My Commander (Bewitched and Bewildered #1)(10)

By: Alanea Alder

"Of course my lady, I'll get word out immediately." Marius bowed again and left, taking the cart with him. Meryn was munching away on her sandwich when she realized what Adelaide said.

"What do you mean world?"

"You're not in Kansas anymore Dorothy." Colton chimed. Meryn looked to Aiden who nodded.

"Where exactly am I then?" Meryn set her sandwich down.

"May I be the first to welcome you to Lycaonia, one of four hidden paranormal cities in the United States." Byron placed a hand over his heart and gave a half bow from his seat.

"One of?" Meryn squeaked.

"There are four major paranormal cities, we call them pillar cities. Lycaonia is the shifter city; Noctem Falls is the vampire city; Danu Éire is the fae city; and Storm Keep is the witches' city. Each city is home to a four person council that rules our people. The council in each city has one council member from each race represented." Byron began.

"Lycaonia protects the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic region. Danu Éire protects the Northeast and Midwest region. Noctem Falls protects the Pacific Northwest region and Storm Keep protects the Southwest region." Adelaide continued.

"So four cities, four council members per city. That means you have a twelve person council that rules your people. What do you do in the instance of a tie?" Meryn was fascinated. This was better than watching the history channel.

"I am the tie breaking vote as Unit Commander." Aiden said.

"What are units?"

"Colton and I are part of a unit. Units are made up of five men. For Lycaonia that means a shifter leader, a vampire as second in command, a shifter as third in command, a fae and a witch." Aiden explained carefully. Meryn could tell that he was watching for signs of eminent freak out.

"Okay, so shifters, vampires, witches and fae, oh my!" Meryn grinned at Colton, who gave her a mock salute for running with the Wizard of Oz reference.

"You're the leader?" She turned to Aiden and he nodded.

"You must be third in command since you shift into a dog." Meryn grinned at Colton.

"I am not a dog! I am a wolf!" Colton protested loudly.

"Mangy mutt." Aiden laughed and punched Colton in the shoulder. Meryn liked this side of Aiden, he seemed almost normal.

"How many units are there?"

"There are six units per city." Adelaide answered. Meryn looked down at her fingers.

"So there are one hundred and twenty unit members? Who's in charge of all of them?" Meryn asked.

"I am." Aiden's smile was somewhat sad. Meryn couldn't tell if he was unhappy with being the Unit Commander or if there were just some aspects to the job he didn't like.

"You're doing a fine job son." Byron clapped a hand on Aiden's shoulder. Aiden nodded and his face cleared. Meryn stared at him thoughtfully.

"And that is why he needs you." Adelaide whispered in her ear. When Meryn looked up she could tell the older woman had caught that sad look too.

"What?" Byron and Aiden asked together.

"Nothing." Meryn and Adelaide answered in response. Meryn looked at Adelaide and they both started giggling.

"So what do you have all of these warriors for? Keeping humans out?" Meryn bit into her sandwich. She chewed and noticed everyone got quiet.

"Wha?" She asked, her mouth full.

"Unit warriors are needed to protect other paranormals and humans from something we have always called ferals. Ferals are men and sometimes women who willingly give up their souls for the rush of the kill. They give in to their dark nature. For shifters, they lose the ability to shift, but retain an unnatural amount of strength and revel in brutality. Vampires lose their great speed and the ability to manipulate minds, and their bloodlust compounds. The fae lose most of their magic except for some illusion spells, which they delight in using to drive people insane. Witches lose all of their magic, but gain something like a demon familiar, but without the religious context. The exist only to kill, to create chaos and to destroy lives." Aiden spoke in soft tones as he tried to break this upsetting news to her gently. She turned to him.

"Is it safe here?" She whispered. He nodded.

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