Good evening, fellow bloggers, writers, publishers, ect. I am starting to feel like a real writer. I read that to be real, you have to be willing to do all nighters, and I did an all nighter last night. Well, almost, the tank finally failed at about 5 am. But it was close. And I feel awful. Somehow I don’t think it helped the creativity flow. So, don’t think I’ll do it again, unless I start another big project that I think will take an hour and it ends up taking more than ten.
Publishing in print is a lot of work. But at least it only costs the print price of the books, plus shipping. Unless it’s sold through Amazon, then I actually get a royalty. Yay me!
It would be nice to sell a few. Somehow the two I’ve sold so far just doesn’t seem what I would call any kind of personal victory.
But I digress. Well, I really don’t since I haven’t actually gotten to the subject yet. No sleep brain will do that to you.
So yeah, Magic’s Guardian may be available in print form at some point in the future. I hope so, since as a book-in-my-hands girl, I’ll feel much more legitimate with pages and a cover. A real cover!
In looking for a scene to tap into today, I was looking for something a little more exciting, yet something that won’t give the whole story away. So here is Terra’s return through the Faerie Circle. It gives a preview of what they’ll be facing, has a little more of the Puck-Titania dislike, and a hint at the trouble heading Maclyn’s way. It’s not really long, but it has a bit more action than the last excerpts. And this time I’m going to be smart enough to format it instead of blindly pasting. Yes, I know there should either be a break or an indent, but I’m not ambitious enough to change every single line. So you’ll just have to deal with both. Nya, nya, nya. If you want it correct, buy the book. I think. It was correct last time I downloaded anyway. I do not trust computers, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it had logged in without me and changed everything. Computers do that, you know. Kind of like that way typos breed.
Of course they way the blog changed what was pasted from the manuscript, it might none of it be an issue. If not, sorry. Ignore above.
All right, now I really do digress. Story below.
“Take the next turn, we’re almost there,” Puck instructed.
She followed his direction, taking them onto a less-travelled road mercifully free of traffic.
“This is going to . . .” Puck was cut off by a heavy impact from behind. They both grunted and Terra clutched the wheel, pulling the truck out of a wild fishtail.
“I didn’t see anything,” she said through white lips, slowing the truck. “Did a deer . . .”
Something large and black loomed in the windshield, crawling up the side of the truck onto the hood. It reached out a—paw? hand?—and shattered the thick glass with a single tap of its three-inch claws.
Terra screamed and slammed on the brakes, fighting to stay up on four wheels. The thing leapt off her truck, landing lightly in the road in front of them. Terra’s pickup struck the huge creature, or the creature hit the truck, Terra wasn’t quite sure which, and the front wheels left the pavement.
It felt like being on a wild roller coaster. Terra’s gut lurched. Puck shouted something but she couldn’t hear over the rushing wind and the cries of her frightened dog. Then the truck hit the road on its side, sliding for what seemed half a moment less than forever, sparks raining as metal howled out its misery. Fiery pain lanced Terra’s abdomen when the entire dashboard broke away and the steering wheel slammed into her stomach, knocking her breath out in a single gagging grunt.
The pickup finally came to rest in the ditch, rocking gently and letting out mechanical moans of pain. Terra’s world was grey for a few seconds while her diaphragm unfroze. When she could draw a large enough breath she coughed, smelling and tasting smoke, oil, and the cooking grease she still used in place of gasoline. “Puck? Flyght?” she called in a hoarse voice.
A bark and a groan were her answers. Reaching down, she managed to unbuckle her seatbelt with hands that shook so hard she looked palsied. Twisting an arm under what was left of her seat, she found her tire iron, gripping it with white knuckles. She turned to her passenger, who had a trickle of blood snaking down his face and a blackening bruise on one cheek. “Puck? Can you get out?”
“I think so,” was his groaning reply.
Grimacing, Terra hauled herself out through the windshield. Broken safety glass scratched her legs, but that pain was nothing compared to her stomach. It hurt to move, even to breathe, and she could barely stand; ignoring it as best she could, she gained her feet and took a defensive stance, the tire iron raised. “What was that?” she asked Puck, who was pushing an unscathed Flyght out through the window and pulling himself free in her wake.
Flyght growled low in her chest, her fur on end. Terra turned to follow her enraged eyes, the tire iron held over her head.
The creature was sniffing at them cautiously, crouched low in the dry grass. It was pure black, a black that was more a total absence of light than a color. There were no highlights in its fur or glints where its eyes would be, only a patch of shadow like a hole through the bright sunshine. Terra’s eyes watered, wanting to skip over it, but she forced them to focus, though it gave her a headache.
Something like a cross between a man and a bear, the beast exhibited the worse aspects of each. “A gargoyle,” Puck hissed. “Damn. What is it doing here?”
The gargoyle bared teeth that were as black as the rest of it and moved towards them slowly. It took Terra a moment to recognize that it was stalking them like a lion after choice prey. Terror charged through her, making her tremble. Then, suddenly, fury took over, fury at the situation, at the creature, at Faerie-kind in general, and her own teeth were bared. Hot rage well over the edge of sanity, an emotion so intense it was almost a living thing itself, began to build the way it had so long ago. Her pain was nothing more than a distant distraction. She noticed Puck and his drawn sword only distantly as familiar red veiled her eyes. “You bastard,” she snarled at the creature, brandishing the tire iron like a medieval war club. “I just finished paying for that truck!”
The pickup whooshed into flames. Terra shrieked a wordless challenge, goading the creature to charge. Terra lurched in front of Puck and swung the iron as she had swung the sword those years before, using the weight of her body to add power. Heavy talons scored the flesh of her upper arm, leaving deep gouges, and the sharp end of the iron smashed into the beast’s eye.
The monster screeched and clawed at its own face, black blood that smelled of infection spraying Terra and Puck. Flyght jumped at the gargoyle, her claws finding purchase on the thing’s bowed back, her teeth tearing into its neck. Terra swung the iron again, this time an overhead swing that brought the curved end down on the creature’s head, splintering the thick skull and driving into its brain. Flinging its head back, the gargoyle howled, a high, splintered sound like claws on crystal. Terra swung again, tearing into the front of its throat.
Convulsing, the gargoyle fell to its knees. Flyght leapt from her perch, shaking her head and pawing at her muzzle. Watching the thing twitch and die, Terra only felt satisfaction. Blood, both red and black, dripped off various parts of her body in thick rivulets. The black fluid steamed wherever it touched her bare flesh, leaving red, tender blotches like sunburn. Puck stared at her, his unused sword hanging loose at his side. “Remind me never to get you angry,” he whispered.
Terra faced him, all their shared laughter hiding behind an icy visage. “Cold Iron,” she whispered back, her voice hoarse with pain and anger. “I wondered why I was so fascinated by mythology, especially anything Faerie. I guess now I know. I also know that the Faerie Circle is a trap, the Fey can be incredibly nasty, and your greatest enemy is Cold Iron.”
“You’ve been studying. The wrong things, perhaps,” the elf murmured thoughtfully.
“Don’t threaten me.”
Puck took a startled step back. “I didn’t mean it that way. Terra, you . . .”
The girl cut him off with a wave of her hand. “How far is the Circle?”
Puck shrugged. “Not far, especially since we don’t have to stay on the roads.”
“But your car . . . I’m good, one of the best, but I can’t hold Glamour from that far away. The authorities . . .”
Terra stared him down and he trailed off. “Let’s go,” she said.
Flyght whined, still wiping ineffectually at her muzzle, but followed her mistress, her leash dragging behind her. Puck frowned at the girl, but Terra was in too much pain to notice. She just wanted to get somewhere she could sit down. Or better, lie down.
Fortunately it was only a few minutes to the Circle. Even for such a short walk, Terra had to stop twice and close her eyes against dizziness, shaking off Puck’s hands before continuing on. Just as the familiar shifting lights came into view, a loud explosion sounded from near the highway. Puck flinched, but Terra just kept walking, her face turning whiter with every step, cold sweat beading on her brow and upper lip.
Inside Faerie Underhill, the appearance of Puck accompanied by a human girl and a mortal dog, all liberally splattered with gore, caused more than a stir. Even Oberon blinked silently for a long moment, his regal jaw hanging loose.
“Terraceleste!’ Titania cried, too shocked to show either pleasure or unhappiness.
Terra’s eyes automatically sought a dark-haired figure, terrified to see but ravenous for a single look.
Maclyn sat with a young red-haired elf. He looked up at his mother’s cry and his mouth fell open, a mirror image of his father’s expression. The goblet he had been holding to the pretty faerie’s lips crashed to the ground and shattered in a spray of silvery clay shards and deep crimson droplets. The younger faerie covered her mouth with one hand, clutching Maclyn’s arm with the other.
Did you really think he’d wait for the impossible? Wait for you? Terra tried to ask herself, but logic didn’t help. Emotions that should have been seven years old were too new and too confusing after stewing and bubbling in her subconscious. Her face stretched in a grimace that wasn’t all physical pain.
Maclyn stood as if jerked by marionette strings. “Terra . . . “
At the sound of his voice whispering her name, she flushed then went pale, then turned an ugly combination of the two. She stared at her former lover sitting with the shapely female, still gaping and clutching his hand, and felt her heart try to break.
She was too weak to stand the pain that flared across her chest. Everything around her shimmered and changed color. She thought for a moment that she was leaving the Circle, being forced out again. She hoped so. She didn’t want to remember any more. Then she wasn’t thinking anything at all.
Maclyn leapt the instant Terra’s eyes began to roll; she crumpled into his arms utterly limp and cool to the touch. Her body convulsed once in a retch and blood bubbled up to coat her lips. Puck landed on his knees next to them and reached out to touch the girl’s grayish-yellow face, grimacing at her blue lips. He leaned down, putting an ear to her mouth, looking up at Maclyn in a panic.
Maclyn could feel her breathing raggedly, but each breath was shorter and there was a longer pause between each one. “Where is Thistledown?” he rasped at his mother, his voice shaking as hard as the rest of him.
Thistledown appeared before Titania had time to answer, motioning for Maclyn to lay the unconscious girl out on the ground. “It’s close,” she murmured. Laying her hands on Terra’s chest, she closed her eyes. A white-blue aura appeared around her, rising from her in misty swirls and slowly seeping over Terra. “She’s bleeding inside, from more than one place. She’s ready to tip over the edge . . .”
The onlookers were silent as Thistledown concentrated. Puck and Maclyn stared into each other’s eyes, the same thought echoing between them; they had found their old friend only to get her killed. Maclyn’s lungs constricted until he couldn’t breathe.
The not-exactly-glow around Thistledown faded and her eyes blinked open. “She will live,” she said wearily. “If she had come here a minute later . . . but she is here. Puck, why did you let her walk when she was . . .”
“I didn’t know,” Puck snapped. “How could I? We were attacked by a gargoyle. It sent the car flying, and Terra killed it after she climbed out of the mess. How was I supposed to know how bad she was hurt? She killed the thing! A gargoyle! By herself!” Each sentence was more hysterical than the last until he stopped, sucking in deep draughts of air.
Maclyn scooped Terra gently into his arms. “I can believe it.”
Oberon’s mouth was tight. He gave Puck one look that insinuated a coming interrogation, but he focused on a different subject. “A gargoyle. So we were right.”
“Apparently,” said Puck. “But we still don’t know why. I apologize for not staying longer, but I didn’t know what to do. She . . . she saw me and remembered.”
“Impossible,” Titania gasped. “No mortal can resist the Circle’s magic without help. You must have done it.”
Puck shrugged, calm patience aging him considerably. “Believe what you will, but she saw through my Glamour. Has there ever been another human do that?”
“You did right,” Oberon interceded, signaling for Titania’s silence.
Maclyn ignored the conversation as he carried Terraceleste to his bed, the girl he had been sitting with following worriedly. “Thank goodness she’s going to be all right,” she said.
“Yes.” Tucking her firmly into the pile of pillows and blankets, Maclyn made sure Terra was well covered. “Stay with her,” he instructed. “Don’t let her get too excited if she wakes up. I’ll be back soon, but I’m sure Father will want to talk with me.”
And of course Maclyn is right. So there we go, a little more dirt and blood. There’s also something a bit darker I have offered for free, a story abou8t a pet of a different color. Links are below. Sorry, this one won’t be in print. Not even sure the outfit I’m using could do something so short.
Kingston Sony Reader Store
Kingston Diesel ebook store
It will also, somewhere, somehow, but on Amazon eventually. But Smashwords does have a Kindle download file so it’s available.
So, good night, good writing, good publishing, and stay thirsty, my friends.
Oh, wait, that’s not me.
I am going to bed.