Tag Archives: Faerie

Lelia – A Books of Binding Short Story

Lelia did not remember much about the night she met Jeremy Moore.

She remembered going to the club, Fever, in Midtown. She remembered drinking, but not that much because they were overpriced and not that awesome. She hadn’t been looking to hook up. She’d just wanted to dance and celebrate her new job, and mentally flip her parents off for their snotty attitude about her dropping out of college. She didn’t need a liberal arts education to be successful, no matter what they said.

She remembered seeing Jeremy watching her from the other end of the bar… and then she was waking up in her rumpled bed next to him. She’d totally freaked out, waking him up, and he’s gotten pissed at her for “pretending” to not remember anything. But he’d grabbed her phone and put his number in, anyway, and told her to call him if she ever decided to stop screwing around, and he’d left.

Lelia was sure, now, that she’d been drugged or something. She just wasn’t sure how. But the second his name came up with the police, the interview had ended, and she’d been rushed out the door.

All she was sure of was that he’d gotten her pregnant. He was the only guy she’d had sex with in months.

It had taken her a few months to figure out what was wrong with her. Why she was sick and tired all the time. She knew now that she didn’t want to face the truth and had procrastinated taking a pregnancy test. She’d then spent a lot of time working up the guts to call Jeremy.

His answer? “Bullshit.” And he’d hung up on her.

That had set a fire under her, and she resolved to track his ass down. But while she searched she got sicker and lost her job, and her parents wouldn’t help. She’d “made this bed so now she’d have to lie in it.”

Fuck them, too.

Finally, she’d figured out that Jeremy Moore was the son of some big investment executive or something—which explained why the police wouldn’t listen to her—and decided that if Jeremy was going to be an asshole that she would try to take this up with his father, Jonathan. Maybe he would help her?

But now… now she was at Moore Investments and it was as if the whole world had gone insane.

What had she just seen? Lelia crouched near the wall as the black tower fell, her eyes wide. The occasional car—the occasional police car—drove by, and no one else seemed to notice the battle. The knights in armor. The… monsters! A building fell! People were hurt, dead, and no one seemed to care.

Why?

She wasn’t crazy. She wasn’t crazy! Lelia felt tears pooling yet again. All she knew for certain was that she was in trouble and it was Jeremy Moore’s fault. She had come here to see his father, to tell him what Jeremy had done to her, to settle this once and for all, but there they both were, being dragged away by knights in armor. Knights in armor!

She rested her hand on her pregnant belly. She needed help but forced herself to walk away into the dark night before they dragged her away, too.
What was she going to do now?


 

A few weeks later, Lelia was still trying to answer that question.

Her landlord liked rent money more than he liked her and nobody would hire a pregnant chick, so now she was staying in a women’s shelter near the Waterfront. She wandered the touristy part of the docks, trying to walk off her swollen feet and looking for an answer in the dark water below.

She came to an empty bench and sat down, feeling like a swollen cow and wishing she could go back to that night at Fever and just stab Jeremy in the eye or something. Her life was in shambles and it was all his fault, and now not even the building he’d lived in remained. Both he and his father were considered missing, and she felt like she was the only one who knew the truth.

Oh god, would the monsters come for her, next?

Tears of fright startled from her eyes, and suddenly she was crying her despair into her hands, regardless of who might be passing by.

A young man with long, curly brown hair approached. He was carrying a battered guitar case and he sat at the far end of the bench. He pulled out his guitar and began to play softly, something gentle and intricate and soothing. She looked up, sniffing and wiping her face, embarrassed, and realized he looked familiar. He was one of the shelter volunteers. Steven or Stephen or something. Stephen, that was it.

He pulled a tissue packet from his pocket and handed her one. “I’ve seen you at the shelter. What’s got you so scared?”

Lelia dabbed at her nose, hesitating, but she was so lonely and needed to talk to someone. “It’s a long story.”

Stephen smiled and rested his hands on the strings of his guitar. “I have all the time in the world.”

She laid her hand on her belly, feeling the baby move. “I ran into a guy at a club named Jeremy Moore. I think he drugged me, but no one will listen to me. I finally tracked him down to Moore Investments—” she stopped. He would think she was crazy. “But they were already gone.” The disappearance and building collapse had been all over the news.

Stephen began to play, again. “I’ve heard of Jeremy and his father. They’re bad news, but Jeremy has good family still here in town. An older brother. They’ll help you, Lelia.” He gestured across the Bay to the spit of land jutting out creating a separation between it and the Pacific Ocean. “He and his family live out on the Point, at Mulcahy House.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out two twenties. “Take a cab out there and tell whoever answers the door that you are looking for Jeremy’s brother and are carrying his son.”

Lelia’s brows rose. “A boy? How do you know that? I can’t go to the doctor.”

Stephen smiled. “It’s just a hunch, but my hunches tend to be good.” He squeezed her hand. “Don’t wait, now. These are good people and they’ll help you. I promise.”


 

Lelia was afraid, but more afraid of having to do this alone, so she grasped at those frail straws of hope with both hands and called a cab from the shelter.

Mulcahy House was huge, covered in brick and trellises thick with what might be rose canes all the way to the roofline. Hard to tell in late November, though, even in the temperate Pacific Northwest.

The cab rolled away, leaving Lelia with only one real option. She walked down the sandy walkway and gave the ornately carved door a tentative knock.

After a few minutes, the door swung open, revealing a woman not much older than Lelia but with iridescent white hair pulled up in a matronly bun. Very cool. Lelia briefly wondered where she’d gotten it dyed like that. There was something vaguely familiar about her. The woman tilted her head just to one side, curious, and then her gaze dropped to Lelia’s belly. “Oh! Hello. Please, won’t you come in? Would you like some tea?”

Lelia felt something tense inside her release and she almost burst into tears with relief. “I would love some.”

The woman gave her a smile and opened the door further to give Lelia room to come inside. “My name is Winter Mulcahy. Let me show you the way to the kitchen and we’ll get you settled in.”

Settled in?

But Winter was already leading the way down the wide hallway, past the front entryway filled with a riot of pictures, past room after warmly lit room, until they arrived at last at the biggest kitchen Lelia had ever seen. It was warm and cozy, and yet the space was soaring with a massive, battered table to one side and multiple refrigerators and freezers on the other, separated by a long island bar. The space smelled like the holidays, all apple cider and pumpkin spice, and when Winter presented her with a cup of herbal tea it tasted of warmth and home and family. Nothing like her messed up life.

A beautiful young man came in through the sliding glass door with grocery bags and gave Lelia a welcoming smile. He also looked vaguely familiar, but she couldn’t place it.

Winter put several cookies on a plate and passed it to Lelia. “Now, what can we do to help?”

Lelia opened her mouth… and then burst into tears. These people had no idea why she was here, but they were offering to help, anyway. She told her story about Jeremy drugging her and getting her pregnant, and about trying to track him down, only to find—

The battle.

That was where she knew these people from. She’d seen them near the tower where Jeremy and his father were being dragged away! She jumped up from her stool as best she could and backed away. “I need to go.” If they knew she knew, they might… they might do anything to her. She had to—

She backed into a wide chest that let out a soft grunt at the impact, and she turned to see Jeremy—only not Jeremy. He had dark auburn hair and was shorter and broader, but the same gray eyes and the same face. He was also carrying groceries and looked at her with mild confusion. “You need help?”

What was with these people and offering help?

Winter came around the island and laid a gentle hand on Lelia’s shoulder. “Lelia, this is Etienne Knight, Jeremy’s brother. Etienne, Lelia is pregnant with your nephew.”

Lelia’s eyes widened. “How did you know?”

Winter gave her a gentle smile. “I have my ways. Now, come sit back down. We won’t hurt you.” Her tone was firm, like a teacher or a doctor.
The beautiful young man held out her chair for her and Lelia sat back down, not seeing much of an alternative. “Promise?” Who were these people?

Etienne was looking a bit floored, but he went down on one knee in front of her. “I swear on my life, you won’t come to harm in this house.”

Okay, that was new. “Are you, like, a real knight or something?”

“Yes.” He rose to his full height, which wasn’t all that tall, but that was okay.

Lelia laid her hand on her belly. “Do you know where Jeremy is?”

Etienne nodded. “He’s with his—what’s the word, again?”

The young man answered him. “‘Birth parents.’”

Etienne made a small noise. “Them. He’s very ill. Jonathan made him very ill, and no one knows if he’ll recover.”

Lelia’s face fell. Then there was no hope for help, after all, was there?

Winter took her hands. “Jeremy is sick and can’t help you with his child. We are not. Please, stay here with us. We will help you with everything you need. Both of you.”

Lelia broke down again, hormones and emotions making her vulnerable, and she finally spoke the truth that had been dogging her for months. “I don’t want there to be a both of us. I don’t want this.”

The three looked to each other and Winter looked back at her, determined and compassionate. “Then we will help you until you deliver, and however long you need afterwards. We’ll help you get back to your life, and we will make sure this baby is loved, cherished by family, and never wants for anything.”

Lelia shook with emotion and nodded, whispering, “Thank you. Thank you.”

Winter gave her a gentle hug. “Come upstairs and we’ll get you settled into a room. I think you have time for a nap before dinner, is that right, Cian?”

The young man nodded. “Of course. And if you oversleep, that’s fine. We’ll keep something warm for you.”

Lelia let Winter take her by the hand and lead her upstairs, turning her hope and her child over to these kind strangers.

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Liminal Space – A Books of Binding Flash Fiction

Etienne paused within the cold-flame-wreathed rift, within this liminal place between realms. Before him lay the Mortal Realm, and behind him, Faerie. He had spent weeks seeking a rift to pass through. He had wandered alone, his body aching with the agony of knife and fire that still wracked each step. His mind aching with the sting of humiliation, desperation, and betrayal. He had endured it all, looking for this passage—this escape. But now, he paused.

There was nothing for him among the mortals. Not anymore. Not since his beloved Bess had died. Not since the plague that had robbed him of her sweetness, of her kisses.

Of their children.

But behind him he was a hunted man, scarred by his enemies. By his sidhe step-father. Scarred by his allies for his own protection, because a sidhe magician had carved spell glyphs into his flesh—glyphs of compulsion and control—and the only remedy was to brand dwarven runes over each and every one.

And still his step-father hunted him. Still he could not rest.

That was the thought that propelled him forward, even as pain knifed through his chest. He had not set foot in the Mortal Realm since losing her. Losing them. Losing everything. But Bess would not want him to die at his step-father’s hands. She would want him to live, even as hollow as his existence had become.

He would persist for her.

With that, he shouldered the pack over his raw shoulders and threw his lot in with the mortals.

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A Snippet From Our WIP, Faerie Rising

After a long absence, we’re back!  Now, without further ado, here’s a snippet from Faerie Rising

Guitar music filtered through the foot traffic, and Etienne looked around, finally finding a young man with an instrument that saw more love and attention than his clothing, sitting on the sidewalk between two storefront windows.  His head was lowered over his guitar, eyes closed and long brown curls hiding much of his face as he gave himself over to his music.  Etienne tapped Kian on the elbow to keep him from wandering on ahead without him and made his way toward the street musician, feeling the music pulling at him like a gentle hand.  It was beautiful, even more beautiful than the music played in his mother’s court.  The boy was better than Kian, who Etienne loved to listen to play.
His music reminded him – Etienne stopped short, eyes wide – reminded him of his father.  Chretien de Aquitaine had been a magnificent musician.  His music and his beauty had drawn Etienne’s mother’s attention, much to the troubadour’s misfortune.
The street musician’s hands stilled on his strings, stroked the wood of the guitar, and finally looked up at Etienne through his long curls.  A small smile brushed over his lips.
Etienne was frozen, still struck by his memories.  “Who…?”
The young man shook his head.  “The question you need to ask is ‘Where?’”
Etienne’s brows drew in.
The street musician stretched his thin arm and pointed down the block, deeper into the Historical District.  “What you want is that way.  Across the street and next door to the cupcake place.  Olde Curiosity’s Gift Shoppe.”
Etienne craned his neck to look down the sidewalk, and then snapped back to look down at the boy.  “Did you say ‘Curiosity’s’?”  Arthur’s wife had been named Curiosity!  He remembered!
The boy’s gentle smile widened, and he nodded once.  “Now you understand me.”
Etienne dug into his jeans pocket and dropped the last of his change into the boy’s guitar case.  He turned, eager to pursue this new lead, and then turned back to thank him.  But what came out of his mouth was, “Who are you?”
The boy swung his long hair back behind his shoulder, revealing more of his face.  Pretty, but well within human normal.  “I’m just Stephen.  Welcome to Seahaven.”
Etienne looked more closely at Stephen, and he was indeed as he appeared.  Simply human.  Clearing his throat to cover his confusion he said, “Well, thank you, Stephen.”
The boy smiled and inclined his head with grace.  “Anytime.”  He then set to playing again.

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A Snippet From Our WIP, Faerie Rising

Lana’s mind wandered back to Summer’s Get as she carried the jar back to bed.  What was he doing visiting that strung-out wizard?  She hadn’t used to be so bad, but up until a few months ago there had also been a few more of them running around.  She had heard though the rumor mill that the others had been torn apart by something.

Oh well.  Not her town, not her problem.

Her problem was working on his second joint, his eyes half-lidded.  Maybe it was his third.  It took a lot to mellow out a sidhe as strong as him. 

She did not believe in coincidence.  If Summer’s Get was next door, it involved Senan.  Of that she was certain.  What she was not certain of was how much time it left her.  She had screwed around with this twit for far too long, but she had had to be so careful, and she was dancing on this wire with no net.  One misstep and the fall would kill her.

“Close to what?”

Even with her acute hearing, Lana barely heard his slurred words.  Instincts honed by years of intrigues riveted on those three syllables, and she slid up beside him on the bed.  “What do you mean?” she asked softly, tracing her nails over his skin.

Senan closed his eyes in pleasure and exhaled smoke.  He slurred something incoherent.  His eyes did not reopen.

Lana rocked herself up on one knee and straddled his waist, nails digging in harder.  “Jeremy, baby.  Talk to me.”

The hand with the smoking joint lowered to the bed and a small snore trickled from his lips.  Shit.  Ordinarily this would be her cue to put out the joint, pick up her paperback, and order sushi in.  In the morning she would gush about what fantastic sex they’d had.  Since she couldn’t feed on him without Prince Midhir sensing it, she preferred it this way.  Imagine, a succubus choosing fiction over fornication – but he just sucked that much in bed. 

She frowned down at his pretty, snoring face, hands on hips, and considered her options.  On one hand, her book was getting to a good part.  On the other hand… screw it, something told her she really needed to know what the idiot was talking about.  She knew from months of dating that Senan plus pot equaled taking forever to wake back up, and she so did not feel like spending the next forty-five minutes coaxing him to alertness.  There were much more direct approaches.  A smile stretched her mouth, and she knew it was neither sweet nor inviting.  After all, a rare opportunity to mess with the idiot was really not something she wanted to pass up.

She plucked the joint from his slack fingers, set it in the ash tray before it burnt a hole in her bed spread, and then bit his nipple just this side of bleeding.

Senan woke up with a scream like a stepped-on cat.  “Jesus, bitch!”  His voice was still slurred, but he was definitely awake.  He clasped both hands protectively over his left pectoral, propped up awkwardly on one elbow.

Lana tossed her hair and laughed.  “Aw!  Did I bite too hard, baby?”

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The Characters of Faerie Rising – Kian, the Glorious Dawn

Kian, the Glorious Dawn, earned his name in childhood when it became obvious that he had inherited his mother’s famous beauty.

Edaine of the Waters was the most beautiful sidhe woman of her age.  She was courted by all of the Sons of Dagda, among the richest and most powerful princes of Faerie, but at long last she gave her heart to Prince Eoin, the youngest son.  Eoin was neither particularly rich nor powerful, but he was kind and loving, and his gentleness won Edaine’s love.  They were married and in time Edaine gave birth to a son, Kian.  Soon after the boy’s birth, Eoin fell in battle and rather than live without her love, Edaine chose to fade into mist and memory.  Kian, now an orphan, was taken in by his uncle, King Anluan, who had been one of Edaine’s most ardent suitors, even though he already had a Queen.

Anluan made Kian companion to his own son, Prince Senan, but the boys were raised very differently.  Kian was taught dance, music, and poetry while Senan was taught swordplay and politics.  Rumors abounded that Anluan was grooming Kian to take Edaine’s place in his affections.

When Kian was twelve, Prince Midhir the Proud came to Anluan’s court.  Angry at a perceived slight, Midhir kidnapped both of the young princes.  Senan he took to raise as his own, but Kian was taken to strike at Anluan.  Midhir brutalized and violated young Kian, and then left him for dead in the wilds of Faerie. 

Kian was found by a wandering half-sidhe knight named Etienne.  Etienne, upon learning that Kian’s father was Prince Eoin, a kind figure from Etienne’s own past, swore to protect the young prince and nursed him back to health.  They travelled Faerie for many years together, and finally came to the Mortal Realm where they encountered a group of therian wolves who were members of a medieval recreation group.  The two sidhe were welcomed into this pack and lived among them for a year.

Etienne and Kendrick, the King of the wolf pack, taught Kian many of the things his royal uncle had omitted from his education.  Together, they taught him swordplay, horsemanship, strategy, and warfare.  Kian and Etienne were content among the wolves and would have happily stayed among them much longer if fate had not intervened in the form of a magazine article about a computer securities magnate who bore the face of Kian’s nightmares.  This was the man who had kidnapped him and at his side was Kian’s young friend Prince Senan, who Kian had thought was dead.  Kian convinced Etienne that they must rescue his childhood friend.

Upon reaching Seahaven, Washington, Kian and Etienne realize that they are going to need more help to get Senan out of the heavily guarded Moore Computer Securities.  They seek out the help of a wizard who Etienne had befriended during the Second World War, only to find that he and his extended family are almost all gone.  The only help left is one wizard girl, barely older than Kian, and she has problems of her own.  But even so, she offers help and place to rest, even as danger threatens from all sides…

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The Characters of Faerie Rising – Etienne Knight

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…

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