Read Rise of the Magi Online

Authors: Jocelyn Adams

Tags: #unseelie, #fairy, #seelie, #destruction, #Fae

Rise of the Magi

Praise for The Glass Man, Book 1 in the Lila Gray Novels

“Adams pens a story high on action with a heroine who doesn’t know the phrase “give up.”

— RT Book Reviews

“The characters of The Glass Man were fantastic, and well developed …[they] could have practically walked right off the page … although in some cases with the creepier ones, I’d be terrified if they really did.”

— Burning Impossibly Bright Blog

Praise for Shadowborn, Book 2 in the Lila Gray Novels

“The first book in Jocelyn Adams’ Lila Gray series, The Glass Man, was awesome. The following book in the series, Shadowborn, is absolutely even more awesome; it’s fantastic!”

— Lovey Dovey Books

“This has become one of my favorite series about the fae and can’t wait for the last book in the trilogy.”

— Urban Fantasy Reviews

“Emotionally heartwrenching and gut churning. Amazing.”

— Aimee Laine, author, Surrender

Rise of the Magi

Jocelyn Adams

J. Taylor Publishing

RISE OF THE MAGI

Published by J. Taylor Publishing
www.jtaylorpublishing.com

Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Adams

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, events, locations, or any other element is entirely coincidental.

ISBN 978-1-937744-28-1 (Paperback)

ISBN 978-1-937744-29-8 (EPUB)

First Printing: June 2013

For all who allowed Lila Gray into your hearts.

Your support and encouragement fill me with light.

1

I choked on the black fear unfurling in my soul, brought on by what would come, what always assaulted me the moment I slipped into unconsciousness. Primal, cold and so dark it blotted out my Light. It was stupid to think I could run from it for a third night, but shreds of hope were all that had kept me sane.

Sleep, more terrifying than anything I’d faced yet, claimed me again.

Standing on the balcony of the new fae castle, I gazed over winding rows of ancient shifter houses, each quiet and seemingly content in slumber. The night wasn’t dark. Dark and light all at once—a perfect balance, as if the world hadn’t yet decided which side would win.

As I watched, red clouds rolled and curled across the sky like blood spilled into water. Flames, intelligent and ravenous, spread from the east, ready to consume everything and everyone until nothing but ash remained. Heat licked at my skin, growing hotter. Knowing it was only a dream didn’t keep sweat from pearling along my face and neck or the blue streak of profanity from escaping to color the air. Heart thundering, I gripped the railing while I stared at the coming storm, brain frozen with the puzzle I hadn’t yet solved.

What are you trying to tell me? What am I missing?

From below, shrieks invaded my ears, thundering across the land until they rose into a deafening clatter of sound. The houses came alive with light, moaning as fae spilled into the cobblestone streets and stared skyward before scattering, each filled with agony and despair deep enough there would be no escape from it. Dying
.
They were dying. My own scream built in my throat, to tell them I would fix it somehow, that I would save them, but it couldn’t find an escape. Nor would my body obey my commands to move, to help them. To do something. Anything.

The scene changed as it always did. I stared down from far above, my limbs turned to torches of white fire. A globe of light around me cast a white wash over the city, over the fae who still ran in every direction.

From me.

I am the storm.

Wings pounding against the wind reached me a moment before a giant snowy owl arrived to hover before me. Golden eyes shone with rage and fear, both inducing immense relief that Liam had come and blinding horror with some distant knowledge that he should have run, too.

My scream pierced the silence as a wail let loose from his beak.

No. No!

“Wake up, Lila. Please, wake up!”

Warmth on my arm jerked me awake.

Damn near hyperventilating, I scrambled out of bed and landed on my hands and knees on the hardwood without a stitch of clothing on, unsure if the room spun or if I was just dizzy. When Liam approached, his eyes haunted and glassy, a chilled realization hit me and stalled my breath until my lungs ached with need. What if the storm hadn’t been a dream? What if it had finally happened?

In the grips of fear, I stood and ran to the door that would lead me to the balcony. “I need to see.” Whimpering, I jerked on the handle, grunting with the effort when it wouldn’t give. “I need to know they’re okay.”

“It’s all right. It wasn’t real.” His arms wrapped around from behind and stilled mine, his spirit slipping inside me like warm honey into cold tea. “Lila, stop. Let me.”

With a Herculean effort, I ceased my struggling and allowed him to tug me back one rigid step. A simple push on the handle with his fingertips opened the door.
Right. Push, not pull.
Idiot
.

With Liam’s hand gripped in mine, I stepped onto the terrace, afraid to look. I waited for the tick-tock of my heart to come down from Defcon five, using Gallagher’s breathing techniques to help it along. After a few mental assurances that everything would be okay, I raised my gaze.

The sky remained its usual sea of churning gold and purple, the spirits of our ancestors watching over us, my entire family among them. My father had been the last to join them a short five months before, and my heart still missed him every day.

Although a few fae milled around on the stone path below, at such an early hour, most of the shifter houses remained dark.

Nobody screamed.

Nobody died.

Fire didn’t boil across the sky.

Liam was alive and safe, a wall of male heat at my back, his arms stroking up and down my own.

Head tilted forward, I exhaled my relief, though I continued to shiver. In need of contact, I reached through the bond for him, but ran into resistance. When I pushed through to find out why, I found him humming an elfish tune. He turned away when I tried to catch his gaze. My fists curled tight. “You saw.” I scowled at the concern marring his brow. “Dammit, Liam, I told you to stay out!” I’d tried to spare him my night time woes. Mostly because I didn’t want him to be afraid of me or what I might become. “You promised.”

“I needed to see it for myself.” His swallow sounded as if he tried to choke down a sea urchin, spines and all. “It was just a dream,” he said, in what he probably meant to be a soothing tone though it came out shaky and full of doubt. “You’re worried about the Magi, and what you saw is just your fears playing out in your unconscious mind. You would never hurt me.”

“How do you know that?” My words came out as a shriek. “What if something happens to me, something bad, and I somehow hurt you, hurt everyone? What if it’s some sort of vision, a warning about how it all ends? It’s closer now. Whatever I’ve been feeling here”—I jabbed a finger at my skull—“is almost here, almost real.” I’d begun to think that whatever force made me watch the same horror each night wanted me to see, wanted me to know how we would die.

Liam’s eyes turned hard as mountain ice. “It. Wasn’t. Real. And why didn’t you tell me how bad it was? Is it always like …” Expelling a heavy breath, he shoved fingers through his dark hair, the silky strands a little longer than usual and rumpled from the pillow.

“Like the end of the world? Yeah, pretty much.”

Pinning me under a glare, he cupped my face and forced me to meet his gaze. “I stayed out because you asked me to, but no more, so save the fit I can see brewing in that head of yours. If it’s a warning, then we’ll figure out what it means, you and me, and we’ll end this once and for all.”

“I don’t have fits,” I said without conviction, staring up at his beautiful face stubbled with overnight growth
.
“Is it so terrible that I wanted to let you sleep in peace even if I can’t?”

Smiling, he brought my knuckles to his lips and kissed them. “Is it so terrible that I want to share this burden with you? Partners in all things now, remember?”

Tension sang through my body at my complete and utter failure. I groaned and rubbed at the chill so deep in me I couldn’t have reached it with mile-long fingers. “It’s the middle of July, for eff sakes. How many times have we searched Talawen’s glen for a trace of the Magi and found squat? Twenty? A hundred? I feel helpless just sitting here, waiting for them to do whatever it is they’re planning. I thought they would have demanded something by now, threatened something, anything to give us a damn clue. We need to search again today, find someone who knows where they are and make them talk. I have to be doing something. I feel like I’m going to snap.” Realizing old habits like shutting myself off from everyone and everything had begun to resurface, I backed off and planted a soft kiss on his lips. “I’m sorry.”

Liam drew my rigid form into his arms and rested his chin on the top of my head, taking in a gulp of air and blowing it into my hair. “You’re stronger than them. We know they like to screw with your head, and this silence of theirs is probably just another mind-fuck. You’ve been terrorizing the countryside for months, but if you want to go out again, then you know we’ve got your back. All of us. Raze’s team is still camped out in the woods, and Parthalan’s people are taking shifts circling the skies both there and Seven Gates. If the Magi move, we’ll know it.”

It made sense, what he’d said about their mind games, and it steeped me in shame that I’d let their silence get to me so badly. “It can’t be that easy—that they’ll waltz out in the open for us to catch. They’re not stupid.” I angled my face up to see his eyes with their ever-frisky swirls of yellow that could hypnotize me within seconds. Caught in his gaze, I pressed my body against his as much as my baby belly would allow, growing pliable against his heat. Our Light flared and mingled into a comforting white glow, the tingly sensation in my head filling the void left as Liam siphoned away some of my anxiety. We’d learned the new trick after the Goddess had bonded us again. The action was a way of sharing our people’s grief or joy, and each other’s. “What if those psychos suck them into tree trunks like they did to Galati and Talawen? You saw how she died.” I shuddered at the reminder of pain I’d inadvertently shared when I reached out to her mind in an effort to find her.

As the memory invaded him, his internal grief washed over me through our bond before he clamped down on it. Even as close as we’d become, he tried not to let me to see anything I could construe as weakness. Old habits, especially century old ones, weren’t easily overcome, apparently. “Most of them have talents with fire. If anything moves, I told them to burn it to the ground,” he said.

That should have set my mind at ease, but it didn’t. Not even close.

“Lila!” The inner door to our bedroom flew open, and Cas rushed in. “Lila, please!”

Rocked by a sudden cold rush, I followed Liam back inside. He whipped a cover around me as I stared at one of our two captains, at the tears wetting his eyes.

“Cas? What the hell happened?” Too confined in the blanket—I wasn’t worried about my nudity at that moment—I shrugged it off and grabbed him by the arms, panic tightening my voice. “Tell me.”

His whole body shook. “I didn’t mean to barge in.”

“Don’t worry about it, bud, just tell us,” Liam said.

Cas turned shiny blue eyes up to me while pushing at his long, plum hair with impatience. “I think I screwed up. I don’t know what I did, but Brígh got mad and took off, and I can’t find her.” The young fae threw his arms around my shoulders, startling me. Considering I was naked, I didn’t hold him back like I should have, just gave him a few awkward pats on the back.

Brow creased, Liam stepped in behind Cas as he sobbed, and the two of us maneuvered our captain to the edge of our bed, seated between us. I stroked my fingers down Cas’ unrestrained hair, and Liam’s hand gripped his shoulder, both of us surrounding Cas in an aura of our energy. My heart damn near split in two the instant Cas’ pain hit me. He felt things much deeper than most anyone else I knew. Except, of course, for Brígh.

Had she left the city? If she did, my new royal aide would be in big trouble once I confirmed she was okay. Nobody was supposed to leave the safety of Iress until I’d dealt with the Magi. The thought of losing my best friend threatened to eat me up and spit out my gnawed bones.

When Cas had calmed somewhat, balanced by our energy, I choked back my own emotion and said, “Tell us.”

Other books

Until Death by Knight, Ali
Play Dirty #2 by Jessie K
It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder
-Enslaved-by-an-Officer[ Sold 8] by McLeod-Anitra-Lynn
Kissed By A Demon Spy by Kay, Sharon
Negotiating Point by Adrienne Giordano
His Firefly Cowgirl by Beth Williamson
Castles in the Air by Christina Dodd
Serving Pride by Jill Sanders