Read Song Magick Online

Authors: Elisabeth Hamill

Tags: #love, #magic, #bard, #spell, #powers, #soldier, #assassins, #magick, #harp, #oath, #enchantments, #exiled, #the fates, #control emotions, #heart and mind, #outnumbered, #accidental spell, #ancient and deadly spell, #control others, #elisabeth hamill, #empathic bond, #kings court, #lost magic, #melodic enchantments, #mithrais, #price on her head, #song magick, #sylvan god, #telyn songmaker, #the wood, #unique magical gifts, #unpredictable powers, #violent aftermath

Song Magick

 

 

 

Song Magick
by Elisabeth
Hamill

 

 

 

 

Published by

Fire and Ice

A Young Adult Imprint of Melange
Books, LLC

White Bear Lake, MN 55110

www.fireandiceya.com

 

Song Magick, Copyright 2014
Elisabeth Hamill

 

ISBN:
978-1-61235-868-0

 

Names, characters, and incidents
depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination or
are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales,
organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental
and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher. No part of
this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
or by any information storage and retrieval system, without
permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Published in the United States of
America.

 

Cover Design by Caroline
Andrus

 

 

SONG
MAGICK

by Elisabeth Hamill

 

In a realm where true magic has been lost for
centuries, seventeen-year-old bard Telyn Songmaker’s powers are
unprecedented – and unpredictable. Able to control the actions and
emotions of others with her melodic enchantments, the violent
aftermath of an accidental spell has left Telyn exiled from the
King’s court - unaware of the price on her head.

When Telyn is outnumbered by assassins in the
Wood, Mithrais comes to her aid, dispatched to protect her by dying
sylvan gods who need her unique magical gifts to free them from an
ancient and deadly spell. Bound to the Wood by blood and by oath,
Mithrais is more than the mere soldier he seems, and he and Telyn
discover that they share a rare empathic bond of heart and
mind.

The Fates have plans for Telyn and Mithrais,
but what is brewing will further endanger their lives. If they
succeed, magic will return to the realm, but love may be the most
unpredictable magic of all...

 

 

Table of
Contents

 

"Song Magick"

 

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Epilogue

List of Characters

Acknowledgements

About the Author

Previews

 

 

Chapter
One

 

The evening began on a melancholy note, a
song of exile on her lips. Because there was no one listening who
could be inadvertently influenced by her lamentation, Telyn made no
effort to suppress the building spell.

It was just as well that she was not playing
for her supper tonight—a room full of sobbing patrons would have
upset the tavern keepers, and left her purse lighter than the bard
might have hoped. She allowed the bittersweet tendrils of her song
magic to flow across the small clearing and wind around the long
shadows that rose into the stars on either side of the deserted
forest road.

The graceful syllables of the old language,
nearly forgotten to all but bards and scholars, seemed to elicit a
mournful counterpoint in the sighing of the wind through the
branches. Springtime breezes were ebbing after the sunset, but
something else rode the wind in the darkness: a low, throbbing
pulse, like a distant drum.

The odd sensation broke upon her skin and
raised the hair on the back of the bard’s neck. Telyn’s fingers
faltered on the strings of her harp, and she stilled the resulting
discord with a touch. She listened intently, her sorrow
displaced.

This strange, soundless percussion had been
with her since the road had entered the southwestern fringes of the
Wood earlier in the day. In the absence of sunlight, Telyn now
found herself reflecting on half-remembered tales of vengeful
phantoms and haunted groves, where the trees would cry aloud in
warning. These were stories best suited to chill autumn nights when
the veil between worlds was thin, and not to early spring nights
such as this. Cautionary tales, they spoke of those who had dared
to enter the forbidding Wood with evil deeds against their souls,
and never made it out of the trees, meeting judgment at the hands
of merciless spirits.

Telyn hoped that the stain on her own soul
would fade in time, and she could not suppress a shiver in response
to the faint echo of that strange vibration in the air. It had been
a year ago...just a single turn of the wheel, but the twin burdens
of shame and sadness were still heavy in her heart.

A snort from the grey horse tethered to the
wheel of her small wagon distracted the bard from her reverie. Her
faithful companion in exile, Bessa, was uncannily astute about
two-legged affairs, and knew the bard as well as any person might.
In spite of her low mood, Telyn grinned at the mare’s reproachful
look and dashed an impatient hand over her damp eyes. She was
almost eighteen, and no longer a child. It was foolish to weep over
things she could not change.

“You’re right, Bessa,” she said aloud. “It’s
much too beautiful a night to be counting my regrets.”

Telyn placed the harp carefully into the
waxed leather case that protected it from harm. The horse turned
its attention to the bag of oats sitting beside the wagon and
nuzzled it with hopeful interest. Slapping the mare’s withers
affectionately as she passed, the bard lifted the lid of the
weatherproofed wooden box built beneath the seat of the wagon,
which housed her precious instruments.

Beneath the folded winter cloaks and extra
blankets that cushioned her pipes, bodhran, and smaller flutes, the
less aesthetic relics of her training in the service of the Sildan
King glinted dully in the firelight. It was highly unlikely she
would need one of the weapons tonight. The tree-shrouded paths,
haunted groves included, were far safer than the streets of the
King’s own city due to the fierce reputation of the Tauron Order:
elite Wood-born soldiers who patrolled the main roads crisscrossing
the edges of the Wood. She suspected that at least some of the
stories of ghostly vengeance learned at Emrys Harpmaster’s knee
during her apprenticeship were due to the Tauron’s legendary
skill.

But Telyn paused over the blades, drawing out
a sheathed dagger. Her jaw set as she slid the weapon from its
sheath. A dagger had saved her once, but the cost had been very
high. The bard snapped the blade back into its scabbard before the
threatening memories could fully surface and replaced it in the box
beside the sword. She lifted the leather harp case and stowed it
carefully as well before shutting the lid.

Bessa butted her head against Telyn’s thigh
impatiently, and the bard grinned, making a determined effort to
set this unwelcome melancholy aside. She poured a measure of oats
on the new grass, and as the horse began to munch contentedly,
Telyn scratched Bessa behind the ears and whispered, “Make sure you
earn those oats and warn me if anything unfriendly comes our way,
my girl.”

Turning back toward the fire, she froze.

A hooded figure stood on the other side of
the flames.

Telyn crouched instinctively, her wild
thoughts returning to phantoms for a fleeting moment. Her eyes
slightly dazzled by the firelight, she could make out the curve of
a bow rising behind the shoulder in a back sheath, but could not
see if the figure was more immediately armed.

The individual quickly held empty hands
toward her, palms up, in a gesture of peace. The voice that issued
from the shadows of the deep hood was male, and apologetic. “I’m
sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

As her eyes readjusted to the firelight, the
bard recognized the unusual, deeply hooded cloak and forest-green
garb, and she breathed a sigh of relief.

“To what do I owe the presence of the
Tauron?” Telyn smiled cautiously at the cloaked figure, recovering
her composure.

“I caught the scent of your fire. When I came
to investigate, I heard your song. Its sadness drew me here.” The
warden paused as Telyn grimaced, blushing. “I didn’t mean to
intrude.”

“No, you aren’t intruding. I’m simply
embarrassed that there was a witness to my self-pity,” Telyn
admitted guiltily. “I had just been thinking that I was lucky not
to have an audience, and lo! Here you are!” She laughed, and added,
“I hope that there isn’t an entire squadron of wardens sobbing out
there in the Wood.”

She was rewarded with a low chuckle from the
depths of the hood. “My comrade isn’t far away, but too far to feel
the effects of your music, I think.”

“Then he’s fortunate.” The bard shook her
head in self-deprecation. “I owe you amends for subjecting you to
that. Are you thirsty? I have a small amount of some rather good
wine, or fresh water.”

“Water would be most appreciated,” the warden
agreed, entering the circle of firelight as Telyn reached into the
floorboard of the canvas-covered wagon to produce a crockery jug.
He thanked her and hefted the container, drinking deeply, his face
still hidden in the shadows of his hood.

“You were singing in the old language,” he
remarked, corking the jug and returning it to her. “I didn’t know
bards still spoke it. One rarely hears it any longer, even in the
Wood.
L’nathair a ta
. My name is Mithrais. I’m Westwarden of
the Tauron.”

“L’nathair ta
, Mithrais,” Telyn
responded to the archaic greeting with a delighted smile. “Telyn
Songmaker.” She bowed theatrically as she returned the jug to the
wagon. “I studied at the court of the Sildan King for the last
three years, mastering my art, but I’ve been learning the language
since I was a child. My tutors were very thorough.”

“You must have studied with the Royal Bard,
then. Is Taliesin truly as arrogant as I’ve heard?” Mithrais asked,
innocently sending an arrow home to her core.

Telyn forced herself to smile, and answered
in a falsely bright tone, “Worse, I daresay.” Cocking her head, she
phrased her next question with careful levity. “I mean no offense,
Mithrais, but I know that the Tauron pride themselves on their
stealth and concealment in the Wood. Is it the custom to remain
hidden at all times?”

He said with amused embarrassment as he
lowered the deep hood, “I’m sorry. Please understand that it’s been
months since I’ve been in anyone’s company but my fellow
wardens.”

Telyn found herself staring. The eyes that
turned to her were rendered a luminous, wolf-like green by the
firelight, rimmed in dark lashes. His dark hair was caught at the
nape of his neck with a silver clasp and pulled loosely back to
reveal slightly pointed ears. Both physical traits unmistakably
revealed a heritage that was more than human. The reclusive
inhabitants of the Wood were directly descended from the fair folk,
sharing a common bloodline with the Sildan royal family. In
Belthil, the capitol city, the telltale features and greater
stamina of the once-powerful mystical race had all but been bred
out. Telyn had met few of the Wood-born, in whom the attributes of
their ancestors were still strong and prominent.

“Is your destination outside the western
Wood?” Mithrais asked her. Telyn blinked, startled out of her
fascination, and answered him.

“Yes. I’m traveling to Rothvori.”

“Rothvori is three weeks journey from
Belthil. What brings you so far from home?”

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