Saturday, 12 January 2019

Unveiled at Dawn

If you loved Enlightened at Dusk, here is another Fan Fiction story from M.G. Ryan.
Unveiled at Dawn begins where Unveiled and The Vampire Hunter Prophecy, To Dawn, end.
SPOILER if you're yet to Unveiled or To Dawn, make sure you read these first before diving head first in to this fun Fan Fiction.
Unveiled at Dawn
          The sun shone through the windows, filling the room with light and warmth.  Bella and Corey cuddled together on the couch, watching the action movie on TV, as part of their relaxing afternoon.  Bella was enjoying the movie, snuggled in with her boyfriend and just being content with the moment, happy that they had the chance to spend some time together.  It was hard when she had to be away from him, living in Perth for her university studies, as well as her work and training with Father Luke, which was all going well.  Coming back to Dunkeld to spend time with Corey was the one thing that kept her going.  The one thing that she really looked forward to.
           It was more than that though.  Her life had been a nightmare at one point, but because of Corey and his sister Lexi, Bella was now back on track.  She owed them so much.  Being in Dunkeld was when she was at her happiest.  She liked living in Perth, it was a beautiful city.  She was doing well with her studies and enjoyed her part time job at a local café and had learnt so much from her training with Father Luke, which helped bring balance to her life.

            Dunkeld however, felt like home.  No… it was home.  Being in this house with Corey, Lexi, Jack and Marcus.  It had offered her a love and stability she had never experienced before and they loved and accepted her for what she truly was.  Here, she was safe and loved.
            Bella closed her eyes and enjoyed the warmth of the sun on her face as it shone through the window.  Corey gently played with her blonde hair, which she had grown longer.  The sensation was soothing and she felt herself relax and start to doze off to sleep.  As her body drifted into a relaxed state, a wave of goose bumps ran up her spine and neck.  It was as though the hackles of her wolf stood on end and her body went from its relaxed state to an instant tension.
            ‘Hey, what’s wrong?’ Corey asked.
            ‘I’m not sure,’ Bella replied as she looked up into his brown eyes, which were full of concern.
            ‘You just went tense all of a sudden.’
             ‘Honestly I don’t know.  I just felt this weird sensation.’
             'What did it feel like?  What triggered it?’ Corey asked.
            ‘It was like I could sense someone’s presence.  As though they were watching us.’
            Corey sat up straight, lifting Bella with him.  ‘I should go and get Jack,’ he said.
            ‘No, don’t,’ Bella insisted.  ‘I’m probably just over reacting.’
            Bella, if there is one thing I have learnt being around Jack, it is to trust the instinct of a wolf.  I’ll go and get him.’
           ‘No, please don’t.  He’s working and I don’t want to disturb him if it’s nothing.’
           ‘Are you sure?’ Corey asked.  ‘He can go and check it out.’
           ‘I’m sure.  I mean, who would be watching us anyway?’
           ‘You’re right,’ Corey said, trying to reassure Bella.  ‘Lexi will be home soon anyway.  I’ll let her know.  Come on, lay back down and relax.’
            Corey and Bella lay back against the couch and resumed their original position.  Corey rubbed Bella’s arm as she cuddled into him and they continued to watch the movie.  Though her hackles had lowered, she could not ignore the feeling of being watched.  The feeling slowly started to fade and Bella relaxed into Corey.  Bella was starting to think that she had imagined it. 
Shortly after, Bella heard the sound of Lexi’s Jeep as it pulled up the gravel drive at the side of the house and pull up in front of the garage.  As one, every hair on Bella’s body came to attention and her wolf instinct kicked in.
            ‘What’s wrong?’ Corey asked.
            ‘Get Jack!’ Bella said, as she jumped off the couch and ran out the back door.
            Lexi pulled up the gravel drive and parked the Jeep in front of the garage.  Exhausted from her work day at the stables, she was looking forward to taking her boots off, putting her feet up and having a nice big cup of tea.  She hoped that Corey had already boiled the jug.  Grabbing her backpack off the passenger seat, she climbed out of the Jeep and closed the door.  She flung the bag over her shoulder and made her way along the paved path towards the back door.
            The hit was hard and unexpected.  The wind knocked out of her lungs as she impacted with the wall.  She struggled to take a breath as a large hand had her by the throat.  Lexi stared into the eyes of her attacker, shocked by his presence at her home and why he had attacked her.  Lexi had an idea of what he was after, but shocked by the means he went to, to obtain it.
            ‘Where is she?’ her attacker asked.
            ‘I… I don’t,’ Lexi struggled to speak.
            Lexi kicked out with legs, trying to fight him off, but her efforts were to no avail.  The man holding her was a mountain, making her look tiny, plus he possessed extensive military training.  Her efforts were fruitless and her strength was fading as her air supply was gradually being cut off.  As Lexi’s struggles weakened, a white form flashed before her, taking down her attacker. 
Her sudden release caused her to fall and she hit the ground hard.  As Lexi lay there and gasped for air, she could hear the commotion of a fight.  As she gained her breath back, she sat up and saw  Bella, in her pure white wolf form, standing between her and Commander Bravnica, leader of the Kresnik Army of Lumeer.  Lexi and Jack had once assisted his men when kudlaks (an extremely vicious type of vampire) were starting to encroach and nest near human territory.
            Bravnica was huge, with Bella lucky to be a third of his size, yet her heart and courage was larger than anyone that Lexi knew and Bella proved this as she stood her ground to protect Lexi.
            Lexi loved this girl and admired her so much for her courage and bravery, which was certainly not to be measured by her size.  Bella had faced her demons in the past and taken them on… literally.  The event even included saving Lexi’s life.  Was she about to save Lexi again?
            Bravnica had been surprised by the hit from Bella and appeared winded, as he rested on one knee and took his time to catch his breath and probably reassess the situation.  Lexi noted however, that he did not take his eyes off Bella, cautious of what she may do.  Bella, not intimidated by the man, stared right back, her head high and hackles up.  She expressed her displeasure to Lexi’s attacker by growling a warning, advising him to back off.
            A smirk crossed Bravnica’s face.
            ‘I must admit, I’m a little surprised,’ Bravnica said as he rose to his feet.  ‘My soldiers had told me about you two and I must say, I’m a little disappointed.  The great Vampire Hunter, now lays in the dirt catching her breath.  And I have to say Jack, no offense, but you ae not as impressive as I imagined.’
            Lexi started to laugh and the Commander, unimpressed, stared at her.
            ‘Is something amusing?’ he asked.
            ‘Yeah, actually,’ Lexi said as she gained her composure. 
            Lexi rose to her feet and dusted herself off.  From inside the cottage, she could hear the familiar rumble as Jack growled from the depths of his deep barrelled chest.
‘That’s not Jack,’ she informed the Commander, referring to Bella.  
            Lexi turned to look at the house as Jack stepped out the back door in his giant wolf form.  He was an impressive beast, about twice the size of an average wolf.  But he wasn’t a normal or average wolf.  Jack, like Bella, was a shape shifter and in his wolf form, he was intimidating.
            ‘That’s Jack,’ Lexi said with a smile on her face.
            The Commander looked upon Jack and though he tried to hide it, Lexi noted the change of expression on his face.  A new look of trepidation appeared.  The odds had just tipped dramatically out of his favour and he knew it.
            Corey had followed Jack out of the cottage and joined Lexi at her side.  She felt him place something cool into her hand and Lexi instinctively recognised the feel of the dagger within it.  Though it had been a while since she had used it, the familiarity of the weapon made it feel as though she only held the weapon yesterday.  She twirled it in her hand and could feel the confidence grow within her.
            ‘I know why you are here Commander,’ Lexi said.
            ‘And what reason would that be,’ he asked in reply as he stood tall with his hands on his hips.
            ‘Ana.  You are looking for Ana.’
            ‘Glad to see that we are not tip-toing around the subject.’
            ‘I can’t help you Commander.’
            ‘See, that is where we differ,’ Bravnica replied as he took two steps forward.
            The Commander stopped in his tracks when Jack matched him and took two paces towards him, releasing a deep growl that rumbled through the air.  Bella took a few paces back, placing herself closer to Lexi and Corey.  The Commander lifted his hands in the air, displaying his palms as a sign of submission and retraced his steps.
            ‘I have been provided with information from my sources, who have advised me that Dahrel has been in contact with you.’
            ‘That is correct,’ Lexi said.  ‘Dahrel contacted me and asked for our help.’
            ‘And?’ Bravnica asked.
            ‘And nothing.’
            ‘And this is the bit where we differ,’ he said, pointing his finger at Lexi.  ‘I think you know more than you are letting on.  All you need to do is tell me where Ana is and I walk away.’
            ‘I can’t tell you what I don’t know.’
            ‘You know that if you are helping her, I’m the least of your problems.’
            ‘And that is why I told him that I couldn’t help.’
            ‘And I would believe this why?’ Bravnica asked.
            ‘Believe what you want Commander, but I can’t help you, just like I told Dahrel that I couldn’t help him.  I’m not prepared to compromise the safety of my family to protect his.’
            ‘Yes, really.  I do not know where Ana is and I have had no contact with her, which I’m sure your sources would know.  So, I am going to ask you to leave and not come back.  Ever!’
            ‘And if I refuse?’
            ‘Then I’ll make you reconsider,’ Marcus said.
            Lexi turned her head to see her father standing at the edge of the cottage, shotgun pointed at Bravnica.  Marcus gave his daughter a quick glance and she replied with a nod to let him know that everyone was okay.
            Marcus stood his ground, the shotgun still pointed at the Commander.  One on one, it would be a tough contest between the two, matched closely for size and skill, though age was against Marcus.  Bravnica could tell a lot just from the way that Marcus stood.  He determined that he was military, of the human forces of course, but still skilled.  While the man pointing the gun at him was obviously older than himself, he still appeared as though he would be able to hold his own.  Bravnica knew however that at that moment if it came to a fight, he would lose.  Even if the shotgun was not in the equation, he was up against a soldier, two shape shifters and a Vampire Hunter.  While the Hunter was a little bit rusty, she was not to be underestimated.
            Bravnica turned to Lexi.  ‘I’ll leave, but just remember, I’m not the most dangerous thing in all of this.’
            ‘I’m aware of that,’ Lexi replied.  ‘Which is why I want no part of it.  You being here however, only brings further attention to my family.  Attention that we don’t want.’
            ‘I will be keeping my eye on you though… just in case.’
            ‘That’s fine, Commander, but be warned.  Come back here… and I will kill you.’
            ‘Warning noted,’ Bravnica said.
            ‘Dad, let him pass,’ Lexi instructed.
            Dad!  That explained a lot to Bravnica.  The man he faced off with would do what was necessary to protect his daughter, which made him even more dangerous.  The Commander did not want to show any weakness to the group, even though he knew his chances were slim if it came to the crunch.  He stared at Lexi, who stood her ground and stared back, knowing that she had the advantage.  Bravnica turned on his heals and Marcus stepped aside to allow him to walk past, though Marcus didn’t let his guard down.
            Lexi walked over and stood next to her father and they both followed Bravnica down the side of the house and out to the front of the property.  They stood side-by-side as they watched Bravnica walk down the street and climb into a dark four-wheel-drive.
            ‘Dad, when mum was dying, would you have done anything to save her?’ Lexi asked.
            ‘Oh, course I would have,’ Marcus replied.  ‘Even if it meant sacrificing myself.’
            ‘Like Jack nearly did protecting me?’
            ‘That man loves you more than you can imagine.’
            ‘Then why doesn’t Bravnica fight for Ana? Try to find a way to save her?’
            ‘I don’t know Baby Girl,’ her father replied.  ‘I just don’t know.’
            ‘How did you know to come and help us anyway?’ Lexi asked.
            ‘Corey sent me the emergency code.’
            ‘You gave Corey the code?’
            ‘Of course, I did.’
            Lexi smiled up at her father, before they both turned their attention back to the road and the four-wheel-drive as it disappeared out of sight.  Once it was gone, Lexi felt a relief wash over her, but was then hit with a sudden realisation.
            Lexi dropped the dagger at her feet, turned and ran to the back of the house past Jack, Bella and Corey.  She ran through the back door and up the stairs.  Her heart pounding in her chest, she opened the bedroom door to see the boy sleeping soundly in his bed.  Lexi sat down on the floor beside the bed and just watched the boy as he slept.  He looked so peaceful.  Lexi resisted the urge to reach out and touch him, concerned that she may wake him, even though he would need to wake from his nap soon anyway.
            Jack walked into the room, still in his wolf form, which indicated to Lexi that he was still a little on edge about what had just happened.  They knew it was a possibility that Bravnica would show up, but they didn’t expect it would be with such force.  Prior to this, they considered the Commander and the Kresnik people allies.
            Jack sat next to Lexi and nestled his large head on the bed.  Lexi reached out and placed a hand on the wolf, stroking his soft, thick fur.  They stayed like that for a few moments, until Ollie began to stir.  Lexi, not being able to resist any longer, reached out and ran her hand through the boy’s dark hair.
            ‘Hey there sleepy head,’ she said.
            Ollie rubbed his eyes and stared at both of them, before reaching out and placing his hand on the wolf’s muzzle.  Jack lay there and enjoyed the attention from the boy.
            ‘Pa?  Bella?  Corey?’ Ollie asked.
            ‘They’re all downstairs,’ Lexi said.  ‘Are you ready to hop up?’
            The boy nodded his head.  Lexi scooped him up in her arms and placed a big kiss on his cheek.  He smiled at her in return, before wrapping his arms around her neck.  Lexi carried Ollie downstairs to the kitchen where Bella, now dressed, and Corey sat at the table.
            At the sight of Bella, Ollie reached out his arms to go to her.  Lexi handed over the wriggling child.
            ‘Hey little man,’ Bella greeted him as he cuddled into her.  ‘Maybe I should shift back.  He loves it when I’m in my wolf form.’
            ‘I think he is quite happy with you just the way you are,’ Lexi said, smiling to herself.
            When Lexi had first met Bella, she was a young naïve girl, afraid of her alternate form and had withdrawn herself away from the world because of it.  Now, Bella embraced her wolf, had learned about the supernatural world and even went as far as shifting to her wolf form to entertain a small child.  Yet, as she had demonstrated today, she would also shift into her wolf, in the need to protect the ones she loved.  Lexi admired her for that.
            Jack entered the room, back in his human form, dressed in a new set of clothes and started preparing dinner as Lexi made everyone tea and coffee.  She observed Corey, who sat quietly at the table, barely even able to provide Ollie with a smile.
            ‘What’s up?’ Lexi asked him.
            ‘I should have seen this coming,’ Corey replied.
            ‘It has been a long time since you have had a dream,’ Lexi said.
            ‘But that is mainly because you haven’t hunted for a while.’
            ‘Corey, do you remember when Jack and I went to Lumeer and you couldn’t see us there?’
            ‘Yeah, but this happened here.’
            ‘I know, but Lumeer is concealed by magic, so maybe Bravnica was there when he made the decision to come here or he himself is concealed by the magic somehow, which hides him from you.’
            ‘Makes sense to me,’ Jack said, as he continued with dinner preparation.
            ‘What if Bravnica comes back?’ Corey asked.
            ‘I don’t think he will,’ Lexi replied.  ‘He has no reason too.’
            ‘I hope you’re right,’ Corey said.
            Deep down Lexi hoped that she was right, but her stomach was doing somersaults.  Gut instinct telling her that this was not over.  Would Bravnica pay them another visit or would his presence here in the attempt to find Ana, lead whatever it was chasing her, here as well.  Lexi knew while it would be a tough fight against Bravnica, she would be able to hold her own, but from what Dahrel had told her, none of them would stand a chance against the thing that that hunted Ana.  Lexi needed to protect her family, even if that meant taking extreme measures to do so. 
Later that evening after dinner, Jack and Lexi were in the kitchen tidying up after their meal.  Lexi had made a decision after their afternoon incident, one that she knew Jack would not be happy with.  The issue had to be dealt with and the sooner the better.  The longer that it was left, the more danger she felt they would be in.  She needed to face this one head on.
            ‘Jack, I’m going to go to Lumeer,’ Lexi said.
            ‘No!’ Jack declared.  He stopped what he was doing, turned and looked at Lexi.  ‘I thought you didn’t want to get involved.’
            ‘I don’t.  I didn’t… but the Commander turning up has dragged us into it, whether we want to be or not.’
            ‘We agreed that we will get Aurora to place a protection spell on the house.’               
            ‘And we will still do that.  I just have a gut feeling that won’t be enough.  I want to go and see Dahrel, find out more information.  There might be other ways we can help without fighting.’
            ‘You are going to go regardless of what I say, aren’t you?’
            ‘Then I will come with you,’ Jack said.
            ‘No,’ Lexi replied.  ‘I need you to stay here with Ollie and the others.’
            ‘I’ll go,’ a soft voice said.  Both Jack and Lexi turned to see Bella standing in the doorway.  ‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to listen in, but I will go with Lexi to Lumeer.’
            ‘Bella, no,’ Lexi said.  ‘I could never ask you to do that.’
            ‘You didn’t,’ Bella replied.  ‘I’m offering.’
            ‘Offering to do what?’ Corey asked, as he stood behind Bella.
            ‘I’m going to go to Lumeer with Lexi,’ Bella replied.
            ‘No!  No way,’ Corey said.  ‘Neither of you should be going.’
            ‘Well, at least someone agrees with me,’ Jack said.
            ‘I need to go,’ Lexi insisted.  ‘If Bella wants to come with me, I’m not going to stop her.  I’ll also take Dad with me.  I have a feeling his presence will be an advantage.’
Lexi, Bella and Marcus arrived in Lumeer and were greeted by two Kresnik soldiers.  Lexi sighed when she recognised one of the soldiers as the one who gave her grief, the first time she arrived in Lumeer with Jack.  She hoped that he would keep his sexist opinions to himself on this occasion.
            ‘Well, I have to say that your current travelling companion is better looking than your last one,’ he greeted Lexi, trying to get a rise out of her.
            ‘Maybe, but I would be careful, she bites,’ Lexi replied with a smirk.
            ‘I’m sure she does.’
            ‘Well, next time you see your Commander Bravnica, ask him.  She managed to put him flat on his ass.’
            ‘Bullshit!’ the soldier declared.
            ‘No bullshit.  Maybe she can demonstrate on you.’
            Bella politely smiled at the soldier, who didn’t know what to make of the petite blonde.  If she was with the Hunter, there was a possibility that she had skills he was not aware of.  Alternatively, the Hunter could just be messing with him.  He wouldn’t put that past her.
            ‘That’s enough,’ Marcus said in his deep booming voice.
            The soldiers came to attention with Marcus’s presence, who looked every part the Kresnik soldier.  He had cut his hair short to the military hair cut he was once accustomed to and wore the Kresnik uniform, which had been supplied by the DEA (Department of External Affairs).  It was all part of their attempt to move through the city more freely.
            ‘Yes sir!’ the Kresnik officer said.  ‘If you would like to come with us, we have been directed to escort you.’
            ‘Lead the way,’ Marcus instructed.
            Lexi, Bella and Marcus followed the two officers to a large four-wheel-drive.  With the three of them in the back, the two soldiers sat in the front as they drove to a large estate.  Lexi noted the glances in the rear-view mirror at them, but let it slide.  The vehicle pulled up at the large front entrance, where Lexi saw Dahrel standing on the front steps.  His face looked gaunt and his shoulders slumped, the concern over his sister obviously weighing on him.
            Dahrel stepped down the steps and opened the back door. ‘I will escort our guests from here,’ he informed the soldiers.
            ‘Yes sir,’ the soldiers replied in unison.
             Lexi climbed out of the vehicle followed by Bella and her father.  The three of them then followed Dahrel inside, as he led them into a large library. 
            ‘Dahrel, this is my father Marcus,’ Lexi said introducing her father.  Dahrel stepped forward and shook Marcus’s hand.  ‘And this is Bella.’
            ‘Nice to meet you Bella,’ Dahrel said as he shook Bella’s hand. 
            ‘Thank you,’ Bella replied shyly.
           ‘How’s Jack?’ Dahrel asked.
            ‘He’s good.  He just has other commitments at the moment, which is why Bella has joined me on this trip.’
            Dahrel turned back to look at Bella.  ‘Are you… like Jack?’ he asked.
            ‘If you are asking if I am a shifter, yes I am.’
            ‘A wolf?’
            ‘Yes,’ she replied.
            ‘A wolf who put your Commander on his ass,’ Lexi stated with pride.  She could see Bella blush.
            ‘I was surprised when I received your message about the Commander.  How did he even know that I spoke with you?’ Dahrel asked.
            ‘I don’t know.  He just referred to his “sources”,’ Lexi replied.
            ‘That is a concern.’
            ‘It is more of a concern that he turned up at my home,’ Lexi stated.  ‘So, I think you need to tell me everything Dahrel, and I mean everything.’
            ‘Where do I start…’ Dahrel stated.