Court of the Fire Witch Sample

Chapter 1

“The streets will run red with blood.” My business partner, Tanya read from a fire note she’d just unsealed. It was a note written hundreds of years ago.

Tanya was an average-height black woman with brown skin. She was in her late twenties. Today she wore a black business suit, with jeweled heels.

Those same jewels adorned her neck, fingers, and wrist. She looked like she’d just stepped out of a fashion magazine, but that was normal for her. Tanya always looked her best, no matter the occasion.

We’d met in college and decided to go into business together. Tanya was a fire witch like me. Our company did everything from putting out magical fires, to creating fire spells and hexes for big businesses looking for protection.

Tanya walked across the glass floor, her heels making a clicking sound. Blue smoke swirled around her. She was happy! We were in the Arkin building. I’d named it that seven years ago, the moment I’d turned twenty-one.

I was twenty-eight now, and this was my first time using the place. Tanya handed me the fire note, her eyes going to the mirrors on the wall.

Everything in here was glass. We were surrounded by relics from the lost kingdom of Arkin. Five hundred years ago, the Arkin kingdom had been prevalent in fire magic. Every fire witch I knew wanted to find the lost treasures from that era.

I’d been searching for them since I was thirteen years old. I often hunted for buried fire notes and letters, but the lost Arkin Kingdom was something close to my heart.

 Those artifacts held secrets from long ago. That intrigued me more than anything.

I loved history. It sent chills down my spine, picking apart remnants from a lost era, learning what life must’ve been like during those different time periods.

Tanya ran a hand over the mirrored wall. “You expect many double-image spells?” Some spells required a double image to work. Since this particular fire dig was so precious, I didn’t want anything messing it up.

Tanya picked up a piece of jewelry. It was a necklace with a long chain. A cylinder-shaped charm hung from it, blazing with flames. “Wonder what secrets this holds.”

I waved a hand at all the Arkin relics. I’d discovered a hidden vault, filled with Arkin artifacts two days ago.

I’d beaten my mentor Poon to the punch, and he hadn’t spoken to me since.

Tanya picked up a glass. It blazed with fire on the inside. “Got mafia plans later?”

I dropped the fire note in my hand and gave her a sarcastic look. My boyfriend, Mark Gravely, belonged to the biggest mafia family on this side of the hemisphere.

“None of your business,” I shot back at her. I picked up a long, blank scroll. I ran my hand over it. It’d been sealed with fire, but the hexes guarding it were twisted, and curved, making it more complicated.

I wanted to unseal it. It’d take some hellified fire magic, but maybe Tanya and I working together could get it done. I rolled up my sleeves, anxious to get started.

Tanya picked up a piece of cloth. It was torn, so it could’ve been an article of clothing or a table drape. It was blue. An image of a lion was embedded around the edges. The lion was blazed in fire.

She waved her hand over it, but before she could unseal it, her phone beeped. She checked her messages and shook her head. “It’s Dela.” Dela was her assistant. “Dran Blake is demanding our immediate attention.”

I groaned at the same time my digit beeped. Digits were small communication devices. They were shaped like a smartphone but had a million more functions.  

It was Bryce, my assistant. Dran Blake said he’d pull his account if we didn’t meet him at his office in an hour. I shook my head and put my phone away. “He’s back to never doing business with us again.”

Tanya laughed, manicured nail still fingering the cloth. “He threatens that whenever he doesn’t get his way.”

Dran was one of our executive clients. We created hexes for all his businesses and homes. Because he spent so much money with us, he thought he owned us.

He came from a rich family with connections. He was used to having his way, but we didn’t play favorites at Incinerate.

I put thoughts of him away, anxious to get back to my find. A large trunk of letters sat in the corner.

I licked my lips, pulse jumping in anticipation. I’d often dreamed of what the lost Kingdom of Arkin was like. Fire witches had reigned supreme doing that time.

It was said to be the most prosperous time for those with fire power. The entire Arkin line was said to be blessed with the gift of fire. I reached for a piece of paper, but it slipped out of my hand.

I went to grab it but felt a vibration under me.

“Whoa,” Tanya said from across the room. She braced her hand on the wall. The room vibrated again, then I heard a boom.

“We’re under attack,” I yelled. I’d prepared for this too. I figured, if we found the lost relics of Arkin, someone would come looking for them.

I waved a hand and whispered, “Ti qi ui.” It was a teleportation spell. I had three extra locations set up. “Ti qi ui,” I said again, sweat dripping down my face.

The spell was powerful, I could feel the energy draining from me while I powered it. “Ti qi ui,” I said again and stumbled back, hand on my stomach. All the items disappeared, going to my second building. Once they were gone, I sagged in relief.

Tanya grabbed me by the arm. “Let’s get out of here.”

Something hard hit against the door. Tanya and I exchanged a look. This place was overloaded with hexes. It took a powerful wrecker to break through them. We could’ve portaled away, but that would leave my building to the mercy of these interlopers.

That wasn’t something I was willing to do. Besides, we didn’t run from fights. At Incinerate, we always stood our ground. Tanya’s eyes met mine and we both nodded.

I slung the doors open and we walked outside. Hundreds of fighters had surrounded the building. Tanya and I spread out until we were a few feet apart. They had us in a circle, making it easy to hit us from all sides.

Most of them were dressed in black uniforms, long static guns strapped over their shoulders. Static guns, bats, and blades carried a blue electric charge. Static bats were usually wrapped in barbed wire. Some people had static skin.

I opened my palm, sensing the energy around us. My eyes widened. Every fighter here was a fire witch. They moved like a well-trained unit, perfectly in unison with each other.

One guy was dressed in a brown uniform. He stepped forward. As did a woman dressed in blue combat gear.

I assumed these two were the leaders. The guy was tall with broad shoulders. He looked to be in his early thirties. His face was hard, stern. I had no problem picturing him as a top military general.

The same was true for the woman. She stood as tall as the man. Her face was lean, severe. She looked to be in her early thirties as well. She spoke first. “Hi, Liam, Tanya. I’m Tila.” She pointed to the man in the brown uniform. “This is Mane. You have something that belongs to us.”

I was still weak from casting the teleportation spell, so I took a moment to even out my breathing. “We don’t know who you are,” I said.

“We were sent by the Arkin Royal Court,” Mane said. “You’ve discovered items that belong to the Arkin Court. Please give them back.”

“No,” I said without thinking about it. Any fire witch knew how this worked. If you discovered a fire-remnant site it was yours, no questions asked.

Mane and Tila looked at each other, then turned to Tanya and me. “Then you leave us no choice,” Tila said. She turned to face the guards dressed in black surrounding us. “These two are enemies of the world Sanke and the entire Arkin family. Destroy them!”

Fire roared at us from all directions. But we had the power of fire too. Their fire couldn’t hurt us, but our fire couldn’t hurt them either. Well, we couldn’t burn each other, but there were other ways to cause harm.

They raised their guns. I put my shield up and so did Tanya. Their bullets bounced off the shields and hit the ground, but this wouldn’t last.

I was already weak from the teleportation spell. Putting up a shield completely drained your energy, which is why I didn’t use mine unless I absolutely had to.

A tall guy with thick arms ran toward me. He aimed his static gun at my face. I slung a hand toward him. “Yi gi ei,” I said the fire spell that would burrow into his body.

Orange fire shot from my mouth. It hit him dead in the chest, ripping his heart out.

A woman swung her gun at Tanya, aiming to hit her in the face. “Es ti ui,” Tanya said. Blue light flew from her mouth toward the woman’s legs, ripping them off. The woman dropped to the ground.

Tanya and I were back-to-back now. My heart beat like it was being led by a conductor. Adrenaline flooded my veins. I loved a good fight. But I had sense. I was weak and there were too many of them.

I reached for my qi, the energy source at the core of my body. I pulled power from it, then slung my arms wide. Everyone besides Tanya was raised in the air and then thrown at least fifty feet.

My pulse sped up like I was on a racetrack. I was using more energy than I had to spare. I stumbled, then went to one knee, blood coming from my mouth.

“Liam!” Tanya screamed my name. Then she opened a portal and dragged me through. I only hoped Maine and Tila wouldn’t follow us. If they did, it’d be a bloodbath on the next world we entered.

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