Ex libris — okay, I’m definitely going to have to go back and clean this up, as I’m sure I’m contradicting older parts of the story. The problem is that Ginevra is such an incredibly unreliable narrator and an element of chaos. That’s meant, but it ends up confusing. So I need to go back, clean what I have and add more.
Also, as part of this explanation — I now have everything but the cover for Witchfinder. Sometime in the next week I shall go over the copyedits and edits and supposing there’s no big structural thing, if I still haven’t a cover, I shall improvise something. It’s being delayed by my getting sick way too much this year. This too shall pass.
This weekend I’m making a big push to finish Through Fire. We’ll see. The flu is finally — I think — on its way out. So I won’t threaten to ban people because they make me even more nauseated than the flu is doing. 😛 Oh, yeah, this week I learned to use Create Space, so there will soon be paper versions of the books I’m bringing out that have reverted. And of the new ones too, soon enough– end ex libris
*This is the new free novel I’m posting here a chapter at a time. This is pre-first-draft, as it comes out. It is a sequel to Witchfinder which will soon be taken down (once edited) and put for sale on Amazon (It’s now done and with editor and we’re getting the cover done. My wretched health this year delayed everything. (Meanwhile, if you donate $6 or more, I’ll get you a copy of Rogue Magic, once finished and edited, in your favored ebook format when it’s done. Of course, if you’re already subscribing to the blog at a level at which you get whichever books come out that year, you don’t need to worry. )*
NOTICE: For those unsure about copyright law and because there was a particularly weird case, just because I’m making the pre-first draft of my novel available to blog readers, it doesn’t mean that this isn’t copyrighted to me. Rogue Magic as all the contents of this blog is © Sarah A. Hoyt 2013. Do not copy, alter, distribute or resell without permission. Exceptions made for ATTRIBUTED quotes as critique or linking to this blog. Credit for the cover image is © Ateliersommerland | Dreamstime.com
For previous chapters, read here
A Strange Spell
Miss Ginevra Mythborn
Jonathan Blythe, Earl of Savage, raised his eyebrow at me. “What I think, my charmer,” he said, as I half-sat on that brothel’s bed, trying to look as prim and proper as my kind ever could. “Is that you’ve been telling me a great deal of fairytales.” And before I could open my mouth to protest, his own lips curled upward, in a wry expression, and he said, “Or whatever you wish to call them. What I mean, my dear, is… what a great deal of lies you tell me. Much worse, I’m sure, than the ones I told papa’s chaplain when he caught me with the faun in the rectory.”
I didn’t know what to make of that, and I was almost sure the faun was a red herring. Or – I looked up at the man’s eyes, alight with mischief – perhaps not. Maybe he had some satyr in him.
“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean,” I said, in my primmest voice.
“Oh, I think you do,” he said.
He advanced towards me and for a moment I thought he was about to take me in his arms. That would be good, since mortal hasn’t been born who can resist the sort of spell I can cast in those circumstances. Doubt me, would he?
But instead he grabbed at the bell pull.
As though called by it, there were very odd sounds from the room next door. It sounded like a giant chicken flapping wings and braying like a donkey. Yes, I’m aware how idiotic that sounds, but I swear this is an accurate description. It was all made worse by the sound of a male voice murmuring what I was sure would be found to be endearments.
Jonathan’s eyebrow went up at it, and he smiled at what must be my very shocked face. “I told you this place caters to the exotic,” he said.
I sat up straighter and made very sure my skirt was covering my ankles.
Someone came to the door and moments later Jonathan came back into the room carrying a tray with a bottle and a couple of glasses. I wondered if he had an arranged signal, then stopped wondering. He set the tray down and poured himself a glass of something amber that smelled alcoholic even at this distance and tossed it back.
“Why do you think I have been telling you tales?”I asked.
He grinned at me, and I realized what he was doing. His intake of alcohol blurred my ability to spin anything on his magic, to attach any spell to him.
“I see,” I said. “Are you sure Hermes—”
“If you mean am I sure I’m not one of the old gods? Quite sure m’dear. But I can feel you trying to attach spells to my magic, which you wouldn’t do if you weren’t telling me lies.”
I sighed. “It’s just…” I said. “It’s very complex.”
“Let’s start with Gabriel. Even if he thought that this world must be destroyed to save fairyland, I don’t think he’d consider destroying this world while his whole family is in it.”
“Elves have a different view of family.”
“Elves, perhaps,” he said. “But Gabriel isn’t an elf. Not a proper elf.”
I took a deep breath. When all else fails, one has to tell the truth. It’s something the All Father never fully understood, and something he might not forgive me, but it must be done, anyway. I doubted I could continue to fool Jonathan, with or without liquor and besides…
And besides there was that oddness about his magical pattern, that feeling that he shared more with me than with those other mortals who were, supposedly, his kin. I took another deep breath and then I said, “Can’t you see that’s the problem, you stupid man,” the words came out before I could hold them in. One thing is to tell the unvarnished truth, which is bad enough, and another and totally different to tell the truth and let my annoyance show. The mortals, as the Pater reminds us, are but mice to our cat. If we let the mouse know he’s got the cat annoyed, we’ve conceded part of our superiority and ability if we let the mice know they can frustrate us.
“What that Gabriel is an unconventional elf-king?” Jonathan said. “Would do fairyland good if you ask me. It would—”
“It might. If he’d set about changing it, instead of…” I’d said to much. Or not enough.
“Instead of splitting.”
“What do you mean splitting?”
“I mean neither of his halves can abide the other. He tried to subsume his human self in the elf self, but it wouldn’t work, because one hates the other and hates fairyland.”
“What do you mean splitting?”
“Exactly what it sounds like. He’s become two people. One is the sovereign of elf land, whom you met. The other—“
“Is missing. No one can find him.”
Jonathan looked at me a long time, his eyes hard. “That’s not all is it? Or perhaps it is. I’m aware of how much myths dwell on twins. Did you make him split? And what have you done with the all-human Gabriel? Surely he can’t survive like that.”