The fae are as cold as a frosty night.
In the twilight, they steal your heart.
In the morning, they tear you apart.
Never trust a fae, my dear.
They will only wreck you and depart.
“You have to go. Now!” My uncle’s fevered voice, littered with panic and fear, shouts from right behind me. I stop singing my song, the one my mum always sings to me before I go to sleep, and turn around. He stands in the middle of my small room, his eyes wide with worry as he looks down at me. My uncle is never worried. Mother always said she was the worrier and my uncle was the laid back one. His sweaty hand clamps onto mine as he drags me out of our small house and into the high grass field outside. The straw and grass snag in my pink dress, and stones cut my feet as I run faster, struggling to keep up with him and wanting my shoes. Why can’t we stop for my shoes? My uncle suddenly comes to a halt, and I smack into his back, hurting my nose and crying out.
But he doesn’t move to check on me as tears burn my eyes. His whole body shakes.
I peek around him to see the fields in front of us are on fire, an unnatural blue fire that spreads faster than should be possible. Right in the middle is the shadow of a man, and before I can really see him, my uncle spins around and kneels down in front of me. He leans closer and kisses my forehead.
“Is my mother coming back soon? Are we going to get her now?” I ask in a rush, my heart beating so fast that I can hear it in my ears. “Who is that man? Is that fae magic that you said was banned?”
“Shit, you’re just eight. This isn’t fair!” he breathlessly tells me, placing something cold in the middle of my hand. I look down to see my mother’s necklace, a silver pendant with a purple stone in the centre and a strange symbol on the front of it. “Daesyn, I need you to run into the woods and find the yellow portal. You can’t miss it. I’ve opened it for you, and it will close soon.”
“Daesyn, listen to me,” he all but shouts, looking over his shoulder once more as I slip the necklace into the pocket of my dress. The fire is getting closer, and I can feel the heat of it now, making me feel warm in the cold night. His green eyes lock down on me, and he looks so sad. His hands shake as he cups my face once more. “Don’t stop running. Don’t stop training to fight, and never trust anyone. Your mother is dead and I will be next, but I will make sure you escape here. Don’t ever come back to the Otherworld! Be brave, like we taught you, and kind like your mother.” He cups my cheek, his cold sweaty hand shaking. “Survive, Daesyn, and this is all worth it a thousand times over.”
“No, no, no,” I cry, and he shoves me back, shaking his head and turning around to face a man walking through the fire in the distance.
With one final look over his shoulder, his forest green eyes lock onto me as they turn from green to black. “Run, Daesyn, and remember: Don’t ever come back.”
With tears streaming down my cheeks, I take off through the tall grass, pushing it away with my hands as my uncle’s warning repeats in my mind over and over again. The fire nips and flickers at me as I run as fast as I can, wondering if the fire will get me before I get out of the grass and into the tall trees of the forest I’ve never been allowed to go into before.
My mother can’t be dead. I don’t believe my uncle. It’s always been my mother, my uncle and me since before I can remember. We have always lived here, alone, with only the fae creatures for company. Mother told me we are safe here, but only if we don’t leave the field, and we never did.
Until three days ago when my mother kissed my cheek and promised she would come back for me. She promised.
My mother never, ever breaks her promises. A small cry catches my ears, and I come to a halt, breathing heavily as I look down at a tiny blue monkey-like creature trapped under a rock. It struggles, wailing as it tries to pull its foot from the rock with no luck. It’s big yellow eyes look up at me with so much fear, the flames behind me reflecting in its eyes. I glance back at the fire, only seeing it just above the tall grass and making a quick choice. I can’t leave it. Mum would tell me that all creatures in need are worth saving. Anyone hopeless needs a little help sometimes. I rush to the rock, digging my fingers into the mud and gasping as I pick the heavy rock up enough for the monkey to pull its silvery grey and blue furry leg out before passing out in the mud. Without waiting, I pick the monkey up, tucking it under my arm and rushing into the forest, my footsteps slapping across the muddy ground. I don’t look back as I head towards the yellow light that spins in a circle, sucking in leaves and twigs as it spirals. Every second, it gets smaller, and soon it won’t be there at all.
Forbidden fae magic.
I’ve only ever seen my mother use this kind of magic, and she told me I would get powers one day. One day the Otherworld will grant you a gift, and that gift will be decided on your twenty-first birthday. My mother’s softly spoken promise whispers in my ear like she is right next to me as I get to the shimmering yellow light. On the other side is a beach, the gentle water lapping against the shore, but it’s covered with a yellow haze. I look back as blue and yellow fire blasts into the air, and I hear my uncle scream as the floor shakes under my feet. Terror chokes me as I turn around and do what I was told, jumping head first into the magic and hearing my mum’s voice sing to me like she is right here. I fall into another world with only a monkey in my arms and my mother’s necklace in my pocket, hearing a song my mum will never sing to me again.
“The fae are cold and dance in delight,
To see them is to love their sight.
Never trust a fae, my dear,
And never trust your heart.
In the presence of a fae, your heart is naught but a part.”
Twelve years later…
I’m going to kill the queen.
With a fae monkey’s help… Easy. Hopefully.
I watch the half angel, half Protector queen, who stands not too far away from me, much like every single supernatural and human in this room does as well. The beautiful queen has long blue hair and eyes like azure diamonds that cut down anyone who even dares to approach her. I’m pretty certain her large ass tiger, who sits at her side, could eat me with one bite. I’m not sure which is more intimidating, the tiger or the queen.
The room is full of supes of every kind, and the magic in this room is suffocating, pressing against every inch of the magic I use to protect myself. Glamour magic costs a pretty penny, and the glamour I currently have on, which is making me look like one of the invited guests (who “accidently” got herself thrown off a boat), is slowly waning under the pressure. Dammit, my plans have gone to shit. Typical for me, and now I have to rely on my old favourite, plan B: sheer damn luck. I move around the crowd, careful to dodge anyone who tries to talk to me, and I focus on who else is in the room. Protectors are easy to spot, they stand taller, like they have a stick up their arses. The demon’s stand out thanks to their brightly coloured hair or skin, and the witches have a certain glow to them. A few shifters are dotted around, and I spot at least one reaper, which makes me want to get out of here as quickly as possible once my job is done.
Back to my target.
Queen Evelina of the Protectors, demons and frankly the whole damn world, according to her. She is a hero, loved and admired by so many, but unluckily for her, there is one person who isn’t a fan.
And that’s my boss.
I don’t want to kill her, but my boss is the only reason I have air in my lungs, even though I figure he would prefer me dead most days. He found me on the streets, a few days away from starving to death, and saved me. I still remember that day, seeing his ugly ass demon face hovering over me as I clung to a dumpster for warmth. It wasn’t my finest moment.
He told me I had potential. And he was damn right.
Thankfully, I’m the best damn thief and assassin that he has now, and that means he can’t get rid of me just yet. Yet. I clutch the champagne glass tighter in my hand as I wait for the perfect moment to make my play, to do my damn job.
To kill the queen before my glamour fades and everyone figures out I’m not a guest.
Personally, I have nothing against the beautiful queen. If anything, I admire the stories told of her. She had nothing, grew up an orphan on the streets much like me and was a good thief, if rumours are true. At some point, she became an assassin, again like me, and was feared throughout the supe community.
But that’s where our stories change. Evelina became a queen, and I am still a lowly assassin who lives in a shitty apartment and has enemies bigger than all the people in this damn demon and Protector city put together. Turns out, killing and stealing from bad guys gets you on the enemies list. Go figure. Tonight that is all going to change though. I’m going to be free and rich the second I finish my task, even when it sucks that it has to be me that does this. I glance up at the corner of the room, seeing Mossy, my weird sidekick, taking out the cameras. My sidekick is a monkey. A fae monkey to be exact, and he knows more curse words than a drunken pirate. Being a tiny ass monkey with a big attitude and flipping awesome tech skills has been helpful over the years, but first and foremost he is my family. At the end of the day, it’s been Mossy and me since I came to this world, and we have got each other’s backs.
The queen finally leaves the ballroom, and I follow her down the corridor she heads into, making sure my footsteps are silent even in stupid high heels. I softly pull out my sword from the back of my silver dress, and I almost smile when she turns back, her eyes narrowing on me. My glamour fades at the perfect moment, and I almost sigh. It feels like that moment you take your bra off after a long day and wipe off the makeup so you finally feel free. Her gaze flickers to my sword, and in the blink of an eye, she pulls out a glistening purple sword from one of the slits in her gown. The midnight blue dress she has on is stunning, looking like she is wrapped in a million stars. It only makes me hate her more.
I hate her because I have no choice to be here.
This is her debt, and I’m paying it by killing her sorry ass. The queen needs to keep her enemies in check.
“Seems we have similar hiding places. These dresses are a bitch to wear but great for hiding shit,” I remark, taking a step closer. I’ve heard the queen is a brilliant fighter, at least back in her day. It’s been ten years since the war, and I’m hoping she is a little less quick on her feet now.
Her laugh fills the corridor. “You’re going to make my night interesting, aren’t you?”
“I’m going to make your night final, Queen Evelina. This isn’t personal for me, so I’m sorry,” I reply, and before she can talk again, I charge at her. She meets my sword with an expert block, and with incredible strength, she knocks me into the wall. I kick at her feet, and she almost falls but gives me enough time to slam my sword into her arm. She hisses as I cut her, and she hits me with a blast of blue energy. Wow, the queen plays dirty. I like it. I hold in a shriek as I fly down the corridor, rolling out into the ballroom, which is soon filled with screams. I shoot to my feet in the circle of people, and a man I recognise as one of the kings steps forward with fury on his face. Damn, I didn’t want to fight this many and especially not them. Thankfully, the demon overlord king isn’t here tonight, or I would be dead already. I’m not that fucking stupid. Evelina walks right in front of him, not looking away from my eyes as she speaks.
“Don’t even think about helping me. This is the best fight I’ve had in ages, so back the fuck up, babe.”
Ah shit. She thinks like me.
Evelina runs at me with a crazy smile on her face, and I block each of her moves. Our swords clash against each other with every single hit, and I grit my teeth as her sword catches my shoulder. Sweat creeps down my neck as she cuts my dress, and I make the mistake of stepping back. The air is suddenly knocked out of my lungs after I trip and my back hits the floor. In seconds, her sword is at my neck, and she leans over me. Dammit.
I knew fighting in a dress against a trained assassin queen was going to be the death of me. I blame the dress. I hate dresses.
Cocking her head to the side, the cold metal tip presses deeper against my neck, hard enough to make me bleed a tiny bit if she wanted, but she doesn’t push it. “Why were you sent here to kill me?”
“Revenge,” I angrily growl. She laughs as she presses the sword further into my neck, catching me slightly, and I start to bleed. Her three kings stand behind her in a line, like a wall she can fall on if she ever needs it. I hate that she has them. She has family. I have a monkey who has deserted me. Figures.
“Who sent you?” one of the kings demands. “And, Evie, let her up. She is just a kid.”
“But I’m having fun, and she has to be at least eighteen. That’s not a kid, old man,” Queen Evelina says as she pouts, and it pisses me off. I’m twenty, thank you very much. I slam my hand into her sword, knocking it out of her hands, and she jumps back as I crawl to my feet. Panic starts to set in as I realise I can’t win against them all without a weapon.
“She smells like a reaper and something I don’t know,” one of the kings states from Evelina’s side.
“Then she belongs to us.” A man steps out of the crowd, and I don’t know him, but I sure as hell recognise my own kind when I see them. Reapers. I might be from fae, but my father sure as shit wasn’t. It took me all of a year to bump into a reaper in this world, and they told me the truth about who I was and something my mother never mentioned. As fucked up as it is, it gives me some connection to this world even when I crave another. I’ve hid from my own kind my entire life after I soon figured out they are crazy, and I have no interest in being in their world for longer than I need to be. I tug a dagger out of my dress and hold it to my own throat, making the man pause.
The packed ballroom goes silent. No one makes a move.
My plan C sucks. But so does life right about now.
Queen Evelina steps closer as silent tears fall down my cheeks. Screw her. Screw the world. All it’s ever done is hurt me, and my boss told me to kill myself if I ever get caught rather than come back empty-handed. He will kill me, and it won’t be pretty. I have to do this. I will get to see my mother and uncle again. I try to make myself, but my hand shakes, and I feel like I can’t breathe. “Whatever is going on, death won’t let you escape it. Someone fucked you over, sending you to kill me when they knew it was impossible. Let me help you. I vow to help you. I vow on my throne to protect you…but don’t do this. You. Are. Worth. More.”
“Why would you do that for me?” I anxiously ask her, wanting to believe her, but it seems too good to be true. She cautiously steps in front of me. Her hand curls around mine on the dagger.
“Because I know desperation when I see it. I know worthlessness. I know because I’ve been there and I’ve got the T-shirt.” She lowers her voice so only I can hear as I keep my eyes on hers. “Don’t let your inner demons win. They will only drag you to Hell, and I promise I will raise you up. Let me help.”
I let go of the dagger, and so quickly I hardly see the movement, she takes it and slams the hilt into the side of my head. I barely get a chance to scream before I pass out.
Pre-order your copy by following this link to Amazon. The Cursed Rune is free in Kindle Unlimited and releases 10/31/2020.