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Cast a Shadow of Doubt

A Story of the Eleriannan

by Christiane Knight

Cast a Shadow of Doubt - Christiane Knight - The Eleriannan
Part of the Stories of the Eleriannan series:
Editions:Paperback - Paperback: $ 14.99
ISBN: 978-1-7368503-3-6
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Pages: 276
Kindle - Kindle: $ 4.99
ISBN: B09PSKZ2V6
ePub - ePub: $ 4.99
ISBN: 978-1-7368503-2-9

Lucee Fearney legitimately inherited the leadership of the Fae faction known as Eleriannan, but what will happen when they find out that she still only has the magical skills of a Mortal?


When unexpected, dangerous visitors show up at the door of Maithe House, they bring word of an enemy that none of the Fae know how to fight. Even if Lucee can learn to trust herself and lean on her friends for help, will it be enough to take down the powerful and mysterious foe  known as the Mealladhan?

Rejoin Lucee, Cullen, Merrick, Vali, Sousa, and all the other Mortal-born and Fae of Baltimore in another magical, musical adventure! Now with 100% more outdoor summer music festivals, uncanny graffiti, and shadowy forces.

Excerpt:

The bolt of energy was a crackling beam of blue-tinged lightning, and it arced through the air as it caught Lucee off-guard and sent her flying backwards. She hit the ground with an audible “oof” followed by an exasperated groan. That groan didn’t come from Lucee, though. It was an expression of long-suffering frustration from the one who had blasted her, and she knew she merited it.

She used to hate seeing the look of disappointment on her boyfriend Cullen’s handsome face because she was afraid he’d realize that she was nothing like how he saw her. Now, she was just tired of being a failure, and even more exhausted by his efforts to teach her how to handle magic. She couldn’t seem to get a grip on how it all worked and the longer it went on, the less she felt motivated to try. That lack of motivation was starting to show in their practice sessions, and Lucee felt like she was trapped in a loop of diminishing returns.

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Cullen crossed the yard to her and offered a hand up. Lucee took it ruefully and pulled herself up off the ground. She sighed as she caught a flash of pink on the warm brown skin of her arm, and realized she’d scraped herself up nicely from her fall.

“You’ve got every right to be angry with me. I just can’t seem to get this. I feel so stupid,” she confessed.

“Lucee, you are not stupid! That is what is so frustrating. I know you can do this.” Some of his blond hair had escaped the loose ponytail at the nape of his neck, and he moved it out of his eyes, tucking it behind one pointy ear. “It feels like you have not improved at all since we started these sessions. Tell me the truth—are you practicing?”

“Remember when we used to flirt, Cullen? That was fun. Even when things were the worst, you always believed in me.” Lucee turned away from Cullen and focused on the ground. She didn’t want him to see her self-loathing, her disgust at her lack of ability to grasp what he was trying to teach her.

“Hey.” He touched her shoulder tentatively, but she wouldn’t meet his eyes. “Hey now, Lucee. I still believe in you. That is why I asked if you have been practicing, because I know you can do this. And I know you hate feeling inadequate, you will do anything to avoid that feeling.”

“Ow, that was uncomfortably close to a direct hit. I know you didn’t mean it that way. I know. But could you just—could you just not?” She tried to hold back tears, and mostly succeeded.

Cullen’s shoulders sagged a little. “The last thing I want to do is hurt you. I wish I understood you better, so I could just tell you how to overcome this and be your hero when you did it perfectly. I do not know how to teach you, I’m afraid. I thought I could do it; I even risked angering The Ladies by insisting that I was up to the task. They will gloat when they hear me admit that I was wrong and they were right. That will perhaps make them more charitable with you, at least.”

Lucee sighed and twirled one of her acid green and black braids of hair around her finger, tugging it lightly. It was a nervous tic, but one that never failed to make Cullen smile. She finally managed to meet his gaze and decided humor was the way to break the tension.

“I’m not looking forward to switching teachers, you know. The current one is much handsomer than the alternatives.”

It worked; his smile widened and he pulled her into a hug. Lucee let it happen, grateful for a moment where she felt secure and confident. She took a deep breath and rested her head against his shoulder. He smelled of oakmoss and lavender, as always. It was a soothing scent that she knew she would smell on her own clothes later. He kissed the top of her head, and she gave him a gentle squeeze. He was always doing his best to support her, she just wished that she could live up to that.

“I hate to break the mood,” she sighed, “But a responsible version of me would be insisting that we go talk to The Ladies now, before she lost her nerve. And I guess that responsible version had better be in charge right now.”

The first time that Lucee met The Ladies, she had been afraid of them. Her best friend, Merrick, had tangled with The Ladies on the first day he met the Eleriannan, after crashing a Halloween party at their house. One of them had forced her way into his head and tried to push his boundaries so that he would submit. He told Lucee that it had felt like a fight for his life, and he had basically spent the entire time trying to hide his secret thoughts. After Merrick had shared this tale, Lucee had been understandably wary. The Ladies would have agreed with her fear, had she revealed it to them.

They were small in stature, but quite intimidating. At first glance, they appeared to be young women, about twelve years of age, dressed in clothes that were wholly inappropriate for their youth. They favored corsets, plunging necklines, and dresses that might be considered High Gothic in style. That was the first unsettling thing about them. But only when you got closer to them did things really start to get weird. For one, their skin was covered in hairline cracks. It reminded Lucee of old porcelain dolls, with the crazing that happened with age. Their eyes were also a bit creepy. Sometimes they were dark pools that felt like you could fall into them and never escape. Other times, they were as green as a slime-covered pond.

The Ladies were always found together. Lucee and Merrick had often wondered if they were actually one being split into three bodies, each with their own names. Most often Morgance was the leader with Morgandy and Ula following and adding commentary. Morgandy was least likely to speak, but she was uncommonly insightful when she did.

After some searching, Lucee and Cullen found The Ladies in the Tower room, sitting in three chairs of green velvet that were arranged to face another similar chair. It seemed to Lucee like they had been waiting there for a while, and they made it clear immediately that she was correct.

“It is about time you thought to come to us,” Morgance said. “We knew it would have to be this way. This one,” she gestured with a small hand in Cullen’s direction, “is never going to be able to tutor you properly.” Her
expression held a whisper of contempt, as if she found it insulting that he’d even thought to try.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

Christiane Knight is an artist, poet, writer, and author of the novel series Stories of the Eleriannan.
A former club and FM radio DJ, Christiane’s love of dark subculture and music infuses her stories and characters. Her novels are set in the Fae infused version of her already quirky hometown, Baltimore MD. She is a lifelong enthusiast of faerie, folktales, forests and fauna, especially combined in copious amounts with all-black clothing and some Joy Division or Bauhaus playing in the headphones.