Authors: Matthew Burkey
The Guardian Chronicles: Rise of the Phoenix
By: Matt Burkey
Copyright 2014 Matt Burkey
Smashwords Edition, License Note
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Table Of Contents
In reality I should have done this for the first book too but I nearly forgot and when I did sit down to write it merely felt forced. I wouldn’t have been able to get through two books and working on a third if I didn’t stop and acknowledge the fact that none of this would be possible without an army of people behind him.
My parents; two awesome people that have never once told me that I couldn’t accomplish something once I put my mind to it. They’ve supported me, no matter what. They never laughed at my dreams or told me that something was out of my reach. They instilled in me a passion for doing the things that you love, no matter what anyone else said.
Then there is the rest of my family; who have also endured my quirks and have encouraged me to finish something I started. None of them were willing to let me just drop the book and let it be lost in the nether lands of the internet.
And my friends, to all of them. Mostly to two of the real life Guardians out there. Tony, you’ve stood by me for the past sixteen years (give or take) and have always reminded me being me is good enough. You never let me put myself down and always knew just how to kick me in the rear with the proper amount of force and motivation. Ryan, though I haven’t known you as long, you’ve been an unending source of support and compassion. I wouldn’t have been able to do some very hard things without you at my side.
To my fans, although small in number the only reason that I keep writing is for you guys. If you keep reading, I promise that I’ll keep writing. And of course this goes out to my biggest fan, at least so far. Hopefully you’ll find your trident wielding cameo sufficiently badass, pardon the swearing. Also, a big shout out to my editors. Without the two of them, this thing would be rife with spelling, punctuation, and all sorts of other errors.
To my wonderful co-workers; sorry you had to listen to me rant and rave about this for a while. I know that some of you read it and liked and some of you were just awesome and bought it to show support. I’m almost done…well not really, there are another three books to do.
But most of all, this goes out to Deloria Fahl, beloved mother, grandmother and friend. She always instilled in me a belief that ANYTHING was possible. She always had a kind word to say; she lived life to the fullest and brought a smile to all that knew her. Rest in peace Grandma.
In the eight months since he had joined the Guardians, Gabriel had learned a great deal of things. He learned how to fight, he learned how to handle a blade, and he learned how to use a firearm. In short, he had been turned into a warrior, forged into a sword that would penetrate the dark shadows of the world.
Of course, at the moment the dark shadows of the world were actually doing their fair share of penetrating back; in fact some of them were trying to directly penetrate his heart. The Guardians attempt to simply provide protection for the lycan packs was easier said than done. Logistically, they could handle it but the vampires had been building up their forces despite the agreement they entered into with the Guardians and the lycans. They had a lot more warriors to throw into the fray.
At the moment Gabriel’s team had been tasked with providing protection for a fleeing group of lycans; though right now it almost seemed like they were the ones that needed protection. They had been cornered on a rooftop, awaiting extraction. Gabriel would have felt better if he had his whole team with him, though at the moment he only had Elise, Everett, and Ethan. Not to say that they weren’t very good at the butt kicking part. The piles of ash and dead Unkari proved that to be the case.
“Duck!” Everett shouted.
Gabriel hit the ground hard as a blast of blue-white lighting leapt from Everett’s arm, burning a hole clean through the vampire’s body. Mere seconds later it exploded in a cloud of ash and glowing embers, some of it landing on Gabriel’s armor. He quickly jumped back to his feet and slammed a fist into the nearest attacker, splitting bone and shattering teeth. The vampire wobbled before Gabriel launched him across the rooftop with a snap kick, sending him crashing into another charging vampire.
Things were not looking up for the Guardians; they had been stretched thin lately. With the vampires breaking their treaty and going after the lycans a whole new war had broken out. Demon attacks were on the rise, as were pretty much every supernatural phenomenon that you could think of.
“This is getting us nowhere,” Ethan grunted. Both his swords sliced through the air, creating piles of embers and ash where they cut through the vampires. He spun to his right, slashing through another before spinning back to his left, using both his blades to pierce another’s chest.
“What in the hell do you suggest that we do?” Gabriel snapped back. He blocked several blows before lunging forward, ash exploding all over the front of his armor.
“There’s not an infinite number of them,” Everett responded. A rippling sphere of telekinetic energy exploded from his hand, running over several charging vampires like they were bowling pins, bones cracked and shattered under the impact.
Everett was right; there weren’t an infinite number of them, despite how many seemed to be throwing themselves at the Guardians that were protecting the lycan pack. Below them, nestled in the warehouse, were several women and children who had been on the run from this coven of Bloods since they were first attacked in Texas. Now they had made it all the way to Kansas but the vampires had caught up with them.
Most of the males of the pack were dead or too badly wounded to fight, leaving only a teenager by the name of Day to aid in the Guardians’ attempt to hold off the incoming horde of attacking blood suckers.
Gabriel spun around just in time to see Day bite into the chest of a vampire. The vampire cried out but was reduced to a pile of ash as the werewolf tore apart his heart. The large black and grey wolf leapt to another vampire, slashing at it with its claws and teeth. After seeing the werewolves at work, Gabriel was glad that they were on their side...or at least they weren’t willing to openly engage the Guardians in war.
Gabriel remembered the first time that he had seen the lycans in combat; they were impressive to say the least. In wolf form they were nearly shoulder height with the 5’10 Gabriel and packed full of muscle. At first, Gabriel thought that the lycans would be a total disadvantage, they were most powerful in their feral forms and as a result they couldn’t wear the heavy armor or use modern weapons. Turns out that was an incredibly inaccurate statement.
The lycans, at least in their feral form, were much faster and more agile than the vampires. Their skin was incredibly thick, allowing them to take a great deal of punishment, almost evening the score. Still, the vampires had numbers on their side, something that the lycans did not and the vampires appeared to have a lot better intelligence on any and all movements of the lycan packs.
“They just don’t know when to quit,” Ethan grumbled. Ethan’s blade, Soulwolf hummed through the air, slicing through another vampire in flurry of ash and ember. Ethan parried a blow from an attacking Blood and his sword before kicking the vampire in the groin. The vampire crumpled and Ethan used both blades to stab him through the chest.
“That looked a little unfair,” Gabriel said, whirling Aequitas around in an arc that left him surrounded by embers. “I mean really, stab a guy when he is down?”
“We’re supposed to win,” Ethan retorted, hitting another vampire with a powerful jump kick. “I never said that I was going to fight fair.”
That comment actually got Gabriel to smile a bit. He ducked under a swinging axe and used a scissor kick to take down its owner. He wasted no time in leaping to his feet and stabbing his attacker through the heart.
“He has a point,” Elise snapped. She had switched from her axes to her Enforcer Pistols, dealing out death from a distance. The silver bullets tore through vampires, leaving behind piles of ash and still glowing embers. She slammed fresh magazines into her weapons and went back to unloading on the incoming horde of blood suckers.
Day slammed into another vampire, knocking it off the roof and to the ground below. He whirled around, avoiding several strikes by a vampire brandishing a sword before slashing deep wounds across his
chest. The vampire wheeled backwards and ended up on the point of Gabriel’s sword.
“Why the hell do they want this pack so badly?” Everett asked. He sent another vampire tumbling off the roof with a blast of telekinetic energy before whirling around and stabbing another with a silver stake. “It seems like they are throwing an awful lot of bodies at a few women and children.”
“Well, I think that it’s safe to say that they will be minus a lot of bodies by the time this is over with,” Ethan smiled. “Everett does have a point though, what do they want with these people?”
“Oh for the love of god does it really matter!” Gabriel shouted. He took a blow to the face; the vampire enhanced strength was enough to make it hurt like hell and split open his lip. Gabriel responded with an uppercut and then stabbed his blade through the vampire’s heart.
“And where are the heavy hitters? The elite guard?” Ethan asked.
“I swear to all that his holy and pure, if you don’t shut up right now I am going to punch you in the face!” Gabriel yelled.
“Temper, temper,” Ethan warned. “You’re not nearly as cute when you are all flustered and angry.”
Gabriel wanted to desperately fire back with some sort of insult or retort but he couldn’t really think of one. Unlike Ethan, who could run his mouth and fight at the same time, Gabriel had to concentrate completely on keeping himself alive. He blocked an incoming attack with a mace, sparking as the metals hammered together and then flung the weapon aside, allowing him time to catch the vampire across the face with a right hook.
The vampires continued to throw themselves at the small band of Guardians, trying to get to the twenty or so lycans below. The only way into the warehouse was from the skylight on the roof; the windows and doors had been warded off by Everett.
“Why aren’t they using modern firearms?” Ethan questioned again.
“You really need to stop asking questions like that...”
Gabriel didn’t get to finish his sentence, he hit the ground hard. When he looked down at his armor he took note of a half dozen impact points. Seconds later, he heard the sound of automatic weapons fire erupting from the edge of the roof. Judging by the sound he knew that it wasn’t Guardian weaponry.
“You idiot!” Gabriel seethed, rolling back to his feet and pulling his pistol free of its holster. “You just had to open your damn mouth about the lack of firearms.”
Elise unloaded a burst from both her pistols, sending a hail of deadly silver bullets at her targets. The vampires exploded into embers and ash as the bullets ripped through them. She unhooked a fragmentation grenade, specially designed for taking on the undead and tossed it toward several more that were coming up the ladder.
“Fire in the hole!” Elise yelled.
An explosion ripped outwards, causing a massive, swirling cloud of ash and embers to waft over the rooftop. The explosion caused a momentary lapse in the fighting, just long enough for Gabriel and Elise to finish off the remaining vampires on the roof with their weapons. The night air was calm and eerily silent.
“No way was it that easy.”
“What the hell do you mean easy? Were we just in the same fight?” Gabriel asked, he dusted some embers and ash off his arm. “Because, that was so not even remotely close to easy.”
Elise ran to the edge of the roof, yanking the NVG’s off her belt. She scanned the area around the warehouse, looking for any signs of the next wave of attack.
“I don’t see anyone,” Elise frowned, clipping the NVG’s back to her belt. “Maybe they really did decide to give up.”
“This doesn’t make any sense,” Everett said, shaking his head. “Why in the world would they suddenly quit now? And why would they go after just this pack?”
“I don’t really care about that right now,” Gabriel panted. “I got shot, did you not notice that?”
“I wasn’t really paying attention,” Ethan admitted. “I was busy being witty and killing vampires.”
Gabriel flipped Ethan off before not so gently shoving Aequitas back into its place on his back. He kept his side arm out though, not because he didn’t trust Elise’s vision but because they had been lulled into a false sense of security before and had almost paid for it with their lives. It was not a lesson that Gabriel was eager to repeat.
Day shifted back to his human form, a process that looked very painful. He was on the shorter side, with dark blonde hair, brown eyes, and a muscular build. He was wearing nothing more than compression shorts.
“I still don’t see how you can have pants on after that,” Ethan grunted. “I mean where do they go when you shift form like that?”
“They’re magic pants,” Day shrugged.
“Do not make any jokes about that,” Gabriel urged, holding up his hand. “I am so not in the mood for it.”
“Come on,” Elise said, opening up the skylight. “You four make sure they are ready to move, I’m going to contact command and get the coordinates for the next evacuation point.”
Normally, Tony would have enjoyed the raging thunderstorm racing across the wilderness. Of course, normally he wouldn’t be up to his waist in demonically possessed Satyrs that were threatening to overrun a small village in Greece. How they had come to be possessed wasn’t clear yet and Tony didn’t really care, all he cared about was saving the village...and possibly a make out session with one of the local teenagers.
That was assuming that they could stop the Satyrs from rampaging through the village.
“This doesn’t make any sense,” Ryan stated. He squeezed the trigger on Reaper and the now fully automatic shotgun thundered out several rounds a second. The barrage shredded anything that the weapon was pointed at.
Lightning flashed and thunder crashed above. The rain transformed from a slight drizzle to a full on downpour.
“Does it bloody matter?” Cody asked, sending an arrow through the skull of another Satyr. “Let’s just kill the wankers so that we can go home!”
“That’s a little easier said than done,” Marissa hissed. She lashed out with her whip, pulling the legs out from one of the charging Satyrs and sending him sprawling to the ground. She finished him off with a shot to the head.
“These guys are supposed to be nature lovers,” Ryan growled, jamming another clip into Reaper. “They aren’t violent and they are certainly aren’t prone to randomly attacking villages.”
“Maybe somebody forgot to tell them,” Cody suggested, sending another arrow drilling through a Satyr’s chest. “Either that or they got a hold of some really bad grass.”
The Satyrs were attacking with wild fury, almost like they were being driven mad by something or someone. There was no logic to their attacks and they seemed to be willingly throwing themselves into the line of fire, almost as if they didn’t care about their own lives.
Cody drew another arrow and fired it at several Satyrs that were attempting to leap from the roof of one of the houses. The arrow exploded on impact with the roof, ripping through the charging group of Satyrs and sending them flying off in all directions. Cody shifted his aim, letting loose a barrage that pierced the hearts and heads of another half dozen of the supposedly mythical creatures.
“I’m not buying that,” Ryan said. Reaper pounded out another salvo, tearing into flesh and stone alike. “Something is not right here, aside from Cody’s rather crappy puns.”
“Hey!” Cody frowned. “They aren’t that bad!”