Of Fae and Flames (ebook)
Releases June 25th.
He’s an immortal fae knight, she’s a cursed warrior. To save their people from annihilation, they must go where the living have never gone before.
Available in ebook format only.
Every few years, the swarm comes, a terrifying pestilence that consumes the living. One sting from the deadly creatures brings not death, but something much worse. . .
Every few years, Rainer, a fae knight sworn to protect the mountains, prepares his people to lose everything.
No one knows why they come, and no one can stop them.
Except for her.
Zelma is a warrior, sent to find the legendary firedrakes in the mountain. Instead, she’s attacked by the swarm and left to die.
When she awakens in the hall of the fae knight, she’s determined to continue her quest.
However, the sting has changed her and new, frightening abilities awaken.
Afraid of becoming the target of the fae knight’s wrath, she fights to control her magic as they travel into the heart of the mountains.
Will Rainer and Zelma save their people? Or will her magic kill them first?
Of Fae and Flame is a complete, stand-alone short story set in the Nomadia universe.
(Battle of the Books participants receive this book for free)
Chapter One: Zelma
I sat up, shaking and sweating. The air was clammy and vibrated with a low hum. Sucking in a deep breath to calm my thumping heartbeat, I watched the night move. The air was visible, the fog gray and clammy, and it was all too easy to envision shapes hiding in that darkness, waiting to break through. My dream flashed before me, and I swallowed hard. I was a warrior. I shouldn’t be so jumpy. But everything was eerie and odd and that humming wouldn’t stop.
“What is it?” I whispered, my voice carrying to Liam’s ears.
He was still, too still. I could just make out his hulking figure. At last his shoulders slumped, and he pivoted, turning halfway to toss words back over his shoulder. “I don’t know, but I don’t like it.”
My lips trembled as I pressed them together, seeking the safety of my blade. It’s why I’d learned to fight and took up the way of the warrior. I always felt safer with my blade. As if nothing could harm me.
“Me either.” Rising, I rolled up my bedroll. No matter what time it was, I wasn’t going back to sleep. Not after that nightmare. “Rest, I’ll keep watch.”
Fear made me edge closer to him than I should have, the bulk of his presence protecting me from the unknown. Liam didn’t notice as he tossed himself on the ground. I walked back and forth, peering at the fog, trying not to think of my nightmare.
The humming continued, even as the golden sunlight burned away the gray fog, making the muted colors of the landscape visible again. We packed up and walked after a scant breakfast, hoping for a sign of the river. My gut twisted as we continued up the sloping hills into more barren land. Dust kicked up under our feet, blown away by the invisible wind. It got in my nose and itched, making me want to sneeze.
All the while, the humming grew louder until it felt as if the ground were shaking. It was in our ears, buzzing in our skulls, and I wanted nothing more than the noise to go away.
It was midday when Ethan pointed. “Look at that cloud.”
A blur of darkness rose from the north, a black storm cloud, a herald of foul weather. It wasn’t impossible for summer storms to whip up without warning, but I’d seen nothing like it. I sniffed the air for the bitter tang of ozone, a hint a water, a taste of sulfur, but there was none. This storm wasn’t natural.
Liam finger his blades. “I don’t think that’s a storm.”
Bode, who was carrying the bow, nocked an arrow into it.
My eyes darted across the landscape. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Stunted trees bent over, branches dragging on the ground. “What’s that?” I pointed.
“Looks like a depression,” Ethan said.
“Let’s make for it, I don’t see anywhere else to shelter from the storm.”
We ran and the humming intensified. I pressed my hands against my ears as we reached the depression, cursing when I realized it was what had been a river, dry as a bone. Even the mud at the bottom was cracked and hard, as though years ago a drought had drained it. It was not a good hiding place, but there was nowhere else. Above me the land sloped up gently, but I couldn’t see anything beyond that black cloud.
It rolled toward us swiftly. Pressing my hands to my ears to relieve the pain of the hum, I watched it, a lump swelling in my throat. Liam was right. It was no storm.
As it neared, silver wings became visible, moving at an impossible speed. The throbbing buzz came from them, deep-throated and booming as if they were speaking to each other with that sound. It ripped through my skull, tore through my ears until I wanted to shriek aloud with them.
Winged beasts flew toward us, so many they covered the sky and soon it was black, black as my dreams, black as night without a moon or stars. My fingers went to my blades as the buzzing increased, and then they were upon us.
I didn’t have a chance to shout, to tell the men to fight. There was no cover, no saving us.
Ripping my daggers free, I brought them straight up, slicing through fat, round bodies. Blood and guts rained down on my head, burning as they touched bare skin. I hissed, but adrenaline surged through me, caught in the moments of battle. White hot pain shot up my arm, burning, numbing my fingers.
With a cry I shook my arm, wondering if I still held my blade. I swiped with my good arm until another sharp pain went through my leg as though I was being stung. That numbness came again, and then a horrible agony. Gritting my teeth, I forced my numb arm to move, but it felt as though it were on fire, a blaze coursing through my body.
My legs buckled, even though I tried to stay upright. Once you went down, it was much harder to rise again, to win the fight. But there was no winning against the winged beasts. They struck again and again until I couldn’t feel my limbs. I couldn’t see Liam or Ethan or Bode. Were they faring as badly as I?
The hum was within me, it was part of me, and as my sight darkened and my blood slowed, I was aware of one fact. Help wouldn’t come for my brother in the village, the mages would take over with their unnatural magic. The firedrakes would never know we’d come for help. We’d failed.
Scroll up to pre-order now.
About the Author
Angela J. Ford is an international bestselling epic fantasy author who has written and published over 20 books and sold over 34,000 copies . Her books have been ranked bestsellers in multiple categories.
She enjoys traveling, hiking, and playing World of Warcraft with her husband. First and foremost, Angela is a reader and can often be found with her nose in a book.