Authors: April Holthaus
Legend of the Fae
The Dark Fae Saga: Book One
Edited by: One More Time Editing, LLC
Published by: Grey Eagle Publishing, LLC
Cover Design by: Zak Kelleher
Printed in the United States
First Printing: March 2015
All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2015 April Holthaus
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual events or persons are purely coincidental. No part of this publication is allowed to be reproduced without the author’s written permission.
To Tyler - May you always follow your dreams!
To my Sassy Lassies and all of my dedicated readers. Thank you for your kind words and continued support!
To the wonderful editors at One More Time Editing, for their outstanding service!
Zak Kelleher, my cover artist, for his creativity and beautiful work!
To my beta reader Maria McIntyre, a million thanks for your hard work and advice in helping me make this book the best!
Nicole Laverdure, thank you for being the best reviewer/beta reader any author could ever have.
And Janet Greaves, the most amazing proof reader I have ever known!
Legend of the Fae
The Dark Fae Saga: Book One
~ Prologue ~
The Legend begins…
In a time before sons of Adam and daughters of Eve walked the mortal world, the Realm of the Fae flourished. As rulers of the four earthly elements, they helped form the lands and sea readying it for new life to prosper. It was a peaceful time throughout the realm, and all magical creatures lived in harmony with one another.
The Realm of the Fae was once ruled as a single great kingdom. As centuries passed and heirs took the throne, the kingdom broke apart, claiming the four corners of the Fae world. Each kingdom was ruled by one of four brothers. Separated by their earthly gifts, each kingdom controlled one of the four elements: fire, earth, water and air.
Many centuries ago…
The birth of the Fae King of the North’s twin daughters had been a joyous day for all Fae-folk within the Kingdom of Greylyn. Not one but two heirs held equal claim to the throne, an occurrence never recorded in history.
Tucked in the crook of each of his arms, each babe, wrapped in soft wool, lay asleep in their father’s loving embrace. Though they were twins, the two babes were easily distinguished; one had hair as white as fresh fallen snow; while the other had hair as black as the wings of a raven. The High Priest blessed the babes by giving them their names. The white-haired babe was called Talara, the ruler of the land, with the black-haired child, was named Alaris, ruler of the four winds.
For years, the two small queens grew up in a realm of peace and tranquility as they learned the ways of healing plants and how to listen to the sound of the forest. But it was the gift of magic that ensnared their minds.
Talara had the ability to move stones and create small sandstorms, as she possessed control over everything that made up the earth. Alaris, on the other hand, was angered by her gift as her gift only allowed her to manipulate the air. Feeling cheated and jealous of her sister, Alaris’s heart grew cold and angry.
As their parents passed away and the two queens ascended to the throne, Alaris’s craving for power and control consumed her with each passing day. In response to Alaris’s defiance, the Elders gave Talara sole control over their kingdom. Despite the laws that must be upheld, Alaris fled their secret fortress to wreak havoc within the four kingdoms.
For her wicked deeds, the Elder Gods placed a curse upon her, in hopes of ridding the world of darkness; that she shall never bear a child of her own. Alaris’s only hope was to build an army against her sister by preying upon children in the mortal world and raise them as her own.
As years passed in the human world, knowledge of the Fae’s existence was reduced to nothing more than rumors and childhood fairytales,
~ Chapter 1 ~
The village of Ferryden, Scotland
“Wait for me,” Ella cried out to Galen.
Trailing several paces behind him, Ella could not tell in which direction he had run off within the thick bramble of the forest. She could only hear his giggles resonate around her, seemingly from every direction, as if he bounced from tree to tree.
The knotted branches twisted above her like a lattice, reaching as far as she could see. Its canopy, like a tightly crocheted blanket, allowed only a few streams of light to break through. In the dim light, Ella lost all sense of composure at the eerie sensation that Galen had left her alone in the woods.
“Galen!” she nervously called out.
Forest sounds seemed to intensify around her, breaking the deafening silence. The creaking trees, the quiet thud of acorns hitting the ground, made Ella start to quiver. As dusk began to darken the sky, she thought to leave him behind if he did not answer.
“Galen Lucius Graham, if ye do no’ show yerself I will leave ye,” she threatened, expecting him to giggle down at her from high above the treetops, but still she heard no sound of her mischievous friend.
A blanket of dense fog slowly crept into the woods as the orange hues of the sun sunk further beneath the horizon. The misty darkness began to swallow the forest behind her and Ella decided to turn back now before it was too late.
As Ella neared the edge of the forest, three young lads jumped out from behind a large tree trunk startling her. It was the MacDougall brothers. For the past two years they’d taunted and bullied her, for no particular reason other than the fact that she was a girl.
“What are ye doing out here?” Cedric, the eldest brother, asked.
Knowing the best course of action was just to ignore him, Ella tried to side step past them but Haden, the youngest, stepped in front of her, blocking her from the path.
“Leave me alone, ye bloody rat,” Ella barked, as she shoved Haden out of her way, knocking him to the ground.
Colin, the middle brother, laughed, but Cedric stepped in front of her. Puffing out his chest and lengthening his spine, he stood almost a foot taller than she. Ella jumped back, tripping over a tree root that was sticking out of the ground. Landing on her rump, she squealed out in pain. The three lads burst into laughter as she fumbled. Lowering her head, she hid her tears, for the lads would only tease her further if they knew how easy it was to make her cry.
As their laughter and insults continued, Ella’s embarrassment turned to anger as quickly as a spark could turn into flames in an arid forest. Lying next to her upon the ground was a small black stone. Picking the rock up and closing her fist around it, she swung her arm with all her strength and threw it toward Cedric. Her lips slightly rose at the corners, forming a proud smile. For the first time, she felt brave enough to stand up to these cruel and callous lads. However, much to her dismay, Cedric caught the black rock in his hand as if she had simply tossed it to him in a game of catch.
With a cold and unnerving glare, Cedric tightened the rock in his hand.
“I’ll teach ye to never mess wit’ a McDougall,” he warned.
As Cedric readied himself to throw the rock, Ella flinched. Galen suddenly jumped from out of nowhere and tackled Cedric to the ground. Ella watched as the two lads wrestled around. As for the other two brothers, Haden and Colin, they stood and chanted for their brother’s victory. It took Galen only a moment before he straddled Cedric, pinning him to the ground. Galen wildly punched Cedric in the nose. Blood oozed down past the young McDougall’s lips and chin. Galen quickly rolled off of him.
Cedric picked himself up off the ground and pressed his hand to his nose. Blood smeared on the tips of his fingers.
“Look what ye done, ye bastard,” Cedric yelled out, as tears of pain ran down his face.
“He is no’ a bastard!” Ella yelled out, defending her friend.
“Aye, he is. He’s an orphan. Ye just wait till I get home and tell my Da what ye done,” Cedric said, running out of the woods with his brothers trailing behind him.
“Are ye alright?” Galen asked.
“Aye. Ye shouldn’t have fought him, Galen. Ye are only going to get in trouble again.”
“I could no’ let them hurt ye.”
“I could have taken care of myself.”
“Nay, ye can’t! Yer a lass, and besides, I have seen ye fight. Ye are no’ verra good at it.”
Ella grunted. “Then teach me!”
Galen chuckled at her idea, though it was more of a demand than a suggestion.
“Teach ye? A lass? To fight? Lassies dinna need to learn such things. Have ye ever seen a lass on the battlefield? T’would look awfully funny! And besides, ye have me, dinna ya?”
Ella smiled up at her tall, dirty-faced, red-headed friend. She couldn’t decide whether to punch him in the arm for his insult or thank him for being her friend. She decided on both.
“Thank ye,” she said, as she slugged him in the arm.
“What the bloody hell did ye do that fer?”
“Fer leaving me alone in the first place.”
Side by side they walked toward the road that led to Ella’s home. Ella spotted her mother standing on the front porch of their cottage, looking rather irritated that she was so late coming home.
“Ella,” her mother called out.
“I have to go. Will I see ye tomorrow?” she asked Galen.
“Aye, I’m sure I can sneak out again.”
“Lu’Ella Aileen Dumont, I will no’ call ye again!” her mother yelled out, louder this time.
Ella waved goodbye as she ran toward her mother.
“Ella, why must ye insist on hanging around that lad? He is nothing but trouble,” Ella’s mother asked as she cupped her hand over Ella’s shoulder, escorting her inside.
“He is no’ trouble, Mama. He is my best friend, and a good one.”
“Ella, it’s just that when ye are wit’ him ye become too distracted. Ye know ye can ne’er be anythin’ more than friends.”
Ella rolled her eyes and stormed into her bedchamber. This conversation was as old as stale bread. She didn’t understand why her mother was so against him and why everyone seemed to view him so poorly. No one knew the real Galen more than Ella, and no one could understand why she was so fond of him. Only in the depths of her heart, did she herself know the reason.
Sitting on the bed, facing away from her mother, she suddenly felt the bristles of a comb running through her long hair.
“I do no’ want to fight, Ella. Soon enough it will no’ matter anyhow.”
Ella turned to face her mother.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“I guess ye are old enough now to know,” her mother said with a serious expression painted on her face.
Ella’s eyes squinted as she waited to hear her mother’s explanation. She couldn’t help but worry. Why was her age even a factor?
“Ella, before yer father died, he made certain arrangements to ensure ye would have a proper dowry. Those arrangements included promisin’ yer hand in marriage.”
“Marriage! To Who?” Ella shouted, pushing her mother’s hand away and standing up from the bed.
“To the eldest McDougall lad. Cedric.”
Just the mention of his name brought tears to Ella’s eyes. Her stomach instantly tied in knots as a bout of nausea rose to the back of her throat. How long had her mother been keeping this from her? And how could her father do this? Cedric McDougall was an awful man. She wouldn’t marry him if he was the last man on earth.
“Now, Ella, he is from a good family. Tis what yer father wished for on his death-bed.”
“But Mama,” Ella cried out, but her mother interrupted her before she could speak another word.
“Ella, I will no’ argue wit’ ye, nor will I discuss this further. There are nay negotiations. The marriage is set. After yer fourteenth year, ye will marry Cedric McDougall. Ye will no’ dishonor yer father’s dying wishes, is that understood?”
“Nay! I will no’ marry that half-wit boor. I will run away if I have to,” Ella shouted from the top of her lungs.
The cold look in her mother’s eyes made Ella bite her tongue. Never had her mother been this stern, this resolute. And of all things, bringing her dead father into it and filling her with guilt was the worst sort of punishment. Without further argument, her mother left the room in a fit of anger. Ella collapsed back onto the bed feeling defeated. Her heart felt as if it had fallen right out of her chest. How could she agree to marry Cedric McDougall? And why would he ever agree to it? He hated her. God strike her dead, she would not marry him. Ella threw the covers over her head and cried herself to sleep.
The next morning, after Ella had her fill of eggs and biscuits, she went in search of Galen in the stables to deliver the news of her terrible misfortune. Perhaps he would run away with her. Together the two of them could live off the land. Perhaps they could even find employment with a faraway clan, somewhere no one could ever find them.
Ella went to the barn where Galen usually worked during the wee hours of the morning, but when she got there he was nowhere to be found. He was not at the priory or in the kitchens, so she decided to journey to their secret spot next to the ancient standing stones at the top of the hill. Running down the dirt path through the village, she headed toward the foot of the hill.
The rock circle on the top of the incline had been Ella and Galen’s secret place; though it was not much of a secret as the stones had been there for hundreds of years. From the highest peak, they could see the expanse of the entire village as well as the towers of Dunquest Castle in the distance.
According to legend, the massive stones were erected many centuries ago, and were used during rituals among their ancestors. Now they stood vacant, no longer used in ceremonies.
As Ella reached the summit of the incline, she found Galen sitting in front of one of the stones, his back pressed up against it. Faced away from her, with his head buried inside the fold of his arms, Ella slowly approached him. From her view, she could see red marks across the side of his neck resembling a hand. This was not the first time she had seen him in this manner. When deep in his cups, Galen’s uncle Robert was an awful mean drunk. He held no legal guardianship over Galen, but he was the only family Galen had. And even though Robert was the chief of their clan, Ella had no respect for him.