Atoning is a Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising combined novella. It is set after the events of The Rising when the escaped Genesis II Project kids from The Darkest Powers and escaped Project Phoenix kids from The Darkness Rising series have been united and are living together in Badger Lake. It is set almost 18 months after the events of The Reckoning and around four months after the Otherworld novel 13 and is primarily narrated by Chloe Saunders. It is available as an ebook which includes 4 illustrations as well as being included in The Complete Darkest Powers Tales without illustrations.
Chloe Saunders and Derek Souza have adjusted to life in Badger Lake. It’s not perfect, but it’s safe and they’re learning the skills they’ll need when it comes time to make a decision about their futures. They’re comfortable and they’re settled . . . until a weekend camping trip with Maya Delaney and Daniel Bianchi reunites them with someone they thought they’d left in the past. Someone Derek really hoped they’d left in the past, because as much as this former friend might want to atone for past mistakes, she’s nothing but trouble.
The prologue is narrated by Rachelle Rodgers. Rae acknowledges that she failed Chloe during the events of The Awakening. Rae's biological mother Jacinda is meeting with a man named John Schultz who has an inside man at Badger Lake. Rae believes The Edison Group kids, including those from Project Phoenix are being held captive there. She confirms that her mother was the one to free her from captivity with The Edison Group and that they've been on the run for almost 18 months.
Rae feels incredibly guilty for betraying Chloe by believing Dr. Davidoff's lies. Six months ago Sean Nast had tracked down Rae and her mother on behalf of the Nast Cabal. He told them about Badger Lake and how they'd be safe there with the others, they could stop running and have a home, community, education and employment with the only catch being special training and the hope that they would choose to become Cabal employees when they're old enough.
It seems plausible to them but two weeks before they were planning to move they're approached by John Schultz who claims to be part of a group of anti Cabal activists. He told them the 'truth' about Badger Lake, according to him it's an armed camp where Rae will be put in barracks and brainwashed into being a Cabal soldier, her mother will only be kept alive to threaten her into compliance before the brainwashing kicks in and Jacinda can be killed.
According to Schultz Chloe and the others sometimes get trips to North Bay, Ontario with guards, one of whom is 'their guy', for good behavior. They're fully brainwashed and Schultz wants them to help 'rescue' them. The plan is for Rae to let Chloe get a glimpse of her to lure her away. Schultz tells Rae that Chloe will lie to her, that she's been taught 'CIA-grade techniques' for dealing with capture and interrogation. Rae believes him and tells him that she'll 'rescue' Chloe whether she wants it or not.
The story begins in Badger Lake in October with Chloe, who is now 16 and playing 'fetch' with wolf form Derek, playing the part of the stick herself. This is part of their practice to ensure that Derek doesn't see a fleeing human as prey, unlike other Werewolves he never has although Chloe is unsure whether that's because he's Derek or if it's the genetic modifications at work.
Chloe teases Derek about playing petch with a stick and he tricks her by pretending to chase a squirrel while he works his way behind her to pin her to the ground before they practice Derek chasing her. Derek Changes back to human after which still takes him ten minutes, despite having grown more used to Changing forms. Chloe confirms that they are in Badger Lake voluntarily as it's the safest place for them until they're old enough to make serious decisions about their future.
Derek lays with Chloe in just his boxers after he's Changed back while they make out, covered by a blanket while she keeps her all her clothing on. Chloe states that they're both comfortable with it and haven't gotten to the point where they're ready for sex yet. Their making out leads to some heavy petting that is interrupted by Maya Delaney whistling for them. They know Maya wouldn't interrupt if it wasn't important so Chloe goes to see what she wants.
Chloe states that Badger Lake is run by Sean Nast who even Derek admits is as nice as you could imagine for a Cabal Sorcerer, it wasn't made just for the Genesis II kids and that when it comes to courting future Cabal employees the Project Phoenix kids are the real prize as they're all reintroduced extinct supernatural races. Maya is telling Daniel Bianchi about her plan to get Sean to build a rec center with table tennis, pinball and pool to 'train their reflexes'.
Daniel tells Chloe that if they want to go to North Bay they need to leave now. Sean has moved a meeting up to Monday that they want to be there for so now is there only chance for a weekend trip. Chloe states that her father had been brought to Badger Lake a few months ago and took a back seat in his company to be with her. He and many of the other adults and kids have flown out by helicopter for a monthly Toronto trip, leaving the only adults being members of the security team. They believe Antone, Maya's biological father and his fellow security operative Moreno will be joining them on the trip to North Bay.
The only other kid joining them on their trip is Maya's brother Ashton Gray. Chloe thinks that anyone who finds Derek antisocial has never met Ash and that his vicious tongue is probably why Tori Enright is kind of crazy about him. Their weekend plans have been planned out with Ash in mind but he claims he's busy and has changed his mind. Maya is disappointed and annoyed, leaving Chloe alone with him who finds out that Ash is planning something for his and Maya's birthday next week.
Chloe's narration mentions Rae and the fact that she'd gone along with Sean when he was supposed to meet them to move to Badger Lake. They never showed and when Sean's people tracked them down they ran, he believes they changed their minds. Chloe would have liked to speak to her.
The group leave for North Bay which is a two hour drive away. They leave Antone behind as well as Maya's dog Kenji, taking Moreno and a security guy named Luke. Luke is a young security guard whose joined them caving and rock climbing but is careful not to cross the line between guard and friend but everyone likes him. Chloe does homework during the ride as she's trying to graduate early, Derek won't go to college early and he's already been taking college level math and science courses for two years so she doesn't want him to have to wait. Derek is unaware of Chloe's plan to graduate early though
They arrive around 5 and Maya and Chloe set up the tents and sleeping bags. They plan to split the tents by couples rather than gender. Moreno suggests telling their parents and Maya tells him to stop them he'll have to shoot her again. Chloe finds them to have an interesting relationship and doesn't believe Moreno to be a nice guy but he's loyal to Antone and thus also to Maya and Ash.
They go to town to see Iron Man and when Chloe goes to use the restroom she sees Rae leaving it and follows her out the front door. Chloe knows for sure it was Rae but worries for a moment it might have been her ghost. Derek joins her and Chloe tells him what she saw, she knows it isn't a coincidence and that someone must have gotten to Rae, forcing her to lure Chloe out as a trap. Chloe also knows that to be aware of where they are someone would need inside information, meaning they can't go to Moreno or Luke for help. Chloe tells Derek to sneak out the back and follow her as Chloe takes the bait.
Chloe wants to rescue Rae which, given how she betrayed them, Derek is hesitant to agree to. Chloe tells him she's going to do it either way because Rae could be in danger, leaving Derek little choice. They stage a fake fight and Chloe storms out and calls for Liz Delaney. Chloe's narration reveals that Liz has passed over to the afterlife and that although Chloe's genetically enhanced Necromancer powers are strong enough to call her back she can't always reach her and fails this time.
After five minutes of searching Chloe finds Rae who seems to be pretending to have amnesia, which Chloe doesn't buy but goes along with, before telling Chloe they 'have to get out of here' a plot twist that Chloe saw coming. Chloe finds Rae's acting skills strictly community theatre level. Chloe follows Rae through the empty streets for awhile, figuring she's leading her to someone so she fakes a stumble and has them duck into an alley between two buildings where she spotted Derek.
Chloe has Rae stand guard and distracts her so Derek can sneak up on her, he manages to restrain her with only minor burns from Rae's Half Demon fire power and tells her not to struggle. Chloe and Derek quickly realise they're surrounded and hear Daniel calling for them. Maya has texted Chloe, Daniel sensed a Half Demon with his Benandanti powers and he and Maya have included themselves in Chloe's plan.
Daniel tricks one of the men and then uses his powers along with Maya in mountain lion form to subdue and disarm him along with his partner. Derek hears running footsteps and has Chloe take over restraining Rae. Chloe watches as the others go up against four average fighting skilled supernaturals who are no match for them. Chloe herself has been learning jiu jitsu, aikido, archery and marksmanship. Rae tells Chloe that she's 'as bad' as Derek now, that she's really changed and Chloe agrees telling her that learning to fight is just her adjusting to the situation but also acknowledging that she has changed, for the better.
Chloe pretends to listen as Rae tells her about Badger Lake not being real and the evil Cabals while she waits for the others to finish with their opponents. Maya goes to Change back, which she now does in a trance state rather than loosing consciousness and when she returns they get Rae in Daniel's truck and start driving. Rae wants to know what they're going to do with her, she remains adamant that she wants to help Chloe but they point out that trying to kidnap her wasn't a good idea. They agree to talk and get out of the truck and head into the forest.
Maya has heard from Moreno who wants to know where they are, they claim to be In North Bay looking for an open pizza place. Maya's guy says to trust Moreno but as only he or Luke could have set this up she can't risk it and they agree to stay away from both for now. Rae tells her side of the story and Daniel uses his power of persuasion to help show her the holes in the story until she realises she's been tricked again, in the exact same way that Dr. Davidoff tricked her before.
The group start walking again and fill Rae in on the truth of Badger Lake to help convince that while it isn't perfect they've gone into the agreement aware of what it is. When Rae was first supposed to come to Badger Lake Chloe believes they could have been friends but if Rae ends up there now she doubts they'll become friends as she can't fully trust Rae.
Back in the truck Maya hears from Moreno again who gives them five minutes before he starts tracking their cell phones. They agree to return to Moreno at the campsite, prepared for the possibility of an ambush. They park a half mile from the campsite and begin walking but Moreno texts them to stay where they are. They approach the camp anyway with Chloe and Maya taking to the trees where they watch Moreno and Luke bickering about finding a lamp. When Moreno goes to help Luke look they hear two silenced gunshots and move in, getting Moreno to throw the guns out of the tent.
Moreno had overheard Luke earlier on the phone telling someone the kids were missing and that he'd 'take care of it' which was when he told Maya to stay where they were. When Luke lured him into the tent Moreno used his Half Demon teleportation powers to get the drop on him, they struggled with Luke's gun and Luke was killed. The teens point out that they only have Moreno's word and as they didn't see what happened they can't fully trust him.
Moreno is actually proud that they don't trust him, to him it proves that his training has worked. They discuss what the next step should be and decide they need to take down whoever's after them without involving the Nast's so that when they start going away to college the Nast's will know for sure they can take care of themselves. They take Moreno to a secluded spot in the forest and sedate him, he agrees to it and even gives them advice on the walk and take his and Luke's phones.
Chloe and Rae set off in the forest, pretending that Rae has convinced her of the evils of Badger Lake. Once they find the group after them Chloe asks to talk. Chloe then wakes up in a room with her hands bound behind her back and the ghost of Liz offering to untie her, Chloe tells her to leave the bindings for now for believability. Chloe is unsure how it happened as the last thing she remembers is getting in the van, Rae is also in the room unconscious. Derek is brought in all part of the plan, he pretends to struggle and be knocked out by sedative, their captors leave and Derek reveals the sedative has only made him feel like he needs a nap.
Derek allowed himself to be captured to act as muscle for Chloe and Rae, as well as to use his nose to sniff out Rae's mother if she's where they were taken. Liz goes to scout and when she returns her and Derek reveal that they're in the office of an abandoned lumber mill in the woods about twenty minutes from North Bay. Jacinda is in another office bound and gagged. Liz overheard enough to gather what their captors plan was, lure Chloe out, use her to get Derek and then catch Maya and Daniel. They plan to hold them captive for ransom, Rae is being tossed in as a bonus. They assume they're being ransomed for money but Liz reveals the group wants the Nasts to hand over Tori which none of them are sure why.
They get out of the office they're being held in, Derek Changes and leaves Chloe and Rae to sneak into the office where Jacinda has been bound. They tell Jacinda what has happened and she apologizes for believing them, telling Chloe that there is no excuse and agreeing to go along with Chloe's plan.
They'd planned for Maya to signal that her and Daniel were outside at 1am and then Maya and Derek would take down their captives while Daniel used zip ties to bind them. It's 1.10 and there's been no signal. Their captives realise they aren't where they should be, they lure one of the captors passing by them and subdue and sedate him with sedative darts that Derek snuck in when they 'captured' him. They bind and gag him, taking his gun and radio before hiding him from sight and start looking for a new hiding spot.
Before they find one a man and a woman spot them and they're forced to run. They manage to loose them when the captors hear Maya's cat scream, the girls switch direction towards where her scream came from but the captor continue chasing them. They make their way into offices and Liz uses her powers against them to back them off. Chloe's finds Luke's body in a separate office and resurrects him to help them. Chloe doesn't feel guilty about raising Luke as he made his own choices and paid for them. Liz informs Chloe that although Derek, Maya and Daniel were delayed they're currently taking on four members of the group.
The man and the woman who've been searching for them reach them and Chloe has Luke fight the man, the woman is a Witch and Jacinda aims the gun of the man they sedated at the Witch to ensure she doesn't cast any spells. Derek returns, and Changes to human form, informing them that the rest of the group have been bound and gagged awaiting interrogation.
Chloe calls Sean Nast to inform him of what has happened. Sean dispatches a Cabal team from New York and while they wait for them to arrive they select a member of the group to interrogate who tells them everything. They leave them tied up for the Cabal team and return to the camp where Moreno is awake and waiting for them. They start to pack up the camp for their return to Badger Lake to wait for Sean's arrival from Los Angeles. While packing Derek finds Chloe's homework and confronts her about it, telling her that he doesn't approve of her trying to graduate early because he doesn't like to see her pushing herself that hard. Knowing it isn't the time to talk about it they agree to later.
Sean meets them when he arrives in Badger Lake's community center and it is revealed that the group who targeted them are associated with the Supernatural Liberation Movement from Spell Bound and 13 who wanted Tori because of her supposed role in the Phalegian Prophecy. This group were hoping to sell Tori to believers of the prophecy. Chloe and Sean both think there was more to the plot and Sean assures them he'll investigate.
Sean also tells them that what they did will squash any reservations people had about many of them going away to college the next year, he hopes to find a way to make their weekend up to them and Maya gives him her rec center idea. Derek and Chloe go to meet up with Tori, Simon and Kit who have returned that night. They listen to Simon and Tori complain about their weekend and in return tell them about how uneventful their weekend was with all the kidnapping, fighting and interrogation.
The story ends on the Monday night with Maya and Ash's birthday. Most of the teens are getting ready for the party in the community center. The party is planned at the climbing ridge but first Daniel takes Maya to her house where Ash reveals his present to her, he's added a second room to Maya's animal rehabilitation shed as well as a wire covered run that Daniel and Corey aided him in the blueprints and construction of. Derek and Chloe leave the party later on and Derek Changes, they play and he Changes back so they can 'play' some more.
Derek asks to talk about school once they've exchanged 'I love you's' and rested. Derek worries that Chloe is trying to cram an extra year of school in because he whines about not liking to Change without her, she tries to tell him he doesn't whine but he admits he does. Derek's dad and Chloe's aunt both worry they spend too much time together and that Derek will end up suffocating Chloe until she leaves him. Derek doesn't want Chloe to overwork herself so he won't have to spend an extra year in Badger Lake academically bored.
Derek suggests a compromise, that she slows down and takes the two years to graduate and he starts college four months before Chloe so they can show that they can spend time apart. They both know they can do it, that nothing will change. Chloe states that her aunt Lauren tells her the guy you meet at fifteen isn't often the one you end up with but Chloe knows that Derek is for her. Chloe agrees to the solution and they kiss.
- Chloe Saunders
- Derek Souza
- Maya Delaney
- Daniel Bianchi
- Rachelle Rodgers
- Liz Delaney
- Ashton Gray
- Sean Nast
- Simon Bae
- Tori Enright
- Kit Bae
- Hayley Morris
- Corey Carling
- John Schultz
|Darkest Powers Series|
|Novels||The Summoning, The Awakening, The Reckoning|
|Short Stories||Dangerous, Kat, Divided, Disenchanted, Facing Facts, Belonging, Hunting Kat, Atoning, Branded|
|Compilation Novels||The Complete Darkest Powers Tales|
|Darkness Rising Series|
|Novels||The Gathering, The Calling, The Rising|
|Short Stories||The New Guy, The Invitation, Atoning, Branded|
|Compilation Novels||The Complete Darkest Powers Tales|