Thursday, December 31, 2015

Midweek Mayhem Children of Fae Chapter 13 excerpt

I can't believe it's end of the year already.  Still working on Children of Fae and the end is in sight, but with the Holidays it came to a screeching halt.  I'm currently working on Chapter thirteen and here is an excerpt.  Enjoy!







Chapter Thirteen

Lyssa

“I don’t know how to use the Everspell, and why did Zoey put it in me?”  Lyssa asked rhetorically as her father put another log on the fire.  “This wasn’t how things were supposed to go.”  She looked at her dad who appeared calm and without worry.  At one time she would had given anything for him to be that way, but now she felt a sense of urgency and he was warming his hands by the fire.
“I forgot how cold the nights in the Black Forest got,” he said, ignoring Lyssa’s distress.
“I don’t care how cold it gets!  Didn’t you hear me?  What’s expected of me? The Drakes call me their queen and I’m supposed to give power to a prince of a lost city.”  Her dad turned towards her.  “Dad,” she said softly and on the verge of tears.  “How am I supposed to do that when I couldn’t even decide on a major for college?” 
He laughed, but Lyssa was serious, and as if her dad’s laughter was magic, she found herself joining him.
“Lyssa,” he said.  “You are a part of this world, and that can never change.  As hard as we tried to push it away, it came to us.  Sometimes there are things we can’t control that are guiding us and we can’t ignore them.”  He looked back into the fire.  “Your mother liked the Black Forest, and we came here several times.  Though it wasn’t deemed a recreational spot for the Faes, and really, very few liked the forest with its gnarled trees that looked like they had been tortured since they were just seedlings, and the rushing streams that were too violent to fish or swim in.  Most thought it was an eerie, evil place not to spend too long in.”  He looked over at Lyssa with a shrug of his shoulders.  “But your mother liked it because it was unique and pristine.  It had a dangerous beauty of its own that she wasn’t scared of—even at night.”  He raised his eyebrows.
“But you were?”  She asked.
He smiled with a small chuckle.  “At first, yes, but your mother showed me another side to it that was there and very few could see.  It was beautiful in its own way and I would’ve never seen it if she didn’t show me.”  He leaned back as the flames danced around the charred logs emitting its soothing warmth that curled around Lyssa.  “I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that even though we never planned on going to some enchanted, scary place, there is beauty and purpose there if you chose to look for it.”
“But being a Queen is being a leader, and I’m not a leader.”
Her dad continued staring into the fire.  “Lyssa, since your mother died I’ve been fighting this spell she put on me so I wouldn’t mourn her.”  The fire crackled and popped as if it was trying to speak also.  “She was always that way,” he said, “always trying to make someone not hurt, but her spell came at a price I couldn’t see.”  He looked over at Lyssa with saddened eyes.
“It’s alright.”  She reassured him.  “I was sad and sometimes angry at you, but it wasn’t your fault.  And besides, the spell is gone and we still have each other.”
“True.”  He smiled.  “And now you and I are here.”  He glanced up at the darkened sky laced over with barren twigs from the trees that surrounded them.  “This is your world, Lyssa.”  His words seemed to weave through her like a ribbon.  “This is your world that you belong in, and they don’t take destiny and fate here lightly.  You are special, just like Sean used to tell me every so often when you were growing up.  Somehow, I think he knew you’d be here doing something great.”
“That’s the problem,” Lyssa said switching her gaze from her dad to the fire.  “I don’t know how to do something great.  I don’t know how to save this world, use the Everspell, and be a Queen.”
“No one does, but you have the Drakes to protect you now, and we must trust them.”  His voice had a tinge of uncertainty.
Lyssa turned towards her dad.  “You don’t trust them, do you?”
He glanced over at her from under his eyebrows.  “Not totally, but Zoey does, she came to me in a dream and said to trust you and them.”
Lyssa felt a lump form in her throat.  “You talked to Zoey?”
He nodded.  “Yes, and I trust her enough to walk to the ends of any world if she asked me.  If Zoey trusts the Drakes, then I will listen to her.”  He shrugged his shoulders.  “Besides, we don’t know the dangers that surround us, they’ve done nothing so far to harm us, and,” he tilted his head to the side.  “Elsa is a pretty good cook.”
“Yes, she is, but dad,” she looked into his eyes.  “I’ve been with them and I know we are safe with them.  Whatever they did to mom’s village, Elsa and Dane aren’t the Drakes that destroyed her village.”
He nodded his head.  “I know, but I am cautious.”  He grinned at her.   
Lyssa felt a sliver of relief at her dad’s Zoey-induced trust for the Drakes she had faith in, but still felt overwhelmed.  She curled her legs to her chest and wrapped her arms around them.  “If only the Everspell came with an owners’ manual.  Then all I’d have to do is read the instruction, and we’d be done.”
Her dad laughed as he patted her on the back.  For a moment, is she closed her eyes, Lyssa felt she was at home again sitting in the kitchen talking to her dad.  But no matter how much she longed for that, she felt a slight tug inside of her that felt this world, the Fae world, was her home now. 
“Dad,” she said.  “I think we are in the right place at the right time.  I can’t explain it, but even thought I want to go home, the longer I’m here the more I want to stay.”
Her dad smiled down at her.  “That’s what your mom used to say about the Black Forest.” He paused as if collecting his thoughts.  “You are part Fae, and that will always pull you here no matter what or how you try to stop it.  It will always be with you and you with it.  The Everspell was a gift from Zoey, and she had enough faith in you to handle it and from what I know and saw what you’re capable of,” he said looking into her eyes.  “I know you have the strength in you to help save you and your mother’s world.”
You and your mother’s world.
Those words hung in Lyssa’s head like the colorful hanging baskets of flowers that filled her dad’s greenhouse.  She felt a new edge to her she didn’t know was there, and her dad’s words helped uncover it.  Lyssa was strong, she knew that now, but was she strong enough to save the Fae world?
“We must move,” Dane said, startling Lyssa and her dad.  He stood motionless as if had materialized from out of the shadows.  “Landmerrows have been spotted and are headed this way.”
Lyssa stood up as Dane hovered at the edge of the fire’s glow.  She looked at him as he gazed back at her like a cold statue.  She wondered how long he was standing there and if he had been listening to their conversation.  He continued to hold her gaze and she wanted to say something, but didn’t.
“You didn’t call them here or let them follow you so you could have me kill them and risk everyone’s life to see if the Everspell worked?”  She asked sarcastically instead of asking Dane if he was eavesdropping or not.
His eyes were locked on her in a curious way as Lyssa thought she saw a slight smirk on his face.  “No, you’ve already proved that.  There’s no need to risk that, Lyssa.  You’ve shown us what you can do, and now isn’t the time to show-off what you can do—there’s more important things going on right now.”
Lyssa shook her head—that’s not the way it was supposed to go.  “No, I didn’t want…”
“Lyssa you will ride with me, and Thomas,” Dane said, ignoring Lyssa as she tried to explain herself.  “You will travel with the rest of the Drakes.”
“Where exactly are we going?”  Lyssa’s dad stepped towards Dane.
Dane stood with his hands clasped together in front of him as the warm glow of the fire softly lit his features.  Lyssa kept her eyes focused on him.
“We are to go to the Spindle City.  The Prince has found his way and will be coming soon.”
“How do you know this?”  Her dad asked.
Dane drew in a tiresome sigh as if he didn’t want to take the time to elaborate on what he was telling them and Lyssa knew he didn’t like to be asked too many questions.  But Dane claimed she was to be their Queen, and that thought suddenly ran through her head.  Queens needed to be informed of everything and not led around like a puppy.
“You said I’m your Queen?”  Lyssa stepped forward and crossed her arms across her chest as Dane looked at her with a nod.  “Then I want to know what’s going on, and I am involved if decisions are being made.”
Dane’s smirk appeared again on his face, this time he didn’t try to hide it.
“No, that’s not how it works.”  He stepped in front of her like an overbearing shadow.  “You are our Queen, but that doesn’t mean you rule over us.  We have a command in place and right now we must get to safety.”
Elsa and two other Drakes came from behind Dane.
“We must move, Thomas.”  Her warm face was nearly shrouded by the over-sized hood from her long cape.  All of them, the Drakes nearly blended in with the darkness that surrounded them.  “Landmerrows are headed this way, and Izzet has gained their loyalty at least for now.  The Spindle City will be our sanctuary and the safest place for Lyssa and you.  Old wards were set in place a long time ago that protect the city, and I can activate them until the Prince arrives.”
“Who exactly is this prince?”  Lyssa’s dad asked as Dane stepped closer towards Lyssa.
She looked into his eyes knowing he would take her kicking and screaming if he had to.
“The visions will not tell me, but he has found his destiny and knows who he is.  He comes from Avalon, but he hails from the Arrinia Forest, but he wasn’t born there but grew up there among others his age.  His past is complicated, and he’s just finding that out.  A face that belongs to the Prince of the Spindle City, I can’t see as my visions won’t let me.  He is strong, young, and courageous.”  Elsa stepped closer towards Lyssa’s dad.  “And he has the alliance of a sky serpent drawn here by Izzet.  Duegar District burns as we speak and we will too if we don’t get to the Spindle City.”
“He comes from the Arrinai Forest?”  Lyssa asked as the ground shook under her feet and branches overhead creaked and moaned.
“Landmerrows—no time to waste,” Elsa said, looking from Dane then at Lyssa.  “Take her to the Spindle City.”
No sooner had Elsa spoke those words, and Dane had latched a belt around Lyssa’s waist, expelled his wings and jolted through a small opening through the tree branches and into the thick darkness of the night sky.
The forest loomed underneath them as Dane held tightly onto Lyssa.  She worried about her dad as she didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye.  Tears threatened behind her eyes, but she forced them away.  Of course she’d see her dad again, and she’d use the Everspell to save this world and they’d be together.  All she wanted was a normal life in the Etherworld, but when you are part from another world, normal is relative.  The Fae world was beginning to beckon her and instead of resisting, Lyssa was listening.
“Not frightened anymore of flying I see.”  Dane said to her as other Drakes joined them.
“Is that what you like to do to Fae girls—scare them?” 
She heard him make a noise that sounded like a snicker. 
“The last thing I want to do is scare Fae girls.  Just my race alone is effective enough to do that.  A look alone will do the trick.”
“Did you ever try smiling?”  Lyssa watched the shadowy scenery go by as she listened to Dane’s wings that sounded like a slowly beating heart.
The night encased them in a mixture of black marbled with shades of dark blue and tiny stars that dotted the sky.  Everything looked different up this high compared to the ground and was very quiet, including Dane.  Lyssa thought maybe he didn’t hear her question and before she could answer, they took a sudden dive towards the ground that made Lyssa scream.
Before she knew it, they were on solid ground.
“Why are we landing here?  Is this the Spindle City?”  She looked around and waited for the other Drakes to land.  She heard their beating wings, and searched the black sky, but couldn’t see them.  “Are the rest of the Drakes going to land, because it sounds like they are passing over us?”  Lyssa wondered what was going on and looked to Dane as he released the strap around her waist.
She stepped to the ground and turned to watch Dane fold his bat-like wings behind him.  He steadily looked at her with shadowed eyes and a stillness only the dead could replicate.  Dane’s sharp facial features looked even sharper in the dim light from the moon.  He just gazed at her, and she back at him with heart pounding.  Maybe her dad was right about Drakes.  That thought flickered through her thoughts. Danes intimidating silhouette towered in front of her, but she knew he would never hurt her.  He had always welcomed and helped her in his almost cold, reptile-like way.
“No, they won’t be joining us.”  He finally said stepping towards her in a fluid movement.  “They have my orders to meet us in the Spindle City.”
“So…why did we stop?”
Dane stood beside her and gazed at her from over his shoulder that nearly touched her.  “There is something you must do before you go into the Spindle City.”
“Do something?  Like what?”  She asked and Dane ignored her.
“Follow me and find out.”
Lyssa followed him up and down steep ravines laden with loose rocks that rolled under her feet.  Dane glided over the terrain like he was walking on a paved sidewalk.  She kept up and followed his nearly invisible form through the barren landscape until they reached an area filled with slender columns.
“This is the gate to the Spindle City, and it needs to be lit.”  Dane stood in front of one of the columns and gazed back at her.
Lyssa looked up at them.  The columns towered over them like trees of an ancient forest.  Most of them stood straight with their ornate tops still intact and untouched by elements.  A few leaned slightly and looked like broken bones stuck in the ground with their tops gone crumbled to the ground as if someone had tried to destroy random columns.  They were evenly spaced and reminded Lyssa of a chess board with its different pieces strategically placed.  She saw their outline in the moon-lit sky filled with stars and ghost-like clouds that continually boiled and curled into different shapes as they passed by like ships on a still sea.  She didn’t know how many columns there were, but looked to be many that faded into the darkness.
“Do you remember how to light a landtower, Lyssa Cleverthorn?”  He turned away from her and placed his hand on the side of the column he stood by.  It began to glow with a dim, gold light.
Lyssa remembered the caves her and Dane had stopped at when he was taking her to the Arrinia Forest and back to Zoey.  The cave was filled with what Dane had called landtowers and skytowers that she knew as stalactites and stalagmites.  They were just fascinating cave structures that were a buildup of minerals over many years inside caves, or at least that’s what she thought.
She recalled it clearly.  Dane had showed her how to light them up by placing her hands on them.  He had helped her by covering her hand with his.  Dane was strong, no doubt, but she had felt his power and strength run through her.  She had never felt so alive and strong herself, almost like it was a drug that she craved.  Lyssa had a taste of the lands energy along with Dane’s, and she didn’t want it to stop.
“Yeah, I remember.”  Lyssa timidly replied with a smile from Dane.
“I can’t do it alone, and neither can you—at least not yet.”
“But I don’t know how to do it.  You were the one who lit the landtower in the caves.  I didn’t do anything.”  Her eyes met Dane’s as he held his outstretched hand towards her.
She looked at him then at all the towers before she slipped her hand in his.  Dane gently grasped onto her hand and placed it against the cool, smooth stone of the pillar.  The ground under her feet had springs of thick grass growing in clumps that was littered with the crumbled sections of ancient columns from the size that could easily fit in your palm, to large sections that you could sit on.  Lyssa felt nothing at first, then like a wave that rushed towards shore, power, strength and the very essence of life that had slept silently for years, surged towards her.
Lyssa wasn’t sure she could handle it, and wanted to pull away, but Dane pressed her hand securely against the smooth stone.  She looked at Dane with his eyes closed and his body as still as the columns that stood like a petrified forest of ancient times.  He looked relaxed and almost like he was enjoying it.  Lyssa looked up at the slender pillar that she could just about wrap her arms entirely around.  It glowed, and suddenly, so did several broken pieces strewn around her.
Gold light, soft and dim like moon rays, emitted from the column and the pieces that belonged to it scattered over the ground.  Slowly one by one, the sections on the ground lifted and floated in midair traveling upward.  Just like a puzzle being put back together, the column, slowly reconstructed itself until it was whole again.  Lyssa watched amazed at the glowing structure with a top that reminded her of a palm tree with its large, jagged leaves. 
Dane removed his hand as Lyssa stilled pressed her hand to the glowing pillar.  She couldn’t take her eyes from it.
“You did well, and can do the rest by yourself,” Dane said, standing close to her in a soft voice.
  She looked at him.  “Do the rest by myself.”  She repeated in disbelief.  “I can’t do that.  I’m not strong enough.”
Dane smiled.  “You are and did this one by yourself.”
She looked up at it still glowing like a beacon.
“The Prince of Nerabeth, the Spindle City, is coming and we must light his doorstep for him.”  He whispered in her ear as Lyssa closed her eyes.  “We are losing the night’s darkness, and there are nineteen more to do, my Queen.”
Lyssa took her hand from the pillar.  “Nineteen?  How do you know that’s how many we have to do?”
Dane took her hand and guided her to the next column.  She looked up at it and then at Dane.
“Nineteen have been counted and that’s how many you must bring back to their glory.”
Lyssa felt her stomach drop as she looked up at the column.  Dane covered her hand with his and leaned closer towards her.  The tower began to glow slightly illuminating his face.  His steely eyes focused on hers.  She felt the rush of power run through her feet planted firmly on the ground that traveled up her legs and to her arms then into the cold stone that shone with increasing brightness.
She pulled her hand away not feeling weak, but strong.
Dane smiled at her.  “Now only eighteen.”

Friday, December 4, 2015

Blackbird Trilogy on kindle

Download the complete Blackbird Trilogy for your kindle for only $1.99 and don't let the adventure stop until the end! Click on the link below to start your reading adventure!



Amazon Link

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Midweek Mayhem Children of Fae Chapter 12 excerpt

I'm not sure where this year has gone, but I know it has gone by quickly.  Inching my way closer to getting done with Children of Fae.  I always love a story with good characters and think you can the most boring plot, but add a couple of colorful character and tada you have a much more interesting story.  I've really enjoyed the characters in Children of Fae and hope you enjoy this excerpt of Chapter 12.  Enjoy!




Chapter Twelve

Wes

“You’ll be fine,” Elijah said examining Wes’s neck.
“I know, I’ve had worse.”  He pushed Elijah’s hands away and slid off the stool he sat on.
“I see you still have the same manners you had when you left the Arrinia Forest.”  Wes put his jacket back on not wanting to join the others in Merlin’s study.  “I take it you haven’t reached the chapter on etiquette in your training as a sentry.”
Wes gave Elijah a scowl as he adjusted his leather jacket.  He was too angry at himself for not getting to Lyssa in time, angry that Toby would have strangled him to death if it wasn’t for Sean showing up and activating the portal remains in Lyssa’s house, and angry Merlin caught him using the portal—what was he thinking of using the Museum’s portal anyhow?  He glanced down at his boots.  The serpents still gazed back with the same readiness that was frozen in their reptile-like faces.  How could he be a prince, and why was he letting it get to his head?
“So tell me, what were you going to do when you reached Lyssa?  Where would you have gone?  And how would you protect her?”  Elijah asked with a slight smirk on his face as Wes looked at him without an answer.  He didn’t have a plan.
Elijah walked towards him and smiled down at Wes.  Just like a puffy cloud coasting across a summer’s sky that would give the workers in the orchard a break from the burning sun, Elijah towered over Wes in a welcoming, protective way. 
“Come, Wes.”  He opened the door.  “Merlin would like to speak to you, and well, everyone that seems to keep getting involved this mess.”
Wes didn’t want to, and it wasn’t that he didn’t want to talk to Merlin, but he didn’t want to do it in front of everyone, especially Lizzi.
“Elijah,” Wes said as the giant opened the door and nodded for him to go.
Orillions illuminated Merlin’s library that was filled with books that were once housed at the Rebel’s mansion.  Sean, Deravon and Merlin hovered around a large wood desk with a black marble top looking at a map.  Elijah joined them as Lizzi jumped up from the chair she was sitting in.  The two Etherlings were not there.
“Wes, are you alright?”  She asked with concern as she wrapped her arms around him and looked at his fading bruises.  “I was worried.”
Wes looked at her.  She looked pretty—almost like a princess in her silver gown.  He pushed her hands away, and curled her slender fingers around his.
“Lizzi, I’m fine.”  He reassured her as Zaki, the demon, stepped up behind her like a dark shadow.
Wes didn’t hide the way he felt about him, and stepped slightly in front of Lizzi.
“Good to see you can quickly recover.”  Zaki’s voice had a tinge of disappointment in it.
“It’s a gift.”  He kept his eyes steadily with Zaki’s
“Look…”  Zaki started to say.
“The most important thing is that you are alright.”  Lizzi stepped between them.  “Zaki is the one that pulled Toby off of you when Sean activated the portal and brought you here.” 
Wes lifted his eyes for a second to Zaki.  What was he supposed to do—thank him?  Wes wasn’t about to do such a thing.
“I would’ve had the Etherling off of me without anyone’s help.”
Zaki smirked and shook his head.  “Ego is an awful thing to have and maintain.  I simply seen the Etherling was on top of your limp body, and I took the opportunity to relieve you of a terrible strangulation.”  Zaki said flatly.  “Besides, Lizzi would be heartbroken if anything would have happened to you,” he said with a slight sneer.
“When do demons care about what others feel?”  Wes stepped closer to Zaki.  “They are usually out for themselves, and nothing more.”
Zaki gave him a tired look and drew in a deep breath as he lowered his head and closed his eyes.  Wes wondered what he was doing and made an amused sound towards Zaki’s lack of comment.  Just before Wes decided to make another jab, Zaki snapped his head up with eyes filled with a depthless black.
“You’re right, little Prince,” Zaki said.  “But I’m not just some mindless demon out for themselves.”
Suddenly, the orilions dimmed and the air cooled to the point Wes saw his breath fog in front of him.  He glanced over at Sean, Merlin, Elijah and Deravon.  Deravon had one hand on his hip and the other extended with finger pointing to a spot on the lightmap that glowed in midair just over Merlin’s desk.  Elijah and Merlin looked on and none of them made a sound. Sean looked toward Wes with a frozen glance of unblinking eyes. He looked like he was about to ask him something, but instead stood as still as a statue. Quickly he looked at Lizzi who stood motionless with her lips parted as if she was speaking.
“Lizzi,” Wes said in a whisper as he lifted his eyes and met Zaki’s cold, black ones. 
Anger filled him like a rushing wave crashing into a rocky shore.  With one quick movement, Wes pulled from his pocket a palm scepter and expelled it only to drop it from nearly burning his hand.
“I don’t want to hurt you or anyone here.”  Zaki’s voice was calm.  “I’m after what all of you are after, and I intend to secure the Everspell by whatever means I must.  And as you can see, I have exceptional abilities to stop, or actually, slow time…no it isn’t really that.”  He tapped his chin with his finger as Wes held his scorched hand.  “Think of it as a pause with what I would call a little soliloquy just between you and me with no other ears listening.”  As quickly as his eyes blackened, they returned to their golden state as Wes’s knees buckled from under him, and he fell to the floor.
“You will remember none of the Prince of Nerabeth, but hold a reverence towards me for the rest of your time.”  Zaki’s words whispered around Wes as they felt like tiny drops of water funneling through his ear, down his neck and throughout his body like a sickness he could do nothing about.
“Wes!”  Lizzi yelled as Wes opened his eyes realizing he was on the floor.
He pushed himself up as Elijah lifted him up the rest of the way and put him on the puffy chase that looked like the ones that swooning girls were placed on in all the dramatic paintings of fainting girls that hung on the museum’s walls. But Wes wasn’t some fainting, weak girl—he was a sentry and once the best rebel in the Arrinia Forest! Elijah made him lay down and propped his feet up as everyone looked on.
“Elijah, I said I was fine,” he said, frustrated and pushed himself up as Elijah pushed him back down and held his shoulders with his thick hands.
Wes felt his cheeks redden as Lizzi looked down at him with concern.
“I said I’m fine!”  He repeated.
“You might be fast at healing, but you nearly were choked to death by that Etherling.”  Elijah said with his eyebrows curving downward and eyes flickering with equal frustration.  “You will stay put!”
Wes closed his eyes and let out a surrendering breath.  There was no use in fighting with Elijah, or anyone else in the room.  He placed his folded arm across his eyes blocking everyone out.
“Wes,” Lizzi said his name in a way a child would when they were testing the waters of someone they had upset.
“What, Lizzi?”  He asked with his arm still resting over his eyes.
She didn’t say anything, but he felt her gentle hand touch his shoulder.  “Are you alright?”  Her tone expected more than just a casual yes.
Wes removed his arm and looked at her.  He remembered the first time he saw her.  Lizzi was smaller than the other girls and got pushed around.  He witnessed the same spectacle every time, and wondered why she never fought back. The other girls made Lizzi do their chores while they went out into the woods or to the library—anything to get out of work.  He felt sorry for her, but just when he was going to set the other girls straight, that’s when he caught Lizzi doing her chores.  She wasn’t sad, mad or even the slightest bit angry.  Instead, she hummed and sang while she did them.  Perplexed, Wes never said anything to the chore-pushing-off girls or Lizzi.  Why she was happy doing them and as far as he was concerned, a doormat, Wes never knew.
Wes smiled at Lizzi as she looked at him with worry.
“You always try to please everyone, don’t you Lizzi?” Wes asked still caught in his distant memory.  “What you get out of it I’ll never know.”
“Please everyone?”  Lizzi shook her head.  “Wes, just stay still.”
Wes tried to push himself up on his wobbly arms.
“You might want to listen to Elijah, and stay put for a while,” Zaki said, standing behind Lizzi as if he was her shadow.  “You may not be as much as a super Fae as you think you are.”  His tone had a tinge of amusement, but Wes disregarded it knowing it should bother him and he should say something, but his thoughts were quickly washed away like footprints in sand along an ocean’s edge.
Wes felt his movements had become shaky, and his mind casted over with a fog.  Lizzi leaned closer towards him and opened her mouth as if she was going to say something then suddenly turned to Zaki with a stern look as her words became a whirlwind of noises around him.
“Come, Wesley,” Deravon said gently pulling him up along with Elijah.
Wes tried to move his feet, but they too wouldn’t work.  What had happened to him?  He felt he had gotten worse instead of better.  Something wasn’t right, and he felt it move through him like a worm in loose soil.
“Let’s take him across the hall.”  Elijah said just as the door flung open in front of them.
Deravon and Elijah stepped back as Wes’s feet were now in front of him instead of being dragged behind him.
“Ah, it’s only Eli,” Deravon said.  “I knew you’d figure out where everyone was at and catch up.”
“Catch up,” Eli huffed between gasps of air.  He had obviously been running.
“I told you to stay at the door!”  An annoyed, female voice yelled behind Eli that was followed by a large woman with dark hair pulled back tightly and wearing an apron over her black outfit.  She grabbed Eli by his back collar, nearly lifting him off the ground. “I tried to stop him—was in the kitchen baking for tonight as I can see we have several unannounced guest you forgot to tell me about.”  Her beady, dark eyes focused solely on Merlin. 
“Yes, Daphne, I meant to tell…”  Merlin stepped closer to the giant, but was boldly cut off by her.
“This devil planted a throwing disk into the tapestry over the fireplace when I refused to let him in, and then ran upstairs.”  Daphne lifted Eli off the ground like you would a cat by the scruff.
“Let him down, woman, before you strangle him too, we have enough of that going on already.”
“He’s an intruder, and I’m supposed to be just the cook, but it seems my job description has changed!”  Daphne let Eli down as he caught his breath and pulled on his beaded sentry cloak.
“Daphne, I apologize, but my work has taken a turn into the unexpected.”  Merlin gazed up at her as he grabbed the door shoving it shut pushing her out.  “There will be several of us tonight, so just handle it please!”  He shook his head and rubbed his temple as the door went shut on Daphne.
“At least give me a time when you’ll be ready.”
“Whenever,” Merlin replied.
Daphne made a groaning sound followed by her giant footsteps walking away and a slamming of a door.
  “If you are in need of another chef, I can recommend one.”  Zaki, who stood by Lizzi like he was attached to her, grinned as he looked at Merlin.
“Enough out of everyone!”  Merlin’s voice boomed catching everyone’s attention. 
The room grew quiet as Wes let his head rest on Elijah’s thick arm.  He couldn’t focus no matter how hard he tried, and was becoming frustrated with himself.  Then shadows of oranges and dull reds flickered on the wall caught his attention.  They danced across the wall like demons dancing with delight.  Wes wondered what it was, as they were too bright to come from a fireplace, but in his state, Wes found it more entertaining than anything else. 
“It’s started,” Merlin, with his face shrouded with grey shadows as if repelling the warm light that flickered through the massive windows of his study.
“That’s not the worst of it.”  Eli stepped beside him as everyone looked at the flames in the distant.  “Izzet has the disposal of a sky serpent, and is burning Duegar District as we speak. She made her presence known at the Ball and warned anyone who challenged her would be destroyed.  She has an army of landmerrows that went to the museum, but are too stupid to understand portals.  I followed them there, and clearly seen it had been used.”  Wes kept his eyes focused on the flames that danced in the distance.  “I assumed that you’d come here, Deravon, but I didn’t expect,” Eli glanced over his shoulder, “everyone.”
“Well, you know me,” Deravon glanced at Eli with a crooked grin.  “I like to always have my entourage with me ready to fight the bad guy.”  Dervon turned his head back towards the burning Duegar District.  “There, there she is.”
“I see it—a sky serpent.”  Merlin announced as he stepped in front of everyone.  Wes tried to focus through the flames, but couldn’t see anything.
“Wes,” Deravon said his name as he pulled on his jacket and pressed him close to the low window that overlooked the garden below.
Merlin’s mansion was on the outskirts of Sidhe Hills and slightly towards the north like a watchtower on a hill that nearly overlooked all of Avalon.
“Call her, she can be yours.”  He whispered in his ear.
“Wes can’t call a sky serpent.”  Eli exclaimed stepping beside Deravon as he looked from Wes towards the burning buildings.
Not only were the flames beautiful in color, they were deadly.  Wes suddenly realized through his hazy thoughts.  He did have to do something, but what?
“He’s the Prince of Nerabeth.”  Lizzi’s voice echoed behind him.
He then heard Merlin question Lizzi along with Elijah and Zaki standing up for Lizzi as they bombarded her with questions. 
It was an explosion of chaos not only in Duegar District, but inside Merlin’s library.  Voices became muffled as Wes focused on the flames searching the horizon for the creature.  Why did he want to find it?  He didn’t know, but the pull inside of him kept his unblinking eyes focused and searching for the creature he’d never saw before.
Wes placed his hands on the cool glass, his breath fogging the window.  “Come to me,” he said, and felt they weren’t his words or thoughts anymore.
Everyone in the room continued to argue, yell and demand answers.  But Wes stayed focused on the flames until he noticed a ripple in the dancing flames.  He held his breath as that ripple took form.  It glided through the night sky like a ribbon through the air.  It was graceful, mighty, beautiful, and a sky serpent that Wes clearly saw was headed towards him.
Closer and closer she came through the burning night sky fluid with the color that surrounded her.  She felt him, pulled at him and wanted him to speak to her.  But how do you talk to a sky serpent?
“She’s coming,” Wes barely breathed.
“I demand to know what is going on with all of you right this minute!”  Merlin’s voice rumbled just as the floor under their feet shuddered.
Everyone stopped yelling and joined Wes at the window.  Silence now filled the room as they looked down at the ruined gardens below where a sky serpent had landed and was searching with her eyes that pulsated like two hearts with the colors of the night surrounded by her silver scales.
“I’d say for starters, you have a sky serpent in your front yard, Merlin.”  Deravon, no matter how desperate, extraordinary or grim things got, he always had a smart comment to make.
Wes felt everyone surround him beside the window as they peered down at the magnificent creature.  She looked up at them and directly at Wes.  Her body shimmered with iridescent scales that captured every particle of light there was in the softly lit garden.  Her eyes were the first thing you notice.  Like two pulsating disks of bleeding colors, they looked like she had injured them as the color feathered into tiny veins surrounding her large eyes.  Her eyes shifted with different hues that continually changed, and all Wes could do was stare at her mesmerized by her enchanting form.
“She’s beautiful—amazing,” whispered Sean standing behind him.
“My name is Irus, and I’m the fourth in command on the Isle of Stars.  I was called by a false voice, I can see that now, and I was used for evil purposes by an evil spell. I heard a distant voice that belonged to the ones we once served.  I am very curious as to the one who broke the withered-one’s spell. It has been many years—state your name, young prince.”
“My name is Wesley Pendleton, and I’m the Prince of Nerabeth.”  Wes announced as the serpent’s eyes grew in brightness, and lowered her head towards the ground.  He felt it pulsate through him as if he had a second heart pushing new blood through him.
“I can see it in your aura and in your eyes.” Her voice filled with a distant sense of happiness.  “We have been waiting for you, Prince of Nerabeth.”

Megan

“Do you remember giving me this?”  Megan asked Craig holding up the necklace with the penny in it that he had given her.  She’d been trying for the last hour to get Craig to remember her or anything related to her.
He looked at it and then rubbed his forehead closing his eyes.  Merlin had compelled Craig at the museum, but what she didn’t realize was that Merlin had compelled her as well and shoved them into a small room that resembled a study with several books lining the wall, oil paintings of landscapes between the shelves, and a couple of uncomfortable chairs. The room was neat and looked unused or at least not used for anything of importance.
Megan still held up her necklace even though Craig wasn’t looking at it or her.  She was becoming frustrated of being here, shoved into a room and forgotten, and for Craig not having any memory of her.
“I use to go to your school, and you asked me to dance—once.”  Megan remembered him asking and her rejecting with a roll of her eyes and a no.  “You have got to remember me, Craig.”  She’d spent the last hour trying to jog his memory.  Craig was still under the effects of Merlin’s spell and was groggy.
Megan grew even more impatient as time was not on her side, and she had to get out of here.  She didn’t care about the Everspell and who had or didn’t have it.  She let out a sigh as she placed her hands on her hips and looked at Craig sitting in the puffy chair looking as content as a cat napping in the sun.
“I said you have got to remember me!”  She bent down and placed her hands on his shoulders shaking him as violently as she could.
“Stop or I’m gonna puke!”  He yelled and she stopped, kneeling in front of him feeling hopeless.
“It’s no use.” She sobbed.  “Merlin’s spell has overridden mine.”  She shook her head.  “I should’ve known…what was I thinking?”
Megan wished she had a spell vial to use on Craig, but that would just be another spell placed on Craig—she wanted him for who he was, not induced to have feelings for her by some spell.
“Did you dance with me?”  Craig asked suddenly.
Megan looked up at him, pulled from her inwardly debate to use a spell of not.  “What?”
“Did you dance with me?”  He repeated looking at her with his gentle eyes.
“No, but I wished I would have.”
Craig took in a deep breath and glanced at her necklace.  She gently touched it, running her finger over the penny and then looked at him.
“I do believe in lucky pennies, but only shiny ones.”
“It was once shiny.  I put it in a necklace so it would be safe.  It tarnished quickly—I guess Etherling currency isn’t like Fae made.”
He nodded.  “I suppose there aren’t too many pennies here, so I must’ve given it to you.”
“Yes, you did, and I gave you something.”  She hoped he remembered.
Craig looked away and then got up and paced the windowless room.  “You know, I should be freaking out right now.”  He turned to her.  “But I’m not and don’t feel like I should.  This place, and that furry creature that came and got me—he knew my name, and I can’t explain it but I felt I should know him, or it, or whatever it exactly is.”
“Mike was your mog or still is I guess.”  Megan walked towards him. “He’s kind of like a dog in your world—the Etherworld.  We played fetch with him in the Arrinia Forest and let him swim in the small lake there.  It was just you and me.”
Megan stood close to him, but not too close as he looked away and then back at her.  From his expression, Megan wasn’t sure if he was remembering anything or even trying.
“Do girls dress like that all the time here?  Or are you a princess or something?”
“Only for special occasions, and yes, I’m a princess, a Banshee princess, but I don’t dress like this every day.”
“Wow,” he mumbled.  “I asked a princess to dance.”  He smiled looking at the ground.  “And you went to my school on …earth.  That seems so weird to say.”  He looked away running his hands through his hair.
“When am I going to wake up or when is somebody going to come and explain this to me!”
Megan reached for his arm and curled hers through his.  He turned towards her and looked into her eyes.  He then reached into his pocket and pulled out the small hand orillion.  Craig held it between them as it glowed in a soft light.
“I had this in my pocket and didn’t know what the hell it was.  So I asked Toby, and he said we got it at the carnival that comes to town once a year just after school starts.”  He rolled it in his hand gazing at it and then lifted his eyes to Megan.  “I didn’t believe him because just look at it.”  He pinched it between his fingers.  “Carnies don’t give out balls that are made of glass and glow—at the least it’s going to be made out of plastic.  I mean there is no place for batteries, it doesn’t even have a scratch on it after dropping it on cement, it lights up every time I hold it, and…”
Megan clasped her hand around it making it glow brighter between their fingers.
“It’s called an orillion, and I gave it to you.  It’s the light of the Faes and I hoped it would make you remember me.”
Craig looked at Megan then at the orillion that was sandwiched between their hands.
“I think, I think I did, well sort of did.  I knew there was something about it, but I couldn’t place it.  I looked at several times wondering about it, and now,” he smiled.  “I know you gave it to me.  I wish I would have remembered more.”
“It doesn’t matter now.  What matters is that this small orillion kept me alive in your thoughts, and fate brought us back together.”  Megan smiled feeling a small connection was growing between them.  “We call your world the Etherworld, no one will probably come here and explain everything to you, and no one cares about us right now.”
“So what will happen…I’ll have to get back…I’ll be missing and someone…”  His words trailed off and before he looked away, Megan caught his chin with her finger.
“I was trying to get to the Etherworld to find you and be with you, Craig Hartford.”  She kept her eyes locked with his.  “Somehow, you’ve come to me, and I can work the portal to get us back to the Etherworld.  It will be our home—a place for you and me because no one wants me here and no one cares if you’re here or not.”
Craig shook his head.  “I can understand no one caring about me, but you, you are a princess.”  Craig’s eyes widened.  “Someone cares if you’re here or not.”
Someone should, but they don’t—at least not for her wellbeing.  Megan looked at Craig.  He gazed back with the same admiration he always had for her.  It was like she could see into his being, his soul, and only she could do this.  Megan held his gaze as if words were being spoken between them that they could only understand. 
“You are like me,” Craig said softly.  “I’m just some kid that no one wanted to begin with and no one wants now.”  He kept his eyes steady with Megan’s.  “And not in just unwanted in one world, two worlds,” he chuckled holding up two fingers.
She wrapped her arms around him.  “That’s two of us, but not being wanted isn’t all that bad.”  Suddenly an idea rushed into her head.  “I can control the portal at the museum.”  He shook his head as he wrapped his arms around her.  “That means we can go anywhere and no one will care or even know the difference.  We will never come back, so it doesn’t matter what rules we break or laws, or even etiquette rules.”  Megan thought of the Ball she was just at with Sisley, her mom and Isaac.  She looked away and smiled—no wedding, no mother, and no arranged marriage.
“Etiquette rules?”  Craig asked.
Megan smiled and slipped her hand in his.  “Come on, we have to get out of here, and I’ve got just the place we can go that will be perfect.”