An excerpt: Call of Kythshire, Book One of the Keepers of the Wellsprings Series
“Rude!” she squeaks, pointing across the room at Rian. “So rude!”
His wide eyes are fixed on her in disbelief as he stands holding the pitcher. He looks at me and snaps his mouth shut. When I kneel down beside the bed to get a closer look, she stands up and flutters her wings until her toes are barely grazing the coverlet. Her lips are pressed tightly together and she brushes at her clothing and bare arms as if trying to clear something away. After a moment, she thrusts her finger back in Rian’s direction.
“Take it off, you! It’s not nice!”
“Uh...” Rian leans away slightly, his mouth hanging open again. He looks at me with wide eyes and his shoulders slowly slide up to his ears. I look back at the fairy, who is now hovering at eye level with me, her nostrils flared in annoyance.
“Um...” I croak, barely able to muster any words through my utter disbelief. I clear my throat and my voice comes a little stronger. “Take what off?” Her light dazzles my eyes and I raise a hand to my brow to shade them. She scoots back in midair and rests a fist on her hip, the other hand still thrust at Rian. She jabs her pointer again.
“Revealer! He put a Revealer on me and I wasn’t ready yet! Take it off!” She darts across the room at him and stabs the tip of his nose with her finger. “Take it off right now!” Rian drops the pitcher and it rolls away from him as he claps a hand over his nose.
“Ow, cut it out.” He ducks away and she chases after him, catching his auburn side lock and tugging it with fury.
“Take it off!” she squeals.
“I don’t know how!” He yanks his hair away, sending her tumbling through the air. She rights herself just beside my head and hovers behind me.
“Typical!” she squeaks, “So typical!” She ducks behind my shoulder and I turn my head slowly to look at her. She’s absolutely smoldering with anger but when Rian takes a step closer, she darts away. “Don’t you come near me, you, you, Mage!” She spits the last word out with distaste.
“You’re real,” I whisper, staring at her. “A real fairy.”
“Well of course I’m a real fairy. I’ve only been sitting in that tin pot of yours for two days now waiting for you to notice me. Which, by the way, stinks of metal. This whole place stinks of metal and smoke and I don’t even know what. Did you know that? The ribbons are nice, though. I wonder how long I’d have stayed in there before you really believed in me. Maybe it’s better he put that spell on me, isn’t it? I mean it could have taken weeks! You’re a little thick, aren’t you?”
“Hey!” Rian warns, and she creeps around to hide behind my other shoulder.
“Well, really. Really, I’ve heard all sorts of things about your kind but I honestly didn’t believe half of it. And now that I’m here I realize it’s mostly true. Especially the part about Mages. I didn’t realize there’d be one so close by. I kind of wish I hadn’t agreed to come after all.” She wrinkles her nose at Rian.
“Well, since no one’s invited you, maybe you should just go!” He rubs his nose and the roots of his tugged hair simultaneously, scowling.
“Well I can’t do that, can I? I just now got back here. I’d have to wait for sunrise to go again. That’d be a waste anyway. Nothing to report. Unless you count utter disregard for my privacy! But they’d already expect that from your kind.” I look between them, trying to focus. There is a fairy in my room. A real one. They exist. I am not crazy, Rian sees her, too. We’re having a conversation with an actual fairy. I think of the dream, and the diamond.
“How long did you say you’ve been here?” I ask her.
“Well, I got here yesterday. So I guess it’s really just a day. But still.” I stoop to collect the pitcher that Rian dropped. The diamond clinks around inside, and I scoop it out to show her.
“Is this from you?” I ask.
“Hmph!” She crosses her arms and turns her shoulder toward me, “I’m not telling you anything with him in here.”
“Rian’s my best friend,” I say. “I’m going to tell him everything you tell me, anyway.” She immediately presses her lips together and shakes her head firmly. I sigh and look at Rian, who all at once seems bemused and insulted. On top of that, his eyes are framed with deep circles. He’s exhausted.
“Ah, I guess I’ll go to bed, then...” his voice trails off as he backs away to the door, his palms open and up. I’m grateful that he decides to use the stairs rather than slip through the wall again, for the fairy’s sake.
“So, Azi, what do you want to know?” She grins and bats her eyes sweetly, completely amiable once she’s sure Rian is gone.
“I...” I sit with my back resting against the bed. This is all so strange. “How do you know my name?” I ask. She comes to hover at my knee, her pretty wings almost invisible as they flutter to keep her aloft.
“Your mother told me.” She answers casually, her eyes fading from blue to lavender. She glances up at the hatch, which I’ve left open, and she flies up to slide it closed. It’s a struggle for her at first and I start to get up to help her, but she manages it on her own and eventually clicks the latch over the bar.
“My mother? When? Do you know where she is?”
“Ah, ah, ah,” she raises a hand to stop me as she drifts back down, “That’s not how we play.” she points at me. “You ask a question,” she points to herself, “and then I ask a question. Then, you. Then, me. Then, you. Then, me. You, me, you, me, you, me. Got it?” She nods sagely and folds her arms. I bite my lip. This is a game to her, but not to me. She’s spoken to my mother. She might know where she is. Still, I doubt she’ll tell me anything unless I play by her rules.
“Fine,” I say, “Your turn.”
“Why are you friends with that stinky Mage?” she wrinkles her nose and rolls her eyes in the direction of Rian’s room.I say, “Your turn.”
“He isn’t stinky. I think he smells wonderful. Like old books and incense.” I smile, and she blinks at me.
“Old books are dead trees. And incense is burnt plants. And you didn’t answer the question.” She scowls. I sigh.
“Rian is my friend because we grew up side by side. We’ve been together through everything for as long as I can remember. He cares about me, and I care about him. He’s a good person.” I glance up at the hatch. I really am lucky to have him in my life.
“Your turn!” She drifts down to stand on my bent knee.
“When did you see my mother?” I ask, barely feeling her there.
“Yesterday. My turn! What’s your favorite color?”
“Blue. Where did you see her?”
“In Kythshire.” She sniffs at the fabric of my trousers and wrinkles her nose, then hovers up again. “Who made the pretty little house for me?”
“Princess Margary.” I pause, thinking, “Is she safe?”
“Is who safe? Princess Margary? How should I know? I haven’t met her. She makes a lovely house though. It really is sweet, with all of the ribbons. Do you think she minds that I’ve taken a few of them?”