Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Midweek Mayhem Children of Fae Chapter 11 ecerpt

Excerpt of Chapter 11-Enjoy

Chapter Eleven


Toby led Wes through the forest until they reached a paved road.  He looked up to the sky knowing they didn’t have much time until morning.
“How much farther?”  Wes asked.
“My truck is up here.”
Wes shook his head wondering what a truck was.  His question was answered when they finally reached the forest’s edge that was still cluttered by bits of rubbish.  Wes looked at the squareish looking thing thinking it didn’t look better than the dump they had just left.
He got in as Toby got in on the other side and turned a key on the protruding column.  He then moved another rod, and the smelly thing moved forward down the road.
“How much farther to her dwelling?”  He asked as they started to pick up speed.
“She lives a couple of miles away.”  Toby kept his eyes focused on the road as they continued to pick up speed. 
The yellow markings of the road dashed by as the truck began to shake slightly. Wes gripped the small handle on the door and wondered if the thing would fly apart.  He looked over at Toby several times and he showed no concern to his truck that sounded like it was going to either explode or break apart.
“Is it wise to drive this thing that fast?”
Wes saw Toby’s mouth curl into an amused smile.
“Scared?”  He asked when the truck suddenly slowed, nearly throwing Wes out the large window.
“No, but questioning your ability to drive this thing.”
“Look, I got you here,” he said as they pulled up to a dark house that was slender with the roof extending nearly to the ground.  Flowers grew everywhere and lights, not as brilliant as orillions, were placed along a winding path.
Wes pushed past Toby and went up to the door, but found it shattered into pieces.  Inside was dark, and whatever happened, wasn’t good.  He pulled a hand orillion from his pocket and flicked out his palm scepter with the other.  His footsteps were soft, while Toby’s weren’t much quieter when he was tromping through the forest. Wes stopped.
“Stay here, you are too noisy.”  He shoved the orilion between them as Toby glared at him.
“If something happened to Lyssa…”  He shoved Wes out of the way and headed for a section of stairs that went up to a second level.
I want to be the one to save her!  Not some Etherling!
Wes ran after Toby, but after checking the entire dwelling, there was obviously no one here.  Wes stood looking at the shattered door.  It could have been Izzet’s men, but he had used the portal in the museum, and would have noticed if they used it before him.  Besides, they wouldn’t shatter the door and make what looked like a dramatic entrance.  They would’ve taken Lyssa secretly, to not alert anyone.  The more Wes looked around, the more animalistic it looked.  But what else would have shattered the door with what looked like an explosion and draw the attention of other Etherlings living in the area?   
With the orillion in front of him, Wes went back into the room filled with cabinets where a round table sat in the middle with chairs tipped on their sides beside it.  The room was in disarray, and he should’ve examined this room first, but just in case Lyssa was here, he didn’t want Toby to find her first.  He had envisioned finding her and rescuing her in some valiant way.  And now, it wasn’t looking too promising.
 He examined the floor closer, trying to find any clue that might tell him what or who had come for her.  Besides the front door being shattered, this room had the most damage, and more likely were Lyssa was at when she was taken.
Burn marks, he didn’t notice before, scorched the floor in a straight line.  Wes bent down and ran his fingers over it.  He then looked up at the ceiling, and found the shadowing of the same burn marks of that on the floor.
Wes stood up and shoved his orilion into his pocket.  Someone portaled directly here, and it was obvious from the telltale signs.  But what perplexed Wes was who had the portal to do this.  And portals usually don’t leave any traces—this one was more likely unstable. There was only the one portal in the museum, and the other hidden in the Arrinia forest.  Etches, of course, were used, but even then, they didn’t always work.  And to have such accuracy with any etch, you had to have someone of great knowledge to make one or be wealthy enough to buy one on the black market.
“Yeah, I’m here now, at Lyssa’s house—someone took her, Sean.”
Wes’s thoughts were interrupted by Toby who was taking to Sean by a device held up to his ear. 
“What are you doing?”  Wes demanded pulling it from his hand.
“What the hell are you doing?”  He grabbed it back as Wes heard Sean’s voice telling him he’d be right there.
“We don’t need to bring in any other Fae or Etherling. This is dangerous, and Lyssa is in danger!”
“Sean can help us and he’s on his way here.”  Toby flipped his device shut. 
Wes wasn’t going to wait for Sean to let him tag along, and Toby, as told in Lizzi’s premonition, was still a danger of being captured by Izzet.  He had no choice, Toby was going with him, and he hoped he could work the portal back to the museum.
Wes didn’t have anything to subdue or compel Toby to come with him.  He’d have to play on his emotions.
“If we want to save Lyssa, Sean isn’t going to help us.  I can work the portal and get us back to Fae.  That’s where she’s probably at anyhow.”
“So, you have an idea who done this, who took her?”
Wes looked at Toby.  “Not exactly, but rumors of the Everspell are sifting through Fae.  The ones that know of it and its power want to have it for the pure magic.  And they have the access and wealth to get the Everspell.”  He stepped closer towards Toby.  “Lyssa is in danger and the longer we stand here waiting for Sean, the harder it will be to find Lyssa, and even by then, it may be too late.”  The thought of Lyssa being hurt or worse, made Wes’s insides sink, but he had to get toby to come with him.
“Yeah, but Sean knows her, and he helped us before.”
“Toby,” Wes said.  “We must go. Sean is of no help right now.  He’s only delaying us.”
If Toby wasn’t a possible puppet or an unused magic source of the Muse dynasty, Wes would had left him and portaled back to Fae.
Toby looked at Wes studying his eyes.
“Come on,” he pressed.
Just then, something knocked hard and loud on the glass door until it broke and glass shattered to the floor. 
Wes pulled out his scepter as something large, hairy and carrying another Etherling in its massive, talon hands burst through the door half breaking it down and half trying to open it.
“Found Craig,” said the mog with his large eyes peering down at them. 
“Toby!”  The Etherling cried.
“It’s alright, Craig.  Let him down Mike.”  Toby took the Etherling Craig aside who looked confused and frightened at the same time.  Toby spoke softly to him while he had the mog stand back.
Wes remembered him, and knew Merlin had put a forgetting spell on him so he’d have no memory of the Fae world.  He looked pale and as if he was going to be sick.  Wes guessed that either his memory of everything had surfaced or he was in shock of being captured by his pet mog. 
Wes retracted his scepter and put it back into his pocket.  He took in a deep breath as he now had two Etherlings and a mog to take back with him.  He was to bring back Lyssa with him, and only Lyssa.  But Lizzi’s premonitions didn’t forecast this.  The future was always subject to change Lizzi told him. 
Wes looked at the two Etherlings and mog.  Lyssa was to be here for him to save, but she wasn’t.  She was somewhere with someone, but who.  Wes had to find her and for right now, the best he could hope for was that he wouldn’t get caught portaling back to Fae with them in tow.  


“He would’ve used the museum’s portal, no, he might have used an etch.”  Zaki walked quickly towards the museum.  “Etches are temperamental, he wouldn’t have risked it, and probably wouldn’t even be able to get a hold of one.”  He snickered.
“Come, gem,” Zaki said tugging Lizzi by the wrist like she was a child or a pet on a leash.  “I want to check out the portal in the museum, and I want to be there when he comes back.”
“No,” Lizzi pulled back as Zaki turned with glaring eyes and wrapped his arm around her.
“Look,” his voice held a composed restraint to it, “it isn’t about who got to the Everspell first—it’s who has possession of it.  And I don’t think your little Wes has the capability to secure it and keep it safe from all the wolves waiting for the one who risked their neck to go and get it to take it from them.”
Lizzi walked beside Zaki up the stairs and into the museum.  It was dark and their footsteps echoed off the marble walls.
“First of all, the Everspell isn’t an it.”  Lizzi stopped again, and this time, she shrugged Zaki’s hand away.  “It’s a she, and her name is Lyssa.  And Wes is perfectly capable of taking care of her—he loves her.”
And he is the Prince of Nerabeth—why this was important, Lizzi didn’t know, but her insides—her guts—and especially her premonition, told her he was.
Zaki chuckled.  “Love,” he said, “love isn’t going to keep her safe from the monsters, demons, and maybe even a few angels from one of the last pure forms of magic.  The Muse brothers created it, and the last remaining one wants it back.  Once she has it, there is no stopping her.”
“But what are you going to do with it?”  Lizzi asked, unexpectedly.
She was surprised at her own question.  She didn’t give it any thought, but felt it was always there in the back of her thoughts but never put into words.
Zaki looked steadily at her in the dim light with unblinking eyes.  Lizzi expected him to be angry at her or insulted, but he didn’t appear to be either.
“Gem, I am one of the last few remaining of my kind, and what I plan to do with the Everspell isn’t for a personal venture.  There are things that no world should contain, and the Everspell is one of them.”
Lizzi shook her head wanting him to elaborate, but he didn’t.  Zaki’s eyes spoke for him, and she saw it in them.  Past the sometimes demonish glow, the curious way he looked at her, was a depth that she barely got a glimpse of, but wanted to see more.  As if it had traveled through the air around them, Lizzi understood that this was greater than both of them and even the Fae world.  The Everspell was something that didn’t belong anywhere, and Lyssa had it in her.
“What will happen…?”  Lizzi let her words trail off as Zaki placed a finger to her lips to silence her.
“If we don’t move, someone will beat us to the only possible way our Wes got to the Etherworld.  The incompetent sentries left the door unguarded for now, so let’s hurry and take advantage of the easy access, and get to the Banshee Portal before anyone else does.”


This couldn’t possibly be happening.  But it was, and Isaac Snowbird even came to the Ball with an engagement ring.  Still in shock, and letting her princess training take over, Megan had to get out of here.
“An autumn wedding would be perfect in Atlantis on the island of Meropsis.  The beaches are absolutely beautiful there.”  Stephanie was already planning the wedding, and was moving onto the honeymoon when Megan stood and excused herself a little too abruptly, but she had to get away from them to collect herself, and escape.
Megan went towards the bathroom, but then walked with several servants towards the back of the room and into the kitchen area.  She thought someone would stop her as she stood out like an obnoxiously, bright stone among the black and white dressed servants.
It was a large, enclosed room full of noise and Fae walking every which way.  No one paid attention to her as if princesses escaped this way all the time.
Megan made it to the back of the building where it opened up to a loading dock.  She jumped down onto the street, and headed towards the lit-up museum that was two blocks away.  She hadn’t planned on going to the Etherworld this way, but she also didn’t plan on her mother marrying her off to a complete stranger.  She didn’t have time to think that over, she had to move quickly and get to the portal.
Megan didn’t have any spell vials with her, and maybe she wouldn’t need any.  She hoped Elijah and Merlin wouldn’t intercept her as she now ran towards the illuminated museum. 
“I’m not going to marry anyone!”  She huffed under her breath, cursing her mother in her head.
“Stop Miss,” a voice said from the darkness just as Megan started to climb the museum’s steps.
The sentry looked at her as she saw two other sentries in the shadows.  She smiled at him.
“I’m sorry, I was here earlier and I left my purse in the bathroom on our exclusive tour before the Ball.”
Breathe and keep focused.
With no spell to back her up, Megan was going to use her Banshee power as best she could—from within herself.  She knew her mother could do it, so why couldn’t she. 
“There was no tour earlier,” he turned to face the other two sentries for an explanation.  They shrugged their shoulders and nodded their head.
“Yes, there was a tour earlier, and Princess Casperinia did leave something behind, or I guess it was yours as the bathroom story is adding up.”  Megan turned to see Deravon smiling at her.
“Princess,” he said with a bow.  “I’ll take over, and escort the Princess here to collect her purse.”
“But why didn’t you just have a servant come and get it?”  The inquisitive sentry asked.  “And aren’t you supposed to be over at the Ball as one of the sentries there?”  He turned towards Deravon.
Megan rolled her eyes and crossed her arms as she let out a huff and then glared at the questioning sentry.  “First of all, you have no right to question me, and second of all, my servants like to steal things so I don’t think I’d let them come and get my purse which has my personal belongings in it!”  She let flames rise in her eyes, appearing mad towards the sentry even though she wasn’t.  She just wanted to get to the portal.  “And when I asked this stupid sentry to go and get it for me, he didn’t.  I waited fifteen minutes, and he didn’t even budge!”  She cocked her head to the side as the sentry slightly backed away.  “So, I took it upon myself to go and retrieve it.”  She ended her rant with a scowl.
“I apologize, Princess, but we have the duty of your safety in mind first.”  Deravon gently pressed on her back to go up the stairs.  “As you can see, we don’t want a spectacle or our services to Avalon tainted, especially tonight, understand?”  Deravon guided Megan up the stairs and into the museum.
“What are you doing?”  Megan asked as she didn’t wait for a response heading towards the portal room.  “What were you, following me? Uhhg, I don’t even care—just leave me alone!”
“Wes is gone, and the portal was used.”  Deravon’s voice echoed behind her.
“What?”   She stopped and turned around.
“I know through Merlin that you once attempted to use the portal with success, and I was going to approach you about it when my little sentry-in-training went missing, and then I saw you exiting through the kitchen, so I thought I’d follow you.”  Deravon gazed at her as he stepped closer.  “I think Wes used it.  My duty was to alert my superiors if anything suspicious happened in our security system, and it did, I didn’t report it.  There are many things going on right now, and I have a feeling that the game has just begun.”  He gave her a sly smile.  “Your Banshee persuasion, I think, would’ve work on those two sentries, and you would’ve succeeded if I haven’t had interrupted.  I didn’t even catch a hint of a spell vial being opened—your mother is the only one I know of that can do that.”  He raised his eyebrows.  “I guess you can too.”
“How…never mind, I have other issues right now.”
“Don’t we all? Come on Princess, to the portal room.”
Deravon didn’t give Megan a chance to reply, protest or even give an excuse as their footsteps echoed to the portal room.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Midweek Mayhem Children of Fae Chapter 8, 9 & 10 excerpt

Didn't realize that I was behind in posting my sample chapters, so here's an excerpt of 8, 9 & 10. Enjoy!

Chapter Eight


It was beginning to stay lighter outside at night—a sign that spring was finally here.  Toby sat on the picnic table under the oak tree that was his place to think and be alone.  It was seldom used and beginning to rot, but it was quiet here and Toby felt this was his one space where he could breathe and clear his head on whatever bothered him.
So many things crossed his mind that he felt his thoughts had become a tornado inside his head.  Lyssa, Mike, Craig, Avalon…and the tiny piece that seemed to tie everything together sat in the palm of his hand.  A sliver of a glass shard that he found in his pocket when he was in the orchard with Lizzi, not only pricked his skin, but who he was.  A spark had been lit inside of him, and Toby felt the ever pull on him to follow it.  But what was it?  It had no name and made no presence as to who it was.
My son Toby, save me—father.
The words appeared like liquid smoke, and then disappeared as quickly as they had revealed themselves.
The oracle had told him that his father was a powerful Fae, and his mother had to know something.  Toby had seen his mother in the vision that would forever be burned into his memory. 
He put the piece of glass that he always kept with him into his pocket and looked up at the house.  It was just his mother and him home tonight.  His father and little brother were at ball practice, and a perfect time to ask something he couldn’t hold in any more.  It was time to know the truth.
Toby walked into the kitchen where his mom was making a dinner.  She was humming and greeted him with a smile.
“I made lasagna.”  She announced as she put a giant pan into the oven.
“Sounds good.”  He replied passively.
“What do you mean just sounds good?  It’s still your favorite, isn’t it?”  She asked with slight concern.
“Yeah, it’s still my favorite, but…” 
He looked at her and ran his fingers through his hair.  Maybe her memory had been erased as well.  Maybe he was never to find out, and maybe it was his father—his real father that had made it this way, but now he was trying to communicate with Toby.
“Honey, is there something bothering you?”  She asked setting the oven mitt on the counter and turning her attention to him.  She could always tell something was bothering him from the slightest tone in his voice or by just looking into his eyes.  There was no turning back now.  He had to tell her what was bothering him or make something up to avoid it.
He’s held it in too long, and knew it would only get worse.  And besides, Mike the mog was staying in a barn beside Lyssa’s house.  How much push did he need?
“Yes, there is something bothering me—well actually, many things.”  He took a deep breath as his mom crossed her arms and looked at him with her large and understanding eyes that always seemed unbiased, nonjudgmental, and always yearned for him to tell exactly how he felt.  But how do you ask your mom if she knows about the Fae world, and better yet, if she had been married and had a child from that world.  That wasn’t a normal question.  It would have been easier to tell her he had gotten a girl at school pregnant—at least that would be a normal, teenage dilemma.
“Maybe it would be better if I showed you.”  He looked at his palm—the one with his partial mark.
He couldn’t find the words, so instead he rubbed his palm until his mark glowed and he held it in front of his mom’s face.  Toby felt his skin tingle upon her stunned reaction.  She didn’t say anything at first as her eyes fixated on the mark.  They stood in silence for what felt like hours to Toby.  Her stunned reaction slowly faded, and tears welled in her eyes.  Toby wasn’t sure what to think or what his mom was thinking, but the silence had to be broken because he needed answers.
“This isn’t some Halloween glitter shit.”  He didn’t mean to say it like that, but frustration was taking over.  “It’s real and it’s a part of me, and,” her eyes shifted to meet his, “I’m connected to things of unimaginable…”
“Stop!”  She yelled forcing his hand down. 
She turned away.
“No,” he said as calmly as he could.  “Lyssa is a part of this too, and so is her dad, and his girlfriend, Zoey.  And as far at that goes, Megan and her mom are from there too, and” he threw his arms into the air, “who knows how many from this goddamn town are from there!  It’s called the Fae world, and I was there, and…”
His hand went immediately to his cheek.  Toby and his mom shared shocked expressions as he had never been smacked like that by his mom before, and she had never had a son speak that way to her.
There was no reasoning with her.
“Toby,” she said with tears streaming down her face.
He felt sick and relieved at the same time. 
“I’m going.”
“Your father, your biological father was from Fae, and I was taken there as an Etherling servant.”  They stood several feet apart staring at each other.  “I-I don’t even know how I got there, and I didn’t even know what was happening to me, until I met a Fae there named Orzan Muse who saved me.  As far as who your father was, I don’t know.  I was pregnant and scared and, Orzan saved me from what horrors would have swallowed me whole.  I came back here, and met your father.  It was all arranged by Orzan.”  Her tears had stopped, and she appeared calm.  “Look,” she said in a soft voice.  “I’ve had years to come to terms with what had happened to me, and I buried it a long time ago.  I love your father and your brother.  But this is our world, and I never want to go back there.  And that’s what you should do, Toby.”  She encouraged him with the sweetness of her voice.
“But, mom…”
“No, we are talking too much about this when it doesn’t need talked about.  I spent a long time trying to come to terms with this, and I’m not digging it up.  Let it be, Toby.  I have you, your father, and brother and that’s all I want.”
She was like talking to a stone wall, but what did he expect?
“Does dad know?” 
She replied with a shake of her head.
“That’s why you need to bury this too, and never speak of it again.  Don’t destroy what I’ve put behind us a long time ago.  We are a happy family, Toby.”  She started to walk away, and then stopped.  “The Fae world is a dangerous place.”  She looked at him from over her shoulder.  “And I mean dangerous.”  She smiled.  “Come in and get something to eat—the lasagna is about done.”
Toby took in a deep breath.  He wasn’t going to get any more information and never would get any more information out of her.  He looked down at his mark.  Toby knew he was on his own, and the last thing he wanted to do was bury everything that happened.  The pull, as he called it, was comparable to the instincts of animals.  How they knew what to do when it needed to be done was within them, and it was tugging at Toby with even greater force.
He looked at his home as he heard his dad’s car pull up.  A wedge had been shoved between him and his family, but it didn’t bother him.  Something else beckoned him, and he was going to follow it tonight.


Lizzi looked at her scrying bowl.  For the first time, she was scared to use it, and didn’t think she could ever scry again.  She almost died, and Wes told her several times until she cried.  Wes was concerned about her, and she knew he didn’t want her to use her scrying bowl again even though it was like a magnet to her.
Really, the bowl looked like she could serve a large salad in it, and maybe she should start doing that instead of peering into the future and talking with the Graces.  No one listened to her anyhow.  Deravon considered her premonition, but like everything in the seering world, it’s based on speculation, and things can shift in the matter of seconds. Wes kept repeating on how ignorantly dangerous it was to do something that didn’t mean anything.  He angered Lizzi, but what she saw in his eyes was not only concern for her safety, but fear of who he is.  And Lizzi had the ability to see things Wes couldn’t. He didn’t want to know, and didn’t want to be Prince of Nerabeth.  She wanted to tell him what it meant to have that power waiting for you and no one else.  He was going to be the savior of the Fae world either by fate’s way or his own.  Lizzi felt this run through her like a hot knife.  It was something he was going to be no matter how much he pushed it away.
Lizzi ran her fingers over the edge of the bowl and thought about Toby.  Izzet wanted him because he was family.  But she also wanted him for what power, if any, he had.  Lizzi stared into the bowl. 
She could save Toby, no, she had to save him from Izzet.  Wes, Deravon, Eli, and even Zaki disregarded her vision saying the Graces had altered and twisted it.  But she didn’t think so.  She pushed her stare harder into the bottom of the bowl until she saw the familiar swirl—premonition.
“Show me where Toby Winslett of the Etherworld is.”  She commanded.
Lizzi felt strong, she was in control of her visions.  They weren’t the spoiled child or wild beast that took her for being weak or its prey to do what it wished.  She had harnessed it.
“Child of the stars…”  The Graces’ combined voices teased her.
“Back off!”  She warned with a push of her voice.
Like scattering leaves in the wind, they blew away in the distant as the vision materialized. 
Toby stood under a streetlight with rain falling around him like glitter.  His hands were shoved into his pockets and his breath fogged in front of him. He looked cold as he peered into the darkness that surrounded him. 
Lizzi now faced him and looked into his eyes that nearly matched the well-tended grass in the park.  They were a magnificent color, but something rippled just under the surface. Not only was he in a desolate area, his heart ached for something, anything, to help him discover who he was.    
“Toby,” Lizzi whispered trying to sooth his loneliness.
A bright light suddenly erupted behind Lizzi nearly causing her to lose focus.
“Toby Winslett,” said a woman that was pale as a midwinter’s day.  “Come with me child, I’ve come as I said I would.”
“Izzet?”  He questioned her and she replied with a nod.
“No, don’t go!”  Lizzi yelled as Toby took Izzet’s hand and vanished into the bright light.
“She must be Queen, child of the stars…we have chosen her and set forth the motion to make it be true…the child is of her blood, but he is only a Halfling and bitter on our tongue…he must die…hear us child of the stars…he must die…” taunted the words of the Graces.
“Not if I can help it!”  Lizzi pushed herself out of the premonition and looked angrily into her empty bowl.  With a growl, she flung the bowl through the air along with the echoing laughter of the Graces.
“I’ve never heard of anyone being killed by an airborne scrying bowl, but I guess there is a first time for everything.”
Lizzi jumped up, dizzily, and looked to see Zaki smiling and holding her bowl.  He shut the door behind him and sat the scrying bowl on the counter.
“I brought you some more flowers, but maybe I should have brought some wine instead.”  He pulled a long stemmed rose from under his long coat.
He tossed the hydrangeas he had given her in the trash and placed the vivid, yellow rose in their place.
“How did you get in here?”
Zaki shrugged his shoulders.  “I knocked and you didn’t answer, so I let myself in to make sure you were alright.  And by the looks of things, scrying is going well for you, but slightly dangerous for any spectators that might be in the vicinity.  I’m impressed, little gem.”
Lizzi gave up on getting Zaki to quit calling her by his chosen pet name.  Besides, she had other concerns. 
“Izzet will come for Toby and bring him here to take what power he has.  He desperately wants to know of his heritage.  I gave him a slice of who he is when I took him to the oracle.”  Lizzi turned away from Zaki and took a wine bottle out of her refrigerator and grabbed two glasses.  “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that, because now he wouldn’t be in the danger he is in.  I’ve given him a taste of the Fae world, tried to help him because he looked so lost, and I had access and the ability to help him.”
Lizzi poured the wine and took a sip.
“Izzet would have sought him out anyhow.  Your actions had no sway in that matter.  If anything, you helped him by giving him by letting him see who he is.”  Zaki smiled as he gently tucked her hair behind her ear.  “You are a caring soul; don’t let that be your demise.”
Lizzi shook her head.  “What do you mean by that?”
He sat his glass down.  “Getting too involved into ones that might not share your concern will only lead you down a treacherous path.”
“Still, I don’t understand what you mean.”  Lizzi took a bigger sip of wine.  “Toby…”
“Is an Etherling,” Zaki cut in and stepped in front of her gently placing his hands on her arms.  “You’ve seen him in your visions, felt what he is feeling, but ask yourself, is he trying to get here for you or for his own benefit.  At any point did you sense his feelings for you or are you caught up in your own.”
Lizzi looked away, and walked towards the window.  When she was in a premonition, she always sensed what that person was feeling to a certain degree.  She closed her eyes.  Lizzi had saw it in his eyes when he caught her from falling out of the apple tree, the concern in his eyes when she had finished scrying for Merlin, and when he left the Fae world.  He did care for her, she could see it, but it was shrouded by the desire to know who he was.
Lizzi turned towards Zaki.  “He does care for me, and who are you to question it?  You don’t know what we have, what we went through, and what went on between us.”  She pointed her finger at Zaki as if she was pushing her words into him.
Zaki raised his eyebrows and crossed his arms.
“I apologize,” he said with a nod.  “No, I wasn’t there, but what I’m asking, only you know the answer, Lizzi.  I’m merely making you aware of the situation.”  He stepped closer.  “I’ve witnessed many seers, and I don’t want to frighten you, but most live very short lives.”  He looked into her eyes as if searching for something.  “And I can tell you, Lizzi Stokes, it isn’t their craft that kills them, it’s their own heart.  If you follow something that may or may not be there, it can lead you to a terrible place.”
Lizzi turned back towards the large window.  The park was beautiful with a few Faes strolling through it enjoying the colorful trees all in bloom.  Why couldn’t her life be that simple?  Why couldn’t she be one of the couples walking hand in hand?
“When I came to Avalon, I thought I was starting over and headed in a direction away from scrying.  All I ever wanted when I was in the Arrinia forest was to be a designer, and then I got the chance only to have it pulled out from under me.”  Lizzi felt tears sting her eyes.  “Why can’t I have that?”  She asked rhetorically.
She felt Zaki step behind her as he hung his head close to hers and pushed back the curtains a little farther letting in the light.
“You can.  No one is stopping you from your desires but yourself.  You’ve met me, have a place at Vine, and did I mention that you have me as your teacher.”
Lizzi let an unexpected chuckle escape her lips.
“Yes, you did mention you, twice.”  Lizzi turned her head and was caught looking into Zaki’s eyes.  They were the same hue as the cinnamon she would sprinkle over fresh apples right before baking.  Lizzi loved the smell of the apples and the spice as they cooked in the oven together.  She almost loved the aroma better than eating them.
“Then why don’t you take advantage of the situation.”  Zaki leaned closer.
“I think…”
Lizzi found herself in a kiss comparable to the scent, taste, and beautiful color of baked apples.  But what was she doing?  Kissing Zaki?  She didn’t stop, because she didn’t want to.  Her mind told her this wasn’t right, but her heart failed to listen.
“No,” she said, pushing herself away.  “I-I can’t do this.”  She stepped back and glared at Zaki.  “Why did you kiss me?”  She demanded.
“Because it’s what you want.”  He stated as if he knew.
“What?  You don’t know what I want.”  Lizzi felt insulted and taken for a fool.  She should have pushed him away before she let him kiss her.
Zaki drew in a deep breath and then grinned at her.  “You know,” he said deepening his smirk as one would do when revealing a secret.  “You’re not the only one who has dabbled into the scrying world.  Scrying can be taught if you have enough to pay for knowledge of it.  Though my abilities are not like a natural, but I can have short glimpses into that world.  And I’m getting stronger than I anticipated.”  He shook his head and chuckled.  “Sometimes I even surprise myself at how amazing I am.”
Lizzi felt pins prick her skin.  She stood there looking at Zaki as he locked his cinnamon colored eyes with hers.
“You can scry?”  She asked with disbelief.
He nodded with a bow as if he was acknowledging her as a superior.
“I can, and I’m asking you, Lizzi, to teach me what you know in exchange for a place at Vine.  We are both talented, young Fae that have a well of opportunities in front of us if we allow ourselves to jump in.”
Lizzi could hardly believe what she was hearing.  “Scrying isn’t a hobby.”
“And I don’t take it for one.”  Zaki replied.  “We are living in a changing world, Lizzi, and I have the resources and knowledge to change things into our favor.  Avalon will feel those changes soon when Izzet gains control over the portals.  Her power is growing and spreading over Avalon, and no one is trying to stop her.”  He raised his eyebrows at her.
“So how is scrying going to stop her?  It’s a way of looking into the future and spy on the present time.  It’s not even that accurate.”  Lizzi raised her voice.  “Things change and what you see now, might not even happen.”
“Correct, but that’s only a small fraction of what the scrying world has to offer.  Like I said, I’ve learned many things about it that many don’t understand.  Scrying is a way of peeking in on others or it gives us a glimpse of the future in premonitions.”  Zaki shook his finger towards her.  “But what if there was a way to manipulate the future and sway others to do what we want by what we see.  We can set in motion a chain of events that will happen.”
Lizzi took in a deep breath.  What Zaki was saying was madness.  You can’t change the future or make it what you want it to be.  Faes and Etherlings alike had what was called free will—their ideas and situations change all the time.
“Scrying is just looking, watching and a glimpse at what’s to come by the path we are on.  You can change things by looking ahead, but to manipulate someone through scrying…”
“That’s what the Graces have done.”  Zaki stepped closer to Lizzi and gently placed his hand on her arm.  “They are ancient and wise in their ways.  Though, they don’t always have our better interests in mind.  They have power, as you have heard their voices, but are contained on the Isle of Stars for a reason, and they have been there long enough—they want out, and they want Avalon.”
Lizzi thought of her vision, and what the Graces told her. 
“They’ve chosen their queen, and it’s Izzet.  They told me that just now.”  Lizzi glanced at her scrying bowl that sat on the counter just like it was a salad bowl.  “They need Toby’s power, and if we don’t do something, Izzet will.”
Zaki gave her a crooked smile.  “Then, my little gem, we have better start with securing a portal before Izzet takes them all.”

Chapter Nine


Megan had nearly forgotten about the Conference Ball her and her mother would be attending.  Todd, for whatever reason, wanted the Everspell and worked with Merlin.  Now, she had someone to help her get to the Etherworld.  She didn’t care about Lyssa Cleverthorn and the Everspell within her, but she was jealous of Lyssa for one thing: she was in the Etherworld where Craig was.  Megan wanted the life that she had before back.  She never felt like a princess, and much less a Banshee one.  She couldn’t be what her mother wanted, and never would.  And she didn’t care what happened in Ayabel, Avalon or the rest of the Fae world as long as it left her alone.  Megan had a taste of freedom, and would get her freedom back at whatever cost. 

Megan stood dressed in the slinky, blue gown her mother wanted her to wear.  At the time, she fought with her, and demanded to wear another dress her mother didn’t pick out.  Megan didn’t know why her mother even had her select dresses out when it was her mother that would decide anyhow.  She was like a doll to her mother that was told what to do, where to sit and what to wear.  Megan rebelled all the way, but now things had shifted.
The dress didn’t matter, where she sat and went and did didn’t matter anymore.  Her days in Avalon were numbered.  Todd Weatherstone was her liaison to the Etherworld.  He agreed to secure the portal in the museum and she would work the portal.  It was a perfect plan and a simple one too. 
“Princess, are you ready?”  One of the servants gently asked as they knocked on the door.  “Your mother requests your presence downstairs before leaving.”
“Of course she does,” Megan mumbled to herself.
Megan put on the last piece of her attire, a necklace of clear, blue stones made into daisies with copper coins as their centers all strung onto a bright, copper chain that looked like a bouquet around her neck.  She didn’t plan on it matching a future dress, but it did.  It was as if fate was guiding her to choose it from the many jewels from the Museum that housed the Banshee collection of jewelry.  Megan popped one of the copper centers and replaced it with the penny Craig had given her.
She gave one last final look in the mirror, placed five spell vials into her clutch purse, and went downstairs to receive orders from her mother.

“You look like a princess.”  Her mother complimented her as she gracefully walked down the staircase.
“Thank you,” she replied in her trained princess tone.
Her mother smiled, but something questioning sat behind her eyes.  She looked at Megan in silence and acted as if she was going to say or ask something, but she didn’t.
“We should be going.  Some socialites of Fae society are allowed to be late, but we are not and I don’t plan on unpunctuality to be becoming of us.”
Mimir opened the door and they got in the carriage that was taking them to the Cultural Hall, and two blocks away from the Museum where the portal that would lead her to the Etherworld sat waiting for her. 
Megan and her mother sat quietly.  Her mother’s blue-black gown glittered like black snow in the dim lights of the carriage, while hers stood out like a neon sign.  They were the same creature, but just like their dresses, very different. 
Watching the lights outside, Megan felt her necklace until she found the penny Craig had given her.  It was a tangible thing of the Etherworld that she clung to.
“You will be sitting next to Isaac Snowbird this evening, and he has just begun his training in their family’s jewelry business.  He is a fan of the banshee collection at the museum, so please try to remember what you can about the different pieces.  Our history is important, Casperinia.”  She adjusted her silky, white gloves and gently touched the black opal necklace she had on.  It hung like a suspended drop of black ink around her neck, and matched her dress beautifully.  Her mother was a vision of grace that Megan couldn’t deny.  She would make a better Queen than she could ever be a mother.
“You are being very quiet this evening.  I haven’t heard one complaint from you.”  She gave Megan a sideways glance.
“I guess I have no complaints then.”  Megan replied with a small chuckle from her mother.
“No complaints?”  Her voice was filled with amusement.  “You, Casperinia Mourhill, would die if you didn’t complain about something at least five times a day.  Don’t take me for a fool, you are up to something.”  Her amusement faded as her eyes darkened.
“Yeah, I’m thinking about having two glasses of wine instead of only one that you limit me at.”  Megan knew her mother sensed the slightest vibrations of change, and even though she wanted to be difficult, Megan had her mind on Craig and the Etherworld, not the Ball.  “Well, actually, I might just drink the whole bottle until this Snowbird guy looks good.”  
“He’s attractive, Casperinia, it may not take any wine at all.”
Megan felt the penny in her necklace.  He might be attractive, but that’s not what Megan wanted anymore.

The pillar-lined Cultural Hall hummed with voices and sparkled with orillions everywhere.  Reporters, photographers, and spectators surrounded the tall, marble and glass building that shone like mirrored jewelry box.  Todd was here somewhere, Megan thought as she scanned the area, but saw no sign of him.  Many celebrities of Fae society lined the silver carpet that led up to the large entrance.  Dresses of every imaginable color dotted the river of silver that cascaded up the staircase like a waterfall. 
Megan got out of the carriage, and followed obediently behind her mother.  Most of the women were either escorted by their husbands or dates, but Megan’s mom would never give in to that tradition of Fae society.  She was a strong Banshee that could hold her own.  And it was written all over her mother’s face as well as her movements.
Her dark gown clung around her like liquid smoke and glittered like stars in the heavens above them.  With her shoulders squared, Syra moved with the grace of a dancer and the strength of a wild beast slowly weaving its way through the underbrush to attack its prey.  And her movements didn’t go unnoticed.  Photographers flashed their cameras towards her, and reports announced her name to the cameras in front of them as she walked behind them.
All this time, Megan slowly faded behind even though her dress stood out like a neon sign.
“Princess Casperinia!”  Yelled a tiny voice.  “Princess, it’s me!”
Megan turned to see Sisley wearing the cloat she had given her. 
“Move, I know her!”  Sisley pushed her way through the crowd and past a couple of sentries with her quick movements and ran towards Megan.
“Sisley,” Megan said as the girl beamed a smile through the dirt smeared on her face.
“I walked all the way here just to see you, and all the princesses!  I wish I had a camera!”  Sisley looked up at Megan.
“Come with us.  You’re not even supposed to be here,” said one of the two elaborately dressed sentries as they jerked on the girl’s arm.
“I said I know her.  Let go of me you baboon!”
Megan couldn’t help but to smile at Sisley’s braveness towards the two towering sentries.
“No, she’s with me.”  Megan said, vouching for Sisley and then looked at the sentry holding Sisley’s arm.  “We got separated and she lost track of me.”  She looked down at Sisley as she gave a gloating smile towards the sentries and jerked her arm from their grip.
“Are you sure?”  He asked with raised eyebrows as the other sentry stood close to Sisley.
Megan glanced down at her and then flicked her hair back as she gave the sentry a cold look while arching her left eyebrow.  Like a cat waving its tail in warning, Megan shot the look to warn the sentry that he couldn’t override her.
“Are you questioning me?”  She asked stepping closer to him.
His suspicious eyes widened.  “No, Princess…”
He didn’t know her name.
“It’s Princess Casperinia, you insolent fool!”  Sisley turned to him with Megan pressed protectively into her back.
The sentries gazed down at Sisley with a scowl as they lifted their eyes to Megan.
“Our apologies,” they said meekly in unison.
“You don’t even know your guests.”  Sisley continued with her rant.
“Sisley,” Megan said, tugging on her arm just as a flash from a camera exploded beside her.
“Ah, Princess Casperinia, and the lucky girl who received her cloat.”  Todd lowered his camera and smiled at Megan.  “I take it she is your invited guest this evening—how charitable of you.”  He complimented and took another picture.
“Yes, I thought since this evening is all about the accomplishments of Izzet for the underprivileged of Avalon, that one of their own should represent those of such great fortune.”  Megan managed to conjure in her head just as several reporters gathered around the spectacle.  Was her mother watching or did she even realize Megan had fallen behind and out of her shadow.
“Well if you don’t mind, as one of the many hard-working photographers, can I escort you the rest of the way?”  He motioned with is arm and offered her to take.
Megan was nervous and felt sick thinking about coming tonight, but Todd and Sisley had turned that around.  And not to mention, having them two at her side would make her mother irate.
“This is all the farther I am allowed—no cameras, reporters or anyone with the media allowed in.”  Todd shrugged his shoulders.
“Yeah, well I’m a princess and I can surely override that,” Megan said with a smile and cocky tone.
“Uh, no.  They make it pretty clear that no media inside.”  Todd raised his eyebrows and nodded his head towards the well-guarded front entrance.
Two giants stood along with the illuminated, glass pillars on either side of the entrance that led into the open air ball room.  More giants were scattered among the crowd and looked like watchdogs looking for trouble.  Megan wasn’t intimidated by them and grabbed Todd by the wrist nearly tripping him as she dragged him along.
“Megan,” he said steadying his swinging camera.  “What are you doing?”
“She’s gonna get us in!”  Sisley exclaimed joyfully behind them.
“Stop,” Todd said pulling back on her wrist and pulling her close as he looked into her eyes.  “There is no need for foolish behavior.”
Foolish behavior!
Megan studied his eyes trying to not show how his words had stung her.  She wasn’t foolish, she was a smart girl just trying to get them in so she could enjoy their company rather than talk to her arranged date, and at the same time she would make a spectacle of it to annoy her mother.
Megan felt the ground leave her feet.  She was acting foolish.  It was childish of her to keep trying to get at her mother, make a spectacle so people would talk and she’d be the center of attention.
“Remember what our goal is, Princess.”  Todd smiled at her as he lifted his camera and took a picture.  “There, I believe I’ve captured the exact moment of when a girl’s mind and reasoning turned into a woman’s.”  Todd winked at her and held his smile as he motioned for her to go.
Had he seen what she was thinking?  Was it that readable on her face or was he just good at picking things up by magic or something else?  Megan shook it off as Sisley looked up at her.
“Can you at least take me?”
Megan looked at her then up at Todd.  He nodded his head as she looked back down at the girl who begged with her large eyes set on Megan.
“You know what; you can as my spokesperson for Duegar District and all the children that live there.  What do you say, Sisley?”
Her cheeks swelled with the smile that went from ear to ear.  Sisley than wrapped her arms tightly around Megan and stood there for a moment in silence as she heard the girl whimper with joy.  Megan felt a flood of emotions fill her that she never felt before.  She had made someone truly happy, and quite possibly, a dream come true.

Chapter Ten


“So you want to go to the Ball?”  Lizzi asked sitting on her bed as Zaki went through her closet.  “Really, the Ball?” 
Zaki didn’t pay attention to her, and kept going through her closet.  “Really, for a designer, this is all you have?” He asked with a huff of disappointment placing his hands on his hips.
“Well, I didn’t exactly have material readily available, and I’ve barely had any time to design and make anything due to the circumstances that keep following me.”  Lizzi swung her leg as she crossed her legs and then her arms across her chest as she sneered towards her scantly-filled closet.
Zaki let out a laugh, and then knelt on the floor placing his hands on either side of her.  “You could have a hundred pieces that you painstakingly designed hanging in your closet, but it only takes one amazing design to make them remember you by.”
Lizzi looked into his honey colored eyes that truly took on the same sweet color of the honey she used to collect in the Arrinia forest.
“I suppose you are right.”
“Of course I am,” Zaki said without hesitation and Lizzi thought slightly arrogant, but yet, he was right.  One amazing design was all it took.  “Now, Lizzi,  let’s go and make you a dress worthy of your beauty.”
Lizzi felt herself blush as Zaki didn’t give her a chance to say anything before he whisked her out the door and down the dim sidewalk where they took a carriage to Vine Academy.
Zaki opened the side door, told the night watch that he had a project he was working on, and Lizzi was his assistant.
“Now, tell me what you envision the prefect Ball attire would look like.”  Zaki flicked on one light that illuminated a small section of the large design room.
Lizzi went to the shelves to look at past designs, and started to pull off one of the many catalogs, but was quickly stopped by Zaki.
“No, you are the designer…follow your own ideas of what it should look like.”  He had his hand around her wrist. 
Slowly, she slid the catalog back into place and looked at him.  She looked at the clock, and then back at him.
“Isn’t there something in the samples…or one I can buy in the store…or really,”
 she looked away.  “It doesn’t matter what I wear.  We are trying to stop Izzet and get Toby here, not play dress-up-the-new-designer.”  Lizzi spoke her thoughts before she had time to think of what she said.
Lizzi narrowed her eyes at Zaki.  “What are you trying to do?  Woo me?  Well, it isn’t working.”  She glared at him as he returned her stern look with a smile.
“It is, because you came, and what are you going to do about getting access to the portal?  Are you going to force your way in there and demand to use it?”  He asked as Lizzi opened her mouth to reply, but couldn’t.  “If we look like we belong there, and when they give the tour of the museum to Avalon’s elite, we will have a free pass.”
“You have an invitation?”  Lizzi asked.
Zaki lowered his head.  “Lizzi, dear, I have a standing invitation.  I’m expected to come to things like this being from Shangri-La,” he said, proudly.  “The thing is, now I have you who can work the portal, and I can get the access.”
“But I don’t know how to work portals.”
Zaki took Lizzi by the hand and guided her towards the mirror.  Standing behind her, Lizzi peered at her reflection and then Zaki’s.  He looked exotic, while she looked plain.  As if reading her thoughts, Zaki gathered her hair and pulled it up letting it pouf on top of her head.
“You see, with the right style and design, we can see the beauty within.”  His words caressed he ears.  “I can see the stone I’m about to cut, and she is beautiful before I even touch her.”
Lizzi felt his words reach into her as if redesigning her insides, her thoughts, and how she felt.  She fell into it easily, and like the strong and swift current of a rushing river, Lizzi allowed herself to be carried mindlessly away. 
“I want to see stones and beads sparkle and shimmer like the stars in a black sky mixed with snow sparkling in sunlight.  I want it to show my form in a sleek way, but not reveal everything.  I want it to shimmer with elegance like the swans that swim in the pond at the park.  I want…”
“You want to be a gem that shines above all!”  Zaki exclaimed as he pulled a panel of silver material off the shelf.  “And we will start with this.”  His topaz eyes gleamed like precious stones themselves.
Lizzi had suddenly felt as light as a seed thrown to the wind.  She was designing a dress alongside Zaki.  Her thoughts melted into his, and like tiny streams that joined to a larger river, so were they.  They had twirled into one idea, one thing, and one creation was made from their joining.
Lizzi had nearly forgotten about everything except for the hunger to create something that would touch her skin, make her feel regal, and something made that had Zaki’s hand in.  But why did she want that?  She didn’t want to know the answer, she just wanted to feel the softness of the material against her skin, the texture of the beads and crystals on her hands, and the weightlessness of the silk used in the skirt that draped around her hips and waist and trailed behind her like an enchanting mist.
“Now that’s a dress fit for the gem you are.”  Zaki came up behind her as she looked into the mirror.
The light had faded outside and the sky was filled with the lingering blue sky as night began to slip in behind it.  The lights of Avalon slowly illuminated the crystal-like city.
She looked into the mirror as if the last two hours transformed her into another girl.  She wasn’t the girl of the Arrinia Forest that was plagued with the curse of premonitions.  She had played with the Graces and could quiet them if she wished.  She was in charge of her own visions, and she told them when to come.
As if Zaki had suddenly turned magnetic, Lizzi turned with a swish of her sparkling dress.  She peered into his topaz eyes that looked like the sands on the island of Meropsis in Atlantis.
Lizzi wrapped her gloved hands around Zaki’s neck.  Of course she’d never been to Meropsis, and she certainly didn’t know what the sands looked like there.  Her thoughts were melting into his.  He was guiding her, leading her into a dance that she held equal power in.
“Are you ready, my gem?”  His voice was like velvet to her ears.
“Ready?”  Lizzi looked up at Zaki and felt like she had consumed something that made her so intoxicated; she nearly forgot what they were trying to do.
“Why for the Ball!”  Zaki guided her into a twirl that made her heavily beaded gown swirl delicately.
The Ball, the portal…Toby Wisnlett!
Lizzi felt almost horrified at what had happened.  “What did you do to me?  I nearly forgot—”
“No, you didn’t forget.  You allowed yourself to venture to other places… other shores, my dear.”  He gently lifted her hand and kissed it.
But she wanted to be with Toby, the one who caught her when she fell from the apple tree.  His dark hair and green eyes mesmerized her, but now, it was true what Zaki had said.  She couldn’t deny it.  On her path to find the boy, the Changeling that had captured her heart, she had stumbled into an enchanted forest and lost her way.

Lizzi had to stay focused, and as the awaiting carriage that Zaki ordered to come pick them up, she kept her thoughts on Toby.  But like rich, dark blood that had been dropped in water, her feelings were becoming diluted.  Besides, it was true what Zaki had said about her premonitions she had of Toby.  She didn’t sense his feelings towards her, but she never did sense anyone’s feelings or thoughts.  Premonitions simply showed her what was or might happen.  Feelings, thoughts and intentions, were never involved in her visions.
“You say you want me to teach you scrying,” Lizzi suddenly said in a low voice.
“Yes,” Zaki answered as if he had been expecting her to bring up the subject.
“Well, I don’t know how, and it really isn’t such a wonderful thing to do.  Everyone always thought so, but they weren’t the ones having them.”  Lizzi sat with her gloved hands clasped together.
“I can understand their fascination, but not many have studied those who can scry, and see what they go through.”  Zaki smoothed his hair with his hand and then reached into his pocket.  “Here, I have something for you.” 
The bright orilions that hung over the street became fewer and fewer as they turned off the manicured street of Palace Boulevard to a darker area with dimmer orillions.
“Hold your hand out.”
Lizzi did and he placed something round in it.  It was made of silver and engraved with scrolling designs.  She ran her thumb over the domed top and looked at Zaki.  “It’s pretty, thank you…but what is it?  It looks kind of like a compact for make-up.”
“It’s far from that, and came from a shop in the Etherworld called Fae Isle Trader.”  He chuckled.  “It’s amazing how something crafted in this world ends up in another world only to be bought by someone from Shagari-La and brought back to where it was made.”  He smiled at her.  “Guess what it is, Lizzi Stokes.”
Lizzi opened it up to find it empty.  There was no mirror, no powder, no nothing but a rough, plain surface almost like it was only half-finished.  She closed it and rolled it between her fingers.  There was something about it that felt magnetic, and sort of toolish about it.  It could be a weapon, or hold a weapon, but no, it wasn’t any of those things.
Lizzi felt Zaki’s anxious eyes on eyes on her.  What else could it be that Zaki would give to her that had anything to do about her?
“I’m going to say it’s a portable scrying bowl.”
“Close,” he said, turning to her as he flipped open the lid with a click.  “It’s a scrying compact made by the sehrs of Shangri-La.  Not many of them exist as you couldn’t buy them, but you had to earn them.  This one must have quite the history, though we will never know it, especially since it found its way to the Etherworld.”  He shook his head.  “The clerk had no idea what it was—regarded it some sort of magic cosmetic thing and threw it in with the scrap jewelry.”
Lizzi opened it again and caressed the smooth cover with her fingers.  She felt the deep engravings through her gloves as she turned it over and then shut it again.
“You can use it like you do your bowl, but this as you can see, is much more convenient.”
Lizzi just looked at it, studying it as if she felt compelled to remember every line in it by running her fingers over it again and again.
“So, do you like it?”
Lizzi looked at Zaki.
“Oh, I’m sorry, thank you yes, I like it.”
“The minute I saw that I knew I’d find an owner for it.  I tried to use it several times, but had no luck.  They say the implements sehrs use chose them rather than the sehrs choosing the tools they use.”
Lizzi, as if a silent command had been whispered in her ear, opened the compact with a quick click.
“Try it out, Lizzi, and see what it shows you.”
He didn’t have to ask; she wanted to the more she held it.
Show me Toby.  She commanded in her head as her eyes barred down into the grey, rough surface of her scrying compact.
Lights flickered like fireflies illuminating summer evenings that swirled with churning clouds of gold.  It looked like a tiny storm as the depthless case opened into a vision.  Lizzi felt the control she had over it.  She was stronger now, and that strength she used to wield her premonitions to do what she wanted.
The gold storm cleared, and she clearly saw Toby walking through a thick forest.  He looked desperate and almost lost as he fell several times and then got back up.  He looked as though he was searching for something or someone.  Toby’s pace quickened, and then he stopped just as he reached the crest of a steep hill.  Was he searching for her?  Was he in Fae or the Etherworld yet?  He looked around the tall trees rolling with mist and opened his mouth and yelled.
“Izzet, where’s the portal!”    
Lizzi expected to hear her name, and began to second guess her premonition.  Toby wouldn’t be searching for Izzet—she was searching for him. 
Toby began to run again as if someone had given him instruction as to where the portal was.  Suddenly, he stopped and extended his hand with the partial mark and expelled a blast of light towards a darkened figure that stepped out of nowhere.
He lowered his hand catching his breath.
“Wes,” he said with surprise at the same time Lizzi tightened her grip on the compact.
“What’s going on in there, little gem?”  Lizzi heard Zaki’s soft voice.
“It’s Wes…he’s in the Etherworld and with Toby.”  She pulled herself out of the premonition, and closed the compact.  “Toby, he was searching for Izzet…”
Why not her?  Zaki’s own premonition of her was correct.  Toby maybe didn’t feel the same as Lizzi did towards him.  She felt her heart sink into her chest. 
A fist hitting the side of the door brought Lizzi to her senses.
“He went without us,” Zaki said between clenched teeth.  “I knew I shouldn’t have trusted him.”
Lizzi looked at Zaki.  Through the flashing orillions that they passed, she saw his eyes of amber, blacken as dark as the sky that hung over them.  Lizzi was seeing the demon side of him, and as much as it frightened her, she felt she could tame it.
“Wes can be trusted.”  Her voice was calm and reassuring.  “I’ve known him forever, and he cares about Lyssa…for the good of everything.”
He turned to her, eyes returning to normal, and a smile replacing a sneer.  “My dear, in a game of power, you trust no one.”


“Lyssa,” a voice whispered in her ear.  “Can you hear me, Lyssa?”  It pleaded.
Lyssa opened her eyes to sunlight beating off of cliffs of fiery reds swirled with bright oranges.  The light amplified the colors as she slowly got up piecing together what happened.
“Are you alright?”  Her dad asked sitting next to her.
“Yeah,” she looked to him.  “But you’re bleeding.” 
“It’s nothing to worry about now.  I don’t know what happened in our kitchen, but we are certainly not there anymore.  We need to find out where we are at and who obviously portaled us here.”  He stood and looked around.
Lyssa knew, or could take a good guess at where they were at.  The colors that surrounded her and the tall cliffs overhead with the rushing stream just feet away from them, Lyssa knew exactly where she was, or at least the area.  This is where she and Dane were attacked by another Drake that she killed in order to save Dane.  It seemed like she was here only days ago, not months.  Nearly lost in her thoughts, Lyssa gathered her senses and turned to her dad. 
“We are in Drake territory.  Dane was the one who brought us here.”  Lyssa looked around expecting him to be standing like a shadow among the many ravines that lined the tall, red cliffs.  “I saw him right before everything went dark, and,” Lyssa looked around again half-expecting him to appear.  “Dane brought me here once when we were headed to the Arrinia Forest.”
“Drake territory—we are in Fae.”  He stepped beside Lyssa.  “Lyssa, we have to get out of here.  Drakes can’t be trusted.  This whole word,” he shook his head.  “We have to get out of here somehow.  We need to find Merlin.”
Lyssa turned towards her father.  “Drakes can be trusted.  Dane is the one who brought us here—he was the one who caught me from a certain death when I escaped from Orzan.”
Lyssa remembered how she felt in his arms, the way he looked at her and the sound of his voice when he said her name.  Just like opening a chest filled with keepsakes, Lyssa was filled with a rush of emotions she had meticulously tucked away and promised herself to never let herself feel them again.  She tried to push the Fae world out of her life, but the Fae world came to her.  It wasn’t up to her anymore; fate now had a play in her life.
“You can trust me, or I would’ve torn both of you to pieces and taken the Everspell myself.”  Dane’s voice echoed around them. 
Both Lyssa and her dad scanned the orange-red cliffs trying to find him.  She thought of calling his name, but found her words got caught in her throat.  The last time she saw him was in a vision right before Orzan tried to take the Everspell from her.

Dane smiled at her and let his dark eyes soften for only a moment.  The kindness of his face almost startled her.
“Keyes to enter dark places.  Never are they in expected places.  Hearts separate with no faces.  They run forever chases.”  Dane’s gentle voice recited her poem.  Lyssa could only stand with open mouth.
“My poem.”  Lyssa meekly replied.
“You are the key and the lock Lyssa.  Only you can open the Everspell.”  Dane slowly reached for her hand making her ears vibrate and his image ripple for only a moment.  “Hearts separate with no faces.  I never knew you existed and you never knew I existed, but our lives will one day entangle.” 
Dane’s warm hand gently held hers. He turned her hand, palm upward, running his fingers over her mark.  His gentle caress tickled as he then barely touched his fingertips to her.  He stopped and lifted his eyes to hers.
“The wand,” he said.
“What?”  Lyssa shook her head and then remembered the wand Lizzi had given her.
Lyssa pulled the silver wand from its holster and gave it to Dane.  He said a quick word she didn’t understand, and suddenly from the wand’s side, tiny jagged blades that looked like the fins of fish, ran up and down the now weapon-like wand.
“The Razor Wand of Nerabeth.”  Dane announced as he slid one of the blades across her finger.
She gasped as Dane held her finger tight and let her blood trickle into the open end of the wand.  Dane then held the open end to his lips and blew over the top.  A clear stone, red as fire, formed over the top. 
“They run forever chases.  The wand is yours, the Everspell is yours, but only chance will unite us again.”  Dane placed the wand in her hand and Lyssa was thrust backwards.  Dane’s image faded from her sight as she tried to reach for his unmoving arms.
Lights flashed around her and her body felt light as a leaf blowing mercifully at the wind.

“It looks like chance has brought us together sooner than I thought.”  Dane’s voice was as smooth as the still, blue water that pooled along the water’s edge.
Lyssa felt her heart race as her eyes finally found him standing like a noble statue—the kind you see in niches of saints at the great cathedrals.  His dark hair was longer and his now bluer eyes glowed down at her.  Suddenly, he expelled his black, bat-like wings in full and leaned forward, gracefully flying through the air as if he was a diver diving into a deep pool.  Dane was acrobatic and looked to be no heavier than a leaf in the wind.  He landed without a sound, eyes focused solely on Lyssa.  
Mesmerized, Lyssa wasn’t brought to her senses until her dad tugged on her arm and shoved her behind him.
“I demand to be taken to Merlin.”  Her dad said in a stern-frightened tone with his hand tightly wrapped around Lyssa’s wrist.
Dane silently peered into her dad’s eyes with a passive, but inquisitive look.  The only sound surrounding them was the rushing of the river that filled the air with its tiny droplets.
“Dad—” Lyssa started to say when Dane raised his hand and respectively nodded his head.  Lyssa stopped what she was going to say and gazed at Dane.
“I understand your concern, and I know Drakes have a less than respectful reputation, but it was witnessed by our sehrs that the Everspell was still alive within Lyssa and now very much in danger.”
Lyssa’s dad stiffened as she stood beside him. 
“Under the amnesty law that governs all of Fae and the farthest reaches, I want you to take me, show me, or arrange to have me taken to Merlin or return us Etherlings back to earth.”
Dane shifted his eyes to Lyssa for a moment then back at her dad.  They were a constant swirl of blues and greys that never truly mixed into a solid color, but were fragmented.
“I do apologize, but I can’t.”  His voice had a control to it.
Suddenly, the sound of beating wings overhead filled the air.  Lyssa and her dad looked up at least a half of dozen dark-winged figures gracefully descending towards them.  They landed one by one and all had either brown or black hair and vivid eyes of green, blue and one with eyes as orange as the cliffs that enclosed them in this serene place.
Lyssa’s dad wrapped his arm around her protectively. 
“Dad,” Lyssa didn’t feel the least bit frightened of the Drakes unlike her dad.  “It’s alright.  I trust Dane and any Drake.”  Lyssa whispered as the remaining Drakes landed and folded their wings behind them.
“You haven’t seen Drakes like I did.”
“Dane and his mother saved me from death, helped me kill Orzan, and they’re helping us now.”  She stood in front of him and gazed into his eyes.  “I trust them, and I know they are trying to help us.”
“Lyssa is speaking the truth, and we mean no harm to you,” Dane stepped closer as the rest of the Drakes stood in a semicircle around them.  “Landmerrows were in the area around your dwelling.  They rarely travel to the Etherworld without the assistance of someone, and I know dark magic surrounded them—they were hired to do the bidding of others.  I followed them there, and they went directly to you using their own portal. They were after Lyssa, and would’ve taken her if I wouldn’t have stopped them.”
“You made a portal then?”  Her dad asked.
Dane shifted his eyes to him.  “Yes, I made a portal with an etch.”
“Then make us a portal to Merlin.  He can protect us from landmerrows or whatever sent them to get Lyssa.”
“I’m sorry, I can’t.  You don’t understand the danger you are in.  Lyssa still has the Eversepell in her, and it’s getting stronger.”
“Do the laws mean anything to you?”  Lyssa never saw her dad get as upset as he was now.  Almost desperate.
She knew she was in danger, but Dane was here, and that made whatever was after her melt away.
“Laws are important, but so is Lyssa’s safety.  There are many after the Everspelll, and most would kill anyone to get to her, and kill her in the end to take the pure magic within her.”  Dane’s blue-grey eyes shifted to her.  “You are safe with us, and we will protect you at all costs.”
Lyssa stepped in front of her dad and looked him in the eyes.  “Dad, listen to me.  I was with Dane and the other Drakes.  Whatever happened before isn’t the same now.”
He drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly as he held tightly onto her shoulders.
“Lyssa, I thought I lost you once…”  His words trailed off.
“And you would of if it wasn’t for Dane.”  She looked over at him as he stood silently and watching her with his entrancing eyes. 
Lyssa suddenly felt what she had been repressing all those months.  She wanted to return to Fae, find Dane, and hope Zoey was still alive somewhere.  But she pushed it all away as the Etherworld was her home and where Lyssa and her dad had a life together.  It was safe, and what she knew.  But that all suddenly shifted into what she denied herself since she came home. She wanted to see the red cliffs of the Drake territory again and have Dane fly with her high above them until it was just her and him, and…
A smirk, very subtle, erupted on Dane’s face and then quickly melted before anyone saw him.  But Lyssa saw it as it was intended for her.  Embarrassment erupted inside her—had Dane read her thoughts?
“Lyssa speaks the truth again.  If I wouldn’t have known she was at Orzan’s tower, she would have landed in a very rocky bottom of ground below her—a certain death, and Orzan would had still taken what was left of the Everspell.  Your daughter would have been dead, Thomas.”
Thomas’s eyes shot to Dane.  “Drakes, on the other hand, would like to have power to erase the rest of the Fae of this world and take it for their own.  The Borderlands are still scorched and will never be the same in my lifetime.  The families there suffered because you didn’t want them there, you didn’t like them and their ways.  They lived in peace, until you took that away from them!”  He stood in front of Dane with his finger pointed at him as the other Drakes moved closer towards them.
Dane raised his hand and they stopped on his command.  Lyssa stood watching the whole thing wondering what could have happened in the past to make him so upset.
Dane shifted his eyes quickly to Lyssa then back at her dad.  “You’re speaking of the charring of the Borderlands.”  He said it without emotion as if he was telling them it was going to rain today.  “That happened about twenty years ago, and yes, it was very tragic.  There was no threat of war or hostility of the Fae living there—they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“Wrong place at the wrong time?!”  Lyssa’s dad exclaimed.  “You took Kearlyn’s family—she was the only one left!”
Kearlyn—her mother.  Lyssa never knew her, but her dad spoke of her from time to time without emotion due to the spell she put on him.  She died in a fire set by Orzan because he wanted her and Lyssa back with him.  If Orzan couldn’t have her, no one could. Lyssa and her dad barely escaped, but her mother lost her life that night, and to ease Lyssa’s dad’s pain, Kearlyn put a forgetting spell on him.  It was meant to relieve his grief and be strong for Lyssa, but spells can’t fix everything, and the ones that are supposed to help, sometimes don’t.  Thomas cared for Lyssa, but his eyes always seemed vacant to her, and he was always distant.
“Do you solely claim fault to all the destruction and suffering caused by your fellow Etherlings?”  Dane peered at Lyssa’s dad.  “Or is Lyssa to blame also?”  He asked nodding towards her with his eyes still on Thomas.  “No, of course not, and it isn’t your fault.  You do not wish to be judged by your own kinds’ doings, and neither do I.  The charring of the Borderlands was done as an extension of Orzan’s hand.  In his quest to cleanse the Fae world of what he deemed lesser races, he made an agreement with the Council and formed an alliance with them that was broken as quickly as it was created.  Our lands are corrupt, but there is hope.”  His blue-grey eyes set on Lyssa.
Her dad let out an exhausted sigh.  “I understand what you are saying, but…”
“But you want Lyssa safe, and I understand a parent’s worry,” said a female voice.
The semicircle of young Drakes parted revealing a woman with dark hair standing on a narrow ledge just feet off the ground.  It was Elsa, Dane’s mother.  Lyssa remembered the first time she saw her.  She was kind to Lyssa, almost motherly, and she had an aura to her that made Lyssa feel at ease.
Lyssa looked at her dad.  His eyes were on Elsa with enchanted awe as if just her presence had an impression on him.  
“My name is Elsa, and I’m one of the Fire People and a sehr.  I’m the one who sent my son Dane to get you.  You know what Orzan had done, and felt the pain he brought on you.  Now his sister, Izzet, is gaining power.  She already has the Graces on her side, and it’s just a matter of time before she takes the one last thing you have in this world and in the Etherworld.”  Elsa looked between Lyssa and her father.  “But you are right about the laws.  We believe in the first laws set by the ancient ones, and you do not have to stay with us.  Not many respect those old laws, but we do. Also as one who knows the dangers of this world and the magic that is unstable here, you are taking a risk not only with your safety, but the responsibility of the Everspell that can forever change our world along with yours.”
Lyssa tugged on her dad’s sleeve.  “Elsa, Dane and the rest of the Drakes here, aren’t going to hurt us.”
“It could still be a trick—how do you even know you still have the Everspell?”  He replied with a raise of his eyebrows and in a low voice.  “They may just want to see if you have it to take it for themselves.  Merlin is our best chance.” 
“We wish to be taken to Merlin under the amnesty law.”  Her dad announced.
“But dad…”  Suddenly Lyssa was swept off her feet and propelled into the air.
She screamed and expected to be in the arms of Dane sweeping her away, but instead, thick arms of rough rock curled around her like a vigorous vine.
“Landmerrow!”  Someone yelled.
Lyssa tried to free herself, but how do you free yourself from a cocoon of rock?  She felt her lungs struggle to fill with air as the scene in front of her changed from sky to rocks to the scrambling Drakes below as she was flipped through the air.
“Lyssa!”  Her dad screamed her name desperately. 
Lyssa continued to squirm with no use.  The landmerrow had her and tightened its hold until her his vision began to fade.
“Lyssa use the Everspell!  Reach for it…only you can use it!”  
A female voice, soft and strong at the same time like honey mixed with iron, whispered in her head. 
“You’ll die if you don’t!  Do it for your father, Lyssa!”
The voice was urgent, almost so desperate; Lyssa thought the person was standing next to her.
The voice Lyssa knew, and wanted to believe it was her, but didn’t want to.  She had lost Zoey, and maybe if there was so many that wanted this Everspell, maybe she should just let herself die at the vines of this landmerrow.  Her dad would be safe; Dane would be safe, Toby, and everyone.  It would be over and no one would have to suffer anymore.
“You’re not giving into them!  You hear me, Lyssa, my daughter—fight!”
Electricity suddenly ran through her as if someone had stuck her with a bare electrical cord.  Lyssa’s eyes popped open focusing on the battle in front of her and her ears in tune to the sounds of a battle.  A rush of emotions filled her as the voice became clear.
“Kearlyn—mom?”  Lyssa questioned, but without a doubt, she knew it was her, and she had to save her dad along with the Everspell.
With her muscles tightening, Lyssa felt a bubble form inside of her.  She imagined a flower, plump with petals, being held secure by the protective cover of the sepal.  The flower she carried for so long was ready to bloom, and suddenly she couldn’t hold it in anymore.
Lyssa felt the rock crumble around her body—she could breathe.  The sounds of the landmerrow she had burst apart, cried out in surprise and pain as tiny rocks fell through the air like hail from an angry storm.  She was free, and felt the wave of energy, electricity, and strength run through her like it had no end.  Until, Lyssa felt her body slowly fall through the air.  She may have had the strength to destroy the landmerrow, but she couldn’t fly.
Lyssa prepared to hit the ground when two strong arms caught her.  Once again, Dane had saved her. 
Slowly he landed, gently put her feet to the ground, and folded his massive wings behind him.  His eyes more blue than grey, gazed at her not with excited emotion, but pride instead.
She stood in awe, almost forgetting what had happened, where she was at, and what was going on.  She had used the Everspell inside of her, but she didn’t know it was there until her mother spoke to her.  She felt happy and sad along with brave and scared out of her mind all at the same time.
Dane then smiled at her as he stood in front of her and took her hand in his, barely touching her and resting their palms together.  She felt her mark radiate with light that ran like a river through her as Dane smiled with joy and then turned to the Drakes that looked up at them. 
“All hail the Queen of the Fire People!”  Dane yelled out as his voice echoed off the rock walls, and through Lyssa.
Lyssa removed her hand from Dane’s and looked at him with confusion.  “Queen—Fire people?”
“You have control over the Everspell.  And my test proves it.”  His voice filled with confidence.
“What do you mean?”
“I allowed the landmerrows to follow me so you could kill them—proof to my people that you are our Queen.”
“I’m not a queen—I’m not even Drake.  And there’s no way I can be Queen!”  Lyssa searched for her dad as she started to turn away from Dane.
He caught her hand as she peered down at the several Drakes all knelt and bowing in front of her.
“You have the Everspell, Lyssa.  You have a power this world needs, and if you don’t take it, someone will take it from you.”