Story in the Round — Part 9

Hello! I’m excited to be joining the Scribes, and a little nervous that I’ve got the ending of the Story in the Round. See you soon and enjoy the end!


The King of Neráida stepped from his dais, sweeping Danny to the side as if he meant nothing. I leaned forward, prepared to grab my cousin and put him out of harm’s way. Yuko’s grip around my arm stopped me, I glanced over my shoulder and saw a silent promise that we’d get out of there alive and with Danny spoken through his eyes. I didn’t want to trust him, but I didn’t have many choices.

“I have a proposition for you, young one.” Kian, the king, stood before me. I swallowed the lump in my throat and looked at him with what I hoped was a face void of emotion. If we were going to get out unscathed he couldn’t know just how scared I was. With Yuko at my back or not, I wasn’t convinced we could go.

“A proposition?” I asked.

“You for your little human here. He is of no use to me. You are the one I want. The reason I sent Alek and Aria to you.”

“And if I refuse?”

“Then you all die.” The king shrugged then returned to his throne.

I would not exchange Danny, nor would I accept death. From behind me, Yuko whispered, “Their magic is blocked, the king is unaware. Agree to trade Danny. When he is out of reach, take Kian.” A solid weapon pressed against my back as Yuko slid it beneath the waist of my pants. “I will dispose of the others. You can do this, Aideen. Use the gifts you have denied. It is time.”

He was right, I knew it in my soul. I’d denied my true self for far too long.

“If I agree to the exchange, you will give me Danny first. When he is safe I will come to you. Alek and Aria will not touch any of us.”

Kian studied Yuko and I for what felt like forever. The dampness of Neráida seeped into my skin. As the forest lightened my worry grew. If we didn’t leave before the sun rose, we’d never get out. Silently I begged the king to get a move on. Finally he nodded once.

“Agreed. Release the boy.”

None too gently, Alek shoved Danny across the open space. I rushed forward and pulled him into a hug. “Go to Yuko. Do what he says, don’t argue,” I spoke into Danny’s ear. He didn’t acknowledge my orders, but did as I’d commanded.

Kian stood to come for me, but I held up my hand and shook my head. “No. I will come to you.”

This was it. Time to see what I could do. I sucked into a deep breath and began the spell to shield myself from anything Alek or Aria might try. With my arms locked behind my back, one hand wrapped around the hilt of the dagger from Yuko, I took a step forward. Then another. King Kian stayed on his throne looking bored. Cocky. That was fine with me.

The moment I reached the dais I knew I’d have one shot. If I didn’t kill him the first time our mission to save Danny and avenge my mother would be done. A failure.

I closed my eyes and made the last step. Kian wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me to him. No time to hesitate, I whipped my arm from behind my hand and slammed the dagger into his chest.

Seconds later the world of Neráida collapsed around us. Danny, Yuko, and I were pushed back through the portal. The bonfire simmered beside us. We’d made it out. Alive. I breathed a sigh of relief and pulled Danny into a tight embrace.

No longer would I deny who I was or what I could do.

Story in the Round–Part 8

Hello readers! I’m so excited to be joining the ranks of the Spellbound Scribes, so I hope you enjoy my very first post and check back for more later!


The ancient song poured from the well of magic deep within me, my voice thrumming through the hot, sluggish air. A faint oblong shape shimmered on the surface of the pond, growing larger and more solid the longer I chanted: the mirror portal that would transport Yuko and me to Neráida. My steps carried me closer to the gate and a thrill of anticipation shot through me.

The last words of the chant burst from my throat and the portal snapped into focus, a still shining disk atop the surface of the pond, like a mirror reflecting nothing. I reacted instantly, flinging myself into the water and surrendering myself to the magical gateway I had conjured.

I fell. Sideways, backwards, inwards; directions were meaningless. I clenched my eyes shut and focused on the dire purpose burning in my heart: kill the faerie King, and rescue Danny if I could. Nothing else mattered.

Stillness. I forced my eyes open and dropped into a defensive crouch, my hands sliding towards my weapons. Yuko’s presence loomed behind me, still and reassuring. We stood at the end of a long courtyard, open to a night sky that was both moonless and starless. Once magnificent architecture crumbled around us, wreathed by withered vines and dead flowers. In every direction stretched a barren wasteland, pock-marked by shriveled-up streambeds and petrified stumps of trees.

I swallowed hard against a wave of disgust. So this was Neráida, where the Fae had once lived in beauty and plenty until they’d depleted all the magic from the land for selfish gain. Now they sought to do the same thing to my world by sucking all the magic out of people like me. Well, I wasn’t going to let that happen.

I snapped my gaze to the end of the courtyard, where Danny’s broad-shouldered frame slumped between the monstrous shapes of two faeries. Aria and Alek. Beyond them, on a throne as pale as bleached bone, sat the faerie King with his eyes shuttered against the world. Hate filled my chest as I stared at the silent, cold King, posed like an ice sculpture upon his throne of destruction. Now, after so long, I was close enough to avenge my mother’s death. I could hardly believe it.

“Yuko!” I hissed, my eyes never straying from the target of my vengeance. “Get ready. The only way I’ll be able to kill the faeries and their King is if you stop their spells.”

“I am always ready.” Yuko whispered, his voice deadly calm.

My weapons slithered out of their sheaths as I flung myself down the length of the courtyard toward the faeries. Aria and Alek turned, hissing dark spells, but Yuko’s power wrapped around me like a cocoon, dampening their magic. I blocked Alek’s desperate blows at my head and caught him in a chokehold. My knife kissed his throat as his cold carrion breath rasped loud in my ears.

“Yield!” Aria’s voice, strident. She held Danny in front of her like a shield; his blank eyes and slack jaw betrayed the fact that he had no clue what was happening. “You’re outmatched. If you kill Alek, you’ll die too.”

“Outmatched?” I choked on a laugh. “You have no weapons and can’t use your magic. Get out of my way before I kill you too.”

A cold smile twisted Aria’s features, and a finger of dread slid down my spine. “We’d never leave our starving King undefended. Look behind you.”

I obeyed almost against my will, turning to see a horde of wraiths materialize out of nowhere, an army of vacant undead soldiers marching steadily toward me. Fear wrapped a cold fist around my heart. I was going to die here after all, without avenging Mom or saving Danny.

“Oh, stop.” The voice rang from above, ancient and cold as death. Slowly–so slowly–the faerie King opened his eyes.

Story In The Round – Part 6

I’m going to take just a minute to say thank you to all the Scribes who have gone before me. I’m so happy to be here!!

And now for part 6 of the Story In The Round…


Mom faded back into whatever dancing heaven she’d come from, leaving me alone on the porch with the fireflies and the dark. What the hell was she thinking? I’d done everything I could for a single glimpse  – spells, incantations, begging on my knees in the dirt – and hadn’t felt the barest breath of her presence. Now, the first time I touch magic in years, I witness the arrival of two mysterious beings, I lose my housemate and best friend, and then Mom wanders by to tell me things are hopeless.

One too many creepy coincidences for me.

Anger poked its head up like a fractious gopher, rattling my mantle of calm. I popped the lock and flung open the front door, teeth clamped to hold back the crescendo of fear and frustration screaming up from around my heart.

I slung my backpack on the couch. Our tiny living room looked fine, normal. Danny’s magical detritus sat neatly around his desk, and my yarns and fabrics made a disordered pile in the corner.

My real toys were in the spare bedroom. See, magic isn’t the only source of power in this world.

I had to snicker when I glanced at a candle and it burst into flame. Apparently my tricks were back. Adding magic to my new, hard-won skills would be a very good thing.

Lifting the candle by its pottery base, I headed for the spare room. Eight katanas hung from the wall opposite the door, each sheathed in onyx, their ornate hilts gleaming in the candlelight. Utility shelves held French tomahawks, knives of various sizes, and throwing stars. All of them were cleaned and sharpened and ready to rock.

So was I.

The center of the room was empty, the wood floor polished by bare feet and sweat. That’s where I practiced. I kept a locked jewelry box on one of the shelves, mainly to hold my cell phone and debit card when I didn’t want to carry them. I’d left the cell phone home, figuring the magic of the dance might eff up it’s inner workings. Bringing it out of the jewelry box, I scanned my address book, looking for a name.

Found it.

My heart gave an extra-heavy thump.


My breath came in shallow pants. Sweat dribbled between my breasts.

Yuko answered, his voice dark satin, otherworldly.

I had to clear my throat before I could respond. “I need help.”

“It’ll cost you.”

 “I know.”

By the time I hung up, I’d twisted my long ginger hair into a knot at the nape of my neck. Yuko traveled fast. Dressed in black, with my hair pulled out of the way, I felt less like the pigtailed moppet who’d first contacted him six years ago. Still, when he came through the door, I almost backed out. His dark, glossy hair was cut on a knife’s edge at his shoulders, and his exotic eyes held secrets I didn’t want to learn. Beyond that, his core of preternatural stillness was way more dangerous than any of the blades I’d strapped on.

He closed the door, and I breathed deep, pulling in the faint scent of nag champa incense that followed him. I can do this.

“Well Deeny, it’s time to put your training into practice.”