Convicted of magical mischief by a mysterious human agency, Stuart, onetime Prince of the Dreaming, remains in public service to mortals, using his faerie abilities to help crack cases of a supernatural variety. When a village reports a series of random thefts, he's on assignment once again. Accompanied by Mei Lin and Daniel, Stuart begins the investigation at a derelict shrine in the mountains, determined to wrap it up in time for a tea ceremony. When the trio realizes they've walked into the middle of a territorial struggle between otherwordly forces, it's no holds barred for a high stakes game of wheeling and dealing, and body snatching.
A lighthearted and humorous approach to the varying fantastic and supernatural realms and beings as they intersect with a not so defenseless or unsuspecting mortal world. This is the fourth in a series of short stories/novellas.
As the sun set, a
glorious cloak of amber and rose spread over the water, as a gods-woven cloak
would settle upon the blessed shoulders of Nature. From a low dune risen among glistening stones
and twiggy bramble, Korsten watched the fall of evening. A comfortably cooling breeze that would be
chilled before the night had matured caught his curls and flaunted their
rebellious length directly in his face.
There’d always been a stubborn one or two among the forelocks that
refused to obey order, but now those few scarcely stood out. How his lifestyle had changed. The days of worrying over every tidy detail,
of class standards--of unbridled vanity—were as far away as childhood. The folly of his pursuit to exist both hidden
and adored within a structure that excluded him by its very nature, and his,
was over. On his path to understanding
that, he had come back to the beginning.
How cruel and how kind were the gods, to offer such things?
played through Korsten’s mind as the gently tumbling waves of the sea caught
the last rays of daylight, breaking them into glistening gems that were passed
along, toward shore at a pace that could only entrance the viewer. Would the siren song of the sea draw him in
now? Or did his own Song negate such
charm, rendering him and the sea helplessly neutral toward one another? Were they in allegiance with one another
perhaps? His mind cycled through
considerations that he imagined long after the fact scarcely mattered. Where he stood in relation to Nature, or the
spirits thereof, or the gods themselves was moot by now, surely. Or was it?
himself to demons. Pondering the matter
drew him to the conclusion that the amount of Allurance he’d been projecting
along with the casting of Siren was as crying out from hiding in a dense
thicket. The beasts looked in his
direction now. They knew the vicinity of
his nest, but they could see neither it nor him. How long before they tracked the magic to its
source? How long before they made true
contact with the vessel and through exploration and attempts to possess it,
would they locate the rest of him? Had
his spell undermined the safeguards of
the mage’s way? Or was that not what had
happened at all? Would the Vadryn remain
ignorant, as insects to firelight, flinging themselves mindlessly at the heat
of his blood’s being until they’d managed to destroy themselves in the process?