Friday, July 10, 2015

Hearth Knights

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm obsessed with house fairies. When I was a child I'd wake up really early in the morning so I could pretend to be a brownie sneaking around the house.
This is the story of a magical cat stray cat who's adopted and so joins the house fairies in protecting humans against the things that go bump in the night.
It's also about a witch who works for the house fairies. 
And of course it's about a number of different fairy traditions, as the fairies followed people to the U.S. from basically every country in the world. 

See Preview below form

Powered by 123ContactForm | Report abuse

Draft Preview

Autumn and her familiar crept through the sleeping house, carefully searching every shadow and tiny crevice. Halloween was fast approaching and this year something was stirring up the ghosts and goblins. Autumn ducked down to peek under the couch. Dust bunnies peered back out at her. There were a few tiny toys, some coins, but nothing else. This particular house had a lot of little nooks for things to hide. It wasn’t filthy by any means. It was just that a lot of people had lived in it for a long time. So it was filled with memories. There were shells and bits of wood collected from the beach, wheat from the Midwest, and a dozen other little nick knacks from dozens of family trips and hobbies.  
Her familiar spirit, was checking the box of toys kept under a coffee table for when the nieces and nephews visited. The familiar’s name was Fabian, a Puk. He usually appeared as a tiny woodland spirit, and sometimes a ten foot long dragon. Right now, though he was in the form of a cat so he could sniff out trouble a little better. His pink little nose twitched in the way that made Autumn want to pet him until he was grouchy. Which usually only took about three seconds.
They crept carefully over the worn carpet. It wasn’t the sleeping humans they were being quite for, a simple spell insured that everyone would stay asleep. It was always easier to find curses left behind if you could catch the one leaving them. So they padded silently around a corner and into the kitchen. Lewis tapped the hem of Harper’s skirt with his tail, using his nose to point to the thing standing on the counter. The boggart was rummaging through the cups. He wasn’t more than thirty inches tall. His legs were so thin and his body was so fat it looked like he should have toppled over. His head and his arms were almost human. Though is face looked like someone had smashed a wolf’s face flat with a hammer.
Most boggarts had the good sense to run when they were faced with a witch and a puk. But Harper was young, not much more than fourteen. Boggarts are used to tormenting the young, not fearing them. He stood there staring at them as if uncertain what to do.
“You have no business here,” Lewis snarled, his voice coming out in an angry cat yowl. The boggart showed his teeth in a twisted grin. He dropped something onto the counter which clattered like hollow plastic. A baby bottle, Autumn realized a snarl forming on her own lips. She lifted her wand. The boggart had been placing a curse on the bottle. What kind of foul monster would place a curse on a baby?
Her wand started to glow. The boggart’s eyes narrowed. Autumn whipped a spell at him, but he leapt over it.
“This is our territory now,” the boggart snarled as he rushed towards them, snorting like an angry bull, claws clicking on the ground.
Fabian leapt into to meet him, unsheathed claws flashed wildly. The boggart tried to catch the furious cat. Fabian used the boggart’s outstretched hand as a spring board. Cat claws ripped into the monster’s face and chest.
The boggart screamed as he tried to grab Fabian, but the familiar had already dropped away from him.
Autumn’s next spell knocked the boggart back against the counter. He was snarling with blind rage. Trying to stumble to his feet.
“The stalker will devour every bit of you,” he was screaming.
A knot formed in Autumn’s racing heart. The stalking? She already felt on edge. Her wand hand was shaking. Fabian slammed into the side of the boggart’s neck. The boggart’s screams turned into a yelp of pain. Harper fumbled with a bag of salt, spilling some of it across the floor.
“Get out of the way Fabian,” Autumn called.  
He jumped back down, and she flung the salt in the boggart’s face, chanting words of magic. There was a sound like frying bacon and the boggart ran. He leapt out the window, crashing through rose bushes. Howling in pain.
Autumn sank to the floor, her hands pressed to her chest. She’d only been doing this for a month, so everything was still fresh. Fabian was in his old man form. He did that when he wanted to be reassuring. Right now, however, Harper would have felt better with him in his dragon form. Unfortunately that form was exhausting, so he couldn’t spend too much time in it. She was fiddling with the acorns and stream smoothed stone neckless she’d made. Each item painted to represent one of the fairies that had promised to help her.
“You did very well,” Fabian told her. Witches like her worked for their familiar spirits. He was her connection to the fairy courts that ruled over the magical world in the area.
Autumn nodded, more on reflex than because of any actual agreement. “What do you suppose he meant, by the stalker?”
“Something’s trying to push into our town. Give the bad guys a little more free reign to place their curses, spread illness and despair.”
Autumn sat there a little while, her chest rising and falling heavily. Finally, a little calmer she got up and went to the bottle. The curse he’d placed on it was a nasty little thing. Like a long black slug coiled in the bottom. It writhed when she poured her purifying salt on it.
“Do you think that it really could…” She stopped herself from repeating the boggart’s threat. A shudder running down her spine.
“The boggart was most likely just talking trash,” Fabian said in his most reassuring voice.  
Autumn washed the bottle out, twice. “Do you think I could have tomorrow off? She asked as she blew the bottle dry with a flick of her wand. “The Court of Cats invited me to their little dance.”
Lewis’s leafy mustached twitched. “I’m still nervous about letting you run off to play with the fairies and cat court unsupervised.”
Autumn deflated. “Most of my friends party with them almost every night.”
“And you wonder why I worry about letting you be unsupervised?” Fabian said, his face turning grandfather stern.
“Not bad partying.” Autumn said. She got up on her toes to check the rest of the cups in the cupboard for any other nasty curses the boggart might have left behind. “They play Scrabble, stuff like that.”
Lewis let out a puff and chuckled. “Scrabble? Was that the best you could come up with? You hate Scrabble anyways?” He was searching through the plates and bowls for any curses.
“No, I hate playing Scrabble with you. Your way to competitive. Though I suppose it does suck when a little child beats you.”
“When have you ever beaten me at anything?”
Candyland? Harper reminded him, barely able to contain her laugh.
Fabian’s voice took on a slightly grouchy edge. “Yeah, we must have been bored out of our minds to play that silly game.
They finished searching the kitchen and he lead her back out.  
“So, can I go?” She asked as they made their way up the stairs.
They crept into one of the children’s rooms, checked under the bed and in the closet. As usual there was nothing under them. Despite the stereotype bad things preferred the kitchen, but it was always good to check.
“Fine,” Fabian said.
Harper clapped her hands together in rapid excitement. The Court of Cats had been planning this party for a month. They’d invited the brownies and pixies, and so many more court’s she’d never even meet before.
“But,” Fabian continued. “You need to make at least one knew friend.”
“In one night?” Harper asked. Knowing that Lewis wasn’t talking about someone to have playdates with. He meant a friend she could call on if she help in a fight. Any given person only had so much magical energy. When they ran out they would borrow little bits from fairies who’d agreed to share with them. That’s what her neckless was for. She had twenty seven fairies willing to help her. That had taken her almost a year. About two weeks per fairy. Finding a new ally in one night seemed like a bit of a stretch.
“Halloween is still a month away, and things are already getting intense. So we’re going to need all the help we can get.”
She really wanted to go so she just nodded. She secretly hoped more help would just land on her doorstep.