The beginning of the millennium brings new supernatural horrors for the Earth. Students are disappearing from New York University, and the Golden Sunset, a centuries-old cult, is suspected. Their leader, the mad sorcerer Lorduke, has returned from the dead, and is plotting to unleash an ancient evil upon the world. The only ones that can stop him are the Shadowers, paranormal heroes from a realm that lies somewhere between Heaven and Earth. But even they cannot be sure of victory without their Champion, a young girl who was killed fighting Lorduke a century before. Desperate, they recruit Melody, a college student who is rumored to have brought a child back from the dead. Can Melody become the new Champion and save Earth from certain destruction?
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Jim Catapano's A Stirring of Shadows
“There are things in the shadows of the universe that most people never dream of,” said Steven. “Unspeakable horrors. Things that mankind was never meant to know about, never meant to face. It’s our job to keep them at bay." "Wow, that's deep, boss," said Stu. Phil began to clap, but Stu stopped him. Steven cleared his throat and continued. "Once in a while, someone like you is born. You’re a natural Elemental, Melody. You were meant to be a warrior for the Shadowverse. It has always been your destiny to fight alongside us. Just like Crystal, and B.W., and yes, even Jason.” "That's right," said B.W. "We’ve been scouting you for several days now. You've got some very interesting abilities. You might, if I may be so portentous, even be our next Champion." "Wait. You've been scouting me?" said Melody, shuddering with discomfort at the thought of people observing and analyzing her every move. "So basically I'm a top rookie prospect?" Phil started to clap again. Melody blushed. “Actually Phil ""One thing puzzles me though,” said Steven. “How come you've never noticed the unusual abilities you have?" "Willful blindness probably," offered B.W. "I did notice," said Mel quietly. "When I was 9, I resurrected…"she glanced at B.W., "well, forgive me, a cat. I didn’t tell anyone. I was too frightened and confused by my abilities, so I pushed them away. Where I grew up, being overtly different was not a good game plan." Steven nodded in sympathy. "I understand. Well, that won't happen here. You will be loved and respected for who you are." Suddenly Jason burst in. "So has Supergirl passed the test yet?" He leered at Melody, who groaned loud enough for him to hear. Steven scowled at the boy. "Jason, we've talked about you bursting in here like Willie Aames on 'Charles and Charge,'" he said. "What did we decide?" He stood there for a moment, looking utterly lost. "Oh, that I shouldn't do it?" he finally answered. Melody took in Jason’s ridiculous "bad puppy" expression, and was forced to suppress a smile. Steven nodded. "That's right." "Sorry," said Jason. "But there's been another kidnapping. Girl from NYU." Melody froze at the mention of her school, but the sight of a technician wheeling in a tank containing a large glowing brain soon diverted her attention. "This is Bill," said Steven. "He doesn't have a body." "Thanks for reminding me," said an electronic voice emanating from the side of the tank. "How do you do Melody?" Melody managed a brief wave, then grabbed her glass and held it out to B.W., who filled it with more wine. "These kidnappings," said Melody," they happen a lot?" "Yes," said Steven grimly. "There have been several in London. This is the first one in New York." "So he's definitely there," said B.W. "Who?" asked Melody. "Lorduke the Dark Witch," said Steven. "Leader of the Order of the Golden Sunset. We believe that they may be using these kidnapped humans as a source of power." "And their ultimate goal is to raise hell on earth by calling forth one of the Ancient Ones," said B.W. "Yeah, we talked about that," said Melody quietly. "We stopped them once before, but we had…a little special help then," said Steven. "We contained the Ancient One in his own pocket universe and defeated Lorduke. But now he's back to try again. And that's why I'm begging you, Melody. Join us." Melody sat quietly for a moment, staring into her soul. Somehow, though it terrified her, "Just help me square it with my dad and my school," she said. “I’m in. For now.” Steven smiled and moved to shake her hand. “Terrific. You won’t be sorry, I promise.” “Do me a favor,” she said. “Don’t promise me anything. If I’ve learned one thing in my short life is that nobody is in a position to promise anything.” Steven nodded. “I understand.” He motioned to B.W. “Would you help our new friend settle in? I’d like her to see her suite and get some rest before we get down to business.” “You bet,” said B.W. “We’ll make sure she’s as comfortable as possible.” “Thanks.” Melody forced a smile, shuddering at the realization that she probably would not feel comfortable again for a long while.