Shadow of the Wolf

By: Dana Marie Bell

Prologue


Christopher stared down at his preparations, mentally checking and rechecking each and every one.

All of the runes were aligned properly within the circle, spelling out his intent. The incense was burning sweetly, its cinnamon scent filling the air and making him think of home. The small fire he’d created in his cauldron burned merrily. Colored candles were lit and placed in the proper alignment. A rose for love and an iris for wisdom, stems braided through an emerald ring sacred to Venus and used for this purpose for generations, waited for him to begin the chant. Every item held a piece of the spell. The words would merely cement it, bringing the pieces of his magical puzzle together into one cohesive picture that would send his call out into the world.

Everything was as it should be. Not one single thing was out of place, or forgotten.

He took a deep breath, mentally placing himself in the frame of mind necessary to cast the spell.

This was it, one of the defining moments of his life. His ancestor’s spell would determine the course of the rest of his life. He closed his eyes, concentrating on his perfect mate. She should be of an older lineage, someone born from power, with magic to complement his own. She should be petite.

Christopher had a fondness for women who were smaller than he was. Hair and eye color didn’t matter to him, though he had a preference for blondes. And she needed to be able to accept the one thing that set him apart from most other wizards. That, more than anything else, was important.

He was so very tired of being alone. Not even his brothers could ease the loneliness that had begun to plague him. He fingered the blue piece of paper waiting for the fire and visualized everything he hoped for. Everything his soul cried out for.

He could feel the power building within him. He’d written down his wishes in red ink, the color of passion, ready to be burned in the cauldron.

Christopher reached into the pocket of his purple silk robe and pulled out a wand crafted of oak, especially created just for this ritual. He slipped the sheet into the flames, watching it catch fire before dropping it into the cauldron. Raising his arms high, he began his chant. The paper burned, and he concentrated with every ounce of will he had on the meaning behind the words. Without intent, the words would be useless, gibberish muttered in the dark.

“I call on forces higher than I,

To awaken the dreams that I hold inside.

Venus, grant me the love that I lack;

With this spell my mate attract!

This candle for her,

This candle for me.

When they touch,

United we'll be.

Kindle the love,

Kindle the flame,

When we meet, she’ll know my name.



By the power of earth and fire,

Bring unto me my heart’s desire.

By the power of air and sea,

As I will so mote it be.”

As he chanted, two candles, both red, one carved with the symbol of female, the other marked with the symbol for male and bearing a lock of his hair, shifted slightly towards one another. Christopher fought his smile.

The ritual was working.

Abruptly the candles stopped. He repeated the chant two more times, invoking the power of three, and felt the spell settle in his bones. The last of the paper burned to ash in a puff of red smoke, and Christopher smiled triumphantly.

It had worked. His mate was coming to him. He would watch the candles. When they touched, he would begin scrying for his mate, using the clear crystal globe on his desk to show her image to him. Alasdair would alert him when she came close to his property, passing the detection wards he had in place. Now all he had to do was wait for her. He snorted, amused now that the spell was done. He’d always waited for her and hadn’t known it until the howling loneliness threatened to en-gulf him. It had taken a long talk with his father to show him exactly what was happening, and what he could do to fix it. Once he’d touched the emerald ring, all other possible options were put aside in favor of the one he knew would work.

He needed the other half of his soul to finally be complete.

He carefully extinguished the rose candles, watching carefully until the flames in the cauldron slowly died down. The incense he allowed to burn, enjoying the scent of cinnamon. The runes and symbols he left untouched. He would perform no other works until his mate was at his side.

With a yawn and a satisfied smile, Christopher pulled off his robe and hung it neatly on the peg by the door. It was late, just past midnight, and he was in dire need of a run. He always felt pleasantly tired after finishing a spell, like he’d given both his body and his mind a good workout. Running would ease any last, lingering tension left behind, leaving him pleasantly relaxed and ready for bed.

Opening the back door, he quickly reactivated the wards against intruders. He stripped off his pants, shirt, shoes and socks, and laid them carefully on the glass topped table on his stone patio. With a sigh of relief, he allowed the change to take him, shaking his coat in primal joy. His mate would be here soon, and he would no longer be a lone wolf.

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