Midnight’s Surrender

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He had finally reached Coll. Though he wasn’t sure if this would be his final destination or not. For months, every night he was assaulted by dreams of magic, magic he was undeniably drawn to. And every day when he woke, he followed the feel of that magic as if some unseen string was pulling him west, right to the shores of Coll.

It wasn’t just the dreams or the magic that pulled him. It was the inexplicable, undeniable need, a longing he couldn’t ignore or explain in the magic that called to him.

Dale kept his head low as he hurried off the ferry. He made sure to keep among the crowds, and as soon as he was in the small village, he ducked behind a shop.

It had been two days since he had eaten, and hunger made his stomach growl. He could go days without food. The smell coming from a nearby pub, however, caused him to halt. He closed his eyes and fought to put the magic he was following on hold.

It was disturbing how easily he followed the magic. As if he expected to find some answers when he found the source. That is if he actually allowed himself to find the Druid. Perhaps it would be better if he didn’t.

He snorted. As if he could ignore such exquisite, soul-stirring magic.  

Dale would rather lose himself on the isle and never talk to anyone. Coll was small enough that everyone would know everyone else. He had come here to hide. But first he had to find the source of the magic that he couldn’t ignore.

Once that curiosity was satisfied, then he would disappear and the world could forget all about Dale Alexander and the awful things he had done.

He looked into the pub window and stared at a face that he didn’t recognize. His beard had grown out, covering most of his face in dark hair. Dale ran his hands over the hair growing out atop his head. It felt odd to have hair after keeping his head shaved for so many years.

The beard and hair would help disguise him, but that didn’t mean Dale liked any of it. However, his options were slim.

Dale winced and rubbed his arm where one of the many selmyr bites had been. Those evil, magical creatures had seemingly come out of nowhere after having been locked away for thousands of years.

It had been a Druid who accidentally released the creatures into the world. The selmyr fed off magic, and they sought out the Druids first, but they found a taste for Warriors.

Dale took a deep breath when he felt his god, Shomi, howl with fury as he recalled how the selmyr had tried to kill him. Claws began to sprout from his fingers, and it was only Dale’s quick thinking and concentrating that reined Shomi back under control.

Dale might look like a man, but he had a primeval god inside him that had been dragged from a prison in Hell by Druids when Rome invaded Briton. The Druids had called for the gods and put them in the strongest warriors from each family to battle Rome.

Those same gods traveled through the bloodlines generation after generation after the Druids bound them when the gods refused to relinquish their hold on the men.

Dale hadn’t always made the right decisions in his life. Time after time, he fell in with the wrong people, but he never expected to find himself made immortal and working with an evil Druid, or drough.

Jason Wallace stunk of evil. It was the first thing Dale remembered after Jason had found him and released his god. As a Warrior, Dale could sense Druid magic, and drough magic was cloying, debilitating.

Jason had made Dale’s choice easy: work for Jason or die.

Dale hadn’t been ready to die. He didn’t enjoy his time with Jason, though he remained because of Aisley. Dale had fallen for Jason’s cousin the instant he saw the pretty brunette. For her part, Aisley never returned his affections.

With one more look at his reflection, Dale strode inside the pub and slid into a booth. He ordered and then found his mind returning to Aisley once more.

The only good thing he had done was save her. When the selmyr attacked after Jason had led them into a trap by the Warriors and Druids from MacLeod Castle, Dale did all he could to get Aisley out alive.

There were nights he woke, drenched in sweat as he relived how the selmyr with their ash-colored skin, stringy hair, and skin stretched taut over their bones had fallen upon him. They drank the blood of their victims, and their bites were like acid.

Dale hadn’t been able to call up his god or use his strength and speed as a Warrior to get away from the creatures. Their bites rendered him useless. He’d known he was going to die, and he used that to turn the selmyrs’ attention from Aisley to him.

Only after he saw her drive away did Dale give up. He wanted to die, to get away from the evil that was Jason Wallace and somehow let his soul redeem itself in whatever Purgatory or Hell awaited him.

Except Dale didn’t die.

He had lived, yet he wasn’t sure how. Amid the hundreds of selmyr bodies, Dale had clawed and dragged his body off Dreagan land to die in peace.

That night, as he watched the sun sink behind the mountains in the Highlands was the first time he dreamed of the magic—a magic unlike any he had ever encountered. It was special, potent, yes, but extraordinary and unique.

And like a siren’s call, it had captivated him, fascinated him.

Seduced him.

All without seeing a face. He knew the magic belonged to a female Druid, but that’s all he knew.