Here’s a free first chapter from Rogue Fey, one of my latest releases.
Serafina Valeon gripped the armrests of her seat and heard the drone of a much larger airship not far behind them. “We’re going to crash!” Sera cried as Bas swung the jumper around. The small airship groaned as her husband made it bank a sharp left.
Liana and Niall who sat in the back of the ship both cried out as they were almost pulled from their seats.
“Geez, Bastian, watch it!” Liana snapped.
“I’m trying,” Bas snapped back. “The jumper is too damaged to control properly. If we take another hit, we’ll crash. I don’t know how long I can keep this thing flying.”
Sera gripped the edge of her seat, hearing the groan of a massive airship not far behind them. How the heck had the mages found them again so fast? After escaping from the Ashran compound and the clutches of the hunters who were looking for them, they’d spent the night in a nearby forest they’d thought they were safe.
“Try aiming for those trees,” Niall said, pointing to a canopy of trees ahead of them. “We should be able to land somewhere nearby.”
Bas tried again, but the jumper continued banking left. Sera sensed his panic as she spotted the hunters’ ship getting ever closer.
“How far are we from Layard’s cabin?” she asked, pushing her long blonde off her face.
Bas shook his head. “We’ll never make it there now. Damn it! I thought we’d have enough time before they caught up with us.” He gripped the controls and glanced back at the others. “Brace yourselves; we’re going in.”
Sera stared at the ship chasing them on the jumper’s screen, just as they were preparing to fire on them again. “I could create a glamour.” She’d been considering the idea throughout their vigorous journey and trying to decide how she’d manage it. Now seemed like a good time to try and see if it would work.
Bas gave her a hard look. “To cover the whole ship?”
“I can try.” She bit her lip, though she didn’t feel as confident as she sounded. “I’m open to suggestions.”
Bas looked at the console then nodded. “Do it.”
Light flared in Sera’s hands as she conjured a glamour. White light glistened around her body, expanding outwards. Glamours worked by camouflaging and making someone or something blend in with its surroundings. But she’d never glamoured something as massive as the jumper before.
She gritted her teeth as the light enveloped everything. “Hurry, I can’t hold it for long.”
Bas pressed a few buttons causing the jumper to spin to one side, flipped upside down then dropped like a stone through the mass of trees. An alarm screeched in warning of an impending impact.
Sera lost her grip on the magic and squeezed her eyes shut, feeling the blood rushing to her head. Her worst nightmare of flying in airships had finally come true. They would crash. She braced herself the inevitable as her stomach flip-flopped. She waited, expecting to feel the force from the impact, the crush of metal and bone – but it didn’t come.
For a second, Sera opened her eyes again. When she saw Bastian gripping the controls, she felt a ray of hope. If anyone could get them out of this, it would be him. Her stomach recoiled as he forced the ship up the right way with cries of alarm from Niall and Liana.
“We’re going down!” Bas yelled.
The jumper broke through the canopy, falling in a blur of black. It hit the ground with a loud groan of metal, but they were down and still alive. For now, at least.
Sera took a breath then another before yanking off her belt. “Bas?” She turned to stare at him, desperate to know if he was alright.
Bas lay slumped in his seat, eyes closed.
She spun around to check on the others, relieved when she saw her foster sister Liana still moving.
“Ow!” Li groaned. “If mages were supposed to fly they would have been born with bloody wings! I hate technology!”
“Are you alright?” She moved to check on Bas. She felt a steady pulse at his throat as she sent healing energy into him.
“I’ll live.” Li rubbed her head and yanked off her seat belt. “Niall? Niall, wake up!” Her eyes widened. “Sera, I hear the other ship! Damn it; we need to get out of here.” She tugged at Niall’s seat belt, trying to get him loose.
“Shush, keep still and stay quiet,” she hissed.
Sera felt the hum of power from outside where ley lines ran through the earth. She tugged at them and wrapped a glamour around them, hiding the fallen jumper. It wouldn’t last long; her strength was waning, and she prayed the ship wouldn’t stay too long looking for them.
“Niall’s out cold,” Li said.
They heard the whir of the engines overhead circling the area. At least now she had the aid of the lines, she could hold the glamour a little longer. The ship circled twice before finally retreating.
Sera dropped the glamour, breathing a sigh of relief. She checked on Bas and Niall but sensed they were both alright, aside from a few scrapes and bruises. She sent energy into both, and they soon woke up. They were both groggy, and it took a few seconds for them to become fully alert, but at least they were alive.
“Where are we?” Bas clutched his head, rubbing his scalp.
“No idea, but the hunters have gone.” Sera gave him a quick hug and ruffled his hair. “Good thing you have a hard head.”
Bas stood up and examined the console. “This is bad. We’ve got no power. Shit, this could take weeks to repair.”
“At least we are all still in one piece.” Sera checked Niall’s bruised shoulder, but he shrugged her off as he joined Bas by the console.
Sera moved to the back of the jumper and tried to open the door, but it refused to budge. She drew magic and forced the mechanism to move. The door groaned open, landing with a thud as it gave way. Smoke filled the air from trees as they burned. “Li, fire!”
Li sprang up and headed off, using her dragon abilities to douse the flames. Dragons were immune to fire and could easily extinguish it with their magic. Li raised her hands, and the fire fizzled out.
“We’re going to be stuck here a while,” Bas told her. “We drifted off course. By my calculations were at least a hundred miles from Layard’s cabin. The jumper won’t be flying again anytime soon.” Circuits sparked and flashed as the ship’s remaining powers drained away.
“Guess we’ll just have to make the best of it then,” she said. “We’ll need to make a camp. We can’t sleep in here. Li and I will get some tents set up while you get to work on the jumper.”
Bas ran a hand through his hair. “Maybe you and Li can find out where the hell we are.”
She smiled. “Not much of the old world is charted like the mage lands, but we’ll take a look.”
Sera and Liana moved off, checking the surrounding forest to make sure there were no more fires from the crash. They’d broken a few tree branches, but the trees seemed to have protected the jumper from the worst of the fall. It still looked intact and without severe damage on the outside at least.
“Camping with two mages in the wilderness. Oh yeah, this is gonna be fun,” Li remarked as she moved through the brush. “Don’t know why Maverick had to stick around.”
“Hey, you panicked back there when you thought he was dead,” Sera pointed out.
Li scowled at her. “As if I would.”
“Why can’t you just admit you might actually like Niall as more than a friend?” Sera scanned the tree line, relieved to see no more smoke or sign of the enormous airship that had been following them.
Li burst out laughing. “You must have hit your head pretty hard and be having some full blow hallucinations to think that,” she said. “Now we’re gonna be stuck keeping two mages alive.”
Sera arched an eyebrow but decided not to address Li’s underlying attraction to Niall any further. “Why do you say that? They can take care of themselves.”
“They don’t know these lands like we do, ada,” Li said, using the dragon’s term for sister.
“True. We better warn them about what to avoid.”
Sera spotted a clear area a few feet from the jumper. She and Liana set up two small tents.
Bas came over to join them, gulping down some water from a flask. “Good job with the tents.” He gave Sera a quick kiss and cupped her face. “Are you okay? That took a lot of power to cloak the jumper. Twice.”
She shrugged, ignoring the tiredness she felt. “I’m fine,” she insisted. “It’ll be getting dark soon. Maybe we should call it a night.”
“Hey, I thought about those crystals Alward uses to grow the Ashran’s tunnels. Maybe we should use them.”
Sera shook her head. “They’re for emergencies, and I only have a couple of them. We should only use them as a last resort.”
Bas sighed. “Okay, you’re right.”
“I made some dinner from the supplies. It’s not much but let’s all sit and eat.” Sera handed him a tin of food she’d recovered from the fallen jumper as he sat down on a log beside her.
Liana lit a small fire which Sera glamoured to avoid attracting unwanted visitors. The four of them sat around it. Sera and Li didn’t feel the cold much because they were used to the various changes of temperature that frequently happened in the old world.
“So, what’s the plan?” Niall asked, scowling at his soup as he warmed it up on the fire.
“The plan was to get to Layard,” Bas replied. “But with the jumper out of action – I don’t know. The council will have a price on my head now so we’ll all need to be extra careful.”
“That goes for being here, too,” Sera added. “The old world is much wilder than what you’re used to. Plants, trees, animals – all of them have a life of their own. Be careful what you touch when you’re here and try not to blow anything up.”
“Right. Don’t eat anything without asking us first,” Li added. “And don’t try hunting any animals either. Most of them are probably a lot stronger than the kind you’re used to.”
“Wonder if I’ll have a price on my head too?” Niall said, stirring the lumpy contents of his dinner.
“Who would want to find your ugly mug?” Li retorted, glaring at him.
He grinned. “I’m more than just a pretty face, spitfire.”
Sera smiled. It felt good to have the two bickering again. Despite their predicament, she was glad they had each other.
“Maybe you two should do a sharing ritual like Sera and I did,” Bas suggested. “Then Niall could have all your knowledge of this place like I do with Sera.”
Li glared at him. “Whoa, sharing is an intimate thing. The moron and I aren’t married like you two,” she said and shuddered. “I’m not marrying Niall. Nor am I sharing my thoughts and memories with anyone.”
“I’m up for it if you are, spitfire.” Niall waggled his eyebrows at her.
Liana laughed. “In your dreams, moron. Plus, I’m not fey, Dragons don’t share anything.”
Sera stirred the soup she’d made earlier. “Maybe we could travel through the lines.”
Bas stared at her. “Alward said not to after the Leorx came through.”
“Maybe I could move us all and the jumper too,” Sera said, considering the idea. It had never been done before, but she didn’t believe in limitations.
“That will take a colossal amount of energy,” Bas said and shook his head. “No, I’m not letting you risk yourself like that.”
She snorted. “You’re not letting me do anything.” She jabbed him in the shoulder.
“Still, you’ve never moved anything as big as the jumper. We’ll stay here for a while and take a good look around tomorrow.”
Sera nodded without saying anything. She didn’t like the idea of staying out in the open like this, but they would have to make the best of it for now.