Saturday, June 27, 2015

Free Download for Sirens

Sirens will be available for free downloads on Smashwords and soon on Barnes & Noble through the 4th of July!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sunday Sampler Children of Fae chapter 3 excerpt

I love good characters in a novel, and I'm really enjoying writing the three characters in Children of Fae.  So far so good with writing and hope to have this one out in the fall.  Here is a excerpt of Chapter 3-enjoy!





Chapter Three

Wes

“You can have the bedroom on the right, and mine is the one across the hall from you.”  Deravon motioned down the hallway.  “Here, I’ll help you with your bag.”
“No, it’s alright.”  Wes picked up his bag before Deravon could grab it.  He was tired and felt sick from traveling and even sicker about being here, but one thing kept him moving forward—Lyssa.
“Thank you, I mean, thanks for letting me stay with you.  At least until I can get a place of my own.”  Wes held his small bag and let a smile escape.
“One does not rent a three bedroom apartment without the anticipation that it would not have an occupant in it.  I’ve shared my place with many sentries, and you’re welcomed to stay as long as you like.”  Deravon seemed sincere enough, but made Wes a little uncomfortable with overly zealous hospitality. 

Deravon’s apartment overlooked a lush park filled with trees, pathways, a small pond with a bridge over it, and orillions dotted throughout it that made it glow in soft light at night.  It was a beautifully refurbished building with gargoyles perched on each of the roof corners and intricate, curving stones that framed the large windows.  Deravon’s apartment was on the seventh floor, just high enough to see things below, but not too far away to see the detail of the quiet street below. 
Wes was exhausted, but couldn’t sleep.  Instead, he pulled out a tattered notebook that wasn’t just any notebook, but one that held the thoughts, worries, and dreams of Lyssa Cleverthorn.  He should have given the journal back to her, but something pulled inside of him to keep it.
He stood in the background the day the four Etherlings left through the old portal in Arrinia.  Lyssa stood next to her father along with the two Etherlings, Craig and Toby.  They’d never return as Merlin put a spell on the portal rendering it unpassable.  They belonged in the Etherworld, not here in Avalon. 
Wes closed his eyes and leaned back on the bed that looked like it had about twenty pillows on it.  Deravon must have a thing for them as it seemed like the things were everywhere.  Maybe he had a three bedroom apartment so he’d have room for all of his pillows, Wes thought.
Looking up at the ceiling, he closed his eyes and thought of the very last moment he saw Lyssa.  She was standing on the portal platform, arms around her father, and not really looking at anyone.  She had thanked Merlin and Elijah, but right before the light engulfed her, she met his eyes as if she knew he was watching her.  Lyssa looked like she wanted to say something to him, but was gone before she could breathe a word.
Wes sat up and ran his fingers alongside the frayed edges of her journal.  He had read it many times, and knew he should have just burned it out of respect, but it was the only thing that remained of her in this world.  And now with his vivid visions of Zoey, the attack of the landmerrows, and Dane mysteriously showing up, something was going to happen.  To put Elijah and Lizzi at ease, he gave into their conclusion that it was just a hallucination, but he felt different.  Even though he was poisoned, he knew what he saw was real.  He had to get to a portal that led to the Etherworld.

“Good morning,” Deravon sung as he sipped on a cup of coffee.   “I hope you slept well, but it looks like you didn’t find my bathroom.”  He motioned with his eyes at Wes’s wrinkled clothes he still had on from yesterday.  “We’ll fix that today.”
“I brought an extra change of clothes, and I’ll get a shower before we leave.”  Wes poured himself some coffee into a lime green mug.
In fact, the whole kitchen was lime green and white—too bright for his eyes, especially in the morning.  He was used to the softly lit dining hall with the dragon fireplace.  It was quiet there, and noisy here.  He was used to the sound of birds in the morning, not the chatter of city life.  And this wasn’t even the downtown area that stood like a faint ghost in the distance.
“What time do we have to be there?”  Wes asked.
Deravon sat his mug down carefully and smiled.  “We won’t be going to the Palace today.  Instead, we have to get you measured for your uniform.  Each guard is responsible for their own uniform, and I’ve got the perfect seamstress for you.”  He seemed way too excited.
“I thought they just hand them out standard issued, and that was it.”  Wes was beginning to feel he had made a mistake.
“Oh no, it’s an important job and every detail has a great deal of thought and care into it.  You just don’t slap some uniform on and just dive in.  There is an initiation, training, a lovely ceremony when those three are completed, we have a party afterwards.”
Wes stood passively sipping his coffee as Deravon looked like he was going to blast off of his chair like an ignited rocket from so much enthusiasm.  Wes didn’t pay attention to Deravon rambling on or care if his uniform ended up being pink or lime green to match Deravon’s kitchen, he had to locate a portal, and knew the museum had some decommissioned ones.  Now, all he had to do was to find a wizard to make it work.

Deravon took Wes to Seedton District which was the older part of Avalon with a lot of vintage shops, and old historic buildings open for tourists.  Flowers bloomed in rows of matching pots along the brick sidewalk.  Everything was bright, clean, and well maintained as if time had never touched this district. The sun had come out in brief intervals and the wind had a small bite to it.
“We’ll be going into The Fae Shoppe, just around the corner,” Deravon said, as they got out of the carriage.  “Now, if you need to go anywhere, you can call any of the carriages that belong to the apartment building.  It is one of the many nice amenities of living there.  I am so glad I moved from the downtown area.”
The carriage took off as Wes and Deravon stood on the sidewalk. 
“It’s been awhile since I’ve been here.  Have you ever been in this district before?”  He asked.
“No, first time, but I’ve heard about it—a lot of history here on the Faes.”
“Yes, and if you’re a history buff, I have lots of books on this area.”  Deravon motioned for them to walk around the corner. 
Wes looked up at the glistening grey stone building with enormous windows that nearly went to the brick paved sidewalk.  Even the door was nearly all glass, and the only signage to this place was the gold letters painted in an arch on the upper glass panel of the door.
 Deravon went in first and Wes followed as the smell of leather and cinnamon greeted him like a slap across the face.  A tiny bell tinkled overhead alerting the clerk that they had customers. 
Richly stained wood panels covered the wall and that was covered with columns of slender mirrors hanging between the racks of suits, shirts, pants, and long coats as well as cloaks.  A marble statue of a Fae sentry dressed in a field suit, donning a quiver on his back and a sword at his side, stood in the center of the narrow building with a frozen expression of superiority gazing downward at all who entered.  He looked like he had come from some bygone era where Fae guardians were heroes and looked up to by everyone.
“Deravon, is that you?” A voice erupted between the many island display tables that appeared to be color coordinated throughout the store.
“Ah, it is you, my old friend,” said a Fae that looked about as round as he was tall with two tuffs of white hair standing out from his temples.  His beady eyes twinkled at Deravon as he shook hands with Deravon with his ring laden fingers.  “It’s been a long time since you’ve visited my shop, and you brought a…”  His eyes shifted to Wes and then back to Deravon.
“He’s a new Palace Sentry.  His name is Wes, and is in need of one of your best uniforms.”
“Pleased to meet you Wes, my name is Izzy Gladstone, and Deravon has not guided you astray in your search for the perfect uniform.  We have been outfitting the Fae community for over two hundred years, and,” Izzy held up his index finger as he smiled at Wes.  “Unlike some of the big stores,” he rolled his eyes, “ours has been family-owned since we started, and of the upmost quality and service.”
Wes couldn’t help but to smile back at Izzy.  He was an animated character that for some mysterious reason made him feel at ease, and just about forget all of his worries.
“Now, I am busy today, but I can always fit in one more, and,” Izzy stepped in front of Wes studying him as he tapped his finger on his chin.  “You are a tall Fae, strong, quiet,” his eyes met Wes’s for a moment.  “And…you don’t need anything too flashy.”
Wes felt relieved.  “What’s your favorite color?”  Izzy suddenly asked.   Wes looked to Deravon before answering.
“I’m asking you, Wes.  What’s your favorite color—everyone has one that makes them feel happy, alive, and as if they can take on the world.”  Izzy’s joyful persona faded into something almost enchanting as Wes looked into the little Fae’s eyes.
He never thought about color before.  He didn’t have a favorite like Lizzi who seemed to like them all.  It was an unimportant thing to think about what color excited you.  There were other things to ponder on than selecting a color to like. 
Izzy kept his eyes focused on him, and Wes was about to blurt out a random color to satisfy the determined store keeper, when something stopped him.
Red.
The color of Lyssa’s hair when the sun hit it just right, the color of the apples that matured in the autumn, and filled his mouth with their sweetness. Both were only there for a short time, not matter how much he wished they’d stay. 
“Hmm, unusual choice—sort of a flashy color for such a reserved looking young fellow, like yourself but, red it is!”
“Wait,” Wes looked down at Izzy.  “How did you know I was thinking of that color?”
Izzy’s lips curled into a sly smile.  “My young Wes, I have been making uniforms for a long time for a reason, and I’m not going to reveal my secrets on such an informal way of asking.  It was as if you pulled me into the alley and asked me how I do what I do—everyone wants to know!”  He chuckled.   “Secrets are secrets, so you come with me and let me show you what magic can really do.”

Wes tried on several coats in many different lengths over his standard white shirt that had no collar and buttoned tightly around his neck.  Finally, Izzy gave him a shorter jacket that hung around his knees, had several pockets on the inside to hold weapons and hand orillions. It wasn’t all just for looks, but was simply practical. 
Izzy waved his hands over the jacket adjusting the length, tightness, looseness and overall size of it by the simple command of Izzy’s hands.  There were no pins, needles or thread, just Izzy manipulating the material by his little hands.
Wes stood in the mirror and watched mesmerized by him.  Sure, he’d witnessed magic before, but nothing like this.  He felt something deep inside of him was being connected to this uniform—as if a piece of him had been pulled out like a book on a shelf.
In one final motion of Izzy’s wriggling fingers, the silver threads of the jacket slowly shifted to a black color.  Confusion filled Izzy’s face as he continued to run his dancing fingers inches over the jacket.  When he finished, he stepped back and looked at the dark jacket that didn’t seem to have a speck of red in it.  Deravon sat in a chair beside Wes, and both of them exchanged glances.
Wes wanted to say something smart about the botched jacket, but as he turned, the blackness reflected the light, and Wes could see flecks of dark red—almost the color of blood. 
“My, my, my,” Izzy said.  “Now that’s a red I wasn’t expecting, were you?”  He asked Deravon.
“Magic has a will of its own, and a way of reaching into one to show them who they are.”  Deravon got up and stood beside Izzy.
“True, well let’s not stop there we have boots to put on.”
Izzy brought back three pairs all in different styles.  Wes tried on the first pair, and tucked in his standard issued suede-like pants that were soft and very flexible.
“No, try these.”  He gave Wes the last pair of boots he had brought back.
Just like the coat, Izzy waved his hands over the boots, but whatever was supposed to happen didn’t, and Wes could see Izzy was becoming frustrated. 
Wes slipped them on and they fit comfortably just like the other, but this time, when Izzy waved his hands over them, he felt that pull again inside him. 
“There,” Izzy said, triumphantly.  “You have your—”
Suddenly, flickering sparks erupted over the front of the boot and made a sizzling sound like they were going to explode.  Wes was going to take them off thinking Izzy’s magic had gone haywire, when it abruptly stopped.  He looked down at them as two snake-like creatures curled from the tips of toe and slithered upward, and stopped.  
Embedded in the leather, with great detail of their scales and two red eyes that were made out of tiny rubies, the two snakes looked up at him as if waiting for a command.  Wes found the snakes disturbing, especially since they were looking up at him.
“Well, I’ll be,” Izzy whispered staring at them.  “The Snakes of Nerabeth.”  Izzy announced.  “Unmistakable.  You, my boy, have something in you that this magician has never encountered before.”

Megan

The seer was supposed to tell her the ancient secrets of Banshees, not send her on some stupid quest for the stinking Everspell.  Megan felt her risk into Duegar District was a waste.  How was she supposed to get to the Etherworld, find Lyssa, and bring her here unnoticed?  Then, what was she supposed to do with the Everspell?  As far as Megan was concerned, the Unseen world wasn’t what she’d thought it would be.
The seer was supposed to tell her the secret spells of the Banshees so she could know more than her mother, be the first to have knowledge of them in over a century, and…well, she didn’t know what she’d do after that.  She didn’t want to rule over Avalon or any part of the Fae world.  She wanted to live as she did in the Etherworld.  She wanted to be with Craig, go to movies with him, make-out with him, and talk with him.  She wanted a normal, un-princess-puppet life.  She was tired of the Banshee way of life her mother had made her endure.  Megan wanted out, and maybe the Unseen world had one thing right—she’d have to go to the Etherworld.
“Casperinia!”  Her mother yelled.  “Come down here at once!”
Her mother’s voice rumbled up the staircase like thunder.  Megan’s heart raced from being started as she opened the door.  She drew in a deep breath knowing from the sound of tension in her mother’s voice, she was more than mad.
Disregarding her mother’s obvious anger, Megan leaned against the doorframe and crossed her arms.  “What?  I’m in the middle of reading my Banshee-princes-manners-one-should-have-at-parties book.”  It was a real book, though not titled that way that Megan’s mother got for her to read since her presentation at formal dinners needed some improving.  Megan despised it, and hated to read on how her mother wanted her to act.
Megan smirked at herself when suddenly; her mother stood in front of her with red eyes and a forked tongue slithering between her pink lips.  She was mad, and Megan gazed at her passively.
“Is the grocer out of wine from Shangri-La?”  Megan wasn’t frightened of her mother’s appearance as she had seen her many times this way, and knew it was just a ploy to get her attention.
Her mother let out a growl and snatched Megan by her hair and pulled her towards the staircase.
“Mother, you’re hurting me!”  She pleaded.
This got Megan’s attention.  Her mother had never done anything like this before. 
Practically falling down the stairs as her mother dragged her along, Megan stumbled a few times as her mother didn’t stop and then tossed her to the hard, tiled floor.
“This is what I mean by everyone is watching!”  She shoved the front page of a newspaper into her face.
It was a photo of her inside the carriage looking back at the Fae that had harassed her outside Vine. Mimir had stepped in and broken his camera and his wrist—it was his fault, not hers.
“It was Mimir—”
Her mother slapped her across the face, hard.  Megan felt her ears ring, and blood boil.  She pushed back her hair and let her forked tongue slither at her mother.
Her mother laughed, and then pulled her daughter up by the hair.  “I don’t care if it was his fault.  You are in control of our staff just like me.  What they do is a representation of us.  The Fae was a reporter from Fae Fashion magazine and he was injured as well as his camera destroyed for just asking you questions.”  Her voice calmed as Megan felt sick to her stomach—not for only for the injured Fae, but for the life as a Banshee princess she had never wanted.
“You will apologize to this Fae, buy him a new camera and allow him an exclusive interview letting him ask you any three questions he wishes to ask.”
Megan gazed hard at her mother. “No,” she said, meekly.
Her mother stopped pushing her hair back into place and glared at Megan.  “What did you say?”
“I said no.  I’ll apologize, but there will be no interview—he’ll ask about the Etherlings and everything else.” 
The truth of Orzan’s death was covered, but many Fae speculated many theories, and Megan didn’t want to have any part of it.
“Look at it this way, daughter.”  She pushed Megan’s hair back and looked at her with black eyes.  “Take this opportunity to turn things in your favor, because right now, they’re not.”

The last thing Megan wanted was to be questioned by some rumor-hungry reporter.  Her mother had done everything, took every precaution, and watched every step to ensure that Banshees would look good in the Fae spotlight.  Megan had ruined it, and it was up to her now to fix it.  Well, at least no one knew about her little venture into Duegar District.
Megan went to her room and looked into the mirror.  Gingerly, she touched her red cheek.  This wasn’t for her.  Being a princess with a power-hungry mom wasn’t what Megan wanted.  She had to get out of here, and she didn’t know how, but Megan knew she had to get to Craig in the Etherworld.

“No, wear your yellow suit—the one I just got you.  The color yellow is a happy, gentle color and will set the mood for you.”  Her mother suggested and pointed for her to go back upstairs and change.
Megan didn’t argue knowing she’d get nowhere.  She’d follow through with this, and then, it would be over. 
Megan obediently went upstairs and changed into the skirt and bolero jacket that had delicate ruffles around the edge and a large button that looked like it should have a happy face on it.  It really wasn’t a bad outfit—just one she wouldn’t have picked out.  But the clothes didn’t matter right now.  What did were her plans on getting out of here.

  “Please sit and make yourself comfortable.”  Megan could hear her mother talk to the reporter as she stood hidden behind the balcony wall of the upstairs.  She felt she had to compose herself before she could go downstairs.
“Thank you Ms. Mourhill,” he said.
 “Please call me Syra, and can I offer you a cup of tea?”
Mother had pulled all the stops on her hospitality towards reporters.  She usually hated them, despised them, and rated them alongside the vagrants living in Duegar District.
“Thank you…Syra.”  Megan could hear the apprehension in his voice as if he was walking on eggs.
“The quicker you get down there, the quicker this is over with.”  Megan turned to see Mimir.
“I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for you—I don’t want you taking me anywhere anymore.”  She wanted to yell at Mimir, and possibly fire him, but she had no clout to do that—that was up to her mother.
“Like your mother said, I was doing my job, and well…Giants can get carried away a little—I apologize, but you’d be thanking me if he was some thug attacking you.”
Megan gazed down at the reporter sitting across from her mother.  Mimir was wrong.  Megan had proved to herself that she didn’t need a bodyguard—she had the power of the wind, spells, and now the Unseen world backing her.  Megan smiled as she glided down the stairs with a smile in her yellow suit.
“Ah, here’s my daughter, Casperinia.”  Her mother stood up and motioned with her hand with a smile.
The reporter stood as well and turned.  Megan’s heart raced as she approached them.  He gazed steadily at her with his brown eyes that had flecks of gold in them as his short, straight hair and what he had for bangs pointed to his topaz eyes like tiny daggers.  His jaw was square, and skin pale with a faded hint of freckles across his nose.  He also looked muscular underneath his long sleeved shirt.  Megan didn’t remember this reporter looking so—attractive. 
“Thank you for coming…” Megan smiled and then realized she didn’t know his name.  Her mother glared at her.  Strike one.
“This is Todd Weatherstone, and he is one of the chief reporters as well as an accomplished photographer of Fae Fashion magazine.”  Her mother cut in.
Megan’s smile deepened.  “Thank you, Todd, for coming today.”
“The pleasure is mine, and thank you for having me.  The Fae world would love to know about you and your mother.  The Banshee race is such an important part of the Fae world, but a lot of your history has fallen out of our books, and I think that is a shame.”
“Why is it a shame?”  Megan asked her thoughts aloud as he mother gave her another glare.  Strike two.  And it hasn’t even been five minutes yet.
“Interesting you should ask.”  Todd turned towards her.  “Banshees once ruled, but lost that place to the Fae in a single battle over three hundred years ago.  They gave so much to Avalon like the libraries, universities, and culture that has stood the test of time, and I think is now credited to have come from the Fae.  Banshees had built the foundation of our world, but they gave it up so easily. They moved to a secluded place after that fateful battle and lived almost separately from the Fae.  Little is known about what truce was made, but I think there is more to the Banshees than what the Fae believe them to be.”
Megan stood enthralled by what Todd had said.  She never thought about Banshees that way. Yes, she knew a little of the history, but that was just facts.  The way he had said it, drove something through Megan that she couldn’t grasp onto.  It was like a light had gone on inside her, but it was yet too bright to focus on what was before her.
“My goodness,” her mother exclaimed.  “I’m impressed with your passionate interest in Banshee history and culture.”
“Thank you.  I took three years of Banshee history, thought it was Fae-written, and some information was only speculative since not many things were recorded after the Fae-Banshee war.”
“Please have a seat, Mr. Weatherstone.”  Megan’s mother motioned with a smile for him to have a seat in the high-back, puffy chairs that normally sat along the wall next to the tiny round table.  They sat in the large area just off the entryway surrounding the little table with the puffy chairs.  Megan already felt this uncomfortable, and wondered why her mother didn’t have this meeting in the formal living room.  But this was probably just as far as she would let a reporter in—just far enough to feel welcomed, but not too far into her private space.
“Please do call me Todd—I hate being too formal.”  He sat and pulled out a pad of paper and a pen.
That’s when Megan noticed his fingers looked normal, like Mimir had never twisted them into a pretzel.  Megan drew in a breath to ask him about it and that got his attention, but then let the question go with a smile.  No need to have strike three before tea was served.
“Actually, I think I will just get to the point, Casperinia.”  He turned with a sly look in his eyes and a smirk on his face.  “You are very photogenic—I don’t think any photographer could take a bad picture of you if they tried, and I can see that you get that from your lovely mother, but what I really want to know is,” he bent over and shuffled through his leather briefcase and pulled several pictures out.  “I want to know the Banshee behind the princess that charmed the gatekeeper here in Side Hills, went to Duegar District and gave a young girl there her prized Vine cloat.”
Megan could hardly breathe.  If there was anything beyond a strike three—she was sure at that moment she exceeded it. 
Todd showed several black and white photos of her going into Duegar District.  Megan couldn’t look at her mother, but could hear her make disapproving noises.
“You followed me,” Megan said, feeling violated and stupid at the same time as she looked at the pictures.
Todd didn’t answer the obvious.
“Alright, let me get to the point, Mr. Weatherstone—how much to keep quiet?” 
He ignored her, and instead kept his eyes on Megan.  She didn’t have intentions of giving her cloat away when she went there; it was something that just happened.
“I don’t want anything but the story.  What I see here is a young, caring Banshee going into Duegar District, alone and on a quest to see how the other half survives in Avalon.  I see a humanitarian that cares about all who live here, and I want that story.”
Megan still couldn’t look at her mother, but kept her eyes on Todd.  He had no idea the real reason she went there, but after she had come back feeling the risk wasn’t worth the trouble, she felt she had accomplished something.
“I felt sorry for her, and here I never had to worry about being warm or hungry…My wants were met, but others that live in the shadows of the city, do without.  I wanted to make a change, and did so by one simple act.”  Megan started to speak as if her heart had taken over her mouth.
She didn’t care what her mother thought or if she was going to get beaten to death.  She gave that reporter the story behind the picture of Megan kneeling in front of the ragged-looking girl and wrapping her coat around her with a smile.  Megan felt sorry for her, and as she looked at the photo, she realized something deeper.  Megan had not only given the girl a cloat to keep warm, but she had given her the gift of hope.

“Thank you Casperinia, and,” he said, reaching into his briefcase.  “Here’s my contact information.  I’ll be calling you again, and maybe we can go find this girl and have a good finish to this story.”
Megan took the card and nodded with a smile as he thanked Syra, and then went out the door.
Megan stood numbly holding the card as she gazed at the door.  She didn’t see that coming, but sometimes the unexpected isn’t a bad thing.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sunday Sampler Chapter 2 Chidlren of Fae

Chapter 2 excerpt of Children of Fae. Enjoy!





Chapter Two

Wes

Wes looked down at his mark that was centered in his palm and had sharp, jagged edges like a serrated knife.  Every Fae had one that identified them belonging to the Fae race. He was proud of it as Merlin told him that is was a strong, solid mark that showed he had great leadership skills.
The rain smacked against the window as the trees outside swayed in the wind.  Wes sat close to the window and peered into the darkness.  He hoped to see a glimpse of Zoey through the flashes of lightning.
What was he doing?
Zoey was gone.  Lizzi was right about what probably had happened to her.  Wes thought about it for most of the evening.  He knew he had gone into the forest and Zoey had suddenly appeared, t old him Orazan had a son and Lyssa was in danger—that still tugged at his insides, and he heard, but didn’t see Dane. Everything from that pint seemed to blur together, and now, he wasn’t as sure as to what he had witnessed.
He was dreaming the vision up, he finally concluded, but it was so real.  He also knew landmerrow’s poison only amplifies visions, until they seem real.  He had to push it away, but couldn’t.  He wouldn’t ignore what he saw, until he was satisfied.

Wes was going to leave tonight.  Elijah would probably sit on him to prevent him from leaving if he didn’t go in the cover of darkness.  He then thought of Lizzi. 
She was the first Fae to greet him here.  Besides Zoey, she was the first one to smile at him as well, and make him feel welcomed like he was staying at a resort somewhere, and she was the hostess.  Lizzi showed him around, sat by him at meals, and through her, made him fit in with the rest of the Rebels. 
The Rebels—they were all gone, except for him.  He clung to it because it was the first constant normalcy he ever had, and now that was gone.  Wes felt like a baby bird that had fallen from the safety of his nest to the precarious ground underneath it.

Wes packed light, and really had no idea where he was going.  Not usually being much for words, he left Lizzi a note thanking her for her friendship.  It consisted of three sentences: one thanking her, one saying goodbye and good luck, and the last explaining why it was so short.
If the length of words determines what you mean to me, then I will never have enough paper to write them.
With that, Wes slid the note under Lizzi’s bedroom door, and headed downstairs.  He looked around one last time at the first place he ever called home, and then shut the door.

He hoped the rain would stop, but it didn’t.  And the wind began to blow harder almost like it was pushing him back to the mansion.  This was for the best, and he knew it.  Lizzi would go to Avalon and Elijah would follow his passion for cooking, while he’d try to piece things together.
His thoughts drifted like clouds rolling across the sky on a breezy day.  But one person remained in all of them—Lyssa.
He had read her diary thinking it was the Everspell, and besides Lizzi who was like a sister to him, Lyssa had touched a cord inside him as well.  But she was in the Etherworld.  And the only one that could help him was on the Isle of Stars.  Wes decided that would be the best place to start.  Zoey had told him in his vision that she was there, and if his vision was true, she’d be there.  If she wasn’t, then his vision was just as Lizzi and Elijah had though—a hallucination from landmerrow poison.

Wes knew the forest surrounding the Rebel’s mansion like someone living in a city that knew its streets and buildings.  Each tree was like a street sign or building, that lead him closer to Avalon.  Once he got there, he’d have to find a ship going to the Isle of Stars and manage to get on it.
It was easier said than done, but Wes was determined.

The rain continued to fall at an even pace.  Wes was dressed in leather and a long silky jacket that repelled the rain.  He was dry, except for his face.  Droplets of water splattered against the moisture resistant material and into his eyes.  He wiped it away as a distant memory suddenly forced its way in like a flash of lightning hitting a tree.
His mother’s image suddenly filled his thoughts.  She had the same color of wavy, blond hair, but her eyes were a light shade of brown.  She smiled at him.
“Go and fetch some more bread at the store, Wes,” she asked, handing him a single coin as a tall, stocky man slipped inside their tiny house.
The man, whom Wes didn’t know, went inside like he owned the place.  He watched him, knowing what he came for as he slipped his boots off.  His mother held her smile at Wes, but something in her eyes said for him to run—you’re old enough to get out of here.
In a rough, demanding voice, the man called to her for her to join him.  Wes glanced at their stick and stone home that he had promised to put a slate roof on so it didn’t leak.  His mother didn’t seem to be worried about it, and found amusement in his concern for their shack as she called it.
“Really Wes,” her eyes for a moment filled with water.  “Go,”
…and don’t come back—get out of here while you can.
That was it.  His mother shut the door as her charming voice and child-like laughter echoed behind the door as she talked to the strange man.  Wes stood staring at the door clasping the con in his hand.  He looked down at it a realized it was a silver brownie—twenty times the price of a loaf of bread.  That was it; this was how his mother said goodbye.
“Wes!” A voice shattered his memory like a hammer hitting a sheet of glass.  “Wes!”
It was Lizzi’s voice that filled his ears and washed his memory away of his mother.
“Over here.”  Elijah stood over him and lifted him to his feet.
A mixture of worry, pity, and relief swirled in the Giant’s eyes.  Wes studied them for a moment remembering the first time he had met Elijah.
“You’re looking at me the same way when you found me in Duegar District,” Wes said, still caught in his memory album.  “I’m not some wretch begging for help!”
“No,” Elijah’s voice boomed with the thunder overhead.  “I don’t think you’re a wretch, but you are turning into a major pain in my bum!”
Wes smiled, and then chuckled at the Giant’s expression as Elijah hung onto him by his silk coat.
“You know that’s made from silk all the way from Shangri-La—it’ll wrinkle.  What will the girls think of me then…huh?”  Wes felt his mind twirling like leaves in a windstorm.  “What will she think of me?”  He thought of the girl with the reddish hair that reminded him of the apples in the orchard beside the mansion.  They were flecked with many shades—even brown.  “What will Lyssa think?”
His skin pricked with goose bumps as he realized he was looking at the ground littered with sticks and leaves go by as his body bumped up and down slung over Elijah’s shoulder.
“Put me down you big oaf!  I have to get to the Isle of Stars!”
A door swung open, light from a fire flared out of the dragon head fireplace, and the door slammed shut behind him.  He was back at the Rebel’s mansion.  Wes felt weak as the cool rain dripped from his hair and felt like ice pellets against his skin.  His vision swayed like he was on a ship in a middle of a storm, and was being roughly tossed from side to side.
“Ah, you found our little runaway,” said a voice coming from the shadows.
Through the flickering light from the fireplace, came a silhouette that came towards him.  Wes stared into the darkness as Elijah put him down and Lizzi looped her arm around him.
“A little wet, but he’ll dry off before we leave.”  Smiling down at him was a dark haired Fae with vivid blue eyes.  It was Deravon that smiled down at him. 
Deravon had come to the Rebel mansion with Eli and Zoey, was a sentry at the palace in Avalon before that, and he helped them kill Orzan.  But really, he didn’t know much about him.
“Leave?”  Wes asked through his foggy thoughts.
“Yes, you’re coming with me to Avalon, and join the forces of the Palace Sentries.  But first, you must get dried off and get some rest before we leave.  I’m exhausted myself, and you look a little on the ill side.”
Wes ignored the Fae, and turned his eyes towards Elijah.  “You’re making me go with him?  You didn’t even ask me.”
A look of amusement mixed mostly with empathy filled Elijah’s face.  “You can’t stay here by yourself, and it’s time you moved on, Wes.  I’m concerned about you—this is a start.”  He nodded towards Deravon who stood with crossed arms and a ridiculous constant grin on his face.  Wes rolled his eyes.
“Wes, I’m worried about you.”  Lizzi stood in front of him and gazed into his eyes.  “I’m leaving here too—going to Avalon as well.  I’ve been accepted into the apprenticeship at Vine…”
Wes could hear it in her voice and see it in her eyes.  She was going with or without him, and it pained her.  Wes knew Lizzi always wanted to be in the fashion world designing some dress for some rich Fae somewhere…and he was holding her back by staying here.
He looked away from them and into the fire.  The warmth was comforting as his thoughts scrambled from his childhood to his life as a Rebel, and then to Lyssa.
“Fine,” Wes turned to them.  “I’ll go.”
A look of surprise filled Lizzi’s eyes.
“It’s time to start my life as a Palace Sentry,” he said, disguising his dislike for the role of a mock sentry at the Palace—he could see himself already.  Telling Faes where the bathrooms were at, the hours of visiting, the price of tickets…he stopped before he decided to make a run for it.
“You don’t have to stay there forever.”  Lizzi could read his contempt.  “Look at the schools there, and what other jobs there are.”
“You know,” Deravon interrupted.  “Being a Palace Sentry has its perks.  They have an annual party where you get to meet many important Faes, and even a few celebrities.  They do have all of their charity balls, fundraisers, and parties there.  And don’t get me started on the weddings.”  Deravon seemed way too overjoyed.
Wes gave Lizzi a skeptical look as he raised his eyebrows.  “Weddings…”
“Well, maybe you’ll see some of my dresses there that I’m going to design.”
This made Wes smile.  Lizzi deserved to go and he didn’t want to keep her from something she loved, but Wes, too, had a plan of his own.  He had communicated with Zoey and Dane, even through the mind-altering effects of landmerrow poison, Wes knew it was something more.  Becoming a Palace Sentry would be his ticket to the Etherworld—where Lyssa was.

Megan

“Now that’s how to clean the rift raft up,” Megan said as she admired her own handy work.
Her abilities were getting stronger as a Banshee, but she wasn’t there to exercise them, she had to find what she came there for.
Leaving the wind-fluffed shacks and disoriented Faes, Megan ran down the slimy road and around the corner.  She decided to loop around each street trying to get a whiff of the spell she had caught the scent of earlier. But it had all but disappeared.
Duegar District was bigger than she thought, and hillier than she thought it would be.  Standing on a partially stone pathway, Megan smelled the air which was much more tolerable.  This area was quieter, and looked to be a living quarter area. Suddenly, she felt a tug on her coat.  She jumped back expecting to see some haggard woman or vagrant, but instead, two big eyes gazed up at her.
“You look like a princess,” said a small girl with tattered clothes barely hanging on her.
 She had to be no older than six or seven, Megan thought as she looked at the innocent girl.
“Well, you guessed right,” she said, scanning the area.  “I’m on a quest and need your assistance.”  The girl’s eyes widened. “Tell me, does a seer live close by?”
Confusion filled the girl’s face.  “Seer?”
“A Fae that can do magic, read the stars…thing like that,” Megan said, crossing her arms.
“Oh, you mean Odella.”  The girl smiled.  “She can make stick Faes dance.”  She clapped her hands as he eyes twinkled with amused delight.
“Where does she live?”
“Three houses that way.”  She pointed behind her.
She hoped it was the fabled Fae that knew of ancient Banshee ways, or she would end up being amused by dancing puppets.
“Thank you, you have been very helpful, and…” Megan noticed the girl’s tattered clothes and her shivering.  “Such a deed deserves a reward.”
Megan slowly slipped off her cloat, took the second spell vial from the pocket, and wrapped it around the girl.  She looked up at Megan with open mouth and curled her fingers around the satin edges.  It nearly covered the tiny girl from head to toe as Megan felt a sudden rush of warmth fill her.  She couldn’t help but to smile at her deed as her mother’s scolding words of disapproval if she’d witnessed Megan’s actions, echoed in her head.
“Those Fae deserve to be there for their stupidity, and if it was up to me—I’d clean that area up for good.  And you’re giving them your one-of-a-kind cloats!”
But that was her mom, and this was Megan.  She didn’t plan on giving her cloat to the girl, she just thought of it warming the girl.  Children shouldn’t have to suffer—children are the innocent, no matter where they come from.
“Thank you…it’s beautiful.”
“Siscely, what are you doing out here?  And where did you get that?”
Megan could hear the girl’s mother ask and the girl’s vivid reply of her encounter with a real princess as she faded into the darkness and towards the seer’s house.

Some house had dim lights behind the windows, while other sat in darkness.  There was no one out in the street or hanging in the shadows between the buildings.  Megan felt relieved of, but at the same time, she felt eyes upon her.  She didn’t let this bother her and held her chin up letting her eyes scan the surrounding shadows.  If there would be any trouble, all she had to do was call the wind. 
The road had sections of stone between the sections of bare ground.  She avoided the paved areas as her boots clicked against it.  She smelled the air for the scent she had smelled earlier, but it had been extinguished as if someone had suddenly smote it out.  Usually the perfume of a spell lingers—no matter how strong your abilities are—the aftereffects of an executed spell linger like smoke after fireworks.
Megan also was beginning to question the little girl’s directions.  She has passed six houses and no scent, and no signs of a seer’s home.  But would she have markings outside her door?  Megan began to think she had made a mistake, and turned around to see a dark figure shrouded in darkness and draped in a ragged cloak that covered their identity.
Startled, Megan jumped back at first then lifted her chin and glared at the figure.  A delicate scent curled around her.  It wasn’t a strong spell, but one she’d never smelled before—almost like a welcome mat had suddenly been thrown at her feet.
“Casperinia Mourhill, or Megan, as you preferred to be called.  I have the pleasure of your presence,” the shadowed figure said, throwing off her hood and stepping towards Megan.
She was as tall as Megan with silky, dark hair and angled features that gave her a hard appearance. 
“Are you the seer Odella?”
“Well, I’m not the welcoming party of Duegar District.”  Her voice snapped.  “Come, there is business to tend to—I don’t like what your mother has plans of doing.”
“You know my mother?”  Surprise filled Megan.  “How do you know her?”
She stood with a smile and a raise of her left eyebrow.  “I know all of the Banshees worth knowing.  Though they don’t know me, and I intend to keep it that way—until now.  You, Megan Mourhill, are worth knowing.  I’ve never seen a Banshee give her exclusive Vine designed cloat to a vagabond before—impressive.” She nodded her head towards Megan with an encouraging smile.  “Please, come in.”
The house they went into was small and just like all the other homes that lined the street they were made out of packed clay, stones, the occasional brick, and even some cement blocks intricately designed as if they had come off an elaborate building in downtown Avalon.
“Please sit,” she said, motioning to a wood chair that was neatly tucked under a small, draped table.
Megan sat looking at the crystal ball in the middle of the table that was perched on what looked like a fossilized dragon talon.  It was small in size—baby size, and Megan found the whole set-up of Odella’s obvious fortune-telling parlor cliché.
“Have a problem with the Unseen world?”  Odella snapped the question at her.
Megan straightened herself, let the smirk fall from her lips, and took her eyes off the crystal ball, beads hanging from the doorway behind Odella, and the other trinkets decorating her house.  “No, sorry…never been to a seer’s parlor before.” 
Odella’s eyes, dark green, flashed towards her.  Odella then waved her hand over the crystal ball and it lifted into the air.  Twirling like a suspended ball, it slowly began to flatten out into a flattened square—like a television set.  It hung between Megan and Odella so they couldn’t see each other’s faces.  Megan, not sure what this seer was exactly doing, pushed the chair back.
“Do you not want to know what the Unseen world has to show you?  It is offering, and that offer I would take because the Unseen world is selective as to who they reveal things to.  And I usually have to ask them twice or beg—for you, they practically just broke down my door.”  Odella peeked around the corner of the Unseen world T.V. set, and gazed at her with questioning eyes.
Megan sat back down, and pulled closer to the table as Odella positioned herself on the other side.
“Ah!” Odella yelled as she fanned out her fingers.  “You have a lover—an Etherling you are fond of.  He is well…thinks of you…misses seeing you…” Megan’s heart fluttered.  “Toby is it?  Is that his name?”
“Toby?”  Megan questioned with a sour look on her face.
Toby Winslett was once her boyfriend, and she liked him like she did all of her boyfriends before—they were just toys and things to practice putting spells on.  Blonde hair, hazel eyes, and with strong arms that held her tight because he wanted to—not under some spell.  That was Craig Hartford—plain Etherling with nothing special to him except it made Megan’s heart race every time she saw him.  If the Banshee Goddesses had a plan for her, she didn’t know what that was.
Odella leaned over with an arched eyebrow and a smirk on her face.  “You like lots of boys,” she said, with a chuckle.  “Not surprising from a young Banshee, but you, you, Casperinia Mourhill are a different Banshee.”  Her voice smoothed like Megan was touching velvet.  “Your heart has been caught by an Etherling, but not the one mentioned.”
Suddenly the screen in front of Megan changed to show an image of Craig.  He was sitting on a rock overlooking Lake Heron.  She recognized it immediately as she had been to the park in the Etherworld many times.  It was where she went to make-out with her boyfriends and practice a little spell crafting. 
Craig had a distant look on his face—did he miss her?  Just a simple goodbye was all that was said when he was sent back to the Etherworld.  There was no time for anything else.  After Orzan was killed, Merlin, leader of the Rebels, ordered the Etherlings back to the Etherworld.  The Fae world was changing, and Craig wasn’t a part of this world—he had a family, home, and a place in his world.  Megan had a place in hers, and it wasn’t anywhere close to Craig.  Megan couldn’t help to lean forward wanting to call out his name.
“He is no hero, warrior, any relations to gods of any race, and from what I can see, very ordinary.  In fact he reeks with it, but,” her pointed index finger flashed from beside the screen.  “He plays an important part of securing the Everspell.”
“But the Everspell is gone.”  Megan was beginning to question the seer’s knowledge as well as the Unseen world.  “Lyssa used it to kill Orzan—it’s gone.”
“Magic doesn’t just leave.  It stays with the one it chooses to be with and grows.  The Fae in the Etherworld who believes she is only half-Fae, is in danger of Orzan’s sister.” 
With a wave of Odella’s hand the screen transformed back into a crystal ball.  Megan gazed at it, and then lifted her eyes to the seer.
“So, what am I supposed to do?”  Megan asked.  “Really, is that all the Unseen world has to show me?”  She crossed her arms feeling cheated.  She risked getting caught by the press, getting robbed or worse in Duegar District, and gave her favorite cloat away.  At least that was a good thing.
“What do you expect, princess?”  Odella leaned across the table and looked like a snake ready to strike.  “The Unseen world gives you what you need to know and nothing more.  It’s simple.  The Everspell is not gone, and is sought out by Orzan’s sister, Izzett. The Fae world is at a threshold of change, and it is up to you, Banshee princess, to bring the Everspell back to the Fae world.”