Etienne is a faerie knight, half sidhe and half human – but he will be the first to say he is no hero.
His armor is as tarnished as his honor, and he has as little use for one as he does the other. He has been called many things – half-breed filth, Summer’s Get, crazy. He has wandered the realms as an outcast for centuries, hiring on as a mercenary or as a blacksmith wherever there was work to be found and often going hungry. He finds companionship among others who lived on the fringes of society, sometimes for a day or even two, mostly only in the quiet of the night. He usually prefers to be alone.
But he had not always been this way. Once when he was young he accidentally wandered into the Mortal Realm for the first time, and there he met a peasant’s daughter named Bess at a harvest festival. That night she came to him and told him she would be his wife if he would have her. He stayed with her, loved her, walked through the nights with crying babies and worked the days at a blazing forge. And when he lost her too soon to plague, when he was driven from the village by fear and superstition, he was forced to return to Faerie, to the place of his birth, lost and suffering from a broken heart.
Etienne’s mortal wife never knew his scars.
There was no welcome waiting for his return. But there were enemies. He was tortured over days as spell glyphs were carved over and over into his flesh, into every exposed inch of skin until his tormenters were certain they would scar irrevocably. And then they discarded him without activating the magic in the glyphs, a display of their contempt. Etienne had one single friend, a prince of little power but who had a reputation for making interesting friends. This prince was able to smuggle Etienne away and to convince his friends the dwarves to lay runic brands over the new scars to negate their magic. It was as excruciating as the original cutting, but it was pain Etienne accepted willingly.
He never went home again.
Instead he began wandering, sometimes through Faerie, sometimes through the Mortal Realm. As a half-breed he was eternally at a disadvantage against full-blooded sidhe who were faster and stronger, harder to kill. Even as the centuries passed and he gained experience in combat, when faced with equal skill those things could be the deciding factor that ended in his death. It was known that he was friendless and relatively weak, and there were many among the sidhe who would welcome his passing. Etienne mastered jumping between realms, living on the borders, staying out of sight and out of the way, but even then it seemed to be only a matter of time before his luck wore out. He needed an advantage.
Finally he found it in mortal ingenuity.
His human blood had granted him immunity to Cold Iron, and Etienne had always held a love and fascination for blacksmithing and mechanics. He had encountered early firearms during his various sojourns in the Mortal Realm, but while they had been interesting to him, as weapons against preternatural opponents they were useless – an opinion shared by the rest of the preternatural world. They were simply not powerful enough. But then the .45 revolver was invented, and Etienne knew he had finally found something with potential. But as a mortal weapon it still was not enough. A revolver could do much more damage than a flintlock pistol, but it still would not do enough to do more than anger a sidhe, the real threats to his survival. He needed more – much more.
He turned again to the dwarves.
In exchange for service, the exact terms of which he does not speak of, they forged for Etienne a named weapon – the revolver Agmundr, The Gift of Terror. They also created twelve enchanted bullets that would kill any sidhe dealt a fatal wound and a gun rig that would give him speed and strength as if he was full-blooded. It gave him the ability to kill at range, to negate his relative mortal frailty. Finally he could force those who hunted him for amusement to leave him in peace. He killed the next three sidhe lords to face him.
The rest learned to give him a wide berth.
And Etienne was finally content to roam the worlds, to be left alone. And that was what he did. Until one day when Fate intervened in his life, and he found a young sidhe boy, little more than a child, who had been brutalized, violated, and left for dead. Against his better judgment Etienne took the child away with him and nursed him back to health, even after discovering that the boy’s attacker had been one of the most powerful princes in all of Faerie. The knowledge only made him run faster and further with the boy. When the boy recovered enough to talk, he told Etienne a tale that changed his life. His name was Kian and he was a prince’s companion. He and that prince had been kidnapped, and the prince murdered before his eyes. And then young Kian revealed that his own parents were dead and his guardian was the prince’s father – and his own father was the very same powerless prince who so long ago had been Etienne’s only friend. Etienne knew then that he would do anything to protect this boy, and after years of wandering the lonely places finally took him to the Mortal Realm to ensure his safety.
The Mortal Realm has brought with it challenges and discoveries if its own. As Etienne struggles to survive in the modern world and teach his friend’s son what it means to be a faerie prince in his own right, he discovers that the kidnapper – since turned fugitive – has resurfaced in the Mortal Realm. This would be enough to drive Etienne back to Faerie, except that he and Kian discover Kian’s childhood friend is still alive and still being held by their attacker. Now at Kian’s urging Etienne has traveled across North America to the city of Seahaven, Washington, in a quest to rescue the kidnapped prince.
Once in the city Etienne realizes he needs help and goes in search of an old friend, but instead finds a young wizard girl who herself needs rescuing…