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** Re-titled The Case of the Fairy Lord
Here’s a little excerpt of book two, Hidden for you to enjoy 🙂
As soon as she’d left, I gave Thomas a friendly elbow to the ribs. “Are you going to tell me what the two of you are up to?” I asked.
Thomas pulled me in for a side hug. “I don’t know what you mean,” he said with a hint of mirth in his voice.
“Gwen didn’t ask us to harvest any samples. She’s covering your lie.”
“If you say so.”
I pouted and gave him a mock angry stare. “I will find out what’s going on,” I said.
Thomas laughed. “No doubt.”
“Okay,” said Gwen when she returned with a vial of green liquid. “This is a special blend of willow, fir, and hazel.”
“For manifestation.” Gwen handed me the vial and patted my hand. “This is my own special brew. You take it first, Summer, and then, if your memory proves lacking, we can try Thomas. The three of us should sit on the floor together, and then you can draw on the power of all three trees. The potion will project an image of your memory for all of us to see.”
I eyed the liquid suspiciously. Although I had once travelled into Gwen’s head and shared her memories with her, no one had ever looked inside my mind before. At least, not with my knowledge. It’s always possible one of the Tylwyth Teg — fairy folk — had sneaked a peak.
“How does it work?” I asked while taking a seat next to Thomas on the rug. “Will you enter my mind?”
“No, no,” said Gwen. “Nothing so intrusive or dangerous. The hazel will allow your memory to manifest itself in the room between us.”
I twirled the vial between two fingers and then looked from Thomas to Gwen and back.
“Drink it down,” Gwen encouraged. “One quick gulp.”
I removed the lid and poured the potion down my throat, almost gagging on the acrid taste that burned my mouth and caused my eyes to water. “Ugh, you could have warned me,” I said to Gwen.
“Warning creates anticipation. Anticipation creates worry. Why create extra problems?”
“Cheers, then, I guess.”
Thomas and Gwen both stared at me as though I might implode at any moment. I ignored their impatient looks and called forth the power in my runes. The symbols of Saille, Ailm, and Coll blazed to life on my arms. I stretched out my hands and made them into a plate before me. A mist swirled above them and formed into a vision of the forest: bright, airy, and full of life. I felt like I was dancing in a dream.
Gwen laughed. “I feel much the same when I visit woodland areas. The cleansing peace of the ancient trees reminds us how small and insignificant we are. Such knowledge washes the pressure of human existence away.”
The image in my hands contained me and Thomas walking through the forest from a third person perspective.
“Connect with memory more,” Gwen said. “We need to see what you saw, not you.”
“You also need to move forward in time a bit. We need to see what happened after we found Lee’s body, not before.” Thomas added.
I connected with my surprise at finding Lee’s body, listened for the roar of an engine and then felt the wind blow through my hair as I chased after Thomas. Then I saw it, the flash of blue. I froze the picture, searching every last detail for something that might help.
“It’s no good,” I said at last. “I just didn’t get a good enough view.”
“Wait,” Thomas pointed at the image. “This is useful. That’s LeMans Blue. It means the car’s a BMW.”
Thomas shrugged. “It’s a nice colour.”
“I’ll take your word for it. I think you’d better try.”
“It’s a shame you didn’t see anything else,” Gwen said. “Are you sure there wasn’t something that led you to the body in the first place.”
I thought for a while and remembered the flash of movement, I’d readily dismissed as a bird and completely forgotten with everything that had happened in the time since then.
“There might be something,” I said, and moved my memories back to the time before we found the body. I explored the emotions of the moment. My happiness, the heat radiating through my body at Thomas’ touch, the fluttering in my stomach as I recalled the first time I introduced him to magic, the all-encompassing sense of peace and connection. The viewpoint changed. I concentrated harder, focused on the tightening in my chest, the flutter of my heartbeat. The image swirled to display the flicker of movement from my moment of confusion, then froze.
We had to look closely to spot the large figure. Half the body was covered by a tree trunk, but the remains on display were camouflaged a mottled green and brown, with the texture of bark. Long, droopy arms connected to oversized hands and hung down to the creature’s knees. Its round face was shrouded with long, dark hair, and the only feature on display was a large bulbous nose.
“What is that?” asked Thomas. I shrugged in response and we both turned to Gwen.
“If I’m not mistaken,” she said. “That’s a troll.”