Authors: Elizabeth A. Lance
Elizabeth A. Lance
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fully admit it. Part of me wanted to kill Max the minute he revealed himself to me as Fae. But, he was my best friend and he’d never been a threat to me, so I heard him out. Now, I’m glad I did.
My name is Antony Gunari, Tony or Tones to my friends. I’m a
, a human who sees through Fae glamour, but more than that, I’m a Fae assassin, hence the wanting to kill my best friend when he revealed himself. I should have known what he was. I’m a psychic, and a pretty powerful one, at that. But because Max’s Faeness had been hidden by Leprechaun magic, the most powerful kind of magic around, I hadn’t seen it. But then until he met Anna, Max hadn’t known he was Fae either, let alone a shifter.
The Sióga Feiceann part of me was passed down through my father’s side of the family. I suppose I should mention that I am a full-blooded Romani. My parents were Nomadic, what some people would call Gypsies (but they really hate that term), until they had me. They decided to settle in New York a month or so after I was born. Dad helped his brother, Nicolae, with his bar. At least he did, until he died. He used to take me to the park every Saturday, where we would walk and he would tell me about the world. Until one Saturday in October, right around Halloween, when I shrieked because I’d seen an Unseelie attack a human. Dad began my training that afternoon. I’d been eight-years old. Mostly, Dad’s training had consisted of hiding my nature from the Fae, and learning not to be noticed.
Dad died shortly after that. I never really knew what happened, just that one night he didn’t come home, and Mom said he’d been killed. Uncle Nicolae took over my training then. He taught me to use swords and how to kick-box. Even after Mom moved us to Indiana, I continued to train. By the time Max revealed himself, I’d almost convinced myself that all of my training and hiding had been useless. The Fae just did not come to southern Indiana. Really, why would they?
Anyway, until Max revealed himself and the Light Fae to me, I’d had no idea there was a real difference between the two. Fae was Fae; at least that is what I’d been taught. Now, I knew differently. Not that the Light Fae aren’t dangerous, they definitely are, but they don’t prey on humans. The Dark Fae, the nightmares…well that is a whole other can of worms. All of the horrible things going on in the world, and I do mean every one of them, you can bet an Unseelie, Dark Fae, is behind it. And that is only one of the few things that were after my best friend. Anna coming into his life brought him a whole mess of assassins who now wanted him dead. I didn’t need to be one of them. However, being Max’s friend did not leave me untouched. Being psychic helped me to know what was after him, and inadvertently me.
The night Frederick Lyon, a shifter with a really bad attitude, came for me I’d been connecting psychically with my spirit guides, trying to figure out what I could do to help Max. Max arrived a bit earlier than I expected, and found me looking much more Rom than I’d ever revealed to him before. Up to that point, I’d still kept part of myself —the psychic Fae assassin part— hidden from him. Anyway, I’d had Kohl lining my eyes and protection charms drawn on my chest and arms. It’s not regular Kohl liner that you can buy at Walmart, no, the Kohl I use is specially made by my Aunt Liv, my mom’s sister, and is infused with magical properties. I get my psychic ability from Mom’s side of the family. Mom isn’t a very strong psychic, she only has enough power to read tea leaves and pull tarot cards fairly accurately, but that’s about it. I, on the other hand, take after my grandmother. She’s a very powerful psychic and clairvoyant, whose name I won’t reveal upon pain of death. She’s eighty five years old and can probably still kick my butt physically and psychically all the way to Hell and beyond.
Anyway, since all this shit went down, I’d been thinking of going back to New York and resuming my training with Uncle Nicolae. Then, I was attacked by a couple of Unseelie that wanted information about Max. I decided as soon as we graduated, I would definitely be going to New York. That was when the dreams began. They were always different, but I felt they were all somehow connected to my going to New York, and someone I was going to meet there. Someone who was in trouble, and was going to need my help. Someone who would become very important to me.
“So, you’re really going to do it?” Max asked me, his arms crossed over his broad chest, his foot tapping on the floor like he disapproved.
“Yeah, I am. I need to know more about who I am, you know what I mean, Dude?” I said. It’s kind of hard to drop the surfer-valley dude act. I mean, I’d been doing it for more than half my life.
Max sank down on my bed, his long Fae hair falling over his shoulders reached the floor. The long hair revealed him as a true Seelie Warrior. “You’re going to miss seeing the triplets born.”
He sounded let down and sort of nervous. “Is Anna doing okay? I still can’t believe you managed to glamour the entire school and town so they wouldn’t know she was pregnant.”
Max grinned. “Yeah, she’s great. But we’re both going to miss you. New York is…well, it’s not here. And there’s a war going on out there, you know.”
I turned and stared at Max. He had to know that was part of why I was going. I couldn’t run from it anymore, I’m a Sióga Feiceann; I had to embrace that part of myself. My uncle had trained me to fight when I was younger. Now I had to go to New York, to his club, and find him. Find out why he never told me what I needed to know, why he never told me there was a difference. “You know I will be taking on any and all of the Unseelie I find, Dude.”
Max frowned. “Tones, don’t make this your fight. You have nothing to prove.”
I spun around to face him, my eyes narrowed. “You think this is about you? That I’m doing this because you’re my friend and the Unseelie are after you?” I paused for a moment, wanting to choose the right words. “No. This is about me. What
am. If the Unseelie discover me, and I’m not prepared, I’m as good as dead, Max. Just because you and Auberon have agreed not to kill me for being a Sióga Feiceann, does not mean the Unseelie won’t!”
“Okay, I get it.” Max threw up his hands to end my tirade. “Just…be careful. Don’t take any unnecessary risks. And Tones, if you need help, use the mirror I gave you to contact me. You know I’ll be there in a heartbeat.”
I rolled my eyes. Ever since Max discovered he was Fae and a full blooded shifter, he’d taken to protecting everyone in sight. I shook my head, his poor kids where going to have a tough time getting away with anything! I’d have to do a tarot reading soon just to make sure everything was going to be all right for them. “It’s packed. I’ll use it if I need it.” I closed the bag and looked around the room. “I think that’s everything. I appreciate you getting me there. Plane tickets were outrageous, Dude.”
Max grinned. “Yeah, yeah. Plus there’s that whole ‘actual riding on the plane’ thing. Who would want to do that when you could travel the Shifter Express?”
“Speaking of…you ready?” I asked him, picking up my bag.
“Yeah. You have an address?”
“I think the alley behind my uncle’s club, Dorinta, on West Fifty-Ninth, near Columbus Circle.”
“That’s not an address, Tones, that’s a general proximity,” Max said with a sigh. “I’ll do my best, and Goddess help us if I land us in the middle of some busy street where people can see us.”
“I’ve got faith in you, Dude,” I said with a grin.
Max grabbed my arm and in a heartbeat we flashed out of my room and arrived exactly where I imagined we would; the alley behind my uncle’s club. “Is this it?”
“I knew you could do it.”
“Yeah, yeah. Let’s go see this Uncle of yours.”
“You think maybe you could look a little more human?” I asked him. Since graduating, Max had taken to spending most of his time in his Fae form at the Faerie Mound, or in his Jaguar form at the Felidae compound in Quebec, which meant he wasn’t human very often.
“I didn’t bring my ring, Anna’s got it. Hang on a minute.”
I waited as Max disappeared for about thirty seconds, and then reappeared at my side. “That was fast.”
“Anna knew I was coming for it. She said to wish you good luck.”
“Tell her thanks,” I replied.
Max slid the ring on his finger and his features turned from Fae to human. His long, blonde hair shortened, his eyes lost their shimmer, his ears rounded and his cheekbones dropped a smidgen, making his face fuller. He looked more like the guy I’d known for years, and not the supernatural creature he actually was.
“Yeah. Let’s go.” I picked up my bag and knocked on the back door to the club. I didn’t want to go around to the front, it would be packed and I wasn’t so sure the bouncer would let us in. After all, Max and I weren’t twenty-one yet.
The door opened and a thin, but muscled, dark haired man with a beard stepped out. He looked an awful lot like me, well, minus the beard and the thinness. Football and weight training have done their job with my build. “What do you want?”
“Antony? What are you doing here? Get inside, both of you. It’s dangerous out there.”
Nicolae held the door open wider and Max and I both ducked in under his arm as he studied the alley to see if anything had followed us, before closing the door and locking it. I could hear loud music coming from the club beyond his office door and I knew his evening was just getting started.
“Uncle Nicu, you aren’t going to believe what I have to tell you. I think you better sit down.”
“So, you know,” Nicolae sighed and sank into his black leather chair. “You know what you are.”
I stayed quiet for a moment; waiting to see if he would continue, give me a hint of why he hadn’t told me.
“I suppose it was inevitable. Your mother never could keep a secret, so— I assume she is the one who told you?”
Now, that was a shock. As far as I knew, Mom was oblivious to the Fae and all the crap that had been going on for the past year. “No. Mom didn’t say a thing, Uncle Nicu.”
“Then, how did you find out?”
“My fault, I’m afraid,” Max said stepping forward. “I sort of exposed him to some Fae warriors.”
? I should kill you! Do you know what you have
?” Nicolae jumped out of his chair and drew a silver dagger from a wrist sheath.
“Uncle! You don’t want to do that!” I shouted, but it was too late. Max had already gone on defensive mode and pulled one of his own swords from his hip…Veritas. They were hidden by Fae magic until they were needed and then, well, watch out. Max was deadly with them. I suppose I should be thankful he didn’t pull Aequitas as well.
“Antony, just who the hell did you bring to my club?” Nicolae asked backing away from Max.
“Uncle, please put the dagger away. Max, back down, please.” I stood between them, hoping for some peace.
“Who. Is. He. Antony?” Nicolae sheathed his dagger, but continued to stand in a threatening manner.
“Tones…” Max cautioned me, but I knew my uncle.
“Whoa! Just chill, Uncle Nicu. A lot has happened in the past year, and Max is a huge part of it, Dude. I’ll explain, but only if I have your word and stuff that you’ll sit down and listen. And you won’t try to kill Max.”
Nicolae glared at us, but he finally conceded and sat down in his chair. I glanced at Max and watched him sheath Veritas, which then vanished from his side. He leaned against the wall near the door, and far from Nicolae, just in case Uncle Nicu got it in his head to go after him again.
“Okay…okay,” I said, not sure where to begin. “So, you know there’s a war going on out there, right Dude?”
Nicolae nodded. “Between the Light and Dark Fae, yes, I know. What does that have to do with you? Either of you?”
“Well, the Light Fae, as you call them, have a Faerie Mound in southern Indiana. Just a few blocks from school actually.”
Nicolae frowned. “I thought they were only in the major cities. What are they doing there?”
“For the most part they are, but the King of Light and Illusion needed a place where the Dark Fae would not think to look for him. Not that it matters now, they’ve known approximately where it is since last October,” Max said with a frown.
“Beside the point, Max.”
“Not really, Tones. The point is, we have a Faerie Mound back home, I found out that I’m related to the King of Light and Illusion and he sent warriors to protect me. You saw them, and got exposed as a Sióga Feiceann. And then the Unseelie found us.”