Jezibaba Saga, Book 2
SERIES: Jezibaba Saga, Book 2
LENGTH: 46,377 words
RELEASE DATE: April 2018
She’s purple. She flies. She’s the future queen.
In Book 2 of the Jezibaba Saga, regenerated warlock, Nathaniel, intends to spend the next hundred years like he spent the previous hundred. His dedication to his work requires that he not get bogged down in the demands of the flesh, especially not flesh that has purple hair and a snarky attitude.
Following Princess Leelu into the land of fairies wasn’t planned. Goddess knows, the rhyming trolls just about sent him over the edge. And why does everyone keep thinking he’s their fairy king? No, on second thought… he’d just as soon not know.
“Run from this you cannot. A king she needed—a king she got.”
In the Goddess Morgana’s grove…
Nathaniel’s arm around Leelu was all that was keeping her upright. The warlock was too much a gentleman to mention her weakness, but they both knew it true. The curse was wearing her down and Leelu was fading more and more with each passing day.
When Elenora finished making her deal with the Dragon Council, she’d promised to help put an end to the curse her mother had placed on Leelu. The warlock currently holding her upright had good reasons for hating her and yet he’d also volunteered his help. Considering Nathaniel had branded himself with a lifelong limrunar mark of protection to keep him safe from her fairy enchantment, his desire to see her freed from suffering was more miracle than she deserved.
“No one should suffer what you’re enduring,” Nathaniel pointed out as he helped her walk.
“I thought we had agreed to respect each other mental boundaries. Are you reading my mind, warlock?” Leelu asked to distract him. It was a game they’d been playing lately, though Nathaniel had so far been unwilling to know why such knowing between them was even possible.
“Of course, I’m not,” Nathaniel denied. He glared at the fairy he held. “It’s called compassion.”
“An emotion at which you excel,” Leelu said, patting the arm that held here. “Let me drop now. I need to be on the ground near the roots.” She put a hand to her head and sighed. “Your thoughts are getting loud again, warlock. How many times must I tell you? Calm your mind if you want to keep me from hearing them.”
“Right. Sorry,” Nathaniel said roughly, lowering Leelu to ground. He didn’t have the heart to chastise her for being bossier than usual. “I was just thinking about how wrong this is. Your mother should have to suffer this fate herself so she can see what it’s like. Maybe she wouldn’t be so quick to do something like this again.”
“Her suffering would not keep her from being the one Gaia chose to rule the fairies. My mother alone rose to the challenge,” Leelu said, reciting the legend. “The Great Mother in her wisdom knew fairydom would not survive without a strong ruler.”
“Are you saying your mother cursed you as a test?” Nathaniel asked.
“I once thought so.” Leelu reached out to the tree and ran her hand over the bark. It was a young tree, not even five years old. She hated killing innocent saplings—hated what she had to do to survive.
Anguish squeezed her heart as she closed her eyes tightly against reality. From the first moment Morgana brought her to the sacred grove, she’d felt all her emotions being amplified. Guilt for what she had to do to the tree did not outweigh her need to survive, but it did rob her of all joy. To a fairy, the absence of joy was its own kind of death.
“Maith liomsa,” she whispered, begging the tree’s forgiveness as she placed her palm on it. Energy traveled into her through her fingers and she relished the feeling of her strength returning. Then the tree’s life force suddenly stopped coming into her. Nausea racked her starving body while it screamed for more.
“What’s wrong?” Nathaniel demanded.
“Nothing that can be changed,” she replied.
A bitter finality Leelu hadn’t been expecting to feel so keenly brought a twisted ironic smile to her lips. There was truly no hope for her now, but the tree didn’t have to die. Exercising the small bit of power she could over her curse might end up being the last good act she ever did in this life. Death would come for her either way.
Chanting in the language of the forest sprites she once played with as a child, Leelu gave back what she could to the tree whose life force she’d been draining just moments before. Soon the tree’s dried limbs returned to their former flexibility while dizziness from the energy drain swept through her.
Starvation was such a pitiful end to her long life. Sure, she’d been living only on hope for a century, but she’d spent other centuries far more foolishly. The male she cared for above all others stood over her now with concern in his gaze. It was more caring from him than she’d dared ever expect given their history.
“How did this tree live when the others died?” Nathaniel asked.
Though light-headed and weak, Leelu climbed to her feet with the help of the hand Nathaniel offered her. The limited nourishment she’d allowed herself to keep wouldn’t hold her for much more than a couple hours, but so be it. Feeding off trees had been a horrible way to live.
“The curse has passed over it, warlock. I will never be nourished by this kind of tree again. This is how its dark magic works.”
“Oh,” said Nathaniel softly, rubbing his face thoughtfully. “So what now?”
Leelu shrugged. “There is nothing more we can do but say goodbye to each other. The fairies will come soon to take me home to die.”
CONNECTED BOOKS IN THE SERIES: