The knights didn't see her.
How lax they are, chuckling, she let herself out of the gate. Her quick pace led her into the darkness of the woods. It tickled her to have slipped in and out unnoticed.
Her waiting had paid off. The night of the engagement party had been just the beginning. It may have taken her twenty years of lying low and planning, but she was ready. It may be unfair to give the King an advantage by warning him of her vengeance, but she couldn't stop herself from making sure he knew exactly who was behind the upcoming attack.
All her hard work was about to come to fruition. Her suffering would be justified.
She paused and turned to look back. Having come far enough and deep enough into the forest, she couldn't see any light from the entrance she had just walked through.
However, it was satisfying enough to know she'd left the note behind.
“You will remember, Tritium, that I warned you. So many years ago, I warned you. You would not listen. If only you had listened. For now, it is too late. Too late!”
Walking forward, she continued, “I warned you. Yes, I did. Warned you then, but you wouldn't listen. I will have my revenge.”
Then her mutters turned into a soft whisper and she sang,
“The darkness rises, on wings of hate.
Discontent is well-fed of late.
You hear the whisper.
You hear the call.
He rises to destroy us all.
The blackness comes on wings of fire.
All will burn under his ire.
No one can escape,
this awful dread and wait.
Do you see? Do you see?
The darkness rises on wings of hate.”
Her laughter echoed throughout the woods. Animals paused and cocked their ears. Birds hushed their songs and tilted their heads. Eyes darted back and forth everywhere.
Evil drew near. Evil was upon them. They ran and hid and tucked themselves back into their holes. They recognized the voice. The voice of hate.
A witch was calling upon the darkness, and they wanted no part of it.
Amazon and Goodreads 5-Star Reviews:
“I love the twisted fairy tale genre and this book is a very good read.” ~Suzy Kenski
“I loved this book! It was fun and quirky. Couldn’t wait to pick it up each night and see what would happen next.” ~Amazon Customer
“Five Stars…Great weekend read!” ~Kristen Bombgardner
“I have read a lot of fairy tale spinoffs. This one kept me interested. It had the classic Cinderella story line but with different characters and a nice, surprising twist at the end. I enjoyed reading this book!” ~Sarah Kirn
"Five Stars. Good story." ~Laura
Other books in this genre:
I'm Dhellia Hunt, princess of the underworld. Daughter of Lucifer and Adana. This is my story.
Being princess of the underworld has its perks, but being imprisoned for all eternity with undesirable duties cast upon her is not one of them.
When Dhellia runs away from home, she never expects her father, Lucifer to become her brutal enemy.
Little does she know that when she abandons her birthright to the underworld, it comes at a heavy price. Fighting for her life and on the run, Dhellia must discover powers she never knew she had to survive.
The world outside sounds menacing as loud thunderous cracks rained down on the home. In the middle of this fierce raging storm with no electricity, siblings Zack and Daniel turn to their father, John Malone. Feeling the boys are now old enough to learn the truth about his childhood, John decides to share a family secret that he’s kept locked away, a secret that changed John’s life forever.
In a small Pennsylvania town called Lizardville, a young boy named Johnny and his friends set out on a weekend camping trip along the banks of Big Fishing Creek. On the first night, as the boys gather around the campfire, Parker shares a story that happened nearly eighty years ago, the legend of the Ax Factory murders.
Soon after, strange, mysterious things begin to happen. Little do the boys realize they have awakened the spirit world! Jimmy, unable to sleep, comes face to face with a ghost named Annabelle. She is searching for something and knows the boys are hiding what she seeks. Could the secret lie in an old puzzle box?
After accidentally shrinking a human boy, Nahtaia—a mischievous moon-faery—is stripped of her powers by the Jaydürian gods. With the help of a pine-faery named Oren, Nahtaia must find a way to change the human back to his natural state before her mistake is discovered by the leaders of the fae. But a journey through the forests of Jaydür is long and arduous for an impatient faery with no wings, and even more so for the two traveling with her.
Where do the Banned go when home’s no longer home?
The lyrics of the old village tune haunt Astrea, who wants nothing more than to feel like she belongs in the redhead Rudan tribe. To prove it, she captures a unicorn who has wandered into the Mist, the first hope of meat for a while in the famine-ridden land.
But unicorns are magical creatures, and anyone who kills or eats one will become cursed.
When the tribe council votes to eat him anyway, Astrea fears the worst. She’s determined to figure out a way to fix it before the tribe pays for her actions.
This is part one of Running Toward Illumia, which will be released in three parts over the next few months.
An unremarkable young man watched as a young woman did an odd sort of floating ballet in front of him. Her steps were unschooled but there was a raw talent in her performance that was hard to explain under the circumstances. Some might call it a gift of some sort, others a curse maybe but either way her love for what she was doing was plain to see. Her arms did a freeform, flapping version of a bras croisé that was cleverly reminiscent of a large bird in flight. There was nothing obviously remarkable about her at this point either - other than the fact she was dancing.
They were in a courtyard high up on a strange, windswept rooftop. She stopped dancing mid-step to look up into the sky when they heard a single, coarse screech from somewhere above. Sea Hawks were known as shriekers to those outside the walls while the people from inside had no idea they even existed. These were the only raptors ever seen in the land, they were the only birds of prey that could make a living hunting for hagfish in the turbulent waters of the Uncrossable Sea or nest safely on the wind torn cliffs of the Unscalable Mountains.
Trinity saw him first and pointed into the leaden sky too spellbound to say a word. The Osprey didn’t flap its enormous wings, it didn’t waste any of its hard won energy but instead swooped effortlessly from one up-draught to the next searching the grey, foamy water below for a meal. “You’re right,” the young man said with a big grin, “the way you were moving was just like a shrieker when it flies. All you need now are feathers - and maybe an egg or two.”
She grinned happily but the breeziness soon evaporated when she caught sight of the angle of the sun through a gap in the heavy clouds. “We’ve got to be going,” she said, “I’ll be late again.”
Morden didn’t want this moment to be over but would never say so. He only shrugged as he watched her hurry away. “I’ll find you later,” she threw over her shoulder.
Then she hiked up her once fine but now threadbare traditional gown and started to run. “I’ll race you - if you don’t mind being beaten by a girl.”
Despite his disappointment he grinned and started to run too - in the opposite direction. He was no natural athlete by any stretch of the imagination but his scurrying, nimble gait made best use of his wiry build. His height was about average, maybe a bit taller, and his sandy brown hair along with hazel eyes made him prettyish for a boy. He didn’t like that. In an effort to look more grown up and masculine he didn’t shave completely. Instead he carefully sculpted what facial hair he had along his jawline to give him, what he hoped, was a more mature look. But it wasn’t a beard, not really and his father called it babies’ bum fluff -which did nothing to help. The truth was Morden was a geek.
Trinity wasn’t beautiful in any classic sense either but her limbs were long and supple. She moved easily over the bizarre, intricate skyline where adjacent courtyards led from one to the next then up through elevated passageways. She bounced lightly around a maze of lofty terraces passing flinty spires and rocky towers going forever upward. But she didn’t slow down - she never slowed down.
His helter-skelter route took him downwards however. He bounced down nearly vertical, stone stairways and slid around the hairpin corners of steeply inclined pathways and ramps until he finally scampered onto the flat main street of the city. Once here he was able to sprint into the plaza to join all the other, almost silent Outwallers who were standing packed together looking upwards. These were the people who weren’t born of the noble line so they lived outside the original city in a dense, grey township that cowered in the shadows of the towering city walls.
High on the ceremonial balcony overlooking the crowd below the Noble Family of the city state of Heritage waited in grumpy silence for something to happen. And what a motley looking crew they were. This group of strange souls made up the House of Paynes and at its heart lay three wildly dysfunctional sisters. At its crumbling head sat High Lord Auric Payne beside his wife High Lady Amasta. She was the eldest of the sisters and the tallest by a hair - but a full head taller than her husband. This height added nothing to her charm however and her skinniness only made her more skitterish and spiderlike. Despite being such an unlikely couple they had somehow managed to come up with a son called Malcolm. His function in life was to wait stupidly in the wings as heir to the whole, shaky shebang.
Amasta’s younger sister Clodagh looked a lot like Amasta but she was even skinnier to the point of emaciation. She was married to even more stunted Egan and they had a daughter, at least at this point they thought they had a daughter, called Trinity.
Feena was the youngest of the three girls. She was the healthiest looking by far, not that she was any beauty either, and she was married to somewhat more normal looking Hendon. Much to her chagrin they were yet to come up with a child of their own despite trying way too hard to make it happen.
All three sisters were mousey haired, gaunt faced and light eyed. Like the rest of the dwindling noble family they were fragile looking and appeared older than they really were. But it was ill health and not the years that stole their youth and denied them a lifespan of normal length or vigor. The Elders had never worked out that the miserable and ongoing lack of wellbeing and viable births among the highborn family was due to the indisputable belief that members of the nobility could only have ‘intimate physical contact’ with other members of the same, small ruling class. Nobody knew who’d penned that particularly insidious page in the Books of Tradition but as a result all three women of the current noble household were married to their first or second cousins.
The genetics of that sort of stunted family tree has never worked out well no matter where it cropped up - either here in Heritage, among the pharos of ancient Egypt or in the Blue Ridge mountains of West Virginia. But the fact still remained that Trinity’s fate had been sealed long before her birth. As the only girl child in the genetically dysfunctional Payne family she had been betrothed to her cousin Malcolm while she was still in the womb. A cozy arrangement to be sure but one that pointedly left Feena out in the heart-numbing cold.
Finally the crowd’s wait was over and something did happen - Trinity showed up. Breathing happily and heavily she ran onto the balcony and slipped into the space left for her beside her cold and grey faced parents. She searched the healthy faces looking up at them from the plaza and grinned when she saw Morden slipping carefully through the crowd to join his parents too - dead heat. Bryony moved aside to make room for her son while she gave him a scornful frown that came over as being less than serious. He grinned at her. Then Bryony looked up to shoot the same sort of disapproving look in Trinity’s direction. Trinity grinned at her too.
The most striking thing about Trinity, now she was standing among them, was that she looked nothing like the rest of the Payne family. Thick, coal black hair framed the unmarred, alabaster skin of her happily flushed face and her bright, intelligent eyes shone with a blue even paler than the ocean that lay on two sides of the city.
Once she was in her place Anwalt Tome, the archaic Keeper of Tradition, glared at her briefly before he started droning and finally another unending, meaningless ceremony got under way. Anwalt was rumored to be as old as the city itself but there was a strangely intense, surprising vigor about him. His still-powerful voice was being further amplified by the cleverly sculpted stone walls around the balcony. “Let us behold the young Lord so that all might bear witness to the powerful but benevolent presence of the next High Lord of Heritage, the future Head of the House of Payne.”
Center stage of this day’s event was eighteen year old Lord Malcolm himself. He was just a bit healthier looking than most of the highborns, his congenital weaknesses were less obvious most of the time because they were all buried between his ears. Somewhat ironically the Traditions dictated that this Coming of Age ceremony should be held, just like they dictated almost everything else that happened around Heritage, so the Outwallers could see the heir to the throne in all his grownup majesty, power - and wisdom.
It was virtually unheard of at these events but things took a lighter turn when Anwalt’s apprentice opened the massive, archaic tome being used for the day’s proceedings. An unexpected gust of wind tore angrily at the pages ripping several of them free. While they tried to escape Eric and Anwalt chased them around the balcony clownishly and the Outwallers below couldn’t miss the rare opportunity to laugh at those above them. Malcolm was delighted with the show but Lady Trinity was the only other person on the balcony who allowed herself to smile at the keepers’ antics. Bryony shot her another look of disapproval but this time the breeziness was all but completely gone from her face.
Anwalt wasn’t used to being laughed at. In fact he didn’t like the sound of laughter no matter in what context it occurred. It wasn’t actually banned by the traditions the way so many other lighthearted things were but he frowned on the ‘ridiculous, coarse practice’. Foolishly thinking he was punishing the crowd for its boorish rowdiness he cut the ceremony short to spite them. Just perfect as far as they were concerned. Following the same ending to the ritual the Keepers had used for untold time Anwalt and Eric interlocked fingers, raised their hands above their heads and recited together. “And thus the joining of hands of the Keepers makes this so in the Name of Tradition for all time.”
As soon as she could do it without attracting any more unwanted attention to herself Trinity was heading for the heavy balcony doors. These led into a weird ceremonial chamber. The walls and floor were dull grey, strikingly plain and boringly efficient to the point of screaming sterility but the room had been oddly stuffed with ridiculously ornate furnishings and garish accessories. Deep crimson tapestries the color of old blood hung everywhere and the loud, gilded wood of tables, chairs and so on filled every possible space. On the other side of this bizarre room lay another door that opened onto the ramparts. Mercifully, these wide bulwarks led in turn to the rest of the city - and freedom from all that mindless jabbering.
Her aunt Feena watched Trinity making her escape and glared. She scowled at her niece with something so dark behind her eyes it must have been festering in her heart for a very long time. And so it had been. Feena’s obsessive hatred for the youngest female member of the Payne family had started before Trinity was even born.
His arm came off, and along with it, the sword. Maezy spun on her heel and jammed her blade into the next attacker. She wasn’t in the mood to dance around as they tried to grab her and instead, resorted to ending the conflict as soon as possible.
He crashed to the ground as Maezy yanked out the sword. “There's too many! We have to fall back!”
The world was a frenzy of armor and swords. Metal flashed in the bright sunlight. Elves preferred their swords, bows, and arrows to guns. Keeping to the rules of war etiquette, Maezy used the sword to deflect another attacker. This one, like the last, made a concentrated effort to pull her along with him. Refusing to be kidnapped, which she could only guess was his intention as he deflected her blows and tried to grab her, Maezy took the first opportunity to smash him over the head.
“FALL BACK!” The trumpet sounded as the Captain gave the order.
“Maezy!” The voice calling blended with the sound of another sword thwack!
“Hold on!” Maezy returned, as she parried, thrust, spun, and blocked again.
Sweat drip, drip, dripped into her eyes. The salty sting had her blinking double-time as she predicted her attacker's next move. His other hand reached out to grab her wrist and yank her off balance. With another parry, arm straining above her head, she reached for her belt, grabbed, and shoved her dagger into the heart of the warrior in front of her.
He collapsed without a sound.
Turning and leaping over fallen bodies, Maezy charged into another opponent who was about to strike one of her own down. Stabbing him through the heart, she leapt over his body and runs forward.
“MOTHER!” Screaming and pointing, she rushed to her mother's defense. Striking the new threat over the head with her sword handle, Maezy shoved him out of the way. His sword missed her mother by a breath.
Exhaling her own breath in a long wisp, Maezy helped block a sword thrust from the warrior attempting to behead her mother. “Why isn't your spell working?” Maezy cried.
“I don't know! There must be a counter spell blocking my own. They keep trickling in!”
“We need to fall back to the castle! You’re too exposed out here!” Maezy slashed and skewered several who charged at her and tried to surround her.
More men met their maker.
“Whose men are they?” she called.
“Your father's,” her mother returned.
That explained it. The king wanted her. They should have known he would resort to all out war. Her mother had told her this day might come. Tucked in their own realm, several dimensions away, Maezy hadn’t thought it would be possible for him to find out about her.
“RETREAT! FALL BACK!” The Captain's cries surrounded them and were repeated.
“FALL BACK TO THE CASTLE!” Maezy added her own cry.
Maezy's sword blocked, sliced, and rang out as the troops fell back and surrounded her and her mother. Soon, they were encased in a shield of men and armor. Their men continued to fight and block the Elf King’s men as they retreated.
At the bridge, they crossed as quickly as possible. Shields covered their heads as the enemy realized they were losing ground and resorted to arrows to take them out. Maezy noticed none of the arrows came too close to her.
They want me alive, she thought. Wouldn't father be angry if I was accidentally killed?
“WHAT DO WE DO?” Maezy shouted.
“I'M UNSURE! I NEED TO GET TO A QUIET PLACE TO ASSESS THE SITUATION!” Her mother tossed another fighter away with the flick of her wrist.
“TO THE CASTLE, MEN!” Maezy shouted to the nearest warrior.
They were inside the gates, doors closing even as the last few of their men streamed through. The doors stood open as long as they could before each steel-enforced structure slammed shut in the face of the intruders.
“Inside!” Maezy and her mother scrambled to the front doors, and launched them open. Servants scuttled back, and guards followed. “Keep them out as long as you can. We're going to find out how they came through.”
The Captain nodded and hurried back out the open doors as others took up their posts inside and out.
“Mother, what happened to the protection spell? How was he able to break through?”
“I don't know. I don't know! It's one of my most powerful spells. It should have worked against anything he threw at it. There must be someone else.”
Closing the doors to the library, Maezy returned her sword to her belt and began pacing. “I wonder how he even found us? We're within a whole other dimension! We need to reinforce the spell.”
Her mother sat on the edge of a chair and closed her eyes. Hands out at her sides, she took deep breaths in and out. Maezy watched her, eyes darted back to the door, and tried not to scream.
What can I do?
Spells were her mother's domain. Hers was fighting. She had grown up learning to defend herself for a day like this. The Elf King was a collector. Anyone with a special power he could possess was captured and added to his collection. Maezy didn’t want to be the one he caught next.
“Bring me the book, Maezy, and stop wearing a hole in the carpet.”
Doing as asked, she found the Book of Ancient Sorcery and ran it to her mother. “Should I call the others in?” Maezy wanted to know.
“No, we need them fighting with everything they have while I search for a solution. There’s only one-- No! It can’t be.”
“Mother, what’s going on? What do we do?”
“I have an idea. I don't know if it will work. I may need your assistance.”
Looking up, her mother's blood red lips smiled. “I'm glad you said that.”
That used to be Genie’s mantra. Little did she know that the wave would literally take her out of this world. Now, faced with a new life, unbelievable dimensions and unexpected dangers, she’s got to pull off the ride of her life, or wipe out.
The prelude to the EdgeWorld series serves as an introduction both to the new world Genie finds and the plight that has found her.
An American teenager living in Bolivia with her father and younger brother, Genie was trying her best to take care of her family in the wake of her mother’s death. But that was before she crashed headfirst into the curious stranger and her whole world turned upside down. Now new possibilities, good and bad, await her at every turn, but she cannot allow concerns of the outcome affect how she rides – surf’s up!
Morgan Koda has landed in a world full of magic. Now she has to survive it.
A simple English class assignment turns twelve-year-old Morgan Koda's world upside down, and she never dreamed delivering a Christmas letter to her local Mall’s Santa Claus would be her ticket to a world she never knew existed.
In this enchanted place, she walks through rainbows, makes friends with elves and talking animals, and experiences magic around every corner.
Yet, she finds things are not as serene as they seem. A classmate wants her dead. An evil sorcerer, The Dark Emir, hunts the one with the power to control the Mask of Noesis, an ancient artifact that has the ability to seize or manipulate a wizard's magic.
Morgan and the Emir are in a race against time for the relic. But, in order for her to fulfill her destiny with the golden mask, she has to survive the encounters with an eccentric classmate and the Dark Emir.
Nevertheless, Morgan Koda is anything but helpless.
Mount Olympus. Long Ago.
The enormous white columns gleamed in the blinding sunlight as the two magnificent women stood face to face. “I cast you out,” Hecate, Goddess of the Witches screamed, her voice bouncing off the grand chamber walls. “Now, and forever more. Be gone from my sight.” “No, Mother, I beg of you.” Her beautiful blonde hair caught in the gentle breeze as she grabbed for her mother’s hand. Hecate moved her hand and looked down in disgust as Empusa dropped to her knees, tears staining her cheeks, and pulled at her white flowing diaphanous dress. “You are no daughter of mine. I curse you until the end of time.” Empusa sobbed, but it fell on deaf ears. Her mother was wicked and cruel and not even the mighty Zeus could sway her decision once made. Hecate raised her hand slowly. “Your form will match your true nature.”
Empusa rose into the air, screaming in agony, her hair aflame. The once beautiful blonde locks fell onto the ground, dissolving into a pile of ash. In its place, a mane of red flaming hair grew. She cried out, the flames burning her scalp.
Roger is stuck in detention forever and the only way to escape is by uncovering a deep dark secret about himself and the people around him. From drawing his teacher naked on the blackboard to sabotaging the school’s science fair, Roger finds himself spending more time in the school’s detention closet than he does at home. Before he knows it, his once “Ivy League” world becomes relegated to a small dark space, where the only human interaction he has is with the voice of a mysterious woman who talks to him from behind the wall. Steeped in humor and suspense, this psychological thriller takes the reader on a journey through the mind of a disturbed teen genius who struggles to fit in at school and at home. Can Roger escape the shackles of his mind or will the lady behind the wall remain a mystery? This is Detention Land.
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A stranger and occasional customer handed me a library book one day in 1983 while I was selling burritos in the streets of Juneau, Alaska....
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