SPG: February, Part 4/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

St. Paul Grimoire updates Fridays!

“Which way is he going?” Pete held her phone flat as she and Val walked.

“Still on the way to Grand,” Phin said through speakerphone.

Pete adjusted her sword. It was hidden by glamour now, and she and Val would’ve been strangers to their own parents with their warped features.

“What’re we gonna do when we catch up?” Pete asked.

“You’re the Hero,” Valene answered. “Jump him?”

“I don’t think Heroes are supposed to jump people.”

“Do not jump him!” Phin yelled through the speaker.

“I can throw my cloak over his head,” Val went on with a sly look at Pete.

Pete grinned. “Yeah, and I’ll punch him until he’s down.”

“Oh, my god,” groaned Phin.

The girls laughed.

Phin said, “He walked into Caribou.”

“Cool,” Val said. “We’ll catch up to him. We’ll call you if we need you to scry for him again.”

“I think I should stay on the line–”

“We’ll be fine,” Pete stressed with a roll of her eyes at Val. “Talk soon!”

Val swung the nondescript brown bag with the correct candles in it. “Maybe you can make yourself invisible and get close to him.”

“Don’t you know if I can? I thought you read the Hero grimoire.”

“Just most of it. The grimoires are annoying. A lot of the important information’s all the way at the back, but if you skip, it can get confusing.”

“Well, what did it say about Heroes?”

Val shrugged. “It was the smallest grimoire I’ve seen. It basically just said to make good choices.”

“What? What about my powers? Wasn’t there anything about, like, how I was able to fight off a fucking vampire?”

“Nah. It said everything’s innate, you know? Like your morality or some shit manifests as magic.”

“Will I lose my magic if I make bad choices?”

“No, you become a Villain,” Val said simply.

“Ok, then.”

Val could tell Pete wasn’t happy about this lack of information. She had been spending a lot of time helping Dakotah, and not much at all with Pete.

“I’ll read it again later. Like I said, I’m not done.”

Pete nodded. “Hey, how’s Marco?” she asked, warming up a bit.

“Girl, let me show you the snap he sent me yesterday, it is groooss.”

They were still looking at their phones when they reached Grand Ave.

“Shit, isn’t that him?” Val said suddenly.

She pointed across the street, where sure enough, Tou Chue was getting onto a bus.

“Run!” said Pete.

They did, but it was in vain. The bus shut its doors and was off before they could get across the street.

“Damn!” Val said.

“I’m calling Phin.”

Phin sighed heavily when he heard they’d lost their quarry. In minutes, he was directing them down Grand.

“Ok, he’s walking now…yeah, he just turned into Rondo.”

Less than ten minutes later, Val and Pete were also approaching Rondo Library.

“I can’t tell what section he’s in,” Phin said. “I just see books.”

“Ok, we’re in, I’m hanging up on you.” Pete tapped off and they entered.

Rondo wasn’t a quiet library. Kids ran around while parents talked together. Tutors worked at tables and two men gabbed at the counter with a librarian.

Tou Chue was sitting down at a computer. His paper bag sat at his feet.

“Ok, you distract him from the left and I’ll switch the candles out,” Pete said.

“Yeah, alright. I’ll pretend I can only speak Hmong.”

Pete frowned. “You don’t look Hmong right now.”

Val laughed. Pete’s change was obvious, but she couldn’t see herself and so had forgotten her features had been changed by glamour.

“Whatever,” she said with a shrug. “I’ll be half-Hmong.”

Then she was off, and Pete was circling to the other side of Tou Chue as fast as possible.

Pete approached as Val struck up a conversation with Tou Chue. She couldn’t understand, but Val gesticulated nervously and spoke quickly. Pete couldn’t tell if it was faked or Val’s real nerves.

She moved the chair next to Tou Chue. He looked and her and then back to Val. Pete crouched, reaching the pack of candles into the bag and grabbing the charmed fey candles out.

Her hand had just lifted out of the bag when Tou Chue heard the rustle of the bag and whipped around.

From Val’s perspective, one minute Pete was there, the next she wasn’t. Invisibility fell on her like a cloak just before Tou Chue turned.

When he turned back to her, she smiled widely. “Ok, ua tsaug.”

Then she turned abruptly and walked away.

She just kept walking, out of the library, around the corner, and then Pete flashed into appearance beside her.

Her Hero friend grinned broadly as she produced the candles.

“Yeees!” Val crowed, grabbing Pete’s shoulder and shaking her. “You were fucking invisible!”

“Lemme text Phin.”

“Tell him we’ll be back later. We need lattes.” Val tossed her cloak over her winter coat and led the way to Caribou.

~*~

Dakotah had reclaimed his place behind the counter and was talking animatedly to Phin.

“It was so cool, man, like all this nature around but then sometimes it would fade away into just light and air. You could feel things in the air, but we never saw anyone else. Or anything.”

“Sounds crazy,” Phin said.

“Anything happen here while I was gone?”

“Uh…” Phin brushed his fingers through his faux-hawk. Briefly, he explained what had happened.

“You mean those two dumbasses took my magic shit and are sitting at fucking Caribou with glamour on?”

When he said it like that, Phin had to admit it was a bad idea. They were way to casual with magic. Still. “She’s a Hero and Val knows everything about everything. They’re fine.”

Dakotah shook his head. “I dunno dude. I think we keep forgetting the bad stuff too quick.”

~*~

Pete and Val entered the gate and ran into Caitlin outside the shop, smoking a cigarette.

“Hey,” she greeted them.

“Aren’t you cold?” Val asked. Caitlin wasn’t wearing a winter coat and it had been bitterly cold most of the month.

“Still haven’t bought a coat. Most of my stuff was lost in the raid on Belfast.”

“I bet you’re glad to be somewhere stable,” said Pete.

Caitlin nodded. “This is a nice Sanctuary. Mine was a shithole, just sayin’. I fought so hard to be made Guardian and it wasn’t even that great of a place.”

“Well…” said Pete slowly. “That’s too bad.” She had gone with Dakotah to the Belfast Sanctuary and it had looked nice enough, but what did she know? Still, Caitlin had an unfriendly vibe and so Pete was inclined to disbelieve her.

Caitlin nodded and continued smoking, so the girls moved on.

“She weird,” Val decided when they’d walked far enough away.

Pete nodded. “She’s helping Dakotah though.”

“Yeah, I guess. But she’s still weird.”

 

My YA fantasy novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is out now! Get your copy here!


Turquoiseblood-300x200

When the dangerous rogue dragon Anya crash lands in an isolated mountain village during a snowstorm, Kiri saves her life. Anya awakens seemingly cured of her madness and in thanks offers to show Kiri the country outside her village.

What starts as a simple pact quickly becomes something more as Kiri becomes embroiled in the intrigue of the royal court and the hunt for a murderer. 

Meanwhile, 200 years in the past, Pristina fights to stop a rising civil war. 

Get your copy on Amazon today!

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SPG: February, Part 3/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

We will be returning to a weekly posting schedule! New installments arrive every Friday.

Phin flipped rapidly through Dakotah’s inventory. It was handwritten on heavy paper but at least Ike had kept everything organized in big filing cabinets. Under “Candles, Fey” he took out a long list and scanned it.

“Here,” he said. “Dark blue tapers…Japanese charm…used against one’s enemies to burn their house to the ground.”

He and Pete stared at each other.

“They’re gone,” Val said. She’d run out back to tell Dakotah.

“Gone? Where? They’ve been practicing outside for days!”

“Must’ve taken the Lake,” Pete said.

Translation: No possible way to contact him. There wasn’t any cell service in the fey world.

Not that Phin would’ve called anyway. “Ok, we can figure this out.” He looked at the slip Dakotah had written out when he set aside the order. “Tou Chue.” No address; he’d paid with cash.

“Oh good,” Val said sarcastically. “Easy name, too.”

Phin imagined going one by one through every “Tou” in St. Paul. It would take forever.

“We could just wait for the fire,” Pete joked.

He glared.

“How did you find me last time?”

“We put a charm on something of yours. We don’t have anything of Tou Chue’s.”

“Except his candles,” Val laughed.

“Can you two stop joking around before someone dies in a fire?” Phin yelled.

Pete put up her hands in self-defense.

“Ok, geez. There has to be another way to find someone. Check the inventory for something else. Val and I’ll check the shelves and see if anything pops out.”

She was getting good at seeing through glamours now, even when Dakotah wasn’t there. In fact, all of her magic was getting stronger, and she wanted to practice as much as possible.

Phin spent a few minutes searching the inventory and cursing his stupidity, Dakotah, Ike’s lack of computers, candles in general, and Dakotah. Finally, he found a spell that just might help them find Tou Chue.

He stepped out from the counter just as Val and Pete approached.

“What the hell?”

Valene wore a purple velvet cloak with a green clasp. It fell ridiculously over her small frame, trailing on the ground. She had paired it with a heavy gold crown. Pete had a sword at her waist and a shield of a gray dragon on a red background. They were giggling uproariously.

“We found some good stuff.”

“Why?”

“Well, we don’t want Tou Chue to recognize us when we go steal back the candles.”

“Who said steal? We just have to find him and give him his real candles.”

“Yeah, that’ll work,” Val said sarcastically. “‘Excuse us, sir. We found you with our magic and now we’d like to trade these candles for the identical ones in your bag, no reason.'”

She and Pete laughed again.

“And what’s your plan?” Phin answered with a lot more annoyance in his tone. “‘We’re some rando freaks stalking you, give us your candles or else.” He barely finished his sentence before cracking up. Ok, maybe he was taking things a little too seriously. “Look, whatever, we just have to do it fast.”

“Did you find him?”

“I found a mirror. We can scry for him and catch up to him.”

“Not ‘we,'” Pete said. She pointed to the counter. “You’re in charge of the shop.”

“We’ll close. I’m the idiot who handed out dangerous fey magic.”

Val put her fists on her hips and thrust out her chest in a comic superhero pose. “Never fear. Sir Pete and I can handle this.”

“You can stay here on your phone with the mirror and tell us where he’s going. Then we don’t have to tell Dakotah we had to close the shop. Plus, three of us following would be really obvious.”

Phin gave her outfit a pointed look.

“Yeah but wait for this!”

Pete closed her eyes, concentrated–and Phin watched her features change. Her nose lengthened, her Mexican skin darkened by three shades while her hair lightened. Val morphed next, her hair curling and shortening, her body growing taller.

“Holy shit,” Phin said appreciatively. “You can do glamour!”

“I’ve been practicing,” Pete explained. “Now let’s go get those candles.”

~*~

Caitlin and Dakotah landed in the middle of a wide sunny field. Dakotah shielded his eyes as they stepped out of the canoe. It was the first time he had experienced real brightness in the fey world. Normally, a smoky gray light covered everything.

“That’s just that area,” Caitlin explained when he mentioned it. “Anywhere the fey world overlaps with the human one is grayer. But it’s unique, too. There’s something special about where the worlds overlap, and how they’ve interacted accidentally. You just have to look.”

He’d have to think about that.

“Where are we going? What are we going to do?”

They were walking through the sunny field now. The grass grew up to his hips, mixed in with tall prairie flowers of all colors.

“You’re kinda high-strung, did you know that, Dakotah?”

He did not know that. No one had ever said anything like that to him before. His whole life he’d been told to get back on task, to do what the teacher asked.

“We’re not doing anything,” Caitlin said. “We’re appreciating all this place has to offer.”

 

My YA fantasy novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is out now! Get your copy here!


Turquoiseblood-300x200

When the dangerous rogue dragon Anya crash lands in an isolated mountain village during a snowstorm, Kiri saves her life. Anya awakens seemingly cured of her madness and in thanks offers to show Kiri the country outside her village.

What starts as a simple pact quickly becomes something more as Kiri becomes embroiled in the intrigue of the royal court and the hunt for a murderer. 

Meanwhile, 200 years in the past, Pristina fights to stop a rising civil war. 

Get your copy on Amazon today!

SPG: February, Part 2/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

I feel like you’ve kinda got the gist and I don’t need to put this anymore, but this is a weekly urban fantasy serial open to reader suggestions!

“Again?”

“I’ll pay you. You can do homework.”

Phin sighed. Actually, he didn’t have a problem running the front desk for Dakotah. It was just that normally they stood there together and hung out. Now Dakotah was spending every afternoon with Caitlin, the Guardian who was supposed to be dead.

“It’s cool, I’ll help.”

“Thanks, bro! I owe you.” Dakotah was already walking away. “Be back in a few.”

Phin didn’t know if he meant minutes or hours.

Pete and Val came up and settled behind the counter on the floor, instead of the little table they usually hung out at.

“We’ll keep you company,” Val said.

She sat with the Guardian grimoire, her grimoire of choice whenever Dakotah didn’t have fey visitors he needed more info on. Pete was blissfully homework free since the new quarter had started.

“Anyway, they said even though it was a new quarter, they didn’t want me to jump into the French program.” Val finished complaining to Pete.

“They just don’t want you failing. I bet if your mom called in they’d let you. They don’t wanna be held responsible.”

“I’ll try that,” Val decided. Her parents didn’t know she wanted to start French again but she may as well tell them now.

“How’s Spanish?” she asked Phin.

“I dropped,” Phin said.

Val’s eyebrows arched but Pete seemed to know already. “I’m not surprised but…what did your parents say?”

Phin shrugged uncomfortably. The conversation was interrupted by a man entering to pick up a set-aside order of candles and antique candlesticks.

After Phin helped the customer, he sat back on the stool facing the girls.

“I didn’t tell them. It was a pointless class anyway, and I couldn’t even walk in there after–”

He broke off. He reached out and grabbed three taper candles made of purple wax.

“Shit. I gave that guy the wrong candles!”

“Relax,” said Pete. “If he really cares he’ll come back.”

“No,” Phin said. “These are normal candles. I gave him fey ones!”

~*~

For the past few days, Caitlin had been teaching his about Guardian magic. The first thing he had asked about was the Divine Light.

“Useful shit, right?” she had said. “Divine Light is simple but it scares off a lot of different kinds of baddies. Of course, we can’t do it.”

“That sucks. Why not?”

“Heroes have innate magic. Divine Light is one of the most basic abilities. It’s also the first to go if they ever turn.”

That didn’t sound like a good thing, but she had said it with a bit of glee.

“So I don’t have any innate magic?”

“We can produce any. Guardian magic is all about influencing other magic. When we’re near something, we can take on its powers. That’s why we’re most powerful at our Sanctuaries. The House has its own magic we can borrow. We can also amplify. Heroes are stronger around us, that kind of thing.”

What had followed was a series of weird practices of amplifying or taking on the magic of various things from his shop.

Today was different though. Yesterday she’d been shocked to hear he hadn’t explored the fey world.

“You’ll never see all of your House, frankly. But the fey world had LOTS of cool shit.”

That was how they ended up in his canoe on the Lake to Everywhere. He paddled, she focused on where they were going.

“You should even just walk around your neighborhood on the fey side. Everything’s different.”

Dakotah was silent for long enough that she looked back at him.

“The night I was made Heir, everything in the fey world came out to attack me. I got lost in the fey world and these–things–like shadows?”

“Prowlers,” she said solemnly. “Monsters controlled by the Unseelie Court.”

“Yeah, the prowlers were everywhere. I only got out because all these lights blazed up and voices called to me–”

Caitlin was frowning. “You took the Lighted Way?”

“Yeah. That bad?”

“It’s just–the Lighted Way is something the Seelie Court, and only the Seelie Court, can do. And the Seelie Court isn’t supposed to be around anymore.”

He shrugged. “It isn’t, as far as I know. I never saw the path or heard the voices again.”

“But they saved you,” Caitlin said. “And that means something.”

My YA fantasy novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is out now! Get your copy here!


Turquoiseblood-300x200

When the dangerous rogue dragon Anya crash lands in an isolated mountain village during a snowstorm, Kiri saves her life. Anya awakens seemingly cured of her madness and in thanks offers to show Kiri the country outside her village.

What starts as a simple pact quickly becomes something more as Kiri becomes embroiled in the intrigue of the royal court and the hunt for a murderer. 

Meanwhile, 200 years in the past, Pristina fights to stop a rising civil war. 

Get your copy on Amazon today!

SPG: February, Part 1/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

St. Paul Grimoire is a weekly urban fantasy serial.

“Wake up, D!”

Dakotah’s eyes snapped open. “Shit,” he moaned. Hadn’t he just gotten into bed minutes ago?

His mom opened his door. “Come eat something. You have to get to the shop.”

The shop. Ever since he’d taken it on his mom, November, had been using it against him like it was something she could take away: ‘Well, if you can’t show me you’re responsible…’ Even thought today was Saturday, he still had to wake up early and go. Even thought only yesterday he had fought a vampire, he still had to wake up early and go.

He did, but not for the reason she thought. He had to go because there was someone there waiting for him, a former Guardian he’d thought was dead.

“–Should come home early tonight and get your homework–”

November paused. Dakotah looked . Ah, she’d spotted his coat.

“What happened!”

“It got ripped up when I was running through the woods.”

“What woods–”

Dakotah rolled out of bed. At seventeen, he loomed over his mother. He used his body to shuffle her out of his room. “I’ll buy a new one with my profits, it’s fine. See you in a minute.”

Half an hour later, a short trip to the Abe’s was all it took to determine Pete and Phin weren’t going anywhere that weekend. They were in big trouble after taking Leal out without permission.

Vampire kidnapping probably wasn’t an explanation that was going to fly with their parents.

“My mom actually loves the old baby clothes, though,” Pete said in the doorway. Phin wasn’t even allowed to talk. “But I’d just avoid her–she’s pissed. You alright?”

Dakotah nodded. “Just tired from everything.” A few years ago he’d been picking fights all the time and he remembered the comedown. It was similar to what he was feeling now, just that now was more intense. Of course, that was only part of it. He desperately wanted to tell her about Inkar, but with her dad lingering around the corner, he could tell it would have to wait.

“I’ll try to come by later,” she said. “I’m not in as big of trouble as Phin.”

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “I’ll text you if anything happens.”

On the way to the shop Val texted.

“I’m busy w fam today. I’ll chill tomorrow. Inkar show?”

He replied, “No prob.” And, after a minute of thinking, “Didn’t see him.”

She Snapped him a funny face in reply and he laughed. Val wasn’t so bad.

Despite everything, the sight of his shop never failed to calm him. He propped the gate and opened the blinds and made a few notations (mostly about the baby clothes he’d given away and the money he’d have to spend on a new coat).

“Gettin’ an early start, I see.”

His houseguest was a woman in her early twenties. She looked different in the daytime, less ominous.

He wasn’t fooled by her friendly face. Caitlin killed Inkar without hesitation just a few hours ago.

“Got work,” he said with a general wave at the shop.

She smiled a little wolfishly. “Well, you don’t really.”

“It’s complicated,” he muttered. “You eat?”

“I explored your neighborhood a little. Fuckin’ cold.”

“Yeah,” he agreed, wondering when she was going to get to the point and explain how the hell she was alive and where she’d been the past few months. Last night he’d been to tired to do anything than trudge back to the shop and show her a room.

“Sunil tried to kill me,” she said as if reading his mind.

The name cause adrenaline to shoot through Dakotah’s body. He hadn’t seen or heard from the fallen Guardian since banishing him to the far reaches of the fey world many months ago.

“I went into hiding and only just heard you’d taken care of him for the time being.”

“How did Sunil get into your Sanctuary?”

Caitlin shrugged. “Hell if I know. But he got to the Heart before I could. He broke down the defenses and it was all I could do to take the Lake to Everywhere somewhere safe.”

“Where’s safe? Where have you been?”

“In the fey world. Though take it from an expert, if you want to hide from someone half-fey himself, you should probably lie low in the human world.” She pulled her brown hair behind her shoulder and grinned. “I just didn’t want to get a job.”

They were interrupted by a customer shopping for unique Valentine’s Day gifts, and Dakotah went to help him out. When he had rung the customer up, he asked Caitlin, “So now what? Are you going back to Ireland?”

“I don’t know if I want to just yet…or if I even can. Actually, I thought I’d hang out here for a bit. If I remember it right, Ike passed away and then you were made Heir. I bet he didn’t show you much about being a Guardian?”

Dakotah nodded to show that was right.

“Well, maybe I can help teach you some stuff.”

Dakotah’s eyes lit up. “Oh, hell yeah.”

 

My YA fantasy novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is out now! Get your copy here!


Turquoiseblood-300x200

When the dangerous rogue dragon Anya crash lands in an isolated mountain village during a snowstorm, Kiri saves her life. Anya awakens seemingly cured of her madness and in thanks offers to show Kiri the country outside her village.

What starts as a simple pact quickly becomes something more as Kiri becomes embroiled in the intrigue of the royal court and the hunt for a murderer. 

Meanwhile, 200 years in the past, Pristina fights to stop a rising civil war. 

Get your copy on Amazon today!

SPG: January, Part 4/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

St. Paul Grimoire is a weekly urban fantasy serial.

“We have to do something,” Pete gasped. Dakotah and Eyerusalem tore into each other again. She had barely regained her breath after seeing Dakotah’s throat slashed.

“What do we do?” asked Phin. He bounced Leal pointlessly. The baby wailed and the animal sounds of the fight weren’t calming. “Get a stake? Wait for sunrise?”

Their parents would murder them first if they didn’t come back until sunrise, Pete thought.

“I don’t see a stake,” Val said. “And sunlight doesn’t hurt them. The only light that hurts vampires is the Divine Light.”

“What’s that?”

Val managed to take her eyes from the fight. “It’s something Heroes can make. But I don’t know how.”

Pete and Phin shared a look.

“We can try,” she said.

“How? What if it’s dangerous? What if it hits Dakotah and kills him, too?”

Pete reached out and grabbed Phin’s hand. “We’re Heroes. We’ll figure it out.”

Phin watched his sister close her eyes and concentrate. Her lips mouthed the words “Divine Light.”

Maybe because of Dakotah’s magic-inducing presence, or because they were in the fey world, or in danger, Phin swore he saw Pete start to glow. A light flicked on in the middle of her chest and started to spread.

“Jesus,” Val said.

Phin knew why it worked for his sister. She believed in being a Hero. She wanted it more than anything, to earn that title.

A sound from the fight distracted them all. Eyerusalem had sent Dakotah straight through a door. As he crashed out of view, she turned toward them.

Her eyes locked on Pete and the faint glow on her skin.

Eyerusalem screamed and ran straight for them.

Val screamed, Leal screamed. Phin squeezed Pete’s hand and yelled, “Divine Light!”

The blaze started in his chest and flared from there, filling the rest of his body. He felt Pete’s flame next to him, and Leal’s, too. He even had a dim awareness of Val and Dakotah.

Val threw up her hands to block the light that shone from her friends. It lit the room as bright as a summer day, hitting Eyerusalem.

The vampire screamed. Her skin boiled and lit, and in moments she was ash.

Pete opened her eyes. Her light faded as she stopped concentrating. Phin’s faded, too. Soon the hallway was filled with the same dim light as usual.

Dakotah came out of the room he’d been thrown into. The door had ripped off one hinge, and he touched the damage as he went by.

“That was cool,” he said.

“That was batshit crazy,” Val said.

“How did you know to do that?”

Pete gestured to Val, still holding Phin’s hand.

“I told you we needed to read the grimoire,” Dakotah said. He touched his eyeteeth. They were shrinking back to normal. The rest of his face was filling out, too.

“Don’t celebrate yet,” Phin said. “There’s another vampire.”

“–Who?”

“–Where?”

“His name is Inkar.”

Dakotah’s mouth dropped open. “No, he’s…”

He stopped at the look on Phin’s face.

“He spent a long time deciding whether to kill us or not.”

Val had never seen Dakotah look so angry.

“Stay here,” he growled.

They didn’t listen, following a few feet behind him.

But the room Phin and Leal had been held in was empty. They searched the corners with lights from their phones, but Inkar was gone.

“Coward,” Dakotah spat. “If I ever see him again…”

Pete’s phone rang. She checked it. “It’s Dad.”

Phin looked at his coat, shredded where Eyerusalem had grabbed him. Underneath his skin was bloody.

“Leal doesn’t even have a coat, or hat, or anything,” Pete said. “How’re we gonna explain this?”

Dakotah looked at his jacket. It was beyond shredded. He was going to have to buy a new one with some of his profits from the shop or his mom be all over him.

“I got it,” he said. “The shop has antique baby clothes. Text your dad. Tell him you’ll be home in half an hour. We’ll find something for Leal. Phin can take my hoodie.”

They used the Lake to Everywhere and were back at the shop in no time. They dug up a knitted sweater, handmade coat, little gloves and a knitted cap. The whole thing was nothing like the coordinated outfits their mom liked to dress Leal in, but it would pass. In ten minutes they were all out the door again.

They walked Val right up to her door. Everyone checked all around but no fey made themselves known.

Next, Dakotah dropped the Abe siblings off at their place. The moment Adolfo and Violeta rounded the corner he could see Pete and Phin were going to be in a lot of trouble.

“Ok, night!” he said before he could catch a scolding, too. Plus, he couldn’t let them see the blood still covering his clothes.

Dakotah was off the porch in seconds. He walked quickly around the side of the Abe’s house and through the landscaped backyards. His muscles ached from the fight and he hadn’t completely wound down yet. He could barely remember the details of fighting Eyerusalem. She had moved so quickly all he had had time to do was react.

Steps from his back door, Inkar appeared out of the darkness.

Dakotah sprang back. He shifted into Other St. Paul and bared vampire fangs.

Inkar put his hands up. “Wait. I am not here to hurt you. I wanted to warn–”

He did not get to finish. Inkar’s hands went to his chest and his whole body seized. His eyes rolled back into his head and he fell to his knees, revealing a girl standing behind him. Inkar pitched forward, landing face first in the ground. Then Dakotah saw the stake in his back.

“Are you all right?” the girl asked.

Dakotah couldn’t answer. He watched in shock as Inkar’s body shriveled and turned to ash.

“Guardian,” said the girl. She was tall and white with long straight brown hair. She spoke with an Irish accent. “Did it hurt you?”

“I’m fine,” Dakotah snapped. He glared. “Who the fuck are you?”

“I’m Caitlin,” she said, retrieving her stake. “The Northern European Guardian.” He still didn’t say anything so she went on, “From Belfast?”

“Belfast? No, I’ve been there. The Sanctuary is destroyed. They said you were dead.”

Caitlin spread her arms. “Surprise.”

My YA fantasy novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is out now! Get your copy here!


Turquoiseblood-300x200

When the dangerous rogue dragon Anya crash lands in an isolated mountain village during a snowstorm, Kiri saves her life. Anya awakens seemingly cured of her madness and in thanks offers to show Kiri the country outside her village.

What starts as a simple pact quickly becomes something more as Kiri becomes embroiled in the intrigue of the royal court and the hunt for a murderer. 

Meanwhile, 200 years in the past, Pristina fights to stop a rising civil war. 

Get your copy on Amazon today!

SPG: January, Part 3/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

St. Paul Grimoire is a weekly urban fantasy serial.

Val and Dakotah took a minute to put on their coats, but Pete was out the door. She kept the cell phone extended in front of her. A loose grip was all she needed to feel the pull. Val and Dakotah caught up moments later.

“We don’t know what we were walking into,” Val said in low tones to Dakotah.

He kept his eyes on Pete’s back. “We gonna figure it out like always, V.”

Val sighed.

As they walked, the pull on the phone got stronger. In Dakotah’s pocket, the necklace’s pull got stronger, too.

Eventually the pull of the magic caused Pete to start to jog. Dakotah and Val picked up their pace with her. Snow had begun to fall lightly. Val pulled up her hood and dug her fingers into her pockets. She ran that way, a little awkwardly. When she took her gaze up from the icy sidewalk, she frowned.

“Are we going to Central?”

Their high school rose into view as they approached the busy intersection of Lexington and Marshall.

“Can’t tell yet,” Pete answered. She tapped her foot at the red light. The stream of cars surprised her, reminding her it was only eight at night. She wondered what other dramas were happening in those cars. If anyone looked at her and could tell she was missing two siblings.

The light turned, and she sprinted across the intersection.

The pull of the phone led her right up to Central’s front doors. The massive building had lights on all around, but she didn’t hesitate to run forward and grab at the door handle.

Locked.

“Fuck!” she yelled.

“Chill,” said Dakotah.

She whipped around to glare.

“I’m gonna get us in. But once we’re in,” –he met her eyes– “you gotta slow down. We don’t know what the fuck fey fucker’s gonna be waiting.”

“Yeah, fine, whatever.”

Dakotah took a deep breath and switched them all into Other St. Paul. The effect was immediate: streetlights became dim and blurry, the snow fell in slow-motion. Most noticeably, the cars vanished from the street.

Dakotah reached out and pulled the doors of the high school open.

They moved slowly through the halls, made unfamiliar by the silence, the gloom. The seeking charm led them into a back area of the school where students weren’t allowed. In the back of the pump room, they finally came upon an ancient door, cobwebbed shut and barely noticeable behind some pipes.

“It looks like part of a castle,” Val said.

Dakotah put his hand on the handle. “We ready?”

“Do it,” said Pete.

He pulled the door open.

~*~

“Are you going to try to fight me again, Hero?”

Phin had stood with Leal in his arms. The memory of the last fight—the two seconds of it he’d been conscious—were clear.

“You can’t have Leal.”

Eyerusalem laughed. “Do you know how long I’ve been alive? I have been taking human babies since before this country existed. The murders of people trying to protect them—that’s just been icing on the cake. Please, do put up some fight. It’s always laughable when untested Heroes try to use their powers on my kind.”

She took a step toward him and Phin scrambled back—but a sound caught them both off guard. The door creaked open.

Out of the shadows stepped–

“Inkar?” Eyerusalem said in surprise.

The vampire came fully into the room.

Phin frowned. He’d heard that name recently. Then it clicked. The vampire staying at Dakotah’s shop.

“Eyerus,” Inkar said with a formal head nod. “I did not know you were in this area also.”

“No Seelie Court for years now,” she explained. “An easy hunting ground.”

Eyerus surveyed Inkar. The two vampires seemed familiar but not close. “And you? Still searching for your less bloody fountain of youth?”

“I have been staying with the young Guardian. He has been helping me.” Inkar nodded toward Phin. “I am afraid you have overstepped, Eyerus. You have taken his friend. They have your necklace, the one from Toledo. He’ll be here soon.”

Eyerus laughed. “Icarus’s replacement, you mean? The boy? One so young is no threat to us, Inkar, why could you never see that? Look there–” she pointed a finger at Leal. “See that child? Look, and remember how it could revive you from this pitiful state you’ve sunk to.”

“No, I–”

But Inkar had stopped and was looking at Leal. His tongue flicked out over his fangs.

“Stop fighting your nature, Inkar. This is what you are now. Tonight is the perfect night to reclaim your power–”

Phin leaped for the door, slamming it shut behind him. He hadn’t expected the darkness of the hall outside and had to slow down, jogging with one hand outstretched and one hand around Leal.

Behind him, the door banged open and Eyerusalem’s voice called, “Can you see in the dark, Hero? I can…”

Phin cursed Dakotah and Ike and every fey he’d ever met. His heart was racing and Leal was wailing, leaving them no chance of hiding. In desperation, he tried to shift Other St. Paul. It worked, surprisingly, the first time he’d accomplished it without Dakotah’s presence. The shift actually made the hallway lighten, and he spotted a door just ahead.

Unfortunately, he didn’t hear Eyerusalem’s approach. She grabbed him by the shoulders, fingernails raking across his collarbone.

“Stop!” someone screeched.

The arrival of Dakotah, Valene, and Pete was enough of a surprise to Eyerusalem that Phin was able to sprint forward and join his friends. When he turned, Eyerusalem was standing with her arms folded.

“Senora…?” Dakotah said, confused.

“Eyerusalem,” Pete finished. “You’re Phin’s teacher!”

“I’m not surprised to see that Icarus’ Heir has also taken to meddling outside the Sanctuary,” Eyerusalem said. “But really, Guardian, you have all the magic of the fey available to you, and all you brought to this fight was more kids?

She moved then, not waiting for an answer. Her leap was at quantum speed, claws outstretched, straight for Leal.

Dakotah blocked her, moving at the same speed and hitting her with his shoulder. The force slammed her into the wall.

“Run!” yelled Dakotah. The others took off. He moved backward quickly, flexing his fingers. As before, he was flooded with the same abilities of the fey he was nearest to. That meant he had all the abilities of a vampire. Unfortunately, getting all new abilities was never very helpful because he never had time to learn them all, or figure out the best way to use them.

Eyerusalem sprang from the ground. She hit him hard, and they both tumbled backward into one of Central’s main halls.

They fought viciously. Dakotah managed to scramble to his feet. Eyerusalem rolled to a squat and hissed at him. Her eyes were wild.

Dakotah drew back his own lips and hissed in return.

She lunged again, and this time her nails ripped into Dakotah’s neck. His blood sprayed over his clothes and over Eyerusalem. She laughed victoriously.

Pete and Val screamed.

Dakotah stumbled back a few steps, head down. He looked at his bloody hands.

Then he reached up and wiped the blood from his neck. The savage wound was already healing with vampire magic. His skin stitched itself back together as they watched.

“You’ll have to do better than that,” he said.

My novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is OUT NOW! Get it here!

Interlude: Turquoiseblood available now!

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Finally! TURQUOISEBLOOD is up and available for purchase! So many people helped make this happen and I’m so thrilled to share this labor of love with the whole world.

If you’re thinking of self-publishing and want a little guidance, feel free to contact me, I’m happy to share everything I did to make it here.

No time to rest on my laurels though–new installment of St. Paul Grimoire will be up later today! Check it out!

SPG: January, Part 2/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

St. Paul Grimoire is an urban fantasy serial that updates weekly. Each month will cover a self-contained story told over four parts.
It will not be overly edited, and character arcs and plotlines could be adjusted with your feedback! Let me know what you think!

“Phin?” Pete’s dad called out as they entered the house.

Pete was following behind, so she didn’t notice at first the strangeness. All the lights on, Phin’s homework on the table, Leal’s swing chair– but no Phin, and no Leal.

“Phin?” Adolfo called again, this time sharper. His footsteps picked up and took the stairs to the bedrooms quickly.

Everything’s fine, Pete thought, forcing down a weird feeling. She dropped her bags and as she did, spotted a necklace. It had a heavy black metal chain and a huge square-cut red stone surrounded by spikes.

Such an intense piece of jewelry definitely wasn’t hers or Phin’s, but that wasn’t what made the weird feeling in her stomach spread to her limbs. The necklace glowed with fey glamour, and when she focused on it, it no longer looked chintzy and fake. It looked ancient, expensive, and loaded with magic.

Something vibrated. She grabbed the necklace and shoved it into her winter coat. At the kitchen table, she saw Phin’s phone vibrating. Her dad was calling him. She snatched up the phone as well.

“Pete?” her dad said as he came back down the stairs. “Did you see Phin? Or Leal?”

“I just texted him,” she lied. “But actually, I think he said earlier that he was going to work at Dakotah’s shop.”

Adolfo frowned. “With Leal? He didn’t ask me for permission.”

“I bet he checked in with Mom.”

“Maybe…why’s all his stuff here though?”

“Want me to run over to the shop and check?”

Adolfo considered. “It’s freezing. I’ll drive you.”

“No, no, that’s fine!” she insisted. “I’ll run right over and text you when I get there. I mean, where else would he be?”

She was already moving toward the back door.

“Fine,” Adolfo said. “I’m calling your mom just in case. Text me right away!”

“I will!” she shouted over her shoulder.

Her house and Dakotah’s were back-to-back, the yards in the middle landscaped into a rolling garden meant to show off her mom’s landscaping business. Pete ran through, leaving the windy little path and stepping on the dead, snow-covered flowerbeds in order to run in a straight line. A quick sweep of the duplex showed no lights on in Dakotah’s part of the house. She’d expected that and kept running, barrelling through St. Paul streets until she arrived at the House.

Only once she crossed the gate did she feel the weird feeling ease a bit. This didn’t have to be a disaster. Phin probably <was in there, sitting with Leal and talking incessantly about college applications.

Her face fell as she reached Dakotah and Val at the back of the shop. Another man was with them–but no Phin. She clapped her hands over her ears, so cold they burned.

“What’s wrong?” all three people asked at once.

“Have you seen Phin?” she asked. Her voice came out a little unsteadily from her sprint.

“He didn’t come today. He wanted to work,” answered Dakotah.

“Shit,” said Pete, the weird feeling flooding her whole body. She recognized it now– panic.

“He wasn’t at home, all his stuff’s there, Leal’s gone, too–” Val gasped. “–and I found this.”

She tossed the necklace onto the table.

Dakotah picked it up. It glowed, and they saw its two forms with double vision, until the glamour fell away completely and the ruby caught the light.

“This looks familiar,” Dakotah said, half to himself. “Where’d you find it?”

“On the floor.”

He turned it over in his hands.

“Well, what do we do?” Pete snapped.

“Let’s use magic,” suggested Valene. “I bet something in this shop can find him.”

Dakotah stood. “I’ll get the inventory.”

“What do I tell my dad?” Pete asked, following behind him. Thank god someone else is in charge. I don’t know what to do.

Dakotah spoke over his shoulder. “Just say they’re here. This is fey business, we don’t want them to call the cops or something.”

“I’ll leave you to it,” Inkar said as the three humans made for the front of the shop. “I hope you find your friend.”

“Thanks,” Pete said distractedly, already busy trying to sound as normal as possible in her text to her dad.

Watching Dakotah sift through inventory was the longest half hour of Pete’s life. Every time he found an entry that looked promising, it always ended up being too specific. Val kept saying she was sure everything was going to be fine, but none of that helped Pete relax.

“Got it,” Dakotah finally, finally said. “Potion. We drip it on something of Phin’s and that thing will lead us too him. Its glamour is a purple perfume bottle…”

He dropped the inventory and walked into row of shelves.

The shop wasn’t what you’d call organized. Small things were stacked on shelves and big things placed against the walls. The Victorian-style house had small rooms, but with the magic imbuing the place, the rooms seemed to go on forever.

Dakotah, however, knew just where to go. Within minutes he was picking up the bottle.

“I need something of Phin’s.”

Pete produced his cell phone. When Dakotah had spritzed the phone, it started to glow in Pete’s hand. A slight pull moved her hand toward the door like a magnet.

“Lemme see that necklace, too,” Dakotah said, raising the perfume bottle again.

~*~

Phin opened his eyes. Leal’s wailing had pulled him out of unconsciousness.

Through the dim lighting, he made out the dimensions of a strange room. The stone floor, walls, and ceiling made him feel like he was inside of a castle. There were even tapestries on the walls.

He was cold. Not outside-in-a-Minnesota-winter cold, but cold enough to tell there wasn’t any heat. The only light came from an old camping lantern set on the ground. It gave off a pale light.

Just beyond, he saw Señora Eyerusalem. She smiled, looking as she had right after he’d said “Yeah, come on in.”

The moment her foot had crossed the threshold her glamour had dropped. Without it she was gaunt, her jaw more pronounced. She wore all-black, except for a necklace of black spikes around a ruby pendant. Her eyes bulged in her face.

He’d ripped off the necklace when he’d thrown his hands up to defend himself. That was about the only thing he’d been able to do, since she moved faster than anything he’d ever seen before. Now they were–where? Did St. Paul have any castles? His head spun at the thought that he and Leal had been taken across the Lake to Everywhere, and now they were in Europe or somewhere else his family would never find him.

“You’re awake,” she said in Spanish.

“Fuck you,” he said in English. He had no idea where that bravery had come from.

She laughed. “Un héroe,” she said. “I noticed the moment you walked into class.”

Her Spanish wasn’t like the Spanish she’d spoken in class, he noticed. It sounded old, stilted and formal.

Never had the title “Hero” sounded more ridiculous to him than it did then, kidnapped in a castle. Leal started wailing again. He reached out automatically and picked up the baby.

“What are you?” he asked, though he had a guess.

She bared her teeth. “An ancient creature. I must drink the blood of innocents to stay young forever.” She inclined her head toward Leal. “Unfortunately, they cannot invite me inside.”

Phin gathered Leal closer. “You’re not gonna hurt us. I’m friends with the Guardian.”

Eyerusalem laughed. “Alas, my young friend, you are far from Sanctuary.”

 

My novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is out NOW! Buy it here!

SPG: January, Part 1/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

St. Paul Grimoire is an urban fantasy serial that updates weekly. Each month will cover a self-contained story told over four parts.
It will not be overly edited, and character arcs and plotlines could be adjusted with your feedback! Let me know what you think!

“I have two siblings actually,” Phin explained. “My sister Pete is one year younger, a sophomore. Then there’s Leal, the baby.”

Senora Eyerusalem’s eyes lit up in the way that Phin had noticed all adults did when he mentioned Leal. They loved babies. He liked Leal fine, but not any random baby he came across. Adults always got all excited about every baby they heard about.

“Leal? What a nice name. I don’t think I remember a Pete from my sophomore class, though.”

Senora Eyerusalem was a substitute teacher who had just taken over when Phin’s regular Spanish teacher went on maternity leave. She was tall and lean with dark skin and a close-cut afro.

“She’s in Senor Michaelson’s class. We’re both in Spanish IV because our mom wanted us to learn properly.”

“What a good idea,” said Senora Eyerusalem. “You’ll have to introduce me.”

The bell rang.

“Oh– I’m gonna be late,” Phin realized.

“Let me write you a pass,” Senora Eyerusalem offered.

~*~

Phin spent the rest of the school day with a million other things on his mind.

Unlike Pete, he wasn’t that into sports, but he had a lot of other clubs to keep up with. Lately he’d been spending so much time at Dakotah’s shop he hadn’t been keeping up, hence the need to run over to check in with Senora Eyerusalem about the Latin Club. He was glad things had calmed down at the shop. Winter break had come and gone peacefully. January was going through fits of severe cold, which just motivated him all the more to stay in an buckle down. Halfway through junior year and it was time to start thinking about college applications. He should really see his counselor next…

Dakotah would have to do without him at the shop. The shop was getting more regular customers now, so sometimes Phin ran the register so Dakotah had time to research Guardian stuff. You’d think with the lack of supernatural occurrences (besides the usual visits from goblin accountants or fey houseguests staying the night) would’ve calmed Dakotah down, but he’d taken the opportunity to start learning more about being a Guardian.

Well, he’d have to get Pete to help him again. Phin sat down with his planner to map out the rest of his day.

~*~

“Oh my god!” Val shrieked.

“Sorry, sorry.” The man back quickly away from her, holding up his hands.

Dakotah glanced up at Val’s scream and then immediately went back to his book. “Val, this is Inkar. You’re up early, Ink.”

“THIS is Inkar?” Val asked incredulously.

Inkar arched a brow. He was a short, broad-faced man of Asian descent, though Val knew from Dakotah his original nationality was Kazakh. He looked painfully ill, his skin waxy, hair limp, eyes puffy. But his haughty look brought a little dignity back to his features, making him look more like the vampire he was.

“Yes, I am Inkar,” he said unnecessarily, long eyeteeth showing.

“Sorry,” Val apologized. She closed the grimoire she’d been reading and held out a hand. Inkar shook it delicately.

The vampire went on morosely. “I could not sleep, Guardian. What more have you learned about my situation?”

Val and Dakotah traded a look. Inkar had been around for a few weeks now, and unlike other visitors to the House, he wasn’t in any danger. He didn’t need protection of any kind from Dakotah. What he wanted was information.

“I’ve been trying, man, sorry.”

“I’ve been reading the vampire grimoire,” Val added. “But I don’t think it’s going to tell us anything different.”

Inkar sniffed. “I’ve read it. Grisly thing. The whole book just accepts vampire nature as profoundly backward. Not a word in it to suggest there may be another way.”

Val shot Dakotah a glare for not telling her that Inkar had already read the grimoire.

We still had to read it,” he pointed out. “Inkar can’t tell us everything.”

She pushed the grimoire away. “Why not? Inkar, give me some clues where to look. What exactly do you want from us?”

“It’s simple,” the vampire said stiffly. “We vampires must drink the blood of innocents or die. I want a way to stay alive without having to kill another human.”

“When was the last time you drank blood?”

“Twenty-five years ago.” Inkar gestured to his sickly disposition. “As you can see, the effect is wearing off. My youth is the first thing to decline. Afterward…well, who knows? I’ve never gone more than 25 years without killing someone. But I imagine I have less than ten years left.”

“So we have time,” Val said with a half-laugh.

“It passes in the blink of an eye for a vampire,” Inkar rebuked her.

She grimaced at Dakotah.

“Inkar has already tried animals, plants, non-innocent humans…nothing seems to work,” explained Dakotah. “But I haven’t been able to find anything either. And…”

“I know,” Inkar interrupted. “If there were a vampire who had figured it out, he would still be alive today to tell us about it.”

The three fell silent.

Val tried to think of what Pete would say. One thing was sure, Pete would try to keep things positive. “Dakotah has lots of rules that he has to follow as a Guardian,” she said, not sure if this was the right thing to say. “But we’ve always been able to work it out, and I think we will for you, too.”

Inkar heaved a sigh. “Our powers are curses, are they not? But to be a Guardian is better, for you still own your soul. And I? I cannot even enter a building without invitation.”

~*~

Phin was home alone. Pete had a meet and their dad had taken her out to eat after. His mom was having her big monthly meeting with everyone who worked for her landscaping company, which included Dakotah’s mom.

So it was just him and Leal. Outside, the Minnesota night had already fallen so it was pitch black outside by five PM. It didn’t bother him. He put Leal in the swing and sat at the dinner table to get more work done.

A knock at the door interrupted him. He wiggled his fingers at Leal as he got up.

Upon opening the door, he was surprised to see Senora Eyerusalem on the stoop.

“Phin,” she said. Her broad smile revealed long eyeteeth. “May I come in?”

 

My novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is available now on Amazon! Check it out here!