“What did you say? I think we have a bad connection because I thought you said you’ve moved my stuff to New Orleans,” Tess said.
”Oh, Tessie, it’s going to be great! You’ll love New Orleans, and best of all, because you’re on location, you won’t have to do any of the packing” Isadora said with a cheery chipperness that Tess was all too familiar with. Isadora Vaillancourt was Tess’s best friend. Ever since she can remember, Isadora has been in her life. She doesn’t even really remember when she met her just that she’d always been there. She was a 5 foot 8’ creole woman with chocolatey silky skin, midnight black hair and emerald green eyes, and when Isadora said they were moving, Tess knew it was futile to fight her. She didn’t care where they lived. She was used to being a nomad of sorts being an orphan and growing up in numerous foster homes.
”OK, OK, Izzie. I leave it up to you. I’ll be flying from Fiji in three days, so where am I flying into?” Tess said, asked, letting a deep sigh out.
”Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, however, I won’t be able to pick you up. But I’ll send a car.” Izzie said
”What! You’re moving me to a new city, and you won’t even be meeting me at the airport? What is more important than meeting your best friend at the airport?” asked Tess with a low voice.
”Well….I’ll explain when you get here, OK? Don’t worry so much, Tessie! You’ll love New Orleans. Don’t you have a degree in history? I mean, New Orleans is full of history. Think about all the things you could learn, and it’s an amazing place to take photographs as well.” Izzie said.
”Yes, I do have a degree in history. I just wish you had talked to me about this before I left for Fiji.” Tess said.
”I know, I know, but something came up last minute with my family, and I have to be here. Once you’re here, you will understand. Gotta run, love you!” Izzie said and then hung up.
Tess just stared at her phone. The wallpaper was a picture of her and Izzie at a Mexican festival last summer. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Well, she thought to herself, this is going to be an exciting time. She had never met Izzie’s family, nor had Izzie even talked about them, so she had no idea what to expect, but if they were anything like Izzie, Tess knew she would love them too.
“OK, Tess, we have to get going. We are losing the light!” shouted Kat from the beach.
“Coming!” Tess shouted back and then darted down the beach with her camera in hand.
Three days later, Tess landed safety at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Izzie had texted the day before and told her to look out for a sign with her name on it. A driver was coming to pick her up.
Tess picked up her bags at the luggage carousel and was heading towards the front door. There were numerous people holding signs for their loved ones, friends and business associates. She was almost going to pull out her phone to call Izzie when she spotted someone holding a sign with her name on it, “Ms. Mackenzie's best friend of Izzie’. She smiled to herself and thought, “Oh, Izzie.”
Tess walked over to the gentleman holding the sign, luggage in tow. The man had chin-length golden blonde hair, stood 6ft 2’ and was dressed in a coral pinstriped shirt, tan pants and brown dress shoes. He looked like a model from a lumberjack catalogue, Tess thought to herself.
”Hi. I’m Tess Mackenzie,” Tess said.
”Well, hello there, Miss,” the man said in a classic southern accent while tipping his head to her. “I can get those bags for you. My name is Arthur Beauclaire, and I will be your chauffeur.” He said with a smile. He went to reach for her bags, but Tess backed up, eyeing him up and down. He frowned at her.
”Um, no offence, but you don’t look like a chauffeur.” She said, looking at him suspiciously.
“No? And what does a chauffeur look like?” he said with a little smile on his lips.
”You know, black and white suit, chauffeur hat, driving gloves.” She said. He smiled.
”Well, you got me there. I’m not a chauffeur, Miss. Ms. Vaillancourt is a friend, and she asked me to come to pick you up as she is” - he held up his hands in air quotes, “otherwise engaged. Would you like that ride? Or would you like to see if someone more chauffeur looking would be willing to give you a ride?” he said with a smile on his face.
Tess hesitated and then said, “OK. Mr. Beauclaire is it?” he nodded. “But if you murder me, I’m going to come back and haunt you,” she said with a smile on her face and let out a belly laugh.
”Your friend said you were an interesting one. And she was right. Come on now, let me help you with your bags and let’s get out of here” he said grabbing for her bags. Tess didn’t pull back this time and let him take the bag off her shoulder and one of her suite cases. When he leaned over to take the bag off her shoulder she got a whiff of his scent. He smelled like warm honey and vanilla. Tess smiled to herself.
“So, Ms. Mackenzie, is this your first time to New Orleans?” Arthur asked.
”Call me, Tess. No need for formalities. And yes, in all my travels, I’ve never been here surprisingly enough,” Tess said.
”Isadora said that you are a photographer and artist. Would I have seen your work anywhere?” he asked.
”I mostly shoot for magazines like Sports Illustrated and National Geographic. So if you’ve read any of those, you’ve probably seen my work. As for an artist, Izzie likes to tell people that, but I don’t consider myself an ‘artist’ as I don’t have any formal training or anything. I only paint when my schedule allows, which is not as often as I would like,” she said, looking out the window of the Land Rover.
”I have an art history degree, but I don’t use that as a measure of who is an artist or not. If you create original works, you’re an artist in my books,” he said, smiling.
”How do you know Izzie?” Tess asked, looking at him.
”Isadora is a long-time family friend. Our families, the Vaillancourts and Beauclaire’s go back generations. How do you know Isadora or Izzie as you call her?” he asked.
Tess looked out her window at the New Orleans city unfolding in front of her. It was beautiful. She thought about Arthur’s question. How did she know Izzie? She searched her memory but came up blank. The earliest memory she had of Isadora Vaillancourt was on her 5th birthday when this brazen little girl knocked out a bully who was teasing Tess about her dirty clothes and unkept hair. That bully never bothered her from that day forward. Come to think of it; no bullies bullied Tess after that day. She smiled to herself.
“You going to share what that smile is about?” Arthur said, glancing at Tess as he turned off the highway and headed into the French Quarter.
”Oh, sorry,” Tess said and blushed. “I just remembered the first time I met Izzie. It was on my 5th birthday, I was sitting in the schoolyard sketching, and I had charcoal all over my hands and pants. A boy was bullying me about my clothes and hair, and Izzie walked right up to that boy, tapped him on the shoulder and then clocked him right across the jaw. I’ve never seen someone drop that fast. The kid was knocked out all afternoon.” She said, laughing, and Arthur was laughing too.
”That sounds like Isadora,” he chuckled.
”He had it coming, is what she said to the principal and his parents,” Tess said. “Ever since then, we’ve been inseparable. She’s the only family I have”.
”The only family you have? What about your parents? Siblings?” Arthur said, looking at her, confused.
”It’s a long story. Is there a Starbucks by any chance where we are going? I’m parched,” Tess said, licking her lips while gazing out the window.
”I know the perfect place. It’s not a Starbucks, but it’s got amazing beignets,” he said.
”What’s a beignet?” she asked, tilting her head at him.
”What’s a beignet? Have you never had one?” he said, shocked.
She shook her head, no.
”Well, then you’re in for a treat. They are a New Orleans staple, and I suspect once you’ve tried one, they will be your favourite thing to eat.” He said
”Is that a challenge, Mr. Beauclaire?” she said with a smile on her face.
”Hahaha,” he laughed and said, “Absolutely!”
”OK, you’re on. And if I don’t like them, then my next Starbucks is on you!” she said, laughing.
”Deal,” he said, smiling to himself.
He pulled the car up to the Café Du Monde. It was a sizeable cream-coloured building with a green and white striped awning covering an outdoor patio. They grabbed a table on the patio.
An older woman wearing a white shirt, black skirt and apron came over with a note pad in hand and said, “Hi There. Welcome to Café Du Monde. What can I get for you?” she asked, pulling out her note pad.
”Hi, Maggie. This is my friend Tess, and we would like some of your amazing beignets and two New Orleans Sweet Tea’s, please?” Arthur said, giving the women a big smile.
He was beautiful, Tess thought to herself. He looked just like Thor. Big, strong, broad shoulders, muscled arms which showed nicely through his coral short sleeve dress shirt which brought out the tan on his arms.
”Oh, Mr. Beauclaire! How lovely to see you. Of course, of course. I will get some for you right away,” she said excitedly. “You look like you’re new here. I pretty much know everyone who lives in New Orleans,” she said, looking at Tess with eager eyes.
”Yes. I just moved here, and Mr. Beauclaire is showing me around.” She said with a smile on her face. “He said your beignets are to die for, and we have a little wager going,” she said with a chuckle.
”Oh, a wager! Well, I’m afraid you’re going to lose Ms. Tess. The beignet’s here are world-famous,” she said, putting the notebook in her apron. “I’ll be right back,” and before Tess could say anything, she turned and walked into the café.
”So,” Arthur said, looking at her with a big smile. “I’ve delivered on my part. Beignet’s and Sweet Tea are on the way, so I reckon you owe me some information about you. You mentioned in the car that Isadora is your only family?”
Yes. I’m an orphan, abandoned on the steps of St. Margaret’s Orphanage in St. Louis, Missouri, a few days after I was born. I was pretty much there until my early teens when the orphanage closed, and then I was shipped off to different foster families. The orphanage is where I met Izzie.” She said, looking across the courtyard filled with tourists.
It was a lovely summer day with a warm wind. She closed her eyes and turned her face up into the sun, and took a deep breath. Talking about her past was not something that Tess regularly does because the memories were not significant. Just as she was about to carry on with her story, Maggie came back over with their order.
”OK, OK. Here you go lovelies. I’ve got your beignets and Sweet Tea,” said Maggie, who approached the table with a tray full of food. She put one plate of beignets in front of Arthur and the other one in front of Tess.
“I put a few extras on there for you, Mr. Beauclaire,” she said and then gave him a wink. She then sat down the Sweet Tea’s and put her hands in her apron’s pockets and stared at Tess.
“Thank you, Maggie,” Tess said with a half-smile wondering why the lady was staring at her.
”I think she wants you to try one before she leaves,” Arthur said in a whisper and smile. He then popped one of the pastries in his mouth.
Tess picked up one of the pastries that wer3 covered in powdered sugar, smelled it and then took a bite. She was half expecting the pastry to be way too sweet, considering it was covered with powdered sugar. But it wasn’t. The pastry immediately began melting in her mouth, and Tess surprisingly let out an ‘Mmmmm’ sound.
”Well, I believe that says it all, Mr. Beauclaire. I do believe you’ve won your wager,” Maggie said, tapping him on the shoulder.
”Oh, my word. These are little pillows of heaven.” Tess said and put another one in her mouth.
Both Arthur and Maggie laughed. “I do believe you are right, Maggie.” She laughed again and said, “You two enjoy your afternoon.
I look forward to seeing you again, Ms. Tess,” she said and walked away, still laughing to herself.
”See, what did I tell you? The best thing you’ve ever eaten?” Arthur said, stuffing another one in his mouth. His mouth was covered with powdered sugar, but he didn’t care, he was enjoying the pastries and the company of a beautiful woman.
”Yes, yes, OK. I’ll give in. These are amazing,” Tess said, putting another one in her mouth.
Arthur watched as Tess put another pastry into her mouth. She was gorgeous, he thought to himself. She was approx. 140lbs, 5 ft. 8’ with chocolate brown hair that gleaned auburn in the sun. She had the most piercing, grey-blue eyes that he had ever seen. There was something mysterious about her and different. He couldn’t pinpoint what it was.
After they sipped their Sweet Tea and finished off the second round of pastries that Maggie had brought over insisting that they eat them, Arthur and Tess got back in his Land Rover and continued further into the French Quarter.
About 20 mins later, he pulled the car over to one of the classic three-floor red brick buildings with wrought-iron balconies, white windows and green faux shutters. The building had tons of flower baskets and ferns hanging off the porches.
”Home sweet home,” Arthur said. “Your humble abode awaits Ms. Mackenzie,” he said in his southern accent. He then hopped out of the car and proceeded to the trunk to grab Tess’s luggage.
Tess slowly got out of the car, staring at the building in awe. Amazed. An authentic New Orleans style apartment building right in the heart of the French Quarter. As Tess was looking around her new neighbourhood filled with tourists and local shops, Arthur was getting her bags out of the car.
”Come on, newbie,” he said in his southern accent and motioned to the building. Tess grabbed two of her bags and then followed Arthur.
They walked through a wrought iron gate into a beautiful plant-filled courtyard where some tables and chairs sat empty, and a large fountain was flowing in the center.
”Tessie!!!!! Tessie!!!!,” Isadora yelled, and Tess turned and looked up. Her best friend was running towards her from one of the open doors on the main level, arms waving and a big smile on her face.
She jumped on Tess, hugging her tight.
”OK, Izzie. You’re going to kill me,” Tess said, and she tried to peel Izzie off of her.
Izzie pulled back and said, “I missed you! I’m glad you made it here in one piece, but I was expecting you an hour ago.” She crossed her arms and looked at her with one eyebrow raised.
”I missed you too. I was with your friend Arthur here. He was kind enough to take me for some beignets and a sweet tea since my best friend couldn’t be bothered to pick me up.” Tess said, poking at Izzie. Tess glanced over at Arthur, who was watching them with a big smile on his face and crossed arms.
Izzie walked over to Arthur and gave him a hug and a punch in the shoulder while saying, “Thanks, Artie! I appreciate you picking my best friend up and deflowering her”.
Arthur blushed and looked at the ground.
”Izzie!” Tess yelled at her in shock.
Izzie laughed and said, “I didn’t mean it like that. I meant it about the beignets. You are no longer a beignet virgin. Hahaha”.
Both Tess and Arthur looked at each other and then quickly away. Both of their faces flushed.
”Oh, come on, you two! I was just having some fun. Now, let’s get your stuff to your room because my dear, we have a party to go to.” she said and then walked off carrying one of Tess’s bags. She headed off up the stairs to the second floor.
Tess looked at Arthur and said, “Artie?” with a smile on the curve of her mouth.
Arthur shrugged his shoulders and followed Izzie. Tess let out a big sigh and followed suit.
Tess and Izzie’s new apartment, a classic Creole Townhouse with shops below and homes above was located right on Bourbon Street which is one of the heaviest tourist destinations in all of New Orleans. Most of the architecture in the French Quarter is built during the late 18th century.
The Creole Townhouse is a two-story structure set right at the sidewalk. The signature item for a typical Creole Townhouse was the wrought-iron balconies that were on the facade. Isadora’s house was a red brick exterior with dark green trim and white ornate wrought iron railings. In the inner courtyard stood a large fountain and lots of foliage.
”You are up here on the second floor, Tess next to me,” Izzie said.
They walked up a narrow staircase on the left side of the courtyard and onto the second-floor patio. Izzie stopped at two white large double doors and then opened them.
Arthur and Tess walked into the bedroom. It was a large spacious room with an en-suite on the left and a large kind sized bed on the right. It had exposed brick walls, a fireplace and straight ahead was a wall of floor to ceiling French doors leading to a balcony that overlooked Bourbon Street.
”Whoa, Izzie! How can we afford this place?” Tess said, still looking around the room.
”Oh, don’t worry about that, Tess. It’s my family’s house. It’s been in my family for generations and generations.” She said, setting Tess’s bag down at the end of her bed and giving Arthur a wink. He smiled back at her.
”Thank you, Arthur, for the ride, the pastries and assistance in lugging my bags in here,” Tess said as she sat her bag down on the floor, still looking around the room in amazement. Tess wondered what else her friend hadn’t told her about her life. It would seem she didn’t know her as well as she thought.
”You’re most welcome, Miss,” Arthur said, bowing to Tess and Izzie. “I guess I will be seeing you ladies tonight?”
”What? What’s tonight?” Tess asked, crossing her arms and looking at her friend.
”You worry so much, my friend,” Izzie said, and they came over to her friend and hugged her. “Arthur’s family is throwing an annual ball at their estate tonight, and the Vaillancourts always go. Since your part of my family, the invite extends to you.” And just as about Tess was going to protest, Izzie pointed a finger at her friend and said, “No arguments out of you, Missy! You’re going. I have a dress for you and everything. I’m so excited!”
”Come on, Artie,” Izzie said, grabbing Arthur’s arm and wrapping hers around his. “I’ll walk you out.”
”See you tonight,” Arthur said, smiling at Tess. Tess blushed and then turned around to check out the balcony in her new room. Izzie and Arthur left, closing the door behind them.
”Isadora Vaillancourt, what are you up to?” Arthur asked suspiciously as they walked down the stairs to the courtyard.
”Whatever do you mean?” Izzie said in her best southern belle accent and put a hand to her chest and batted her eyes.
Arthur smiled at his friend as they reached the main courtyard level and said, “I know you. I’ve known you for quite some time. I know when you’re up to something. As for your friend, there is something different about her.” He said, looking back up the stairs to Tess’s door.
She turned to face her long-time friend, grabbed his shoulders, looked at him squarely in the eyes and said, “She is different. Special. I have a meeting with your brother this afternoon before the party. I will explain then. But until then...” she grabbed his chin and moved his face to face hers and said, “Eyes off Mister.” Arthur smiled back.
”OK, I will see you later, and I expect you to fill me in on all the details,” Arthur said. He kissed her forehead and turned around and walked away. He was intrigued. Who is this woman? And why is she special?
Izzie headed back up the stairs to Tess’s room. She found Tess sitting on her bed, looking exhausted and a worried expression on her face.
”You keep frowning like that, and you’ll get permanent frown lines,” Izzie said, plunking herself beside Tess on the bed.
Tess just looked at her friend and then smiled. “I missed you,” she said.
Izzie smiled back, wrapped her arm around her shoulder and said, “I missed you too.”
”OK, so I have some errands to run before the party tonight. My family is already at the Beauclaire’s, helping them set up for the party. So I would suggest that you get some sleep as you look like you’ve haven’t slept in days. We have a big night tonight.” Izzie said, standing up from the bed.
“But before I go, wanna see your dress?” she walked over to Tess’s new walk-in closet.
”Sure,” Tess said but remained sitting on the bed.
Izzie returned a moment later and emerged from the closet holding the most beautiful dress Tess had ever seen. It was a 1950’s style tea-length high low (low in the back, higher in the front) navy blue dress with a lace bodice, criss-cross open back, spaghetti straps that had some flowers on them and sparkle all over the tulle. On the back crisscross were small jewels that accentuated where the straps ended into the back of the dress. In her other hand, she had sparkly stiletto’s.
Tess's mouth dropped open in shock.
”I take it you like it,” Izzie said with a smile on her face.
Tess walked over to Izzie. She took the dress and held it up to her and said, “This is beautiful. But…”
Izzie held up her hand to her friend’s mouth and said, “No, buts!” She took the dress from Tess and hung it back in the closet. “This party is fabulous, and you’re going to look gorgeous in this dress. You’ve been working so hard lately that you haven’t taken any time for yourself, Tess. Tonight will be a night to remember. Now, I want you to get some sleep, hair and makeup will be here at 5 pm.” She said, closing the curtains. She walked over to her friend and wrapped her arms around her. Tess leaned into the hug and closed her eyes.
”OK. I’ll be back in a few hours. Get some shut-eye.” Izzie said and then walked out the door closing it behind her.
Tess shook off her shoes and fell into the bed. She was exhausted. She had just been on a shoot in Fiji for a week only to fly home to a new city. The jet lag was catching up to her. What was her friend up to? She thought. She would have to talk to her about it later. Right now, sleep was calling her.
Isadora turned onto the Beauclaire Estate grounds. The estate was 500+ acres of beautiful southern plantation lands. The entrance to the grounds was through a wrought iron steel gate that had the Beauclaire Family crest on it, a wolf’s head. The long driveway was flanked by cypress trees with Spanish moss that hung over the road like a natural arch. At the end of the long driveway was a classic southern plantation style house. Two stories, wrought iron balcony, white columns and large double-arched entrance doors flanked by windows of the same style.
Izzie pulled her jeep up outside the front door. As she hopped out, she grabbed her messenger bag. She rounded the front of her vehicle and saw her brother running out of the house, waving at her.
He was 6 foot 2’, muscular with the smoothest mocha skin and glittering brown eyes. She smiled at him as he approached. He reminded her of a young Idris Elba. He scooped her up in his arms and gave her a big hug while twirling her around.
”Hey, little brother,” she said, “If you don’t put me down, I’m going to puke all over you,” she said, laughing.
He set her down on the ground again and stood back, grabbing her shoulders and said, “I missed you, big sister. It’s been a long, long time.”
Sebastian Vaillancourt was a recently turned werewolf and her brother. He was out running at night about nine months back and accidentally ran through a pack of werewolves that were out hunting rabbits. When the Alpha of New Orleans heard what happened, they took Sebastian in. They watched him for a few days, and when he turned, the Alpha decided to invite Sebastian into his pack. When he found out that Sebastian was a Vaillancourt, the Alpha knew that he had to take care of him. The Vaillancourts and Beauclaire’s had a long history. An excellent history of helping each other through the centuries, so it was the right thing to do. It was either that or have Isadora’s older sister, a powerful witch, roast him and his pack over a fire pit.
She clasped Sebastian’s arms and said, “Yes, little brother, it has been a long time, and I have missed you as well.” She smiled back. “Is everyone I asked to be here, here?”
He let go of her shoulders, dropping his hands to his sides and said, “Yes.”
She grabbed his arm, wrapped hers around it and said, “Shall we?”
They strode arm and arm into the house. She had forgotten how beautiful the Beauclaire estate was. They entered through the large double front door into a beautiful open foyer. You could almost see all the way through to the back of the house from the front door. A grand sweeping stairway leading to the next level flanked both the left and right side of the entrance. The entrance, like the staircase, was made out of Italian marble, which is complemented with a wrought-iron ornate banister and railings.
Overhead was a large ornate medallion on the ceiling, and hanging in the center of that was a beautiful chandelier. The house furnishing is filled with a combination of creams, greys and light Carolina sky blues. Pops of yellow in the fresh flowers, paintings and drapery added a new feeling to it.
They headed through the entrance foyer to the back of the house. On the right-hand side was the kitchen, and on the left down, a hallway that lead to the study where everyone was waiting for them.
Sebastian entered the study first. “She’s here,” he announced and plopped himself on the couch, making sure not to make eye contact with the Alpha, who was sitting behind the desk. The room was about the size of a two-bedroom apartment with two floors. It had floor to ceiling bookcases filled with art, collectables and books. At the opposite end of the room hung an extra-large Beauclaire Family Crest flag - the same family crest that was on the front gates. It was blue, silver and white with a black wolf in the middle. On the other end of the room was a wall of French glass doors that opened to the large patio at the back of the estate. It was almost dusk, and the sunset was beautiful through the glass doors. Large navy blue velvet curtains hung at the sides of the doors.
In front of the doors was a large wooden desk that looked like it came out of the King Arthur period, and it probably did because behind the desk sat the local Alpha, Beau Beauclaire, who was from that era. No one knew how old he was. Beau was 6ft 3”, tanned, muscular body, with chin-length black hair, deep chocolate brown eyes and when he spoke, he spoke with a mix of British and southern accents. He was beautiful. Not Isadora’s type, but she could always appreciate a good looking man.
He looked up from his papers and said with a smile on his face, “Hello Isadora. It’s been a long time”.
She looked around the room. On Beau’s left sat his younger brother, Lance Beauclaire, a werewolf by night and a lawyer by day. He was a perfect replica of Beau, same build, colouring, accent, eyes, but with short black hair and stubble. On his right was Arthur, Beau’s other younger brother. They both smiled at her but stayed where they were. Sebastian was sitting on the burgundy leather button couch that was along with one of the walls with his head facing the ground, a sign of respect when in a room with your alpha and more dominant werewolves. On the couch with Sebastian was her older sister, Serafine. She looked exactly like Sebastian, mocha skin, tall, long black hair tied tight into a bun. She was wearing jeans, a black t-shirt and sandals.
When Isadora looked at her sister, her sister stayed where she was sitting and said, “Hello sister,” she smiled and nodded. Isadora nodded back.
”Thank you all for coming. Where is Lucien?” Isadora said, scanning the room.
”It’s not quite dusk yet,” Arthur said, motioning his head to the French doors behind his brothers.
She nodded and said, “OK, well, I can catch him up. Let’s get started”. She pulled a piece of parchment out of her bag. Everyone nodded.
”You didn’t mention much in your call, Isadora,” Beau said in his southern accent. “Just that there is something about a prophecy.”
”Yes. I didn’t want to have this conversation on the phone. There are ears and eyes everywhere.” Isadora said and then looked at her sister, “Are the wards up?”
”Yes.” Serafine responded.
”Great. As all of you know, I’ve been gone from New Orleans for a long time. Twenty-five years to be precise. I was given a great task. Based on this prophecy,” she waved the rolled-up parchment in the air, “I was sent on protection detail.”
She approached the desk and unrolled the parchment. Everyone crowded around the desk to have a look. “As you can see, the prophecy says that a big supernatural battle is coming.”
Isadora read the prophecy:
”One will be born during a solstice that will save all unnatural creatures.
She is of pure heart.
Hidden marks will indicate she is of both werewolf and coyote.
Calmness will befall those in her presence.
She can both take life and heal life
She does not know what she is.
She is both saviour and destroyer.
She must reveal herself in her true form by the Winter Solstice of her 25th year to lead the righteous to triumph over evil
Once revealed, she must choose to be either saviour or destroyer
She must be protected.
Or the world must be protected from her.”
Isadora stopped speaking. Beau leaned back in his chair. Arthur and Lance backed up and looked at each other, blinking in shock. Sebastian and Serafine stepped back.
”Well, that was ominous,” a silky soft-spoken voice said from the shadows.
Everyone turned to see Lucien Germaine standing in the doorway of the study. Lucien stood at a lengthy 6ft 4”, lean but muscular, porcelain skin, shoulder-length white blonde hair and crystal blue eyes. He was wearing black dress pants, black dress shoes, and a burgundy suit jacket with tales, a white ruffled shirt that covered his neck.
”Hello, Lucien. I trust you heard?” Beau looked at him.
Lucien nodded and said, “Indeed.” He strode over to the couch and took a seat. Sebastian let out a small growl.
”Stand down, Sebastian. Lucien is my guest,” Beau said. Sebastian immediately loosened his stance and moved to stand behind his Alpha.
”Thanks for coming, Lucien,” Isadora said. “So you can see why I need your help?”
”Do we even know who this person is?” Lance said, crossing his arms.
”Yes,” Isadora said. She was about to speak when Arthur murmured, “Tess?” Everyone looked at him.
”Yes. You are correct, Arthur. It’s my friend, Tess,” Isadora said. She took a deep breath and sat down in one of the leather chairs that were sitting in front of the desk. She leaned back and closed her eyes.
”This is the assignment you have been on? For 25 years?” Arthur said.
She nodded her head. “25 years ago, my coven gave me the honour of watching over the one in the prophecy. I don’t know how my coven came to have the prophecy, but they did. They thought I was the best fit. So once the baby was born, she was given to me to watch over. I went to an orphanage for abandoned children in Missouri. It was in the middle of nowhere land, and I thought that she would be safe there. I posed as one of the kids in the orphanage and grew close to her.”
”Was it safe?” Lance asked.
”She was safe until she was 16 years old. On her 16th birthday, the first attack came. They tried to kidnap her from the orphanage. They burned the orphanage down. I managed to get us out, not everyone was so lucky,” she said, putting her head in her hands. Serafine moved over to her sister and put her hand on her shoulder.
Isadora leaned back in the chair, looked at her sister and gave her a small smile. She continued her story “After that, I realized we weren’t safe there so we ‘ran away’ and started a life in a new city and I have had her on the move ever since.”
”So this friend of yours, her name is Tess?” Lucien said
Isadora hesitated before answering. She stared at Lucien for a moment and then turned to Beau. “Please, I need your help. She’s a wolf/coyote, and I figure that you can help because she is of your kind.”
”How do you know she is the one, Isadora?” Lucien said, crossing his leg.
”Because I know she was born to a werewolf father and a coyote mother. She is the right age, she will turn 25 this Winter Solstice, she has the hidden marks on her, and I can sense the beast within”. Isadora said.
She turned to look at Beau.
Beau looked at her thoughtfully. While Isadora wasn’t immortal like he was, witches age different, slower than normal humans. He could tell that this assignment had been weighing heavy on her. She looked tired and older. Their families go centuries back. Beau knew Sebastian’s, Serafine’s and Isadora’s mother and father. They had asked Beau and his brothers to look out for their children. He promised he would, and he wasn’t about to break that promise.
Beau stood up. “Tell me, what can we do?” He said, walking over to Isadora. She stood as he reached her and fell into his embrace.
“Thank you, thank you,” she said as she sniffled into his chest.
Lucien stood up. Everyone turned to look at him. He took a step forward closer to Isadora and said, “I am at your service. We have all been in aid of each other’s needs over the centuries, and this will be no different.”
Isadora smiled, stepped away from Beau and looked at Lucien squarely in the eyes. She then said, “She is not for you, Vampire. Yes, we have come to each other’s aid over the years, and I would hate to have an issue now. I trust you to ensure her safety only. You must not taste her, Lucien. You hear me?”
”I give you my word. She will not come to any harm from me or mine,” Lucien said.
”Well, it’s almost party time. I’ll introduce you tonight. Once you’ve had a chance to meet, we can discuss how to best approach the subject with her.” Isadora said, walking towards the door.
”You haven’t told her?” Beau asked.
”No. I’m not quite sure how to. All of this will be a shock to her,” Isadora responded.
”Let me walk you out,” Arthur said, moving towards the door and Isadora.
Sebastian followed, and so did Serafine.
Serafine said, “Come, Sebastian, you can help me check the wards,” and then they exited the room before Isadora.
Isadora and Arthur walked out of the study, Arthur closing the door behind him. He followed Isadora to the front door. Before she could reach it, he finally spoke and said, “Isadora, when I mentioned to you before that there was something different about your friend earlier, why didn’t you tell me?”
Isadora took a deep breath and turned around. “Because it wasn’t the time, my friend. Come here,” she said and extended her arms out. He walked into her embrace and hugged her tight.
She tapped his back and said, “OK, OK, wolf. You’re going to squeeze all the air out of me.”
He let go, smiled and said, “Never.”
”I gotta go and get ready. See you tonight,” Isadora said, hitting his shoulder.
He laughed and waved her off as she exited the front door and jumped in her jeep.
Isadora started the jeep and leaned her head on the steering wheel while closing her eyes. She said to herself, “Please, Mom and Dad. Help me through tonight.” At that moment, she felt a warm breeze come through the open window. She smiled and started down the long driveway.