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The Mage‘s Heart

The Mage‘s Heart



General Romance

Don't stray from the path…When Siorin encounters a mysterious black-haired mage in the forest on her way to the local good-witch, she knows better than to stray from the path. Doing so would be inviting trouble from the fairy brethren with whom mankind shares their world.His plight, however, moves her, and she rescues him despite misgivings. Rivyn has cast a destiny spell which he believes brought him Siorin, so he doesn't hesitate to steal her, well and truly taking her off her path when he does so.The mage irresistibly draws and seduces Siorin as he leads her on an adventure that transverses their world, encountering all manner of brethren, for Rivyn is on quest is to rebuild his power so that he can return to the Fae Court and reclaim what has been stolen from him.But what Rivyn has lost is not what he needs to seek. Will Rivyn choose his power, or his heart?

Through story, we teach the rules by which we share this world with the brethren. Around the dying coals of the evening fire, we spin tales of naughty children stolen never to return, of the brutal punishment of liars, and of trespassing travellers going astray.

Tales teach us to seek out good-witches to tend to sore teeth or to help with difficult births, and diviners to foretell the weather, but to fear sorcerers or sorceresses who prey upon the unwary, sprites who blight the crops, and mermaids who drown sailors.

Most of all, the tales teach us to fear the Fae with their deceptive beauty, costly altruism, and cruel punishments.


“That is not my child,” my mother’s denial was final and broken. “It’s a changeling.”

The maids had let the fire die down to embers, distracted by the demands of a new baby upon their time, and the cold had seeped into the gloomy room, the dark wood of the furnishings and the floor fading into shadow, and the fragile light captured by the small windows warped and greyed by the thick glass.

My breath hung before me as I fed the hearth from the wood box, shedding splinters of bark to disappear into the shadows of the floor. A spider, inadvertently carried in with the wood, froze when it was exposed and then scurried away, its long hairy legs disappearing back into the pile from which it would, no doubt, launch a surprise attack on one of the maids later. The wood smoked as it caught, carrying damp from having been fetched in from the wood store outside.

Once, this chamber had been elegant and fashionable, with the heavily carved dark wood bed dressed in rich fabrics. The fabrics now had faded and become threadbare, and had not been replaced by new, the occupants of the bed no longer caring about upon which they lay. It was no longer a room for lovers, but a room of disappointed dreams and sorrow.

During my mother’s latest confinement, she had developed a distaste for the interruptions of cleaning, therefore the surfaces were dusty, the floor crunched with debris, and the room carried with it the scent of stale body odour and unemptied chamber pots. The only people happy about mother’s room, were the maids who no longer had to clean it.

My father had taken to sleeping elsewhere most nights.

A winter born babe will have a summer temperament, the wizened grandmas with their toothless gums and twisted fingers remarked upon hearing of the birth of my brother, Fiane. He gave challenge to that with the screams that pierced through the house and out onto the street. He had reason, however, for his grievances.

“Now, Narie,” my father’s voice barely carried over the babe’s cries. My father was a handsome man, gone slightly to seed. His belt did not tie as tightly as it once had, and his dark hair held more silver, but he still carried the broad-shouldered height of his youth, and his strong boned face carried his beard well.

He held the screaming baby against his shoulder, his big hand cradling Fiane’s head. I could see the little face, screwed up and reddened with fury, and smell the soiled rags he wore. So new to the world, and so hungry for his mother’s milk and love, but my mother would have none of it.

“We’ve put out milk and honey every night, and his basinet has red ribbon. No one has done anything to anger the Fae Court or any of their critters, have they, Siorin?” My father turned to me.

“No, father,” the floorboards had a chip in them that caught my skirt as I rose, and I pulled a face as the material tore. I would have to darn it before it frayed.

“See, Narie,” he turned back to my mother.

She laid herself back against the soiled cushions, her face pale against the night darkness of her hair, her one remaining beauty. Years of miscarriages and stillbirths had stolen the colour from her skin, the light from her eyes, and the flesh from her bones. She was feverish. The birth had not been easy for her. She had not allowed the maids to wash her since, nor brush out the long locks of hair, and the tangles were beginning to matt in a way that might be unsalvageable.

“He’s not mine, Hylan,” she whispered. “The Fae Court have stolen my baby. You must believe me.” Her nightdress was soddened with the milk she refused to give to the hungry baby. She smelled of body odour, illness, old blood, and now sour cream. I kept to the fireplace, nearest to the chamber door, where the smell of the chamber and my mother was less poignant.

My father sighed and his chin dropped to his chest as he pondered the problem. “Alright, Narie,” he sighed, wearily. “You give me no choice.” He wrapped the baby in the blanket lovingly woven by my mother during her first pregnancy, and used briefly in infancy by myself, and not since. My father met my eyes as he walked from the room. There was a desperate despair in his expression, a terrible grief, and a farewell.

I ran to the window as the front door slammed, rattling the trinkets on my mother’s dresser. Through the small, rippled diamond shaped panes of glass, I could see my father, his cloak dark over his shoulders, striding off down the street. The afternoon was fading into evening, but his passage with the screaming child brought the neighbours to the windows and onto their stoops, and I saw him pause to answer a query, shaking his head grimly.

A sparrow had made a nest on the window frame, and there were three little speckled eggs caught in the weave of fine sticks and down feathers. I wonder where the parent sparrow had gone, or if, like my father, they had left not intending to return.