OK, I know which of you planted this. But I have 0 idea of where it is going. Maybe.
Lelia’s phone rang on Saturday night. She glanced at the number, boggled, and answered it. “Lestrang.”
A strained voice whispered, “Mrs. Lestrang, Carl. I need help, yours and your husband. Do you know any Healers?”
“Yes, a Healer mage and her apprentice.” Shit, this is not sounding good. “For you or for, ah, a relative?” André gave her a strange look, and she mouthed “Marine.” His eyes went wide and he flowed to his feet, easing closer so he could listen in.
“Thanks be. Um, relative. Can you stabilize a gate if I start it?”
“Yes, but where? Not the shop,” she warned. “It’s too hard to get people in and out discreetly.”
She heard a woman’s voice, moaning with pain. Carl said something in a different language, then “At the Healer’s please? In the name of the White Christ ye worship, I beg ye, please?”
“We’ll be there. I’ll warn her that you are coming. Magical and physical trauma?”
“Yes. Carl clear.” Silence.
Lelia turned to André. “Shadow, we need to get to Krimhilde’s now. I’ll call her and warn her that a patient is gating in close to her shields. A woman, double trauma. She’s with Carl.”
“Oh [bleep]. I’ll get our bags and meet you at the truck. Ears, get moving!” He barked orders. Tay and Rodney hurried to the utility room as Lelia put on her shoes and grabbed her own work bag, turned off the lights and triple checked that the stove and oven and iron were still turned off.
As André backed the pickup out of the garage, she called Krimhilde. The Healer answered on the second ring. “Lelia. What’s wrong?”
“Sprouts, an ally of ours just called. He’s gating in close to your place with a patient for you, magical and physical trauma, a female. I’ll catch the gate and stabilize it once he gets it started. The woman is probably human, but I can’t guarantee it. I’ll explain later. Shadow and I vouch for them, and we’ll do what we can to help.”
Pure professionalism came over the phone. “Female, magical and physical trauma, probably human. Bring them in outside the house shield, and then we’ll go from there. Is Shadow with you?”
“Good. It’s been a while since I’ve handled major physical trauma, and I might need his skills to get the patient stabilized. I’ll be inside the shields, by the driveway to the house, waiting. Once the gate closes, I’ll let you in.”
Lelia nodded. “Can do. Driveway by the house, you come to us once the gate closes.”
Lelia closed the phone and rested her eyes. She’d need all her energy to catch the gate and stabilize it. She’d never worked with Carl before. He’d be a sorcerer, so if André could help, it would be better. He knew the flavor of sorcery magic far better than she did. He stayed quiet, intent on driving. Their Familiars too held silence. Was that good or bad? They’re probably praying that he doesn’t hit anyone or cast a hex on another driver. When André reverted to “combat driving” mode, it got mildly interesting, for “passengers leave claw marks on the seats and headliner” levels of interesting.
André parked at one end of the driveway, blocking it and hiding anything that might happen between the pickup and the house. Lelia got out and helped Tay onto her shoulder. “I hope nothing is following them,” she murmured, drawing power from him and from the night around them.
“Yeah. Now you worry about that?” He wrapped his tail around her neck. “But yeah. I just hope he and the girl didn’t piss off his uncle, and this is the result.”
Oh shit. I didn’t— She felt gate energy starting to gather. She heard Shadow and Ears moving behind her. As soon as she saw the first hint of the gate’s form, Lelia sent shadow magic out and under it, weaving a support around the blue and brown pillars. She caught a glimpse of darkness and what might have been stone in a cavern or tunnel, then saw two people. Carl she recognized, and a fair-haired woman. The gate stabilized. “I have it, Marine, come through,” Lelia called.
Carl nodded, turned, and half-carried the woman across the threshold. Shadow met them and got them clear as Lelia took the gate, then released her magic and the other power back into the other plane. As the gate closed, a shield to her right opened. “Amen, Selah, Deo gratias, amen,” Lelia whispered. She returned what magic she could to Tay, then staggered, moving clear of the others.
“Not a hellhound, but related. We weren’t the target, but we got caught between them and a wall,” Carl said. “Teeth and claws both before I could kill it. You’re closer than my uncle and the others.”
(C) Alma T. C. Boykin 2021 All Rights Reserved