Love or Sacrifice: Mages of the Nether 3
William has watched from the sidelines as his cousins Marcus and Daniel both found love. He’s done his part as a shield for the future king and sacrificed his own heart in the building war between the families. Now he’s being tested again.
Nevada is the third son of the Gallo family, the closest allies to the Dalrymple family. He comes to Aiden when he’s attacked by the same people that plotted against the House of the Dragon forty years ago—the same faction that would see the balance destroyed.
William volunteers to take Nevada in and keep him safe so he may help them in finding the Blood of Aeon, hidden in the Nether. While doing so, William must fight his growing interest in and desire for the other mage. His duty must come first.
Along the way, they must unravel mysteries, fight off ancient enemies, and come to terms with what destiny has in store for them.
Voices, far off at first but slowly growing in intensity, were the first things Nevada processed. His pulse instantly spiked as memories of pain and blood flooded him before his eyes opened and he bolted up, ready to defend himself against an attack.
“Easy there,” a kind, motherly voice soothed him as a firm hand anchored him back down to the comfortable softness beneath him. “You’re safe, Nevada. We’ve sent people to check on your family.”
“No! Call them back.” Nevada panicked. “They don’t know. They can’t know! I need to find Natalie Dalrymple. It’s urgent.”
“Hey, it’s me.” Nevada finally looked over to the woman holding him steady and felt himself fill with relief upon seeing the matriarch of the Dalrymple family. He’d made it. “What’s going on?”
“My family doesn’t know I’m here, or that I was attacked,” Nevada spoke quickly. “They can’t know about this. They’ll be a target, too.”
“Targeted by who?” Mathew, Natalie’s husband, asked. He wasn’t an intimidating looking man, but Nevada knew he was a powerful mage in his own right.
“Eirik Gunvald,” Nevada answered.
The gasps and curses he heard were followed by the sound of someone giving orders to a group of people. Nevada looked over his shoulder and quickly looked away when he saw the four princes looking at him. One in particular, Prince William, seemed pissed by his news. It wasn’t that Nevada wanted to be the messenger. He was just the only one that knew.
“What do you know?” Natalie asked, her voice hard but her touch gentle.
Nevada shook his head. He wasn’t even sure what he knew. All he was certain of was he’d been patrolling his section of the Nether—a separate magical realm from Earth—like routine, and he’d stumbled upon something out of place. Before he could get too close, though, he’d been attacked by a man fitting the description given by Lord Edmond and Prince Marcus during their time in the Nether two months ago.
“I think I found one of their bases,” Nevada said, uncertainty lacing his words.
“You think?” It was Prince William that spoke, his voice filled with rejection.
“Why else would I be attacked?” Nevada demanded as he stood up in defense. Instantly he regretted it. His head swam and his vision blurred before he fell back down to the couch. “I heard people talking, something about pulling someone out and not having contact for a while now,” he continued.
“Okay, that’s enough,” Aiden said, stepping forward and kneeling in front of Nevada. He smiled up at him.
Since the Dalrymples had revealed themselves to still be alive, Nevada and his family had renewed their bond with them. Both the Gallo and the Dalrymple families worked to protect the Nether. The Gallo family, the House of the Rooster, were the watchers of the Nether. It was their job to keep an eye out for any negative influences and act before something could happen.
When they failed to stop an incident, it became the Dalrymple family’s job to quell and contain the threat.
Due to their intersecting responsibilities, their families had always been close. The loss of the Dalrymples had been keenly felt by the Gallo family. Of course now a few things made sense. Like how certain issues were dealt with without outside involvement. Even in hiding, Natalie had continued her family’s work.
Nevada admired her for that.
“Tulia said you need to rest,” Aiden continued. “You and Melody both were severely injured.”
That’s right, his familiar. Looking around the room, he spotted her sleeping in a basket with blankets in it. Reaching for the basket, he pulled it to his chest and cradled it to him. Melody had tried to protect him when one of the men attacked, taking the brunt of an ice spell directly. One of her wings was bandaged and the other was in a splint.
“She’ll be flying again in a few days’ time,” Aiden spoke softly. “Tulia also said you should take that time to recover. William’s agreed to let you stay at his place until you’re cleared and back in good health.”
Dread filled Nevada’s stomach as he looked over his shoulder to see William still glaring at him. Something told Nevada that the prince hadn’t offered his place because he was worried about Nevada and his familiar. No, he wouldn’t doubt if William was suspicious of him.
“Um, a hotel will be fine,” Nevada said, hoping to avoid the uncomfortable situation of staying with a man that obviously didn’t like him. Not that Nevada could understand why. He couldn’t remember ever having a conversation with the man, let alone doing anything to cause him to distrust him.
“No, you need to be protected,” Daniel said, shooting him down. “If what you say is true, and you do know where Eirik and his group are staying, then you are an important witness for us. William will guard you while you heal.”
But would he guard him from danger or would he be guarding Aiden and Daniel from Nevada?