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The Nightshade Guild: Chapter Two – The year the magic disappeared
As a member of The Nightshade Guild, Jemma Blackwood is constantly using her magic to help others. But when the entire Guild’s powers are stolen, Jemma is left with no choice but to tap into her Dark Fae heritage to restore some of her abilities and save the Guild.
With the help of her pixie familiar, Prim, and her mate, Niam, Jemma journeys to the Dark Fae realm on a mission to discover her hidden fae powers. But the very same evil that has paralyzed the Guild will stop at nothing to keep Jemma from embracing her faery strengths.
As darkness threatens to consume her, Jemma faces her past and painful truths about her father. The battle ahead of her will require every ounce of her courage and cunning, but Jemma is determined to die before being defeated. Will she be able to return to the Nightshade Guild and help them protect the world once more?
Jemma sat in her hammock chair on her back porch. There was a light breeze and baked bread from the bakery in the market fragranced the air. It’s been way too quiet since Ameria left. And not just because chasing a toddler around and keeping her safe from whoever and whatever was chasing her was so much fun.
The silence worried her.
At least her days were quiet, but her nights were filled with terror and glimpses of a post-apocalyptic future. One where the Nightshade Guild mages were powerless and unable to keep the balance of good and evil in the paranormal world.
She would have passed off the dreams as having an overactive imagination if hers and the other eleven mages’ powers hadn’t blinked at Luna’s wedding. That was the weirdest two seconds of Jemma’s life. Her magic was a huge part of who she was. To live without it freaked her out.
Since the wedding a little over a month ago, her fellow mages had either lost their powers or dealt with them being wonky.
Prim, her Dark Fae pixie familiar, wasn’t much help. At times, she was the tiniest ball of explosive anxiety Jemma had ever known. Primrose was also the most loyal and compassionate being Jemma had ever known.
Niam had found her almost dead several years ago when they first met—the first time they dated. Long story that boiled down to he withheld the truth from Jemma about who he really was.
At the time, Jemma hated her Dark Fae half because she saw first-hand how the Dark Fae could be cruel. Her father was the poster child for cruel Fae. Jemma’s last memories of her father before he left was his temper and the way he made her mom cry, a lot. Jemma remembered that she stayed clear from him when she could.
It wasn’t until she and Niam rekindled their love that she found out there were rumors that her father was killed trying to overturn the Dark Fae Queen, Leeta.
So, yeah, it was safe to say that Jemma’s dad never won the ‘dad of the decade’ award. Not even ‘dad of the hour.’
The sound of Prim’s wings brought Jemma out of her thoughts. The pixie darted out of the back door, her wings tinted red— indicating sheher was not a happy camper.
“Something is coming,” she said as she darted back into the house.
Jemma jumped to her feet and rushed after the pixie. Once inside her living room, she felt it. A dark energy floating in the air like invisible jelly, thick and sticky. The power nipped at her skin like it was searching for something. Jemma swatted at it but couldn’t pinpoint where it was coming from.
The energy took on a dark-grey hue, then split into serval threads before attacking Jemma. One thread wrapped around her waist while two others circled each arm. Another twined in her hair. She tried a few karate-chop moves and knew she looked like she just walked through a giant spider web. The more she fought, the more the magic wrapped around her.
Of all days for Niam to visit his friend in the U.S.
Niam, I need you, she called out through their bond, or what there was of one. They hadn’t completed their bond yet. Jemma wanted to take it slow. A part of her didn’t fully trust that he’d leave again which was ridiculous because she was the one to make him leave the first time.
If only she could see what was attacking her, she’d know how to fight it off.
“Prim.” Jemma couldn’t see the pixie and she hoped her familiar was okay.
Fear shot up her spine like ice at the acknowledgment that she couldn’t feel Prim, either. As her familiar, Prim and Jemma shared a bond that linked them together. They shared a good bit of power.
Jemma called to her magic and thrust it out to the grey threads. Instead of pushing the evil power away from her, it made the threads tighten around her. That was when she felt her magic being pulled from her.
No. What the hell was happening?
The more Jemma held onto her magic and tried to pull it back, the more she felt like she was being ripped apart. Pain seared through every part of her until she dropped to her knees, screaming.
Then it was over. The dark magic vanished, taking her powers with it.
Jemma crumbled to the ground and laid in a fetal potion with tears streaming down her face.
“Jemma,” Prim said as she landed on the floor in front of her face. “Our magic is gone. I can’t feel you. Tell me you are okay.”
Jemma held up a finger and Prim leaned against it in relief. “I’m okay. Pissed, but alive.”
As much as she could be without her magic.
“I need to call Mom.” Jemma slowly pushed herself up off the floor. Her insides still hurt like Hell.
When she made it to the coffee table, she picked up her phone and texted her mom.
I need you to come over right away. I’m okay, I just need you.
She replied instantly. On my way.
Jemma sat on the sofa and brought up the MageCaster app but before she fired off a message to the guild, she reread the messages that had come over the last month. Each one of the mages had lost their powers in different ways.
It was the last few messages that Jemma hadn’t read. They mentioned Charlie’s father, Hack and an evil vampire named Sidrith. One message confirmed the time scythe was missing.
I was attacked with some kind of dark magic that stole my powers. I might be off world for a few weeks.
Jemma closed the app after sending that message and waited for her mom and wondered if Niam heard her call.
“Mom, my magic’s gone,” Jemma announced as her mom entered the house.
Jemma’s mother, Cordelia Blackwood, was a mage with the gift of foresight. She was also a retired Guild member.
“I know, honey. I saw this coming.”
And that was so helpful. Jemma didn’t bother asking her why she hadn’t shared her vision. Her mom never told anyone their future unless it was absolutely necessary.
“That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Is there any way for us to get our magic back?” Patience wasn’t one of Jemma’s strongest traits. She had always wanted to get things accomplished. If it was something bad, she’d rather deal with it right away rather than let it sit and become worse.
Without her magic, she couldn’t go deal with anything at the moment. At least nothing that required her magic.
“There is something you could do, but you won’t like it.” Cordelia acted as if that would stop Jemma from asking her to elaborate.
“You know I can’t just let leave that kind of question dangling there. What do you know that will fix mine and Prim’s magic?” she asked cautiously.
“You’ll have to connect with your Dark Fae half. The only way to make that happen is to get in tune with your father’s magic. You’ll need to go to the Dark Fae realm. It could activate your Fae powers now that your mage ones are dormant. Once you and the other mages get your powers back, you’ll have both.”
Jemma folded her arms and frowned, watching Prim fly over and sit on Cordelia’s shoulder. “You know why I don’t want to go there. I don’t want anything to do with my father. He was a horrible person, and I don’t want to be like him in any way.”
Her mom sighed. “Yes, you’ve mentioned that a few times over the years. I know it wouldn’t be your first thought, but I think you should consider it. There are benefits from having Fae magic at your fingertips.”
Her mom didn’t talk much about dear old Dad other than he left. Jemma’s memories of him were not all happy ones.
“Would I even be welcome in the Dark Fae realm? I wouldn’t know what to do or look for.” And she really didn’t want to go.
“Of course, you would be welcomed because you are part Fae. All races have those that want to do evil, but not all of the Dark Fae are bad. Just because they are called Dark doesn’t mean they are Dark,” her mother pointed out.
“That’s so logical and infuriating at the same time.” She groaned, becoming frustrated with her mother’s responses even though she knew that what she said was the truth.
“Really, Mom. I was looking for more of a reassurance instead of being told that there are good Dark Fae. It’s not like I’m a child anymore.”
“Haha, you’ve always been so difficult when it came to learning things from your father’s side. If you don’t want to be spoken to as a child, then start acting like an adult. Go and discover more about who you are. I know you had your issues with him, but he gave me you, so he can’t have been all bad. Can he?”
Jemma remained silent for a moment, thinking over her mother’s words. Cordelia definitely knew more about her father than Jemma did and as usual, her mom was keeping quiet about it. The only reason Jemma never pushed her for more information was that if Cordelia wasn’t answering questions, it meant she’d seen a possible outcome through her visions and didn’t want to influence those involved in changing what was fated. At least that was the excuse Jemma’s mom always gave her.
“He was nice when I was small. I have some good memories left. It’s just that he left me with such a horrible taste in my mouth. Do you really think I should go there?” Jemma wanted that reassurance that she was doing the right thing.
“Yes, you need to go and reconnect with that part of yourself. You won’t be whole until you try to use all the parts of who you are,” her she said with a smile of encouragement.
“This is something you need to do. We can’t survive without magic. I won’t be okay.” Prim flew around her and landed on her knee.
Prim was from the Dark Fae realm and Jemma’s familiar. Not having magic wouldn’t undo their bond, but it would keep Prim from accessing her magic if Jemma’s wasn’t working properly.
“We have to go to the Dark world. Please, Jemma, it’s not so bad. I like it there and I’m sure that you will, too. Niam could go with us and then it would be safer. He didn’t lose his magic, so he can protect us.” Prim put her hands together as if in prayer and batted her eyes at Jemma.
Jemma consider it for a few moments. “Oh, okay. We’ll go to the Dark Fae realm. If it turns out bad, I’m going to hold you responsible.”