The Enchantress (Wicked Book 1)

 

 

 

Wicked

Book One •
The Enchantress

 

Blaire
Hammond

 

 

The Enchantress
By Blaire Hammond

Text Copyright © 2016 Blaire Hammond

Summary:
Laura Harmer's
world is turned upside down, her father has passed away, her mother is missing,
and she is forced to trust people she has never known. Creatures she never
thought could exist do and the weight of death and destruction rests on her
shoulders. But she isn't the only one battling with the things she has seen and
been forced to do. Her new found friends have secrets of their own.
Amongst their
dark pasts, the world of the Enchanted and the Wicked are on the verge of war,
and Laura finds herself in the middle of it. Will she survive?
Her soul has
awoken. This is Laura's story.

This is a work of fiction. Names,
places, characters and incidents are either the product of the author’s
imagination or, if real, used fictitiously. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be
reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means without
prior written permission from the author, except in the case of brief
quotations embodied in fan works, critical articles and reviews. For more
information please contact the author.

ASIN B01GZPCUBA

 

 

Contents

Prologue
July 19th 2013

Part One: The Enchantress

Chapter
One
The Inevitable Life

Chapter
Two
  Forced Into Change

Chapter
Three
When Reality Hits

Chapter
Four
  Dreams That Haunt Us

Chapter
Five
Stay On Your Feet

Chapter
Six
Two Steps Forward

Chapter
Seven
One Step Back

Chapter
Eight
A Flicker Of Hope

Part Two: The Spirit World

Chapter
Nine
  The City Of Bran

Chapter
Ten
Learning To Trust And To Be Trusted

Chapter
Eleven
Those That Lurk In The Shadows

Chapter
Twelve
Challenge Yourself

Chapter
Thirteen
Riddle Me This

Chapter
Fourteen
An Answer No One Thought Of

Chapter
Fifteen
They Will Carry Us Home

Chapter
Sixteen
Home Of The Enchanted

Chapter
Seventeen
Faced With Horror

Chapter
Eighteen
The Temple Of Lost Souls

Chapter
Nineteen
To Live Or Not To

Part Three: The Lost City

Chapter
Twenty
Jail Brake

Chapter
Twenty-One
The Mountains

Chapter
Twenty-Two
The Fight For Survival

Chapter
Twenty-Three
The Lost City

Chapter
Twenty-Four
Complete Betrayal

Chapter
Twenty-Five
Or Complete Destruction

Chapter
Twenty-Six
His Armies Will Rise

Chapter
Twenty-Seven
Fire, Earth, Wind And Water

Chapter
Twenty-Eight
Fight, Till This War Is Won

Epilogue
July 30
th
2013

Acknowledgements

About
Blaire Hammond

Wicked

After
Dusk

Sneak
Peak

 

Prologue
July 19th 2013

‘There’s
been another death.’ Stella’s voice was blunt; defeated, and she watched
silently as her husband read over the email sent from the Minor Courts.
  Taking a seat, he nodded grimly and removed his glasses from where they sat
upon the bridge of his nose.
  The two of them had quietly assembled in their office so to ensure not
alerting the other residents of the Manor. They didn’t want to cause an uproar.
  ‘What are we going to do about this?’ Stella questioned, her blue eyes
searching his face for an answer. A moment later she lifted her gaze to the
office window, staring beyond it at the slowly setting sun.
  ‘Keep investigating. It seems that is our only option.’ Leo plucked his
glasses from their case, returning them to their previous position. He read
over the email again, scrolling down the screen until he reached the bottom of
the report, ‘they are sending over the autopsy results now, so the best we can
do is hope for new evidence.’
  Leo raised his eyes to his wife’s face. She was still watching the sun, her
hands resting in her lap. She was perched atop the oak desk opposite his own.
  Stella’s frame was small, though not terribly short, but that had never made
a difference. She was quick on her feet, sharp and accurate in her movements
and graceful beyond belief. Growing up in the home city of the Grand Courts had
its benefits.
  Swiftly, she turned her head to him, her bob of ash blonde hair sweeping over
her shoulder. ‘But we have been investigating for months and haven’t found
anything. Every time the autopsy report comes, it’s always the same. Death by
child-birth.’ Leo could tell that she was growing more frustrated by the minute.
  ‘It’s all we can do, Stell.’
  She sighed, ‘I know, I know. I just don’t think I can cope with any more
deaths. It’s out of control. Who is doing this? And why?’
  As the wind rustled through the trees outside, a flurry of thoughts passed
through Leo’s mind, and as he grasped a hold of one, he exhaled with fear. ‘What
if they have found out about
her
?’
  That particular thought hadn’t crossed Stella’s mind, and her eyes widened
with shock. ‘But surely not! They know that it has only ever happened once,
that every other time has ended in death.’
  ‘Well, it does make sense. It would explain these deaths.’
  An eerie silence settled around them.
  Finally, Leo spoke. ‘It’s the only explanation we have.’ Taking care to keep
his voice even, he continued, ‘she could be in danger.’
  Although he spoke calmly, he’d always known that one day someone would come
for the girl.
Her
. They had both known it. They just hadn’t been prepared
for it to happen so soon.
  Crinkles of worry were already appearing in Stella’s forehead as she stumbled
on her words ‘you think they have found her already?’ Though she was both brave
and determined, Stella had a kind, gentle nature that would often lead to her
worrying more than she sometimes needed to.
  However, it seemed that in this situation, her concern was warranted.
  She jumped down from the desk and started pacing, something she often did
when she was nervous.
  Leo watched her, attempting to ignore the awful thoughts clouding his head, ‘I
don’t know. If they can’t replicate her then they will have to take her. And by
the looks of things they aren’t having much luck with the first.’
  ‘But she has been hidden for all this time; gosh she must be seventeen by
now! And she has never known of her abilities, if she is taken then imagine
what would happen to her! She won’t know who she is… will she?’ Stella was
frantic now. ‘She probably won’t know anything about us or the Spirit World.
Her parents took her away for a reason, I doubt they would have told her who
she is; what she can do. We don’t even know what she is capable of ourselves!’
  All of a sudden Leo knew what was required of them, ‘we must get word to them,
and soon.’ He had already pulled a piece of paper from his draw and was
scribbling down a note. ‘I’ll get Drew to deliver it. It will be safer by letter,
we can’t be certain that their emails are secure. Drew is a fast rider. He is
our best shot.’
  Stella stopped pacing, ‘yes, good idea. I’ll go get Drew.’
  She left the office at a run, glad to finally be doing something other than
pacing the room. A bundle of emotions were consuming her, making her sick to her
stomach. Nerves. Worry. Fear. She tried to keep them at bay as she dashed down
the hall to collect the boy from his training.

The dagger hurtled
through the air like the wings of a helicopter, travelling straight towards its
target.
  However, Drew was quick, dodging it just in time as the blade imbedded itself
into the wall behind him.
  ‘Better luck next time,’ he baited Caspian, wiping the sweat from his
forehead with the back of his hand
  ‘You’re an idiot,’ Caspian muttered.
  Drew was grinning ridiculously as he gripped the hilt of the blade and tugged
the dagger from its place.
  ‘Hey, you asked for best out of three. Still, I won.’
  ‘Well, you’d most likely be dead if you didn’t.’
  ‘Probably. But we’ll never know. I’m too good.’
  Drew threw the blade into the air, watching wistfully as it somersaulted three
times before beginning it’s decent. He caught it by the handle, repeating the
motion.
  ‘You know,’ Caspian said, jumping forward in one swift motion and snatching
up his dagger mid-fall. ‘I have been thinking a lot about the Ceremony.’
  ‘Yeah, me too.’
  Spinning the dagger in his hand, Caspian allowed his eyes to wander around
the training room. Really, he only did it to avoid Drew’s thoughtful gaze, and
Drew knew it.
  ‘Do you think we will be all right?’ Caspian finally asked.
  The expression on Caspian’s face was one that Drew didn’t immediately
recognise. Gradually, he began to realise that it was fear.
  He had made an effort not to worry about what was to come after the Ceremony.
Mainly because he had only had one plan for afterwards, and he had never
factored in any other possibility. But now, seeing level-headed, brave, strong,
Caspian showing just how terrified he really was, it dawned on him that maybe
the Ceremony wouldn’t necessarily go how he initially thought - and hoped - it
would.
  Caspian turned to him, ‘I’m being stupid, I know,’ he laughed gingerly, and
arched an eyebrow.
  Drew saw it coming, and ducked as the dagger struck the wall behind him,
trembles vibrating down the hilt. Once again, it left a nice, neat mark in the
wooden board.
  ‘Drew, we need your assistance please,’ called Stella from the bottom of the
stairs.
  Both Caspian and Drew could hear the note of agitation in her voice, and they
locked eyes for a moment, concerned.
  Drew shrugged, ‘this isn’t over, your turn next time!’ and with that, he
descended the stairs, leaving a chuckling Caspian alone in the room.

‘So you want
me to deliver this to the Harmers but you won’t tell me why, or what’s in the
envelope?’ Drew asked, his face slowly twisting into a look of frustration.
  He absolutely hated being out of the loop, and Leo knew it, however informing
him of the situation was too dangerous at the present time. Perhaps sending him
on a mission completely blind was bad, but if he was caught? That would be
worse.
  ‘Please Drew, it is very, very important we get this to them,’ begged Stella.
  The irritating ticking of a nearby clock served as a prominent reminder that time
was running out; that Drew needed to leave
now.
  Drew groaned, ‘alright, I will be back by ten.’
  ‘Thank you, Drew,’ Leo said, almost sighing with relief.
  With that, Drew snatched up the letter Leo had hastily written, forced it
into his jeans pocket, and was gone.
  ‘Do you think we are too late?’ Stella asked Leo as they watched Drew kick
start his motorbike, click it into gear and roar off down the dirt road.
  Leo flinched at the thought, ‘I hope not.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One
The Inevitable Life

aura struggled to keep a firm hold on her books as she weaved
through the musky, crowded corridor. The end-of-week bell had just chimed and
she was looking forward to getting home. She had never much liked school. Then
again, that’s what most people say.
  The smell of rain and body odour was thick in the air as she reached her rusty
grey locker, hurrying to punch in her code and unhook the lock. She shoved her
books onto their shelf, then slung her bag across her back.
  Grimacing, she watched as Rad Tyler, (a ridiculous nickname thought up by
none other than himself,) thumped his girlfriend against the locker five doors
down from hers in a sloppy make-out session. Teens cheered him on as they
passed, voicing filthy grunts and shouts of approval.
  She rolled her eyes, adjusted the bag on her back and slammed the door shut,
sending the vibration rippling down the row of lockers. The two paused long
enough to glare at her before resuming their passionate display of ‘love’.
  More like lust,
Laura thought in disgust.
  She tried to ignore the rush of students leaving for home as she made her way
outside to the bus exchange, but she wasn’t quick enough for the hand that
reached out and stopped her.
  ‘Laura, what are your plans for the weekend?’
  She turned, coming face to face with the fanatical red-head she considered
her only real friend. Beth.
  Beth had a group of friends of her own, but she and Laura had known each
other in primary school, and their friendship had continued on into their
senior years.
  ‘Oh, you know. Reading. Working on the farm. The usual.’
  Beth rolled her eyes, ‘you’re so boring! Come with me to Rad’s party tomorrow
night!’
  Laura snorted, ‘yeah as if any of those guys would want me there.’
  Laura certainly wasn’t popular. She had never quite fit in, not that
necessarily went out of her way to do so in the first place. She had always
felt different, preferred different things, pushing her to keep to herself. Although,
her
mother
had made out as if that were a good thing.
  ‘Come on, they wouldn’t care.’
  Laura shook her head, ‘no I think I’m going to stay put. Remember the last
party you dragged me to?’
  Beth laughed, ‘oh yeah, that was a good night.’
  ‘What, you consider passing out on the bathroom floor, leaving me all alone
to find a ride home, a good night?’
  Beth screwed up her nose, ‘well, maybe not for you but it certainly was for
me!’
  Laura couldn’t help but laugh, ‘all right then Beth. If you say so.’
  ‘So will you please come? Please?’ Beth said, exaggerating her words.
  Laura sighed, ‘I-‘
  Suddenly she was flying forward, the sound of ripping material echoing in her
ears, and she watched as her books sprawled across the ground. Beth and someone
behind her managed to grab a hold of Laura’s arm before she, too, fell. Laura spun
around in horror and her eyes locked onto Rad with a glare.
  ‘Oh, sorry. Didn’t see you there.’ He said, holding a football in one hand
and her elbow in the other.
  She tugged free, straightening her jacket and scowling at him. He smirked,
and she knew it had been intentional. She turned back to her books, regarding
them miserably. With a sigh, she bent down and did her best at shoving them
back into her ruined bag.
  ‘Yeah, Beth I think I’m going to have to pass on the party.’ She said with a
huff.
  Beth passed her a book she had collected, ‘Rad didn’t mean it.’
  ‘Yes, he did. He’s a jerk just like the rest of the kids in this school.’ She
stood, carrying her bag carefully, ‘I’ll see you later Beth. Have a good
weekend.’
  Beth gave her a look of sympathy as Laura hurried off to catch her bus. She dropped
down into one of the back seats and glanced out the window as more students
clambered aboard. The bus driver slid the doors shut and pulled away from the
curb, beginning the hour long route.
  Laura heard a giggle and looked up in time to catch a girl a few seats down
whispering to her friend. Then, trying but failing to be discrete, she looked
back at Laura and giggled again. Laura sighed as she realised that the girl was
Rad’s make-out buddy.
  Usually it didn’t bother her when people talked about her, but on this
particular occasion, she felt annoyed.
  ‘I’m not blind,’ she said to the girl.
  She whipped her blond head around and glared at Laura, ‘what was that?’
  Laura rolled her eyes, ‘I said I’m not blind. I can see you talking about
me.’
  Blondie flipped her extensions over her shoulder as she glared at Laura. For
a minute it looked like she was going to insult her, but eventually she turned
her head back to the front.
  Laura smiled with satisfaction and picked up a book, opening it to the marked
page.
  Soon, her mind began to wander, and so did her eyes. She glanced up at her
reflection in the window, and found herself wondering if she was considered
pretty. Maybe if she were popular, she would be? Her hair was long, reaching
nearly two thirds of the way down her back and it was a thick, chocolate brown.
She had always been grateful for her olive complexion, thanks to her father,
but she had inherited her height from her mother, standing at only one hundred
and fifty seven metres tall. Her eyes were a deep hazel brown, tinged with gold
flecks. That was something her mother had been adamant about pointing out.
  ‘Gold, like the colour of angel wings,’ she would always say. Laura had never
quite understood that saying. She had always imagined angel wings as white.
  She watched as they passed through the back streets of Corin, making their
way to the very edge of the city. Then, she settled down in her seat and lost
herself in her book.
  She barely noticed when the bus arrived at her stop and the doors opened.
Someone called her name and she glanced up. Registering where they were, she
rose from her seat, collected her bag and made her way down the aisle.
  There was a noticeable buzzing coming from behind her as she wandered along
the orange dirt road, and she peered over her shoulder to see her dad heading
towards her in his grey Ute. He slowed to a crawl and she moved to the side of
the road, allowing him to pass. He made a face at her though the window and she
grinned, poking out her tongue in return. He laughed and waved, speeding up, leaving
a swirl of dust behind him. Laura picked up her pace, reaching the front door
the same time as him.
 ‘How was your day, Kiddo?’ He asked, holding the door for her.
  ‘Same as always,’ she shrugged as they wandered into the lounge room.
 The TV was on and her mum was reading the newspaper, evidently not paying
attention to the news that was actually
on
the TV.
  ‘Cara,’ her father said, leaning over the back of her chair and planting a
kiss on his wife’s cheek.
  ‘Good day at work?’ She asked, not looking up from the paper.
  He straightened up and loosened his tie, then pulled his jacket from his
shoulders. ‘Bill made a big sale today. His first one since joining the firm,’
he said proudly.
  Bill was an ex-farm hand worker, but when they had run low on money and
couldn’t afford to keep him on, Laura’s father had recommended him to his boss
and his boss had given Bill a chance at the shop.
  Her father was a part-time car salesmen for a small workshop near the
outskirts of the city. Though they lived on a 400 acre beef farm, which
required a large amount of work to maintain, they still had little luck in
bringing in the money needed to get by. The days he was home, labouring on the
farm, Laura’s mother would be in the city working as a receptionist at the Shrine
Hotel.
 ‘That’s excellent, Oliver!’ Cara, exclaimed, finally putting down the paper
and looking up at her husband.
  He grinned widely down at her, his sandy hair falling into his eyes, ‘he was
very pleased.’
 ‘I’m so happy for him. Tell him congratulations from me when you see him
next!’ Cara said reaching up and brushing the hair from his face
affectionately. Oliver placed his hand over hers as she rested it against his
cheek, and something seemed to pass between them.
Oliver let go, and Cara’s hand dropped away, ‘I’m going to wash up for dinner.’
  Laura’s father left the room and she settled down into the couch, reading
once again.
  ‘And how was your day, sweetie?’ Her mother asked, reassuming her own
reading.
  Laura shrugged, ‘same as always.’

Laura broke
off a piece of bread from the roll in front of her and dunked it into the bowl
of tomato soup.
  ‘How was the farm today?’ Oliver asked, taking his place at the head of the
table.
  The table was big enough for six, but Laura was an only child. Deep down, she
thought her parents had wanted more children. Maybe a son. But it had never
happened.
  ‘Good. The cattle were fed this morning and I fixed that fence down near the
edge of Wimerack. I finished off this month’s paperwork too,’ Cara replied
lifting a spoonful of soup to her mouth.
  Laura’s father nodded, ‘good to hear. Can’t have the paper work falling
behind.’
  Oliver lifted his glass to his lips and sent a wink Laura’s way.
  Her eyes gleamed, ‘yes we most certainly can’t have that. Otherwise it’ll be
bed with no food or water.’
  ‘And then we would have to listen to your complaints all night,’ Oliver
continued.
  ‘And that’ll be disturbing our much needed beauty sleep.’
  Oliver turned, flashing his teeth at her. ‘What are you saying? That I’m not
beautiful?’
  The corners of Cara’s eyes crinkled as she suppressed a laugh, ‘oh really you
two you are as bad as each other.’
  Laura’s eyes flickered to her father’s face and the two grinned at one
another.  
  ‘Card’s after dinner?’ he asked Laura.
  ‘You’re on.’

‘You do not
have twenty-one! That is twenty!’ accused Laura.
  Cara watched her husband and Laura from her place on the couch, in the middle
of their very important Friday night game of cards. Tonight, it was thirty-one.
They sat opposite one another, cards flat on the table, and staring each other
down. She was laughing uncontrollably, because as usual, Oliver was cheating.
  Oliver’s hand flew to his chest, ‘I am offended that you would doubt my
mathematical skills.’
  ‘Three tens are thirty.’
  ‘No, a Jack it is actually eleven, not ten,’ her father insisted.
  ‘You liar! I have the rule book right here.’ Laura cried, snatching up the
book from the table. She flipped it open and found the page she needed, ‘see! A
jack is ten.’
  He picked up a pen, reached out, and changed the ‘0’ to a ‘1’ yelping, ‘I
win!’ as he did so.
  Laura’s mouth fell open and she lunged for the closest cushion she could find.
Grasping one tightly, she swung it at her dad, showering cards down over them.
Oliver grabbed for the pillow under Cara’s head. Cara sat up, retreating
quickly from the lounge room while the two battled it out.
  ‘Make sure you put that room back to the way it was!’ Cara called out from
her and Oliver’s bedroom.
  The two stopped, locking eyes, and a grin broke out on their faces. Oliver
put a finger to his lips, and Laura repressed a giggle as they crept down the
hall. In one swift movement, Oliver swung the door open and they barged in, hurdling
onto the bed and attacking Cara with cushions. She shrieked and snatched up her
own pillow, fighting back and laughing.
  ‘You two will be the end of me!’ She mumbled as they flopped down onto the
bed.
  ‘Okay, come on Kiddo, better go clean up the lounge and head to bed.’

Saturday
morning was a hot, bright one. For winter, anyway. Laura settled herself down
on the couch, pretending to read. Really, she was tuning in on her parents
conversation. She had noticed them acting strange lately. Only little things
such as their knowing looks and secretive conversations. She listened to them
talk and laugh with one another while her mother prepared to leave for work.
Nothing out of the ordinary there.
  ‘I’ll see you this afternoon Laura,’ Cara said as she planted a kiss on
Laura’s head before heading for the door.
  ‘I’m going up the mountain this afternoon. So I’ll see you when I get back,’ she
replied.
  Just as she was about to turn back to her book, something seemed to flash
across her mother’s face, and she paused, returning her gaze to her mother. Was
it a look of hope? Or of opportunity? Laura couldn’t be sure.
  It disappeared as quickly as it had arrived and once again her mother was
smiling at her. ‘All right sweetie,’ she had reached the door, and Laura caught
the look that she seemed to send Oliver before she turned back to her daughter,
‘be careful.’
  Laura listened as the two passed through the door, mumbling to one another.
She strained her neck, trying to catch their words.
  ‘Oliver, this afternoon is our only chance,’ her mother said. It sounded like
she was pleading with him.
  ‘I can’t allow it Cara, not this. It’s too much. I love Laura, but we are her
best shot. Who knows if they will even keep their word?’
  ‘They will. They would be banished to hell if they didn’t.’
  Laura heard her father let out a deep sigh, ‘I just- I can’t-‘ his voice
cracked and Laura’s heart began to race. Hell? What were they talking about?
Who were
they
?
  ‘Hey, hey, all right, not this afternoon.’ Cara’s voice was soft, soothing.
  ‘Thankyou.’
  Sweat break out on Laura’s neck and nerves flit through her stomach. She
settled back down into the couch, pretending to read again as she listened to
the car start.
  Her father returned, briefly translating to her that he’d be out fencing most
of the morning and left before Laura could ask a single question.

The blazing sun
had begun to set and a cool evening breeze was sweeping through the trees by
the time Laura had reached the top of Wimerack Mountain on Saturday evening.
The view was magnificent from the peak.
  Laura stood tall, taking in the fresh air, reenergizing herself for the hike
back down later. She welcomed the cool air against her sweaty, hot skin. It
felt nice, refreshing. She loved her home. The unbelievable sight that stood
before her made the sore legs and aching muscles from the climb worth it. She
loved sitting upon the mountain, watching the sun set, allowing her mind to
wander. It was peaceful. She had so much freedom.
  Laura looked down at her own farm house nestled among the trees. As she
watched on, she could see her father out on the tractor feeding the cattle hay.
Her mother was probably inside making up a delicious dinner for that night.
  As her eyes swept over the land, she noticed a sudden flash of light - the
sun reflecting off something.
  It was a small silver car crawling down the driveway. Laura smiled as her Dad
stopped his feeding and went to greet the passengers despite running out of
light to complete his duties.
  She turned away, staring out across the other side of the mountain. There was
an enormous drop on this side. It led down into a rocky, bushy basin of mess.
There was only one way down and if she wanted to take it, it was necessary to
know how to rock climb.
  She hadn’t gone down there yet but she planned to, one day. Her father had
taught her how to rock climb at the big studios in Corin but she had never
actually taken on a real life structure. He had promised her that one day, they
would go together.
  She stretched out her sore limbs and yawned lazily. The sun felt nice as the
last rays of heat from it shone down on her back. She continued to stare
downward into the rocky abyss below, searching for the best route she and her
father could take.
  As she was doing that, she heard the definite sound of a gunshot ring out
across the land. At first she thought that it was someone out hunting. But that
was when she heard it. The scream. The unmistakeable high-pitched cry that
belonged to her mother.

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