On the Sixth Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…

Welcome back to the twelve days of Christmas, fantasy style. So far, we’ve had a god with a secret, two changeling cats, three fearless hunters, four lightning birds, and five gold rings. If you’re just joining the story, a small estate within the mortal realm has collapsed. All twelve days relate to the rescue effort.

On the Sixth Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…Six members of the Battalion.

Blade stretched his aching muscles before moving to the next bed. Zachariah was way ahead of him. He was already pumping his happy juice into a young girl who had so many broken bones in her leg it would be a miracle if they saved it.

The vampire couldn’t heal, but he could ease her pain, and it was all they had right now.

Staring into her wide blue eyes, his cat pushed against his skin. He wanted out. It wasn’t a surprise, the damn fur-ball had charmed Louise, and she adored Blade’s animal half.

Giving in, Blade shifted. He ignored the grunt from Zachariah and placed his big head on the stretcher, nuzzling Louise’s cheek.

She giggled and wrapped her arms around his neck. Blade’s cheetah lapped up the affection, purring into her ear.

The happy sound she made pleased the man, too. Anything to distract her from her injuries.

“We have company,” Logan said, sticking his head into the tent.

With one last nuzzle, Blade left Zachariah to it, and followed his partner out.

In his cat form, Blade had excellent vision, so he spotted their visitors immediately. Of course, he’d have to be an idiot to miss the fact that all eyes were on the sky.

He shifted again, letting out a low whistle. “Woah,” he said, as his suit snapped into place. Gone were the days he had to scrounge up a pair of pants. Thank the gods for elfin magic. “We must be doing something right to deserve a visit from the Battalion.”

Logan flashed a wicked grin. “I don’t know. Some would say we belong on the naughty list.”

His cat huffed at that. “Maybe we have V and Joshua to thank.”

The Battalion were Empyreans finest soldiers. Warrior angels, who were sent in at the start of a war. Blade and Logan had the honour of working beside two such warriors, Joshua and Nevaeh. It was the first time members of the Battalion had taken on a more active role.

Actually. I’m responsible for the reinforcements. It’s customary at this time of year to exchange gifts. Is it not?

Logan growled beside Blade, which meant Orion was in his head, too.

And we’re responsible for cleaning up your mess. Blade said, watching as the Battalion drew nearer. Consider us even.

Does that mean I should send back the rest of my gifts?

“Don’t listen to him,” Logan said, lips quirking. “Besides, I like surprises.”

Blade decided it was a sorry state of affairs when he began to miss Orion’s presence. He’d expected him to show his face the minute he got rid of his cousin, but then, being a silent member of the Collective meant he couldn’t advertise his involvement. Pity that didn’t extend to the voice in their head, because, man did the god love the sound of his own voice.

“That looks like a pretty big surprise,” Zachariah said from behind them.

He was talking about the large container the six members of the Battalion were carrying. The thing was huge, but the angels made it look easy. Each warrior had a modified harness strapped around their chest. It attached to the crate in a way that left their wings free to do all the heavy lifting – so to speak.

“Want to make a wager about what’s inside?” Logan asked, as they moved to intercept.

“I’d win that bet,” Zachariah answered, but didn’t elaborate.

Blade studied the crate. The angels were making slow progress, and appeared to be treating their cargo with a little too much care. Even when they lowered it to the ground, they unburdened themselves with practiced skill, settling the crate on the outer edge of the site without so much as a tremor.

A tall, dark skinned angel, with wings a vibrant turquoise, stepped forward. Her harness dropped away as she moved. “You must be Logan,” she said, inclining her head.

It was the hair that did it. Even in wolf form, Logan’s coat was the purest white. An anomaly within his family, due to the absence of darker tones. In human form, his hair fell in thick waves, making him stand out like snow on a mountain top.

“It’s an honour,” Logan said, rolling his shoulders.

Blade snickered, which earned him a sharp look from his partner. It was just too damn funny to see Logan play the role of ambassador. Sure, his brother had a wicked sense of humour, but he overcompensated for his lack of social skills. Blade preferred Logan’s surly side. At least it was honest.

“I’m Celestia.” The angel flicked a glance at the warriors flanking her. “This is my team. We were told you’re in need of medical assistance.”

No sooner had she spoken the words, the front of the crate fell open.

“Surprise,” Zachariah muttered, making Blade laugh.

It was a surprise. A pleasant one. There were a least five medical personnel, each strapped to a seat, and so many supplies they could cure an army.

“We’re at your disposal,” Celestia said, tucking her glorious wings into her back. “It’s my understanding you want to secure the community.”

Which of course meant that was Orion’s plan. Blade couldn’t fault him, but he doubted they could restore the peace the humans had found here. They were no longer safe in their obscurity.

“Let’s start with healing the sick,” he said, thinking of Louise and so many others who needed help. He met Celestia’s pale green eyes. “You can rest up and then get a lay of the land. It’s good to have you on board.”

He didn’t wait for a response, he moved around the team and went to introduce himself to the medical staff. They had their work cut out for them.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel