Firestorm Ch. 01byFatality©
Authors Note: Firestorm is the sequel to Bad Weather but can be read as a stand alone. There are many people I have to thank for their brilliant in put. Jazcullen, a brilliant writer but better friend. Mokkelke, Lostchicken and Don for their feedback and lastly my editor for this story Jillieb, her talent is the reason this story is worth reading.
Black Manor, Westwood Territory
Blood dripped from his talons, the viscous red liquid coating his fingers. The scent of iron in the air was a seductive song to his senses.
His ice-blue gaze met the eyes of the Black family's dying patriarch.
He felt... nothing.
* * * *
Micah sat on her large black suitcase as she waited impatiently for someone to open the gates; she had been waiting for nearly an hour. She wasn't a patient woman, was even less so when she had to wait for a vampire whose demands had ripped her away from her family.
She curbed her impatience as she thought of her pack, her family whose promise she was here to fulfill. No one else is better suited for this assignment, Micah reminded herself. That knowledge was the only thing that kept her from getting up and leaving.
Muttering in exasperation, she pulled out her cell phone and opened the mobile web browser.
In times of utter boredom she searched the 'net, finding it intriguing that there were so many interesting facts she could look up. She smirked and typed in the word 'vampire' and waited for the information to load.
Humans were in love with mystery and fantasy and had such vivid imaginations, and their ramblings often made for entertaining reading. There was enough accurate information out there, though, to make her suspect that human encounters with the objects of their fantasy were not entirely uncommon.
Reading through the web pages, she bubbled with loud, uncensored laughter; some of the information was completely off-base. Then again, she wasn't the expert on vampires. Skimming through the search results, she noted a new forum post that speculated vampires might be able to shape shift. She filed that tidbit away as something she would have to research.
The gate unexpectedly made a metallic clunking sound before swinging open on automated hinges. Micah looked around but could not see who had finally opened the gate for her. Granted, it was 6pm and the sun had not fully set, but it wasn't at its peak either. Vampires could be greatly weakened by UV light, but Caspian Black was no fledgling.
He can withstand prolonged exposure to the sun without becoming incapacitated, she reminded herself. Eyes narrowed in thought, she wondered if pure-bloods had a higher tolerance to UV light.
Micah stood and lifted her heavy bag; the weight didn't bother her but the size of the suitcase made it difficult to lug. The house beyond the now-open gate was a mansion that could probably house over fifty vampires. Micah shook her head and wondered at the foolishness she was about to embark on. She was about to enter a mansion full of vampires knowing that they hated werewolves with an unmatched passion.
She knew all too well the destruction vampires were capable of, had lived through the horror of watching blood pool on the ground as the screams of victims faded to nothing more than an echo in her mind.
Micah took a deep breath and walked down the mansion's long driveway before finally coming to stop in front of a large oak door. She set her bag down and was about to knock when she hesitated, a sudden unease staying her hand. She stood there, staring at the door for what seemed like an eternity.
She sighed deeply and took another deep breath, inhaling the sweet air. The slight but detectable scent of blood didn't surprise her, but it did make her nervous enough that her raised hand trembled.
The door was suddenly flung open, catching Micah off guard – a rare occurrence. As a sentinel wolf, Micah could pick up subtle changes in her surroundings with her enhanced senses of smell, hearing, and touch. She should have heard someone approaching the door, even from the other side.
The vampire that stood at the open doorway looked annoyed. He also looked like perfection personified. His short, dark hair contrasted sharply with his pale skin, and his piercing blue gaze seemed to be locked on her. Micah's breath caught as words evaded her. The undercurrent of energy that permeated from his pores hinted at amazing power. Whoever he was, this vampire was a force to be reckoned with.
"Are you okay or have you lost all ability to speak or move?"
Micah frowned at the condescending tone the vampire used. "Sorry, but let's just say I wasn't exactly looking forward to entering a house full of vampires. Not that vampires scare me; I just don't like your kind."
Okay, maybe this one scared her a little, but hell would freeze over before she made that admission.
"Oh believe me, my dear, the feeling is mutual." His tone was crisp. Despite his words, he gave away no emotion.
The vampire moved aside and Micah stepped through the doorway, accidentally grazing him with her arm. Electricity shot through her every nerve ending and she jumped in response.
It wasn't the slight touch that had enraptured her, though. It was his scent. He smelled of the rich earth, exuding a wild, intoxicating aroma that should have belonged to a were.
"What?" he hissed as he stepped back, showing that he wasn't as unaffected as he seemed. His piercing ice-blue eyes narrowed on Micah, and she defiantly lifted her chin.
She was screaming inside. She forced herself to concentrate on the mission instead of this new unavoidable complication, even though she knew she wouldn't be able to deny it for long. Of all places to find her mate... a freaking vampire coven!
"I'm Caspian Black and you must be Micah." He looked her over, inspecting her petite form.
Micah stood 5 feet 2 inches tall, with a body that was small but toned to perfection. Her blood-red hair was pin-straight, falling over her slender shoulders and settling halfway down her back. Her pale green eyes looked like stained glass.
The combination of features made her a stunning woman. Judging from the hunger now reflected so vividly in Caspian's eyes, he too appreciated her beauty.
Micah looked away from his unnerving gaze and noticed that people stole quick glances at her from the long, spiral staircase that connected the three floors of the mansion. She didn't like the attention and returned her focus to Caspian.
"Where am I staying while I'm here? And when can I meet your security team?" Micah asked as she retrieved her bag.
"Follow me," Caspian muttered before turning away abruptly. To Micah, he almost seemed agitated.
She narrowed her eyes but followed silently as Caspian led her through the ground floor, past the curious gazes of his coven. Micah could see how much respect his people had for him, giving him low bows before backing off so Caspian could lead her through the corridors until they reached a door that he pushed open.
"This will be your room."
The room wasn't large; in fact it was small and cramped. Micah smiled though. She hadn't come from luxury and didn't mind the room at all. She would have to change the colour scheme at some point during her stay though; the purple and blue wallpaper was tacky and the matching blue furniture made her want to laugh.
"This room is reserved for guests such as yourself. I don't think it's a laughing matter," Caspian hissed when she failed to conceal her amusement. If this room was reserved for werewolves, it had probably been designed to irritate the visiting wolf so they would leave as quickly as possible.
"No, I feel honored that you've given me such a blue... I mean, lovely room." The mocking smile that curved her lips reached her eyes and they sparkled, showing off flecks of amber against her pale green eyes.
Caspian stared at her for a moment too long before his ice-blue eyes hardened. "Settle in. I'll meet you later to discuss our arrangement."
Micah nodded and walked inside what was going to be her home for... well, an undefined time. The bed in the room was a single, but it looked comfortable. She pressed her hand onto the mattress and smiled at the softness. At least she would get a decent night's sleep.
Lying down and closing her eyes, Micah used her senses of hearing and smell to trace each member of Caspian's coven. It took her but a few minutes to find them all. There were only 20 vampires in total. She had expected far more.
She sat up and pulled her bag onto the bed to rummage through her things before triumphantly pulling out a pack of sweets.
"Thank you, Kiki," she said, before she unwrapped a chocolate bar. Kiki a.k.a. Kiara was Micah's Alpha. The bag of goodies Micah held was compliments of Kiara, although her Alpha didn't know it. Micah had helped herself to a few tasty treats from Kiara's personal stash.
She had not wanted to leave her Alpha, especially when Kiara was more than three months into her four-month pregnancy. She had tried to delay her departure from the pack as long as possible, but Caspian had demanded that Micah show up at his Northlin home no later than today.
"Don't get too comfortable."
Micah turned at the sound of the voice and watched as a male vampire walked into her room. She growled instinctively, not liking anyone entering what she now considered her personal territory. The room was hers for as long as she was required to stay here and she had laid claim to it.
The vampire that entered her room had the same ice-blue eyes as Caspian. His midnight-black hair was cut extremely short, perhaps an inch in length.
"I don't plan on making this," she indicated the room, "my permanent home. And by the way, are you the welcoming committee? I hate to break it to you, but you're not very welcoming."
The vampire tried to look intimidating, which only made Micah stifle a laugh. She had seen the big bad wolf routine plenty of times before; this was the big bad vampire version.
"Wanna bite?" Micah teased as she held out her chocolate bar.
The vampire didn't expect the strange wit that the little wolf possessed. He was intrigued.
"Leigh." Caspian's voice was unmistakable. He walked into Micah's blue room, which was now getting far too crowded for comfort.
"You know, people usually ask permission before entering someone else's room," Micah said as she promptly stood up and pointed at the door. She wanted them gone.
"This is my home," Caspian's voice held a hint of annoyance. It was a reprimand, meant to remind Micah that she was in his territory. "Someone will be by later to take you to my office."
Micah sighed in relief when the two men left just as quickly as they appeared, closing the door behind them. She lay back down on the bed, her thoughts in turmoil as she stared up at the ceiling.
She was destined to be the mate of the vampire she was supposed to protect. There was no way in hell she was going to accept that destiny. She would play babysitter, then go home and get back to her life.
Vampires had already robbed her of too much. Only one vampire was worthy of her trust and love, and he was not Caspian Black.
* * * *
"I still fail to see how this is helping to solve our problem!" Leigh argued, hitting the table with his fist.
Caspian sighed but remained calm. He sat behind his desk as he toyed with a crystal paperweight. "I know what I'm doing," he said while he continued to stare at the way the light in his office was reflected by the crystal.
They'd been going back and forth debating this issue since they'd left Micah's room twenty minutes ago. Caspian knew that only time would convince Leigh that the events he'd set in motion were their best course of action.
"Yeah, keep telling yourself that," Leigh said sarcastically.
The sharp knock on the door startled both vampires; they were not used to being snuck up on. Whoever it was had been quiet and stealthy. Their scent had been masked so well that neither vampire had picked it up.
Micah walked in holding a small diary and pen. Caspian looked curiously at the pink pen that had a fluffy tail and the bright pink diary with butterflies all over its cover. Both items looked like they'd been designed for a child.
"Sorry, but I took the time to do a walk about," she opened the diary where she had scribbled her observations. "The grounds of your mansion –"
Caspian stood up, interrupting her. "Couldn't you have waited until I summoned you?" He walked to the front of his desk and leaned back against the edge. He knew exactly where she'd been. The grounds were well monitored and both Leigh and Caspian had been apprised the second Micah left her room to begin her exploration.
"Patience is a virtue I don't possess," Micah replied with a hint of guilt.
Caspian shook his head but battled the urge to smile. Something about the wolf's irreverent attitude amused him. "You've met Leigh, my cousin and our Head of Security. He will show you around and brief you on what exactly your job entails."
Micah glared at Leigh before flashing him a sweet smile.
Leigh hissed but turned and walked to the door where he paused with his back to them. "Coming?" he asked just before he stepped into the hall, obviously expecting her to follow.
Micah turned to Caspian with a disgruntled look on her face. "Is he always an asshole or is that attitude solely reserved for me?"
Caspian's inscrutable gaze pierced right through her. "I believe that attitude is reserved for you."
"Oh wow, I feel so special," Micah grumbled before turning to follow Leigh.
* * * *
Leigh was waiting outside on the porch when Micah finally joined him.
"Firstly, what specialist wolf are you?"
"I'm a sentinel," Micah said, a hint of pride in her voice as she tied her hair back.
Leigh nodded and walked down off the raised porch.
Micah followed silently beside him as they walked through the grounds. She had to admit, she didn't expect vampires to tend to their gardens so well. The large trees that surrounded the manor stood proud and tall and the stunning flowers growing near the edges of the building were a beautiful burst of colour.
Sniffing the air, she felt the urge to shift, to feel the grass beneath her paws.
"Your primary duty will be to roam the grounds and alert us if any problem arises during the day."
"So, I'll bark when there's trouble."
Leigh smirked. "Pretty much. There are laser sensors all over and the closed circuit TV system is extensive enough to cover every inch of the grounds. If we didn't have difficulty waking or weren't severely weakened by daylight, we wouldn't even need you."
Micah scribbled down the information about the security system.
"I'll be the first line of defense kinda, give you time to wake," Micah added. Leigh nodded in agreement.
He walked her through the grounds then through the halls of the mansion to the security room, which was located on the ground floor. The security room was larger than Micah's blue room. She couldn't help rolling her eyes.
Micah followed Leigh's example and sat on a rotating chair in front of various monitors. The CCTV system was indeed extensive, and there wasn't a single blind spot that she could detect. The security team had developed a very thorough system; it was obviously well thought out. They had everything they could possibly need to secure the safety of the manor.
Leigh was an ass but he was efficient and he knew the manor like the back of his hand. He explained the vulnerabilities of each access point, and how an attacker might focus on each weak point and exploit it. He also described the countermeasures he had in place to protect against any such attacks. A competent human and vampire security team monitored the grounds 24/7. Micah caught glimpses of people watching monitors and bustling about, though she did not speak to any of them.
As she sat there listening to Leigh, she couldn't figure out why Caspian even wanted her here in the first place. They certainly didn't need her to play watchdog.
Leigh shoved a set of blueprints in front of her and waited for her to unroll them. Micah looked confused as she ran her fingers over the blueprints, tracing the lines. She'd never looked at one; this was first time she was expected to use them.
"Uhm...," she started to say when Leigh leaned forward and flipped the blueprints around.
"You were looking at it upside-down," he said, amusement colouring his tone.
"Yeah, that's the thing. How do you... you know, read this thing?"
Leigh sighed in annoyance but he showed her how to read the blueprints, and explained which areas were indicated where on the papers. Micah was a quick study, earning herself reluctant praise.
"Not bad," he said grudgingly.
Her tummy grumbled just then and Micah couldn't quite concentrate any longer. "I need to eat," she said as she rolled the blueprints back up and handed them to Leigh.
"Retire to your room and your food would be sent to you."
It didn't take Micah long to return to her room, now that she had a pretty good idea of the manor's layout. The room looker even more blue, if that were possible. "Blue was my favourite colour," she sighed, as she went to open the bathroom door.
She walked in and made sure to leave the door open. Werewolves didn't like very cramped rooms. They were the children of Luna with a love of the outdoors and wide, open spaces. Although Micah could handle the tiny rooms for short periods, there were limits even to her tolerance.
She was pleasantly surprised to find the small bathroom cleaned to perfection. The white tile was so shiny she could actually see her face reflected on the surface. There was a toilet on the far end with a tub that had curtains that were, not surprisingly, blue in colour.
There was a knock at her door and Micah's tummy grumbled in response. She opened the door to find Caspian standing in the hall with a styrofoam container. He had gotten her take out. It smelled delicious, so at least it was good take out. It seemed the vampires had forgotten until the last minute that blood wasn't on her menu.
"Thanks," Micah said, reaching for the container.
"How trained are you?" Caspian asked as she retreated further into the room to sit on the bed.
Micah opened the container and gave him a baffled look. "What do you mean?"
"Fighting techniques, weaponry..." Caspian began when Micah interrupted.
"I'm good with hand-to-hand combat and have some skill with swords and daggers," Micah said, eyeing Caspian curiously.
Werewolves were talented warriors and as a beta, Micah was formidable. She had fought her way through the ranks to earn her place. She wasn't just beta to the females, she was beta to the entire pack.
"You will complete your first watch tomorrow and protect the mansion while we sleep. When I wake, I will test your skill in our arena."
"Fine," Micah agreed.
She shut the door as Caspian left, then hopped back onto her bed. She had eaten but a morsel of the delicious food before a sudden thought made her push the container aside to open her suitcase.
She shuffled through her things until she found what she was looking for: a pouch made of sleek, black velvet edged with exquisite gold embroidery. She sat back on her heels, reassured by the knowledge that it was still there.
The pouch had been in her family for centuries, passed down from mother to daughter. Micah emptied the contents into her palm, carefully inspecting the crystals, gems, pearls, and flawless stones that had survived the ages. Each piece fairly glowed with power.
These precious pieces were all that was left of her unique heritage. Micah wasn't just a wolf, she was also a descendent of a race pushed to near extinction.