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Authors: Phaedra Weldon

Tags: #Urban Fantasy, #witches, #sword and sorcery

Elemental Shadows

BOOK: Elemental Shadows
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ELEMENTAL SHADOWS

The Eldritch Files: Book Two

Phaedra Weldon

Copyright © 2015 by Phaedra Weldon
All rights reserved.

Published by Caldwell Press

www.caldwellpress.com

Cover Design © 2014 by Lou Harper

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely fictional. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
 

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As always, for my father.
 

My grief lies all within, and these external manners of lament

are merely shadows to the unseen grief that swells with silence in the tortured soul.
 

William Shakespeare

"Y
ou can't possibly understand what I'm going through."
 

"Sweet Lord and Lady, Robin. You think I've never lost anyone before? What about Ina? What about my mom?"
 

"It's not the same. You didn't
kill
them." Robin turned as he braced himself against the break room sink. He hung his head. "You've never killed anybody. Not like I killed Kathy."
 

To anyone coming into this conversation, this wasn't a murder confession. Robin Tremere didn't murder a person—he killed a Changeling, a creature made of Arcane Faerie magic. That Changeling had taken the place of his niece Kathy, killed her mother, Robin's sister, and nearly killed him. He would have died if I hadn't made a deal with a Leviathan named Dionysus.
 

But Robin didn't know any of those details. I didn't believe he was ready to know. I'd kept it all hidden within the Witch's world of magic and secrets, in the shadows of reality that permeated New Orleans. It's not that I meant to sound cryptic; it's just that sometimes secrets are necessary.
 

Like
my
secret. The one where I did kill someone. An innocent. And I used forbidden magic to do it.
 

And who am I? Samantha Hawthorne, Elemental Witch and said wielder of bad joojoo. Robin and I were in my magic and herb shop,
Bell, Book and Candle
, a little place on Bourbon Street where I lived and worked, saved the world from evil, and sometimes made a small profit to buy food. Two weeks had passed since the incident with the Changelings and Dionysus.
 
The twelve original children the little monsters were created from were still missing, despite my efforts to find them, along with any in the magical community with the ability to Track.

I didn't think telling Robin that Kathy might still be alive was a good idea. I didn't want to give him false hope because I feared Kathy and the other missing children were in
Alfheim
, the Faerie Realm, and if they ate or drank anything, or were favored by the Obsidian Queen, they were probably already transformed into whatever she considered appropriate.
 

This was just my own worse case scenario. I should have already contacted one of the two Queens, either the Obsidian, Brendi, or the Silver, Tzariene. Winter and Summer. But I had made a deal with the Winter Queen, Brendi, and then reneged on it. The only thing that kept her from taking me and turning me into a horse or a toad or something much worse (I'd been transformed into a stone fountain before so I knew there was a
much worse
) was the Queen's father who had asked Brendi to forgive me.
 

She did, but I always feared my deal wasn't as much forgotten as placed in a weird sort of forbearance. I mean…she'd tried to make a deal with Dionysus to trade me for a soul. The only that thing that stopped Brendi then was a technicality, which I was damn sure did nothing to soften our relationship.
 

 
Robin was the one I was worried about now. Having lost his sister so fast, knowing it was his hand that killed his 'niece,' and now suddenly taking on the role of uncle—it was too much on his shoulders. He looked thinner, paler, and I noticed the dark circles under his eyes deepening with every day.
 

He'd come to ask if I could make him a tea or a spell or something that would stop him from feeling.
 

And that was something I just wouldn't do.
 

I stood from my chair at the break room table, a large oak handmade work of art, and took my empty mug with me. Robin still had his head bent and he was white-knuckling the marble edge of the sink. I put a hand on his back and rubbed it. "Robin, I'll agree I don’t understand what you're feeling. But what I can speak to is the necessity of working through raw emotions. If we never feel or endure hardships, then we never learn from them."
 

"That's so easy for you to say," his voice was low but his blond hair obscured his face. "You who have all this power, all these things you can do." Robin put his hands to his sides and straightened. The face he turned to me wasn't a nice one. In fact, it wasn't a face I'd ever seen him wear. "Make me forget."
 

"No."
 

"But you can do it."
 

"No. I can't." It was a lie. But it was one of those good lies. It just felt…wrong.
 

"Then I'm just wasting my time with you." His voice sliced into my heart as he stalked out of the break room, through the door to the shop.
 

I followed him, calling after him like some lovesick girl. Which in truth I was. "Robin, wait…please!"
 

Two customers turned to watch us, probably thrilled to have some kind of drama interrupt their morning. I could feel Kyle's eyes on me. He was at the tarot table, helping one of those customers. Kyle Kendrick was my oldest friend and my partner in the store.
 

"Don't talk to me!" Robin shouted as he yanked open the front door. He turned to look at me. I came to an abrupt stop on front of him, my eyes wide and not liking this side of him. Or this pitiful side of me. "You can help me, but you
won't
. You think my suffering is some kind of noble thing, don't you? Well you can take your magic shit and—"
 

He didn't finish his sentence and for a half second, I was glad.
 

But then that half second stretched into a full minute and I realized Robin wasn't moving. His mouth was open in mid-insult, and he wasn't blinking.
 

"What the hell?"
 

I turned at the sound of Kyle's voice and noticed the other two customers weren't moving either. Kyle waved his hand in front of the face of the one he was helping.
 

Nothing.
 

"This doesn't bode well."
 

I moved away from Robin toward the counter where I kept my weapons during the day. I couldn't shake the feeling something was crawling up my back, under my shirt. Kyle was right—having Cowens (non-witches) freeze like this inside my own store, within my own wards, was not going to bode well at all. Something was coming.
 

With a slight surge of my own power I summoned a Fire Elemental, a Salamander, my favorite of the Elemental creatures. My hands should have glowed with transparent red fire.
 

But they didn't.
 

Not a single Salamander appeared.
 

I tried again with a Gnome for Earth, then an Undine for Water. Still nothing.
 

So I summoned the element of Air, and to my surprise a small, white swirling image appeared in front of me as Kyle moved in close. I could clearly see the Sylph's face as he stretched his arms and yawned.
 

"Haven't been using that Element a lot, huh?" Kyle said, indicating the creature's perceived lethargy.
 

"Shush." I focused my attention on the Sylph who nodded and pointed to the door. With an abrupt clarity and swiftness, I saw an aerial image of four black-clad individuals moving through Bourbon Street without the slightest odd look from tourists or natives. Cloaks billowed out behind them in slow motion and I asked the Sylph to change positions so I could see them from the front.
 

My skin grew cold and this time it was me white knuckling the counter before I reached down and retrieved one of my Smith & Wessons.
 

"What?" Kyle asked to my left. "What is it? I can sense something's coming but I can't see it."
 

"Yeah," I said as I pulled away from the Sylph's vision and asked the Elemental to stay and witness. He agreed and moved to settle atop one of the crystal balls on the far left shelf. My hands glowed yellow as I lifted the pistol with the name The Lady engraved on its barrel. "We got company alright. Get in the back and fire up your best defense spell."
 

"What?" But he was moving back to the door to the break room.
 

Robin and the two customers abruptly turned toward the front in unison, and filed out of the shop without a backwards glance.
 

I checked my ammo, cocked my wrist so the cylinder would snap back and held the now yellow fiery gun in my hand. I knew what was coming, and Kyle had been right. "Clerics."

This did not bode well.
 

BOOK: Elemental Shadows
10.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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