lucas asked bitterly. "It's not like any of us are in any condition to fight for them."
"Has it every occurred to you that they might be doing it because they don't want to do nothing while their fellow warlocks suffer?"
"And when is it going to occur to you that nobody cares for us. We've been sent here to die, and that's exactly what's going to happen."
"I hate to break it to you, but that's exactly what they're doing," Charlie retorted.
No more words were exchanged as they continued to hide out in their ragtag shelter. A few times, there were some close calls as magic flashes zapped through their shed; they made sure to keep their heads low. But even doing that didn't make Lucas feel safe by any means.
Lucas felt a moment of joy when he realized that the resistance was winning. Slowly but surely, they had picked off the guards until there were only a few left. Then Lucas' happiness turned to horror when the handful of guards who remained began to shoot at the prisoners! They didn't care that the resistance was still coming for them, and they were going to die. They were determined that the prisoners were going to go down with them.
When Grandmother Lynn was hit by one of those bullets, Lucas had to put a hand over his own mouth to hold in the cries of despair. Not that she was his grandmother or anybody else's for that matter. She had always been so kind and loving. There were many times when she had shared her meager food with somebody who would have died otherwise. Now she was lying on the filthy ground, a large burn hole in her stomach, wearing nothing but rags, her long gray hair fluttering in the smoke-filled air.
"Who is it? Who just got killed?" Charlie asked in a low whisper.
"Grandmother Lynn," Lucas replied in like tone.
"No." Charlie let out a soft moan.
Lucas wanted to bang against the walls. To go out there, rip off his cuffs and show those cowardly warlock guards what pain really was. No, better yet, he didn't want to use magic at all because they didn't deserve to go out that way. Lucas would kill them with his bare hands. He would pin them to the ground and strangle the bastards, for Grandmother Lynn, for his parents, for the family members that he'd lost.
For the first time in his life, Lucas didn't fear. He only felt anger or despair. He felt downright rage. Most of all, he wanted vengeance. He wanted it so bad that he was willing to do anything to get it. Even if that meant that he had to die in the process, those that oppressed warlocks and witches would feel the price of pain.
Charlie grabbed Lucas by the front of his shirt and then rolled back to the ground. To Lucas' horror, there was a huge scorch mark where he'd just been standing. Damn! Lucas should have been paying more attention. Now that Charlie had saved his life, Lucas would never hear the end of it.
"You need to be more careful," Charlie warned. "The resistance is going to want you more than all of us put together."
Lucas made a raspberry sound at his friend. Charlie rolled his eyes.
"Very mature of you," Charlie snapped. "But we both know I'm right. The resistance will be happy to have you on their side. You and I both know it."
"Yeah, right, and one day Mathias will be able to conduct a successful spell."
Charlie put his hands on his hips. "That's not even fair. Mathias hasn't been able to do any training for a year because he's in here. Now, stop trying to dodge the question and tell me what your problem is really. What is it that you don't want the resistance to know about you?"
Lucas turned on Charlie. "You know well and good why they don't want me. In fact, I'll be lucky if they don't kill me on the spot."
"But it was an accident. Surely, they'll believe that."
Lucas gave Charlie a jaded look. "It's pretty hard to explain why you exploded your own home while your parents were in it."
"Your powers manifested too early, and they were huge. Nobody could have planned for, or expected, that."
Lucas closed his eyes as he recalled that night. How he'd just stood there in the rubble, shocked, scared and amazed at what he'd just done. No warlock should have been capable of pulling off the trick he'd done. Yet he had, and he'd killed his parents in the process.
Before Lucas had known it, he was captured by the humans. They had thrown a pair of shackles on him to suppress his magic and then thrown him in the camp, where he still lived today.
But as always, word traveled fast amongst the magic community, and soon everybody had known what Lucas did. They called him all kinds of names-monster, murderer, evil, wicked, or crazy. It was the last one that really got to him, because Lucas was as sane as any one of them. He was just a poor sap who had gained his full magical abilities too soon and didn't know how to control them.
Silence now fell over the camp. Being the nosey posey that he was, Lucas peered out of the side of the shed. He was relieved to see that all the guards were dead and the only people standing were from the resistance. Now, all Lucas had to do was hope that the rumors were true and the resistance was really made up of the good guys.
A tall, muscular man with short dark hair and brown eyes was walking toward their hiding spot. Lucas wanted to call out a warning, but for some reason, he found that he couldn't speak anymore. He was too mesmerized with the warlock in front of him to do anything but stand and stare.
Warlock-Ha! The man looked more like a warrior or a gladiator or something. He had perfect pecs, tight abs, and his arms were so large that they could easily break Lucas in two if the he had a mind to.
Finally, the warlock approached Lucas, and there was no more chance to run away. Although, Lucas doubted they would have gotten far had they tried to in the first place.
"I'm Andor, and we're here to rescue you," the warlock said in a warm voice.
"I'm Lucas, but if you're taking people out, I'd much rather you take my friend Charlie first. He's way worse off than I am."
Andor smiled. "There aren't too many left that would give up their well-being for another. I think we're going to get along just fine."