Megan Enraged - Book 2 of Wizard - a Love Story
Chapter 4: More Questions Than Answers

Copyright© 2013 by Misguided Child

Brett Stevens turned to look back as his Ram Charger turned from the driveway and picked up speed on the gravel road. All five Magi were in the first Ram Charger and their seconds were following in the other. Both vehicles followed an Arizona state police cruiser.

He turned back, facing front. He glared at the police car ahead of them and demanded, "What the hell was that about, Whitcomb?"

Karl Whitcomb could only turn his head and glare at the leader of the Americas Council.

"Oh, for God's sake, Lain. Would you release him now, please?" Brett asked.

The strain that had been apparent on Lain's face relaxed and she settled back.

"You could have released me when you first took control of the Bonds," Karl spat angrily.

"I gave my word that I would hold you until we left their property," Lain explained patiently. "I keep my word."

"Whitcomb," Brett barked. "What was that about? Why would you attack the boy's dog? Why would you attack that boy?" He asked incredulously.

"The dog was a threat and the boy attacked me," Karl growled in anger. "I was defending myself."

Ethan snorted and shook his head. "You'll have to do better than that, mate," Ethan said. "The dog wasn't a threat and the boy wasn't attacking. He was protecting."

"I agree with Ethan," Dabir said ponderously. "Both attacks were uncalled for. All you accomplished was to sabotage this mission. Why would you want to disrupt our goals, Mr. Whitcomb?"

"I was protecting myself," Karl still protested. "I wasn't trying to sabotage our mission."

"Yet, that is what you accomplished," Lain said softly. "An unprovoked attack that effectively disrupted this whole effort could not have been an accident."

"I agree," Brett said quietly. "I have worked with you for over thirty years, Karl. You are extremely intelligent and an excellent strategist. You would not have taken the actions you did without the specific goals in mind that you intended to have accomplished. I want to know why?"

"I was protecting myself," Karl insisted again. "And I do not answer to you."

There was silence in the car for several moments as they all digested the European's response.

"You are not required to answer to us," Brett agreed. "You do answer to your own Council. A report of your actions will be sent to your Council, today. The report will include our conclusions that you sabotaged today's meeting intentionally. If memory serves, your Council is not forgiving. You will be escorted out of the country, today."

"What should we do about including a representative from the European Council?" Dabir asked. "We can't leave them out of these decisions."

"I'll explain when I call them," Brett said angrily and shook his head again. "What a mess. They'll need to send someone else. I need to call them anyway, so they can meet Karl at the airport,"

"I would still like to know the purpose of today," Lain said softly. "Why would the Darkness want to delay a resolution?"

"Do you really think this is a plan of the Darkness?" Dabir asked in a troubled voice.

"It's the only thing that makes sense," Lain said tiredly.

"I think Lain's right," Ethan said angrily. "It is the only thing that makes sense."

"What ... You ... You accuse me of conspiring with the Dark Dream?" Karl sputtered in anger. "How dare you?"

"We dare because it is the only logical conclusion we can come to," Brett said tiredly. "Give us a reason to believe otherwise, Karl." Brett almost sounded like he was pleading. He took a deep breath before saying, "Look, Karl, I have counted you as a friend and an ally for a lot of years. I don't want to think this of you. Give me a reason to believe something else."

Karl Whitcomb silently turned away to watch the desert hills.

"We've all been fighting this war since we slowed," Dabir said thoughtfully, referring to that time in every Wizard's life when their physical and power growth slowed and stopped. "Handling another twist and turn from the Dark Dream is just another skirmish. I want to know what that glowing business was about."

"Do you mean when he drew so much energy that his body started shedding the excess?" Lain asked innocently.

She was still wrestling with that question but she couldn't resist the jab at the other Wizard.

Bret and Ethan looked at her sharply.

Ethan asked, "How can that be possible? We have a finite amount of power available to us unless we have fashioned an aid to store power. He didn't have a staff nor a wand."

Brett nodded but said, "I know Udit and some of his clique have learned to release energy to a Wizard when the Wizard is in need."

"No. That wasn't the source of the energy he was drawing," Lain said thoughtfully. "He seemed to be drawing it from the air around him."

"That's impossible. But, how was he able to block Whitcomb from accessing power?" Ethan asked. "That's impossible, too," he said in a troubled voice.

"So, two impossible events," Lain said thoughtfully.

"And, a baby, only a year and a half old, besting Whitcomb," Brett mused. "I would have said that was impossible, too, if I hadn't seen it."

The family watched the little caravan as it left the ranch from the porch. The last vehicle passed under the big oak beam with the Gordian Knot burned into its sides before Sean turned to Udit.

"Why did he do that?" Sean asked curiously.

"I don't know," Udit answered with a frown. "It doesn't make sense. All that will be accomplished is the German will be sent home. Another European will be sent to take his place. We'll meet again next week and we'll work on whatever issue they're trying to solve. Nothing is solved by delaying us for a week."

"Except delaying us for a week," Sean said thoughtfully.

"Do you think the Nightmare has anything to do with what happened today?" Seth asked.

"I don't know," Sean said absently. He was still thinking the problem through and it was more of a problem than normal. His head hurt.

"Today could simply be a case of colossal bad manners," Udit said drily. "No one on the Councils are known for their tact or good manners. It wouldn't surprise me if today was a case of an out of control ego from a very arrogant man. Remember, Wizards are still human, with all the faults of human frailty."

"I didn't consider that," Sean said. "So, we don't know if Karl Whitcomb was our gray dove or not."

"I think he was the gray dove," Megan said. "I didn't like him, or his friend."

"We can't say a person is evil just because we don't like them," Udit admonished Megan.

"Well, I can," Megan asserted primly. "I might be wrong, but I think he is evil."

"The problem is," Sean mused, ignoring Megan's assertion, "is that, if Karl is the gray dove, what does the Nightmare accomplish by delaying a resolution for a week. If he isn't the gray dove, which one do we need to guard against?"

"I think we need to plan for both situations," Seth said gravely.

"You're right," Sean said decisively. "Udit, can you find out where they are staying in Phoenix?"

"That shouldn't be a problem," Udit replied.

"Good. Can you ask David Stalker to come out this afternoon? I'd like him to walk through the Ranch Kitchen and tell us what he smells," Sean explained.

David Stalker wasn't a Wizard. However, he had developed the ability to smell the aftermath of power usage by a Wizard or a Brujo. A Brujo's power usually had a foul smell. That could give them a clue to the actions of the German Wizard.

"He won't mind coming out," Udit said with a chuckle. "But, he will be disappointed that Avasa isn't here, though."

"He likes my Mom?" Sheila blurted.

"How did I miss that?" Martha grumbled. She was the prime matchmaker in the group.

Sean ignored the byplay and asked, "Aunt Liz, have you sold your house in Phoenix yet?"

"Not yet," Liz answered. "We leased it for a year because the housing market was depressed so bad. The people that rented it moved out in December. It's empty now but I don't think we'll lease it out again. We'd rather sell it. Leasing is a real hassle and the housing market is picking up again."

"Would you mind if a few of us stayed there this week?" Sean asked.

"Of course not," Liz said.

"What do you have in mind?" Seth asked curiously.

Sean nodded as his thoughts came together and he said, "We need to assume, for the time being, that Karl is a bad guy. In that case, there was a reason to delay this meeting. We need to be able to react to whatever is planned for this week."

"And, you think that whatever is planned will be in Phoenix?" Udit asked.

"Well, we've been attacked several times in the mountains," Sean explained. "None have been successful. It doesn't make sense to attack us here again. We would be more on our guard at the ranch than usual after today. Anything the Nightmare has planned has to be against the Council representatives. That would be in Phoenix."

"It does make sense, Udit," Seth said thoughtfully.

"Do you think David would mind staying in Phoenix for a week?" Sean asked.

Udit shrugged and said, "I don't think he would mind. I'll ask him to bring a bag when he comes out this afternoon. What will he be doing?" Udit asked.

"Well, I don't want the Council Delegates or us to be sitting ducks," Sean said slowly as he continued thinking and planning. "David can, sort of, wander around and tell us if anyone is around using power other than the Council people. He might be able to give us a little advance warning."

Udit nodded as he listened but his eyes narrowed as he noticed Sean grimace slightly.

"You drew too much power, again," Udit said quietly.

Sean only nodded in agreement.

"Can you tell if anything changed?" Udit asked.

Sean sighed and said, "I've got more veins and arteries. My head hurts a little, too."

Udit shook his head and said, "You've got to use more control. You need to learn to draw only the power that you need. Can you work on that?"

"I think I saw how you used that water for energy today. I still want you to teach me how to do it, just to make sure I don't mess up," Megan said silently.

"It's dangerous," Sean answered, also silently.

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