In the future, where being a warlock is unlawful a team of brothers risk all to save one of there one in his quest for freedom.
As a warlock, Delton is marked as an enemy and imprisoned by humans in an internment camp. After spending five grueling years there, he manages to escape. His freedom is short lived when he finds himself cornered by guards who want to take him back to the camp. Then Delton is rescued by the handsome and mysterious warlock, freedom fighter, Vicen.
As Delton spends more time with Vicen, he finds himself drawn to the other warlock. But, can Delton trust Vicen? Or is he about to have his trust betrayed in the worst way?
There was hunger, and there was true hunger. The kind of hunger that ate at your body and consumed your every thought. The one that made you ache with need and made just moving a taxing activity. The one that caused you to do anything for one single bite of food.
Delton's hunger fell into the second category. Which is why he felt not an ounce of guilt that he was about to dine and dash at the greasy diner where he was currently sitting.
Looking at the patrons around him, most were dressed no better than he was, despite the fact they were all free men. That showed how bad the economy was, when a prisoner in rags looked no better than an average civilian. Delton pulled down his shirt sleeves. He didn't want anybody to catch a glimpse of the iron bands that were around his wrists. That was the one thing he did have that nobody else in the restaurant did.
Not only did the bands mark him as a warlock and thus an enemy of the state, but they bound his magic, making him helpless to defend himself. If anyone were to spot them, they would only have to shout and Delton would find himself back in the internment camp faster than his head could spin.
Since he'd just escaped from there, he didn't want to end up back right away. In fact, he never wanted to go back again as long as he lived. Brutal and ruthless places, they existed for one reason only: to break and eventually kill off all warlocks.
The waitress set his food down in front of him, and it was all Delton could do not to dive right on top of it and start cramming it down his throat. But since he didn't want to draw attention to himself, he gave a demure, "Thank you."
Picking up his fork, he forced himself to eat at a regular pace. The food was nothing special, just some dry meatloaf and lumpy mashed potatoes. To Delton it was still the best meal he'd ever had. He shook with happiness as he ate.
All the while, he continued to study his surroundings. Detroit and the rest of the country had really gone into the pot. Around twenty years ago, the economy had taken a nosedive, and it had never recovered. Now it was all military run, and the rules were brutal to say the least. While one percent of the country was wealthy, the rest was left in poverty.
Delton had just taken a big drink of milk when they walked in. Three warlocks. And Delton knew they were warlocks, because armbands or not, he could feel the magic just emanating from them. It was so powerful it nearly knocked him out of his chair.
They all wore head-to-toe black, including the capes they had around their large frames. Shoot, who was he kidding? They were more than just large, they were humongous. Each one of them looked like they ate bears for breakfast, then finished it off with elephants for lunch and dinner.
Since they had their hoods up, Delton couldn't make out their features. They also didn't wear any insignia that would mark them as guards from the camps. So Delton didn't know if they were there for him or not. But he wasn't going to take any chances. The men all took a seat at the bar near the front of the diner, giving Delton their backs, but he had no doubt that they knew he was there.
He began to look around for the closest escape route. There was the main exit, but that would mean walking by the three warlocks. He could try going through the kitchen, but that would kind of make a scene, and that was the last thing he wanted to do.
Maybe he could go into the bathroom. There could be a window in there, and he could climb out and make his escape that way. Yeah, that could work.
Delton was just getting up when he heard a strong voice in his head say, Don't go outside. They're waiting for you out there.
Delton froze. He could have sworn that somebody had used telepathy with him, but that was impossible. Not while he had the armbands on. They were supposed to be able to block all magic.
Yeah, but I'm strong enough to get through it. Now, you need to listen to me if you want to stay free. Otherwise you're going to find yourself on the next transport back to the internment camp.
Delton wondered who in the hell was talking to him and why in the hell they would be willing to help a complete stranger like him. Where he came from, people didn't help people for the hell of it.
One of the hooded figures at the bar turned around and looked directly at Delton. Delton felt himself frozen in the man's brown-eyed gaze. Never before had he ever seen a man who was so attractive or so strong looking. Delton licked his lips nervously as he realized just how turned on he was by the other warlock.
My name is Vicen. I'm part of a warlock rebellion group that rescues and helps escapees like you.
Delton closed his eyes and thought really hard. If he could read Vicen's thoughts, then maybe Vicen could read his. How do I know I can trust you?
At this point do you have any choice? came the response. It's either us or the guards outside. At least with us, you know you won't be going right back to an internment camp.
Delton had to agree that the strange warlock had a valid argument. But what if they were bounty hunters and only wanted to turn him in for the reward? Or worse, what if they meant to take him just to do him harm? This new world of theirs was filled with all kinds of vicious criminals. Some of whom liked to cause pain in others for shits and giggles.
We're not going to hurt you in any way. I promise you that.
Delton snorted. Sure, that's what they all say right before they slit your throat. He'd seen warlocks prey on others all the time in the camps, and that had simply been over a loaf of bread. There was no telling what they might be capable of in the free world.
You need to stop thinking so hard. The longer we stay in here, the better the chance the guards are going to come in. If they see you then there is going to be a fight.
No sooner had Vicen sent that thought than the front doors of the diner swung open. Delton's heart seized in panic when he saw that they all wore the uniforms marking them as guards from the internment camps.
Shit! He'd been captured. In less than a day too. He wanted to punch something his frustration was so great. Despair flooded over him at the thought of returning back to the campâ€”the forced labor, the long stretches of no sleep, and the unending hunger.
No, there was no way he was going to return to that. He'd rather be dead first. He looked down at the table and saw a knife. It looked sharp enough to do the job. Picking it up with both hands, he prepared to plunge it into his stomach.
Something froze his hands just as he was inches from his target. Glancing up, he saw it was the warlock he had been 'talking' with earlier. The warlock flipped his wrist, and the knife was pulled from Delton's grip and sent flying through the air.
"Today is not your day to die," Vicen said aloud.
The whole diner stirred into an uproar as they realized that they were in the presence of warlocks. Not that Delton blamed them. Due to all the propaganda the government put out, the public believed that warlocks were evil and to be feared.
The guards began to advance on Delton, their faces set in grim lines. Although they too were warlocks, they had turned against their own kind and now worked with the government. Delton considered them the lowest of the low. What kind of person turns their back on their own brethren? It sickened him.
Vicen and his two buddies stood up and put their bodies between Delton and the guards. Delton sat there, frozen in both shock and fear. He could hardly believe that these men were fighting over him of all people. He was nothing. He had no family, he was no great warlock, he was just...well, him.
"Stand aside, and let us take the prisoner back into custody," one of the guards ordered.
"Yeah, that isn't going to be happening," Vicen said.
"If you're hoping to take him in to collect the bounty on him, you can forget it," another guard interjected.
Vicen spread his fingers out, and Delton knew he was getting ready to use his magic in a battle. So did all the patrons in the diner, because they all dove under their tables and took cover.
"We have no interest in his bounty. We just don't want to see another one of our fellow warlocks suffering. See, unlike you, we don't turn against our own," Vicen snapped.
"You have no idea what you're talking about. We have our reasons for doing what we do," one of the guards snarled.
"Really? Because I would die before I allowed myself to become the government's patsy," Vicen said, his voice dripping with disgust.
"Are you going to hand over the prisoner or not?" the guard asked.
"Not," Vicen replied simply. "You'll have to fight us if you want to get him back. And trust us, we're not weak or hindered by cuffs like the prisoners you deal with every day. We have full control of our magic, and we're not afraid to use it on you."
"Don't you know that it's a federal crime to harbor an escaped prisoner?"
"Yup, but I still can't find it in me to give two shits. Now, are we going to have this fight? Or are you guys going to leave peacefully?" Vicen asked.
One of the guards shot off a blast of magic. Vicen easily deflected it and said, "Well, I guess that answers those questions."
Soon the warlocks were exchanging magical blows. Delton ducked under a table for cover too, but not before he grabbed his plate and drink. He wasn't a fool. If he was going to be taken back to the camp, it was going to be with a full belly. All the while, the only thing he could think was, well, this shit has just gotten real.
A blast hit a nearby table, splintering it into two. A portly man who had been cowering under it let out a yelp and scrambled away, his pants getting smears of food on them. Come to think of it, there was a lot of food on the floor thanks to the battle. Denton thought of all the starving prisoners back at the camps and couldn't help but feel a bit ticked at the waste. They would do anything to have just a scrap of what was being ground into the dirty tiles.
Delton took another bite of the mashed potatoes as he watched Vicen take out one of the guards with a blast to the chest. The guard grabbed at the wound and fell to the floor, gave a few twitches, and didn't move again. Delton's mouth went dry. While he couldn't be sure, Delton thought the guy was dead. Damn, Vicen and his buddies weren't playing around.
One of Vicen's companions threw another blast at a guard. It sent the guard flying through the air. He hit the glass front of the diner. The window shattered, and the guard fell outside. He never came back.
That must have been enough for the remaining guards, because they turned and ran out of the diner as fast as they could. As for Delton, he stayed put under the table. After seeing what Vicen and his buddies were capable of, he wasn't certain that he wanted to go with them or not. They seemed to be pretty dangerous, and he'd had enough of that kind of thing in his life.
Vicen ducked down so he was looking at Delton. "Well, are you coming or not?"
Delton knew what he choice he made next would be one of the most important decisions in his life. He looked up from under the fringe of his dirty brown hair. "You won't hurt me?"
"I promise you that so long as you are with me, no harm will come to you."
Well, they had just saved him from the guards, and it wasn't like Delton had many other options. Without Vicen's protection, Delton knew it was only a matter of time before he was caught and taken back.
Delton scooted out from under the table. "Okay, I'm coming with you."
Vicen didn't give Delton time to rethink his decision. He just grabbed Delton by the arm and led him out the front door. As they walked out, they passed by the body of the guard who had gone through the window. He looked just as dead as the guy on the inside.
"Don't feel bad for them. Remember, they were willing to take you back to that hellhole of a camp, even though they're warlocks like you. So in my book, they're the scum of the earth," Vicen said.
"They used their magic on us too," Delton said. "Back at the camp, they would practice their torture spells on us."
Vicen let out a curse. "We had heard that, but we were hoping that it was only a rumor."
"No, it's true; I have the scars to prove it."
"All the more reason they deserved what they got," Vicen said.
They arrived at an older looking car. Vicen turned to the others. "Blaze, you drive. Andor, take shotgun. I'll stay in back with Delton."
Delton let out a gasp. "How did you know my name?"
"I was in your mind earlier, remember?"
"How were you able to get past these?" Delton held up his arms to show off the bands.
Andor smirked. "There are no barriers that my brother can't get by. He's one of the strongest warlocks out there."
Vicen shook his head. "I'm just good at some things. Now, let's get going before we pick up a tail."
They quickly loaded up in the car and were on their way.