Ash and Embers:
“Who’s joining us this time around?” Shade sat on fallen log near the Guildrin mound entrance. Rylan was standing near her and smiled as he plopped down on the log too and gave her a good side hug. He was absolutely gleaming at seeing her again, even though they had talked just the day prior. He inhaled deeply, like the air was fresh and exhilarating. Shade rolled her eyes and leaned her chin in her hand as she drew in the dirt with a stick. Whatever.
“Oh come on, Shade, don’t be such a pickle. We get to trek through Faerie again, how exciting is that! We won’t even have to stay at the Teleen caverns this time, what a relief! You’ll get to see a whole new side of Faerie. Aren’t you even the least bit excited?” Soap frowned at her and shook his head.
Dylan walked up to her just then, lips in a tight line as his eyes narrowed at the sight of Soap. He cleared his throat and turned his attention down to Shade.
“Shade, we are pretty much ready. Rylan is coming with us but so are Than, Sary and Stephen. Camulus joins us from Prince Lotinar’s guard to lead us to the meeting point. Are you ready? We won’t be traveling too much by foot.”
Shade’s eyes widened. “Wait, what do you mean, Dylan? And where’s Jack?”
“He is on a special mission from the queen herself. I’m talking about Camulus, he has the ability to teleport. If we link together while holding on to him, he can teleport us to wherever we want to go. Beats traveling by foot any day, don’t you think?” He actually smiled down at her surprised face.
“Wow, something new every day. I couldn’t agree more.” She jumped to her feet and followed Dylan towards the familiar group of warriors.
Camulus turned out to be part elvin and part pixie. His long hair was pulled back in a thick tail of silver blond; a trademark belonging to the elves. His skin was a smooth, leafy type green and his eyes were a gleaming, fiery orange-yellow.
“Camulus, I’d like you to meet Shade, the newest member of our court.” Dylan gave Shade a slight shove to push her towards the green guard. Shade swallowed back her shock and managed to crack a timid smile.
“Um, hi, uh, Camulus? Pleasure to meet you.” She shook his hand and noticed his smooth hands seemed a bit thin with abnormally long fingers but with a firm grip. She pulled her hand away but found it not budging as his hand lingered a moment longer, testing her grip just the same. He watched her curiously but then let her go, smiling and flashing pearly white teeth.
“The pleasure is mine, Shade, I’ve heard much about you.”
“Have you? All good I hope.” She felt herself continue to flush under his relentless stare.
“Extremely good indeed.”
Shade glanced away from the intensity of his fire-lit eyes. They seemed to bore into her, peeling away her surface to see right through her somehow. Almost as if he knew a little too much about her. She wondered just how much he had heard about her and from whom.
“I apologize for my curiosity, m’lady. I’m most intrigued by you; a wielder of the water magic of the Santiran fountains is unheard of. I would most love to see how you use it sometime.” He bowed, never letting his intense stare waver. She smiled and returned the gesture; she had to admit that she was intrigued with him too.
“Shall we proceed then?” Dylan motioned to the rest of the group. Camulus held his hand out as he gestured her to take it. She slipped her fingers through his and stepped back, allowing Sary to take his other hand as the rest of the group linked up into a circle.
“Ready? Hold on tight, this might feel disorientating.” Camulus closed his eyes and the world flashed away.
Shade felt like she was hurling uncontrollably and held fast to the hands she gripped. The toss ended almost as fast as it had begun. Shade opened one eye followed by the other to find them still standing in a circle, but the forest was gone. Instead, a great glass house stood before them on a lush, grassy hillside. They released their hands and examined their new surroundings.
“Wow, that was a rush! How do you do that?” Shade’s face flushed scarlet as she pressed her lips together, realizing her outburst. Shoot, I must look like an idiot!
Camulus smiled back at her. His brilliant eyes glowed back at her even brighter with the mid-morning sun reflecting across his irises.
“That’s pretty much the reaction I get for first timers. Pretty cool, huh?”
Shade nodded, wondering how it was that he seemed to chat along with her as if he were just another person, not an elvin guard. “Camulus, do you ever venture outside of Faerie? Like wear glamours or anything? You seem pretty laid back for being fey.”
He nodded, his eyebrows dancing along, pondering her questions.
“Ya, I like checking out the iron cities around Faerie. Humans are quite fascinating. I wear pretty strong glamours to not stand out like a sore thumb. Want to see what I tend to look like when I get the chance to wander off?” She nodded, eyes wide open and waiting.
The air around him shimmered and shivered, falling about him like glitter rain. A moment later, his green skin now shown a deep, golden brown tone and waves of blond hair framed his head. His eyes now flashed back a muted blue grey color and made him look like someone from the blue lagoon. His lips widened in a grin as his eyes crinkled with it. He looked like some kind of surfer dude stranded inland.
Shade felt her mouth gape open. She pulled it shut and grinned back at him. Not too bad for being a green skinned guy.
“Nice, you’re pretty good. Soap is probably just as good as you. I’m impressed.”
“Soap? No one can top Soap. But I do try. I’m glad you’re impressed. You should see Prince Lotinar, he is very good at glamours, mostly ones to entice the female gender of course but he is one of the best at changing appearances. Though lately, he has preferred his own face to that of any others.”
“Really? Well, he sounds pretty amazing too. I can’t wait to meet him either.”
“Oh, he is most impatient to meet you too, Shade.” His voice seemed to wrap around her name in a deeper tone, causing the hairs on her arms to rise. She licked her lips as she nodded and turned back towards the rest of the group. He was handsome but something about him made her feel just a tad naked.
Dylan stood a couple feet away, almost certainly had been observing them the entire time. Shade lowered her eyes away from his cold steely ones. His face blank. She tired of his glassy apathy and started walking away from both guys. She felt his hand grab her arm and felt ready to swing at him but stopped as he brought himself instep next her, his body practically blended into hers.
“I wouldn’t get too friendly with an elvin pixie. They are more conniving than you can imagine.”
Coming Thanksgiving weekend!
About author: AlexiaPurdy
Alexia is a USA Today Bestselling author who currently lives in Las Vegas and loves spending every free moment writing or hanging out with her four rambunctious kids. Writing is the ultimate getaway for her since she's always lost in her head. She is best known for her award-winning Reign of Blood series, and A Dark Faerie Tale Series. Sign up for email updates and exclusive giveaways: http://smarturl.it/AlexiaPurdyNews