Summary in a Nut-Shell: Aleks Mickelsen has a lot on his plate: Can he find and stop a dragon? Can he wrangle the fairy courts together under his leadership? Can he keep his sweetheart’s father from murdering him?
Newly proclaimed king over all fey, Aleks Mickelsen is a changeling with a lot on his mind and many enemies breathing down his neck. The fey realm of Niffleheim is rife with danger. A terrible dragon by the name of Fritjof, is intent on causing chaos, pitting the fey against each other and starting an interspecies war, just for the chance of freedom. Aleks’ biological father wants him to abdicate the throne, or else. And he has to impress the father of the girl of his dreams or his head will be knocked off his shoulders. What’s a bloke to do?
Excerpt from Working Draft:
Emerging from the bowels of the fey realm, Aleks led the way to the Autumn Court. It was probably unnecessary at this point to take the lead, but as the group’s navigator it was an ingrained habit. They hadn’t made it very far into the plains when spears with sharp narrow heads thunked point-down in the ground all around them, trapping them in a circle.
“We have to keep creating distance,” Henrik said, grabbing a spear from the earth and lobbing it back.
The dwarves raised round wooden shields, deflecting the attack. As more joined them, the women spread out, spears and axes ready in hand.
“We’re sitting ducks,” Zaria shouted, zapping a hooked spear away from her. It disappeared into thin air, arriving where, Aleks knew not.
A set of spears, one barbed, one hooked, shot towards her. She did the same to them as she had the first spear, and retaliated by tossing a fireball at the battalion. They ducked, throwing up their shields, but Zaria had purposefully aimed high to avoid hurting their foes.
“We have to snuff our lanterns. It’s the only way!” cried Filip. “Turn off your stargazer, Aleks.”
He did, clicking a button within a star cutout on the egg-shaped device. His friends likewise took care of their lanterns, deliberately shattering them against the ground. After a brief flare of light as oil and fuel burned bright, the world went dark and Aleks had to clear spots from his vision.
It was still nighttime, somewhere past midnight, and no sun shone through from the surface. The scalloped icy ceiling over the plains offered no hint of recourse. In an instant the tides had turned, and their attackers were on the defensive.
The all-female dwarf unit came to a stumbling, crashing halt. Aleks couldn’t see it, but he pictured it like the cartoons he watched growing up, one running into another and causing a chain reaction, sending everyone toppling. Dwarves shouted and groaned, hurling insults at one another like spears. Some clearly landed and were as barbed as some the real ones lobbed in their direction.
The dwarves had relied on the light generated by them to direct their attacks. Without it, the soldiers were as blind as Aleks and his friends, unable to move for knocking into someone or tripping over the uneven ground. However, Aleks and his friends were quiet, essentially invisible to any straining ears near the sensory onslaught happening by the entrance, whereas without having to try he and his friends knew where the dwarves were in the cavern.
Zaria touched his sleeve, causing him to jump. “Easy,” she whispered, leaning close. “Do you think you can led us in the dark?”
Aleks’ fairy power was the ability to navigate on instinct. He always knew where he was going… well, he used to know. Lately, however, his magic wasn’t always right at hand. He’d taken his friends down many wrong turns and paths, but they’d always forgiven him and he knew they had his back.
The inner debate lasted a few seconds. Could he lead them? Glitchy powers or not, Aleks felt certain he could. This was a path he’d taken a few times, so he had a pretty solid idea of what to expect and where to go. Instead of giving a verbal answer that might give their position away to the nearby dwarves, he took Zaria’s small slender hand in his and tugged her forward in the dark. She understood him, like she always did, and followed without hesitation.