Book Five in the Zaria Fierce Series
Summary in a Nut-Shell: Aleks Mickelsen has a new friend, but this white raven is intent on stirring up trouble.
“Whose white raven is this?”
Aleks Mickelsen is a changeling with diminishing magical powers and a complete nuisance for a new pet. For the first time in his life, he’s lost. He led his friends to the wrong place. They might joke about there being worse things to face than disorientation, but comparing what Aleks did to the Wild Hunt breathing down their necks (even if the comparison is somewhat favorable) isn’t all that comforting. Hopefully, Aleks can get his head on straight and get them all back on track to fighting Fritjof, otherwise chaos is going to win.
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Aleks awoke to the sensation of something digging painfully into his side. At least it wasn’t a knock to the head by the bird. He shifted, trying to get comfortable and disturbed whatever was lodged beneath him. It skittered away with a faint tinkling sound. He kept his eyes closed in the effort to not wake up, but now that he was aware, he was cold.
He shivered and half-sat, trying to find where he’d kicked his sleeping bag. Groping blindly, he found nothing on top of his legs. With a mental sigh, he shifted his focus to the side and touched something cold, solid, and damp. Jerking his hand back, Aleks reluctantly pried one eyelid open and looked around.
Darkness pressed in on him. He couldn’t see anything – not even his hand, which he waved in front of his face. He rubbed his arms and lay back down, determined to ignore the cool dampness seeping into his bones. Curling into a ball, he closed his eyes to sleep, but the digging sensation which had woken him had returned, and he couldn’t get comfortable.
With a sigh of disgust, he rolled over and sent a bunch of things skittering. The sound was like a cascade of beans in a rainstick – loud and swift. Unnatural. He bolted upright and searched the dark.
“Geirr? Henrik? Did you hear that?” he asked.
They had to be awake after that racket. Even Filip’s snores had stopped from within the other tent. He strained in the dark to hear if anything else was moving. The quiet that followed was unbroken, and utterly unsettling.
“Something’s wrong,” he said, trying to warn his friends without making any sudden movements.
Nobody answered, worrying him. He swung his hands along the ground and knocked into something. It toppled over with a dull metallic thunk. The stargazer? He checked his pocket. Still there.
“Guys, wake up,” he said. “Hello?”
“Hello?” a new voice echoed. It was vaguely familiar. He felt like he should recognize it, but couldn’t draw upon a face.
He squinted in the direction of the voice, trying to make out who it was. A fairy, most likely. They’d been found. He knew it would happen. Filip wasn’t exactly a subtle sleeper. Maybe they had his friends already. That would explain the silence. Perhaps Zaria’s wish from the first trip down here was still in effect. If so, he’d only be caught if he initiated contact. What to do? Should he say something?
Something pitter-pattered on the floor, scuttling closer. The sound drew to mind horrible images of a critter somewhere between a snake and a spider. A shudder of revulsion swept through him. The pitter-patter came again, and he tensed.
“Who’s there?” he demanded. Knowing was better than this awful waiting.
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E-book ISBN: 978-1-942750-10-9
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-942750-09-3