Authors: Elle Casey
War of the Fae
Call to Arms
© 2012 Elle Casey, all rights reserved, worldwide.
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may be reproduced or copied without author permission.
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The author thanks you deeply for your understanding and support.
This is my third novel, and it never ceases to amaze me how much work it takes and support a writer needs to get the finished product out.
But before I thank the team that helps make that happen, I’d like to extend special thanks first and foremost to my readers.
Your love for my characters and stories has given me a whole new life – one that I enjoy without measure.
Thank you for your kind words, Amazon.com and book blog reviews, emails, tweets, and loyalty.
I’d also like to recognize and thank my editors and beta readers, especially Beth Godwin, Alexis Arendt, Margaret Rainforth, and my husband.
You guys make my life so much easier and my books ever so much better.
I would like to thank the band Breaking Benjamin for being my inspiration for several of the characters in this series and also the story itself.
Thank you to Evanescence for their great song
which so perfectly fit into the scene near the end of this book (be sure to listen to it while you read if at all possible!)
Thanks to indie writer Samantha Young for her encouraging words and pioneering spirit.
Big hugs go out to the book bloggers who have given me space on their blogs with book reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways.
You guys rock!
Last, I’d like to thank my family deeply for their support.
Writing takes up a lot of my time now and you have all been very patient and supportive from the beginning.
This book is dedicated to my boy, Jeff.
He’s Chase, Spike, Finn, Tim, Jared, and Tony, all rolled into one kickass, lovable, dude.
I love you!
My world felt like it was imploding.
Or at least, like the rug had been pulled out from under me and I’d done a cosmically awful face plant.
In the space of an hour, I’d found out that my best friend Tony and I are members of a species of creatures called ‘fae’ and that we each have the opportunity of a lifetime to become someone or something extraordinary.
We can accept the change that will awaken the fae blood that is in our veins – to go from human to fae ... to become changelings.
But Tony is choosing instead to go back home to Florida ... to deny the change and stay fully human.
He’s not going to share in this new adventure with me.
He’s abandoning me when I need him most.
Even worse than that, he’s willing to have his memory erased so that he won’t remember the hell we’ve been through over the last few days – completing the test that proved to the fae that we share their blood.
He won’t even know about the fae anymore.
The one thing that could ultimately become the most important thing about me, the most special thing I could ever claim for myself, Tony will never and can never know about it.
How had this happened?
“What do you mean, you’re not going to do it?” I asked, desperation in my voice.
Our friends – Spike, Chase, Finn, and Becky – were as stunned as I was.
“I know this is a shock.
I know you think I should do it, but I just can’t.
It’s too much.
You saw what happened out there.
You saw what all those fae did.
They killed people – they killed each other.
You know me, Jayne; I’m a nonviolent person.”
“Screw that, Tony!
You pulled a gun on Brad Powers.
You’re a badass!”
Tony and I confronting Brad the bully outside our high school is kind of what started us on this whole thing.
First, we ran away together to Miami where we met Jared and the others.
Jared turned out to be a Light Fae daemon recruiter posing as a teenager, but when we answered an ad offering five hundred bucks in exchange for successfully completing a test, we had no way of knowing who or what he really was – or that he was leading us into anything.
The test, it turned out, was held in some unidentified enchanted forest somewhere, where we were taken after being drugged by Ivar, the Light Fae’s muscle head lackey.
For two days and nights we battled various fae creatures until we came out in the end alive – proof that we likely had fae blood running through our veins.
Our reward was that we could, if we wanted and if their test correctly identified us as having fae blood, become fully fae.
But now Tony was turning them down.
Tony smiled sadly.
“That was a million years ago, before I really knew what using a weapon was all about.
I can’t take that responsibility – possibly having to end someone’s life.”
Becky looked at him.
“But maybe you’ll be a sprite, like me.
We’re a nonviolent race.”
“Yeah, but you heard Niles.
There’s a war coming, and all of you are going to be asked to defend your people – the fae.”
Tony got up from his seat and came over to me, reaching down and pulling me to my feet.
You know how important you are to me.
You’re my best friend in the whole world.
That’s not going to change.
I don’t want to be a part of this; it’s not for me.
This is what you were born to do.
You kick butt.
You stand up for what’s right.
You’re not just special ... you’re extra special.
Become a changeling and forget about me for now.
When you’re all done figuring this stuff out, come back to me.”
“But Tony, what if I can’t?
Besides, you’re not going to remember any of this shit!”
I was so stressed out I didn’t know whether to cry or scream, hug him or hit him.
Tony had the uncanny ability to sense my emotions and the direction of my thoughts, even though he was only human.
“Choose love and understanding, Jayne.
And please don’t hit me.”
I grabbed him to me and hugged the crap out of him.
“I don’t think I can do this without you.”
He patted me on the back.
“Yes, you can.
You’ll be fine.
You have Spike and Chase and Finn to look out for you.”
“And me!” said Becky brightly.
Everyone got up from the table and came around to stand with us.
Tears were streaming down my face.
I felt like Tony had already left, even though he was standing right in front of me.
Finn bent down to speak in Becky’s ear.
“Sweetie, I think you should go tell ‘em we’re ready.
No sense draggin’ this thing out any more’n it needs to.”
Becky disappeared to go tell our hosts that we had accepted the offer to become changelings.
And when I say she disappeared, I mean that literally.
Apparently water sprites could teleport through the air because there’s so much moisture in it.
This was just one bit of fae trivia we’d learned today.
Moments later Dardennes and Céline – the silver elves who were our hosts – entered the room.
“You have made your decisions,” said Dardennes, making a statement, not asking.
Finn faced him.
“Yes, sir, we have.”
“Who has decided to become a changeling?”
All of us but Tony raised our hands.
I saw him standing there with his hand down and I started to cry again, silently.
“And those who have decided to have their memories erased?”
Tony raised his hand.
I felt like I was going to vomit.
I pleaded with him in my head, but he just shook his head, silently responding ‘no’.
I had to look away or I was going to start sobbing out loud like a baby.
“Young man, we will start with you – please come this way.”
Tony turned to me.
“I guess this is goodbye for now.”
I couldn’t trust myself to talk.
The tears were streaming down my face, dripping off my chin and drenching my shirt.
I didn’t want to make him feel guilty for his choice, because I understood it, so I didn’t beg.
Tony was a lover, not a fighter.
The one moment when he pulled that gun on Brad Powers was an aberration – not who Tony really is.
I couldn’t ask him to go against his nature – that wouldn’t be fair or right.
Sometimes I really hated doing the right thing.
I grabbed him in a tearful bear hug, wishing I could squeeze some sense into him.
But then I let him go.
Chase put his arm around me and I buried my face in his chest while he awkwardly patted by back.
He’s the strong silent type, not all that comfortable with girly emotions.
Tony started to walk out and I pushed away from Chase in a last second effort to prolong the goodbye.
“Can I come with him?”
Céline came over to me.
“No, I’m afraid you cannot.
Only the subject and the eraser will be together.”
“Okay, but you make sure he doesn’t erase too much.”
Tony glanced back on his way out.
See you soon.”
The door closed behind him and Céline.
I didn’t trust them to do what they said they’d do.
“You can try to erase his memory of me, but I’ll un-erase it!”
Dardennes just looked at me, saying nothing.
“I’ll friggin’ do it,” I mumbled under my breath.
Spike leaned in and whispered in my ear,
“And I know you could do it, too.”
I smiled and whispered back,
“You bet your ass I could.”
He laughed spontaneously, smiling in his trademark sexy-Spike way, but then immediately put on a straight face for Dardennes and his group.
“The rest of you, please follow me.”
I wiped my eyes and nose as best I could as we followed Dardennes out of the chamber and down the corridor.
Earlier, when I was walking through here after finishing the fae test by making it through the Green Forest and defeating an assortment of really annoying supernatural obstacles, I had thought it was just a long hallway with a room at the end; but apparently I’d missed all the doors on the sides ... not sure how that had happened.
Probably some stupid fae magic.