Previous: Stained Glass Memories, Part One
Hazel made a fist over the basin and let her blood drip into the crystalline water that bloomed like a drowned rose. Ash did nothing to stop her. Instead, he smiled a self-satisfied smirk, as if to say he never doubted this moment, as if to say I told you so.
Hazel clenched her hand and the gentle drip-dropping of her blood turned into an irregular patter as it seeped between her fingers and stained her fist. It was like she had a second heart, and this one would pump her blood into the world, infusing it with her life and her will. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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.” Continue reading
Previous: Crossroads Conundrum
Hazel woke up and stared at the ceiling. A jagged crack seared across the stone surface to a corner where moss began to grow. She lay still a moment, savoring the softness of the bed before she realized a lamp had been lit in the room. Someone had been in her quarters. Again.
Annoyed, she got up from the bed and went into the main room. A fire had been lit in the hearth, and the poker that had been lying on the floor had been returned to its proper place. The basin, ewer, and mirror were all still on the table, along with a cloche-covered tray and lit beeswax candles. Hazel continued to eye the room, but nothing else looked out of place, and the warmth from the fire helped ease her tension. Continue reading