Rogue Magic, Free Novel, Chapter 57

*I will post Elf Blood over at MGC too, but it’ll be about two hours.  I’m helping older son with something.  Then I’ll make a post here this afternoon about something that’s troubling me in terms of the world and state thereof.  It might just be “get off my lawn” but I don’t think so*

Rogue Magic, the second Magical Empires book.

Rogue Magic, the second Magical Empires book.

The prequel to this — Witchfinder — is now up on Amazon.

This novel will get posted here a chapter every Friday or Saturday, or occasionally Sunday.  If you contribute $6 you shall be subscribed for the earc and first clean version in electronic format.  I think it will probably take another three months to finish.  Less, if I can have a weekend to run through and get ahead of the game.  It hasn’t happened yet.

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

Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, Prince Consort and Royal Witchfinder:

There was a sound. It wasn’t a sound I’d ever heard. It was like a vibration in the air, like the sound a thread twisting would make, if several times amplified.

Gabriel said softly, “Oh, damn” something that I was fairly sure the elf king was not supposed to say, since the words in fairyland could twist reality. He looked… more solid. He turned towards the curved glass. He sighed.

He turned again towards me, “Seraphim, do you know what they’re doing? Or why my fracturing was not an accident?” He made a face like he used to make when he was forced to take medicine he detested. “I enjoyed it, too, in a way, you know, because …. Because being the king of fairyland is being all the kings of fairyland, in a way. They all live at the back of your head, like ghosts, and frankly I have trouble enough being myself alone. But also, it was the only way I could think of to avoid seeing my kingdom devoured.”

“Devoured?” I said. I backed up to sit on a chair, which I’d swear wasn’t there until I glimpsed it out of the corner of my eye and collapsed into it. “If fairyland is devoured…”

“All the universes will be. Or at least the ones most closely connected to fairyland, but even over the other worlds, the old myths will reign in terror and rapacious theft, Seraphim. I think – though I can’t exactly explain it – that’s how it was at one time. They are the ur-world, now consumed and old, and they must feed off our thoughts and dreams to survive. Fairyland, first, since it’s the place where dreams and magic live.”

“But why now?” I asked. “Why—”

“We called their attention somehow,” he said. “Perhaps my fight with my uncle, or perhaps my divided nature. You see, I don’t hide. I know I have culpability in it. This is why I didn’t want this crown.” He removed the crown, which had appeared atop of his head, looking incongruous with his respectable black suit. He set it on the table. “I know what I am, Seraphim, neither human nor elf, neither nobleman nor commoner. I was afraid the cracks would show.” He turned again to look at the confusing landscapes outside the window. “Perhaps that was what attracted them, and perhaps it was our family and those who interact with us.

“One thing is certain Seraphim, as much as they wish to devour fairyland, as much as they’ve tried to, throughout the ages, they need a burst of a certain type of magical energy, the type that will allow them to tear asunder what shields there are here. Our shields are weakened. Already walking this land are people forbidden by curse, like our misguided would be brother in law, Akakios. And Marlon. Yes, I know of that. I sensed it now, when another portion of my divided consciousness joined me. And so is our sister here, and Michael, and probably our father, though him I can never be sure of. And this is bad, Seraphim, very bad.

Because the moment they get enough of the right kind of people – people who sit uncomfortably in their role, as it could be argued our whole family does, as do the two Blythes in this land, also caught in the net, then they can sacrifice you first, until they have enough energy to get to me. And when they get to me, there goes fairyland.”

As he was speaking a sound grew louder. It was a sound of confused words, a mumbling in a tone I knew all too well, “Helicoidally.”

“No, rather the other way. The spin–”

I knew both the voices. Gabriel sighed. “Michael being ensnared surprised me a little. He seemed so… Absent all interior struggle.”

I sighed in turn. “He’s in love with Albinia Blackley daughter of Marcelus Lion.”

“Lion? Wasn’t he proscribed for—“

“Exactly.”

“Oh.”

The discussion came closer. Words like “Counterpensant” and “Semblance magic” came closer too. From the sound of it, my younger brother had found the one person who could understand his magical theory.

They ambled into the hall of the king of fairyland, talking to each other, as though the conversation were the important thing and the location something casual.

“Marlon,” Gabriel said. He didn’t sound upset, so much as appalled and very tired. “You at least I’d expect to know better.”

Marlon looked at Gabriel with a sort of unfocused confusion. It was a look I knew well, having seen it on Michael a hundred times when you asked him something like, “But what is that formula supposed to do?” or even “When was the last time you slept.”

But the red-headed magician seemed to recognize my half-brother, because he smiled a little and said, “Surely, my dear, you didn’t expect me to let you be in trouble without coming to help you, did you? When I found the barriers were down–”

“You fool,” Gabriel said. “If you know the barriers are down, you know what they’re doing. Why would you offer yourself, a willing sacrifice to help destroy me?”

Marlon shook his head. He looked non-plused. “Gabriel. I wish you’d not dropped out of practical magics when you left the university ah… in a hurry.”

Since the hurry was related to their relationship becoming suddenly public, that was some gall, but Gabriel didn’t say it, he just frowned at Marlon.

“Have you ever heard of the poisoned pill? It’s the only thing that can save you from this kind of attack.”

“Wasn’t that what Merlin was trying when he became imprisoned between worlds?”

“Oh, him,” Marlon said, his hand waving again the greatest magician in history. “That is because he did it wrong.”

12 responses to “Rogue Magic, Free Novel, Chapter 57

  1. Merlin . . . Marlon . . . hmmm . . .

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Thank you.

  3. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    One thought on Michael and Marlon. It’s seems to me that they could have met after the events of Witchfinder and before the events of this book. Mind you, they could have met earlier and Seraphim didn’t know of their earlier meeting(s).

    Also, wouldn’t Seraphim ask Michael “how did you get here?”.

    Michael is his “little brother” and Seraphim could still be thinking of him that way.

  4. Poison pill? As in a take over fight in a corporation? I can’t remember how that works; something like if anyone gets x percentage of the corp then y automatically happens; y being designed to make a hostile take over more difficult.

    So, try to eat Fairyland and you poison yourself? That could work.

    • Interesting concept. I think, in corporate terms it means that the company making the hostile takeover bid must negotiate only with the board of directors, not the individual shareholders. And an agreement that if any one shareholder gained 20%, the other shareholder could purchase a new issue of shares at a discount. How this would play out with magic instead of money . . . we may see.