The Four Seasons Hotel
Marek Bannach was skeptical. When his friend, Jarred Levinson, told him that his wife’s family could help him in his search for more people like him, he simply nodded. Had his friend really understood who Marek was? What he was capable of doing?
“I’m telling you, there are many things Dani’s family can do.” Jarred took a swig from his beer.
The Christmas fundraiser for children with cancer had winded down over an hour ago. All around them the staff were clearing tables of glasses and dessert plates that clinked as they were collected. Firefly lights were suspended overhead which also decorated the holly wreaths on the ballroom’s walls and the tiny topiaries in the centre of the tables. Many of those who attended the fundraiser had already left. The rest were staying in the hotel overnight before they left Texas for their respective homes.
“Why? Because they’re witches? That,” Marek held up his hands at Jarred’s suddenly cold glare, “was just a statement of fact. Not meant to offend.” He took a swig of his own beer.
“They are more than that.” Jarred eased up but eyed Marek warily. “They are healers. Clairvoyants. I owe Dani my life. My angel.”
Angels. Right. Yet who was he to judge when he belonged to a race that ordinary humans would scoff as unreal. Marek pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. God, he needed to sleep. Something he’d value more than black gold right now. He must have just slept a total of fifty-six hours in the last month and he could feel his fatigue encroaching upon him the moment he leaned back on his chair. Earlier, the hotel’s ballroom heaved with men in Stetsons and women dripping in jewels. It had been another successful evening spearheaded by Jarred. Marek and Jarred had been nodding acquaintances when they met several years ago in a similar fund raising gig. Jarred had been racing in the Formula One circuit in Dubai when he met an accident that left him comatose. Had Marek known what had happened to his friend, he would have returned pronto to see if his gift could help Jarred wake from his coma. Dani had been there for Jarred nursing him back to health and eventually became his wife when Jarred decided to retire from the circuit. Back in Texas, he took over his family’s sprawling ranch and settled to a life of cattle raising. His accident was the one situation Marek was willing to forego his anonymity to see if he could help his friend. But he had been away, deep in the Ecuadoran mountains tracking another one of his kind.
Unfortunately, he had been too late. The last firebinder of the Sheridan line was dead, lying in a pool of blood. He looked as though he had been mauled by wild animals but Marek knew better. The telltale signs of burnt earth around the dead body could have passed off as a bonfire area but not the burned out skin surrounding the victim’s throat until the fire melted the voice box. It was the firebinders form of execution. The Firebinders Chronicles only hinted at the possibility that the Shadow was one of them but it had never been proven. Seeing how Diego Sheridan had been killed left no doubt in Marek’s mind that it was one of their kind.
The question was, why?