SPG: April, Part 1/4

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His grades might be bad but Dakotah knew he was no idiot. He had brought Caitlin to this place, this hideout of the few remaining Seelie. Barely two hours later, it had been razed to the ground.

With no plan in mind, he raced back to his shop. He stowed the chest in the front entryway before entering. The ground floor was dim and empty. He was about to run upstairs when he noticed he’d gotten a text.

Caitlin had written: Gone to see Arturo in Mexico City. Back next week.

Dakotah sighed, sagging against the front counter. He had a few days to figure out what the hell he was going to do. To figure out what the hell she was doing. With another sigh (this one resigned, since he knew he wasn’t getting to sleep anytime soon), he set off for Belfast.

~*~

The next day he gathered Phin, Pete, and Val and told them everything that had happened.

“Shit,” Phin declared. The four of them sat in a circle of antique chairs at the back of the ground floor of the shop.

“Lock her out of the shop!” Val said. “We can’t let a murderous psycho into a Sanctuary. She killed Inkar, remember? We should’ve known then!”

“Inkar was evil,” Phin reminded her. “Dakotah obviously wouldn’t suspect someone who killed a vampire, he thought she was trying to help.”

“Inkar tried to warn me of something,” Dakotah said. “Do you think he knew Caitlin was a rogue Guardian?”

Phin muttered, “What’s with all these rogue Guardians, anyway?”

“Can’t you tell, Dakotah?” Pete asked with a frown. “Wouldn’t you know if she’d…like if her Guardian-ness was corrupted?”

Dakotah spread his hands in a gesture of helplessness. “Guardian powers are useless.”

Val sighed. “You probably just don’t even know where to look! This grimoire is the useless thing!” She slapped her purse with the hefty Guardian grimoire stuffed inside it.

Dakotah reached in a pocket and produced the piece of sky-blue stone shot through with black cracks. It was from the Belfast Sanctuary’s Heart. He had picked it up the first time he’d been to Belfast. Last night’s trip had revealed nothing else. “Sunil admitted to destroying the Belfast Sanctuary. I bet he thought Caitlin was a rival. Another Guardian who wanted more power. She pretended to die and came back when he was gone and she could pretend to be a victim.” Dakotah shook his head. “Ike would’ve known.”

“It’s fine,” Val said. “Now we know. And we can lock her out of here.”

“That’s a bad idea,” Pete interrupted. “If we do that, she’ll know we’re on to her and we still have no idea what she’s doing. How would killing those faeries help her?”

“She wants to make sure the Seelie court doesn’t come back and challenge her power?” Phin guessed.

“What power?” asked Pete. “She’s living off Dakotah right now. I don’t know, she’s kinda slimy. She doesn’t seem like a leader to me.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Dakotah said. He took his feet off the table and sat up. “We can’t lock off the house until we know what she’s doing.” He turned to Val. “It’s time for you to finish that grimoire.”

~*~

Three days later, March was sliding into April and spring break started. Dakotah helped customers at the shop, flinching every time someone entered since he always expected Caitlin to come breezing in. He started to worry about Arturo but couldn’t think of a reason to check in on the other Guardian.

A search of the room she stayed in had revealed nothing. Caitlin barely owned anything, which made sense since she’d been chased out of her Sanctuary.

Dakotah’s leg bounced on his chair as thoughts of Sunil circled. Whatever Caitlin was, Sunil had been able to breach her Sanctuary and destroy her Heart. How had he done it?

Sometimes Dakotah missed Ike, and sometimes he cursed that old man’s bad planning. Why the hell was he having Dakotah stock shelves when he should’ve been learning how to be a Guardian? Caitlin could stroll right into his Sanctuary, and not only that, she knew better than him how to use it.

The thought gave him an idea. He left a cat at the front counter in case someone came in. Then he went downstairs and unlocked his treasure room.

He almost never disturbed this room. The piles and piles of money never gathered dust but he certainly never touched them. In fact, now that the shop turned a slight profit each month, he practically forgot he was a millionaire (billionaire?). His accountants had probably used this money to cover expenses in the early days.

Today his goal was the same as always: the huge purple crystal spar in the middle of the room. Dakotah placed his hands on the crystal and breathed deep, connecting to the House.

He could feel it breathing, expanding far beyond the rooms he knew of. He’d never walked all of the House and maybe never would, unless he made it to be as old as Ike.

With all the shit I’ve gotten into, I dunno if that’s gonna happen.

Focusing, he asked, “Show me things Caitlin’s been doing. Secret things.”

He didn’t sink into the crystal like he had when he’d Ascended. Instead, images appeared on the flat plane. What followed was like a supercut of Caitlin stealing his shit.

Okay, he had to admit the shop was a little messy, and he hadn’t noticed things vanishing. With Caitlin’s experience, he had no doubt she knew what was valuable and what wasn’t, and had taken some powerful stuff. He shook his head in disgust and paid special attention to how she used magic to hide the stolen things.

The last scene was Caitlin hunched over a piece of paper, writing a few things, and then burning it.

“Go back,” Dakotah commanded. He squinted at the paper. He couldn’t make out much, except for the name at the top: Roland Cunningham. Dakotah frowned. Did he know that name?

A pounding, and someone calling his name. Still connected to the House, he could feel his friends come in, and Val’s voice, as if they were right next to him.

He disengaged from the House and went upstairs.

“I’m so close to finishing!” Val declared, slamming the Guardian grimoire onto the counter. “I have so much to tell you.”

“Awesome,” said Dakotah. “Who’s Roland Cunningham?”

Immediately, Val started to giggle. Pete hit her arm.

Phin’s brow creased. “Isn’t he in theater?”

“He goes to Central?” Dakotah asked sharply.

Val’s giggle got louder. “He’s also…Pete’s prom date!

Pete blushed furiously.

What?” Phin demanded.

Dakotah waved his hand to get everyone’s attention. “Well I’ve got fucking bad news then. Caitlin’s looking for him.”

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: March, Part 4/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

Magic and mayhem!

By the time they made it back to the shop, night had fallen. They decided to renew their hunt the next day, and Dakotah left.

He had intended to go straight home, but instead turned his steps to the hill where the elves lived. The mystery was nagging at him. He believed the Seelie courtier wasn’t murdered, and though the malevolent spirit had been forcefully exorcised, Dakotah couldn’t believe anyone had set a golem to hunt for revenge for a spirit.

That left the elves. He didn’t know much about them, beside that they preferred to live in forests. Sprites did better mixing in the human world especially because they were smaller.

Arriving at the side of Ayd Mill, Dakotah knocked at the door of the neighbor he and Caitlin had talked to earlier. The door was made of sticks tied together with grass and the rest of the mound was made of braided grass. Now that he was up close, Dakotah saw the braiding was done carefully and with a certain pattern, though it looked haphazard at first.

“Guardian.”

To his surprise, the voice came from beside him. Not just one neighbor, but several elves were gathered to his left.

“Hey,” Dakotah said. “There are more of you.”

“Greetings, Guardian,” said one elf. He couldn’t tell if it was male or female, because all the elves were small with delicate features. Their outfits were just as natural as their homes. “We hoped you would return.”

Dakotah opened his mouth to ask a question when a flare of light distracted them all.

Just feet away, one of the neighbor’s houses was on fire. Even though melting snow had made the grass wet, it was burning quickly.

And illuminated by the light was the golem.

It was massive. Made of river mud, its form was vaguely human, but slapped together. The mud was wet and sliding off in places. Rushes and other river plants stuck out from its body. Its mouth was a gaping hole and so were its eyes, but in the eyes burned bluish flames in place of eyeballs. Three Hebrew letters were written across its forehead.

“Shit!” yelled Dakotah.

“Water!” someone else cried.

And then—”Corsoo is still inside!”

An elf rushed forward with a pail of water, but when she approached, the golem swiped a huge arm to keep the water from hitting the fire.

“What do we do, Guardian?”

Briefly (as usual) the thought flicked across Dakotah’s mind that he had no fucking idea what to do and he was not qualified to be there. But nothing spurs a Guardian like a cry for help, and so he whipped out his phone.

He googled “how to stop a golem” while the real golem bellowed again. A quick look revealed a lot of Clash of Clans tips, a wordy but useless Wikipedia page, and a website on Jewish history. There were a few suggestions on how to kill the golem, but Dakotah latched onto one—erase the first of the three letters on the golem’s forehead.

“Good enough,” he said, clicking his phone off.

The elves were in a panic, not understanding why he wasn’t doing anything.

“Gimme that,” he said, grabbing a pail for someone’s hand. He shifted into the fey world as he approached the golem. Caitlin had taught him this would enhance his abilities. Both the golem and the elves had a range of powers for him to choose from. He didn’t want to make it complicated though, so he enhanced himself with the elves’ speed.

When he went to toss the water on the blaze, the golem lunged for him. Dakotah leaped forward into the golem’s arms. A wet hand seized his wrist but Dakotah was already bringing his hand forward, scraping the rightmost letter from the mud.

As soon as he drew his hand back the lights in the eye sockets flickered out. The golem crumpled like a robot powering down. Its legs kept it upright but the rest of the body sagged.

Dakotah pulled his hand from the muddy circle of the golem’s fist. The elves swarmed around, putting out the fire as it tried to spread.

The original dwelling had burned to the ground. The sticks and grasses were no match for the fire.

Nor, apparently, was its inhabitant. The blackened body of an elf lay on the earth. Dakotah cleared away the wreckage.

“Corsoo,” said an elf beside him. The elf’s voice wasn’t sad. “He killed Runlu.”

“What?” Dakotah’s head snapped around at the sound of the reclusive elf’s name. “He killed Runlu? And you knew?”

The elf nodded. “They have been arguing for years. Corsoo took something of Runlu’s. Runlu tried to get it back. Corsoo finally killed him. But you see Runlu had his revenge.” Here the elf gestured at the golem, which was already sliding into the earth, looking more and more like a mound of dirt.

“You think Runlu enchanted a golem before he died?” Dakotah thought of the theft at Morticia’s. “To steal back his things and kill Corsoo?”

“I am almost certain of it. Their blood feud is common knowledge.”

“Then why the hell didn’t you tell the—the—” Dakotah paused before he could say the word “police”.

The elf’s head shook in resignation. “Without the Seelie Court, there is no force to compel the fey to order. These are dark times.”

“Shit,” muttered Dakotah, wondering what chaos the fey world was in and how much more trouble it would cause. “Well, why didn’t you tell me?

“We may have gone to you eventually. We should have known to trust Icarus’ Heir.” The elf’s smile faded. “But we were afraid of her bad energy.”

“Her?” asked Dakotah with a frown. “Caitlin?

The elf shrugged. “Whoever accompanied you today.”

“She’s a Guardian!” Dakotah protested.

“No,” said the elf. “I do not think so.”

~*~

A quick look into Runlu’s home revealed the golem had deposited Yolanda’s chest there.

“I’ll take it back,” offered Dakotah, leaving the elves to clean up the damage from the fire.

The chest wasn’t too big, so he wrapped his arms around it and carried it hugged to his body. Once he was back on the sidewalk, he hesitated. It was too late to go to Yolanda, but he didn’t want to go all the way back to the shop.

Ok—the elf’s words disturbed him, and he didn’t want to see Caitlin just yet. Giving in to his discomfort, he turned and entered the Lake to Everywhere.

Lake Como was deserted now that night had fallen. Dakotah shifted the chest in his arms (He didn’t know what would happen if he left it waiting in the canoe).

He’d only gone a few feet when he came upon the copse. Only a few hours ago, a stand of young trees and bushes had hidden the fey from him. It had been obliterated. Black marks scored the earth, where someone had used magic to blast down the trees like many strikes of lightning.

Dakotah could not feel a single fey presence.

The chest sagged in his grip. “Fuck.”

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: March, Part 3/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

SPG o’clock!

The malevolent spirit had haunted a Summit mansion. Dakotah’s eyebrows arched as he saw the address.

“Whoa, whoa,” he said as Caitlin strode boldly for the front. “What’s our plan?”

He knew nothing of the kinds of people who lived in these old houses, but the picture of a snobby old white woman—inexplicably dressed in some kind of olden-days ballgown—rose to mind.

Caitlin flipped her hair as she looked back at him. “You’re about to see some professional Guardian work, grasshopper. Come on, I’ve done this routine a thousand times.”

An old white woman did answer the door, but she didn’t look like Dakotah had expected. She had long gray hair growing wild and braided with beads and hemp. She wore a lumpy gray dress that looked handmade. A shawl seeming to be made entirely of fringe covered her shoulders.

She peered at them. Daylight savings hadn’t begun yet but it was staying lighter later into the evening. “Yes?”

“Madam,” said Caitlin, loudly. “I am Sinead O’Connor—no relation—And this is me associate, Red Fox.” Dakotah struggled to keep a straight face. Caitlin’s normal Irish accent had deepened to become an almost-unintelligible brogue. “We’ve come aaallll the way from the Emerald Isle to investigate homes in the States that may be inhabited by—The Unknown.” She gave a significant nod at the woman.

Unbelievably, Dakotah saw the woman’s eyes light up. “Really?” she asked.

“We always leave our camera crew behind during these first encounters,” Caitlin went on, stepping closer to the doorway so that the woman was forced to give a little ground into the house. “To better feel the presence. May we take a look around? If your home is also home to an Unknown, it may be featured on our show, which is currently all the rage in Ireland.”

The woman looked crestfallen. “I did feel a strange presence—an Unknown—but I had it exorcised just last week! If only I’d known—”

“Yes, we would’ve done it for you free of charge after the filming.” Caitlin was nodding in fake sympathy. “We specialize in traditional Irish Catholic exorcisms, of course. But no matter, because there may still be vestiges left in the very fabric of your lovely home. If we may…?”

The woman’s energy had picked up again at the realization she may yet be featured on TV. She stepped off down the hall with Caitlin in tow; Caitlin asking questions about the “nature of the disturbance.”

Dakotah shifted into Other St. Paul as he followed. The mansion had a high front entryway with an ancient chandelier shining dimly above them. The woman had clearly made no attempt to modernize the mansion and it had a comforting weight. Shrouded in the light of Other St. Paul, he looked for signs of fey. He quickly realized the house was layered in powers and, in Caitlin’s words, vestiges of power.

Dakotah had learned the fey loved beauty. That was one of the many ways the human and fey worlds overlapped, because the beauty humans created attracted them. This house was one such place Dakotah was not surprised attracted fey.

Still, my shop is better, he thought pridefully.

“We’ll be in touch, ma’am, don’t fret. Luck o’ the Irish be with ye now.”

Caitlin’s voice was coming up the hallway. Dakotah shifted back into the human world so he wouldn’t get distracted.

Caitlin jerked her chin toward the door and Dakotah turned and went out. It took Caitlin another minute to disentangle herself from the enthusiastic woman, and then the two of them were back on the street.

“What did she say? Did you see something fey?” Dakotah asked.

Caitlin shook her head. “The woman doesn’t know what she’s talking about. The only reason she noticed a spirit at all is because she’s loopy as all hell and lives completely alone. My guess is the malevolent spirit wasn’t a long-time resident, it just picked what it thought would be an easy target. Anyway, I got the name of the exorcist if we needed, but I’m still banking on that Seelie courtier.”

They took the Lake to Everywhere to the Seelie courtier’s dwelling. He had lived in Como Park, too far up Lexington Ave to walk.

Quite a few people were walking around Lake Como despite the chill and the early dark. They exited the Lake on the edge of the lake and looked around to get their bearings. Following Yolanda’s instructions, they arrived at a copse.

Rays of dying sunlight gilded the trees and Dakotah’s breath in the air. They switched into Other St. Paul together, and immediately Dakotah picked up the sense of fey.

He couldn’t see much of anything besides the nature around them. But it wasn’t like when they’d visited the elf. There, they had felt ignored. Here he could feel the weight of attention on them.

“Come out, courtiers,” Caitlin demanded in a ringing voice.

The breeze rustled dead grasses, but that was all.

“We’re Guardians, we know you’re watching.”

Dakotah wasn’t sure she was taking the right tack. She sounded accusatory and demanding. He held up a hand before she could speak again.

“My name is Dakotah,” he said to the bushes and trees.

“They know who you–”

“We are here to solve a murder. If anyone of you has information about the death of your…comrade, please do not hesitate to contact me.” Dakotah paused, then added, “Guardians are impartial. I will not place blame, but I will be investigating every angle of this.”

The breeze picked up again, this time strong enough to shake the branches of trees. And this time, Dakotah heard words on the air.

Age…carried our friend away…No blame here…Guardian…Look elsewhere for the monster…

He remembered that voice. Or voices, many-in-one. The speaker sounded like the one that had led him to safety on his first night as Heir. However, that night the voice had surrounded and uplifted him, filling the area with light. Here it was a pale, weak echo.

Caitlin scoffed. “You expect us to just believe that?”

Dakotah frowned. She had talked loudly and he worried he’d missed the last of the feys’ words. But the breeze was already fading.

“Thank you,” he said.

Caitlin looked at him in surprise. “Dakotah–”

“They said he died of old age. We were wrong. Time to look somewhere else.”

Looking displeased, Caitlin followed.

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

SPG: March, Part 1/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

READ IT!

Dakotah walked in Other St. Paul. Light emanated from all sides, dimmed by the foggy air. The March weather was chill, and it seeped into the places where the fey world overlapped the city. However, he didn’t really need his winter coat.

Nearby, long fingers cracked the ice of a pool.

“Come for a ride, Guardian…” someone said sibilantly.

“Yeah, hard pass,” he answered.

The kelpie chortled wetly. Dakotah walked quickly on.

Caitlin had told him that his Guardian-ness protected him in many ways. The kelpie wouldn’t dare attack him outright. And yet, there were still myriad ways for him to die here.

If I don’t kill myself by accident first, he thought as he sidestepped a deep hole in the ground. That hole probably didn’t even exist in St. Paul, but not all of Other St. Paul was an exact twin of the city. There were dangerous additions lurking around every corner or within every placid pond.

Phin and Pete were both in sports and Val had joined French Club, so he was left alone until 6 PM most days now. Not that it mattered. He had Caitlin to learn from.

In the distance, he heard pixies laughing. He’d talked to some last time he’d gone walking. Weird things. Cluricauns were funny. Hags were intimidating. One of the houses had a huaca in its backyard–an ancient guardian stone. He preferred his fetches (the cats who guarded his front gate) but the stone had emanated a calm power, almost like the Heart of his Sanctuary.

In reality, the wandering souls disturbed him more than anything else, even malicious kelpies. Wailing women, ghosts left on the battlefield long after their bodies were removed, vibrant sparks of child spirits…all made him shudder.

“Guardian! Guardian!”

He turned with frown. These voices did not sound like they wanted to lure him anywhere. He waited as two brownies approached at a run.

“Come quickly, Guardian! You must come!”

“What’s wrong?”

“It is Morticia’s, Guardian. Someone has set it on fire!”

They spoke like he should know who that was, but he decided if a building was on fire, he could ask questions later.

“Show me.”

The brownies turned and raced back the way they came, Dakotah on their heels.

A few blocks away, a house that looked much like his shop was on fire. Dakotah caught sight of the plume of smoke–visible only in the fey world–and sprinted ahead of the brownies.

A chain of fey were handing buckets off to each other and throwing them onto the blaze. One naiad blasted water onto the flames. Dakotah reached into himself as Caitlin had taught him, connected with the naiad’s power, and shot water at the house as well.

With his help, the flames were under control, and then put out.

He wasn’t aware of how much time had passed, but he was sweating under his coat. Luckily, part of his lessons had been lessening the effect of borrowing fey power, and he wasn’t as mentally drained as he’d been in the past.

He moved through the small crowd, checking in on people. They all seemed to know him, something that did not surprise him anymore. Even if they hadn’t heard of him, most fey could sense the Guardian power, and they had all known Ike.

“Guardian Dakotah?”

He looked up to see a stately older woman dressed in black lace. She looked vaguely human, but she had elfin beauty, with sharp cheekbones, big, slanted eyes, and pointed ears. Her hair was straight and black.

“Morticia?” he asked.

She chuckled. “Just Yolanda will do. We’ve not been properly introduced, I do apologize for the oversight. But yes, I am the owner and operator of Morticia’s, the funeral home.”

His eyebrows arched. “A fey funeral home?”

“We die too. Just not as quickly.”

“Right, of course.”

She reached out and pulled him away from the crowd that still stood around, talking in hushed voices.

“I did not send my brownies for you to help put out the fire, though I do thank you for the assistance.”

“Then why did you want me?”

She sighed. “I saw who set the fire.”

This surprised him even more. “Who? Did you stop them?”

Yolanda shook her head. “I could not. It was started by a golem.”

She seemed to think this held some significance for him, but he just frowned in confusion.

“A what?”

“A golem, Guardian. A vengeful monster controlled at a distance by someone.”

“You think your enemies wanted to burn down your funeral home?”

“Perhaps…but I think it more likely the fire burned through my protective spells. You see, I keep a chest of powerful objects in the basement of Morticia’s. I am certain the golem has stolen it to deliver these objects to its master.”

“And you called me to…”

“I have heard you are a more involved Guardian, as Icarus was.”

Dakotah shrugged. “I don’t have anyone to compare to.”

“If it would not put you out, I’d like you to find out who is controlling the golem…before it strikes again.”

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 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!

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!