Linda is back with RBY and this time it’s in short story form. Here is a bit of Black Magic as a taste of Halloween. If you like this one, you need to check out her YA novel, Phoenix Tears sold at our very own store here 🙂 The art by Anthony Tran from Unsplash goes rather well, too.
We bring you…
Linda M Crate
Reality could be a ruthless place. Essy knew this better than anyone else in her family. Her mother had died and been forgotten by her father who married a wicked woman, and they had two children of their own in addition to the one spoiled brat the woman had already had.
Fittingly, the wicked faerie’s name was Jezebel. But if Jezebel thought she was the only one that could be cruel, she was terribly wrong. Essy would make her pay for making her life a living hell for centuries.
Essy couldn’t even visit her father anymore because dealing with that horrible woman was too much.
Brushing black hair from her purple eyes, she stepped into the lands of the Unseelies. She knew they were dangerous, cruel, and vicious. She knew that most Seelies would avoid them like the plague, but she needed help in taking her vengeance upon Jezebel. None of Essy’s friends had agreed to help her so she was going to take matters into her own wings.
Her wings were dark purple like her eyes with the intricate designs of crescent moons and two-headed dragons upon them in silver.
“A two-headed dragon, eh? Those must be rare among Seelies. Aren’t you supposed to be the nice faeries?” came a male voice from the shadows.
She spun around quickly to find herself face-to-face with the eldest of the Unseelie faerie princes Johanne Von Wrath. Everyone knew Johanne because he didn’t only torment humans but faeries, as well.
He seemed amused by her very presence there. “It doesn’t seem as if you walked into my parent’s kingdom by accident, either. So what brings you to this place which could be detrimental to your health?”
“I need some help getting rid of a faerie I am not particularly fond of. Not all Seelies have hearts as pure as the sun. I probably did once, but I cannot remember, it is so long ago,” Essy answered.
The Unseelie prince cackled. “You’re amusing. Do you have a name?”
“I am Essy Vanderskilt.”
“Isn’t your father the one that married my mother’s uncle’s cousin’s sister’s once lover’s daughter?”
“I have no idea,” Essy blinked. “How would I be able to keep track of all that nonsense?”
“Now, now,” Johanne remarked, grabbing Essy’s face into his hands. “Be nice to the people who are helping you cast nightmares, mind your manners. I am a prince, after all. Describe this woman to me.”
Essy gave him a defiant look, trying to pull away, but he refused to release her face. He smirked at her nastily, and Essy knew it was just better to give him the information he demanded rather than fight. He was far stronger than her, and she didn’t want to pay for her mistake of coming here.
“She, unlike many of our kind, is short with long thick blonde wispy hair that falls in soft waves of curls and eyes blue and dark as sapphires. Her wings are shaped like—.”
“Oak leaves in an emerald green with the designs of shrews and full moons in a pale scream of yellow that seems to offend her hair?”
“Yes, tis the woman who thought to make a mockery of my mother and father. They hadn’t forgiven her for it. If I had known where she was living all this time wasn’t just a rumor, I may have already stumbled into the wench and made her pay for everything she took from my mother. For when I say she made a mockery of my parents, she destroyed their wings so neither of them could fly. You know how embarrassing it is for them to have to rely on the wings of others to help them in battle despite their immense and vast knowledge of spells and magic?!” he shouted, mere inches from her face.
Essy blinked at him.
“Right, right, I’m taking my rage out on the wrong person,” Johanne breathed. His ebony wings had the designs of a three-headed wolf and a crescent moon that looked as if it were dripping blood? That was the first time she had noticed that detail. Johanne followed her gaze, smirking. “It is RARE even for our kind,” he smirked, winking.
Essy looked away, feeling her face heat in a blush. He was handsome in both appearance and his deep, sultry voice. She, however, hadn’t come here to be intimidated or seduced by him.
“I’ll help you.”
“You’re not going to charge me anything?”
“Well, you could never give me anything monetarily valuable,” he remarked, twirling around her. His own obsidian hair seemed much darker than even the darkest night now that she observed it so close up. “But you are pretty,” he observed maybe an inch from her face. His eyes were so black that she thought that ravens would be jealous. Yet there was emotion and depth in them. The fire burning in his eyes certainly wasn’t heavenly, though, and she could sense that from a mile away.
“Don’t rush me,” he remarked, smelling her hair. “Lavender,” he said, fondly. Johanne locked eyes with her. “Everything comes at a price, magic and alliances are never free.” He eyed her almost in a defiant way, a vicious and nefarious smirk crossing over his features. “I’ll help you if…”
Essy didn’t like the way he was stringing her along, making her wait for his next word. Why couldn’t he just sing like a canary and easily spell out exactly what he wanted? She found her patience was waning like a moon.
Turning away from the wicked princess, she squared her shoulders, giving him a defiant look of her own. “You can tell me or I’ll leave,” she informed him, shortly.
“If you leave I’ll call my father’s hounds on you and then your pretty little body will be so broken that I would almost feel bad, and you wouldn’t want that, would you?” Johanne demanded, eyes glittering nastily.
Essy gulped. Perhaps, she had gotten in above her head. She didn’t know if she could swim at these depths. She had always been a good swimmer but even swimmers drowned.
She realized why her father made that comment now. As a child she thought it had been literal rather than figurative, and though it sometimes could be the case it wasn’t what her father was referencing. In a situation where she could easily be drowned, she realized exactly what he had meant.
“So what made you hate Jezebel so much?”
“I saw her poison my mother with my own eyes so she could be my father’s bride. She then threatened my twin and I to remain silent about it or she would make us pay the ultimate price. My sister Derrida didn’t believe her and went to tell my father. He blamed it on an overactive imagination, but just days later Derrida was found dead. The healers all were corrupt liars who said that she died of a rare disease that fed on magic, but I knew that Jezebel had killed her, as well. She took my heaven and gave me hell. Her daughter Elizabeth whom they affectionately call Lizzy or Liz made matters worse for me. She always spoke of Derrida and what an unintelligent fool she was, knowing how much I missed my sister, and Jezebel chimed in. She took my father from me, too, for he sided with her after a time and told me that I should be a more obedient and submissive daughter for she was kind and righteous and I was cruel as my mother was. But my mother was never cruel.”
Johanne nodded. “Sounds like Jezebel. She always liked living up to her name. She once made a man blind for her own sick amusement not because he had done anything to her, and since he was my uncle’s lover I cannot quite forgive her for that.”
“Taker of wings, of lives, and eyes? She’s a messed up piece of work, isn’t she?”
“Even for an Unseelie and that’s saying something as we’re usually game for anything,” Johanne snorted. “Now, for my price.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“I will only agree to help you should you agree to marry me.”
“I’m not a princess.”
“That won’t matter to my mother, I promise you. My father will take some coaxing, but I know how to butter him up,” Johanne winked. “So what is it, do you take my offer or leave it?”
Essy knew she couldn’t do this on her own. She wasn’t particularly pleased with the idea of being Johanne’s bride. If she married someone she had wanted it to be out of love, but desperate circumstances called for desperate measures.
She knew that his hand wouldn’t be extended forever, she had to act quickly.
“Very well, I will marry you,” Essy reluctantly agreed, placing her hand in the hand of the other fae. She gasped as a purple-black cackling lightening of electricity twined their hands, leaving a wolf around her left ring finger.
“This is to make the vow one that cannot be broken. It’s called The Indestructible Promise. Or a vow that cannot be broken. Should you get cold feet and not marry me, you’ll die. Should I not help you with your problem with Jezebel then I’ll die.”
“Why would you insist upon it being an Indestructible Vow then?!”
“Promise. Indestructible Promise,” Johanne corrected. “Well, I’ve had a few girls agree to marry me upon me doing their dirty work that ended up running off on me and met the nasty end of my father’s dire wolves.”
“I thought you said they were dogs.”
“Dogs, wolves, is there really much of a difference when they’re wild?”
Well, perhaps, Johanne had a point. “There are differences enough for them to be called different things, though. No one talks about dire dogs.”
Johanne snorted. “My mistake, you’re right,” he winked. “Don’t get too used to hearing that, my future princess.” He looked at her, pulling her in front of him. “You’ll have to lead the way. I’m afraid I don’t know where your father lives.”
“He put a charm on the house so that you cannot enter without invitation,” Essy announced.
“No wonder I wasn’t able to find Jezebel. A bewitched house was keeping her safe from me all these years. Who would have thought it?! Well, today I will finally get vengeance on my parent’s enemy.” Johanne clapped his hands together, gleefully.
He seemed a little too excited about this, but Essy reminded herself it was her own fault all of this had happened. She had been foolish enough to walk into the land of the Unseelies, and now for the rest of her life, she would be tied to them.
Essy wondered if this was instantaneous karma for wanting Jezebel dead. Probably. But Jezebel brought it upon herself.
The only person she felt bad for in this situation was her father. She didn’t trust Johanne to stop at just murdering Jezebel. She could sense that he wanted more than just Jezebel’s fall.
Johanne pulled her to a stop.
Essy whirled around to demand what he was doing, but then she realized that there were Seelie fae playing merrily with a human girl, casting faerie circles everywhere, giggling as they played with the human girl.
“We won’t hurt you, we’re good faeries,” they told the human.
“There are bad faeries?”
“Yes, they call them Unseelies. They are mean to even other faeries,” one of the faerie girls nodded.
The other frowned. “Although there is a mean faerie who lives here, too, but she pretends to be good.”
“What is her name?”
Johanne snickered suddenly, causing the faerie girls to scream.
“That’s an Unseelie! We have to take you home before he kills all of us.”
“Smart girls,” Johanne smirked, as their terrified faces disappeared from view.
“You wouldn’t kill children!” Essy protested.
“Oh, don’t get all righteous on me. You’re the one that wanted help killing your stepmother. You have no right to judge me.”
Essy fell silent. Perhaps that was true, but she would never agree with anyone harming a child. She just couldn’t see how or why that would be necessary in any situation.
“Lead the way, my future bride,” Johanne growled, impatiently.
Essy nodded. “Not much further,” she informed him. They stepped towards her father’s house within twenty minutes. Essy could tell from his perplexed face he still couldn’t see it. “Welcome thee in, faerie friend, until we part our ways,” she whispered.
“Brilliant,” Johanne grinned as the house appeared before them.
Essy was regretting her agreement with the Unseelie fae, immediately. However, she was reminded of the fact that she couldn’t back out of said agreement without dying. She was indignant to the idea of dying. She would endure her regret and mistake without complaint. After all, she was the one that had sought his help and not the other way around.
“You look uneasy. What, this isn’t what you want?” Johanne scoffed, rolling his eyes. “Don’t go all noble on me. You sought me out, remember?”
“I know,” Essy answered, nodding. Her insides felt as if they were knotting up like a snake.
“Good. I don’t want to have to kill you before I reach our agreement because then I’d die, too. I’d rather have a wife than waste the beauty of us both,” he uttered, rolling his eyes.
Essy saw her father laughing, arm-in-arm with Jezebel and felt her jaw tighten automatically without her willing it so.
Johanne shot her a smirk. “I think you might hate her more than I do,” he whispered. Then without warning or another word, he hit Jezebel with a spell that made her body slam hard against the wall.
“What the hell? Essy? Johanne?! Prince Johanne of the Unseelies? What have you done, Essy?”
“Don’t worry, the worst is yet to come. She’s going to be my wife so you may want to watch the way you say Unseelie as your grandchildren will have my blood in their veins,” Johanne sneered.
“Say it isn’t so.”
“It’s true,” Essy shrugged, hiding every candid emotion she felt from her face. She wanted to tell her father she was sorry, but there was a part of her that wasn’t. She wanted to tell her father she loved him, but there was a part of her that resented him more. “Maybe you should’ve believed my sister when she told you the truth and I wouldn’t have become the monster from your worst nightmares,” she ground out, eyes flashing.
Johanne smirked at the purple sparks that came from her eyes burning the floor beneath them. He stamped it out. “Patience, my dragon. The flames can come later.”
“Stop calling her yours.”
“You’re in no position to be making demands. I’ve come here to kill Jezebel and anyone who stands in my way will fall, as well.”
“Essy, stop this madness.”
“I will sacrifice you for my dark nightmare,” Essy remarked. “After all you traded my heaven for hell without thinking of what that did to me. Perhaps, you should know every action brings a consequence. Good or bad you reaped what you have sown, father.”
“I never knew my daughter could be so heartless.”
“If I am it’s only because you taught me well, father. You were the best teacher I’ve ever had.”
Johanne cackled, he seemed to be enjoying this. “I think you and daddy should sort out your issues. I’ll take on Jezebel.”
“No! You leave my wife alone.”
“Nay, father! This is the moment where your past will come to haunt you,” Essy scoffed, hitting him in the face with a spell that blinded him. She then grabbed her father’s midnight hair from behind and smashed his head off a nearby table over and over again until he keeled over unmistakably dead.
Johanne was kicking Jezebel’s dead body with a look of disdain across his handsome features. His eyes fell upon the forms of Essy’s half-siblings. “May I?”
“Go ahead,” Essy nodded. “As long as you leave Melynda for me.”
“Be my guest,” Johanne snorted.
Essy left the living room in which they caused the demise of her father and her stepmother and stomped up the stairs past her half-siblings with only one thing on her mind. Vengeance against Melynda.
“What in the actual hell is wrong with you?” Melynda demanded, seeing the mark upon Essy’s hand. “You agreed to be the wife of the dark faerie prince?!”
“It’s better than being your sister,” Essy retorted, punching Melynda in the face.
Melynda growled, biting Essy’s left arm so hard she bled.
In retort Essy backhanded Melynda so hard that she fell over one of the tables in her room, her face a bloody and bleeding mess.
“That works,” Essy shrugged.
Melynda raised her hands to reach for her staff which heightened her magic.
Essy made it explode in her hands. “All my life you have had shortcuts where I had to work hard on my hands and knees. It made my magic stronger and more beautiful than yours could ever hope to be,” the fae retorted, her eyes dancing such a dark purple they almost looked black.
“Essy, please don’t do this.”
“Oh, but I must. I will repay you for all your hospitality throughout the years.” Essy grabbed Melynda by her hair and threw her hard into a wall. She kicked her body. “Get up! I’m done when I say I’m done.”
Melynda glared at her nastily. “You’ll burn for this.”
“Well, I suppose then I will see you one day, but today is not that day.” Essy smirked in retort raising her hands to perform the killing spell she had only ever heard of. As the black magic left her fingertips, it struck Melynda and immediately she was gone. Snuffed out like a candlelight.
But the strength of the magic left her winded, and she found herself suddenly sitting on a chair as if it were a table for support.
Johanne found her some moments later. “What’s wrong?”
“I never knew the killing curse required so much energy.”
“It’s supposed to be used as a last resort for that very reason, you naughty girl. I thought you weren’t for this idea, at first, which really disgusted me, if I may be honest.”
“I had a change of heart as soon as I saw Jezebel’s smug face.”
“I’m glad. Shall we get going, my darling?”
“Let’s. I don’t think I could stand this house another second.”
“Nor could I,” Johanne sniffed.
Essy smiled, taking his hand in her own, actually wanting to know. Perhaps, being the wife of an Unseelie wouldn’t be as terrible as she once thought.
Johanne gave her a soft smile of his own before smirking. He licked blood off her chin. “Can’t have you a mess when I introduce you to mother and father, can I?”
“I suppose not,” Essy chuckled.
Essy didn’t bother looking behind her as Johanne set her old father’s house aflame. Finally, for the first time in forever, she felt free. However, she did still feel a bit dizzy from the spell she had used earlier.
Johanne noticed and pulled her into his arms. “Remember not to exert so much strength in one spell in the future.”
“I will try to.”
“I’ll remind you if I must,” he chuckled.
Essy smiled. Yes, this was right no matter how much her father tried to insist it was wrong.