Previous: Familiar Fellowship


Holly sat on the floor in front of the fire. The flames warmed her back, and that warmth helped keep her fear under control. Everything would be fine—nothing could be so bad as long as you had clothes on your back and a fire to warm them. Right?

She needed to believe that.

Hawthorn remained in front of the creepy black door. He had rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, as if he intended to wrestle with the door if it didn’t give way to his spells. Holly grinned a little. She’d like to see that.

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Previous: Tormented Love


Holly jolted awake as a scream seared through her sleep-addled mind. Had she dreamt it? She must have, because everything now was so quiet except for the crackling of a fire in a nearby hearth, and the gentle snoring of Hawthorn as he sat slumped in an armchair. She herself lay on a sofa. How had she gotten there?

She sat up and looked around the well furnished room that she now found herself in. There were no windows in the stone walls, but the lavish curtains seemed to make up for it somehow. Plush carpets padded the stone floor, and the warm tones of the intricately carved wooden furniture added almost as much warmth as the fire that crackled so close to hand.

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Just when you think you’re safe, Spring rolls around again, and before you know it, it’s time for the A to Z Challenge. I didn’t participate last year due to having too much on my plate, so I’m really looking forward to getting back in there this year. (Remind me in May that I actually wrote that.)

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Previous: Of Mushrooms and Men


Hazel awoke on a cold stone floor with a pounding headache. She pushed herself upright and looked around, surprised to see she was still in her father’s workshop. She must have fainted, probably from all the smoke. Had something gone wrong with her spell?

No, the spell had worked. There had been a bright light close to Ash’s chest. That had meant something.

She got to her feet and started across the room, but it was like shadows had solidified around her, clinging like tar that made her movements heavy and strained. When she stopped, the shadows receded, but as soon as she tried to walk again, the shadows returned like night-tempered chains. Her father had done this. He had trapped her here.

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Previous: A Star Enshrined Heart


Holly gave silent thanks that they never found a corpse on the road. She had spent a fair amount of time holding her breath in anticipation, but nothing ever arose—either in the air or on the road ahead of them.

“Ravens aren’t always a sign of death,” Norman said, perhaps noticing her relief. “They are the world’s oldest messengers, before pigeons and owls and other such birds became more fashionable. They are the eyes of the gods, keepers of gateways and of memories.”

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