Kalin hit the ground hard as she fell out of a swirling vortex of energy. She rolled and lay on her back. She gripped her dagger and glanced around, surprised to find herself in a field full of lush green grass. Not what she had expected to find after following a demon through an open portal.
She cast her senses out, searching for the demon with her mind but felt nothing. Sheathing her dagger, she scrambled to her feet. Spotting a stone building up ahead she headed towards it.
It looked to be an ancient temple. It was small and round in the shape of a circle. Too small to be a public temple so it was probably someone’s private place of worship to a particular god or goddess.
Kalin brushed her hands against her jeans and walked over to the small altar. To her relief there were still half used candles there.
Her eyes flashed with power and the candles flared to life as she chanted a locator spell, using flecks of dried blood that had come from the demon.
Feeling the familiar whoosh of magic in the air, she expected it to guide her to her intended target. Nothing happened.
Kalin frowned down at the flickering candles and wondered why it hadn’t worked. Perhaps the demon had done something to her powers but she wasn’t sure. She waved her hand, using her power of telekinesis. She levitated a nearby rock and it hit the floor with a thud when she dropped her hand. At least that still worked, she didn’t want to be in unknown territory without any defences.
She left the temple and scanned the surrounding area with her senses, searching for any signs of life but found none. Nor did she notice the blur movement coming towards her.
He lunged at her, knocking her to the ground and it felt as if she were being hit by a ton of bricks. She couldn’t move much less breathe as she stared up into a pair of golden eyes.
The face that went with the eyes was just as breathtaking. He had long raven black hair and from what she could feel, a hard muscled body. What struck her as odd was the tips of his ears were slightly pointed.
“Get off me, demon scum!” she snarled but her words came out in a harsh whisper.
“I am not a demon, witch.”
“You certainly act like one.”
“I will release you, if you give me your word that you will not harm me.”
“Fat chance!” She tried to wriggle away but he kept her arms pinned above her head, preventing her from using her hands and her legs were pinned under the weight of his body.
Under other circumstances she might have been attracted to him.
Narrowing her eyes, Kalin tried to use her kinesis to fling him away. Invisible waves of energy rippled against him but he didn’t budge.
“As you can see, I’m immune to your parlour tricks.”
“I’m going to kick your…” She tried to pull one of her hands free.
“You are a stubborn wench.”
“You’re lucky my powers don’t work!” She gritted her teeth. “Alright, I won’t hurt you. My word as a witch. That good enough?”
He let go of her and she quickly got to her feet, taking a deep breath.
Kalin eyed him; he was well over six foot, with an athletic body and he wore a brown leather tunic and hose. He was ethereally beautiful, which made her feel scruffy in comparison. She was five foot ten with long, dark blonde hair and blue eyes.
“You don’t look like most demons.” She didn’t know what race of Magickind he was and nor could she sense it.
“Indeed, I am no demon.”
“What are you?”
“I am a Sidhe.”
She knew what a Sidhe was, one of the ancient Celtic race of demigods. “Did you bring me here?”
“You are in Otherworld. Come, I will take you back to the portal. You can go home; the demon is not your concern anymore.”
“It is my concern. That’s my demon and I fully intend to vanquish him.”
“The Demonkind here are not like those in your world. If you face one you will die.”
“I can take care of myself!”
“Your powers will be of no use here.”
“I know witches may seem useless to the likes of you but…”
“I did not say that, but I am better trained to fight Demonkind.”
“Why don’t you help me find him?” she asked. “I don’t want to work with you any more than I’m sure that you want to work with me but I’m going to vanquish that demon and you can’t make me leave until I do.”
“Actually I can, I could simply open the portal and send you through. You would never be able to come back on your own.”
Her eyes narrowed. “I’d find a way.”
He fell silent for a moment. “This demon you can’t. His name is Valerius. He is one of the lords of the underworld. He will not be easy to kill. Even for me.”
“All the more reason to stop him together. So what do you say, fey boy?”
“My name is Jalen but I am not certain I trust you.”
“Why should I trust you? You attacked me.”
“I simply meant to restrain you; I know how resourceful witches can be with knives.”
“Will knives work against this demon?”
“No, Demonkind here heal rapidly.”
“Then let’s cut the chitchat and get moving.”
Jalen reached for her and she instinctively backed away. “What are you doing?”
“Taking you to the demon. We cannot travel on foot.”
“Then how? Do you want me to cast a spell to transport us there?”
“I have another way. You have my word that I will take you to the demon and see you safely to the portal,” he held out his hand and she reluctantly took it.
Orbs of light whirled around them and her body felt as if it became light as air. She watched as the ground above them faded, stars seeming to swirl everywhere.
An instant later they appeared in a much darker place. The grass was dead and blackened with ash. There was no life here and she felt as if she were descending into hell as Jalen led her inside a long narrow tunnel.
“This is where demons dwell,” he informed her.
Kalin wasn’t entirely sure she trusted him but it would have been easy enough for him to kill her without taking her somewhere else. Unless he meant to dispose of her body here. “How far do we have to go?” she asked.
Being underground made her feel claustrophobic and uneasy. As did being so close to such a powerful, good looking man. “Tell me more about the Sidhe. Why did they leave Earth?”
“Humans stopped believing in us when they turned to Christianity and we left for fear they would kill us. We are not like witches; we cannot blend in as easily as you do.”
“It hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park for us either. Humans have spent centuries killing witches. They’re more open now but we still have to live in secret which is getting harder to do with all the demons around.”
“I have been to your world, it is a strange place.”
“It’s not so bad. Humans have changed a lot since your kind lived there.”
“In some ways they have not changed at all. They still fear what they do not understand.”
Kalin stumbled, about to fall flat on her face when Jalen’s strong arms come up around her, steadying her. “Thanks,” she said, flushing with embarrassment.
Jalen kept a hold of her and she lost herself within his dazzling eyes. “You should be more careful, witch,” he turned away and strode ahead of her.
“My name is Kalin.”
They talked as they walked which wasn’t easy; she was afraid of what they might find, given some of the things he told her about the Demonkind here.
“I’d like to meet your people,” she said. “I bet I could learn a lot from them.”
“The Sidhe and witches once worked together long ago to destroy Demonkind.”
Kalin barely knew this man ,yet she had this strange feeling that she could trust him and she always trusted her instincts. Or perhaps it was because she felt strangely drawn to him.
“Just so we’re clear, Valerius is mine.”
“Why do you want this demon so badly?”
“He tried to kill my best friend. She’s one of the most talented witches in the coven.”
“I have lost many friends to Demonkind.”
“Is that why you fight them?”
“It is my duty as a warrior.”
“And it’s my duty as a witch, but I do it because they took away my family.”
“I am sorry.”
“It was a long time ago.” But the pain of it was still very real.
The tunnel grew wider and something moved out of the darkness as a demon lunged towards them.
A bolt of lightning shot from Jalen’s hand, incinerating the demon to ash.
“That was easy.”
“It was a minion. Valerius will not be taken so easily.”
Before Kalin could blink someone had her in a headlock. “Hello again, little witch. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have you here.”
At seven feet tall Valerius towered over her, his long arm like a vice around her, pinning her to him.
Kalin reached for her dagger, but it was flung out of her hand before she had the chance to use it. Jalen’s eyes darkened and she saw fear there. Valerius’s rancid breath was hot on her neck and she almost gagged.
“I failed to bring back the soul of a witch, yet here you are.”
“Why would you need a soul?”
“To add to my power of course. Witches are stronger than other Magickind,” Valerius gave a fanged smile. “And you brought a fey with you, what luck.”
“Actually we came to kill you,” she met Jalen’s gaze knowing that he was hesitating because of her.
She had to get out of the way. Dagger, she thought and the blade instantly flew into the demon’s chest, causing him to cry out and fling her back against the wall.
Dazed, she looked up to see Jalen shooting bolts of lightning whilst the demon retaliated with rounds of fireballs. By the looks of things Jalen wouldn’t be able to hold him off for long.
Kalin had her own magic and she had the power of the elements around her. Fire was her element. A fireball came at her, she grabbed it. It stung her skin barely a moment before she focused her power on it. It grew larger and larger between her palms, burning bright red until it grew to the size of a large beach ball. She turned and hurled it straight at the demon.
Valerius screamed as his body erupted in flame and Jalen hurled one more bolt before energy exploded and Valerius’s body was blown apart. The explosion reverberated around the cave knocking them to the ground.
When Kalin opened her eyes again, sun shone down and she smelt grass, no longer the decay of burning demon flesh. Jalen had her in his arms and she smiled up at him.
“Are you injured?”
“I’ll live. Wow, I can’t believe it worked.”
It was all over yet she couldn’t help but feel sad. She would be going home and she would never see him again. Despite how annoying he could be she had enjoyed the day they had spent together.
“I should be going now.”
Jalen rolled away from her and she got to her feet.
“The portal lies just beyond those trees.”
“Thanks for your help.”
“It was my pleasure, Kalin.”
“Well – bye then,” she turned to go.
To her surprise, he span her around and kissed her, taking her breath away.
“I would like to show you my home.”
She smiled. “I could stay a while longer.”