Totem of Aries, page 1part #8 of Circle of Fate Series
Totem of Aries
Part 1 - Prophecy
Part 2 - Totem
SHADOW OF ANGEL SAMPLE
Also by D.N. Leo
Today isn’t just another day in Eudaiz for Madeline. She wakes to find a mark on Ciaran’s shoulder that will take his life before the day ends.
An incident occurred in the past that caused this blood debt, and she’s confident she could come back to the past and fix it before it claims her husband.
She time travels with what she considers a solid plan at the time.
She has access to the best technology of Eudaiz. She’s a mind reader. She has supernatural power. She travels with a vampire friend who has wide connections across multiple worlds.
What could possibly go wrong?
The incident occurred before Ciaran and Madeline knew each other. Not only he didn’t know her, he didn’t trust her when she approached him as a stranger.
One mistake could cost Madeline her current family, Eudaiz its king, and millions of citizens their lives.
But she can’t gain Ciaran’s trust and his cooperation without telling him about the future.
However, by doing so, she violates several paradoxical rules of time traveling, which will have unknown consequences in the future …
Part 1 - Prophecy
What's past is prologue.
The Tempest, William Shakespeare
Ciaran tapped his fingers on the steering wheel of the Bentley. The car wasn’t his taste, but he had to use what he had at hand. He hadn’t given his staff enough notice to prepare anything for him. He’d changed his schedule at the last minute and had grabbed the car of the manager on site. The arranged transport was waiting for him at Heathrow Airport, and he knew his chief of security wouldn’t be happy that he, again, hadn’t arrived on schedule.
He wanted to be left alone. Especially today.
His phone buzzed. His was a private number he gave only to family members. He sighed and answered by voice recognition command. “I thought you were enjoying your time with monkeys on the safari, Tadgh.”
On the other end of the line, his little brother chuckled. “These aren’t monkeys, Ciaran. They’re chimps. Totally different caliber of animals. And for your information, I am not on a safari.”
“Should I worry that you’re in a real African jungle?”
“If you’re worried about the animals, don’t be. I’m a vegetarian for the week because I’m praying for your safety.”
“Now I’m worried for whatever god you’re praying to, because if all his followers turn their devotion on and off on a need-to-pray basis, religion will be in chaos. But you’re obviously not calling me to talk about monkeys. What do you want, Tadgh?”
“Robert called. You’re not in London. You stood your team up at the airport.”
“You’re right…I’m not in London. And Robert is my chief of security. He’s not supposed to report to you. Besides, you never get involved in the family business. I’m the one running the show. I really don’t see the point of this conversation.”
“I’m calling to make sure you’re not going to Oxford University. The Bodleian library, to be precise.”
“No, I am not going to the Bodleian library. And I’m not required to tell you where I’m headed. When you take the family business seriously enough to be here, then we’ll talk, and then you’ll get to see where I’m going.”
He hung up the phone and switched it off. He didn’t want to be disturbed today.
A short moment later, he drove into the entrance of an exclusive parking garage, one that accepted only privileged members. There was no public access, so he didn’t have to worry about prying eyes watching his every move.
The concierge at the door greeted him. “Mr. LeBlanc!”
Ciaran knew the man had already scanned his license plate and knew it was a LeBlanc car. Therefore, he made the assumption that the driver would have to be a LeBlanc, but there was no way for him to know which one. Feeling no need to divulge his identity, Ciaran nodded an acknowledgment and smiled. He stepped out of the car.
The concierge handed Ciaran a small silver token. “You’re slot thirty-three today, sir.” Then the concierge drove the car off to park it.
Ciaran walked along the cobblestone road. Oxford was still sleepy at this hour. Soon, this street would be filled with people—business people in town and students traveling to and from the university. But for now, he enjoyed hearing the echo of his footsteps on the cold stones.
He wasn’t moody. But he wasn’t cheerful, either. Tadgh might be right. He shouldn’t be here today.
From the dark outside corner of a closed shop, a black dog darted out onto the road and fled in the opposite direction. An old man muttered profanity as he limped across the road in the tracks of the dog. He soon gave up and sat down on the sidewalk, blowing into his hands to warm them. He wore a threadbare pair of black woolen gloves with holes everywhere.
“That was my only meal of the day, you stupid dog,” he mumbled.
Ciaran approached and stood in front of the man. He reached his hand out to help him stand up.
The man looked him up and down but ignored his offered hand.
Ciaran knew his outfit was worth many months of this man’s living expenses. Standing here alone in the dark was like hanging a sign on his back that said Rob me!
“Was that a local dog? I saw it had a tag. I can have a word with the owner for you if you like.”
“Are you the police? You sure don’t look like a cop.”
Ciaran chuckled. “I’m not an authority figure of any kind and have no intention of ever being one. But if you don’t want me to track down the dog, how can I help you?”
“You could give me some loose change so I can buy another meal.”
“But will the same thing happen again? That dog is still going to be a problem. And I won’t be here tomorrow to give you more money.”
The old man stood up and looked Ciaran in the eye. “The dog isn’t the problem. Its owner is,” he said and began to limp away.
Ciaran pulled out his wallet, opening it to pull out some bills. “I will o
“You don’t have to solve every problem you run across,” the man said as he kept walking away. “You don’t owe anyone anything, Ciaran.”
“I beg your pardon?” Ciaran said as he looked back, but the stranger who had just spoken his name was gone. All he saw was a dark street with mist whirling up from the ground.
Then he noticed that his library card wasn’t in his wallet. He figured he must have dropped it in the car, so he walked back to the garage. The concierge wasn’t at the gate, so he stepped around the boom gate, entered the exclusive area, and headed to the elevator.
The elevator door slid open, and he stepped in and pressed the button for level three, as he figured that was where his parking space—number 33—was. He stepped out of the elevator, glancing quickly at the map on the wall to locate the position of his car. The map suggested there were only thirty-two parking spaces.
He shook his head and pulled out the silver token. It indeed had the number thirty-two engraved on its round silver face. He must have misunderstood the concierge.
Reaching his car, he found the library card in the glove compartment. He couldn’t recall ever putting it there. He had no reason to take it out of his wallet at all.
As he slammed the car door and was about to leave, the ceiling lights flickered. Then the wall in front of him grew semi-transparent, revealing another parking space with the number 33 written on the floor.
The light flickered again, and in front of him once again was a solid wall.
Ciaran shook his head and left the garage. What had happened six years ago didn’t scare him. Nothing would distract him from his intention to do what he wanted to do.
Ten minutes later, he sauntered into the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.
Madeline nuzzled into her husband’s neck and breathed in his scent. Her hands traveled over his skin. She knew his body as well as he knew hers. But no matter how long they’d been together, they never could never get enough of each other. Every night they shared their bed was a new adventure. Every time they made love was a new discovery. She moaned as his body responded to her touch and his hands electrified her body. His lips ravished hers, and their bodies moved in the rhythm of lovemaking until they were both sated.
She smiled, opened her eyes, and found herself staring straight into the long pillow that was usually tucked snugly against the far wall, the one she liked to rest against late at night to read.
The pillow stared back at her. It seemed to laugh at her because she had just…
She heard a soft chuckle behind her. She turned around and saw Ciaran standing at the bedside, dressed in his official outfit.
Her husband was magnificent. It was as if he had been born for his role. Ciaran had, indeed, been born to be king, but he hadn’t inherited it—he’d fought the entire galaxy to earn his title. And throughout that battle, she was glad to have always been by his side.
What concerned her now was that, although Eudaiz was the universe of virtue, it had been unfair to her—or at least that was her impression. After all the life-and-death battles they’d been through, Ciaran still looked exactly the same—he was formidable in his warrior body, loaded with perfect, elegant muscles. His fine English skin complimented his striking gray eyes and his face of a dark angel. His thick raven hair almost touched his shoulders but was now tied back, making his eyes appear even brighter.
On the other hand, she was sure her hips had gained at least an inch, she knew her eyes now had wrinkles and her hair was thinner, and she felt her breasts resting two inches lower than they had a month ago.
Ciaran smiled at her. “I hope you were dreaming about me, First Councillor.”
“No, I was dreaming about the gardener who took care of the little backyard of my place in New York.” She smiled nonchalantly and turned away from him to hug the pillow.
And then the sensation shot through her body, the electrifying jolt she felt whenever his skin touched hers, no matter how many times they had done this. She had no idea how he could possibly get out of his clothes so fast, but he held her from behind. The sensation he was giving her now was as real as it could get.
She returned the pleasure…as she always did.
For a while, she lay in his arms, tracing her fingers over the fine muscles on his chest. Outside the wall-length glass window of their bed chamber, a glowing round globe had risen above the horizontal line that divided the time zone. Eudaiz did have a sun, but their time was different from Earth. The globe was the mark of a new day—a much longer one compared to Earth.
But Madeline didn’t care how Eudaizian time differed from Earth time. Any day she had her family with her, safe and sound, was a day that counted. “Big day today. You’re worried. That’s why you were up early?”
He played with a long lock of her hair. “It’s an important treaty. But Eudaiz has a strong position going in, so I’m not worried. I’m up early because I wanted to swing by the Daimon Gate before going to the tower. It’s Mother’s birthday today.”
She scrambled up. “Jennifer’s birthday? Holy cow, I totally forgot.”
“Relax, Madeline.” Ciaran chuckled and sat up. “I’ve taken care of it.”
She hopped off the bed. “No, no…I’m such a bad wife. This is a poor example for the kids.”
Ciaran held her shoulders and looked into her eyes. “You’re a great mother, Madeline. I need you to understand that I appreciate what you do for our family. I can’t take care of Eudaiz without your help. There is nothing more I can ask of you.” He rubbed his thumb over the dimple on her left cheek.
“I’ll take the kids to the Daimon Gate today. What do you think?”
Ciaran grinned. “That would be the best birthday present for her.”
He nodded. “Thank you. Caedmon and Lyla will be happy, too.”
She rolled her eyes. “Of course they will because they won’t have to practice today.”
Ciaran shook his head and chuckled. He turned to grab the shirt he had tossed on the bedside table.
“What’s that?” she asked, brushing a round red mark on his left shoulder with her thumb.
“I can’t see my back. But if it’s a scar, I do have a number of them, you know.”
“I know how many gunshot scars and stab wounds you have on your left shoulder. But this is different.” She took a closer look to see if it was a bruise or maybe some sort of spy device implanted under his skin. And in front of her eyes, the mark disappeared. “It’s gone,” she said.
Ciaran turned around and continued to dress. “Don’t overthink this, Madeline. Vision can be tricky. Having been in the multiverse for a while, you should know that by now, my First Councillor.”
“It doesn’t mean I’m used to it. I’m hoping it was only a trick my vision played on me.”
“If it were something significant, you would have had a precognition.”
“Well, you know my talent is unstable and most likely won’t work when I need it.”
He wrapped his arms around her waist and linked his hands behind her. “Sometimes it’s good when your talent doesn’t work. Then we can be normal people—and be happy.” He kissed her lightly on the cheek.
“The day we left Earth and accepted our roles in the council of this virtuous universe, we could no longer be normal, and we never will be, Ciaran. I don’t regret it. But the thought that something might happen to you or the kids one day is unbearable.”
“As you’ve said, it’s a thought. It might never happen. So don’t let it bother you.”
She nodded, knowing she was lying to him. Her lingering anxiety was worse than a precognition. Her psychic ability was telling her something bad was coming her way, but she didn’t know what it was.
He kissed her goodbye and said something to her, but she didn’t quite hear him. Her mind was preoccupied with millions of que
The more she thought about it, the more it became clear it wasn’t a trick of vision.
“It will kill him today,” echoed a distant female voice.
“Who’s that?” Madeline whirled around and saw a beautiful woman with long black hair dressed in a flowing red robe with a fur-lined neck. The woman hovered above the ground—a sign that she not only belonged to another world but might be communicating in a mind dimension.
She frowned then said, “You’re the soul trader I met in the woods in the Australian outback.”
“You have a very good memory, Madeline.”
“I traded my soul for you. Of course I remember.”
The woman smiled. “You’ve changed. You’re a believer now.”
“Given what’s happened in the multiverse lately, I tend to take these magical matters more seriously. What does our agreement have to do with Ciaran?”
“You tricked me, Madeline.”
“No, I didn’t. You told me if I agreed to trade my soul to you after I die, you would give me information to save my friend, Jo. I did just that. Nothing more. Nothing less.”
D. N. LEO SERIES:
Other author's books:
- Heart of Siren (Merworld Book 1)Curse of Soulmate--The Complete SeriesSecond Life in Death--Complete SeriesShade of DarknessElusive Beings--A Shade of Mind--Book 3Imperfect Divine--A Shade of Mind--Book 4Soul Dealers - Shadow Justice - Book 1Totem of Aries
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