*So, I still haven’t had time to sit with Witchfinder and get the ARCs ready — sorry. House, health, cars, cat. More or less in that order. I shall do it with all possible alacrity. Meanwhile, I know some of you compile the chapters. Can one of you send me the full compilation of Rogue Magic, both so I can update the page, and so I can read over, and avoid the internal contraditions, which I’m sure this chapter piles on. (But never mind. I like the idea of sending these two in search of Gabriel too much to change it. Besides, Jonathan will have to protect her and that’s good for both of them, I think.)*
The prequel to this — Witchfinder — has been removed. I do promise to go through the copyedits as soon as humanly possible and send the advance copies to those who pre-ordered. You’ll know when that’s eminent because I’ll remove scattered chapters from this blog. I do hope to manage it next week, but I’m not promising as I’m still finishing a novel under contract to Baen. Meanwhile, if you donate $6 and note it in the field, you’ll get advance-subscribed to this novel. I do, however, understand it can be a long time to wait, and if you want to, do so. I will continue to post chapters here, roughly one a week.
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
Jonathan Blythe, the Earl of Savage
Look, I have nothing against my old school fellows. Well, except that one time in that drinking house in Surrey where it was such a squeeze one had everything against one’s old school fellows, but that’s not what I mean. What I mean is, what was Gabriel Penn to me, or Night Arrow, King of Fairyland, either?
Oh, sure, we’d gone to school – and college – together, but we’d hardly run in the same circles. I’d been closer to his brother, Seraphim, though not exactly close, as such. Seraphim was always much too prim and proper and likely to frown and act disapproving if you went out to a put in Surrey.
And don’t tell me he was doing that to compensate for his father’s ways. That’s all very well. That’s what they said of Papa, whose ways were actually worse than my grandfather’s, as far as overweening desire for power is a worse sin than lust, but never mind that. Grandfather would take a lot of generations to atone for, and I for one wasn’t a prig, because of whatever my grandfather had done.
Seraphim wasn’t a prig, either, but had this way of making one feel like one had let the side down. Or something. So I didn’t spend much time with him. But I knew he could be counted on in a pinch, and wouldn’t tattle.
Gabriel wouldn’t tattle either. But he was as prim and proper as Seraphim – I still think that was why everyone got so angry when his affair with the necromancer came out, and why he was sent down. Bigger sins have been forgiven other people. I should know – and something else beside.
I know it can be awkward to be someone’s natural child. I mean, met my share of them here and there, mostly there, and mostly of the female variety. But if you are an all-but-aknowledged natural child and your father choses to pay for your education and treat you exactly like his heir, or close enough to what he would treat a second son, you should not go about holding yourself aloof, pretending to be a menial, and informing everyone you’re your illegitimate brother’s valet. Stands to reason you shouldn’t. Odd sort of upside down pride, throwing his condition in his father’s teeth, as though the man hadn’t done anything for him.
So I’d never been close to Gabriel. I was willing to concede he had a lot to bear and a hard path to make, and I felt somewhat sorry for him when he became king of fairyland, because, stands to reason, no one wants that kind of responsibility.
But the thing was, if it came to liking, I liked his lover, the necromancer, better. At least he was aware that it was perfectly fine not being perfect, and even if he atoned a bit far – marrying my sister when she was half out of her mind was a little far – he was trying to do the best for those dependent on him. Something that I knew must be done. And I didn’t like over half either.
Now, if Gabriel had split in two rather than lift the burden on his shoulders, or at least attempt to, I wanted to wash my hands of him. Yes, Fairyland was difficult, but it wasn’t like any of us liked what we had to do. Being an Earl, for instance, and responsible for all my siblings.
But damme. You did what you had to do. It’s not like your choices ever were between going through hell barefoot, or having a nice dish of pudding. You did what you had to do, what constituted the smallest disaster for the smallest number of people. And you stuck with it.
Only, I thought, casting a look at Ginevra Mythborn, who, in turn, looked at me with an intentness that I only hope betrayed she was, for once, telling the truth, in leaving his post in that peculiar way and fracturing himself, Gabriel had made it impossible for me not to rescue him. Because king and country are on in Fairyland, and when the king split… And fairyland was the magical engine of the world. Unless I wanted all magic to leak out of my world forever, and all the other worlds too, till none was left and the worlds became… I didn’t know. I didn’t know how much of the worlds ability to sustain life was magic. Even the magic-less worlds had enough for that, or at least to sustain intelligent life. Intelligence and magic are, of course, linked.
I sighed. “So, the king of Fairyland has become two and his human part is missing, and your world stands by ready to leech ours and all the others, because it needs more magic than normal worlds, and it will survive as long as it can… We clearly must crossover to… the mythworld?”
She shook her, head, her red ringlets flying. “No. To fairyland.”
“Oh?” I said, raising my eyebrows. “Why? And how?”
“Well, we can’t find the king’s human part on Earth – he’s still trapped in fairyland. That’s one. And second, we must either persuade him to become one again or—”
“Or kill him, and let a new king ascend. If you wish to save fairyland that is.”
“If I wish to save my own world, you mean? I do.”
She nodded. “And mine too. So, we cross over.”
She raised her eyebrows in turn “Can I?”
“Cross over to fairyland. I thought your worlds were inimical.”
“They are,” She said. But that is not the point. I can cross over, of course. But there I’ll be in danger. If I’m recognized, I’ll be attacked.”
“Why? Would you attack a man eating lion in your midst?”
“You eat elves?” I asked, genuinely shocked.
She laughed. “No more than reason and in limited social occasions,” which managed to shock me, because it was closer than anyone had come to saying the sort of things I felt all the time. What I mean is, perfectly fine inside my head, but not right OUTSIDE.
She sobered as though realizing she shocked me, and brought her knees together, and smoothed her skirt. “No. But my kind feed on their magic, which to them is close enough.”
“Then I could go alone,” I said, and as I said it I realized this might be a way to send me off into fairyland so she could be free to do whatever she’d come to do in this land.
I was most relieved when she said. “No, milord. I’m afraid this is going to take both of us.”