Authors: Alison Pensy
Tags: #Fantasy, #Young Adult
The Cypher Wheel
(Custodian Novel #3)
Copyright 2012 by Alison Pensy
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely
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Published by Laxsaro Publishing, Publishing
on Smashwords / May 2012
Faedra burped, forcing a short burst of flame from
her mouth, followed by a curl of smoke that snaked upwards from her
Her dad stifled a giggle and Faen bit his lip,
desperately trying to hide his smirk.
The three of them were sitting at the dining table,
having dinner in the large welcoming kitchen of the Bennett
funny.” Faedra snapped as she shot a
glare across the dining table at each of the mickey-takers in
“Well, actually, darling. It really rather is.” Henry
said, without the slightest hint of shame in his voice.
“How can you say that?” Faedra questioned. Her voice
started to rise in frustration, as her gaze drifted around the
kitchen to note all the scorch marks dotted about on the cabinets
and counter tops. “I've burned nearly every piece of furniture we
own. I'm surprised I haven't actually burned the house down yet. We
couldn't even have a Christmas tree last Christmas.” She shuddered
at the thought of what may have happened with all those tinder dry
pine needles all over the living room floor.
“Careful, Hun. You know what happens when your
emotions start getting the better of you.” Henry looked down at his
mug of tea and picked it up. “Speaking of which, my tea's gone
cold, would you mind?” Henry held his mug across the table to his
now scowling daughter.
Faedra's shoulders slumped. “Well, that's just
great,” she said taking the offered mug and cupping her hands
around it. “I'm the most powerful being in all of the seven realms
and you treat me like a glorified tea pot.” Within seconds, steam
was rising once again from the liquid inside. She handed it back to
“You're welcome,” she said with definite lack of
Since Faedra had defeated Savu, the most powerful
creature in the seven realms, and consequently sucked said power
into herself -- bearing in mind this was on top of the one she
inherited on her eighteenth birthday, which she was struggling to
control in the first place -- she had singlehandedly scorched,
charred, or otherwise, burned a hole in nearly every surface she'd
touched since coming home. The house was a disaster; Faedra felt
awful that she was ruining all of her dad's things, along with her
own. Sometimes she wished she could have stayed in that cave in the
Arctic Circle, the one Faen had taken her to after consuming Savu's
power. At least she couldn't burn rock. Well, she didn't think she
She sighed. “Dad, you are not taking this at all
seriously,” Faedra chastised.
“Darling, it's only been a few months. Give it some
time. You'll get a handle on it, eventually.”
“It's been six months, Dad,” she corrected, “and I
have to say I'm starting to have my doubts.”
“Your father is right, Faedra. Six months is not a
lot of time to master a power that has been growing for millennia.
You will learn how to control this power, just as you did with your
original one,” Faen said sliding a hand over hers in a show of
Faedra looked at her Guardian and saw the sincerity
shining in his eyes. She gave him a weak smile in response before
pulling her hand away, offering Faen a silent apology for her
action when his expression fell.
“I hope you're right, Faen. I'm getting sick and
tired of hiding away in the house. I didn't mind so much over the
winter, but now it's spring.” She hung her head back and whispered
up at the ceiling, more to herself than her dinner companions. “I'm
dying to get out.”
“Your wish is my command, my lady.” A familiar
whisper fanned a warm breath across her ear and she sat up with a
“For crying out loud, Etyran! Don't you ever knock?
And don't sneak up on me like that; I could have blown you to
smithereens. Are you trying to get yourself killed?”
Etyran unwrapped the light from around him as if
peeling the rind from an orange and became visible to the diners
around the table. With his signature roguish grin, he leaned over
and gave Faedra a kiss of greeting on her cheek, but quickly
withdrew as the heat from her skin seared his lips. “Oops, keep
forgetting that,” he said as he rubbed his sore lips. He turned to
“Hello, mate,” Etyran greeted his friend across the
table, to which he received a smile and an incline of Faen's head
in response. Then he turned to Henry. “Good evening, Mr.
“Hello, Etyran. And how many times do I have to tell
you? Call me Henry.”
“Yes, Sir.” He turned his attention back to Faedra.
“'Allo, sweetie. And how is my favorite Custodian this fine
Faedra propped her chin on her hand, elbow on the
table. “Miserable, thanks for asking. And seeing as I'm the
Custodian, I have to be your favorite by default.”
“Oh, dear. Someone's feeling grouchy today,” Etyran
said, stating the obvious.
“No change there, then,” Faedra responded with as
much sarcasm as she could muster. “I'm grouchy every day, or hadn't
Faen and Henry nodded in agreement when Etyran moved
his gaze around the table.
“Anyway, I think I've earned the right to be grouchy
when I'm saddled with a power I have no hope of controlling and I'm
the laughing stock of the two people who are supposed to love me.”
She shot a pointed look at her father and Faen, who both
surreptitiously dropped their gazes to their now empty dinner
She admitted to herself she was starting to sound
like a whiny baby at this point, but try as she might, she couldn't
seem to get herself out of the funk she was in.
“Well, at least you
someone to love you,”
Etyran pointed out with a rather deflated tone to his voice.
Faedra felt a wave of shame wash over her. Etyran had
confided in her how lonely he felt, especially being the last of
his kind. The only Lightbender left in the seven realms.
She brought her gaze to meet his. “I'm sorry, Etyran.
That was really thoughtless of me.”
Etyran recovered quickly, his face lighting up again
like a kid who'd just been told he was going to Disney World.
“Nah, don't worry about it. Anyway, I have something
that will cheer you right up.” He brought his hand around from
where he'd been hiding it behind his back. Fanned between his
fingers were four tickets, which he waved eagerly in front of
“What are they?” Faedra asked.
“Falconchase is coming to Norwich and I only scored
us some tickets!” he said, waving the tickets back and forth in
front of his face for effect.
“No way!” Faedra exclaimed.
Falconchase was a company that organized treasure
hunts around the country. Their treasure hunts were usually amazing
and getting tickets to one was incredibly difficult, as they were
in such high demand. This was the first time they had come to
Norwich. The treasure hunts were exclusive events and tickets were
much sought after and very expensive. Usually, you had to book at
least a year in advance to be able to take part, but the prize was
well worth the wait. Last year the grand prize had been a new
Faedra fleetingly thought of her old banger sitting
in the driveway and how nice it would be to trade up. But since she
couldn't work anymore, for fear of burning down the office, there
had been no money coming in to save for a newer car. If she could
win one, it would solve that problem. She wouldn't have to worry
about sharing the prize. Her friends had no need of a car; they
either drove with her or flew everywhere. Except Etyran, but he
mostly went invisible and covertly scrounged a lift on whatever bus
was passing at the time. He'd even been known to sneak into a taxi
with an unsuspecting passenger.
Finding it hard to hide her excitement, Faedra said,
“How on earth did you get your hands on four tickets to the
“Funny you should ask.” He shot her another of his
roguish grins for effect. “They turned up through the letterbox
this morning, along with a letter saying I'd won them in a
competition.” Then he mused, more to himself than everyone else.
“Only thing is, I can't remember ever entering any competition.”
Snapping his attention back to those at the table, he continued.
“Anyway, I'm not complaining, I've been wanting to do this for
years. They used to do them in London all the time when I lived
there, but I just never got around to going.” He shot her another
grin and she gave him a dubious look.
“What? I got them fair and square. I promise.”
The Lightbender had become a permanent fixture since
returning with them from the icy cave, and said letterbox belonged
to a local flat above one of the shops in the village that Etyran
had taken possession of. Although, how he was paying for it Faedra
wasn't entirely sure and hadn't dared ask. It was more than likely
she wouldn't like the answer.
“Are you sure you didn't steal them?” Faedra
Etyran looked affronted at her accusation, but pulled
something from the pocket of his long coat and showed it to her.
“See, they came in this envelope addressed to me.”
Faedra took the envelope and gave it a good going
over. It was deep red in color and the edges were lavishly
decorated with gold runes. True enough, it had the flat's address
on it but not Etyran's name. In fact, there was no name and no
postage stamp on the envelope. It had been hand delivered.
This fact alone sent Faedra's internal warning alarm
ringing at the highest level. She had become a lot more paranoid
over the past year, with very good reason, and she would tell
anyone who kept reminding her of this fact.
“Oh, I don't think so.” Faedra stated as she handed
the envelope for Faen to look at.
“What? Why?” Etyran asked, unable to hide his dismay.
“Oh, come on, Fae, it's only a treasure hunt, what could possibly
Faedra gave him a look that said '
well let's see,
shall we... the last two parties I attended someone either wanted
me skewered or roasted. Excuse me for being overly
“Yeah, okay, I see where you're coming from,” Etyran
conceded. “But there are four tickets. I thought you, Faen,
Jocelyn, and I could go. Let's face it, Faedra, you're the most
powerful being out there. How on earth is anyone going to be able
to harm you, anyway? I'm sure word has gone around; I can't see
anyone being that stupid, to be honest.”
Etyran did have a good point. Faedra hadn't thought
about it like that before. After the last two attempts at getting
out and enjoying herself had resulted in her being the target of a
vengeful princess, she'd become a little gun shy. But that person
was locked up now and, as far as she was aware, no one else wanted
their revenge on her for being their half-sister. That's not to say
there wasn't anyone out there who wanted their revenge on her for
some other reason. Not that she could think of one at that point in
time. Yes, she admitted to herself that she was being overly
paranoid, so she gave it some thought for a few more moments.
Maybe she should do this. Goodness only knew she
needed to get out of the house.
“Give it some thought, love.” Her dad's voice
penetrated her mind. “You love a good treasure hunt. Remember when
I used to hide your presents around the garden when you were little
and gave you clues to go and find them?”
A big smile crept across Faedra's face, probably the
first real smile for six months. She did remember and the happiness
from those memories seeped into her heart. She turned to her
Guardian. “What do you think?”
“Honestly? I think it is a great idea. You do need to
get out, and like Etyran says, who would possibly be able to harm
you now? You will have the three of us with you, too.”