Authors: Gillian Philip
Strident Publishing Ltd
22 Strathwhillan Drive
The Orchard, Hairmyres
East Kilbride G75 8GT
Tel: +44 (0)1355 220588
Published by Strident Publishing Limited, 2012
Text © Gillian Philip, 2012
Cover art by LawrenceMann.co.uk
The moral rights of the author and illustrator have been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Typeset in Bembo by
Palimpsest Book Production Limited, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
Printed by Cox & Wyman
The publisher acknowledges support from Creative Scotland towards the publication of this title
For Lucy and Jamie and for Hayley Nicol, who approved of the kelpies a long time ago
This is another one that wouldn’t cooperate. The people who helped me wrestle it into submission through many a tiresome draft included Tanya Wright, Pam Fraser and Derek
Allsopp, and I’ll love them forever.
Thank you, Steven Allsop, for the Lammyr Sleekshard – you know I adore those monsters.
Lucy Coats is an angel, rebel or otherwise, who fluttered down almost at the last minute and gave me a lot of much-appreciated suggestions, nudges, and slaps. Thank you, foxy lady. *ENORMOUS
Elizabeth Garrett gave me, yet again, space and time at the unearthly-beautiful Cliff Cottage.
Alison Stroak is a brilliant, lovely, understanding editor who listened to me whine like an unhappy wolf at the most ungodly hours of day and night. She’s a sanity-saver.
Lawrence Mann at One Mann Brand is a telepath who is not only enormously talented but knows exactly what my characters look like. And this time he stripped Seth to a t-shirt, bless him.
Keith Charters is the most patient publisher I know, and was willing to put up with my hysterical havering and delays till what had to be the very last minute.
And my good friends on Twitter and Facebook soothed my fevered brow, sent me margaritas through cyberspace, and made me laugh so often, this book probably took even longer than it should have.
Bless you, terrible tweeps.
Thank you, all of you.
Queen of the Sithe, by consent.
Seth MacGregor (Murlainn)
Son of Griogair and Lilith; half brother to Conal
Jed Cameron (Cuilean)
Full mortal; half-brother to Rory
Seth’s son and Jed’s half-brother
A girl from the otherworld
Witch, mother of Conal and bound lover of Griogair
Griogair MacLorcan (Fitheach)
Father of Conal and Seth
Conal MacGregor (Cù Chaorach)
Son of Griogair and Leonora
Stella Shiach (Reultan)
Half-sister to Conal; daughter of Leonora
Bound lover of Stella (Reultan)
Daughter to Stella and Aonghas
Lover of Conal
Eili’s twin brother; Seth’s best friend since childhood
Liath & Branndair
Wolf-familiars of Conal and Seth
Clann Captain of Dunster
Gocaman & Suil
Watchers at the otherworld watergates
Orach, Taghan, Braon,Sorcha, Eorna, Fearna, Carraig, Gruaman, Sulaire (cook), Grian (healer)
Fighters of Seth’s clann
A captain of Kate’s clann
Full-mortal Captain of Kate’s clann
Cuthag, Gealach, Turlach
Fighters of Kate’s clann
A blast from the past
Gillian Philip was born in Glasgow but has spent much of her life in Aberdeen, Barbados and a beautiful valley near Dallas (not that one). Before turning to full-time writing,
she worked as a barmaid, theatre usherette, record store assistant, radio presenter, typesetter, hotel wrangler, secretary, political assistant, and Celtic-Caribbean singer.
She has been nominated for a Carnegie Medal and a David Gemmell Legend Award, and shortlisted for many awards including the Royal Mail Scottish Book Award. Her favourite genres are fantasy and
crime (her novels include Bad Faith, Crossing The Line and The Opposite of Amber), and she has written as one of the Erin Hunters (Survivors) and as Gabriella Poole (Darke Academy).
She lives in the north-east Highlands of Scotland with husband Ian, twins Jamie and Lucy, Cluny the Labrador, Milo the Papillon, Otto the half-Papillon (guess how that happened), Buffy the
Slayer Hamster, psycho cats The Ghost and The Darkness, Mapp and Lucia the chickens, and several nervous fish. She is not getting any more pets. No way.
The purple drops shall tinge the moon,
As she wanders through the midnight noon;
And the dawning heaven shall all be red
With blood by guilty angels shed.
Then here’s for trouble and here’s for smart,
And here’s for the pang that seeks the heart;
Here’s for madness, and here’s for thrall,
And here’s for conscience, the worst of all.
ames Hogg: A Witch’s Chant
In a world the colour of moonstone, anything might lurk. There was light, and plenty of it, but it was the milky whiteness of a blinded eye. He could see nothing. The mist lay
low over the mere, silencing everything.
Fir-tops were outlined in softest grey, high up behind him. There were grasses and reeds at his feet. That was all he could see of his surroundings, and he had no plans to move.
Reluctant even to breathe the murk, Turlach stood entirely still. The sheer effort of that and the grating of his nerves made his heart hammer, and he was forced to suck in a harsh breath. It
tasted of dank water, of weed-rot and mud. He wanted to spit.
He’d lost his bearings a little, but he knew where he was, that was the important thing. He knew how far the dun was, and his chances of making it there, and if he chose his direction
well, and moved silently and fast, he could get there within hours.
Still, it was something of a gamble. He didn’t want to choose badly.
They were close behind him, he knew that. There were two of them in pursuit; they were not dear friends of his, and they had brought none along. Nobody else knew. Nobody knew where he was. Or
Turlach shivered. The dampness made his throat rasp.
Iolaire had not been caught and dragged back to the queen’s fortress; Iolaire had made it to the safety of enemy territory. But those two years ago, Iolaire had been on horseback, and
he’d ridden out in weather you could see through, and they hadn’t known he wasn’t coming back. Anyway, they’d known they could kill him later. They’d lost Iolaire;
they’d spawned a renegade, and they hated that. Everyone hated
But with him, with Turlach, it mattered in bigger ways than love and loyalty and pride.
Funny that he hadn’t considered going to Kate NicNiven with what he knew: he’d simply left, and as fast as he could. But then even if the queen balked at Cuthag’s plan, Turlach
knew in his bones the idea would entice her. Gods knew where Cuthag had found the outcast, or why, but Kate had always had a fascination with the man even as she sat in judgement on him, which was
often. She’d always regretted the punishments she was forced to impose; had shown a tangible longing to have him back in her fold. The queen might resist Cuthag’s pledges and promises,
but only for a little while, and only for show. Turlach did not want to be the one to argue.
So the outcast was coming back. As soon as Turlach had come across him in the deepest passageways of the fortress, as soon as he’d overheard the man’s bragging talk and
Cuthag’s laughter, he’d known this was his first and last chance to leave.
He wished he’d been quieter about it, that was all.