*ALERT! This is part 3 of a 6 part story. “In Whom You Trust” is a prequel to the Champion of the Sidhe series, an urban fantasy adventure. This prequel is free for you to enjoy, and has been posted on 6 websites as part of a blog hop to promote the series. Begin your journey at Fey Cast for part 1. Follow the links at the bottom of each section to go to the next part of the story. Check out the details posted with part 1 of the story to find out how to register for part of an awesome giveaway prize package.*
In Whom You Trust - Chapter 3
by S.A. Archer
At Kaitlin’s insistence, they detoured to a shop in the fey town that thrived just beyond the castle walls. Lugh gallantly refrained from any comment about the importance of clothes shopping when she had, mere moments earlier, expressed the significance of her quest. Kaitlin found for Lugh clothing very similar to what she herself wore. In short order Lugh was clad in a black cotton undershirt and a hooded sweat shirt with a zipper up the front. The denim jeans hung a tad looser from his narrow hips than he was comfortable with, but Kaitlin insisted that this was the proper manner for contemporary fashions. The running shoes were actual imports from the surface and not created in the Mounds to mimic human clothing, as was the rest of what he wore.
Once he was properly attired, Kaitlin rose up on her toes to pull the hood over his head and cover his ears. He inquired, “Would not Glamour be sufficient?”
“You can’t always be certain about Glamour,” she avoided eye contact after that statement. It didn’t bode well that she’d have that insight.
In the next moment she teleported them away from the Mounds to the surface world above. The early morning glow of first light broke through the clouds in the east, and Lugh paused to experience the moment. The sun. His sun. Standing before the sunrise now, he inhaled the air deeply, and almost immediately suppressed a cough. Even in this field where she’d brought them he caught the scent of industry and autos. The illusion of the sun in the Mounds was by his magic, and though he cherished the rare times he came to commune with the true sun, the very aspect of his personal magic, the prevalence of toxins marred the perfection. One of the many reasons the fey of the Mounds were content staying home.
Kaitlin tugged at his elbow, turning him around to face the small gathering of vehicles situated in lines on a yard of crushed stones. Ah, the source of the stench. Lugh maneuvered about the autos, drawn by Kaitlin, until they crossed to the street side of the yard. It struck him as odd to have a large and random collection of autos in the midst of nothing but fields. The people milling about all appeared human. As various groups finished fussing with their gear, they hiked along a paved walkway toward a structure of some kind.
Not a structure, actually…
Lugh’s body stilled utterly, until even his magic seemed to paused for a beat.
With too many people close enough to eavesdrop; Lugh curled an arm around Kaitlin. He drew her against him and then hugged her in an iron embrace from which she could not easily squirm. His gaze never ceased to scan about them for the slightest hint of danger. With his lips against her ear he hissed, “Stonehenge? You brought us to Stonehenge? Are you determined to perish in the most spectacular fashion conceivable? Or are you just completely oblivious to the dangers of the wizard kind?”
“They don’t watch it like they used to. And besides, we’re in disguise.” She twisted to free herself but he didn’t allow it. “It’s not like it’s Samhain or even Lughnasadh.” She mentioned the High Holiday named after, and in celebration of, Lugh himself. “These are just tourists. Just regular people.”
“We’re leaving now,” he growled.
“This might be the last chance, Lugh. If Manannan gets his way, the courts will unify today.” She leaned back in his embrace, eyes pleading. “This is the last chance to find Aoife, and maybe stop this. Please? We’ll be here for no more than an hour. I swear it.”
“If I spot one wizard, just one…”
“You’ll drag my arse kicking and screaming back to the Mounds, I know, I know.” This time he permitted her to wriggle away and straighten her clothing as she regained her dignity.
By the standing stones in the distance tents were being raised and music began to filter across the field. “Is there to be a celebration?”
A woman close by heard his question and cheerfully announced, “Riley is here!” The energy in the group around her spiked as they all started speaking at once, praising the wide and varied merits of this ‘Riley’ person. Someone spouted the word ‘druid’ and Lugh’s eyes locked with Kaitlin.
A few of the lads expounded upon the ‘cool magic’ that the druid could perform. How he commanded real power. How he was showing his followers the ‘old paths.’
All the while Lugh’s expression remained faultless, nothing but pleasant to those that did not know him. No one but Kaitlin would see the faintest notion of what he was thinking, and under the pressure of his even stare the younger Sidhe finally broke. “It’s not what you think,” she whispered to him, then cast a smile over her shoulder at the human, so they would not suspect the seriousness of this conversation. “Just trust me.”
“As you said before,” his voice soft and for her sharp ears only, “It is not about trusting you, but in whom you trust.”
“Just…” She shifted from one foot to the other, and then back again. “Just hang back. Ok? Just trust me,” she repeated, and then finally begged, “Please? You promised to behave.”
She was taking his promise in the broadest possible interpretation. Or perhaps, in Seelie fashion, she was attempting to persuade him into believing he’d made such a promise, but he knew the words he’d spoken. ‘Behaving’ wasn’t among them. “I always keep my promises.”
*Before you move on to the next part of the story, make sure to place a comment below to enter into the giveaway! You have to comment on all 6 parts to be eligible to win. The next part of the story can be found at Gathering Leaves. And THANK YOU for joining us on this blog hop!*
Other posts on my blog dedicated to S.A. Archer and his books: