Book Feature – Shadowbane: Age of Aelfborn

Howdy, folks! 🙂 Today we have a fabulous book feature for you. It’s not the usual thing I do on here, but the author recently sent me a lovely request for a review which I was unable to do because of time restraints. So…I thought it would be good to at least show it off to you guys instead! 😉 Enjoy!

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During a time of strife, Megildur must traverse Aerynth to rescue his sister and fulfill a destiny ordained by the All-Father. Finding Shadowbane, the mighty but cursed sword, will be challenging enough for this young Aelfborn. In a world torn apart by treachery and conflict, it is every being, or creature, for themselves.

This novel combines qualities from Lord of the Rings© and Greek mythology, with a few twists on some new races…such as Irekei, Aracoix, and of course, Aelfborn. This is the first novel to reveal the lore behind the epic player versus player game, Shadowbane.

Aerynth exists within a shroud of betrayal and deceit for over 100 years. In this realm of chaos, Megildur finds help from an unlikely pair…a sneaky Shade and a nomadic Nephilim. Can this unique trio bring peace and order to Aerynth, or fall prey to the Terror of Terrors?

Find it at:

Amazon

Goodreads

And find author Paul Francois here:

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Website (Plus sign up here to review a FREE copy!)

 

Think The World Is ending? It Is Now!

Okay, so I’ve grabbed you in with a shamelessly clickbait title there. But I promise there’s something fabulous waiting in this post! 😉 So, yours truly has the awesome pleasure of being in a new apocalyptic/dystopian boxset with 13 other incredible authors. VISIONS OF THE FALL has over 1 MILLION WORDS! So you’re not going to run out of reading material any time soon – and all for just $1.99.

I know, pop your eyeballs back in, and we’ll take a closer look at the stories within. 🙂

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Apocalyptic/Dystopian Box Set — Complete Books Anthology — Hot New Release — Vacation Reading Package — Perfect Holiday Gift Idea — Over 1 MILLION Words of Best Fiction Writing

Due to mature content, situations and language, this collection is recommended for audiences 18+. Some stories are written in American, and some in British English. The authors have chosen to stay true to their heritage.

This box set includes a mix of already released and totally new novels and novellas, all complete works. Those books which are part of a series can be enjoyed fully without the need to read the complete series (though there is a chance you might develop story-addiction issues—for that, we apologize).

VISIONS OF THE FALL is a magnificent collection of dystopian and apocalyptic books, some full-length novels, some short enough to read in one sitting, each one exhilarating and compelling. 15 apocalyptic worlds to explore, 15 thrilling adventures, 15 dysfunctional realms for you to conquer. The perfect companion for late nights on the sofa, the perfect gift to those who enjoy a good read. Add it to your favorite kindle with one click now.

THIS BOX SET INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING TITLES:

Remotely Unplugged — Andrea Perno
I hope You Find Me — Trish Marie Dawson
Christmas Past — Julie Elizabeth Powell
Outside — Shalini Boland
Allusive Aftershock — Susan Griscom
Heaven — Julie Elizabeth Powell
Rendered — Samantha Jacobey
Retained — Samantha Jacobey
The Tin of Honey — Holly Barbo
The Spiral Arm episode 1 — Peter Boland
The Blemished — Sarah Dalton
Nightwind’s Shadow — Cherime MacFarlane
We Are The Few — Miranda Stork
The Tube Riders: Underground — Chris Ward
The World According To Want — Julie Elizabeth Powell

So what are you waiting for? Go here and grab your copy now – before the price goes up!

We Are The Few – In Kindle Scout Now!

Hey everyone! 😀

Sorry I haven’t been on the blog a lot the last few weeks, but I’ve got some good personal stuff happening at the moment (news coming soon, but not yet! 😉 ). However, I have got some news to share with you all! I currently have my newest written book in Kindle Scout, and I’m hoping it’s good enough to get picked up by Amazon and published with them.

But you guys can help!

I would give you all the internet cookies in existence if you give We Are The Few a nomination by CLICKING HERE. If it gets selected for publication, YOU GET A FREE COPY! Yup, so nothing to lose. Here’s a little more about the book:

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A search for a brother in a broken world.

Freda is a survivor. But so is everyone out in the wastes. When the Illness and the Big Hit came, millions perished. Only those strong enough to fight can continue to live. Travelling through a broken Yorkshire, Freda finds other lost souls like herself. A dying woman searching for answers. And a man still making up for his parents’ deaths. But her journey only has one destination. And this time, she might not survive.

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Release of The Suitable Bride – A Regency Romance You’ll Love!

Hey everyone! Today we have a takeover from the lovely Karen Aminadra – the second book in her fabulous Emberton Brothers series is out today, The Suitable Bride! So I’m just going to take a step back with some popcorn, and let you guys read on. 😉 Take it away, Karen!

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Today I am celebrating the launch of my eighth novel! Yes, eighth!
I cannot even believe I am here already! It has been such an exciting journey and wonderful four years since I published my first novel.
The Suitable Bride is book 2 in The Emberton Brothers series and is a clean Regency romance novel.
In the first novel, we followed the story of Richard, the eldest of the three brothers. In this book, we follow Edward the middle one.

Edward is the driven one out of the three. He has spent years working hard at achieving his dream. He’s a politician and dreams of being Prime Minister of Britain one day. He knows the advantages there are to be had in marrying and is eager to find a bride from amongst the set who will help advance his career.
Frances Davenport is the daughter of a lord. She is privileged and has led a life that has had its ups and downs…literally speaking 😉 She’s a little naughty. She doesn’t believe there is one single man out there who can please her as a husband and is resigned to that fact. Until she meets Edward, that is…

 

To celebrate the release of The Suitable Bride I am having a bumper giveaway with a big list of goodies! Please visit my blog to enter! And good luck! https://kjaminadra.wordpress.com/

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Edward Emberton wants to be Prime Minister. He has a passionate vision for the future of England, which includes the abolition of slavery. As the son of a tradesman, his journey to Parliament has been a difficult one, but there is only one thing left to cement this foothold on the steps to Parliament – a suitable bride. She must be of noble birth, reasonable intelligence, mild temperament, and extraordinary beauty.

Frances Davenport is most of those things. And a suitable marriage to Edward isn’t only the answer to her prayers; it’s a way to keep her secrets. Edward is handsome, driven, and better still, enchanted by her beauty. It’s more than a suitable match; it couldn’t be more perfect.

But appearances are often deceiving, and Frances’ beguiling beauty comes with its own set of problems. Edward and Frances are about to discover that there’s more to marriage than suitability because neither is as suitable as they seem…
AMAZON LINK – http://amzn.to/29yA0FP

 

Author bio –

Karen is a multi-genre author who writes novels within many different genres; Historical Romance, Historical Crime, and modern Chick-Lit.

She can usually be found sat at the computer either writing a novel, writing down new ideas or on social media chatting!

Her love of reading, writing short stories, and her childhood imaginary world led quite naturally to writing novels. Encouraged to read by her bookworm father and grandmother and by winning a writing competition in just her first year of secondary school, she was spurred on, and she has been writing stories ever since. Her love of mystery and plot twists that she put into that first story continues today.

She has travelled to and lived in many countries, not just in her imagination, and has gained an insight into people’s characters that shines through in her work. Today, with her feet firmly back in the United Kingdom, she travels the world, the universe and in time through her imagination and her novels.

She is now the author of eight novels;

Charlotte – Pride & Prejudice Continues,

Rosings – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 2,

Relative Deceit – Death in the Family,

The Uncanny Life of Polly,

It’s a Man’s World – Lettie Jenkins Investigates,

Wickham – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 3,

The Spice Bride – The Emberton Brothers Series book 1.

The Suitable Bride – The Emberton Brothers Series book 2.

In 2012 she received a B.R.A.G Medallion ™ for her debut novel Charlotte – Pride & Prejudice Continues.

In 2013 she was once again honoured with a B.R.A.G Medallion ™ for Rosings – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 2.

In 2016 she received another prized B.R.A.G Medallion™ for Wickham -Pride & Prejudice Continues book 3.

For more information and to download a free book visit  www.karenaminadra.com

The Spice Bride – Out Today!

Hello, lovely people! 🙂

Today’s post is a bit of a look at this and grab it now post, but you know I don’t post up books I don’t think you guys would enjoy, haha. And you will LOVE this one, if you like regency romances with drama and a twist of humour. I’ve personally been able to pre-read this one as a beta-reader, thanks to the lovely Karen Aminadra letting me read an early copy, so I know it’s great!

Also, it’s just £0.99/99c for the next week only, so grab it now before it goes back up to its usual price!

 

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With three ships sunk in one year by Napoléon’s navy, Richard Emberton is desperate to save hisspice importation business.

While collecting his daughter from boarding school in England, George Hayward is on the lookout for a new exporter for his spice plantation in India.

With benefits to be reaped by both sides, Richard agrees to marry the plantation owner’s daughter.

Certain that her chance at love is being sold to the highest bidder, Grace Hayward feels little more than a slave and is determined she will never be happy again.

With such an inglorious beginning, can love flourish?

***Please note this is a CLEAN Romance***

Where To Get A Copy!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CAN

Teaser Tuesday – A Lesson In Wickedness!

That’s right, lovely people, it’s Teaser Tuesday! I know it’s normally Thursday, but I’m switching things up, just to confuse everybody. I’m going to share a little snippet from A Lesson In Wickedness, the 5th book in the Grim Alliance series, which is well under way! So enjoy a little light reading on your break, ladies and gentlemen. 🙂 (Bearing in mind this is still unedited!)

Tuesday Teaser

The night air was cool as it kissed Mika’s cheek, still damp from the evening’s rain. She leaned back against the white bricks of the house, folding her arms as she cocked one leg against them too, blowing out a harsh breath. She closed her eyes, welcoming the sting of relief as her tired eyeballs rested for a moment. It had been a long few weeks for all the Reapers, but Mika was feeling it now. As the oldest—besides Greek—she had always felt more wearied from than the others. A cold shiver travelled across her skin as an insect dropped onto her arm, flying off again rapidly as her eyes snapped open to stare at it. You’d think they wouldn’t like dead flesh, but there you go. A morose smile curved her lips as she gazed across the garden, lazily watching the tall wildflowers and grass bending against one another in the semi-darkness of twilight.

Her nerves jumped as she was startled by the sound of heavy footsteps coming through the hallway, and Gabe stepped out through the open front door. He pensively turned his green eyes to Mika, rubbing a hand over the blond stubble on his head, giving a shifty look over his shoulder back inside. The sound of the others chatting travelled out to the still air, and he cleared his throat softly. “Er…you’re not going to tell Talia I was out here, are you?”

Mika raised an eyebrow, grinning coyly. “Why? Lover’s quarrel?”

“No, but there might be one if she spots what I’m doing.” In answer to Mika’s frown, he pulled a crumpled pack of cigarettes out of his back pocket, holding them up for her to see before tapping the packet and pulling a slim stick out. He rummaged in his other pocket, finally pulling out a yellow lighter, snapping it and holding the flame close as he took a drag. The tall Reaper’s eyes closed in pleasure, and he took a long drag, placing the lighter back in the seat of his jeans. “Oh, gods. I needed that.” He gave Mika another panicked glance. “Seriously, don’t tell Talia. I’m trying to quit, but it’s fucking hard, you know.”

“Gabe,” Mika admonished, giving a cluck of her tongue. She peered around the corner of the open doorway. The hallway was dark, a shaft of light showing across the floor from the door to the living room, left ajar by a few inches. Laughter came from within, and she could hear the raised sounds of the TV.  Groaning aloud, she turned back to the stillness of the night air, shaking her head at Gabe. “You know I’ll get in trouble if your faerie sees you. And I don’t want to be on the wrong end of Mother Bear.” The Reaper pushed herself off from the wall, her hair bobbing with the movement as she stared at Gabe. He stared back, unblinking, taking another sharp drag of his cigarette as though it might be his last. Eh. It’s his un-life. “Fine. But you have to give me one.”

Gabe scoffed, his forehead wrinkling as he widened his eyes in surprise. “Since when do you smoke?”

“Since you lot never notice me sneaking out the back and spraying myself in deodorant. Since when do you sneak out the front to have one?”

“Touché.” The blond Reaper held his pack out, allowing Mika to take one. He tilted his head back as he passed her the lighter, narrowing his eyes. “You know, smoking is just the tip of the iceberg.”

The lighter made a grinding noise as the flint struck, and a large orange flame leapt up, dying down as Mika pulled it, and the poisonous contents of her cigarette, into her lungs. Passing the lighter back slowly, she blew out a long plume of smoke over her shoulder, resting one hand on her hip. Great, more deep talk. Just what I need when I feel like my brain’s wound down for the year. She cast her eyes back towards the waving wildflowers at Gabe’s statement. “What do you mean by that?”

Gesturing for her to follow with a jerk of his head, Gabe turned and headed over to the far side of the house—the side with no windows—towards a large, black garden sofa. The wooden decking groaned under his weight as he marched over to the couch, sinking himself down into the cushions with a contented sigh, pulling his feet up and resting them against the arm. Mika stepped up to the far end of the corner-sofa, plumping herself down as she continued to stare over at Gabe. I want to know what the hell he meant by that statement. Fear gripped her for a second. She was always worried that her sarcasm and iciness made the others think she didn’t care about their group, when nothing could be further from the truth. I love this gang of misfits—even our new misfits. We’re a family. Even if sometimes it’s like the Addams Family. And I’m Wednesday. Who didn’t love Wednesday?

Copyright © 2016, Miranda Stork.

News About A Unicorn

Wow, is that…is that a cobweb? Dust? Sock-eating monster? I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to tidy up after having not been here for a while, haha.
SOME GOOD NEWS ABOUT A UNICORN!
Okay, so now I have your attention…there is no unicorn. Got’cha! BUT…I do have some book-related news. The last three months have pushed stuff back even further, but I put my head down and…
*drum roll*
TWICE AS GUILTY, BOOK 4 OF THE GRIM ALLIANCE IS FINISHED!
It’s currently going through editing, but it will be available to download and continue the story of Drew and Devin on FRIDAY 11TH MARCH, people! So make a date in your calendars, or use that handy Siri/Cortana feature you’ve got, and make a date. Just to give you all a tease of what’s to come, here’s some of my favourite random or funny quotes from the book. 😉 (Yes, Greek is there twice, but really, who doesn’t love Greek?)
“You know why,” Greek promptly replied with a grin. “Remember when you and Drew crashed that guy’s bachelor party? With the sheep, and the transvestite stripper? That club had to close down and become a sandwich shop. They never did get that stuff off the walls.”
Helena straightened herself, dramatically throwing her arms around to indicate a mess. “You kind of ‘artfully arranged’ everything. That is, you turned your box upside down, threw everything on the ground, and curled up in your bed for a nap.” She turned around with a smirk, her eyes lit up at teasing the Reaper. “I left your tea on the nightstand. Seemed the only reasonable thing to do.”
Snapping her fingers to light her cigarette with a steadier hand, the Soothsayer narrowed her eyes at the group, leaning over to Greek. “Are they always like this?”
Greek rolled his eyes dramatically, throwing his hands up. “You have no idea. You should see them on Pizza Saturday. Chaos.”
The Soothsayer grinned. “And you’re the ones who don’t get punished? You poor man.”
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Copyright © 2016 Miranda Stork, The Grim Alliance Series

Reaper’s Deliverance Is Released!

Hey everyone! Today the first book in my new Grim Alliance series is released – Reaper’s Deliverance! Scroll down to find out a bit more about it. 🙂

Blurb

When Ryder dies in a horrific motorbike accident, he’s left facing a choice. Go onto his next life, more terrible than his last, or become…a Reaper.

Ryder’s life has little meaning to him. A violent hedonist who left his broken childhood behind, he would rather spend his time chasing women and smashing up bars than consider his future. But when it all comes to an abrupt end, he’s forced to make a decision that changes everything.

Elizabeth is a single mother, and the light of her life, her son Thomas, is terminally ill. With no time for a job, a normal social life, and definitely not a relationship, her world is turned upside-down when Ryder strides in with his biker boots. She’s always known there was something more to the universe than what she can see. But when she learns the real reason for him being in their lives, she has to do something she hasn’t done for a long time. Trust someone.

When little Thomas is threatened by an evil that would misuse his special gift, they must work together, along with a troubled but caring group of reapers. Time is running out to get him back, and Helheim beckons with its black jaws. All of them must fight, and be prepared for the centuries-waiting battle they will kick off.

And will Ryder finally gain his redemption?

Excerpt

The wail of sirens filled the air, followed by the screech of tyres somewhere on the other side of the nightclub. The thump of dizzying music still pounded out from the club, matching Ryder’s heart as it hammered against his ribs. Not waiting to see if the others were following him, he twisted the handles towards the main road through the town, and hit the accelerator, lurching forwards as the heavy clatter of police feet came behind him. Ignoring the shouts and yells, he pulled out onto the road and sped onwards, picking up speed as he pressed his foot harder.

He grinned broadly as the wind he kicked up breezed under the neck of his jacket, sending a rush of cold air tingling down his spine. He narrowed his eyes as he zipped around corners and roundabouts, dipping and diving as though he was on a racecourse. Horns and shouts came and went in isolated blocks of sound as he passed streets full of taxis and club-goers, and he skidded around a red vehicle as it halted in time from an adjoining road. Blood raced through his veins at the thrill, and Ryder let out a joyous laugh, tilting his head back as he became a blur against the muted colours of the quiet neighbourhoods he passed through.

A siren cut through his senses, a mournful wail fast catching up on his tail. Gritting his teeth, Ryder drove the bike harder, gliding around cars as he weaved through the late night traffic. Not again. I’m not fucking going back in, I’ve only been out six months. Sweat formed on his forehead as he felt the throttle of the beast under his legs vibrating across his skin, freezing like ice as it was whipped by the wind. He couldn’t go back inside. Not after the last time. If it was a choice between prison and getting injured, he would risk injury. There were a lot of people in jail he had pissed off over the years, and he would rather not meet them again if he could help it. Coming to the end of the main roadway, Ryder dared a glance over his shoulder, red and blue flashes filling his vision as the police cars narrowed the distance between him and themselves.

He pulled his head back to the road, confusion flooding his brain as he was met with the grill of a large blue truck. A cry of terror ripped itself from his throat as the horn blared loudly into the night, warning him of his impending doom. The headlights of the massive vehicle flashed on and off, blinding him, and he couldn’t stop himself from throwing an arm up to shield his eyes. The bike’s going too fast. The bike’s going too fast. I’ll never stop in time. Ryder slammed the brake down, but the bike squealed with protest as it was forced down sharply from the breakneck speed he had been travelling at. The blue metal bore down on him, and he braced himself for the impact, willing his body to survive, even though he knew it was too late. There was a grinding slam as metal twisted into metal, and the air was knocked from his body as he hit the truck at full speed, feeling as though his lungs had sprung out from his throat. The world tornadoed around him, colours and sounds whirling together in a maelstrom as the bike twisted out from under his legs, throwing Ryder to the ground.

As Ryder Thompson hit the cold, hard ground beneath his cheek, grit digging into his flesh, a burning sensation ripped across his legs and torso, and he gave a gurgle as he tried to cry out, red liquid pooling across his vision. Blinking a few times as the world darkened, he clutched at the air weakly as booted feet charged across to him, blue and red flashing lights meeting his gaze. He tried to move his other arm, but it wouldn’t move when he willed it to, leaving only a cold throbbing as he twitched his shoulder. Voices cried out above him, but they were far away and underwater, burbling in non-coherent syllables as he tried to respond. His tongue was thick against his mouth, and the air grew thinner as he gulped for it, closing his eyelids against the brilliant lights as he gave into the heavy throb behind them…

Where to get your hands on it

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Reapers-Deliverance-Book-Grim-Alliance-ebook/dp/B00LG3BIGK/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404305218&sr=1-2&keywords=reaper%27s+deliverance+miranda+stork

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reapers-Deliverance-Book-Grim-Alliance-ebook/dp/B00LG3BIGK/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404305174&sr=1-2&keywords=reaper%27s+deliverance+miranda+stork

Amazon CAN: http://www.amazon.ca/Reapers-Deliverance-Book-Grim-Alliance-ebook/dp/B00LG3BIGK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404305257&sr=8-1&keywords=reaper%27s+deliverance+miranda+stork

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Creator of Shadows is HERE!

Scarlet Rain Series

The third book in the Scarlet Rain Series is finally out! Creator of Shadows is out today, and continues the journey of the immortals, as they battle against Feoran and the darker forces behind him. Read on to find out more!

Blurb

When Lorenna is kidnapped by Feoran, the head of the vampyric Clan, it’s a dent in the Resistance. While she was expecting his twisted advances to her, she didn’t expect to feel something for him in return.

But that’s the least of her problems.

The city is more in ruins than ever, the Cuans being cut off one by one to prevent the rebellious humans taking over any part of New London. And after the discovery made at the Factory, armies of clones now walk the streets, ready to kill and trained viciously by their vampire masters.

The rebels must band together in full force, both to rescue their beloved witch from Feoran’s clutches, and to give the final push against the Clan. But a traitor in the heart of their inner circle is plotting with a vampire who wants more than they have, threatening to bring everything they have worked for tumbling down around them.

Can Lorenna gain her freedom to help her friends, and can they finally cut the head off the serpent that is the Clan? Or will humanity forever remain in its iron grip?

The Cover!

Creator of Shadows

Where can I get a copy?

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CAN

Amazon AUS

Kobo

Where can I find out more about the author?

I’m Miranda Stork, and I’m addicted. Addicted to writing and reading books, anyway. And chocolate, but that’s another issue – no interventions, please.

I live in the middle of a forest in North Yorkshire, spending my spare time as the wild woman of the woods, scaring small children and upsetting the sheep. On the days that I feel like being civilized, or I haven’t got any unicorns to ride, I sit down and pour the tumbling thoughts in my head out onto digital paper. Mainly the thoughts and characters come out in paranormal form, with a good smattering of romance, because everyone likes a good cuddle. But you can also find strong elements of thrillers, myths, and even dystopia amongst the pages of all my novels. I’ve wanted to write books ever since I first realised that fairytales were not the newspapers of the fairy kingdom, but the imaginings of actual people who wanted to tell fancy made-up stories to other people. From that moment, I was hooked.

Why do I write? Good question. It might be easier to just keep the stories in my head, or even just to write them for myself. But I want to share them. There is no greater delight for a writer than when a reader devours your book, and declares, “Something in that novel resonated with me. And I want MORE.” So grab your lucky clover and a baseball bat (there’s some nasty paranormal creatures where we’re going), eat the cookie with ‘eat me’ tagged on it, and enter through the tiny door into the world of Miranda Stork…

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Snippet Time – Creator of Shadows!

I love reunions. Just saying. Especially when it’s a character from the past. Also, PSSST! I’m going to have the pre-order links hopefully up by end of the week, so watch out for them. 😉


Arianwen swallowed hard, her throat tightening with worry. They hadn’t expected the people here to know anything about the goings-on in the capital, but they seemed as informed—possibly more—as they were. Deron stepped out carefully from behind Inghard, offering up a tense smile to the two guards. “Both,” he answered easily. “I’m human, and I have friends who are part o’ the Human Resistance. But ‘dis lot,” he gestured with a thumb, “are part o’ the Immortal Resistance. The point is, we’re all Resistance.”

The older man narrowed his eyes at Deron for a moment, chewing at his lip. Seemingly satisfied with the answer, he gave a curt nod, replying, “Aye, we agree. But it’s all humans here, I don’t think I can let you in. We won’t attack you, but you’ve got to move on. Get going.”

As he and the younger man turned to leave, Arianwen was gripped by a sudden mad idea to run over to him, and her legs pumped forwards before she had a chance to think over her decision. “Nae, lass!” Aodhan cried out as she jogged towards them. Opening her mouth to shout for the older man, her heart leapt into her throat as two hot black barrels appeared in front of her face, the young man’s tense features at the other end.

“We said ‘get going’, immortal. Do as you’re told,” the young man hissed in a faint French accent, his hair blowing gently in the wind that had picked up, scattering dust particles through the air. As if to make his point further, he clicked the safety off on the weapon, and moved forwards enough to make her stagger backwards, her feet scraping against the loose gravel below.

Holding her hands up to show she meant no harm, she shook her head, gazing deep into the man’s eyes. She saw terror there, not the cold, steely gaze she expected of someone guarding an entire fort. Speaking softly, she urged, “Please listen to me. We’re really not here to harm you in any way, or anyone inside. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have to be, I promise you. There is only one thing we want, and that is to bring the Clan to their knees.” Arianwen bit out the last few words, venom from her emotions flavouring each syllable.

The older man spun on his heel and took in the sight of the demoness stood on her own, hands still raised in the air, before marching back across and lowering the younger man’s rifle. “Easy, Pierre, easy,” he soothed. “Let’s not lose our heads. They already said they mean no harm.”

Pierre gave an exasperated sigh, but he slung the gun over his shoulder as his companion asked, giving Arianwen a cold stare. “And you believe them?”

“Yes,” the other man replied, “I believe them. They haven’t tried to attack us in the last few seconds, have they?” Pulling his own rifle onto his back, he clasped his hands in front of his camouflage-covered torso and directed his attention at Arianwen, giving her hands a gentle nod. As she lowered them slowly to her sides, he continued, “My name is Franklin. We’re not making you stay out here because we don’t want you. But there are children inside there, and youngsters who have never been outside the walls of the Castle. Do you have any idea how it feels to be that human and terrified?”

Arianwen drew herself up smartly, smiling broadly. “I do,” she answered honestly. “I wasn’t always an immortal, you know. I was once human, like you all. And Deron here is human, and Psyche is…” She trailed off as she gestured towards her jet-haired friend, struggling to find the right words. “Well, she’s still half-human, anyway.” Turning back to Franklin, she added, “We know, believe me. I used to be a police officer before the war started. I know what people are capable of. And I also know what’s capable if we stand by and do nothing.”

Franklin gave a heavy sigh and squeezed his temples between his forefinger and thumb, before blinking and looking back up at Arianwen with tired eyes. “I’m sorry,” he retorted with a shrug, “there’s nothing I can do. Rules are rules.”

With that, he gestured to his companion, and they both turned to head back to the entrance. “No!” Arianwen begged, breathing heavily. “You have to listen, I—“

“Arianwen! Arianwen Harris?”

The male voice that called out her name from above the watchtower was familiar and hard to place all at once. Her mind buzzing with names of anyone and everyone she had known in her lifetime so far, she gazed up towards the tower and bright blue sky, squinting and using her hand as a shade. An elderly man was leaning over the side of the walls, waving frantically down to her. Narrowing her eyes further, she searched his face, flickering over every wrinkle and line around his shining eyes—it can’t be. It is! Waving excitedly back, she shouted up, “By the gods! Shiner! What the hell are you doing here?” Turning back to Aodhan with a face flushed with happiness, she grinned and cried out, “Aodhan! It’s Shiner!”

The rest of the group exchanged confused looks with each other, watching curiously as Aodhan’s jaw dropped and he raced over to Arianwen’s side. Gazing up with her, he let out a low gasp. “F**k me, it is. I never thought I would see that wee guy again.”

The elderly man disappeared from view, and unintelligible shouts came from the other side of the fort. Cries and yells could be heard making their way down from the air to the ground, and when they hit the bottom the screech of pulling wires echoed into the hazy afternoon air. With a groan, the metal entrance door scraped forwards, heaving up from the ground as the pulleys worked their magic in opening it wide. Arianwen nearly had to cover her ears from the metallic sound as it rose up into the air and revealed the inside of the fort, a crowd of people stood on the other side with wide eyes and frightened expressions.

As the dust cleared, Shiner came striding through the crowd, racing outside to meet his old friend. Arianwen’s lip wobbled before she felt the emotions bubbling up from her chest, and her eyes watered with tears. Holding her arms out wide, she sprinted across and wrapped them around the old man, sobbing with relief—relief that he hadn’t died, relief that she had found him again, and he was safe. She felt the warmth of Aodhan’s hand on her back, and he slapped a hand on Shiner’s shoulder. “Good to see you again, old man,” he said hoarsely, voice thick with feeling.

Breaking the bear-hug, Shiner stood back and smiled broadly at the two before him, wiping his tired eyes with the back of his sleeve. His features were etched with lines and worry, and his once thick hair was thin and grey, but it was definitely still him. “Come on,” he croaked in his Geordie accent. “Let’s get you inside, like. We can talk about why both of us are in the middle of nowhere in the fort.” Giving a wave to the two guards, he beckoned the group forwards.

After glancing nervously at one another, then over to the two demons, the others eventually trudged forwards. They stared forwards, ignoring the two guards in case they changed their minds, and they vanished into the fort as the heavy door slammed down again behind them with a cloud of muddy dust.

 

Taken from Creator of Shadows © Copyright Miranda Stork 2014